Alaska Bucket List Trip

Day 2 – September 2 (Anchorage to Seward)

Another EARLY start. We needed to be at the Anchorage Railroad Depot at 5:45 a.m. As our bodies were still on Eastern time, this wasn’t as hard as it sounds (there’s a 4-hour time difference). The depot, though, really isn’t set up for the onslaught of humanity that come to board the Alaskan Railroad trains. There are very few seats in the depot and there were hundreds of passengers (mostly older). That said, we were given our “GoldStar” pins (again, we splurged for top-of-the-line travel in the GoldStar Dome) and sent to the front of the train to find our car.

After climbing a very tight, spiral staircase, we found our seats in a beautiful train car with huge, picture windows. The perks of riding in the top-of-the-line compartment is that you get a meal and two “adult beverages,” as well as unlimited coffee, tea and soft drinks. As a heads-up, the bartenders on Alaska Railroad make a mean Bloody Mary!

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Jim on a Train = Happy Man

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Me on a Train = Tired!

The weather was still not cooperating as far as being sunny or clear and there were still a number of large wild fires in the area. I must say, however, that the scenery is matchless! The entire trip was one beautiful vista after another. I saw my first moose from the train just as we were leaving Anchorage. It was walking down a residential street in a subdivision. As the train move on toward Seward, we were hoping to see more birds and animals in the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge, but the tide was out in the Turnagain Arm (a body of water with the world’s second highest tides at over 30 feet) so no Beluga whales or much wildlife.

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Leaving Anchorage

 

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Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge

 

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Glacial River Between Anchorage & Seward

 

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One of the Myriad of Waterfalls Between Anchorage & Seward

We went past Spencer Glacier, Bartlett Glacier and through Grandview Pass. Jim took a great shot as the train headed through the Pass. There was an area in the very back of the train car which was open and it afforded some very good shots of glaciers as we passed. It was a little to “breezy” for me, but Jim loved it. Of course, you put Jim on a train and he’s completely happy.

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Alaska Railroad @Grandview Pass – Photo by Jim Pappas

As soon as we were pulling into the Seward depot, I could see the shuttles for the Seward Windsong Lodge. One was, obviously, a baggage truck and the other our passenger shuttle. From the time we left our bags at the depot in Anchorage, we didn’t see them again until they were delivered to our door at the Windsong Lodge. The efficiency of the tourist programs in Alaska is without reproach! I cannot commend Alaska Tour and Travel highly enough. Throughout the entire trip, our rooms were ready, our excursions had us booked properly, and we didn’t have to worry about transfers or anything. Definitely, the way to go!

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Seward Windsong Lodge

Check-in time at the Seward Windsong Lodge (3 p.m.) is strictly adhered to at the Lodge and, since we had arrived before noon, we had several hours to kill.

We had passes to Alaska SeaLife Center which is down on the Seward Harbor, so we hopped on the shuttle. The shuttle made a stop right outside the SeaLife Center. If you ever get to Seward, this is a great attraction. You can spend a few minutes – or a few hours. The cost of admission helps their mission. From their website: “The Alaska SeaLife Center is the only facility in Alaska that combines a public aquarium with marine research, education, and wildlife response.

While primarily dedicated to marine research and education, the nonprofit Center is the only permanent marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation facility in the state.”

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Spotted Seal in for Rehabilitation

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Horned Puffins @Alaska SeaLife Center

We were really looking forward to seeing the sea birds. We got our first-ever looks at Harlequin Ducks, Common Murres, King Eiders, Pigeon Guillemots, endangered Spectacled Eider, and (of course) the stars of the show, the puffins (Horned and Tufted)! I could have watched these amazing creatures for hours as they flew through the water. They can dive to amazing depths and hold their breath for an astoundingly long time.

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Horned Puffin Chilling

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Tufted Puffin

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Tufted Puffin Playing

After a couple of hours, we returned to the Windsong Lodge to get checked in. The property reminded me of the wonderful lodges in the Smoky Mountains or even Switzerland. There were several buildings with roughly 8 rooms (4 up and 4 down) in each nestled into great woods. We opened the window to the sounds of red squirrels, birds, water from a recent rain dripping from the leaves and needles, and wind.

