I said we wouldn’t come home until Wisconsin cleaned up its act and now one day’s drive from home and you throw us a blizzard? I guess it’s too late to turn back now.
We left Hilton Head Island two days ago and have been swinging north through North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. Our first night got us to Asheville, North Carolina. Nestled in the Appalachians, it is a music city with great restaurants and one incredible gem, the Vanderbilt Mansion called The Biltmore. The tour took us most of the day as the house, all 250 rooms and 43 bathrooms sits on 8000 acres including a farm, village and winery. The house tour was set up as an audio tour with you being treated as a guest of the Vanderbilts being given a tour of the house before the festivities begin. The rooms are set up with mannequins in period dress adding a sense of realism to the tour. This was one of the best if not thee best tour I’ve ever been on.
Late that afternoon, after an extensive wine tasting that got us just loose enough to buy more wine than we have ever purchased at one of these things, we headed north again on our way to Lexington, Kentucky. Arriving late, we unloaded our luggage at the hotel and pretty much crashed for the evening. That is not before I answered several emails and did some road work for the first hour only to realize that the reason everything seemed so dark was that I was still wearing my sunglasses. I might add that I had driven the last half hour coming into town after dark and wearing those same sunglasses. This by itself might speak to being tired, but my darling wife never noticed. Kind of makes me wonder if I can trust her evaluation when I ask her if I look presentable and she replies in the positive.
This morning we headed to downtown Lexington where we stumbled on to a historic homes walk and the childhood home of Mary Todd Lincoln. The homes were for the most part restored and were serving as private residences. Many were incredibly well done. We also learned that Lexington was the home of The Transylvania University! I guess they have to prepare vampires somewhere. Seriously, it turns out it was a prestigious school of higher education established in 1789.
We finished our walk with a tour of the childhood home of Mary Todd Lincoln. the tour guide was very good and gave insights to her upbringing and life I had not realized. Their blended family spawned 17 children. As Kentucky was a slave state and the Todd’s had multiple slaves, the Civil War completely divided the family. Eight of the sons fought for the confederacy, while five sons joined the Union Army. Meanwhile the sisters split between North and South resulting in a truly “divided house.” The end result was a deep rift between family members as well as the tragic end for several of the sons. Mary’s life was filled with extensive tragedy and left her in later years fighting deep depression along with a period spent institutionalized for a diagnosis of insanity.
Our trip is drawing to a close but not without a wealth of memories and experiences, let alone a couple thousand pictures. Beware, if you ever cross us, we may just force you to sit through the entire slide show.