A trip to Ashville, North Carolina was on the agenda for Wednesday. It is about an hour and a half drive from Lenoir. The weather forecast said it was to be sunny and high of 92 F. Well, it really was overcast and the temp was in the high 60’s. When I had visited Asheville a few years ago my friend Ruth and I had visited The Biltmore. It is the largest house in America and was owned by the Vanderbilt Family. It is truly amazing and worth the stop if you happen to go that way, but you will need at least a day to explore. There are also Other things to do while you are there.
The Biltmore has its own winery and they wines are excellent. You can buy them at the winery on the estate or in the gift shop which is outside the attraction. You need not pay for the tour to buy the wine. You can buy a case and have it shipped home or order it on line, EXCEPT for the antiquated laws in PA. To buy wine it has to be shipped to the Wine and Spirits monopoly and then you come and get it and pay the outrageous tax that has been levied on your purchase. PA had the second strictest laws governing liquor sales with only Utah being first. It is time to give it up, but the governing body in PA does not want to lose control. The shop outside The Biltmore. They also had the usual things for sale as well as salad dressings, and condiments for cheese dips etc.
Entrance to The Biltmore Estate.
Gargoyles for sale, if you would want that sort of decoration.
After our brief stop we went into the City of Asheville. We found a garage near the shopping district. To my amazement the parking for all day was $4.00, if any one comes to Pittsburgh the all day parking will cost you about $20.00, if not higher. Instead of controlling cost the powers that be in the City of Pittsburgh raise taxes,the city if fraught with nepotism and they would not consider laying off some relative .
Back to the story. There are many shops and by now it had started to drizzle. After Mondays soaker and all of us getting wet I had brought two umbrellas. One of the first stops was the Woolworth Walk which was formerly a Woolworth 5 & 10 store. (now how many remember what the 5 & 10 cent store is ????) There are vendors of local artist who display and sell their wares. I bought some dark blue pottery pieces, one being a pie plate and the other a covered casserole bowl. The pottery pieces now made ca be used for baking. The only requirement is to place them in a cold oven and at 10 to 15 minutes to the cooking time.
We found a candy store where they made the delicacies right before your eyes. The The Chocolate Fetish was worth every calorie and they ship to all 50 states. I only bought one but I could have eaten one pound.
After all that shopping, it can be quite exhausting, I asked one of the women at the Woolworth Walk where was a good place nearby to eat. She had suggested The Tupelo Honey Cafe. The food was outstanding and I had the best Black Bean Burger ever made. I had to pass out samples to my daughter and friends and they all agreed. Emily had ordered a cup of soup and a grilled cheese said she wished she had ordered it too. So, being the nice mom, I swapped half of my burger for half of her grilled cheese. I WISH I HAD THAT RECIPEE.
In some of the shops I felt like a time traveler to the 1970’s, it is really true that what ever goes around comes around again. Silk scarves of many colors.
The last shop of the day was The Grove Arcade which was the precursor to the shopping malls of today. I was fascinate by the architecture of the steps as shown below.
The really last stop of the day was for Tapas and Sangria at Zambras. There are no tapas bars in Pittsburgh that I know of, Zambras sold tapas and only paellas were the main dish. The pitcher of sangria was spiced with the flavors of cloves. This restaurant was next to the parking garage and then homeward bound were we.