Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Neither here nor there

Katie here, continuing my travelog. Mama and I are headed home to daddy, and today is our second day of driving. All day. Yesterday I wasn’t very good about being in the car for so long, but I can explain!

Which looks better? Me or the mountains?

No one told me that we were driving home! I thought we were just going to the beach or the park and I didn’t understand that I’d be cooped up in the car all day! So I kept asking mama if we were there yet and by the end of seven hours she was about over the whole travel with Katie-girl thing.

So she says.

What a pretty day to travel!

Today I was a lot better, though by the last hour I did throw a bit of a fit. After all, my supper was more than 2 hours late! I had to remind mama that it was unacceptable to hold up a princess’s supper.

Anyway, we drove a little bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway on our way north. Not a lot of it, mind you, cause mama is on a mission to get home, but we got to see a little bit of it. She loves the layers of blue.


Me too, I could sit and look out over the view for a long time. Or until someone gives me a biscuit.

Enjoying the view.

Speaking of which, I’ve been snacking on treats Reilly’s mom packed for us. My guy even gave me heart biscuits! He’s a special guy, my Reilly.

Thank you Reilly sweetie!

Mama is really enjoying watching spring unfold all over again. It was spring weeks ago in Alabama and now that we’re in Kentucky we get to see the redbud and dogwood trees blooming all over again.

Isn’t this pretty?

And the deciduous trees are just budding out, with red and peach and orange and lime green making the mountains just glow in the sun. Mama couldn’t get a good picture of it cause she was driving. But the image below she took when we were at the Kentucky welcome center. The trees were on the other side of the freeway, and the light wasn’t as perfect as she’d seen when she was driving, but you can kinda see how beautiful it is here this time of year.

Can you see all the colors ?

Tonight mama is worried and is watching the weather channel. It looks like tomorrow we’ll be driving right into a bad storm. She can’t decide if we should get up early and try to beat the storm home, or if we should stay here for another night. But she says it would probably be two more nights because Saturday afternoon all the way into Sunday looks bad.

I don’t know what we’re going to do. Mama says we should get some sleep and see what tomorrow looks like. I personally think we should go back to our lake house, but mama says she has stuff to do in Michigan.

Glad we had a good day, cause tomorrow is going to be different.

Stuff to do? I thought she was retired!

Signing off….your travel guide Katie-girl.

Just another photo of me. Mama just won’t quit.


The gardens at Biltmore

When you visit Biltmore in Ashville NC, don’t forget to budget a lot of time to wander the gardens. They begin just down the hill from the house.

Make sure to visit the gardens down here!

There’s the original greenhouse structure that’s just chuck full of beautiful things. Inside it feels like you’re on a tropical island, or in a rain forest.

Make sure you venture inside here!

Here’s just a glimpse of the wonders you’ll find:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And the gardens surrounding the greenhouse were stunning on the late summer day we visited. Blocks of color covered the grounds. It was so beautiful it was hard to know where to look first. Here’s some of it:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And don’t forget the three water gardens. Just exquisite and in the end perhaps my favorite:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I hope you all get to visit Biltmore sometime. I think the gardens would probably be pretty just about any time of year. There’s an azalea garden that would be stunning in the spring, and a huge rose garden that was past it’s prime when we were there, but would have been something a couple of weeks ago. And there’s always the mountains to marvel at, any time of year, but especially in the Fall when the leaves are turning.

So think about a trip to North Carolina and a stop at the Biltmore Estate. I don’t think you’ll leave disappointed.


Biltmore revisited

Many years ago, before we were married, my husband and I visited Biltmore in Asheville North Carolina. Today, 27 years later, we stopped by again.

Have you ever been? If not, visit their website, or if you’d rather, I’ll take you on a short (not covering nearly everything you understand) tour. I personally love the long drive back to the big house.

The long and winding drive.

It inspired me years ago, to dream about building a house in the middle of a hundred acres, just so that I could have a lovely long drive home through the trees similar to this one up to the Biltmore mansion.

