Mom and I were privileged to travel to Tennessee last week to visit Hannah at college while the Old Buzzard held things down here at the Manor.
Day One: With a lavishly illustrated yet woefully inaccurate map in tow, we ventured down country roads and dirt trails in search of quilt blocks on old barns. Some of our efforts were rewarded, others turned to rabbit trails. Either way, we enjoyed each other's company and commented tirelessly on the breathtaking scenery.
We stopped in a small town to visit the oldest and longest functioning covered bridge in America. This handsome devil was the welcoming committee.
Hazy, cloudy weather and the promise of a big storm. The smell of rain wafting in the air.
A grandma and grandchild happy to be reunited. Eager chatting in the car. Questions from us. Stories from her.
The view from inside the bridge.
A necessary stop on our way by. I've been dreaming of their sweet tea ever since my last visit to Tennessee. They know how to do it right. Also discovered it is best enjoyed alongside an order of Pickle-O's from Sonic, a delicacy that our Texas Sonics sadly do not provide.
Each turn in the bend more beautiful than the last. A warm color palette spread across the land, glowing radiantly under the coolness of the blue sky.
Beauty. Everywhere. Intoxicating beauty.
More photo ops than any good spirited teen deserves. She was patient with me and my great exuberance over the leaves and pumpkins.
Papa...this one's for you. Don't you think our bells would look nice set against this kind of backdrop?? Tennessee bells are very lucky.
Next stop: Campus tour. Oma's first time to see the school. A rainbow appears in the sky. A magical welcome indeed.
The church Hannah attends.
Raindrops on roses.
Quite easy to fully understand why Hannah loves this school so very much.
Day Two: Drive to Ashville, North Carolina to tour the Biltmore estate. Oma's first time there.
Lunch! The margarita pizza was to die for.
Gardens decked out in all my favorite colors. Like a quilt of flowers spread out upon the grounds.
Vibrant blooms begging for attention. Every centimeter of the sprawling grounds meticulously manicured. Made me think I could take up gardening. Then I remembered that my black thumb of death could never prompt such boastful blossoms. I only grow weeds, and I don't even do that well.
Nary a weed to be found here.
The saddle shop.
The blacksmith shop.
Cornelius (Edith and George Vanderbilt's daughter) and her beloved St. Bernard.
Day Three: Farmer's Market, where we encountered this talented and incredibly personable woman. A basket maker by trade, and an inspired artist in every sense of the word. We had a lovely visit.
She graciously posed for photos while her hands quickly and rhythmically wove.
If only her baskets would have fit on the plane. I could think of countless uses for such treasures.
City Hall. Decked out.
The ten commandments still posted by the door.
I couldn't get enough of the beautiful white steeples on all the country churches.
Final Stop: A visit to the dairy farm which is home to Hannah's roommate.
Here he is. The star of the show. The Bull.
Handsome, no? A bit intimidating as well. His rather imposing size inspired me to keep my distance.
The property was beautiful. Love abounds on this farm. Two generations living side by side and working together to nurture this land and the animals who graze here. A home away from home for my daughter; an answer to our most sincere prayers. The kindness these folks have shown Hannah could never be tallied, and the sweetness of this family is as stunning as this farm they are blessed to call home. So glad I got to visit.
Tennessee speaks to my soul. The physical beauty of the land, the simple kindness of the people, the promise and excitement that composes campus life. This time away with my Mom and daughter was a treasure of great sorts.
And now I'm counting the days until Thanksgiving break.