Monday, August 28, 2017

Seven Perfect Days in the Carolinas with Friends

My girlfriends from Chicago arrived last Sunday for a week long visit. 

Day One

Jill and  I picked our two friends at the Greenville -Spartanburg airport on Sunday afternoon.  It worked out perfectly as we were staying at Jill's South Carolina  home on Sunday night so we could view the total eclipse on Monday at her clubhouse. After picking them up,  we went back to Jill's house and got them settled into their dreamy bedrooms.

I love this bed from Horchow.  It is dressed with Bella Notte linens that were purchased from Porter and Prince in Asheville's Biltmore Village.  I claimed this one as I was the first to arrive!

 Another beautiful bed from Restoration Hardware- tufted linen and pretty iron legs.  Also dressed in Bella Notte gray velvet- which washed beautifully.

Another iron bed from Restoration Hardware.  It is dressed in white , leopard and red tartan.
I adore this room- it is so pretty.

After settling in to the bedrooms, we headed out to the screened in porch for iced tea and a light lunch.  Outdoor slip covered furniture from Lee is so comfortable.

The view below from the screen porch of the fire pit- I just love the landscaping! 

For dinner plans, we headed down to Greeneville to Hall's.  Known as a fine dining steak house, we all decided to have fish!  Their stuffed Carolina Trout is awesome.

Beautiful presentation of a chopped salad.

My trout with the jumbo lump crab and wild rice and cranberry stuffing.  So good!

Day Two

 The next day, we headed down to the Cabin at Mountain Park for the Total Solar Eclipse party.
Chairs were placed all over the lawn for comfortable eclipse viewing.

Laurell, Christy and Jill heading in for lunch.

 All of the dishes were named for Solar events.   A wedge salad was served to resemble the shape of
a crescent moon.
 Pulled pork, grilled salmon, pin wheel sandwiches were gourmet delights. 
Dessert was a cute cup cake!

 Christy in her eclipse glasses waiting for total darkness.

 And just as the full eclipse was 10 minutes away, the clouds moved in to obscure the view.
You could still see it through the clouds with your glasses.  The area got dark and the night
sounds started.   It was really cool!

Then it was time to head home to my house, so we headed further north.

 Time to get them settled in their rooms.  Fresh towels and a welcome gift waited on the beds.

 Facial masks, body lotion and other goodies for enjoying while here.


 Hang out at the house and have a spa day.  Hair and facial masks and lots of new decorating books and magazines kept us busy. 

 Out to the screened porch to enjoy the sounds of the river.

For dinner, we headed back to Weaverville to enjoy pasta at the Glass Onion.
Pasta Carbonara was ordered by all!


We drive  2 hours south to Cashiers, NC to meet Jill again.  We met at a wonderful antique shop and then went to lunch at Cornucopia. 
Cornucopia- a great place for lunch! 

After lunch we attending the Cashiers Historical Society's home tours of three cottages.   I will report in detail on the house tour on my next blog!

After the house tour, we headed 45 minutes south to Lake Rabun in Georgia. I wanted to surprise the girls, so I booked a stay at the Lake Rabun Hotel, an historic inn built in 1922. 

 Arts and Crafts stonework fireplaces and chimneys adorn this quaint inn. 
It is known for it's Farm to Table cuisine and it did not disappoint. 

But the best surprise for the girls- our friend Lynda Sue drove up from Atlanta to join us!
Screams of delight when she arrived!

 Trees are used as interior columns. 

Chloe the cat on the porch waiting to be petted.


After a breakfast at the inn, we drove around the lake to check out the area.  It is wonderful!

 Lake view of the boat houses around the lake. 

I am definitely coming back soon! 

 A great little lunch place in the Lakemont Historic village!
 Lunch on the porch of the country store.

Then it was on to Clayton, Ga to check out the shopping.  Its about 10 miles north of Lake Rabun and on our way back to North Carolina.

Dogwoods is a great collection of old and new and is completely on trend.  Between the four of us, we all purchased something.

 Very classy exterior- dark gray with brass down lights.

Interior shot of Dogwoods.

Then it was back to Madison County, with a stop for dinner in Weaverville for dinner.  Bang Bang shrimp and sweet potato rolls at Soba hit the spot. Delicious!

Beautiful plate going to another table!

Then it was home to play with our new finds. 

First order of business was placing my new chair from Dogwoods in the conservatory!


 Up early to meet my neighbor Tony for an ATV ride in French Broad Crossing.
What a blast on back trails with Tony navigating. 

