From My Carolina Home

Quilting, cooking, reading books, gardening, crafting, sewing, photography and more


Driving the Devil’s Whip

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day, warm and clear, the best time to take a car club drive.  This time the drive leader had us meet in Swannanoa for an event that was supposed to be two weeks ago, but was postponed.  We drove as a group from Swannanoa to Old Fort, and then formed up again to begin the winding, twisty and steep drive up into the mountains by a road locals call the Devil’s Whip. It is Hwy 80, going north from Hwy 70 out of Old Fort. This road is 12 miles with 160 curves, some switchbacks, and rising in elevation 2000 feet in those 12 miles.    There are huge signs telling trucks not to take this route, then this small one that says “steep winding road”, yeah, no kidding!!

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

But, taken carefully, it is a fun drive with a lot of gorgeous scenery, trees meeting overhead to form green arbors over the road, and flowers blooming.  Well, that’s what I thought was good about it, DH preferred the curvy road driving.  I did try to get more pictures, but you have to trust me that it was a beautiful road, but difficult to get a good picture while going around all those curves.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

At the top, we turned left to enter the Blue Ridge Parkway east of Mount Mitchell. The parkway was busy, as usual for summer weekends, especially on clear days. Several tunnels are on the way to the peak of Mount Mitchell, where we were going to have a picnic lunch.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

The higher elevations have rhododendrons blooming profusely along the road. I tried to get pictures of them, but few turned out, and even this one that is clear doesn’t show you the mass of blooms we were seeing.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

Reaching the summit at Mt Mitchell, the guys were pretty happy with the drive. Three of our members brought their British motorcycles.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

Just look at the mountain view past the cars!  The orange car on the left is a Tesla, all electric and quiet as a ghost.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

The temperature on the top is often cool to cold, even in summer, but this day was nice. It was in the low 70s, and sunny, perfect for a picnic.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

The views were clear too. Often it is so foggy up here that you cannot see these vistas.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

I love seeing all the layers of smoky blue-grey that define the Blue Ridge mountains.  This elevation is in the parking lot, and you can walk to the highest point of 6,684 feet via a paved walkway.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

Heading home, we enjoyed the parkway views.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

I kept trying to get more rhododendron shots, the purple-pink color was so pretty.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

There is nothing like a day on the Blue Ridge Parkway, it never disappoints.

What did you do for fun this weekend?


Garden Jubilee 2017

Memorial Day weekend is the annual Garden Jubilee in Hendersonville, the largest annual plant show and sale in the western North Carolina area.  We go most years, and this year I was on the hunt for more perennials, and I really want a clematis for the lattice in the front garden bed. Local nurseries and garden centers bring their best and the displays are a delight for the eyes.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

We came up at the middle of Main Street, looking north you can see lots of plant vendor tents along with arts and crafts vendors. The crowds were substantial as the weather was wonderful, but it wasn’t hard to move around and see all the flowers, veggies, and herbs on offer. We were there in the morning before it got too hot. The large trees are permanent plantings, along with flower beds here and there. Note the wonderful architecture on the buildings peeking over the trees.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

Looking south from the same intersection, lots more vendors, people, and gorgeous plants for sale, with a distant view of a mountain. Hendersonville sits in a valley between two ranges. There were eight blocks of Main Street blocked off for foot traffic only, vendors along the street on both sides and lots of things to see.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

Lots of people were purchasing rolling carts, and filling them up.  I liked this purple flower, but I didn’t see where it came from.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

There were several vendors with ‘yard art’, I thought about getting one of these chickens, but ultimately didn’t.  Cute though.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

Lovely selections of all kinds of flowers and colors were all along the street on both sides.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

These light purple verbenas are a nice pairing with the deep purple petunias. Every plant vendor had wonderful ideas for putting plants together in baskets and pots. Aren’t those hydrangeas gorgeous!