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Seward Windsong Lodge – Poppy

The Resurrection Roadhouse (on the Resurrection River) is located on the grounds of the Windsong Lodge. It consists of a restaurant area and a lounge. The lounge didn’t open until 5, so we opted for a late lunch/early dinner. Again, while the food was filling it wasn’t a stand out. I was a bit disappointed in the crab cakes because I figured (being Alaska) there would be mostly crab. Figured wrong. I WILL say, however, that the Bourbon Mule (a cross between a julep and a mule – mint and ginger beer) was outstanding. I might be beginning to see a theme here.

Resurrection Roadhouse

Photo from TripAdvisor – Weather Was NOT This Nice for Us

Alaska Bucket List Trip – Day 1

Day 1 (Detroit to Anchorage)

The day started early. We woke up at our normal weekday time of 4:30 a.m. The house seemed eerily quiet without our beloved dogs. It was just as well that we had much to do to get the airport. Luckily, our check-in and flights went like clockwork. That, in itself, is amazing. We flew from Detroit to Seattle (about a 5-hour flight), and then from Seattle to Anchorage (approximately 4 hours). I have to admit I am now spoiled for flying. We splurged and bought first-class seats for the entire trip. I guess I never realized how much nicer everything is when flying first-class. Most of both trips were cloudy, but I did manage to snap a couple of photos of Mt. Rainier with my cellphone.

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The wait for the shuttle from the airport in Anchorage was a little long, but not bad. Actually, it was the only transportation on the entire trip that was less than on-the-dot precise. The shuttle driver was very nice and took us to the Clarion which was comfortable and not in the middle of any hub-bub. We got a kick out of the brass sign on the front door warning people that moose DO frequently walk through the area and the parking lot so do not approach them or get out of the hotel or car when they are there.

Since we were pretty well exhausted from the travel and there really wasn’t anything pressing in Anchorage, we walked to Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse to get something to eat. I have to say that the food was just meh, but the beer was very good. Except for a couple of occasions, this was to be true for the entire trip.

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Getting “Social” in Lexington

Getting “Social” in Lexington

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

Most of y’all know that I’m a born Kentuckian. I like to say that I was inoculated at birth with a love of horses and bourbon. I think that may be a requisite vaccination for all newborns in the Commonwealth, at least it appears that way. All I can tell you is that I have loved horses as long as I can remember, and acquiring a taste for brown, corn liquor came mighty easy.

Every year for my birthday, if at all possible, I sweet-talk my dear husband into a trip to the Bluegrass. That’s not a difficult task as he spent many, many summers in the state visiting his grandmother. Some of his happiest times were spent in my birth-state.

Earlier this year, we had visited and completed the Bourbon Trail (which I will write about in an upcoming blog), so this time it was totally about visiting horses, eating and drinking excellent food and bourbon, and visiting Wallins Creek (where Jim spent his summers) to take photos and gather information for his upcoming model train layout. (Can you see that there will be many different posts on all kinds of subjects in the offing?)

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Sunset in the Bluegrass

Our base of operations was Lexington. I never tire of Lexington. The area around Lexington is some of the most beautiful country anywhere in the world. Yes, I may be more than a bit biased, but I have been lucky to travel quite a bit and this is where I choose to come as often as humanly possible. Lexington is surrounded by farms housing the finest thoroughbred horses in the world and the very best distilleries are within a very short drive.

We arrived on my birthday, so we had made dinner reservations at Tonys of Lexington. We had lots of time before our reservation, so we wanted to enjoy a bourbon (or two) in a local bourbon bar. We’d heard about Bluegrass Tavern (with their 450 bourbons), and decided that we’d join the locals and see what 450 different bourbons even looked like. We arrived around 4:30 p.m., but they were inexplicably closed. Hmmm! What to do? Then we turned around and found Parlay Social on the corner right behind us. We decided to go in and cool off and see if they could fill the bourbon bill. (August is more than a little warm in Kentucky.)

“Social” is a great name for this place. We were greeted and made to feel right at home by the cutest bartender. Her name is Kristin, and she’s as nice, social, and informative as she is sweet. We had landed in just the exact right place to try out some bourbons that are, quite frankly, impossible to get in Michigan bars or restaurants.

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Kristin – Bartender Extraordinaire – Parlay Social (Check the bottle in foreground!)

