We welcomed our new friends from New Mexico with a brunch at Park Place and then took a trolley tour through Asheville, hearing stories and history of the area and viewed historical homes and buildings. Then we headed off to the Grove Park Inn for a guided tour of the historic inn.
The Biltmore House was our destination on the 2nd day with stops at the Biltmore Gardens, Winery, and shops on the grounds. The following day, we visited the NC Arboretum and enjoyed a garden tour before heading to Sierra Nevada for beer and a stroll around the grounds. Our evening entertainment was dancing and listening to local bluegrass music at The Feed and Seed in Fletcher.
We had an unexpected visitor, Hurricane Irma, so some of our plans were altered at this point. Some of us visited the Visitors Center and Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway and ate lunch at the locally famous 12 Bones Barbeque restaurant. Ron Partin gave a tour of Carl Sandburg’s home, Connemara, and instead of visiting
DuPont and the waterfalls, we ate our box lunches at St. John In the Wilderness, followed by a tour of this episcopal church, one of the first in this area.
Our Farewell dinner was at the Mills River Presbyterian Church where many of our club members joined us for the evening. In spite of Irma, I think everyone had a wonderful time. Many commented as to the number of trees and how green everything looked! We think we had more rain in one day than our New Mexico ambassadors normally have in a year, thanks to the hurricane!
Of course, we shared many special meals and moments with our New Mexico friends over the week they were here. We are looking forward to renewing our friendships when we visit them next May, 2018!
–Jan Partin and Bonnie Dees, Journey Coordinators