Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Finally, a vacation!

Hi Everyone! It's been forever since I've been able to post anything on my blog. Buying a house and getting a new job tend to keep me busy. Plus, I've been getting tons of commissions, which is wonderful, but my blog has suffered because of it. I recently went on a little road trip to the Great Smoky National Park. It's a world heritage site, it's right in my back yard, and I've never been there!

I spent the first day in Asheville at the Grove Park Inn spa. It's rated in the top ten spas in the nation for architecture by, with good reason. Built during the arts and crafts era, it's a classic example of this beautiful style of architecture. There are several different types of ways to 'take the waters', including warm pools with waterfalls that provide "au natural' shoulder massage, pools that have underwater music, and a frigid plunge pool (very invigorating!) There's also an outdoor pool that is VERY warm; you can enjoy the gorgeous mountain views even in the middle of the winter.

The first night I stayed at the Inn on Biltmore Estate. (Grove Park $300, Biltmore $140, hmmmmmmmmmm)

Just like in the good ole days, there are plenty of horses to enjoy for an equine freak like me!

Cows on Biltmore Estate

On the grounds of the Inn

The second night I stayed at Folkestone Inn. It was rated #1 B&B on, with good reason; complimentary home made cookies, sodas, a huge library, and a homey atmosphere makes you feel like you're at grandma's house in the mountains, not an inn. The best part is its location. Just two miles away is an entrance to the park, where I took the photos below. There is also a train in town that you can ride through the mountains. (My plan for the next trip)

For me, a highlight was a leisurely walk down this trail in the Great Smoky National Park. This is the Deep Creek Trail, north of Bryson City. It's a flat trail along a river that soon passes a waterfall. The picture of the falls is below. I wanted to go on a more strenuous hike, but I was alone and a storm was rolling in. Gives me a good excuse to go back!

The best part of this trip? TONS of inspiration for new paintings!

I love the sculptural element in these trees.

Tom Branch Falls - very easy to reach!

A view off the Appalachian Parkway

I think this will be my first painting : )

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