Watson Wednesday

Leave a comment Standard

Watson is always so glad to see me when I return from being out of town…and while I’m sure he’s glad to see me for many reasons, I think the main reason is because he can beg for a bite of people food again!

Chihuly at Biltmore

Leave a comment Standard

Hello again – it’s me once more! I wanted to pop in today and tell you (or really show you) about the Chihuly at Biltmore exhibition that was a huge draw to the past weekend’s trip to Asheville. Dale Chihuly creates gigantic sculptures from blown glass and steel that are mind-bending to see in person – I am still marveling at how a person creates such enormous shapes from glass – but there you have it.

The first pieces we were able to see were at Antler Hill Village – a small taste of what is to come when visiting to house and gardens. The fountain in the center of Antler Hill Village contains blue and purple glass spirals surrounding the fountain and farther along the walkway, amber and gold spires shoot skyward in the second installation.

The display is still being presented at Biltmore Estate – through October 7th – and can be viewed in the daytime as part of your ticket purchase to the house. You can also add on Chihuly Nights as part of your package and take in the sculptures lit in the evening. The tickets we had for the weekend included both daytime and night viewing and I’m so glad we were able to do both – the sculptures take on a completely different look from night to day.

The first piece that you see when you arrive is called Sole d’Oro and is akin to a flaming sun – but I saved that piece for last – I’m getting ahead of myself. After taking in the sunset from the terrace that extends off the side of the house, we headed down into the gardens and to the first installation: the south terrace wall lined with busts and creeping plants…which now included impressive sculptures spun out of glass and imagination and made real.


Following the lines of sculptures positioned all along the stone walls, the garden path wound to an open area that contained two installations of “red reeds” that were illuminated in the night.

Following the steps down into the shrub gardens, two gigantic sculptures were positioned across the garden from one another – red, yellow and orange “flames” swirling upward into the night.

En route to the conservatory were more red reed style sculptures that spun upward into the night sky – these were not as easy to photograph because the lighting didn’t quite illuminate them as well as some of the other sculptures. They were still mesmerizing though!


There were three chandelier style sculptures suspended from the ceilings of the conservatory that were done in blues, aquas, golds and greens – I thought these were particularly lovely!

We made our way back to the front portion of the gardens where some larger sculptures were suspended in the ponds of the Italian Gardens. The first; called Float Boat, was one I really loved – but as you’ll see – it was better viewed in the daylight. I still snapped plenty of pictures of the installation, ha-ha!

The central pond had a white sculpture placed in the center – I’m pretty pleased with the picture I thought to take of the reflection of the piece in the pond, ha-ha!

My favorite piece was the purple spires and green blossoms that took up one end of the third pond in the Italian Gardens – the colors were so vivid in both day and night – and they were hands down my favorite piece of the entire exhibit!


Breathtaking – right? I thought they were glorious! The final piece in the Italian Gardens was another boat filled with reds, yellows and oranges spiraling out of the boat.

Two of the final pieces were on the front porch of the house and inside the winter garden of the house, so we hopped in line to see those. I do love all the blue used on the sculpture at the front of the house – blue is my favorite color!


The final piece inside the house was made with whites, tans and golds and surrounded the fountain in the Winter Garden – and was absolutely huge!


The final piece – the first piece I mentioned – Sole d’Oro! It was a gorgeous sun style fixture that is placed on the expansive front lawn of the house and was a close second for favorite for me!

The lights brought out a whole different view of the sculptures and I was so thrilled to have been able to see them in the night. I was also thrilled to see them the next day in broad daylight and see how they might be different. In case you haven’t yet figured out – this post is essentially a photo dump – because I took so many pictures of these gorgeous sculptures!




I really thought that the Sole d’Oro stood out quite a bit more in the night but the blue piece at the front of the house managed to be striking regardless of day or night. Honestly though – every one of the pieces were beyond impressive, whether viewed in the daylight or the evening!

I snapped quite a few pictures of Float Boat in the sunshine – this sculpture definitely stood out much more in the daylight! The bright colors and designs that make each of the spheres unique are much more visible in the sunshine and it really is a beautiful piece!

We walked back through the gardens and I snapped a few daylight snapshots of the sculptures along the terrace, in the shrub garden and the conservatory – all still impressive but these I thought were a bit…”more” in the night.

The Chihuly at Biltmore Exhibition is absolutely incredible – the sculptures are just amazing to see and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to see them! If you’ve made it this far, I hope you enjoyed my colossal photo dump of all things Chihuly and if you live near the Asheville area – know that you have through October 7th to go see the exhibition!

