I love the pockets of rural throughout the south. In our little town, nestled between the Piedmont and Sandhills regions of North Carolina, you can draw a circle half an hour out from any big city and drive out into nothing but kudzu and cicadas. This path is in a meadow about ten minutes from our house. Our adventurous son and I were taking photos with a variety of digital and film cameras, ranging from our Nikon and Canon DSLRs to my old Seagull medium format, and his little Rollei 35.
The North Carolina mountains are dotted with stunning vistas and beautiful little hamlets. Our trip to Asheville last summer to see the Chihuly exhibit at the Biltmore Estate was just part one of the weekend; the second part was meeting family and friends to celebrate a big birthday. We met in Mars Hill, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and fell in love with it.
We’ve been to Asheville a thousand times, and to the Biltmore at least a dozen, but last summer we took my mother to see the Chihuly exhibit. I have mixed feelings about it.
First of all, my mom has two knee replacements that make lots of stairs difficult for her. Most of the Chihuly pieces were in gardens or corners where you had to climb lots of stairs … so the exhibit was not ADA-friendly at all. The Biltmore’s solution was to put people in buses and drive them through the grounds so you could look through the glass in passing. But nowhere on any of the materials did it state limited access–so hundreds of dollars (ticketing for five of us, plus parking) and hours later, when we arrived after a lengthy drive, we discovered walking through the beautiful first floor of the Estate that she wouldn’t be able to see much. So, #fail, Biltmore Estate, #fail. Secondly, I have mixed feelings about Chihuly’s work. I think exhibits should all state “from the studio of Dale Chihuly,” in an effort to give credit to the artisans working on his vision. That said, there were some really lovely pieces. I’ll go back to Biltmore, I’m sure, but for the Estate itself, not a traveling exhibit.
North Carolina is one of the most geographically diverse states in the US, ranging from the mountains to the sea. We’ve got the highest point on the east coast (Mt. Mitchell) to the west, and the mighty Atlantic Ocean to the east. The Wright Brothers made the world’s first flight from Jockey’s Ridge. Whenever we have a chance to spend a long weekend in Asheville, we take it. It’s a fun town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with a vibrant arts scene, great food, along with the lovely French Broad River AND a big chunk of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We were last there in 2014. While our son was running his ass off at a cross country camp in Arden, we were hiking through the Pisgah National Forest and enjoying a Gateway Kölsch from the French Broad River Brewery.
I love to capture reflections along our journey. I noticed it for the first time while we were in Barcelona, leaning against a wall around the corner from where Picasso grew up. While looking back at images from the day we noticed the reflections, and then started finding fun ways to capture ourselves. It’s a fun way to remember what we were up to. Our son has started incorporating it into his adventuring, too.