Friday, October 31, 2008

Day Off...A Little History of the area

After we got the place cleaned up yesterday and Steve met with the electrician, we decided it was time to really get away from the campgrounds for a few hours. We decided to look for a geocache in an area I was wanting to visit. It's a local resort/country club called the Grove Park Inn. Very swank and uppity kinda place. We felt extremely conspicuous as we parked the car and tried to discreetly hike up a little hill to figure out where our GPS was indicating the cache was hidden. We found the cache with no problem. We had some travel bugs we had picked up in Indiana that we wanted to "release" and this cache happened to be a "Travel Bug Hotel" so we sent them on their merry way!
After that we visited a few interesting shops on the grounds of the resort. First stop was the Homespun Museum. The buildings of this complex once housed the famous weaving and woodworking complex of Biltmore Industries. Edith Vanderbilt (wife of George, who built the famous Biltmore mansion) took a particular interest in locally homespun fabrics. This led her to establish a craft education program eventually called Biltmore Indsutries. In 1917 it came under new ownership and was moved to its current location.
The architecture was very interesting and I loved the wood-work and the smell of the old buildings. There were some old looms and samples of the fabric that was made back then. Also, we could see in the windows of a huge old warehouse-like structure that housed huge vats for dying the wool and other equipment. I know some weavers who would have loved visiting this place!

Our tour continued at the Grovewood Gallery. This was a wonderful shop/gallery featuring all kinds of hand-made arts and crafts and beautifully crafted furniture. Many of the artists were local, but they also feature work from all over the US. It was interesting to see how many products they carried that we also featured at Bear's Mill. (Julie Clark has good taste!) The Gardens in front of the Gallery had beautiful garden sculptures and lovely landscaping.
I recognized the work of many potters, some from the Asheville area and others from elsewhere. I was excited to see work by a potter who had taught a class I took in Yellowsprings (OH), Marty Fielding. The furniture we saw was fabulous (and way out of our price range!!) Still, it's fun to look and get ideas. And it was so enjoyable touring another beautiful old building covered with ivy that had gorgeous views out the windows!

Our last stop was the Antique Car Museum. There were many old cars in here. There was an old Eldorado that reminded me of the De Soto we owned when I was a kid. The smell of this place immediately brought back memories of the old filling station where my dad worked, M.F. & D in Troy, Ohio. We didn't spend much time here because they were getting ready to close, but it was a nice end to a very enjoyable afternoon spent learning about some of the local Asheville history.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day Off....sorta

Today was sort of a "day off" for us. No yurts or cabins to clean, just the bath house and Steve had to meet an electrician for some problems in one of the cabins. So what do I decide to do on our day off? Laundry and housecleaning! It's just not right!
So I stripped the bed to wash the sheets and we spent a few minutes talking to Ande seeing what the rest of the week was looking like as far as cleaning goes.
When I walked into the bedroom I was greeted by the gruesome sight of Steve's foam pillow lying in chunks all over the bed and the floor!! Yes, it had been dismembered (does a pillow have members?) by our 2 innocent looking canines! Although I have a sneaking suspicion that the cat was somehow the instigator of this horror. I have no proof, just a gut feeling. As punishment, we made the puppies pose in the midst of the carnage.............

And this was the look on my face when I first saw the mess........................

Actually, that pillow was beginning to look rather disgusting and I have to admit part of me was glad, yes glad!! that the had dogs destroyed it!! (Shhhhh, Don't tell Steve!!)

I hope this post wasn't too shocking for anyone. We'll blame it on the approach of Halloween!! Better sign off now.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

First Snow......Already??

It looks as if we brought some sort of weather curse from Ohio down with us.....we woke up to snow this morning!! I hope it's not an omen of things to come. We haven't winterized our water hose yet but why do today what you can put off until it's cold and blowing all around you? Hopefully we'll get it done tomorrow or have to unhook the hose again tonight. Not that big of a deal.

You can spot the Florida transplants that are here (and there are LOTS!) They're the ones shivering in their parkas!!

I'm sure it won't last, we have to have Indian Summer yet (I hope!) Anyways, I can tolerate a little snow better than the hot and humid weather. Plus the snow has the added benefit of being pretty!!

We'll just brew up some coffee and turn on the fake fireplace!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Links to share

I came upon a couple of online videos today that I want to share.............

The first is a link to some videos on youtube that show scenes from the campgrounds here if you're interested in seeing what it looks like. There's nobody blabbing and no music, just footage of a guy driving around the campgrounds.

