Monday, August 22, 2011


After quite a long break from blogging, I’m finally BACK with something to write aboutJ  I recently returned from my yearly trip with the VALLEY GIRLS…my 8 best friends from high school.  (You can read about each of them HERE.) 

This year we traveled quite a ways to the beautiful and quaint city of ASHEVILLE, NC.  JERRI was our trip planner and found us a lovely old home named LAUREL COTTAGE to rent.  It had 5 bedrooms (each with its own unique name) and 2 ½ baths, 2 of which had CLAW FOOTED TUBS!  It also had two sitting rooms, a great kitchen, and a sweet little porch.  We just loved it and it was perfect for our get-together.  (By the way, our first night before we traveled to Asheville) was actually a slumber party at KAYE’s house…she and husband Chip are wonderful hosts and they have a beautiful home.)

While in Asheville we played tourist  one day and rode the trolley  all over the city.  Our guides were great and we saw beautiful homes and buildings with interesting architecture.  We also learned a lot of the history of Asheville and visited the GROVE PARK INN where we stood inside a huge fireplace for a photo op!

The next day we toured the magnificent and beautiful BILTMORE HOUSE .  If you’ve never been there, you should put it on your bucket list.  It was built by George W. Vanderbilt in the 1890’s and is definitely beyond the imagination!  I knew it was going to be HUGE, but I still was not prepared for the size of it.  I had a difficult time wrapping my brain around how anyone (especially in those days) could have the foresight to design such a home, much less build it.  In fact, a railroad had to be built to carry the building supplies to the site.  In addition to the opulent home, there are exquisite gardens and beautiful mountain scenery all around.  You will never regret the decision to visit it for yourself.  (You can go HERE to learn more about it.)

Because I’m just a south GA girl who loves her grits and fried chicken, I wasn’t too excited about Asheville’s food.  Most of the other VALLEY GIRLS, however, loved it.  I had my first experience with INDIAN FOOD…one I don’t want to repeat.  However, the service at MELA was great and, as I said, all of the other girls (except for JACKIE & me) really enjoyed it.  I ate the very best FRENCH ONION SOUP  I’ve ever had at THE BISTRO  in the BILTMORE VILLAGE.  We also ate at TUPELO HONEY, one of the most popular restaurants in Asheville.

One of my favorite places (thanks to BEANIE, sister of VG NANCY who took us there) was the CHOCOLATE LOUNGE.  If you love chocolate (as I do!) you have to go there on your next trip to Asheville.  I had a delicious latte while others had Mexican hot chocolate. 

Our trip did have a little bit of unwanted excitement…CHRISTY had car trouble.  Long story short…we ended up at  ASHEVILLE FORD LINCOLN where the folks were just as nice and helpful as they could possibly be…especially when it was the weekend!  It ended up that CHRISTY & JACKIE had to stay an extra day to have the car repaired while 6 of us (along with luggage…as usual I packed w-a-y too much) piled into JERRI’s van for the return trip home.  We dropped KAYE off at her house, took OLIVIA to the airport to catch her plane to Texas, and JOAN and I hopped on a shuttle bus and traveled an extra hour to where Joan lives and where my sweet hubby picked me up.  What a long…but fun…day!    Funny story….we got to the shuttle bus right when we thought  it was going to leave and I HAD to go to the bathroom.  I took off running through the Atlanta Airport…and I did make it.  However, JERRI was worried I’d get lost due to my very poor sense of direction.  Thankfully I found my way back only to have to wait about another 20 minutes for the shuttle!

As usual when the VALLEY GIRLS go off together, we had an absolutely fabulous time.  Lots of laughing, talking, eating, laughing, talking, eating…and not much sleeping.  (You haven’t laughed until you laugh with EVELYN…she has the most distinctive and delightful laughter.) 

We continue to be in wonder at how close we all still are after so many years.  I couldn’t ask for better friends…or more fun ones!

After a few days of fun and fellowship we all made our way back home once again with wonderful memories.  I always look forward to getting back home to my family, but at the same time I always come home just a little sad that it will be awhile before I’m back together again with the 8 best friends I could ever imagine having. 

We think our next trip might be to New York so…look out BROADWAY, here come the VGs!