Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Don't That Just Butter Your Grits?

Last Friday afternoon, I left Houston's Intercontinental Airport on a 'Barbie' jet headed for upstate South Carolina. (You know the ones. They have one seat on one side of the aisle and two seats on the other side?)

I was going to visit my friend, Jeanene, and her husband, John, for the weekend. The reason for the trip was to attend a Women's conference with her at their church on Saturday. Really, it was a good excuse to finally get to visit her in her 'new' home. (She has been there for almost 4 years!)

Jeanene and John met me at the airport and swept me off to the big city of Greenville. From the car window I viewed their downtown and their minor league baseball stadium as they showed me the highlights.

We pulled into a park in the downtown area where we walked around a bit so I could stretch my legs. This is the view from the bridge.

A beautiful waterfall on one side and from the other you could see people walking their dogs through the park.

We left the park in time to make our dinner reservations at Soby's. (I apologize for the poor picture quality. I forgot to take a picture until we were driving away.)

It was at Soby's that I had the first of many exquisite meals in South Carolina! We ordered fried green tomatoes for an appetizer. OMG! They were amazing! As for my entree, those of you who know me well know that I had to try the regional specialty...Shrimp and Grits. It was my first experience with grits other than for breakfast. Man, my mouth is watering just thinking about them!

After dinner, we drove through downtown Greenville once again and then headed to their home for the night. We watched a video (Star Trek's newest one...I highly recommend it even if you, like me, are not a Trekkie) and then it was off to bed for me.

The next morning, we woke semi-early and went to breakfast at Coach House where I enjoyed the best pancake I have had in a long time.

After breakfast, Jeanene and I drove over to her home church for the simulcast of Living Proof Live. Yes, I understand that I flew almost 1,000 miles to South Carolina to attend a conference that was being held in Chicago by a Bible teacher who lives and ministers in Houston. I'm a woman, what else can I say?

Seriously though, Jeanene and I have attended several of Beth Moore's weekends together. We have seen her in Houston, we have attended a Living Proof Weekend in Little Rock, and three years ago we met in Atlanta to see Beth, Kay Arthur and Priscilla Shirer at Deeper Still.

Saturday we were at Simpsonville First Baptist Church which was hosting the area simulcast. Though we were in a state of the art building with air conditioning that worked beyond really well...just across the street sat a building that the congregation had built in 1913.

I just love these beautiful stained glass windows!

I can't even imagine attending a church that has been going since 1888!

After our day with Beth, we went back to J & J's house where John had graciously recorded the Arkansas/Georgia game for me. He even let me watch the last quarter before we headed out to dinner so that I could see the Hogs near defeat...and remarkable comeback, firsthand. (He had been texting the score throughout the day, so I knew the ultimate outcome.)

We had dinner at a local "Chili's" type restaurant called Fatz Cafe. I had their 'World Famous Calabash Chicken' . Pretty good...but basically it is fried chicken strips!

Sunday morning we woke early for church. It was my first time to be in a church with a full orchestra on a Sunday morning.

After church, Jeanene and I had brunch at a little house on the corner called Elegant Gourmet.

The food was good...but the Creme Brulee French Toast was DELICIOUS! I have to find that recipe!

After brunch, we drove an hour and half away to Asheville, North Carolina. She wanted me to take the Biltmore tour...and man, am I glad we did!

What a beautiful drive up through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Once we parked, we walked the path to the Biltmore estate. You walk out of the tree line to see this.

A North American castle, wouldn't you say? This place was built in the 1890's and has four acres under its roof!

This is the view from the 'back porch'.

I didn't take a lot of pictures in the house because I was unsure of how to operate my camera without the flash coming on. But, man, oh man, that place is something to behold.

It comes complete with gargoyles!

And stone statues on the side of the house!

The Carriage House and Stables are totally separate. I couldn't even get the whole thing in my lens finder.
After touring the estate and the winery, we enjoyed a quiet dinner outside at the Arbor Grill. We enjoyed a quiet(er) drive home and I fell straight into bed. After all 4:30 AM was going to come really early!

Even with a 960 mile commute, I was at work by 8:30 Monday morning.

Fall hadn't really arrived in South Carolina yet...but I did get to see the beginning of turning leaves on this little tree.
And a pumpkin 'tree' at the Biltmore winery.
Thanks for the wonderful visit, Jeanene. And thank you to all of you who took the time to read this post and take the trip with me. I hope you are beginning to see signs of fall wherever you are today!


Anonymous said...

Wonderful always always wanted to go there one of my wish places so nice to see the pictures Girl. I always thought this place looked extra special. Thanks for the trip.


klham said...

I actually have heard of this place... unlike some of the other ones you have been to, but thats only because the duggars went there :)! Glad you had a great trip.

Tammy said...

Sounds like you had an amazing trip. Loved seeing the pictures! It looks so cute and peaceful there!I really wanted to go to the Beth Moore seminar coming to Houston but it's during Colton's birthday. Are they good even with the crowd?

Fonda said...

Brenda - it is gorgeous. If you are ever near Asheville, take the day at least to tour. I really think it would take two days to see it all!

Kelli - you and your reality tv crack me up! You have also seen the name on some of the paint colors I have chosen in the past. Valspar has the Biltmore collection.

Tammy - I have never walked out of hearing Beth teach without something ringing in my heart; big crowd or small. If you can make it in November, just let me know. I missed September myself, but I really want to make the October and November events.

And in answer to the question from yesterday about dishwashing...I saw several LARGE farmhouse sinks in the kitchen 'suite'. I guess they washed by hand. (They have a room just for cooking the meat, another for breads and pastries, and another for the chef to prepare the rest of the meal!)

Allen and Rita Smith said...

We had a simulcast here in Monroe for Beth's seminar but it was the same weekend as our family reunion. I only get to see most of these people once a year and Aunt Shirley Jackson is getting up there in years. I don't know how many more she will be attending. She is the last of the "kids".

Biltmore is beyond beautiful. I went there my junior year of high school. The honor society got to go to the World's Fair and it just happened to be in North Carolina. The inside is a little gauddy for my taste but the grounds are beautiful. I can't believe all of that was for one family.

Greenville, SC looks beautiful too. I'm glad you got to spend some time with your friend even though it sounds as if it was a whirl wind trip.

Anonymous said...

I always watch them decorate Biltmore for Christmas. It is usually on HGTV or something like that. I would love to see it especially during Christmas. The main tree is 20' tall. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip to Greenville, I haven't been there since I was much younger. Aunt Fran