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North Carolina Mountains - Beautiful Vistas & Great Retreats!

scifan57

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Dinner - Storie Street Grille

Last night, we ate at the Storie Street Grille at a corner on Main Street (most of the downtown is about six blocks of Main), usually a pick each time we visit - like a small bistro from the web pics; varied menu with appetizers, flatbreads, salads (can add a protein), entrees, desserts, and of course some specials for the evening, AND one of the best values that we frequent.

We were not that hungry so just had a main entree - Susan the Marinated lamb leg skewers, tabbouleh, feta, lime & scallion aioli, cherry ginger chutney, micro cilantro which she really enjoyed; I had a special seafood dish for the night, i.e. MahiMahi grilled with a delicious creamy risotto containing a touch of cheese, asparagus bits, pancetta, cilantro, and a few other minor ingredients - enjoyed.

Again written mainly for those reading this thread that might be visiting the town - recommended. Dave :)
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You have a talent for picking some of the most interesting places to visit. Keep it up.
 
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giradman

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You have a talent for picking some of the most interesting places to visit. Keep it up.

Thanks Scifan.. yet again for your interest - of course, many of these are return visits to the same places but we always try to find 'something' different to do. We've not visited a NC winery since 2019 or before because of COVID - at the Banner Elk Winery, the 'tasting' had changed, i.e. instead of standing at the bar, given a real glass, and talking with the server, I choose a 4-wine flight and she (in this case) did 2 oz. pours in small plastic cups and I took them to a table to sample - we might visit several old favs on the way home (posted before) and will be curious what they have likely changed? Dave :)
 
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giradman

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Spa for Susan & Fitness Center/Walk Around Chetola Lake for Me

Well, our last full day - this morning, I took Susan to the Chetola Spa, while I visited their 'new' fitness center; about the same size, but smelled 'just opened' and the equipment was all new; spent about 45 mins w/ a treadmill and some weights then headed outside for a walk around Chetola Lake, which I do on each visit. As usual, their flower arrangements were beautiful w/ American flags still up for July 4th; swans and several types of duck were in the lake and a couple of guys were fishing (have never ask any if they catch fish but the lake is stocked with trout and bass). Pics below all from this morning - tonight our last dinner will be at Timberlake's restaurant. Dave :)
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giradman

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BRAHM (Blowing Rock Art & History Museum) - Part I

For the afternoon, we decided to make a return visit to Blowing Rock's Art and History Museum - I've posted numerous times in this thread about past exhibits - our last journey there was pre-COVID. The current exhibits are described below; enjoyed them all but especially intrigued by the metalsmiths. In 'The Alexander Collection' a number of famous American painters were represented, including John Singer Sargent, he was one of the top portrait painters in American art - I put in a combo painting of the Vanderbilts by him from the Biltmore Estate, since that has been an oft common topic for me. Dave :)

Current BRAHM Exhibits
Transformation: Changing photographic technologies and new materials in recent decades - drawing from international collections across North Carolina.
Metalsmiths of North Carolina: Variety of metal fabrication methods and designs of North Carolina artists.
The Alexander Collection: Pieces from the museum’s permanent collection highlighting American impressionistic painting.
The Janet H. Wilson Collection: Exhibits Wilson’s collection of women artists who studied with Elliott Daingerfield, forming ‘The Philadelphia Ten’.
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giradman

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Timberlake's Restaurant - Last Dinner

For our last night's dinner, we decided to eat on property at Timberlake's Restaurant (which has been discussed in previous posts in the thread along with its namesake, the landscape realist artist Bob Timberlake) - several pics of the outside and part of the inside - quite rustic with plenty of outdoor themes.

