Tom and Anastasia (left, looking silly) had spoken about a "cute town" in Virginia that they love to visit. When we asked them the name of the town and they said "Lexington," we were happy that it was on our route south! They were right; it is a wonderful town, home to two universities -- VMI and Washington & Lee -- and has a darling downtown section and beautiful homes and gorgeous campuses. We arranged to stay there both traveling south and traveling home.
That first Friday night, not knowing anything about the town, we had a bad-to-dreadful meal at a local Mexican place. The next morning, wandering the shops before we got on the road, I asked for a recommendation for the following Friday. We had dinner this past Friday night at The Red Hen. The meal was exquisite, and surely I would say this is one of the ten best restaurants I've ever enjoyed. If you go to Lexington (and I think you should), you must dine there. And another thing you should do is visit the local coffee shop -- an urgent email from Mrs. G when she realized we were there directed us to the place and Mrs. Heatley's blend in particular and she was right on both counts. On our second visit, Himself purchased a pound of same to bring home!
Now you know I had to visit some quilt shops while on vacation, don't you? The first one was far and away the best. Both of the quilt pictures in this post were taken there. I thought they were very nice quilts. Material Things in Hendersonville (not far from Brevard or Asheville) was easy to find and had lots and lots of fabric. I was delighted to see yardage of the new William Morris line (yes, I have the fat quarter set, but oh the joy of fondling the stuff still on the bolt!). I didn't buy any of it, but took note of how wonderful it was.
What I bought was some tone-on-tone red that I need for the back of a quilt top that is a finished flimsy but not yet a quilt.
The other thing I bought was the dresden plate tool that people all over blogland have been raving about. I've seen these dresdens popping up on blogs I admire and know that it is just a matter of time before I succumb!
The shopkeeper and her assistant were so friendly and so helpful and didn't mind a bit when I asked if I could take pictures. I'd happily revisit that shop again.
In Tennessee we visited two shops. One was in Gatlinburg, and had some very nice fabrics and lots and lots of packs of cut FQs. A very fine inventory. But, you know what? The owner never said a word to me. She was engaged in a lengthy and rather loud conversation with the only other customer in the shop and told her, "All of my business is tourists." So I guess she doesn't expect repeat business! And she didn't get any business at all from me.
In nearby Sevierville, I visited a good sized shop that had some very nice fabric. But no one said "hello" or anything else, and I left pretty quickly. This was odd; I usually think of quilt shops as friendly places anywhere, and in the South, I had pretty high expectations.
I guess I'm glad we went there, though, because it enabled us to have a very strange experience. A coffee shop on the corner was next to another store-front that was a "wedding chapel." We had seen a couple other "wedding chapels" in Pigeon Forge and Sevierville; we'd never seen anything like them elsewhere (though I understand they are prevalent in Las Vegas). After a really delicious lunch (I wish I could remember the name of the shop), I went to the back to use the restroom. And it turned out that the back was common with the wedding chapel. There came a knock at the door and I called out "just a minute." When I emerged, there was this young gal -- she must have been 18 or 20 -- carrying a plastic bag and a white dress. She went into the restroom after me to change into her wedding apparel. When we left the coffee shop, we peeked into the waiting room of the storefront chapel and saw an equally young and mighty nervous fellow in a blue suit sitting in a chair, apparently waiting for his bride. We scurried away then, a little apprehensive that we might be called in as witnesses!
But back to our vacation. When we weren't at the bed and breakfast, we stayed an rather inexpensive hotels. We figured we didn't need ambiance because we were going to be so busy that we'd only be sleeping there. The place in Asheville and the one in Gatlinburg had swimming pools and hot tubs and we really enjoyed using both amenities.
The second night in Asheville it was rainy and we were tired and didn't want to go wandering around to find a dinner spot. Adjacent to the hotel was a bluegrass and barbeque place, the Fiddlin' Pig. Neither our normal choice of music or cuisine, we went across the parking lot to have a most enjoyable evening. I hadn't had hush puppies in years, honey, and by golly did this place have good ones! Joe had barbeque and I had fried catfish and coleslaw and we had a lot of fun listening to some good bluegrass music and clapping along. Would we go back there again? Sure we would!
I wrote earlier about Brevard and what a terrific town it was. In addition to the music festival, it is also the home of Brevard College and sits just outside the Pisgah forest in Transylvania (seriously) County, the "land of 100 waterfalls." People were so friendly! The shops were so cute!
And one of our neighbors had this terrific Holstein on the front lawn. I just had to take a picture for Helen!
It was a good vacation, and, as always, it is good to be home. On Monday I'll pick up Bernina, who has been in the shop for a tune-up, and get back to work. I've also got four quilts to bind -- yes, I took them along on vacation, and stitched a total of 45 minutes!