Kristin handed us a list of all the options available and it just about made my head swim. There weren’t 450 listed, but there were enough fine options that we didn’t feel as though we missed a thing. They had options to try one or two ounces of some of the best and most sought-after bourbons in the world. Prices (as you can see) were anywhere from $5 all the way up to $112 for one single ounce of liquor. Extravagant? Darn tootin’! It was my birthday, though, so we decided to taste some of them. We shared, so each ounce became half-ounces each. (Wouldn’t want y’all to think we overdid it or anything!)

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Side #1 – Parlay Social Bourbon List

Our favorites were Eagle Rare 17-year and Pappy Van Winkle 15-year. I have to say, that if I had to choose one bourbon to drink (and cost was no factor) it would be the Pappy 15-year. It was, without a doubt, the best, most palatable, smoothest sipping bourbon I’ve ever had. Lord knows if the 20- and 23-year are any better, because we sure don’t. One day, I plan to save up so I can find out; but the leap between the 10-year (Old RIP Van Winkle) and the 15-year (Pappy Van Winkle) was like jumping to light speed in the Millennium Falcon.

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Side #2 – Parlay Social Bourbon List

As we were tasting some of these beautiful, brown liquors, the shift manager, Oliver, came out to see how we were doing. Again, we were made to feel right at home. Both he and Kristin gave us some suggestions as to places to visit in Lexington. When we told them we had reservations at Tonys, they both nodded and told us we would really enjoy our meals. In a later post, I’ll tell you more about Tonys and the wonderful dinner we enjoyed.

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Oliver – Shift Manager at Parlay Social

We actually went back to Parlay Social a couple of afternoons later to tell them what a wonderful meal we’d had, and to try out a couple more bourbons. It was like visiting with old friends. Funny, I know that they get all kinds of visitors and regulars on a daily basis, but we were remembered. That goes a very long way in making one feel welcome.

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Back bar at Parlay Social – Check out just SOME of the Bourbons

It’s a given that we will be back to Lexington in the very near future. It’s also a given that we will be visiting Parlay Social again, too.

 

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Old Friends at Old Friends – A Visit to Great-Grandpa’s Grave

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

Great-Grandpa is buried at Old Friends? Yes. Our very first mare’s name was Permanent Cut. (If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll undoubtedly recognize the name.) She was bred by Dan Lasater in Florida. Her sire (dad) was a son of the great European champion, Ribot. Her dam (mom) was by the very good Nasrullah son, Jaipur. Even more interesting was that her grand-dam (grandmother) was by the great son of Nasrullah, Noor. Noor is buried at Old Friends.

Noor (Stallion photo)

Noor
(Stallion photo)

Here’s Permanent Cut’s pedigree

PERMANENT CUT (USA) b. F, 1981 {16} DP = 7-4-7-0-4 (22) DI = 1.93   CD = 0.45

  Permian (USA) 1971 Ribot (GB) 1952 Tenerani (ITY) 1944
 
  Romanella (ITY) 1943
 
  Pontivy (USA) 1959 Battlefield (USA) 1948
 
  Mahari (USA) 1954
Permanent Cut
(USA) 1981 Jaidan (USA) 1969 Jaipur (USA) 1959 Nasrullah (GB) 1940
 
  Rare Perfume (USA) 1947
 
  Dawn Fleet (USA) 1953 Noor (GB) 1945
 
  Monsoon (USA) 1942
 
Permanent Cut in 1989

Permanent Cut in 1989

 

Permanent Cut Noor's Great Granddaughter

Permanent Cut
Noor’s Great Granddaughter

Noor was born in 1945 in Ireland. The black son of Nasrullah was bred by the Aga Khan III. He was first raced by his breeder but purchased as a two-year-old by Charles S. Howard. If the name Howard rings a bell, you probably either read the story of Seabiscuit or saw the movie. While Noor won on the turf in Britain, he excelled on the dirt in the U.S.A.

Noor (Photo from Charlotte Farmer)

Noor
(Photo from Charlotte Farmer)

Even those who don’t follow horse racing closely probably recognize the name “Citation.” Citation was one of Calumet Farms’ triple-crown winners from the 1940s. He also had the longest unbeaten (16 straight) streak in thoroughbred racing for almost 50 years. He could beat almost every horse on any track – that was until he met Noor.

