Day 50, Friday, Oct. 18 – Charlottesville, VA to Hickory, NC
Left Charlottesville on a rather dreary morning. No colors on the lower elevations. However, the higher we ventured, the more gorgeous the forests. The drive along the Allegheny Parkway was breathtaking. The views were not as sharp as on the Skyline Drive yesterday, but the sunny day today enhanced colors and the views. Lunch at Otter Peaks – strictly for the views of the lovely lake – salad bar lunch was just ok. Arrived in Hickory, NC rather tired, but satiated with the beautiful sights. Excellent Fairfiled Inn.
Day 51, Saturday, Oct.19 – Hickory, NC to Biltmore to Lake Lure.
Morning travel through heavy fog and drizzle. Went to see the Biltmore Estate outside of Ashville, NC, built around 1894. What a place!!! Talk about decadent oppulance! This place takes the prize. Ole George Vanderbilt spent a whole bunch of his daddy’s railroad wealth. He modeled the castle after a French Loire River chateau, with touches of Versailles. The interior continues the model, rooms lined with huge Flemish tapestries, leather wall coverings, paintings by Renoir. Vanderbilt hired Sargent to come here and paint portraits of the family. The library contains over 20,000 books. Busts galore. Must have been several thousand people touring, and at $50 per just to enter, the place was making a lot of money. 250 acres, 3 resturants, plus winery, plus snack bar places, plus horse back riding, boating, a huge lodge, etc. Peter preferred Jefferson ‘s taste to Vanderbilt’s!
Left there and went on the most winding road we’ve been on. Arrived at out resort destination, Rumbling Bald Resort, on Lake Lure, which is – believe us – in the middle of nowhere, USA – about an hour SE of Asheville in the Appalachian hills on a large, pretty mountain lake. The leaves have just begun to change. Peak here will be in about a week, but as the whole area is heavily wooded, it is indeed quite pretty, especially at higher elevations. Our time share unit has two bedrooms along with the usual living room, kitchen, etc. Good interior decor and views of the woods and the golf course. We will be most comfortable for a week here. We designed the trip to have 3 one week sojourns in one place to provide needed breaks from 1, 2 and 3 night stands
Day 52, Sunday, Oct 20 – Lake Lure
Lazy morning, played 9 holes of golf – not our best, but then again, not our worst. This resort has two excellent golf courses, with reasonably price green fees. Nice to again be in one place for a while. Unpacked all our bags and found some forgotten treasures. Zoned out watching football games and other Sunday TV. The Broncos – Colts game was a big downer. We figured that Peyton Manning was off his feed due to being back, for the first time, in the city and stadium of his 14 glory years.