I’ll leave you with two final snapshots of the piece at Antler Hill Village – we caught it on Saturday evening and I think you’ll agree with me that it was far more stunning in the night light!

The Blue Ridge Parkway

Comment 1 Standard

What a weekend! I was off on Friday and as soon as I got home on Thursday, my parents and I headed out in the rain toward Asheville, North Carolina for the weekend. We made a stop in Lexington, Virginia for dinner – at one of those “hole in the wall” stop called Foothill Momma’s BBQ Juke Joint – found courtesy of Yelp! It was delicious and we somehow managed to avoid the worst of the rain and storms until we made it to Galax, Virginia for the night.

The next morning it was decided that we’d take the longer more scenic route (which I initially voted no on – because I’m a nut… I don’t know guys…) through the Blue Ridge Parkway and I took so many pictures – which you guys get to see today! Our first stop was Mast General Store in Boone, North Carolina and it was filled with so many perfect things – but most of all this notebook that I couldn’t resist snapping a picture with!

I don’t know if anything could describe me better, ha-ha! We grabbed a picnic lunch from Our Daily Bread and headed onto the Blue Ridge Parkway to find a spot to picnic, stopping for overlook pictures along the way – as you do! I’ve shared just a few of the pictures from the overlook(s) below but I have to give a shout out to Our Daily Bread – if you’re ever in Boone, North Carolina – do not miss this place! Granted; we only got sandwiches and Magic bars but it was all to die for and I would pop back into this place in a heartbeat!

We stopped at Linville Falls picnic area for lunch and found a picnic bench right by a stream that was gurgling along – it was pretty idyllic if I do say so myself. The food was divine, the setting was picturesque and a wee caterpillar even made an appearance – although it was one of the kind with stinging spines and so I shrieked for my Dad to flick it off himself as quickly as possible…and he flicked in right in my direction. Talk about disrupting the peaceful solitude of nature…ha-ha! No humans or caterpillars were harmed, I’m pleased to report.


The views all along the Blue Ridge Parkway are absolutely stunning – the mountains just roll on as far as the eye can see like a ridge of blue…hence the name, right? Ha-ha! I always think maybe I’m taking too many pictures but it’s just too beautiful not to take it all in!

There were also tunnels around each and every corner as the road wound it’s way around, over and through the mountains and I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures here and there. It was especially interesting to see that small stalactites had begun to form on the bridges from the water that drips…drips…drips… over the edges.

The ultimate stop along our drive on the parkway was Mount Mitchell – the highest peak east of the Mississippi River – which was about 45 minutes from Asheville. The road leaves the parkway and winds up and around, up and around for another five miles and then you climb up about 300 yards to the view point at 6,684 feet above it all. The peak of Mount Mitchell is not only the highest east of the MS, it’s also the tallest peak south of the Arctic Cordillera (I’m not 100% sure…)..

The mountain is named for Elisha Mitchell, who explored the Black Mountains in the 1830’s and determined the peak’s height was more than originally thought. He fell to his death when he returned in 1857 to confirm his theory and he is buried near the observation deck at the top of the summit. The views from the top were impeccable – even if at times obscured by clouds – at times it seemed like it was hard to know where mountain peak ended and sky began.

The last stop on the parkway before we exited at Asheville was Glassmine Falls – a waterfall that is visible from the parkway that crashes down the face of the mountain and can be heard roaring away across the gorge. The falls are named for the Mica Mine that once sat at the base of the falls; the mica from the mines was thought to be glass and thus – the falls were named.

We made our way off the parkway, into Asheville and on to the grounds of Biltmore Estate around 4:00 on Friday afternoon. We checked into the Village Hotel and got some dinner at Village Social, perused some of the shops and then got ready to head over to the house for Chihuly Nights. I’ll end the post here – I’ll share about the Chihuly exhibit tomorrow because there are so many pictures. The exhibit was absolutely incredible and if you are going to be anywhere in the vicinity of Biltmore Estate in the next week – I’d recommend checking the exhibit out – it runs through October 7th and is incredible!

I’ve linked all the places we ate and the hotel we stayed at on the ground of Biltmore Estate – feel free to check them out and give them a try if you’re in the area! I promise you won’t be disappointed!



September Sights & Sounds

Leave a comment Standard

Wouldn’t you know – the longer you look at the word September, the odder it looks! I was poking around the internet to find a September banner and I just thought that it looked so weird, ha-ha!

