Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Asheville Trip

This weekend we took a trip to Asheville with Lee's friend Brandon and his girlfriend Caitie to see the Biltmore. I had never been to the Biltmore before (Lee either), or Asheville for that matter, so I was super excited.

Lee and I both got sick last week, so we were a little worried about how the trip would go but we took lots of Kleenex and managed okay.

We left Saturday afternoon and checked into our hotel around 7:00. We headed downtown and had dinner at a little place called Mayfel's. Then we went to The Chocolate Lounge for dessert. Mmmm.

We had some time to kill on Sunday morning before our Biltmore trip, so we went for a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Even though most of the leaves have fallen off, it was still so beautiful and the weather couldn't have been better. Here are some pics taken along the Parkway:

Finally it was time to head to the Biltmore. We decided to do the Candlelight Christmas Evenings tour so we could see the house all lit up for Christmas. Our tour of the house was at 6:15 so we got there around 2:00 to see the rest of the grounds.

The first stop was the winery.

After a lengthy tasting, we walked away with a LOT of wine:

Next we visited the farm, where we had the best. milkshakes. ever. from The Creamery and Lee and Brandon played dress up:

Of course the best part of the farm was the animals. I could have spent the whole day petting this horse:

And Lee was in love with this fat little goat:

Finally it was time to head to the house. We stopped to snap some pics before touring the gardens.

The conservatory:

We walked a long way to the bass pond so we could see the Boat House. It turned out to be this gazebo. FAIL.

Lee and Brandon had a romantic moment on a bench though:

I didn't get any non-blurry pics of the house after dark, so you'll have to settle for this sunset picture.

You can't take pictures inside the house, which was actually a relief because there's already too much to take in without the stress of trying to capture everything on camera.

If you haven't been there before, you'll have to take my word on it that it's amazing. And if you haven't done the candlelight Christmas tour, I highly recommend it. There was something magical about the fireplaces, trees and candles being lit, and there were carolers and other performers throughout the house. It definitely put me in the Christmas spirit.

There were three things that struck me about our trip to Biltmore:

1. It's mind boggling to think about a house of that size being built so long ago, in such a remote location, with such cutting-edge technology for the time. It would be a huge feat for today, much less 100 years ago.

2. The house is amazing, breathtaking, awe-inspiring and a million other adjectives. But I couldn't help but think "what a waste of money." Not the cost of admission -- the house is a one-of-a-kind experience that I definitely think is worth the money (or at least worth the discounted tickets we were able to score). But the actual house and grounds itself is so flamboyant. It would be impossible to justify a house like that today, even if you had all the money in the world. There are so many better places that money could be spent.

3. We've gone on 3 awesome trips in the last month and seen some pretty amazing things, all without ever leaving the confines of North Carolina. (See trips one and two here and here.) We really do live in an awesome state.

That's it for our mini-trips for a while. What other NC destinations should be on our must-see list?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

One More Thing

I forgot to mention the best thing about Wishpot...if you see something on someone's wish list that you want to buy or have already bought for them, you can "reserve" that item so they don't get duplicates.

You can also choose to hide the reservation from the wish list creator. So, everyone else will know that the item is already reserved, but the wish list creator won't know that someone is planning to get them that item.

Helps avoid the hassel of friends and family having to ask around to see who's buying what off of a traditional Christmas list.

It might seem greedy or presumptuous to create a list of things you want others to buy you, but I'm in the camp that it makes things SO much easier for the gift giver. They're able to quickly pick out a gift you'll love and you get exactly what you want. It's a win-win situation.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Making My List, Checking it Twice

I'd like to introduce you to a new site I found:


Now, I'm not crazy about the name. If it's supposed to imply 'wish spot' then they should've just thrown in the extra 's' -- without it it feels like Wish Pot. Maybe it's supposed to be a pot for storing wishes? Instead it reminds me of wishing for pot. Anyway, I digress.

Wishpot is sort of like a shopping cart or wish list for the whole internet. See something you want, add it to one of your Wishpot lists via a super-convenient toolbar button. It stores the item, website, price and other important info.

You can create lists that are public (either viewable by everyone or only your Wishpot friends) or private. I've started a public
wish list for myself, a private list of gift ideas for others and a private list of decor ideas for the house.

You can designate a priority for each item: thinking about it, wouldn't mind having it, want it, really really want it, and I neeeeed it!

I don't think this will replace my traditional Christmas list, but it's a nice way to gather those things online that make me think "ohhhh, I'd like to have that."

So check out wishpot, get your list going, and add me as a friend.

If not, you're getting fruitcake for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

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