The first glimpse of the house itself always makes me gasp, and then smile. It’s just so magnificent! Not my style, by any means, but it’s a beautiful structure. Completed in 1895, it was a summer home for George W. Vanderbilt and his family. With thirty-three guest rooms, it was a summer getaway for family friends too.

You can view it after climbing a switchback to an elevated stone wall…

Behind these walls are many steps.

…or climb way up a hill for higher vantage point.

See the mountains behind the house?

But once you get up close you notice all the amazing detail. Like the carvings and statues as seen on the front of the house, lining the grand staircase.

This is not builder grade.

Even the windows are elaborate.

Can’t you just imagine enjoying the view from these?

Inside it’s even more intricate, with a glass enclosed winter garden…

Glass ceiling with views of the tower.

…and an opulent dining hall.

What would I wear to a dinner party here?

Each room has ceilings that are different and extravagant…

Just one ceiling, and not even the most ornate.

…and the furniture is ornate too.

Beautiful embroidery.

But my favorite place in the whole mansion is the back veranda…

Such a peaceful beautiful spot.

..where the view of the distant mountains is stunning. I could sit out there all day, and I’m sure there were people a hundred years ago that did just that.

Imagine breakfast with this view every day.

Inside, the library was amazing, thousands of books that George Vanderbilt handpicked, covering all sorts of topics. The bedrooms were beautiful too, complete with their own bathrooms long before en suites were normal.

A warm, cozy place to spend a few hours reading.

And in the basement was a giant party room, painted by members of a party in 1920…

Just a tiny part of the giant mural painted by party guests.

…a bowling alley…

Fun on a rainy evening.

…and a 70,000 gallon pool with water pumped in from a mountain stream.

Anybody for a dip? Just have to fill the pool!

Biltmore, it’s an amazing, almost magical place, and that’s just the house.

A single family home.

Wait until you see the greenhouse and the gardens!


Busy Princess reports in

Hi all. Princess Katie here. I’ve been way too busy to blog, but mama says I need to keep up with my responsibilities so I’ll give you the short version of what I’ve been up to lately.

As you all know I visited Reilly last month…and then I went over to my lake house for a few weeks, and then my daddy came down to join mama and me and we visited my Aunt and Uncle for a few days.

Me and my guy Reilly!

So…then instead of going home we went back to Florida and I got to spend five more days with my intended Reilly and his brother Denny and their mom! Wow!

Five whole days of running on the beach…

I love running on my beach!

…and walking through the jungle!

It’s a jungle in here!

Mama and daddy and Reilly’s mom went off and looked at forts and zoos and lighthouses and such too…but that’s not important. What is best about this time is I got to spend it with my guy.

One morning we all got up early and went out to the beach to watch the sun rise. I got to run around and mama took pictures of stupid birds. There were some flying really low to the water with their beaks open. Mama thought they were really neat.

Skimmer birds.

And some just stood around a lot. I thought those were much more interesting.

Nobody was out there that early so I got to run a whole lot. I loved running free on the beach!

There was a cool breeze, perfect for a sheltie-princess!

And then another day we went out in the evening when it got cool and played on the beach some more. We watched some big ships go out to sea. I barked at them, as is my right as a Princess.

Watching the ships go out to sea.

Mostly though the three of us hung around waiting for our folks to stop taking pictures of the ships from the seawall.

Whatcha doing up there people?

I don’t know why they were interested in the ships more than us. We three were adorable.

Mama and I ran on the beach again too, until she tried to trick me by running close to where the tide was going out and the sand was really wet. I don’t like getting my feet wet mama! I went and walked with my daddy after that.

Sadly we had to leave, so we drove across a beautiful bridge and headed north.

Mama’s artsy-fartsy bridge image.

But, lucky me, we got to stop along the way and spend a few hours with a friend of mama and daddy’s. She has two beagles! Wow! More doggie friends for me to hang out with!

Me and my new friends!

We all got along just great and we got to go for a long walk.

This has been the best adventure ever, but I think I’m ready to head home now. This hotel living can wear on a girl you know.

This is the good life!

And even a princess needs to return to her castle once in awhile.

Your gal Katie.