|This window was dedicated to George Vanderbilt's father, Cornelius Vanderbilt.|
From the Church, we went to the New Morning Gallery where they have "Art for Living". It's a gorgeous gallery that contains works of over 200 artisans. I think we spent a couple hours there, and Linda and I both bought small pieces there. If you're looking for gorgeous artwork, made by local artisans, this is the place to look.
After going to another gallery featuring local artisans, we had lunch at a fun little restaurant that was recommended. And, of course, North Carolina sweet tea. After leaving Biltmore Village, we went to the Basilica of St. Lawrence. It didn't have quite the same peaceful atmosphere as the cathedral.
|Crypt of Rafael Guastavino, architect|
We walked from the Basilica to Malaprop's bookstore. I could have stayed much longer, but we needed to hit the road to get to the hotel before Christie's daughter, Elizabeth, got off work. Really friendly staff at Malaprop's. I listened to one of the clerks talking to a young girl about their summer reading program.
|Really fun chair at Malaprop's|
Then we headed north. We stayed overnight on Friday night in the northern part of the state, and visited with Elizabeth. Elizabeth has an internship this summer. We all went to an Italian restaurant for dinner, and then played pinochle. It was a nice visit with her.
Christie drove toward home, and we stopped in Wytheville, Virginia. Mom and Linda were sitting in the back seat, and they read that it was the home of Edith Bolling Wilson. They also read about the large pencil on one of the businesses. We saw the pencil first, then, stopped at the Visitors Center.
Wytheville actually has a few museums, but we only had time to see the museum and childhood home of Edith Bolling Wilson, President Wilson's second wife. That's our kind of tour.
|Christie and Linda|
Then, there was lunch. Let me tell you about the restaurant and people that made this one of the highlights of our trip. Linda recognized Skeeter's, saying Rachael Ray recommended it. We debated, and then went in. Skeeter's is a joyful restaurant, around 100 years old. The waitress was so nice and we talked books. I laughed when a group of Harley riders came in. One woman stopped, and asked if she ruined a picture I was taking. When I said no, she said she'd go back and try again.
|(The Skeeter dog is great!)|
But, it was a woman named Mary Lea who made Skeeter's extra special. She was kind and charming. She came over, and bussed our table so we could sit down, although she was a customer, not an employee. She welcomed us, and said she saw us when we were outside, and almost told us to come in because we looked like we were having so much fun together. She highly recommended the chicken salad. Mom & Christie had that, while Linda and I went for the Skeeter dogs and sweet tea. And, when she heard we were traveling home to Ohio, and then I was going on the next day to Indiana, she prayed with us. She also took a couple wonderful pictures of the four of us.
|Christie at Skeeter's|
|With Mary Lea|
Mary Lea's own story is personal, and I won't share it. But, she brought joy to all of us, and we were so glad we met her along the way. Our visit with her, and our stop at Skeeter's, were special. It was a wonderful way to end the road trip before heading to Linda's house.
And, we're already planning next year's trip together! This may sound odd, but we're thinking - Hartford, Connecticut. (We have our reasons. You'll have to wait to find out why.)