My mother -in-law kept telling us that she really wanted to see the Biltmore. She kept talking about it anytime the south, Southern Living or our weekend trips were brought up. “Why can’t we just go one weekend?”, would be the question we got a lot. She didn’t always understand that there has to be some planning involved when we both work full time.

We agreed and said that 2015 was the year that we would go to the Biltmore. We wanted to see her happy and visit as a family.

Well a week ago we made it all come true. We visited the Biltmore and Asheville, North Carolina. We flew down on Friday.   A half an hour after we arrived, my parents arrived. We will all very excited to be there and to visit.

Friday night started off with dinner at a BBQ joint called Luella’s. It was everything that the Google reviews cracked it up to be. It was very good. We followed that with dessert at Double D’s in downton Asheville. Both I would recommend.

Mom, Dad, Sean and I finished the night off with playing dominos in the lobby of the hotel. While a busload of senior citizens were unloading into our hotel, we were just trying to figure out how to play chicken foot. We almost went over and asked one of them if they could explain to us quickly how to play. We did finally figure it out though, even though we all decided that we were way to young to be playing that game.

Saturday morning it was off to the Biltmore. The morning was supposed to be gorgeous but the afternoon was supposed to be a little bit rainy so it was off to the gardens. We walked around for about two hours before heading off for a quick lunch before heading into the actual house. There were about 7,000 people there the day we visited, which according to one of the workers is absolutely overflowing for them.

After lunch we had time to snap a couple of pictures before heading into the house. We choose to do the audio tour which turned out to be a great choice since we all wanted to learn about the house. It was incredibly insightful.

The Downton Abbey costumes were spread throughout the house while we were visiting. Some of the gowns were stunning to see in person. I know they are gorgeous on tv but it was really neat to see in person.

Two hours later we found ourselves exiting the house and getting back on the bus to head to the winery on property. Four of the seven of us waited in the line to do the wine tasting. It was an incredibly long wait for such a short line but some of the wine turned out to be very good. We even bought a couple of bottles to bring back home with us.

It was dinner time after that. We headed back to downtown Asheville to a place called “The Lobster Trap”. It was also an oyster bar…so if you know my family you know who was extremely excited. The food turned out to be awesome. We had to wait a little bit for a table but it was very much worth the wait.

Sunday we had time for breakfast and then we were headed our separate ways. I always hate that part of the trip. I was ready to hang out with mom and dad a little bit longer but we will see them again very soon.


One little side story. In between lunch and going in the house, Sean and I walked out to the edge of the lawn in front of the house. As we were standing out there I noticed a couple to my left that was trying to take a selfie with their daughter in her stroller. I asked them if they would like for me to take a photo for them because it looked as though the dad was struggling to get them all in the photo. Little did I know he was probably a nervous wreck. Sean and I went on taking a few more photos and I look over again and he was proposing. I just started clicking the camera. I ended up getting some awesome shots of him proposing to her. She was absolutely shocked. After it was over I walked over and asked if they would like me to send them the photos because I had just taken about 50 pictures. I then took a couple of nice photos of the two of them together and emailed all of them to the couple when I got back home. They were so excited and happy with them. It was such a cool moment to be a part of and I am really happy that I had a chance to catch that special moment for them. The funniest part of the whole thing is that their daughters’ stroller in the background of the photos is turned the opposite direction!

You can tell by the pictures from the Acela Club Lounge that we were both exhausted. We both woke up not feeling great and completely, utterly exhausted.

We were hoping to have a very productive day after our ride from NYC to Boston but we got to the hotel and pretty much crashed. Not completely, we did walk around for a little bit but quickly realized that we were much better off chilling out for the day. We think that a) the bed in our hotel in NYC was not comfortable, b) we didn’t sleep well, and c) we just did too much in NYC.

We went to dinner that night and we didn’t even eat it all. Part of it ended up in the refrigerator for the next morning.

