Our plan for this getaway was to make it low key. The first thing we did to accomplish this was to spend two days on our drive through several states to reach our destination. This relaxed pace allowed us to take detours on a whim which we did.
Our first unscheduled stop was at Tamarack in Beckley, WV. Tamarack features crafts from West Virginia artisans along with demonstrations of craftsmen at work. The wares are of the highest quality and I am surprised that we managed to get away with only a small purchase before we were on the road again.
|Overlooking Saltville, VA|
Next, we stopped in Saltville, VA. This was a nostalgia stop for Ward who did fieldwork in this area when he was in college. However, nothing looked familiar to him. Either it has changed a lot over the years, or his memories have become cluttered with other things like Wally and Theodore and his job. Oh well, it was still a pretty area.
|The Biltmore Mansion|
Our biggest detour was to the Biltmore in Ashville, NC. Before our trip, when I told people that we were going to western North Carolina, the first thing they said was, "Are you going to the Biltmore?" I vaguely knew that the Biltmore was a large estate in North Carolina built by a rich person. However, since everyone else knew about it, I thought we should check it out. Yes, it is a large estate--250 rooms on 8000 acres. When George Vanderbilt built it in the late 1800's, he was a young bachelor looking for something to do with the family money his grandfather had earned in shipping and railroads. Well, he did and did it quite well. The house and grounds were impressive. I'm glad we went if for no other reason than I can say yes when I'm asked if we visited the Biltmore on our trip.
We took a few other side roads before we reached our destination. Thank goodness we made it to the cabin just before dark. There were several very windy, unmarked, single-lane roads we had to travel to reach it. One more detour on the way, and who know where we might have ended up.