Monday, March 28, 2011

raleigh - biltmore

This past weekend I made a trip to Raleigh! Tom was having a reunion of sorts with his dad's brother & family so I came down to catch a bit of the fun. And fun it was! In spite of some travel crazy-ness (including a mad-cap bus ride to Milwaukee in a blizzard, reaching the gate there just in time [they had to unlock it for me], and - unbeknownst to me at the time - leaving my driver's license on the plane) I made it in one piece, just in time to join a family picnic!
Having fun with Tom's sister Mary and her daughter
Elise. See sister Kalina "jumping" with her Aunt Nancy
& Grandpa in the background?!
We had a really nice time hanging out and catching up.
Thursday was wander around Raleigh day - we took in the UNC basketball stadium and the book store, then headed over to Matt & Mary's place for more visiting. The evening wound up at Tom Sr.'s where we feasted on Mary's homemade chili and Nancy's oatmeal chocolate chip bars. *sigh*. I got to help Kalina make corn bread muffins and I think we made a pretty good team - and apparently no one dared argue! Tom and I took off eventually to watch the Badgers lose to Butler... a very depressing game. Now I'm hoping Butler wins the whole shebang... it might justify the loss a teeny bit...
Friday was help Tom clean his condo day! After his 9-week stint in Wisconsin, the poor place was needing some attention and he'd had zero chance to deal with it. We actually had a lot of fun and - while I don't know that the place looks all that different - I think he feels better about it! Friday night we were back at Mary & Matt's, hanging out and eating pizza and trying not to laugh at Tom Sr.'s outrageous puns. I'm afraid to report even Nancy might have let one slip in there. Matt Z, a friend of Tom's, joined us a bit later, and the three of us then took off for Asheville. We wanted to have as much of Saturday as possible to see Biltmore - the home of George and Edith Vanderbilt and their descendants.

Our friends Becky and Ray visited Biltmore with Tom a while back, and I'm thinking Matt and I were every bit as enamored with the place as they were! We weren't allowed to take pictures in the house, but the tour really was delightful. The grounds, too, were just starting to green out and blossoms were everywhere. I kept trying to figure out which blossoms were making everything smell so nice... hooray for spring!

Saturday night we were having a relaxed meal at the Laughing Bean - definitely a restaurant to check out the next time you're in Asheville - when I was notified of some crushing news. We opted for less outgoing plans that we'd had originally, and Sunday ended up doing a hike by some lovely waterfalls, rather than staying around Asheville any longer.

Sunday evening, Tom's friend Michael invited us over for pork tenderloin, green beans and salad - yum! We had a lovely evening, catching up (we'd been backpacking together in October), and listening to Michael's new super audio CD setup. That was a-MAZ-ing.

This morning, I was supposed to be at the airport at 4:00 AM so I'd have plenty of time to explain my ID-less state and still make my 6:00 AM flight... which, thankfully, I did. Now I'm back in Wisconsin and ready to catch up on sleep, work, and homework - here's hoping it happens!

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