It's nice to be home following a week in Asheville NC. I was there for a Reclaiming Futures meeting and helped facilitate the treatment section of the meeting. The meeting was very good and as usual the team from King County accomplished a lot and added a ton to our work plan. I arrived on Monday and Kent joined me on Wednesday.
I've been to NC several times but I've never been to Asheville. It's a beautiful area as I've always been told. Asheville has quite the music scene and I was lucky enough to take in the Wallflowers who played at a club called - The Orange Peel - Social Aid and Pleasure Club.
Several of us from the conference went and had a great time - what an awesome venue!
We ate at several great places but the place we ended up retuning three times was called The Wicked Weed.
It was a local brew pub with terrific food. The name is based on a quote from King Henry VIV in 1519 "Hops are a wicked and pernicious weed" If you find yourself in Asheville I highly recommend you check it out!
We brought our hiking boots so once the conference was over Kent and I took in a couple of great hikes. One to Mount Mitchell the highest peak east of the Mississippi.
The other was at Chimney Rock State Park.
Both located in different areas near the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We have come to really enjoy hiking and both these hikes exceeded our expectations. Both were short but challenging based on gain in elevation and altitude.
We also happen to have found a gay French movie playing in town while we were in Asheville called - Let My People Go. It was a lot of fun and its always a treat to find a gay themed movie while on the road.
Saturday morning we took place in a 12K run called the Ramble Run.
It was a beautiful course that was quite a challenge with several major hills. It was good practice for my final long run before the Boise marathon next weekend. Both of us did well and had a great time. I actually did better than I thought I would and came in third in my age division!
On our final full day we were trying to decide between going to Dollywood or take in the Biltmore Estate. We decided to take in the Biltmore and save Dollywood for another visit.
The Biltmore Estates and Gardens were incredible and well worth a visit.
We spent the final evening in Knoxville before flying home. On a final note in Knoxville we ate dinner at a new restaurant called Noodles and Company. It's a chain that has not made its way to Washington. It's like a fast food casual place with various types of noodle dishes from Italian, American and Asian. There are several in Portland area and thankfully there are also some in the Boise area so next weekend I'll be able to enjoy again! Come on - time for some to open up in the Seattle area - they will be very popular!
Picking up the dogs as soon as we land.
It will be great to be home and I can't wait to see them!
The grounds of the Biltmore were as impressive as the house itself.
Wanting the best, Vanderbilt employed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to design the grounds, with the immediate gardens in the Garden à la française style, beyond those in the English Landscape garden style. Beyond these were the natural woodlands and agricultural lands with the intentionally rustic three-mile approach road passing through.
Gifford Pinchot and later Carl A. Schenck were hired to manage the forests, with Schenck establishing the first forestry education program in the U.S., the Biltmore Forest School, on the estate grounds in 1898.
Intending that the estate could be self-supporting, Vanderbilt set up scientific forestry programs, poultry farms, cattle farms, hog farms and a dairy. His wife, Edith Stuyvesant Vanderbilt, also enthusiastically supported agricultural reform and promoted the establishment of a state agricultural fair.
The Vanderbilts invited family and friends from across the country to the opulent estate. Notable guests to the estate over the years have included author Edith Wharton, novelist Henry James, H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, and Presidents McKinley, T. Roosevelt, and Wilson.
Vanderbilt paid little attention to the family business or his own investments, and it is believed that the construction and upkeep of Biltmore depleted much of his inheritance. After Vanderbilt died in 1914 of complications from an emergency appendectomy, his widow, Edith Vanderbilt, completed the sale of 85,000 of the original 125,000 acres
to the federal government. This was to carry out her husband's wish that the land remain unaltered, and that property became the nucleus of the Pisgah National Forest.
If you find yourself in the area the Biltmore is worthy of a visit!
Among the many things we did while in Asheville we toured the house and grounds of the Biltmore Mansion. It was beautiful.
Here is a bit of history from Wikipedia - Biltmore Estate is a large private estate and tourist attraction in Asheville, North Carolina. Biltmore House, the main house on the estate, is a Châteauesque-styled mansion built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895 and is the largest privately owned house in the United States, at 178,926 square feet and featuring 250 rooms. Still owned by one of Vanderbilt's descendants, it stands today as one of the most prominent remaining examples of the Gilded Age, and of significant gardens in the jardin à la française and English Landscape garden styles in the United States. In 2007, it was ranked eighth in America's Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.
The grounds were as beautiful as the house - worthy of a post all of its own. Biltmore grounds up next!
I've got a lot to post about and I'm behind so I thought I'd just get started with a few posts from our time in Asheville, NC. It's now Saturday and I have been here since last Monday. Kent arrived on Wednesday and we head home tomorrow. We have been on the go and today we participated in a 12k run.
It was a great course filled with challenging hills!
Here is a map from my iPhone Nike Plus with my time. I was pleased given the hills that I was able to complete at an average pace of about 8:11 per mile. Kent also had a great run and felt great afterwards!
Here are a couple of pictures of each of us before starting.
And finally a picture of Kent crossing the finish line! Great job!
Next weekend we will be in Boise where I will run a full marathon and Kent will run the half. Looking forward to it! I have several more posts about our time in NC - stay tuned!