The next link will take you to a video that solved a problem that has plagued me for YEARS!!! How the %$@&! do you fold a doggone fitted sheet?! I knew there was some kind of "secret" to it because years ago I remember getting some sheets out of the closet and Steve's grandma's house and they were folde perfectly!!! How did she do it??? Since our job duties include "housekeeping" now, it became even more imperative that I find the answer to this dilemma. So I googled "folding a fitted sheet" and was taken directly to this website. It really works too! (I tried it this afternoon.) Even on fitted sheets that are all elastic! Mine wasn't quite as flat as the guy's in the video, but give me time!!! The internet can be awesome once in awhile! (My life is pretty sad if stumbling upon something like this can make my day!)

One other little "housekeeping" hint I've learned is an easy way to get the pillow in the pillowcase. Turn the pillowcase wrong side out, put your hands inside the case, grab the corners, grab the end of the pillow and it's sorta like the opposite of skinning a banana.

So, my work here is finished.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pinching Myself

I told Steve that I have to keep pinching myself today to make sure I'm really here! Wow, it's been a great couple days!

Last night we had a very enjoyable bon-fire here on the campgrounds. It was topped off by 2 campers who are also bagpipe players! I LOVE the bagpipes and these 2 were pretty good at it! (There's nothing worse than a lousy bagpipe player!!)

This morning the weather was beautiful! We walked the dogs down to the pond and I remembered to bring my camera along to snap some pictures

The leaves are changing and the mountains are beautiful right now. The dogs really enjoy our hikes, even though it's been cool. We just bundle them up in their little doggie coats!

Today I started my pottery class at the Odyssey Center in Asheville. It's a truly amazing place and I'm so excited to be able to take a class there. My instructor is going to be Suze Lindsay. She wasn't able to attend the first day of class. Normally that might be upsetting, but her husband, Kent McLaughlin, subbed for her. He's a prolific potter also, so I sure wasn't complaining!!! It would be like attending a Paul Simon concert, but he couldn't be there so Art Garfunkle filled in. Well, maybe not exactly like that, but you get the idea!! (I think this is when I started pinching myself!)

I was so nervous!! I know I didn't have any reason to be, but I was!! My stomach felt all knotted up!! I felt better once I actually got to get on the wheel and most of the class had left for the day. Then I got to talk to a couple of other students and te instructor. It was more laid back then.

The facilities are amazing. I've taken pottery classes before, but never had such wonderful resources available. There are about 15 wheels, a slab roller, an extruder, a gas kiln, a soda kiln and several electric kilns. Not to mention that HIghwater Clay is just up the road and sells hundreds of ceramic tools, plus clay and glaze chemicals!!!!! Too cool!!! (pinching myself again!)
Here's a shot of what I call the "Wall of Fame......" Other potters will recognize work from many well-known potters....................

Ok, so to top the evening off, (how could it get any better??) Steve picked me up from class and we ate at a BBQ place called the Fiddlin' Pig. Not only was the food DEEEE-LICIOUS, but they have LIVE bluegrass music every night!! Tonight they had a local band called Cane Creek. They had mandoln, fiddle, guitar, bass fiddle and banjo. They were awesome!! What was even more amazing was that the girl on fiddle was 14 years old! She could really play! And the kid on guitar was maybe 15. He played like Doc Watson! (My arms were black and blue by then from pinching myself so much!!)
So, I came home with my head full of pottery, my tummy full of BBQ and my ears full of bluegrass music!! What a full day! I think it's just a taste of things to come!


Monday, October 13, 2008


Today we got a taste of what our housekeeping duties will probably entail for this month. We had to clean all 3 Yurts and one of the cabins. Plus the daily cleaning of the bathhouse. It was a rather long day. 2 of the yurts absolutely had to be cleaned because they're booked for this evening. The rest could've waited until tomorrow but we decided to get it all done so we won't have much to do tomorrow and if someone calls wanting to rent them they're available.

I thought I would really dislike so much cleaning, since that's kinda what my life was about when the kids were home and I was doing all the housework. But it's no so bad. The worse part about cleaning my own house was dealing with all the clutter. We don't have much of that. And since we keep up with them, they never really get all that dirty. And we can walk outside and take in the view!!!!