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

The next vendor had lovely red salvia flowers in pots.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

And one more down was showcasing pink and white.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

I came very close to buying this dalia. But the vendor was honest enough to tell me that it wouldn’t survive our winters without being dug up and stored. Not something I really want to do, I want to plant some perennials and just let them take over. But it is a beautiful flower.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

One of the craft vendors was offering barn quilts. These were so neat, some like this one were done in reclaimed wood. Others like the yellow, black and grey were made of tiles.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

I think one of these would be super over the garage door on our taller garage.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

There is a quilt trail starting in Henderson county, and I’ll try to get around to seeing some of those soon.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

The next plant vendor had a pink Mountain Laurel. I’ve lived here for years, and thought it only came in white! After I saw this one, I saw more growing wild. I just never got close enough to the wild ones to see they were Mountain Laurel.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

I was tempted by these foxgloves too, remember the ones at Brookgreen Gardens? I may try one eventually, they are biennials, reseeding every year, with new plants blooming the second year.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

I took a lot more photos of flowers, but I’ll close with this one of a huge display of hanging baskets.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

So, what did I buy?  Only one plant, a Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomato, and I hope grows well.  I picked up some coupons to visit local growers next week.  Being local has its advantages, I don’t have to walk around with a bunch of plants, I can get them a bit later.  What did you do over the weekend?



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Quick Trip to Chattanooga

Last week another opportunity came up to take a really fast trip with DH.  He had a small job to do in Chattanooga, driving over one day and back the next.  It was too good to pass up, so again I packed a bag and tagged along.  We drove over in the morning, and there is nothing like going over the high pass on I-40 in the morning light.  The mountains are just gorgeous green now!  There was a bit of overcast sky part of the way, but no rain.

Hwy I40 - 11

Hwy I40 - 16

Very little traffic for a good part of the way made for a relaxing drive.

Hwy I40 - 17

Arriving in Chattanooga just after lunchtime, I dropped him off, and went shopping all afternoon.  I started at an enormous bookstore called McKays.  You have to see it to believe it.

McKays Books Chattanooga 1

Reading and video are on the ground floor, audio cds and vinyl are on the second floor balcony that ran all the way around the building.

McKays Books Chattanooga 2

This is the hardback fiction aisle, it keep me occupied quite a while.  Then the cookbook aisle was calling.  I know I was there at least 2 hours!

McKays Books Chattanooga 5

The result of my browsing was a small haul, with an author signed, first American edition, hardback copy of the Jeffrey Archer book I was missing for just $7. All the other books ranged in price from 50 cents to $1.50. Yep, that little!  The cookbooks , Best of the Best, were just 50 cents each.  I plan to attempt making paper soon, and found a book on that subject as well. The other books have been on my hunt list for a long time, over 2 years for On Rue Tatin!  Finding treasure is exciting, but finding it at $1 was a special thrill.

McKays Books Chattanooga 7

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the thrift stores, but that wasn’t a fruitful venture.   The one I spent some time looking for was closed on the weekday that I was there.  Several more thrifts were visited but nothing spoke to me.  Back at the hotel, I asked the nice, and very helpful young man named Rhett at the front desk for a recommendation for dinner.  We were directed to Mount Vernon, a Chattanooga institution since 1955.  As luck would have it, it was only about 10 minutes away.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 9

Rhett had given us a coupon for a free appetizer of fried green tomatoes that came with a horseradish sauce.  Yum!!

Mount Vernon Restaurant 1

DH and I both had fish, mine was salmon with a lovely garlic and parsley butter.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 2

He had grilled haddock, and we both got the squash casserole.  I’ve been working on a squash casserole recipe at home, and I’ll be posting that soon.  I want to make it one more time to be sure I have it the way I want it.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 3

I liked the ambiance of the place, so inviting with low lamps and nice decorations in the lobby.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 7

So many times, older restaurants like this get stagnant and stale, but not this one.  The music was low, modern jazz.  It looked like it had been updated with soft colors in yellow and blue with off white trim, warm and elegant but not dated.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 6

Service was outstanding.  The menu was fresh and on trend with locally sourced food as much as possible.

Mount Vernon Restaurant 5

The next morning, while DH was working again, I drove up to Lookout Mountain and was surprised to learn that there are no lookouts. I am spoiled by the Blue Ridge Parkway with its many overlooks and free parking areas to take pictures of our magnificent views. But, the only way I found to get even an idea of the view was to park at a meter regulated space, and try to get a picture across a private garden of the valley beyond.

Lookout Mountain 2

It looked like a lovely space, but it was posted as private, and surrounded by fencing, with the entrances gated and locked.

Lookout Mountain 3

There are a few attractions to see, but they were really pricey and didn’t have views. I thought the underground caverns would be fun, along with seeing a very high waterfall that was in the caverns, but I wanted to do that with DH, not by myself. So, I went down to the Riverwalk.

Tennessee Riverwalk 5

It is a beautiful area, clean and nice for a long walk on the Tennessee River.

Tennessee Riverwalk 2

Heading back toward the area where I had parked, I spotted a blue heron on the walk.