It turned out to be a great thing that we rested. Tuesday we woke up refreshed and ready to go. We did accomplish one thing on Monday, that was the purchase of a Hop on Hop off Bus Tour ticket. The awesome thing was that we got three days out of the ticket. We hoped on and rode to the Boston Tea Party Museum where we went on the hour long tour.DSC01850

Edgar Allan Poe


Row homes that are super crazy expensive.DSC01853

Where the outside of the show “Cheers” was filmed. The inside of the bar was filmed on a set. DSC01856DSC01858DSC01861DSC01862DSC01864DSC01867

The Boston Public Library. It is beautiful.DSC01869

The church of Scientology.

The Boston Orchestra. Cool thing about this building, if you are inside the building you can’t hear anything that is happening on the street. So if sirens go by in the middle of the show, you can’t hear them. Pretty cool.
The oldest fire department.
This would be in my little brother’s opinion, “That other stadium”. This is the outside of Fenway.
More row homes.
Frozen harbor.
MIT campus.
DSC01885This building was crazy. It is the computer science building and the inside has doors and stairways that lead to absolutely nowhere.
DSC01887DSC01888Gas lamps on the streets. All of the lights like this are all still powered by gas.
DSC01896Potato Famine memorial.

This is where the pictures from the Boston Tea Party Museum start. DSC01898DSC01899DSC01902DSC01903

We also bought some tea while we were there. We had to, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time!

The bus tour took us all over and we were able to see many of the places we wanted to see just from the outside. We didn’t have enough time (or energy) to get out and actually visit all of the places. (AKA there will be a next time when it comes to Boston)

Lunch was at the James Hook, a little shack that had awesome lobster rolls(well at least according to Sean) and clam chowder.

It was also St. Patrick’s Day so we had to do a little drinking. Cheers was the choice bar for drinks. Sean really enjoyed it.

After a little rest, it was off to dinner at an Irish Pub. I know everybody told us to go have Italian but for me that is hard due to eating Gluten Free. When in Boston on St. Patty’s day, we felt it was better to go the pub route and it was really good! We had a great time.

Wednesday it was up and moving early. We had se out plans to walk and see the Union Oyster House,  the Bell in Hand, King’s Chapel and the cemeteries near that area. Well in true Boston fashion it was 26 degrees with a wind chill temp of 19 degrees. Needless to say we decided to ride the bus one full route. Walking from the hotel to the bus stop alone, my legs went numb from the cold. I couldn’t do almost to miles in one direction.

It was great though. We learned even more about Boston on the full tour and we enjoyed the warmth. Arriving at the train station, we were even more appreciative that we hadn’t walked all that way because the train station was not really heated much. Stone benches and cold weather don’t go together. I think it took me a full hour on the warm train to actually warm up.

This is where JFK proposed to Jackie. Had it been warmer I would have wanted to walk in there but not quite with the cold.
DSC01923DSC01924DSC01926DSC01930DSC01931The largest tea pot.

The way home took a little bit longer than we expected but it was a pleasant ride with some of the very best service we have ever had on the trains.

We ended our trip with the sun going down on Philadelphia as we went through that area. It was very pretty.


Only about another month until our next adventure, off to the Biltmore with both sets of parents. We can’t wait! It should be very enjoyable.


After going through a rough time at the end of January, Sean surprised me by telling me that we were headed to New York City and Boston for my spring break. He had really wanted to go over Valentine’s Day but for me to go during that time would have included a little unnecessary stress at work. Honestly, I am glad he held off and we went this week. I think it was probably a little bit warmer and a whole lot less snow.

What all did we cram into our short adventure to New England? Well, let me tell you. (P.S. we were exhausted when we got home.)

We started off the trip by riding the train from Wilmington to NYC. Penn Station in NYC is a crazy place. For those of you that are more familiar with flying, it is comparable to LAX. That is the best comparison I have for Penn Station. It is crazy.

