We arrived back home yesterday from a nice break in our routine. We knew ahead of time with the closing of the business that we were going to need a few days away to rest our weary souls. With the help of Westin points (yay for being rewarded for spending money) we were able to get four free nights in two very nice hotels, one in Nashville, TN and one in Asheville, NC. Our rhyming vacay.
We left early Saturday morning on our adventure and first stopped in Chattanooga at Ruby Falls, a natural wonder. I've been twice in the past but my husband had never been. Afterwards, we toured around Chattanooga in the breezy fall weather, just enjoying the new sites. We then made our way up to Nashville to our downtown hotel. We were able to walk to dinner and then to the Ryman Auditorium, the original Grand Ole Opry, for a concert of various country acts including Montgomery Gentry. Of interest, on our way out a couple of hours later, I was tapped on the shoulder by Eddie Montgomery (of Montgomery Gentry) as he made his way out the door. I'm not a huge country music fan so briefly didn't recognize him until his adoring fans mobbed him as he boarded his bus. My husband laughed at me for not pulling out my camera. Oh well! We also saw Robin Meade, the host of Morning Express on Headline News. She is gorgeous! She also sings beautifully, and debuted her song "Welcome Home" for all the veterans.
It wasn't overly publicized in the media so I briefly forgot that a large part of Nashville was flooded last spring. We happened to be there on the six month anniversary of the flood, and the Opryland complex that is 10 miles outside of downtown is still being renovated. We drove around the area, which included outlet stores (including Off Broadway shoes) that was flooded out and is still not open (horror - all those wasted shoes!). As we made our way around the complex, we noticed there were a few people milling about the actual Grand Ole Opry building, which surprisingly had re-opened in Sept. We weren't able to go inside the auditorium but were able to get pictures around the building and then shop in the fabulous gift shop. We also let our hair down a little on music row, enjoying the 50th anniversary of Tootsie's bar where a lot of country stars got their start. It was so much fun!
We left Nashville on Monday and headed to Asheville, NC. Asheville is a funky, laid back little town filled with shops, clubs, art studios, and great food, and oh yeah, the largest home in the U.S., Biltmore Estate. A couple of the more interesting things we tried were fried pickles (thanks Ashley) and sweetbreads (veal thymus, of all things?) Hmmmm....the jury is out on the latter. The Biltmore Estate itself is worth the trip, and the weather was beautiful!
In the category of 'you just never know what you'll see on the side of the road', on the way home yesterday, we found this little place just below Clayton, GA called Goats on the Roof. It's a country store where they actually have goats living on the roofs of the three buildings, with bridges and ramps connecting all the spaces. They even have grass growing on the roof for the goats to eat! If I can figure out how to post pics here, I will do. Too cute!
So, we are back to the grind this morning. My work has been slow, thus the chance to write all of this. It was nice to put all the stresses of daily life on hold for a few days and it gave us a chance to think about where our lives will go next, and I see a move in our (near?) future. More to follow.