Noor's 1950 Hollywood Gold Cup (photos from "Noor: In Memory of a Champion" Facebook Page

Noor’s 1950 Hollywood Gold Cup
(photos from “Noor: In Memory of a Champion” Facebook Page

Noor (whose regular jockey was the famous Johnny Longden) defeated Citation four times, in the Santa Anita Handicap at 1¼ miles, the San Juan Capistrano Handicap at 1¾ miles in world record time, the Forty Niners Handicap at 1⅛ miles in track record time, and the Golden Gate Handicap. In the latter event, Noor conceded weight to Citation and set a world record of 1:58 which stood as an American record on a dirt track until Spectacular Bid broke it 30 years later. Citation’s times in these races would have also been records, but Noor ran faster than any horse in history up to that point.

Noor & Johnny Longden American Handicap

Noor & Johnny Longden
American Handicap

Noor - Johnny Longden up (Photo from Devora Berliner, creator of Noor Facebook page)

Noor – Johnny Longden up
(Photo from Devora Berliner, creator of Noor Facebook page)

On his way to being named 1950 U.S. Champion Handicap Male Horse, Noor beat not only Citation, but he also beat Horse of the Year Hill Prince, Derby winner Ponder, and twice overtook another Triple Crown winner, Assault. This made Noor the only horse in American racing history to defeat two Triple Crown winners. Sadly, Charles Howard died in June of 1950 and never saw his horse crowned champion.

Noor Battles Citation 1950 San Juan Capistrano)

Noor Battles Citation
1950 San Juan Capistrano)

 

Noor Wins By A Nose (1950 San Juan Capistrano)

Noor Wins By A Nose
(1950 San Juan Capistrano)

After his championship year, Noor was retired to the breeding shed. He first went to Kentucky (where he sired our mare’s grand-dam, Dawn Fleet, who was born in 1953 – the same year as I). He sired 13 stakes winners, but Dawn Fleet went on to become a very important mare and she and her dam, Monsoon, went on to be foundation mares for many, many stakes winners (not including my dear old Permanent Cut) and can be seen in the pedigrees of many top horses.

Noor on His Way to Kentucky with Trainer Burley Parke

Noor on His Way to Kentucky
with Trainer Burley Parke

Noor Arrives in Kentucky

Noor Arrives in Kentucky

Noor (What a Beautiful Head!)

Noor
(What a Beautiful Head!)

After 1954, Noor returned to the sight of his greatest achievements, California.

Noor with Trainer Burley Parke

Noor with Trainer Burley Parke

Noor was an imposing individual with terrific balance. He was very tall – over 17 hands (one hand equals 4 inches) at the withers. He was very much the same size as the amazing Zenyatta Unlike his sire, Noor was known to have a very pleasant disposition until the age of 29 when he developed equine dementia. Even Zenyatta’s trainer, John Shirreffs, became a fan of Noor. As a very young man, Shirreffs would tack a 19-year-old Noor up during the winter and ride him around the back arena at Loma Rica Ranch.

Noor Obituary (Photo from Horseandman)

Noor Obituary
(Photo from Horseandman)

He lived at Loma Rica until his death in 1974. Upon his death, Noor was buried in an unmarked grave (which was common in that era) the infield of the half-mile training track at Loma Rica. He was gone and almost forgotten by many. In 1999, however, Blood-Horse Magazine released their list of the 100 top champion thoroughbred racehorses of the 20th Century. Noor was listed at number 69. Then, in 2002 (any far later than one would think), Noor was inducted into the Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame at Saratoga in New York.

 

That was not to be the end of his story. Loma Rica Ranch was sold and a business park and residential development were planned for the land. That is when racing enthusiast, Charlotte Farmer, got involved. Not willing to see the beautiful champion remain buried under what would become a parking lot, Ms. Farmer went to work and got the wheels in motion to have Noor disinterred and brought to Old Friends in Georgetown, Kentucky. 

