Thanksgiving 2004

We decided to spend Thanksgiving 2004 with my wife's brother and his family. For the past 2 years, they have taken a trip for Thanksgiving and asked each time if we (and any of the rest of the family) would like to go along. So, rather than doing the traditional and mundane mad week of cooking/eating/cleaning up as we have spent nearly all past Thanksgivings, we chose to go along. We settled on staying at the Inn at Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. Check the website and see for yourself why we chose this marvelously relaxing and enjoyable destination. It was nice for all of us to be able to dress, sit and relax and really enjoy our superbly prepared Thanksgiving dinner. We lingered for 2 hours over wine, turkey and delicious desserts. Afterwards, my neices and I enjoyed games of Old Maid and Monopoly in the inn's library, where many guests had chosen to languish in the afterglow of a warm and hearty meal.

Deb and I drove up, leaving on Tuesday and staying in Athens, GA that night. Amy was to have accompanied us, but due to Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne, Orange District Schools were left to make up 14 days. Wednesday was one of the days she lost, so she flew up that evening. Deb and I had a leisurely drive up to the Biltmore Estate Wednesday. Part of our trip took us along the Blue Ridge Parkway, where I took this picture of rain water washing down the rockfaces found along the drive. We were almost totally alone on the Parkway as it was cold, foggy and rainy, which I personally found inviting.

Another picture of rain water and rocks.

We checked into the Inn at Biltmore Estates Wednesday afternoon. This was part of the view awaiting us in our room. Biltmore House can be seen in the distance just to the left of center.

A zoomed image of Biltmore House from our room at the Inn.

The view to the right from our room shows the Great Smoky Mountains in the distance. No, the rock pillar along the fence in the foreground is not on fire, that's a small tree behind the pillar which hasn't lost it's fall foliage.

The reason the Great Smoky Mountains are called the Great Smoky Mountains is contained in this image. The mountains are often engulfed in clouds and fog.

A view of the winery and what is called the "demostration vineyard". They have real working vineyards on property in NC and produce 40% of their grapes there. The rest are produced in CA.

Biltmore House, as seen from the walkway to what I called "the campground bathrooms". I named them this because of their color (a dark reddish brown), their composition (wood) and just their general nature. They looked like the sort of bathrooms you'd find in a campground and I found them to be quite out of character with the rest of the place.

Dressed in his holiday finery, this is one of the two lions that greet visitors to the house.

Another view of the Inn's grounds and view.

We took a trip to Chimney Rock Park on Friday.

Amy digging for something in her backpack while at the Park. She and I collect rocks of places we've visited.

Amy and I took a drive along the Blue Ridge on Friday after our visit to Chimney Rock. The rain that had fallen on Wednesday had frozen on the rocks and was melting by the time we took this picture. This wasn't the nicest example of icicles but it was the easiest place to stop along the busy Parkway.

My wife's brother took this picture of us as we were going to Thanksgiving dinner.

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