Upon arriving we went straight to the hotel to drop off our luggage and then we started our adventure. We started with a late lunch at Sarabeth’s. I feel like this was where we first started to get a taste of the crowds of New York. The wait was about 30 minutes and there were a lot of people crammed into a very small space.

(We might have stopped by the Plaza so we could send my brothers an awesome Snapchat of Kevin McCalister asking for a room. P.S. it really is fabulous!)
It was unfortunately a little rainy but we had less than a mile to walk to the Guggenheim Museum. Sean knows how much of a fan I am of Frank Lloyd Wright and knew that I would enjoy seeing this building. The building was really interesting and very cool to see, that was where it ended, well kinda. The first gallery we walked into was one of Mr. Guggenheim’s original collection which included Monet, Picasso, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Renior and a few more. This was very cool to see. I was proud of myself too that I could still pick out the artists from the art history course that I took my senior year in college. The main exhibit, on the other hand, was interesting but looked like someone had way too much time on their hands. Speaking of time, that was completely what the exhibit was about, the painting of dates. Starting in 1964, dates were painted every day, people met were documented, postcards were sent to people, and mpas of where he traveled were documented. It was interesting for a little bit and then it wore off.

After that it was off to 5th avenue, Apple store, FAO Schwartz, and Tiffany’s. It was incredibly fun to look around but no buying. I was perfectly happy looking. Large lego displays and large diamonds were on view everywhere.

Next stops included St. Patrick’s cathedral and Radio City Music Hall. Unfortunately the cathedral was under major renovation on the inside. The main outside doors though were absolutely gorgeous.

Radio City Music hall was fun to see from the outside! The New York Spring Spectacular was showing which features Derek Hough from Dancing with the Stars. Had I known that I think I would have tried to get tickets.

It was back to the hotel to figure out dinner after that. We decided on Quality Meats, which was close by the hotel. It was great choice!

Sunday, we were up early to start our day. We were hoping to squeeze in as much as we could. A walk through Central Park led us to brunch at Loeb Boathouse. Unlike Saturday, Sunday turned out to be a much better day. The view from the boathouse was beautiful and I am sure it is even more beautiful during the summer months.
Even though we knew what all we wanted to accomplish for the day we had no clue what order we were going to mark things off the list. We chose to go to the Top of the Rock next. Talk about an awesome view of New York City. We both really enjoyed it, even though the wind was very brisk on the top. The views were awesome though.

Off to Times Square after that. There were so many people everywhere. We went to M&M World, the Disney Store, and Toys’r’us. The stores were huge.

We had more time than what we thought we were going to have so we ended up heading back over to 5th Avenue to go to the American Girl Doll Store and the Lego Store. Both were fun visits even though Sean doesn’t have many nice things to say about the new lego sets. He is still stuck in the 1990s and those Legos.

We made a quick pit stop at Rockefeller Center to see the ice skating. I can only imagine what the Christmas tree looks like there. I am sure it is amazing.

We headed back over to the Minksoff Theatre just off of Times Square. We thought that we were going to be able to get into the theatre early than what we were so we had to figure out something to do in the meantime. Well Guy Fieri’s restaurant was across the street so we took it to “Flavor Town” and had drinks.

Back at the Minksoff it was time to see my all time favorite show, “The Lion King”. It was almost better than I remembered it 11 years ago at the Kentucky Center. We had awesome seats too. Sean did an amazing job picking out the show and the tickets. I loved it!

Dinner on Sunday was at 44 1/2 on our way back from the theater. It was a little bit more than we expected but it was good food. The atmosphere was just a little interesting.

Monday morning was an early morning to get ready for Boston.

I am really looking forward to these upcoming events.

1. Our first shipment of Domaine Chandon wine club.

2. Opening weekend at Strasburg.

3. Going to NYC and Boston for the first time.

4. Seeing “Lion King” on Broadway.

5.Painting the bottom of the boat.

6. Decorating for Derby.

7. Biltmore with both sets of parentals.

8. Pool time.

9. Seeing family in New Jersey.

10. Spring weather.

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