"" Writer's Wanderings: The Snowbird Migration

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

The Snowbird Migration

Cottony fog swathed the trees in the early morning as we left Beckley, West Virginia. Beckley was our first overnight stop after leaving home and making a quick call on our kids in Plain City to exchange Christmas gifts. 

Our migration this year would be a little different since we had decided to leave a bit early and make a stop to visit the Biltmore Estate. We'd never been and after doing some research and watching A Biltmore Christmas on Hallmark we were excited about visiting. 

From Beckley we headed to Asheville, North Carolina. The Appalachian Mountain range offers some spectacular views when it's not foggy. Several times we caught a glimpse of valleys but most were filled with clouds that had settled in with the weather.

Thankfully it was not snowing. We've been through that area when it snows and it can be treacherous especially if it's windy as well.

The Appalachians were eventually replaced with the Blue Ridge Mountains as we entered North Carolina and neared Asheville. We found our favorite hotel chain, the Hampton Inn, and checked in for our two night stay. Why not stay at the Biltmore Inn or the Biltmore Hotel? Price. The prices for a room at the Biltmore Inn started at $730/night. It went up to a start of over $1000 if you stayed on that Saturday. It was, after all, the busy Christmas season and the prices reflected that. Decorations would only be up through January 7.

Indeed it was busy, the busiest time of the year according to locals. The traffic was horrendous that afternoon and especially congested where the entrance to the estate was. We were glad our tickets for the next day were in the morning and resolved to leave as early as possible to get into the grounds.

The historic Biltmore Village was not too far of a walk from our hotel and we figured it would be a quicker walk than a drive. The weather was nice and sunny, a little cool but tolerable. The village was several blocks of historic homes that have become little shoppes and after a late lunch, we walked around the area and explored some of them.

Then we decided to walk over to what was listed as the visitor center for Biltmore. After waiting at several long lights in order to cross the streets by the entrance, we finally made it only to find that the visitor center was nothing more than a gift shop for all things Biltmore. Across from it however was another building where you could buy tickets and we thought we might get more information.

We had to walk completely around the building before we found the little office with a friendly lady behind the counter who told us that it indeed was a busy week and everything was sold out. Bob inquired about the Candlelight Christmas Evening and except for a very late time, all of that was sold out as well. Between the extra price (our tickets were already over $100/each) and the late hour, we declined.

After the long walk back, we took some time to rest. It was Thursday, Thursday Night Football! And the Browns were playing. Bob had found a place where Browns Backers met to watch the Browns' games and we headed off for a late dinner and to watch the game. It was a fun time and actually a nice meal. We split what the bar called salad in a jar. You choose your ingredients and it comes packed in a quart sized mason jar. That with some spicy pimento spread which seemed to be quite a thing in that area and a Browns win made the evening perfect.

The next day would be a trip back in time.

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