The menu varies each time we come w/ different specials - a sampling HERE. Susan and I had the identical meals starting w/ a house salad with a wonderful in house bleu cheese dressing; then elk tenderloin medium rare (we order elk online at home and love the taste, less gamy than venison, and a healthy red meat); the meal came w/ a selection of sides - we had the basil polenta cake. Again for those visiting, a recommendation. There is a small bar w/ local drafts and eating options. Dave :)
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giradman

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October 2021 - Return to Blowing Rock and Chetola Lodge

Well, we got our 'booster' COVID shots a few months ago and decided to return to Blowing Rock for 3 nights - the leaves are changing color - will be eating out (restaurants have the usual precautions but hiring as elsewhere has been an issue). Today we drove to Bass Lake (shown many times previously in this thread) but the parking was FULL! I guess people up to see the colors and trying to recover from 'cabin fever' like us. So we returned to the Chetola Lodge and walk around their lake - took some pics with the different colored leaves - lot of animal life around, i.e. geese, swans, and various ducks. Most of the images speak for themselves, but I especially like the last one with the different colored leaves reflecting off the lake near the dam. Not sure what we are doing tomorrow but today was beautifully sunny and in the mid-60s Fº - Dave :)
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giradman

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You’ve got some wonderful fall scenes there.
Hi Scifan57 - the colors indeed are beautiful - today we drove the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Linville Viaduct - the colors were beautiful around Grandfather Mountain; unfortunately, the parkway was crowded and difficult to stop, plus overcast and intermittently rainy - however, I made a 5 min video from the car - had to downsize and upload to YouTube, so not the best of quality, sorry. Attached are a couple of web pics showing the colors around the viaduct - today was quite not as dramatic. Dave
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giradman

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BRAHM (Blowing Rock Art & History Museum) Visit After the Parkway

Well, we rarely miss stopping in at the BRAHM Museum - 4 new exhibits were on view, two of which we really enjoyed. The first was the Potter & Patrons: The Gorelick Collection - this was a pottery collection of numerous pieces all made in North Carolina (first set of images below) by an assortment of artists, although Seagrove Pottery was prominent; for those liking pottery a visit to Seagrove is a must - more HERE - the town is near Asheboro and the NC Zoo, so easily a two day stop.

The second exhibit was Emergent Landscapes: Mountains, Music, & Improvisation in the Paintings of Abie Harris - the remaining images below (click on both of the text explanations for enlargement, if interested). Dave :)
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giradman

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Thanks for the drive through fall Colors.
Well, my iPhone XR recorded the parkway drive at 4K and looked great on my laptop in the condo, but once downsized and put on YouTube, the resolution degraded considerably - BUT, the colors 'live' looked fantastic. Thanks for your comments. Dave :)
 
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giradman

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Dinners on our fall trip to Blowing Rock -😎

We had some excellent dinners our 3 nights in Blowing Rock - I usually post restaurants in case someone in the area or visiting might want some eating suggestions. Just a few pics below and menus w/ some of our entrees boxed; also click on their names for a website link.

Our first night, we dined at Twigs Restaurant & Bar - quaint and rustic and only our second time there - started with excellent house salads and a choice of homemade dressings (my bleu cheese was quite tasty) - Susan had the New Zealand lamb chops, and I the trout sautéed in a key lime beurre blanc sauce (outstanding); shared a creme brûlée and decaf coffee from a French press (impressive).

Next night a new restaurant to us and the area (opened in 2020), the Café Violette - French oriented with an assortment of options as seen in the menu. Susan had the octopus entree (I grill octopus at home, so a favorite of ours) and I the night special, baked red snapper on an okra/squash ratatouille and polenta (not on the menu shown); we shared a special dessert for the night, and will definitely return!

Our last night, an old convenient favorite at the Chetola Lodge, i.e. Timberlake's Restaurant - Susan had the lamb chops with a veggie side, while I once again had their elk loin medium rare - the menu shown is an older one and items change each time we eat there, which is often my choice for the last evening. Dave :)
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giradman

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Unexpected stop on the way home today!

As discussed earlier in this travelogue, there is a cluster of North Carolina wineries around the intersection of HW421 and Windsor Rd, including Laurel Gray Vineyards, one of our favorites - BUT, have not made a visit in over 2 years because of COVID restrictions.

Well, the winery has been opened for a while - masks inside and not bar-like wine tastings of yesteryear, but we knew the gal at the bar and she let us taste a few - I stuck w/ their whites and bought a half case of three (2 bottles each): Pinot Gris, Viognier, and Chardonnay (barrel fermented) - some pics below, including the wines purchased sitting in my basement wine corner (a shadow of itself compared to several decades ago!). We need to start returning to our local wineries and putting some money in their coffers - not sure how many may have even closed? Dave :)
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