Image result for September

Books I Read

The Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon – The fourth book in the Outlander series; this was a re-read for me after watching the first three seasons of Outlander with my Mom. It was just as good as the first time I read it and made me so excited for the upcoming fourth season of Outlander!

Books on the Shelf

I have absolutely nothing on my shelf that is currently begging to be read – so any and all suggestions are appreciated! I have several books that I “could” read but none are just tempting me at the moment. *sigh*

Must See TV/Bingeworthy 

The Mindy Project – I started watching this show on the recommendation of my sister and I could not love it more! The show is funny, heart-warming and wonderful and of course…I pretty much immediately fell in love with Danny Castellano, ha-ha! I just finished the third of six seasons, so I’ve still got a bit to see with this show but I can’t wait to see how it plays out!

Image result for the mindy

Escape to the Country – I could not love this show more if I tried! It’s like House Hunters but in the English countryside and every single thing about it fills my soul with absolute joy and happiness! A couple looking to escape the the country view three homes, the third being a “mystery house” and it’s interspersed with interesting lifestyle tidbits from the area of the English countryside that the home owners are looking to move to. It’s such a delight and you can find this on Netflix if you fancy checking it out!

Image result for escape to the country

Movies of the Month

I have not gone to see a single movie this entire month. Not a one. Now – I did see Beauty & the Beast as part of a re-release on September 15th but I’m not going to count that here because I think it’s well documented that I’ve seen Beauty & the Beast many many times and you don’t need to know from me how wonderful it is – yet again, ha-ha!

Tasty Treats

I started the month with some tasty chicken stew that turned out really well in the crock pot – so good that I even blogged about it! I also tried a recipe for Sweet Corn Pasta that used corn kernels to make a sauce and it was divine – just typing about it makes me want another bowl. I had yummy pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls and tried some haggis at the Scottish Heritage Festival – I can’t say I’d eat it again, but at least I tried it!

The end of the month brought the delicious Limoncello Tortufa that was some sort of lemon and vanilla miracle in the shape of food! I also had Duck Donuts for the first time and tried Peanut Soup (yum!) and Syllabub (yum!) for the first time at King’s Arms Tavern!

Tunes & Talking

I’ve kept busy this month listening to some of my favorite podcasts: The Big Boo Cast, The Popcast with Knox & Jamie, Lore and Cabinet of Curiosities and when I wasn’t listening to a podcast I was probably listening the soundtracks from Game of Thrones and Outlander. I’ve also been frequenting a station called New Age Instrumental on Pandora, ha-ha! All the instrumental music for me please!

What I’m Looking Forward To

Happy Birthday to Me – I’m not sure how I’ll be celebrating my actual birthday (I’m in Asheville celebrating this weekend) on the 6th but I’m always glad to celebrate another year of life. Shortly before I turned 30, I really got into a funk about…turning 30…but I’ve come to realize that the alternative to celebrating another birthday is pretty grim, so I should celebrate life – regardless of my age. So here’s to 34! Yikes!

Image result for 34

I’ve got some get togethers with friends planned, two different Bible studies/ladies groups to attend all month, a ladies conference at church, hopefully taking in some gorgeous leaves as they turn and of course…at the end of the month is Halloween! October is sure to be a wonderful month!


September was pretty slow and steady but Autumn is ramping up to be fun and I can’t wait!

Game of Thrones – Live in Concert

Leave a comment Standard

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Five on Friday for this post about the Game of Thrones concert that I went to on Tuesday night in DC! The tickets were my Christmas present last year, so I’d been patiently waiting for the concert to make it’s way from the UK and arrive stateside – and the stop closest to me was DC, on September 25th!

I attended the concert last March as well and had such a wonderful time. I’ve mentioned before that I listen to a lot of instrumental music and the score for Game of Thrones is absolutely beautiful and provoking – I’m slightly inclined to think that Ramin Djawadi is something of a genius – he scores some of my favorite music to listen to (he not only scores Game of Thrones, but also does a fantastic job on the very different Westworld.)

The seats I was gifted (my Mom is the best at picking out seat y’all – the best) were on the second row and so close to the stage that when it snowed or leaves fell (we’ll get to that), they floated right over my friend Jennie and I. The seats were – in short – spectacular and I could not wait for the concert to start! Game of Thrones is currently in between seasons and as they make the final season (tears) with 6 episodes that will likely each be the length of a short movie, the break between last season and this season has been LONG.