Tennessee Riverwalk 6

Amazingly, he wasn’t afraid of me at all.

Tennessee Riverwalk 8

I asked him what his thoughts were this fine morning, but he didn’t care to share them.

Tennessee Riverwalk 9

Walking a bit further the other direction, there are bridges for cars and pedestrians, along with the lovely shoreline scenery.

Tennessee Riverwalk 11

I also visited a really wonderful quilt shop, I’ll show you that with the next Be My Neighbor block.  Picking up DH, we decided to have lunch before beginning the drive back home, spending barely a day in Chattanooga.  I am certain we need to go back again, there was a lot to do, and I want another meal at Mount Vernon.  On the way home, we stopped in Knoxville at the other McKays Used Bookstore, and yes I found a few more books, just as inexpensively too.  This was a really fast trip, but enjoyable with a nice bit of time to just talk while in the car.  I left my laptop at home, and just enjoyed the scenery and the time with my dear husband.

Have you made any quick trips like this?



Brag About It

Foodie Friday and Everything Else


Take Me Away!



A Trip to Myrtle Beach

In between all the shopping and quilting and walking at the gardens, I did get some time on the beach in Myrtle Beach. DH and I walked along the shore a couple of evenings, watching the birds and the waves. The nice thing about this area is that it isn’t wall to wall people. There are visitors but it isn’t crowded.

Myrtle Beach ~

These pictures were taken in the state park on the shoreline. It was evening, after DH had finished his work for the day, so the light isn’t the best.  Remember, we are on the east coast where the prettiest pictures are at dawn.  This time we were not staying at a beach hotel so I couldn’t get the sun over the water.

Myrtle Beach ~

Seagulls vied with pigeons for tidbits on the beach.

Myrtle Beach ~

This little guy wasn’t afraid of us, but decided to scratch his nose when I decided to take his picture.

Myrtle Beach State Park 2

We walked out on the pier where people were fishing. It was lovely looking back at the shore.  DH used to spend some time in the summer camping in this park when he was a kid.  He had lots of memories of the fun they had.

Myrtle Beach ~

Looking down into the water, I saw a sea turtle but didn’t get the camera out fast enough. A minute later, I did get a picture of a shark. It is under the water in the upper right of the photo.

Myrtle Beach ~

Sunset was over the land, and the clouds made an interesting view.

Myrtle Beach ~

On another day, I went to the beach in the middle of the day. In the distance, there is a parasailing parachute.

Myrtle Beach ~

There is something about toes in the sand that is so relaxing.

Toes in the sand

Bubbles and broken shells in the receding water made interesting patterns.

Myrtle Beach ~

The colors here would be an interesting inspiration for a quilt, mostly shades of white and grey with a touch of apricot.

Myrtle Beach ~

Looking back toward the hub of Myrtle Beach where the big hotels are located, it isn’t crowded.  Of course, Myrtle Beach proper has its touristy side, with garish shops hawking towels and beachwear, but the northern end of town is more peaceful and relaxing.  When you get to the community of North Myrtle Beach, there are free parking lots about every half-mile, and beaches are a lot less crowded.

Myrtle Beach ~

I found a quaint shopping area, little shops and restaurants on a pier-like setting, called Barefoot Landing.

Myrtle Beach ~

It was so pretty, with fountains and large pots of flowers.  The architecture of the buildings is typical of the beach community.

Myrtle Beach ~

There were large pots of mixed flowers all over the piers, with many benches to sit and eat or just relax.

Myrtle Beach ~

I saw this while I was at a stop light. Looking up I was a bit surprised to see King Kong with an airplane!! It was on top of the wax museum, and had to be somewhere close to 40-50 feet high, over the building!  I’ve never seen anything like it, so I had to show it to you.

Myrtle Beach ~

Walking along the beach again in the early evening later in the week, we found a Garden by the Sea.  Marigolds and pansies were blooming profusely.

Gardens by the Sea 1

Beautiful stonework retaining walls holding more flower beds.  Some had not come into bloom yet.

Gardens by the Sea 2

I know this post is getting long, but there is so much to show you! There were more garden spots with lovely places to sit and enjoy the view, some public and some connected with the resorts.

Gardens by the Sea 6

This garden had wonderful foliage in purple shades.

Gardens by the Sea 3

This little spot had a quaint fountain.

Gardens by the Sea 7

It was so nice to walk in the evenings after dinner.  We had a couple of really outstanding meals and I’ll show you those tomorrow.

