Monday, October 31, 2011

Can You Say: Extravagant?

Sorry it's been so long since the last post! Life can sure get busy and when you do get time Blogger will decide to be s l o w uploading. I don't have the time or patience for persnickity interwebbing. {and no, the picture above is not me; although sometimes I can relate...especially when computers are being uncooperative}
On our last visit, I said we would be going from the cotton fields to a mansion. Here it is: the interesting architecture from the Biltmore Mansion in Ashville, NC.
Biltmore, as in, Vanderbilt. Not built by the Vanders, but built by George W. Vanderbilt and still owned by the family, this piece of extravagance consists of 250 rooms on 8,000 acres. Construction began in the late 1800's and George officially made himself at home in 1895. Three years later he married & brought his new bride here.
{Clearly he was a bachelor while this house was under construction because no marriage would survive this project. How do I know? We built a 1600 sq ft house in 1984 and, uh, let's just say.. it was a test of our love.}
In order to preserve the estate during the Depression, it was opened to the public in 1930. It's an interesting place to visit to see furniture and household articles from that era. You know, turn-of-the-century stuff like: an indoor swimming pool, bowling alley, gymnasium, 3 kitchens, and pipe organ. Did you get that - indoor swimming pool? Remember, this was a time when most people didn't have indoor plumbing!  
More Biltmore pictures to come....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall Vacation: Side Trip

This is the 3rd time we've made the trek east to the Smoky Mountains and the 2nd time the cotton was close to harvesting when we went thru west Tennessee.
Sounds goofy, but I'm just fascinated by the cotton fields. There were acres & acres, miles & miles of beautiful, white fluff.
The last time we passed through here, my husband noticed cotton balls loose along the highway. I was so excited, I asked him to pull over so I could jump out & get one. I put it in a little plastic bag & keep it here at my desk to remind me of how sweet & thoughtful he is.

So this time passing through, it was early in the day and we had time to take a little side trip. We went down a story-book country road lined with cotton fields on both sides. Oh my gosh, if I were a millionaire, I would've bought that farm on the spot. It was just the prettiest area and reminded me of summer vacations at my uncle's house in east Tenn.
See the pod and how the cotton bursts out. I don't know what I expected but I guess I didn't realize that cotton is just like the cotton balls we buy packaged in bags at the store (of course, they've been cleaned, etc)
So that's the little side trip story. Next we go from the cotton fields of Tennessee to an unbelievable mansion in North Carolina.   

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Vacation: Part 1 - "The Pilgrimage"

I love October! It's my absolute favorite month. We took a week off and got out of town for a few days. We had such a great time and I finally got to see a very special place.
Do you recognize it?
Here's another hint.
Yes, I have finally made the pilgrimage to Graceland!
Understandably, you can't take flash pictures inside, so these won't look really great. I did a couple of them in b/w to get around some of the blah color.
'Course there's not much you can do about the color in this room! Elvis, I love ya  man, but this was rather tacky! Everything in the pool table room is covered in this late  60's green/gold/red paisley print. The furniture, the walls, the tablecloth and especially the ceiling. The fabric is gathered to a big ol' covered button above the Tiffany lights.
This is mirrored-wall bar area with glass shelves. Thought it made an interesting picture with the reflections.
Elvis converted an old smokehouse on the property into a shooting gallery. These old bike wheels must have served as a rustic style decor. I liked the look of the brick, the rust, & the dust.
The building housing his car collection was really interesting. 
Rolls, Caddies, Lincolns, a Harley and cars I've never heard of were on display.
The pink cadillac Elvis bought for his mom.
Pink Cadillac Magnets in the auto collection gift shop. Each area of the Graceland Experience ended in spectacular gift shop. The tour included the main house, detached buildings (Vernon's office, the racquetball room, the car collection, trophy room, etc.) Each gift shop was unique in that the gifts matched the theme of the display, i.e. classic Elvis, later years Elvis, etc.
The King had quite a collection of gold & platinum records.
This particular album was one of my favorites. It was my only exposure to gospel music. Not that I'm a huge fan of gospel style music (unless it's Elvis) but this is how I learned some of the classics. I wore this album out listening to that angelic voice.
It was fun to see the fancy jumpsuits and many other outfits we've seen many times in photos, including Elvis & Pricilla's wedding outfits.
TCB - "Taking Care of Business" was Elvis' motto and he had jewlery made for his close friends and associates with the emblem. It appeard in other places too - like the tail of his jet. It was really interesting actually being able to board the private jet he had customized for personal travel.
Sad moment coming up...the picture above is part of a stained glass display in the Meditation Garden where Elvis & his family are buried.
 All these years later - it's still sad to think he's gone.
 Elvis Presley. What a unique human being.