 The view from Tony's deck of the surrounding area.
Got a picture of my roof peeking through the trees from the mountain above!

Then it was down to Asheville to shop for the afternoon.

 On the way home, we picked up flank steak for dinner,  We wanted to try a recipe that we had watched  on TV earlier that week .  Laurell set the table on the deck with my new tablecloth purchased at April Cornell that afternoon.
  It was a perfect night for having dinner alfresco- cooler and no bugs!

Here is the recipe!
Definitely a keeper recipe!


After a leisurely breakfast on the porch, we headed down to Asheville to the River Arts District via the road by the river. 

 You can drive to Asheville from Madison County along the French Broad River. It a particularly pretty now because the wild jasmine and honey suckle are blooming in abundance on the sides of the road.

  It takes about 10 minutes longer, but it is worth it.  The road- Rt.251-  enters Asheville directly into the River Arts district.
 Had lunch here- great wood oven pizza! The yellow store front on the left! 

A very fun area with all types of artists- pottery, jewelry, clothing, paintings, sculpture.

Christy and I purchased pottery from artist Michael Hofman.  He uses old laces to create the designs in his oven and dishwasher safe pottery. 

 Next it was back to Marshall to eat in my favorite restaurant - the Star Diner.
 Located in an old Gulf Station, the Star Diners elevates old classic recipes.  It is my favorite place to take guests! 

 Chef Brian makes the best crab cake ever!  No filler- just lump crab and a little bit of heat!

It love the ambiance-  it's tiny!

Dinner was Chicken Saltimbocca and Crab Cakes! 
Then it was back up the mountain to sit on the porch and listen to the river and night sounds!


I can't believe the week is over!  Too much fun!

Back to the airport with my dear friends.
Tears leaving- very sad. I think they need to
move here.

Off to pick up Harry at the dog hotel- tail is wagging!

Back up the mountain home with my dog.  Time to sit on the porch and listen to the river! 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Linen Storage

Many of us remember hanging sheets and towels out on a clothes line to dry.  That wonderful smell of the fresh air on the sheets is a wonderful memory - one we can almost still smell today.  However today, many suburbs have ordinances against clothes lines.  Washers and dryers have become a staple in most American homes.  The clothes line has become only a way of life in parts of rural America.

Many older large homes were built with large rooms to store linens.  Table clothes were rolled on tubes instead of being folded.  Sheets were ironed and placed on shelves.  Napkins were starched.  I  love pressed sheets- at least the pillow case-  and a nicely starched linen napkin. 

When designing my new home, I worked with a closet designer to create functional linen storage.  I have a large collection of tablecloths and I wanted to store  them in an efficient manner.  I needed space to sort bed linens by size, so that it would be easy to grab them when grand kids came to visit and I had to set up 4 additional  air mattress beds! During the week of my daughter's wedding, I had to find sheets for 5 additional beds and it took me hours. I vowed to myself - "Never again".     This week, I finally got the time to organize my linen closets.

This is a small linen closet on the main floor.   Extra towels and bath products are stored inside, along with my dressier table clothes and napkins. 

The tablecloth storage rack rolls out for easy access.  Each cloth is stored on its own rack.
I have found it so easy to use and I can easily find what I am looking for.

Napkins are stored in the side cubbies by color story,
allowing me to mix and match as I create a table setting. We have the same
set-up in the kitchen for everyday table linens.

 Extra bath products are stored here for guests.

On the guest level, I am lucky to have a large walk-in closet for linens.

 It is large enough to store an ironing board to press linens. 


It has large open shelving  to hold heavy tablecloths and comforters.
 The same rollout system is in this closet, but it holds bed coverlets and spreads.

 Storage boxes have been tagged with their contents- ie  Standard pillow cases

ie- pillow protectors-

 Sheets, mattress covers and blankets are identified by a tag and stored by size. .  That makes it easier to grab the correct size quickly rather than opening each item  up to check the size.

So now that I have conquered linen storage issues, how do I create that wonderful scent for my linens?  I found these  beautiful "Wax Curiosities" in a great store in Asheville called Desirant.
They were placed   in the closets to scent the linens,  

They are beautiful scented wax flowers and so pretty to look at while getting linens from the closet.

You can also  find these little works of art on line.

Another great  laundry scent is Glamorous Wash in the Tyler scent.  It gives sheets a
wonderful clean sexy scent.

They also make sachets for the dryer- perfect for infusing a lasting scent on towels and sheets .
Purchase these on Amazon. 

An organized linen area is a dream come true. There is something to be said for the old fashioned  wisdom of having a linen room in the home.