So we're caught up with the cleaning for today. Tomorrow all we should have to clean is the bathhouse. That's a building that houses 4 private bathrooms with showers. It takes less than an hour for both of us to do the whole thing. I think we're planning to visit the nearby small town of Black Mountain tomorrow. It has a 5/3 bank and it's supposed to be a quaint little town.

Yesterday we did some geocaching in Weaverville. The caches we've found down here so far haven't taken us to as interesting of places as they did in Richmond, IN. I think we need to do a little more research. (Disclaimer: The aforementioned disappointment in no way reflects our feelings towards Weaverville! It's a great little town and we will probably visit there often. Great restaurants and quaint shops. We just seemed to come across more "off the beaten path" kind of parks and hiking trails while geocaching in Indiana.)

Downtown Asheville is very quirky and quaint. I LOVE the fact that there are coffee shops virtually EVERYWHERE! There's a sweet little coffee shop just at the foot of our mountain where they actually roast the beans on the premises fresh every day. I'm going to become an even worse coffee snob than I already am!! I just bought some beans that are called "Dirty Nekked Guatamalan." It makes a superb cup of coffee!

After a long day of cleaning, I kicked back on the deck and phoned the kids to see how things are going. Megan told me that she and Dustin heard the baby's heartbeat at her doctor's appointment today! I wish we weren't so far away! Danny told me that he has a job interview tomorrow at Southland Church in Lexington. I hope this works out for him! He's supposed to call tomorrow to let us know how the interview went. Life down here would be perfect if we only weren't so far away from friends and family!!

Oh, the other day when we were hiking on some trails here on the campgrounds we came across an extremely LARGE pile of animal poo. It was definitely too big for dog poo. It almost looked to me like that fungal growth you sometimes see in your flower bed. So, being the curious type of person I am, I picked up a stick and poked it to see if it was in fact poo or fungus. It was defintely poo. And it seemed to be full of seeds or pits. We mentioned it to Matt, the maintenance man here. He said that it was probably bear poop and there was at one time a small black bear who was known to hang around the area, but fortunately had not discovered the trash bins or made a nuisance of himself yet. He told us what he had learned about bears in Alaska. He said that up there the tourists wear bells and carry bear mace. Then he asked us if we knew how they identify grizzly bear poop in Alaska..........because its full of bells bear mace. hahaha.....I'm figuring Twiggy will make enough of an hor'devor for me to make a clean getaway!!!! (Just kiddin' Twiggy!)

I'll sign off with a picture of our deck. It's a delightful place to sip our morning coffee or kick back and relax after a long day! It was a pleasant suprise feature of our campsite here. Note happy puppies huddled on their blanket!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Observations and ramblings

Today was one of the best so far! We planned a drive to Spruce Pine, about an hour northeast of here to visit a "Potters Market." We thought we would do some leaf-gawking and hopefully a little geocaching too. The trees north of here are beginning to display their fall foliage.

The Potters' Market was pretty phenomenal. There were about 30 well-known potters exhibiting in a huge warehouse. It reminded me of the Christmas bazaars Meryl & I used to go to, only it was ALL POTTERY!! And these were rock-star potters. We talked to Mark Peters for a few minutes. I think he eventually remembered that I had participated in a woodfiring at his home/shop a couple years ago. Actually 2 years in a row. You can see Steve & I in some of the photos on this page. I hope I can remember some of the forms I saw today so I can use them for inspiration when I start my class in a couple of weeks! We drove past a lot of places we had visited when we were in Bakersville for the workshop.

Our plan was to circle back on the Blue Ridge Parkway and take in the scenery and do a little geocaching. Unfortunately, we discovered that he Parkway was closed near Mount Mitchell and we had to take a detour. Steve was a little miffed because he had checked the website for areas that were closed and couldn't find any. The bad thing about driving through the mountains is that when there are detours, they can add many miles to your planned route. So that's basically what happened. We ended up spending the whole afternoon figuring out the best route back to Asheville. I'm not complaining too much because we were treated to some gorgeous scenery, but we didn't have time to do any geocaching so that was a bit of a bummer.

And we ate lunch pretty late which made us somewhat cranky because we weren't sure where we were going! We ended up eating at a little greasy spoon type diner that offered "all things fried" on its menu. Well, I had a burger, which wasn't deep fried, and was actually pretty tasty. And Steve got a milkshake that taste like homemade ice cream. So, healthy it wasn't, but tasty it was!