Have you had or are you planning a beach vacation?

See these links for more about my Myrtle Beach adventure –

Quilting Myrtle Beach

Thrift Store Shopping in Myrtle Beach

Visiting Brookgreen Gardens

Myrtle Beach Foodie


Brag About It!

Celebrate Your Story

Take Me Away Travel Party

Share Your Cup



Quilting on the Grand Strand, part 2

Picking up from yesterday, the Grand Strand Quilters meeting was so much fun. I really enjoyed making new quilter friends, but had no idea what would happen next. One of the charities the Grand Strand Quilters support is the Quilts of Valor program. I didn’t get this quilter’s name (with the microphone) before the end of the meeting, and her quilt would be very nice for the veterans, but I don’t remember if she said who it was for.

Grand Strand Quilters 13

Batting is cut at each meeting for finished tops, here an Anita’s Arrowhead with patriotic borders.

Grand Strand Quilters 1

After the meeting, while I was chatting with members, Joan came up to me explaining that she was the QOV coordinator for the group as well as part of the national organization. She wondered if I would be willing to quilt some tops for them. She said they have a backlog of 150 quilt tops ready to be quilted, but a serious lack of longarmers willing to help. I hesitated a moment, knowing that there would be some logistics involved, and I just couldn’t do them by mail. But she already had a plan. It seems that about a third of their members are snowbirds, spending the winter in Myrtle Beach and the summers up north. Some go through my area twice a year. So, if I took some quilts to do, then in six months or so, someone would be coming through to pick them up. Well, then, sure!! Knowing I had a bit of stuff from shopping, I agreed to take 10. Joan ran home, cut batting for 10 quilts, packed them up in 5 large bags, and met me at my hotel (with her charming husband, Jim) to hand them off.  They completely filled the back seat of our rented Jeep. I think this will become a regular thing for us!  So, I think I may have become an honorary member of the Grand Strand Quilters, at least I’d like to think so.  Yes, I’ll share them with all of you as I put them on the frame for quilting around my other projects.

Grand Strand Quilters QOV

There are two really wonderful quilt stores in the area, and I visited both, along with a Crafter’s mall where one of the vendors had lots of fun fabrics and notions. On Tuesday, I drove to Murrells Inlet to Accent Sewing. What a wonderful store!! There were fun fabrics, lots of notions and thread, classroom space and machines.

Accent Sewing 3

I chatted only a little with their longarmer who was busy with a quilt right then, so I didn’t want to bother her too much. All the ladies were so friendly and helpful. Diane helped me find a pebble fabric for my Be My Neighbor quilt to use as the streets.  The owner, Sheryl, was so nice and helpful too. It is a bright and colorful store to visit, I wish I could do their mini quilt of the month quilt along, the samples were just joyful!

Accent Sewing 2

Then on Wednesday, I visited Quilting on the Beach, where again I met Barb and Anna, two lovely, friendly ladies willing to chat a bit. I spent the most time with Maureen, their longarm quilter as she worked on this beautiful quilt.  The piecer, Anne, was there too, getting a lesson in what a longarmer needs.  Just look at how perfect all her points are on those triangles!  As usual, I picked up a new-to-me, stupidly simple, brilliant idea for dealing with quilt backings that are too small. She uses long straight pins to secure a piece of fabric to the edge, allowing the longarm more space so it doesn’t bump into the clips. As she rolls the quilt, she moves the bit of extra fabric.  Why didn’t I ever think of this?

Quilting at the Beach 2

Pretty store, lots of fabrics!! When I mentioned the Be My Neighbor quilt, Barb found another pebble fabric in lighter colors, so I got some of that too. I’ll show you those tomorrow.

Quilting at the Beach 4

Then, down the road a bit was Homespun Crafter’s Mall, with new crafted items and vintage treasures. The fabric vendor had a lot of choices too. I understand this is a relatively new expansion for the vendor.  This dealer mall satisfied both my quilter self and my vintage side.

Homespun Crafter's Mall 3

So, that was my quilting adventure in Myrtle Beach.   If you missed part one of Quilting on the Grand Strand, click HERE.

Do you look for quilting fun when you take a trip?

More adventures in Myrtle Beach posts –

Myrtle Beach Ocean and Gardens

Visiting Brookgreen Gardens

Myrtle Beach Foodie

Thrifting Myrtle Beach

Sharing with these link parties…

Whoop Whoop Friday

Finish It Up Friday

Main Crush Monday

Freemotion on the River