For some of us, that could be touring homes, or visiting art galleries, or hiking in a gorgeous area with our cameras.
And, we often, I think, overlook - or forget - that we can, in many cases, do a lot of that right in our own backyard.
Case in point -
Donald and I discovered The Moses Cone Mansion when we first moved here. And we were blown away. Promised ourselves we would come back often.
Well, we didn't.
We talked about it, but there was just never time.
Then, I did the best thing I've ever done.
And I started rediscovering all the wonderful things we'd been overlooking.
And then I remind Donald what it was about these places we love.
And next thing you know, we're rediscovering them together again.
And it's lovely.
I love beautiful old homes. I love these North Carolina mountains, which I enjoy hiking in. I love pretty things.
And I love taking photographs of all the above.
The Moses Cone Mansion has all of this and more, so it's a dream come true for me.
Come take a little virtual visit with me - - - (we're going to call it "research." And actually, my visits here were, in fact, where I did a lot of my Whimsey dreaming, er . . . research).
- - - this is an excerpt from an article on the Virtual Blue Ridge Parkway Tour - http://www.virtualblueridge.com/parkway_tour/parks/293_0/
As one of the most prevalent historic attractions on the Blue Ridge Parkway, The Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is "historic splendor at its finest". For this beautiful country estate we owe our gratitude to Moses H. Cone, a prosperous textile entrepreneur, conservationist, and philanthropist of the Gilded Age. Its centerpiece is Flat Top Manor, a gleaming white 23-room, 13,000 square foot mansion.
Moses and Bertha, who had no children, rejoiced in their estate and their mountain home named Flat Top Manor in honor of nearby Flat Top Mountain. The mansion is a "wonderful example of Colonial Revival construction boasting large white columns, elegant leaded glass windows and mysterious dormers high atop the house". Building the mansion with gaslights, telephone and a central heating system was no easy task. Building materials and fine furnishings were hauled by wagon from the railhead in Lenoir, located 20 miles away. In its heyday, visitors included government leaders, business associates, local dignitaries, and visiting relatives. Among these visitors were Moses' art collecting sisters, Etta and Dr. Claribel Cone, whose premier collection of works by friends Henry Matisse, Pablo Picasso and other European artists, is now housed in the Cone wing of the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Moses died at the age of 51 in 1908. Bertha resided at and actively managed the estate for another 39 years until her death. The graves of both overlook a meadow below the summit of Flat Top Mountain.
With Bertha's death in 1947, the estate passed to the Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro. Two years later, the hospital board donated the property to the National Park Service, with the understanding that it would be known as The Moses H. Cone Memorial Park and managed as a part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a unit of the National Park System.
(wave at Donald!)
The manor is now home to the Parkway Craft Center, a craft shop of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, exhibiting and selling works by artisans from nine Appalachian states. Mediums represented range from baskets and woodcarvings to quilts and ironwork. The bookstore carries trail maps, brochures, nature books and guidebooks.
Besides being full of beautiful work by local artists and artisans, the architectural detail is exquisite.
Some of the art is pure whimsy.
Some, quite elegant.
There's lots of art glass, stained glass, sculpture, weaving, quilts and pottery.
Often, during nice weather, you're able to happen upon someone sitting on the front veranda demonstrating their craft. We've watched a spinner, a weaver, and a dulcimer maker.
I hope you enjoyed our visit!
Now, tell me, Reds, what's a favorite spot for you that happens to be right in your own back yard?