Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Western North Carolina- Summertime Delight

I just returned from spending the past 5 weeks in western North Carolina, or WNC, as it is locally called. My friend, Jill, and I rented a cottage on a goat farm.  Family and friends visited during our stay, but our time was primarily spent  planning her daughter's wedding next spring, and finding  retirement property for my husband and I  to build a home.    Mission  accomplished! 

The weather was delightful, the farmer's markets abundant and awesome, and the people were so friendly.  We made it a point to learn the layout of Asheville and  be able to navigate that town before we left!  But did we?  - Yes we did!   We tried numerous restaurants, shopped at every farmer's market and even managed to get in a little antiquing.  It was a delightful summer, full of new things to learn and new people to meet. 
Our cottage was located on a goat pasture.  Many hours were spent on the front porch in  our rocking chairs watching these goats and of  course discussing weddings and house plans.


 Early in the morning fog cover in the pasture-
 To sunny afternoons- these goats grazed non-stop!

A few sheep joined in too!
Our summer buddies!

Our cottage was located on Highland Lake Properties, once an old Catholic girl's camp.  One of our favorite things to do was to walk down to the lake in the evening with Jill's dogs. It was so calm and mystical!

Just at dusk, with the sunset reflecting on the water from the clouds.  So pretty.
 The natural beauty in this part of the country is unbelievable. Everywhere you look- long range mountain views, low covering clouds, and water- lots of waterfalls, rivers, creeks.
The view from the chapel where Laura, Jill's daughter, will be married next spring.

We looked at properties with long range mountain views-

and properties that were tucked in mossy forests- where you were sure that fairies were living there!

A badminton net made from twigs.

 Loved this property- the owners had built this series of bridges and seating along this pristine creek.


 Stone moss covered fences captured my heart  in the area.
As did waterfalls!  Over 250 waterfalls in Transylvania County alone.
Fabulous food was plentiful too!  And it wasn't national chains!  
 Some of the best bakeries that I have ever seen-
A chocolate mousse from Well Bred Bakery in Weaversville, and Biltmore Village.
And if you are in Hendersonville, the Underground Bakery is unbelievable-
especially the bread pudding.
 Just local restaurants with local chefs,
local ingredients and great taste. 

This was the setting for dinner at the Orchard Inn in Saluda, NC.  A quaint B and B in an old historic Victorian home. The dining room overlooked the vegetable and flower garden in the back.

With hammocks waiting for guests to enjoy-

 The view outside the restaurant in Balsam Pines Preserve.
And the view from the restaurant at  Domestique,
 the European inspired boutique hotel in Travelor's Rest, SC.
Honestly, don't you feel like you are in Tuscany?

Peach risotto from Restaurant 17 at Hotel Domestique.

And the farmer's markets were fantastic!  Real tasting tomatoes, fresh fish and seafood from the NC coast, South Carolina peaches, bakery goods, and the very best corn in the world from the market in Hendersonville.  We also enjoyed  the largest blackberries that I have ever seen from this market.

Heirloom tomatoes were abundant at every market.

This region of the country has it's own micro climate and is more moderate than the surrounding area.
The scenery is beautiful and the people are nice. It's close to 3 airports and good healthcare. Atlanta is 2 1/2 hours, Charleston 4 hours, the beach- less that 5 hours.  What more could you want for a great place to retire? Being  an avid flyfisherman, I think my husband is going to keep pretty busy!  As for me,  I think the food and antiquing  scene will keep me entertained for years to come!

So where did we choose to buy?  

On the French Broad River, about 30 minutes north of Ashville.

 The sound of the river crashing on the boulders below is wonderful.  I dream of  sitting on the deck overlooking this glorious river.  I can only imagine what it will look like in the fall!

And my husband can walk down to the bottom of the hill and throw in a line anytime he wants.

As Jill and I left WNC,   a few tears filled up in my eyes.  I really didn't want to leave.
I am usually so anxious to get home, but not this time.  Jill and her husband have also purchased land in this part of the country and are in the process of building their dream home.  It will be fun to compare notes and experiences, as we begin this new phase of our lives. 
  I am thinking a stone storybook cottage with an European aesthetic.  Ideas anyone???



Monday, August 25, 2014

Ombre Pink Flowers- Gorgeous at Chicago Wedding

This past weekend, my husband and I attended the wedding of our friends' daughter.  It was held in the beautiful Waldorf Astoria in Chicago.   Rows of ombre toned pink flowers lined the ceremony aisles and the tables for dinner.
Such a stunning room- adore those birdcage chandeliers.

 A mossed frame was pinned with an ombre collage of fresh flowers
as the backdrop for the ceremony.
 Shades of pink from barely pink to deep coral were arranged in mirrored containers and placed on box wood hedges.  White candles reflected in the mirror adding a soft glow to the entire ceremony.
Petals were laid on the mirror surface to reflect the colors of the arranged flowers.

Guests entered the room through sheer white flowing curtains
 that were held back with a bouquet of roses.

While the bride was stunning in a beaded Gatsby inspired gown,  the bridesmaids wore blue dresses and carried bouquets of blush David Austin  roses and anemones with their contrasting black centers.

Mirrored dining tables were set with white china and a lush row of the ombre arranged flowers.

Napkins were folded with the menu tucked inside.

A white comfy lounge area was set up for relaxing in the corner, while some guests enjoyed the adjoining outside terrace in the nice Chicago summer evening.

A simple white cake was decorated with more fresh flowers and
placed in front of the mossed floral display.

It was a gorgeous, romantic evening , softly lit with candlelight and 
many warm wishes for the bride and groom.