Charlotte Farmer (Noor's Greatest Fan)

Charlotte Farmer
(Noor’s Greatest Fan)

In March of 2010, using ground penetrating radar, Noor’s remains were located. On August 26, 2011, the bones of the great racehorse were very carefully exhumed from the earth and reverently placed in a wooden coffin. The long trek across country began. On August 31, 2011, Noor was buried with a fitting funeral/memorial at Old Friends. Ms. Farmer completed her mission of love by attending the service and seeing that Noor had a fitting headstone. I’d like to take this moment to, personally, thank Ms. Farmer for her dedication to making sure that Noor finally got the respect and resting place he so richly deserves.

 

Great Grandpa's Grave (the Amazing Noor at Rest at Old Friends)

Great Grandpa’s Grave
(the Amazing Noor at Rest at Old Friends)

This past summer (almost exactly two years later), I finally got to pay my respects to a grand champion and the great-grandpa of my beloved mare. I couldn’t help but shed tears for Noor and for my old girl. I wish I’d known Noor. He embodied all the things in a horse I’d grown up loving. He was big, black, could run like the wind, and – by most accounts – had a very pleasant personality for a stallion. He was, in all ways, a Champion.

Noor's Headstone (With Utmost Thanks to Ms. Charlotte Famer)

Noor’s Headstone
(With Utmost Thanks to Ms. Charlotte Famer)

This is the final post in my current series on Old Friends. I want to particularly thank Lorraine Jackson for her article on Noor, and Devora Berliner, creator of the Noor Facebook webpage “Noor: In Memory of a Champion.” I want to send special thanks to the amazing Charlotte Farmer for sharing her photos and research, and for her fortitude and persistence in not allowing this magnificent horse to be forgotten. As always, a huge “thank you” goes to all the wonderful people at Old Friends for finding a special burial plot where many can come to pay their respects and learn about this worthy champion.

Noor's Headstone (epitaph by Ms. Charlotte Famer)

Noor’s Headstone
(epitaph by Ms. Charlotte Famer)

Remember, it takes a great deal of money to support all the horses at Old Friends. They give the horses the kind of life they so richly deserve. Old Friends gratefully accepts donations (which are tax-deductible) and has some terrific items for purchase (some on Ebay). All of the profits go to help the horses. Please check out their website ” (www.oldfriendsequine.org ) and see if you, too, might want to be one who helps Old Friends and their tremendous mission.

 

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2013 (Sharp’s Chapel, TN)

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Eagle's Nest Mountain Awaits My Return

Eagle’s Nest Mountain Awaits My Return

Leaving Waynesville (and Eagle’s Nest Mountain) was difficult. We made a promise to ourselves that we would be back soon.

View Toward Norris Lake From Our Property Sharp's Chapel, TN

View Toward Norris Lake
From Our Property
Sharp’s Chapel, TN

From Waynesville, we drove to Sharp’s Chapel, Tennessee. Several years ago, we purchased property in Sharp’s Chapel. We own 29+ acres on a ridge overlooking Norris Lake.

Norris Dam/Lake

Norris Dam/Lake

Norris Lake (Boat Ramp From The HIghlands)

Norris Lake (From The Highlands)

Norris Lake
(From the Boat Ramp)
The Highlands – Sharp’s Chapel, TN

Norris Lake is the product of the first major project for the Tennessee Valley Authority, Norris Dam. The TVA was created in 1933 to control the rampant flooding that had long plagued the Tennessee Valley. Norris Dam held back the Clinch and Powell Rivers, and created Norris Lake.

Entrance to The Highlands Sharp's Chapel, TN

Entrance to The Highlands
Sharp’s Chapel, TN

Our property is in a neighborhood called The Highlands.

Our Dear Friends Enjoying the Rockers Grove Park Inn

Our Dear Friends
Enjoying the Rockers
Grove Park Inn

Our dear friends, the Holcombs (the couple who met us in Asheville) live in The Highlands. That’s where we met. We were happy to see their wonderful old dog, Huckleberry. I’m especially grateful for this time together because Huck went to the Rainbow Bridge not long after we were there. He was a terrific dog!

 Another reason I’m certainly glad that we got to stop and visit for a while was that we got, for the first time, to see what the view from the back of the property looks like. A local developer had purchased and begun to clear, and partition the land on the “back” side of the ridge. (This is the side that faces away from Norris Lake.) We knew the view would be good, but had no idea it would be so special. On a clear day, one can see all the way to Cumberland Gap. Sadly for us, we have put our property on the market. It just isn’t looking like we’ll ever be able to move to Tennessee and build. At least, though, we got to see the vista so we can honestly say that it is gorgeous in all directions. 

