Photos ~ Biltmore, Asheville, NC

Enjoy my photos of a favorite place: gorgeous Biltmore. Check out the two links at the bottom of the photos for more information. And, should you journey to the Asheville, NC area, I highly recommend visiting this historic chateau.

Savor your journeys… real and imagined, near or far.

Armchair Traveler ~ Biltmore ~ Cookbook

Fall in the Smoky’s

Armchair Traveler ~ Biltmore ~ Cookbook

There are several former residences in the United States that are memorable places to visit: The Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA, The Breakers in Newport, RI and Biltmore in Asheville, NC. I’ve visited each and each is truly magnificent. They transport you to another era and are terrific travel destinations.

Several years ago, I vacationed in the Asheville area and visited Biltmore. It was designed to be a self-sufficient estate, with a working farm and beautiful park and woods. In addition to touring the George Vanderbilt home (completed in 1895) and gardens, I dined at several wonderful restaurants:

  • Cedric’s Tavern is a must visit with a very good menu and outdoor seating. Hint: save room for dessert.
  • Deerpark Restaurant is another must visit if you relish a fabulous, mouth-watering buffet. From egg dishes to appetizers, soups, salads to entrees and incredible desserts. It is THE ideal place to enjoy a leisurely brunch.

Both the beautiful Tour Guide book and the “Biltmore, Our Table to Yours, Cookbook” bring back many great memories of this historic treasure. The cookbook has gorgeous photos, not only of the dishes but also of the home interior. Should you visit, you will also want to go to Biltmore’s winery tasting room. Enjoy!

Next post, I’ll share some photos of the fabulous gardens and home exterior.

When being an armchair traveler, do not limit yourself to a country or city or ethnic food. Think of certain places you’ve always wanted to explore. Check on-line for menu ideas. Dress the part as you dine. Read about the place. Perhaps Versailles? A Castle in Germany? A Village in Nepal? Or Biltmore?

Most important, enjoy planning and be inventive as you “journey” to a favorite spot … even if for now, it is but a dream.

Savor your journeys… real and imagined, near or far.

Fall in the Smoky’s

Road Trip ~ Western Washington: Port Townsend, Whidbey Island, Orcas Island, Bellingham, Mt Baker, North Cascades National Park

I started my journey on the Olympic Peninsula at Port Townsend. It’s a cute waterfront town to explore with marvelous Victorian architecture, interesting local shops and good restaurants.

From Port Townsend, I took the ferry to Whidbey Island. There are several small towns to explore, my favorite being Langley, on the south eastern part of the island. Here, you will find neat local shops, including Moonraker bookstore (well worth your visit) and a great restaurant (The Braeburn) which is perfect for breakfast or lunch.

Drive north on the island to Deception Pass State Park on your way to Anacortes and the ferry to Orcas Island. I’ve stayed on Whidbey Island and also use it as a connection between the two ferries. If you have the time, it is definitely worth a visit or at least a luncheon stop.

Passing beautiful Deception Pass, take Rosario Road and Marine Drive (west side of Fidalgo Island) rather than Highway 20. Either route takes you to Anacortes, with the local roads being far more scenic.  

If you have time, explore Anacortes, enjoy lunch before boarding your ferry to Orcas Island. I’ve done this trip several times and depending on my schedule, I usually drive thru Whidbey Island as a connection between the two ferries and have a late lunch on Orcas Island.

Orcas is a magical place, a beautiful island any time of the year. From the moment you step on the ferry bound for the San Juan’s, consider yourself on “island time.” I’ve stayed several times at Rosario Resort and recommend it. There are beautiful grounds to walk about, a good restaurant on site and it’s only a few miles drive from the town of Eastsound. If you are lucky, you will see deer on the property as you explore the area. 

On this trip, I took a whale watching cruise (great fun and I’ll do it again) plus taking the ferry to nearby Friday Harbor. I parked near the ferry terminal on Orcas Island and was a walk-on passenger. The town of Friday Harbor is at the ferry terminal so no need for a car as you explore this picturesque town. Be sure to check out The Whale Museum.

Orcas is the largest of the San Juan Islands and it’s enjoyable to drive about and explore the island. Drive to the top of Mount Constitution in Moran State Park for a gorgeous view, stop at local pottery places, investigate winding roads and breathe in its beauty and serenity.  

Leaving Orcas, I took the ferry to Anacortes, walked about the Marina and then headed north via beautiful Chuckanut Drive to Bellingham.

