Monday, December 18, 2017

Gingerbread House Competition at the Grove Park Inn

We finally made it to the Grove Park Inn to view the gingerbread houses!  We have been trying to find time in our December schedule for the past few years to travel to Asheville, NC to see this spectacular resort and gingerbread competition.

The Grove Park Inn dates back to the early 1900s.  It is a grand building that has hosted many American presidents and celebrities throughout the years.  Just to wander the halls of the common areas and read about the many famous personalities that have walked the corridors, slept in the guest rooms, dined in the restaurants, and drank in the view of Asheville is mind boggling.

We followed the Gingerbread trail around the common areas of the resort and stood in awe marveling at the craftsmanship of the "houses".  These spectacular works intrigued both young and old.  The entries were from all ages of bakers.  We found favorites from every category and decided there is no way we would want to judge the competition.  How they decided upon an overall winner is beyond me.

 The above house was done by a fellow home school friend of ours.  She is
10 years old and this is her second year entering the competition.
She is an aspiring baker.  I believe one day we will see her creation
win the Grand Prize!

The winner of the competition was the top photo.  You can see that it is next to impossible to pick a winner.  These were only a fraction of the "houses" on display!

We stopped at the Great Room and went out on the balcony to take in the view of Asheville.  The resort had a lovely winter scene display, complete with a sleigh, to take a festive picture.  We made sure to get pictures of everyone!

After touring the gingerbread competition, we returned to the Great Room and ordered hot chocolate. It is absolutely the best hot chocolate we have ever had.  It comes in a commemorative glass mug, so the nine dollar price tag isn't that bad considering you leave with a nice souvenir.   We sat in the rocking chairs, in front of the fireplace and enjoyed every last drop!

We will definitely take the time from now on to visit each year and enjoy another round of hot chocolate!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Wicked Plants, Winged Wonders, Oh My!

Our home school group visited then NC Arboretum and had a great time! We took in the Wicked Plants exhibit.  It was an excellent display of a house that had rooms filled with information on poisonous plants, invasive plants, stinging plants, etc.  Each room had plenty of hands on experiences and some intriguing mystery solving components.  It was perfect way to kick off the month of October!

We marveled at the Winged Wonder exhibit.  Looking for butterflies, caterpillars, and eggs on the plants in the greenhouse.  Fairy houses were tucked neatly into the plants and added to the atmosphere.  We learned about the different butterflies and their life cycles.

We explored the gardens of the arboretum.  We admired both the plants and the art sculptures on the grounds.

After lunch, we hiked the nature trail.  Stopping to read the signs and observe nature.

It was a great day spent with friends!