On departure day (Tuesday), Kate was off of work all day and I was off at noon. I finished packing and we loaded the car and were on the road by about 2 pm.
Just like tourists! A photo with a cheesehead-wearing fiberglass cow!
We righted a wrong on our way south by stopping at the Mars Cheese Castle — a Wisconsin landmark for as long as I can remember, just north of the WI-IL border (the original store opened in 1947). We stocked on up cheese, Italian meats, and some of the best artichoke dip I've ever had (it was made in Greece and wasn't creamy, just lovely chopped artichokes and olive oil). (Not that there's anything wrong with creamy artichoke dip!)
From the road, we made an overnight reservation in downtown Indianapolis. We thought we'd make it there by around 9 p.m., but it had been raining hard and there were accidents and backups galore in Chicago-land, so we didn't arrive in Indy until after midnight.
Up early on Wednesday, we drove all day… through the rest of Indiana, Kentucky (via Louisville and Lexington)… with plenty of stops!
William Whitley House – Stanford, KY (south of Lexington)
The first brick home built west of the Alleghany Mountains.
We continued south through Tennessee (Knoxville… Nashville will have to wait), and finally…
…arrived in North Carolina!
With lots of curvy roads through the mountains (and stops), we didn't arrive at our destination — an adorable little cottage a mile from Black Mountain, NC — until around 9 pm but found the lights on, and this:
I had mentioned in early correspondence with our airbnb hosts that the main reason for the trip was because of Katie's interest in Black Mountain College (it was the subject of her Masters dissertation last year in Scotland). (You can read Kate's related posts at Young Space here & here and, for the curious or interested, there are lots of links within those links!) They'd made a trip to the library and checked out every available item on the subject of BMC! Kate already owns them all, but the gesture was so incredibly nice, and set such a nice tone for our visit! We watched the DVD before heading to bed.
* * * * *
On Thursday, I woke up to the sound of chickens (aka, providers of our breakfast)!
The view from my bedroom window (through the screen).
We did a little exploring after breakfast, stopping in at the Visitor Center and also at the Swannanoa Valley Museum. SVM had a nice display about BMC, and some very interesting local history exhibits and displays.
Among the things that turned my head was this blanket at the BMC display.
And a Clevenger Sox machine!
It was fascinating! There was also a nice fiber arts-related display — looms, wheels, winders, etc.
We also took a drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway for the first time.
It's so beautiful — and such a lovely highway. It is very well cared for, with limited access points, a reduced speed limit, and gorgeous views.
It was such a gorgeous view that Katie needed to take photos with all of her photo-capable devices. Turns out, she left one of them — her phone — on the back of the car and we drove off without a thought. After discovering that it was missing, we tore the car apart (at least twice), backtracked and retraced our steps, walked a ways along the highway…
…and by the time I took the photo above, I'd called her phone a half-dozen times, we'd stopped in at the local U.S. Cellular location, and had made a couple of stops in search of disposable cameras (which we obviously found). Having lunch and drowning our sorrows at the Black Mountain Bistro (fantastic seafood chowder!) and planning the rest of the day, Kate asked me what time it was. I reached for my phone, which was ringing, and I said, "You're calling me!" By the time I'd fumbled around, I'd missed the call, but eventually connected with a man who said that he was bicycling on the Blue Ridge Parkway and found a phone! He'd randomly stopped to fiddle with his water bottle and saw the phone when he looked down. "It's in pretty good shape!"
And, indeed, it was. There was just a little "smush" of the glass screen protector on the lower right corner… doing just what a screen protector is supposed to do!
She was without the phone for most of the day, though, as I didn't meet up with our cyclist friend until he returned in the early evening from his ride.
To be continued…