On this trip, I used Bellingham as a base for exploring not only Bellingham but also the gorgeous Mt. Baker and North Cascades National Park areas. One rainy morning I drove to Lynden, a nearby Dutch town (terrific bakeries).

Favorite restaurants include:

When planning road trips, always be flexible. You may want to stay in a favorite place longer or completely change your itinerary as you meander along. Weather may also cause you to change plans and improvise. That is the joy and fun of a road trip.

Savor your journeys … past, present and future … real or imagined…. near or far …

Links to additional photos:

Photos ~ Orcas Island, Washington ~ Whale Watching

Photos ~ Whidbey Island, Washington

Photos ~ Mt Baker, North Cascades, WA

Photos ~ Chuckanut Drive, western WA

Photos ~ Anacortes Marina & Deception Pass, WA

Photos ~ North Cascades National Park, WA

Photos ~ Orcas Island, San Juans, Washington

Photos ~ Bellingham Park & Bellingham, western Washington

Photos ~ Gig Harbor, Washington ~ Feb 2020

On a beautiful crisp sunny, winter day, it’s marvelous to walk about Gig Harbor. A clear, sunny day in February is delightful as it’s so rare. After walking about, I stopped for a lunch at my favorite Italian Restaurant, Il Lucano   

I discovered that you can order from their extensive dinner menu at lunchtime, which meant a fabulous lunch of Caesar Salad, Veal Saltimbocca, White wine (Sicilian) and Cappuccino  … Fantastico!  Maybe we will have an early Spring?? And yes, that is Mount Rainier in the distance .. on a clear day, it is visible and very beautiful.

Savor your journeys … past, present and future … real and imagined, near and far.

 

 

 

Armchair Traveler ~ Book: Rome, Then and Now

On a rainy day, what’s better than browsing a beautiful photo book of a place you have visited or want to visit?  I have visited Rome many times and always loved it. Below are photos, thoughts about “Rome, Then and Now” by Federica D’Orazio.

The book was published in 2004. Many of the vintage photos have dates (ranging from 1860’s to 1944) and the contrast is amazing: Rome has retained its ancient feel while being a vibrant modern city. The Eternal City is a marvelous blend of ancient and new, which you feel as you walk about this gorgeous city. Each photo has historical information so that the reader can fully appreciate the beauty of Rome. 

Let’s begin at the Baths of Caracalla, where you can attend operas or concerts during the summer. I did attend an opera and highly recommend it. We ate after the performance  at a local neighborhood ristorante where we saw many of the performers. Great fun. 

Rome is a marvelous city to walk about and get lost, even with a map (which happened to me several times). Think serendipity … you will eventually reach your destination, but if time is not a factor, enjoy the side streets …. you never know where they will lead. Wander about the Piazza Barberini (at the foot of the Via Veneto), walk to the Trevi Fountain (on a side street) … check out the Spanish Steps.

Tour ancient Rome visiting the Colosseum and Roman Forum, take the time to walk about;; imagine what it must have been like during Caesar’s time … 

Other marvelous photos show the changes to the Piazza St. Peter, Piazza del Popolo, and Piazza Navona, where I have marvelous memories of Tre Scalini Ristorante.

As you wander about Rome, either for real or as an armchair traveler, here are some additional sights … 

Browse thru your photo books or visit your library for ideas. Pick a special destination. The photos will have you reminiscing about previous journeys and/or planning a new adventure. After browsing this splendid book, what better way to continue my Italian armchair travel than preparing an Italian dinner (a favorite: spaghetti carbonara with Orvieto wine).  Viva Roma! 

Savor your journeys, near or far, real or imagined.

Gig Harbor, WA ~ Waning Days of Fall ~ Photos ~Quotes

“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.” ~ Unknown

 “Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.” ~ Emily Brontë

 “Notice that autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

 “If a year was tucked inside of a clock, then autumn would be the magic hour.” ~ Victoria Erickson

 “A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer’s wave goodbye.” ~ Unknown

“Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.” ~ Shira Tamir

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale”—Lauren DeStefano

“November is the pearl-grey month, the changeling between warm crimson October and cold white December, the month when the leaves fall in slow drifting whirls, and the shapes of the trees are revealed, when the earth imperceptibly wakes, and stretches her bare limbs and displays her stubborn unconquerable strength before she settles uneasily into winter. November is secret and silent”—Alison Uttley