View from "Back" Side Our Property Sharp's Chapel, TN

View from “Back” Side
Our Property
Sharp’s Chapel, TN

Panoramic View "Back" Side of Our Property Sharp's Chapel, TN

Panoramic View “Back” Side of Our Property Sharp’s Chapel, TN

Continuation of Panoramic View Our Property Sharp's Chapel, TN

Continuation of Panoramic View
Our Property
Sharp’s Chapel, TN

After too short a visit, we were back on the road heading home. We had one more stop to make – Georgetown, Kentucky. We had one more stop to make. Our appointment was for the next morning, 10:00 a.m. at Old Friends (a Kentucky Retirement Home for Thoroughbred Race Horses)

 

Up Next: What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2013 (Old Friends at Old Friends)

 

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2013 (Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast – Day Two)

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn Waynesville, NC

Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn
Waynesville, NC

I realized while writing my post on the Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn that there was just too much for one post. I hope you’ll indulge me in my need to expand on this great location and all there is to do in the area.

Wonderful King-size Bed Library Suite Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Wonderful King-size Bed
Library Suite
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

First, let me tell you more about the Library Suite. It’s a huge, beautiful room on the first floor directly adjacent to the formal dining room. Meals are served in the common room, but this, more formal room, can be used for special occasions.

Bedroom Fireplace Library Suite Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Bedroom Fireplace
Library Suite
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

As I mentioned before, the bed was huge. It’s also extremely comfortable. The pillows were some of the best I’d ever slept on. There’s a large fireplace in the bedroom portion of the suite. It’s just comfortable – not at all stuffy. The paneling in both the bedroom and the bath is gorgeous.

Magnificent Jetted Tub/Shower/Dressing Area Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Magnificent Jetted Tub/Shower/Dressing Area
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

In the bathroom there is a mammoth, jetted tub and a huge, stand-alone shower. Even the ceiling is beautifully paneled. Another fireplace can warm the bathroom. This is, easily, the most beautiful room I’ve ever slept in – anywhere in the world.

Bathroom FIreplace Library Suite Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Bathroom FIreplace
Library Suite
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

We woke up to a less rainy day on Wednesday, August 21. Why do I mention the date? You’ll see. We were excited because we had on definite site we had planned to see in the Waynesville area.

Common Room Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Common Room
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Breakfast at Andon Reid was superb! It was nice sitting with people from all over the country (and world – we met a couple from Belgium). The food was thoughtfully prepared and just the right amount to start the day well without feeling overstuffed. I want to make special mention of one of the “starters.” It was a banana split! Now, bananas and I usually have a love/hate relationship. I love them, my tummy hates them. This however was a banana with fruit and flavored yogurts instead of ice cream. Delicious! The best part…my tummy didn’t grumble even once.

Wheels Through Time (Photo from Internet)

Wheels Through Time
(Photo from Internet)

Right after breakfast we jumped in the car and headed to Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley. After watching several episodes of “What’s in the Barn?” we were anxious to see this fascinating museum full of one-of-a-kind and very rare motorcycles. We don’t ride, but are both very interested in history and this place quickly turned into a must on our “bucket lists.”

Wheels Through Time Maggie Valley, NC

Wheels Through Time
Maggie Valley, NC
(Photo from Internet)

After a short drive to Maggie Valley, the museum was easily found on Victory Lane. Funny…no cars in the lot. Even funnier, there was a car coming out and someone was closing a gate behind it. We pulled in and a very sweet lady came over and asked if she could help us. We told her we were going to the museum. She got a surprised yet confused look on her face and said, “But the museum is CLOSED on Wednesdays. It always has been. Tuesdays and Wednesdays.”

After we got the car turned around, we sat and tried to figure out what in the world we were going to do next. Neither of us is interested in going to casinos. (There is a very large casino run by Harrah’s in Cherokee.) We really hadn’t brought proper hiking shoes to do any long-distance walking and the weather was still “iffy.”

Having a “smart” phone can be a very good thing. I just checked with Trip Advisor as to what was available in the area, and up popped gem mining! We had done some gem mining (with nice results) near Spruce Pine, NC several years ago. No there wasn’t anything worth thousands of dollars, but there were some really nice, cut-worthy stones. The main thing was that it was a LOT of fun! Off to Smoky Mountain Gold and Ruby Mine.