Now – if you’ve never watched Game of Thrones then this post may not be too fascinating for you – but if you are a Game of Thrones fan, well I tried to include as much as I could! I took so many videos and I don’t want to overwhelm the post with videos, ha-ha!\

One of the first pieces to be performed was Winterfell – the theme of House Stark. A violinist was suspended in the air as she played the piece, being drawn into place to represent a Weirwood Tree – a symbol that is central to the faith that the Starks adhere to in the North. The song is beautiful and of course, I took video! How could I not?

Absolutely beautiful – isn’t it? Haunting and poetic…I just love this song! I also love how the creative minds work to place her solo performance in the show in this way – just fantastic!

The show is incredibly large and the cast is…generous, to say the least. Two of the characters who have spent earlier parts of the show far apart are Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen – but in the seventh season their stories; which have often mirrored each other, finally merged. But before we could get to that – they showed the first love of Jon’s life – Ygritte… A fun fact for you? Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie, who play the characters Jon Snow and Ygritte were married this past summer – so I think that makes their portion of the show a little more touching, no?

You guys – that horn absolutely made the floor shake! The guy playing it was an incredible percussionist and he played numerous instruments throughout the show. I loved watching him play the didgeridoo but I do think the giant horn – called the wildling horn – was my favorite. As promised, after Jon’s story line…we got some of Daenerys’ story line as well!

I couldn’t not include this amazing video with Ramin just wailing on the guitar – this scene is one of my favorite scenes from Game of Thrones. If I’m being honest, all the scenes from Game of Thrones are my favorite scenes…ha-ha!

Following intermission, we picked back up with Jon Snow’s story (he’s become something of a central character) with the all important resurrection and the ensuing Battle of the Bastards – what may be the largest battle sequence ever filmed for television – as of right now. Apparently a battle in season eight will top that…

The scene depicted below is easily one of the most thrilling moments in the history of the show – I think the audience’s response when Jon Snow reaches for his sword makes that pretty obvious. I’m not a big fan of watching battles because I tend to be squeamish, but I am always impressed with what Game of Thrones delivers!

Another scene that was beyond memorable is also from season 6 – and the song that goes along with it; The Light of the Seven, is an almost ten minute marvel of music that builds and scales it’s way to a thundering conclusion.

This song was the conclusion to the show last year – filled with fire and bright green lights. It was no less impressive this year and when the song ended, the smoke wafted across us as it cleared the stage.

The show then moved on to moments from season seven – including the reunion between the Stark siblings, which was one of the most touching moments for me to watch.

The show moved on to one of the big battles from season seven – I call it the Field of Fire but I don’t think that’s what it was called in this particular episode. It was yet another moment in the show when favorite characters…after seven seasons…begin to collide and you aren’t really sure who you should cheer for!

I was thrilled to get such a good shot of Drogon from the battle – this whole portion of the show, with the lights and music – just incredible!

The final video that I will share covers the meeting and blossoming relationship between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, the Wolf and the Dragon. I cheered this relationship all season long…although I’m not so sure it will have a happy ending when it’s all said and done. I suppose you have to enjoy things while they are happening, right?

The show was absolutely so amazing – I hope they do a third tour, because I’ll be more than happy to get tickets again. The eighth season is not set to premiere until the middle of 2019 and there will be plenty more footage to score with excellent music.

Game of Thrones is so much more than a TV show and besides the incredible story that the show is telling, I know the music is one of my favorite things to come from the show. I am both looking forward to and dreading the final season – because all good things must end and that will be the end – but at least there will always be the gorgeous music to listen to!


Winter is Here.

Going Colonial

Leave a comment Standard

It has been quite the week y’all – it hasn’t gone quite as smoothly as I’d hoped although I did get safely to and from DC for the absolutely amazing Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience (pictures and videos to come…probably next week…we shall see..) but Wednesday was nothing more than an almost 24 hour headache and here I am today trying to fight off an “after shock” headache – you’ve got to love those migraines, am I right?

Beyond all that – let me get back to the past weekend spent in Williamsburg and finally share my pictures from Colonial Williamsburg. We came back into the center of Williamsburg on Saturday evening and perused the shops at Merchant Square before we ventured into the Colonial portion and I wandered up to the Governor’s Palace to snap a few dusk pictures…

I don’t remember on our previous visit getting to wander down the palace green and snap pictures of the Governor’s Palace but I made sure to do that this time. I was also pretty adamant about wanting to be in Colonial Williamsburg at dusk – there is just something slightly unearthly about seeing this little town come alive with lantern light…and knowing the colonial people used to roam these same streets by lantern light..and perhaps still do roam the streets once night has fallen? We didn’t take a ghost tour this time but we have before and it’s all delightfully eerie!

