23 July 2008

North Carolina and Back

Mike and I drove to Charlotte, North Carolina to attend a wedding this past weekend. In typical summer roadtrip fashion, we rolled down the windows for the windblown look shown below.

Windows down...9 hours

I brought a new project for some road trip knitting. I'm using my cashmere to create a Pi Shawl, which is a 72" diameter circular shawl. Knitting this was quite fitting, since it is in Elizabeth Zimmerman's "Knitter's Almanac" as her July project, and she specifies that it is great for long trips. It is an ingenious little pattern, but I think it may need some beading on the fringe to spice it up!

Pi Shawl

I was so excited to see my parents and finally give my mom her completed Lace Ribbon Shawl in person, as a belated birthday present. She really liked it, and wore it to the wedding. My friend, Sammie also loved her green scarf.

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On Saturday, we visited the
Levine Museum of the New South, which talks about the growth, agriculture, culture, change and evolution of the South. It was hard to see certain broadcasts, photos and read documents, but also beneficial in my opinion. We can't ignore the truth in the past or present.

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My favorite part was dressing up in the vintage outfits, and learning about the process of cotton from the farm to the fabric.

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There was also an exhibit called
Corapeake, which was a photography show documenting a community of people in a small rural area in 1995. It was beautiful, sad and touching. At the end, they invited you to write a poem about your own hometown. My parents and I made friends with a second grader and helped each other write poems about Virginia, Florida, the Philippines and New Jersey.

On Sunday, we visited
The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Construction started in 1895, and it was the largest residential building in the United States. The home itself was 4 acres, and the grounds were a whopping 8,000 acres. It took us nearly 3 hours to tour the house, and I especially liked learning about the historic renovations.

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It was fully equipped with electricity, had an indoor swimming pool with a call buzzer for martinis, the first indoor bowling alley, heated plumbing for their indoor tropical garden, and 250 rooms. Most honorable of the Vanderbilts was that they wanted to enjoy their wealth and benefit the community, not at the expense of the community. They provided free milk to the community members, cooking classes and paid New York City wages although they were in North Carolina. Each maid was given her own room which was heated, spacious, had windows and brand new furniture specifically ordered for them. That is pretty impressive, especially when you consider the time period.

After touring, we needed pastries just to build up strength to hit the gardens!

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What a beautiful state you are! Thanks for having me, NC!

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5 comments:

Lisa said...

That is some fancy 'do the wind cooked up for you!!!

You guys certainly packed alot into one weekend. Looks like a great time....Biltmore...ahhhhh.

andrea said...

looks like a great weekend! The Pi is lookin' great, by the way.

sulu-design said...

Yay for your mom getting her shawl! And I'm all for spicing up fringe with some beads. You need beads? I got beads.

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

I want to move into the Biltmore!

ambika said...

I only learned about Biltmore recently and the details here are just fantastic. I had no idea the Vanderbilts were so generous with their servants. Sounds like a great getaway.