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Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine
(Photo from Website)

We walked up to the flume (water rushing down a table set up so that you can wash the dirt off your rocks to see if there’s anything worthwhile). Being the only customers there, the employees were happy to see us (it was getting close to the end of summer tourist season and well before leaf-peeper season). What a nice group of friendly, helpful fellas! We stayed for a couple of hours and washed lots of rocks. Yes, there were some gemstones, but I don’t know if any were really worth much. There were some “silver quartz” and some citrine. The citrine has nice color, so maybe, some-day we’ll see if it’s worth cutting. There is a shop attached where they can tell you what you found and if it’s worth cutting, but – unlike the mine in Spruce Pine where the cost of cutting two stones is included in the price – they charge to cut the stones. The store also has jewelry and polished stones for sale. For us though, the “hunt” is the fun part.

Gem Hunting Rocky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine Cherokee, NC (Photo from Website)

Gem Hunting
Rocky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine
Cherokee, NC
(Photo from Website)

We headed back to Waynesville and walked around town some more. I was starting to get rather melancholy as I knew our visit was coming to a close. I know I will go back to Waynesville frequently (and maybe move there someday if we’re lucky). I just hate to leave.

Walk Down to Fire-Pit Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Walk Down to Fire-Pit
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Back at Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast, we told Mark about the fun we had gem mining, and that Wheels Through Time is closed on Wednesdays. He told us that he wished we had asked, because he knew that the museum was closed and he could have saved us a trip. Yep, we should have asked, but Jim and I found our own fun. At least now, there is a definite destination for our next trip.

Sitting by the Fire Pit Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Sitting by the Fire Pit
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

As the evening was falling, we walked out to the fire-pit to spend a little more time looking at Eagle’s Nest Mountain. The bats started flying (no, not all that close to us) as the sun slipped away. The sky put on one heck of a beautiful display for my last night there. I took photo after photo, trying to capture the memory. One by one, the lights in homes on the mountain came on. It was a beautiful sight!

The Sky Blazes Over Eagle's Nest Mountain From Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

The Sky Blazes
Over Eagle’s Nest Mountain
From Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

 

Night Begins to Fall On Eagle's Nest Mountain From Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Night Begins to Fall
On Eagle’s Nest Mountain
From Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

 

The Sky Begins to Blaze Over Eagle’s Nest Mountain From Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Finally, was time to go inside. Clouds still obscured the stars, so I didn’t get to see one of the sights I had really been looking forward to. Just so you know, in Waynesville, the sky on a clear night is magnificent. Usually, one can see the Milky Way, satellites moving across the sky, planets, and shooting stars. Not this time.

 

After another fabulous breakfast on Thursday, we packed up the car and started our trip home. Mark and Kari made us feel so welcome. I know that the next time Waynesville is on our agenda, we’ll absolutely head for Andon Reid Bed and Breakfast Inn.

 

Up Next: What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2013 (Rocky Top?)

 

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2013 (Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast – Day One)

 

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Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

The Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn is in beautiful Waynesville, North Carolina. If you’ve been following my blog, you know how important Waynesville is to me. Sadly, we no longer have any close family in the area, and (as you might remember) our family’s home on top of Eagle’s Nest Mountain burned to the ground in late 1980. That left us with a question as to where we would stay for our Waynesville portion of our summer vacation. Luckily, I found the Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn on Travelocity. What a terrific find!

Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn Waynesville, NC

Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn
Waynesville, NC

Mark and Kari Barbar purchased the Inn in November of 2012. The home was built in 1902, and had been transformed into a bed and breakfast several years ago. What Mark and Kari have done is absolutely remarkable. They have somehow maintained the true feel of “coming home” and made all their guests feel like family.

Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn Carriage House

Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn
Carriage House

From the moment we drove up, I knew we’d made the right choice. The house is absolutely lovely, and the new carriage house (which used to be a dilapidated garage) is gorgeous. We parked our car in their ample (but tree-shaded) parking lot and started walking up to the house. I had to stop dead in my tracks. There, out the back of the house, in all its glory, was Eagle’s Nest Mountain. “My” mountain is the view. I had to suppress a huge lump in my throat.

