A break in the daily cruise travelogue to praise our fellow writers and photojournalists. Check it out on hypeorlando…8 Global Journalists who take you to foreign lands without leaving home.
Taking a break from cruise blogging to write about early Christmas shopping on hypeorlando and a post about the upcoming Fall Farm and Artisans’ Tour in conjunction with local B&Bs on TravelPulse (just click on the links).
We’ve been busy, up here in NC, exploring Asheville and the surrounding mountain towns. The temps still remain 75 or under…some evenings drop to low 60’s and even high 50’s the other morning. This is why we’re here.
Deer sightings are in abundance this month, as are squirrels terrorizing us by sitting in trees, high above our metal roof, using us as target practice with these round objects which sound like cannon balls. They hit the roof and then roll down…honestly, if not cannons they sound like bowling balls!
Visitors arriving in a couple of weeks…will head home mid October, hopefully, after a gorgeous display of fall leaves.
More cruise news and photos to follow…
I just want to share some of my recent posts about Asheville in hypeorlando and TravelPulse. We were invited to stay in 3 lodges which are indicative of the hospitality and beauty of this city.
TravelPulse is a newsy travel industry site which is heavy on words, but not photos. Here’s the link to that one… Click here for TravelPulse
I broke down each of the Inns on hypeorlando as more of a pictorial:
The North Lodge on Oakland is a small B&B, close to the Biltmore Estate, operated by a lovely couple who take pride in their home. Click here for the North Lodge
Our next stop was the Reynolds Mansion where Billy Sanders treated us like royalty. This home was built by slaves and has undergone massive renovations with the intent to restore it to its original beauty. Click here for The Reynolds Mansion
I can’t believe I had never heard of the Omni Grove Park Inn. An NC neighbor recommended it and I was amazed by the history and architecture of this lodge. Click here for the Omni Grove Park Inn
We’re now in the last week of a month-long visit by 2 of the grandkids and will be heading back to Florida to deliver them to mom. After a short stay in Orlando, we’ll be returning to Wolf Laurel with Ali and James in tow.
So far the weather has been the reason we moved up here for the summer. The temps have risen in town but when we drive back up the mountain to our house, we’re back in the 60’s or low 70’s. There is definitely something to be said for high elevations!
It’s been a little over a month since arriving at the mountain house for the summer. One thing we’ve learned is, next year, we’ll head up this way later in the spring/summer. Although it has been fun seeing the wildflowers of spring, the temps are chilly…just this morning we woke up to low 30’s, brrrr. Hopefully, this is the last cold spell and we won’t have to turn on the heat again. Our rhododendrons are about to bloom, much later than those in town and toward the bottom of the mountain…I’m guessing the low temps play a part in that.
We’ve been busy fixing up the house, painting, patching, hauling stuff we don’t want to Goodwill. We enjoyed bonding with the Bonds last week during their visit after nephew, Andrew, graduated UCF. They are experienced hikers so we had our hands full keeping up with them while visiting their old vacation haunts. Checking out the stars on Andrew’s telescope in the pitch blackness of the mountain was a high point. The night sky provides quite a show when light pollution is not an issue. Looking forward to more visitors…Jess, Chris and the grandkids are arriving mid June, then Ali and James in July. We’re feeling a bit like empty-nesters since sis, Patty, and her crew left, though.
Critter sightings include deer, turkey, chipmunks and, we think, a big fat groundhog. No bear scares but we are always vigilant.
We enjoy our visits to Mars Hill, Weaverville and Asheville, when we need a dose of civilization. One thing that stands out, everybody is so friendly and happy up here, whether at the grocery store, restaurants, shops…always a smile and ready to help. And highway driving is way more civilized than what we deal with in Florida. Missing our newspaper home delivery and still can’t find where the Sunday NY Times is sold. We’re old and old-school…getting our news online is just not the same.
This is a whole new world for us and it’s been a bit of a learning curve. We’re happy with our choice of house and area, we just have to become more accustomed to the harsh terrain. We’re so spoiled in Florida…bitch as we might about the heat and humidity, it’s an easy environment in which to live, with all its flatness.
Gotta blow my own horn here, so to speak, with the news that TravelPulse.com has published one of my blog posts and I am in contract with them to write further content. Most will be based in Orlando but I’ll be writing about Asheville this summer, also. First post is about the rise of the craft beer industry in Orlando…research was great fun!
It’s a major step for me as I’ve been slooooowly working towards this kind of validation as a writer, focusing on travel, and it feels good to be validated. Thanks to Kim Warrner for informing me about the Orlando Sentinel‘s blog platform, hypeorlando.com, right after we moved back to Orlando. Writing for them has been a wonderful exercise in discipline and the support really helps, as sitting at a computer, hoping to get noticed, can be very isolating. Just when you feel like giving it all up, someone in the hypeorlando group will pat you on the back, come up with a few words of encouragement and spur you on.
Geez, this is sounding like an acceptance speech for an Academy Award! Actually, it kind of felt that way when I saw my name under the TravelPulse banner yesterday. More to come…
So the deal wasn’t done and the papers weren’t signed, lucky for us we had an honest inspector who immediately saw structural issues and did not continue the process. Inspections are pricey in the mountains and he saved us quite a few bucks by not going any further. He said a structural engineer needed to see the damage and go from there. It was enough for us to cancel the contract and move on. Very disappointing, especially since the owner is a structural engineer and should have disclosed the problems on the contract.
We’ve learned not to become emotionally attached to anything we attempt to purchase so we weren’t envisioning family holidays on the deck quite yet. There were others on our short list and some more popped up on the MLS, so we kept shopping. Our criteria and must-have list was short – 3,000 feet in elevation, a view, high ceilings (we want to feel like we’re in a mountain house, not sitting in a subdivision somewhere with low ceilings), and a location that doesn’t need a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
Elevation is a must as our main reason for purchasing a summer home is to get out of the heat and humidity of Orlando. Our research has shown that 3,000 feet pretty much insures not having to turn on the a/c all summer. A panoramic mountain view is fleeting. The house that failed inspection had a killer view off the deck but that deck might be sliding off the mountain in the future. Another house had a great view but was too small and, inside, felt like we were anywhere but in the mountains. Another one had a death-defying drive-way and a larger car would have to back out of it without being able to turn around.
In the end we’re losing the view with the chosen abode, but it’s just a short walk away, along with the Appalachian Trail, and the size and location make up for it. Check out my hypeorlando.com blog at Forever Young but Growing Old for details on our last visit. Hopefully, we’ll close in early December and have more to report with pictures. But those photos might include snow!
On our second house-hunting trip to North Carolina, we chose to stay at a bed and breakfast within the Wolf Laurel community. Our research found several houses in the area and we figured what better way to get a feel for the neighborhood than to spend a few nights in it. Good choice on many levels…
The Bald Mountain House, run by Monica and Tony Martin, was a delightful find. The high elevation with drop dead mountain views, along with the comfortable sleeping arrangements would make for a memorable stay by itself. However, add to that the phenomenal breakfasts and interesting conversations and I’d say we hit the jackpot.
We stayed in the Mount Mitchell room/suite with a king bed and roomy sitting area, on the third level, with gorgeous views. In the middle of September it was a bit chilly to leave the windows open at night but during the day the fresh mountain air wafted through the rooms.
Each of the four mornings we were there, Monica whipped up creative and tasty dishes to start our day of house hunting and gave us tons of tips about the surrounding Wolf Laurel community. Tony has his own HVAC business and winterizes most of the homes on the mountain so he proved to be a wealth of knowledge whenever we mentioned an address in which we were interested.