As we were driving up highway 80, we saw a rickety little suspension bridge (for pedestrians) that spanned a beautiful rocky creek. I hollered for Steve to stop and we took some pictures. Well, he took the pictures from the middle of the bridge because I couldn't bring myself to walk out on it. My apparent fear of heights just wouldn't let me walk out there. That and the sign warning that the bridge could only hold 4 people. I mean this was AFTER our meal at the
greasy spoon diner. I didn't want to take any chances!

The road names are so interesting down here. Names like "Tater Town" and "Shake Rag" just make me smile! I find myself wondering who came up with them.

When we got back to the campgrounds we just kicked back and relaxed. We did a little laundry and on my walk to and from the laundry room I was treated to a most gorgeous sunset. I snapped a photo of it at one point. The photos just are not doing this place justice, but at least I can look at them and remember what we were treated to. I call this photo "Heaven Came Down."

A little while after I took this photo, the sky turned deep red and Steve and I watched it fade away. It was one of those moments when you don't want to say anything because it feels so holy that talking seems almost disrespectful. We came back to the camper and had a little campfire and ate dinner. Then we folded laundry and we'll probably be heading off to bed soon. The end of an extremely enjoyable and relaxing day!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Adventure Begins

Really, our adenture began several months ago, but I've decided that I would like to start keeping an account of our travels and adventures. I thought this might be an easy way for friends and family to see what's happening with us, if they're interested. So, I'm going to try to post pictures and happenings on a somewhat regular basis. We know how this usually goes, you start with good intentions and make daily posts for about, mmmm, 2 days, then maybe twice a year. But ya gotta start somewhere.

We arrived in Asheville, NC this past Sunday. We spent the summer at th KOA in Richmond, IN workamping there while in the process of selling our home. Here's a link that tells about workamping if anyone's interested. I wish I had kept a journal of what we did there, so better late than never, I guess.

When we were in Richmond, I remembered a show I had seen on RV TV about a beautiful campgrounds in Asheville, NC. We weren't sure where we were going to spend the winter, but we decided to contact this campgrounds to reserve a site for a couple weeks in the fall on our way to wherever we were working for the winter. When the owner heard we were workampers, she offered us a job for the winter at Campfire Lodgings. After talking it over for about 5 minutes, we accepted and here we are.

We both love the mountains, and the view here is simply breathtaking. I'll try to figure out how to post pictures soon. It's also the pottery capital of the WORLD, so I'm planning on taking some classes in Asheville. I just signed up for a class with a rock star among potters, Suze Lindsay. It starts in a couple of weeks.

Yesterday we started our training for what we'll be doing here at Campfire Lodgings. In addition to RV sites, they rent out 3 vacation cabins and 3 yurts. This page tells what our yurts are like

We got a tour of the facilities yesterday and the Yurts are very cool! 2 of them have bathrooms and they all have heat, AC and TV. Plus cable and wi-fi. They're very "zen" if ya know what I mean! The Cliffhouse is very different than what I imagined. It's not your typical cabin rental in the Smokies. What I mean by this is, that most of the cabins we've rented when we came down here are newer and even though they're really nice, they don't have a lot of character. Some of them you could even tell weren't extremely well-built, just thrown together as cheaply and quickly as possible to start renting them out. The Cliffhouse was built in the 80s as a residence. It was built by the father of the current owner of the campgrounds. I believe he was in some area of the concrete busiiness which is evident by all the beautiful rock masonry in the cabin. He also scavenged and imported lots of items he used for decor so the cabin has a funky, eccentric feel to it. It probably isn't everyone's cup of tea, but Steve and I thought it was pretty cool!

The other 2 cabins are smaller and were built as rentals. They don't have quite as much character as the Cliffhouse or the Yurts, but they're cozy and feature all the necessary comforts.

We'll be responsibe for the housekeeping of all these buildings, including the laundry. In addition, we'll be responsible for cleaning and maintaining the bath house.

The campgrounds has some nice hiking trails and a secluded little pond. Yesterday we saw a family of wild turkeys while we were taking our tour. We haven't seen any deer or bears, yet!!

The city of Asheville seems like it will offer lots to do. It's a pretty artsy area so it's going to take Steve a little time to get used to all the dreadlocks and various other bohemian fashion statements. But it also means there are coffee shops EVERYWHERE and music and art galleries and studios. Plus, the hiking/outdoor activities are countless!!

I think we're going to enjoy our stay here!

And now I'd better sign off because we need to go help clean the Cliffhouse!