Parking Area Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn Waynesville, NC

Parking Area
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn
Waynesville, NC

Eagle’s Nest Mountain
From Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn
Waynesville, NC

Our first “greeting” came from the neighborhood kitty. She had been curled up on the ample porch and sauntered down for the obligatory petting. I’m told that Kitty is not on the payroll, but perhaps she should be.

Back Porch Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn Waynesville, NC

Back Porch
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn
Waynesville, NC

Kari (who works her “regular” job from home) jumped up and came out to greet us. Mark usually is the first person to meet new guests, but he was busy mowing the ample lawn during a break in the drizzle that seemed to accompany us throughout our stay in North Carolina. She brought us in through the door to the common room which was breathtaking. The room is comfy with a whole wall of windows facing the mountain, and a beautiful fireplace. I could just imagine how nice it would be to curl up in one of the oversized chairs in front of the fire on a cold, winter day.

Fireplace & Huge Windows
Common Room
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Mark hurried in and apologized for not greeting us (which was totally understandable as he had been busy wrangling the lawn mower on the steeply sloping front yard). He showed us to our room – the Library Suite which is breathtaking!

Mark then showed us around the rest of the Inn. It has been so tastefully restored and cared for. All of the rooms are well-appointed and inviting. The basement has been turned into a game and fitness room. There are all kinds of fitness equipment, a pool table, dartboard, other games, and the only television in the house. I would imagine that this room would be a great place to spend time. It would be especially great if the weather was stormy and preclusive of being out and about.

While the Barbars were traveling in Asia, Mark learned some wonderful needlework skills which are on display in a particularly intricate piece in the stairway. He is a former school teacher and principal. He always knew that he wanted to be an innkeeper, and he is excellent in this role. Kari is still working, but they make a great team.

 

The Carriage House
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn
Waynesville, NC

We then got a tour of the carriage house which Mark painstakingly renovated into a gorgeous, comfortable hideaway. It has all the charm of the main building, but has many modern conveniences like remote-controlled blinds. I can imagine that this would be the choice for honeymooners as it is totally separate from the main house, but has access to all the amenities. It absolutely amazed us that all the renovations had taken place in less than 9 months.

Common Room
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

We headed back in to the main house and set about getting settled in our room. I can’t forget to tell you that Mark also bakes! In the common room were some delicious lemon bars for the guests, as well as full candy dishes and a small refrigerator stocked with sodas and water. No nicety was overlooked (including welcome chocolates on the bed).

Wonderful King-size Bed Library Suite Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Wonderful King-size Bed
Library Suite
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

After getting settled, we headed back out to the common room to enjoy our lemon bars and water. Another two couples were there enjoying putting a puzzle together. They had not known each other before arriving at the Andon Reid, but seemed to be old friends. The place just seems to foster friendly mingling.

Common Room Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn (Note the puzzle on near table)

Common Room
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn
(Note the puzzle on near table)

Available to all guests was a basket full of restaurant menus, and a table holding brochures from local attractions and maps of the area. Mark showed us some wonderful options for drives and told us how to find local waterfalls and beautiful vistas. We can’t wait to get back to Waynesville to take advantage of (hopefully) better weather to take these hikes. We took Mark up on his offer to call for reservations at The Sweet Onion which he highly recommended. If you read my earlier post on Waynesville, you know that we agreed!

Eagle's Nest Mountain Awaits My Return

Eagle’s Nest Mountain Awaits My Return

We decided that we had plenty of time to take a drive before dinner, and Eagle’s Nest Mountain was calling. Off we went up the mountain. I don’t think I could ever get tired of being on that mountain. I know that it has many old stories about unusual happenings on it (which I discussed in an earlier post), but it’s always felt like home to me.

 

Evening Falls Over Eagle's Nest Mountain (As Seen From Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn)

Evening Falls Over Eagle’s Nest Mountain
(As Seen From Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn)

After our drive and fantastic dinner, we came back to the Inn to plan our tomorrow. It was still rather wet and soggy outside, but the porches that surround the inn are expansive and perfectly furnished to sit and relax. I did manage to take lots and lots of photos of the mountain as night descended. It was a perfectly wonderful way to end a very happy day.

 

Up Next: What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2013 (Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast – Day Two)

 

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