We made some purchases at the Peanut Shop and Wythe Candy and Gourmet, investigated all the amazing and unique cheese on sale at The Cheese Shop and my Dad and I discovered even more information about our Scottish ancestry at Scotland House, LTD. Apparently one of our descendants had a ballad written about him because he “slew a gigantic beast or worm”…in some writings it says he killed the last serpent in Scotland and that is why the coat of arms for our family has a dragon on it! How amazing is that? My ancestors were killers of giant snakes – I am all for that – I guess the dislike of snakes is also an inherited trait?

We had a late dinner at Sal’s by Victor Italian Restaurant and this was authentic Italian food, not your Olive Garden fettuccine alfredo (which I am definitely not hating on, I love that stuff so much – I just also know it’s not really authentic)… and the pizza that my Mom and I split was divine! I know I mentioned my dessert on the other post but it was easily one of the best things I’ve ever eaten and I want to see if I can find another when I’m in Italy!


We started the morning on Sunday with Duck Donuts – a donut shop that originates out of Duck, North Carolina and is essentially a made to order donut shop. Now we have Duck Donuts here in our area of Virginia but we’ve just never made our way to one and Sunday seemed as good a day as any to give them a try! We had some really delicious donuts: blueberry pancake, s’mores, french toast, apple pie, lemon blueberry and pumpkin pie with strudel – my mouth is watering just thinking about them! It certainly wasn’t a healthy breakfast but it was tasty!

We popped into the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor’s Center after we’d have breakfast and perused the shops for a bit – I also came to the realization that the actual layout of Colonial Williamsburg is much larger than I’d thought. I purchased a Christmas gift for a certain someone and then we sought out the tavern guests parking and entered the Colonial area that way. I wanted so badly to have lunch or dinner at King’s Arms Tavern but we couldn’t seem to make a reservation…but aftern inquiring about eating lunch there, we learned it was first come/first serve at 11:30…and since it was 11:20, we perused a shop or two and then made our way back to the Tavern!

Now you may be wondering why I wanted to eat at King’s Arms Tavern so badly and I’ll be glad to tell you – I wanted to try the Peanut Soup! The King’s Arms Tavern is known for it’s peanut soup and I love all things peanut, so I wanted nothing more than to try some of it…and King’s Arms is the only tavern in Colonial Williamsburg that offer the lovely soup made of peanuts! I was just so pleased to have a seat and order some peanut soup – it really is the little things in life y’all!

I had the half sandwich and cup of peanut soup for my meal – and peanut soup tastes exactly the way I thought it would: like soupy, creamy and delicious peanut butter! I’m glad I opted to do a bowl because while it was delicious, it was also incredibly rich and I think an entire bowl would have been too much! When it came time for dessert, I also decided to branch out and I got Syllabub – the most historically accurate dessert on the menu; it’s made from cream mixed with white wine and sweetened with lemon, topped with fresh berries. It was delicious and I’m wondering why Syllabub isn’t really a thing anymore because it’s so tasty and good!

After our delicious lunch, we walked down the main street (Duke of Gloucester) to the government houses and then peeked in a few shops on our way back down the street. One of the most interesting items that I found was a mourning ring (pictured above) – which was normally a ring made from the silver a person inherited from a relative; they wore the ring for a year following the loved one’s death and then had the silver melted down as their inheritance. Isn’t that the most interesting thing? The rings were decorated with skulls and cross bones, so they almost looked like a sort of pirate ring or something… amusing to say the least!

It was threatening to rain and so we made our way past a few houses and a pen of sheep before hopping into the car to make our way home. We stopped in at the Yankee Candle Shop on our way out of town and then when traffic backed up on I-94, we decided to trust Google Maps and headed home via the back roads – which took some time off our drive and we got to see the countryside. We arrived home around 5:30 with Panda Express for dinner and a very happy puppy waiting to greet us (a friend watched him over the weekend).

Such a great weekend – I always love poking around Colonial Williamsburg and seeing all the sights!

Watson Wednesday

Leave a comment Standard

Watson has never hesitated to do whatever it takes to get a bite of food – this picture popped up on my Time Hop and I couldn’t resist sharing it! He’s managed to balance himself with two back paws on the ottoman, one paw on my leg and the other floating in mid-air… but hey – he did get to lick the soup bowl!