Sunday, October 9, 2016

Way Down Upon The Swan*na*noa ………

Oops, I guess that tune in my head was "Way Down Upon The Swanee River". Sorry for the confusion. :-) . So, where is the Swannanoa River? It is in one of our favorite places -- Asheville, North Carolina. We spent 6 days there as we were moving on our way toward Florida. This was our 4th time visiting Asheville in the past 5 years. So clearly we like it. And it is a convenient stop to and from Florida and the Midwest so we are likely to visit there again. And what about the Swannanoa? Well, we were backed up to the bank of the river at the RV Park where we stayed.


We didn't see the need to visit the Biltmore again. If you want our take on the Biltmore along with pictures, then you can check out the following link from when we blogged about it in April 2012:

We took a couple drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The parkway runs from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in the south to the Shenandoah National Park 469 miles to the north. It was a public works project of the Franklin Roosevelt administration. It was a beautiful drive even if we only drove small parts of it. We were a bit early for peak Autumn color, but from what we have heard, we likely would not have secured a camp space if it had been.



And of course we took in some breweries. Asheville has the greatest concentration of breweries anywhere east of the Mississippi. Our guess is that the culture of moon shinning fits very well with brewing beer. Asheville's brewing culture has allowed it to land some of the best craft breweries of the west as they grew to need an eastern brewery to serve nationwide demand. Sierra Nevada and Oskar Blues already had added their second breweries in the Asheville area but the latest to do so -- New Belgium (probably best known of the beer brand Fat Tire) -- recently opened its second brewery right on the banks of a river in Asheville. No, not the Swannanoa, the brewery is on the banks of the much larger French Broad River.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Daniel Boone Country/Frankfort, Kentucky

Of course one who writes "The BooneDocks" would want to pay respects to the Daniel Boone who founded the first white man settlement in Kentucky and blazed the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap of the Appalachians by which many other settlers of mid-America passed. We did this by visiting the grave site of Daniel Boone and his wife Rebecca in a cemetery in Frankfort, Kentucky -- the capital of Kentucky.


Daniel and Rebecca Boone actually died and were buried in Missouri. But the remains were subsequently dug up and reinterred in a hillside grave site high above the Kentucky River. There is some question if the remains of Daniel really were moved as he may have been buried at the foot of Rebecca's grave rather than at her side. One anthropologist contends the remains in Frankfurt really are of a slave.




So, are the BooneDocks descendants of Daniel Boone? Well, we obviously love to blaze the trail traveling about the country just as Daniel did. But we are afraid that is about the only connection. Daniel Boone was of English and Welsh descent. Our Boone heritage in the new world dates back to 1741 when Johann Diel Bohne of Germany arrived on a ship in Philadelphia. Within a generation the Bohne name had been changed to the English Boone version. So, in all likelihood we don't have a blood connection to Daniel.


While in Frankfort, we also toured the State Capitol building and viewed the Governor's Mansion and the floral clock on the capitol grounds. It was pretty much your typical capitol building with House, Senate, and Supreme Court Chambers within a stone building featuring a rotunda and various statues of famous citizens. The floral clock was particularly impressive as it was a giant flower pot suspended at an angle on a pedestal over a fountain.



Click on any picture to make it larger.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Bourbon Trail

Kentucky is well known for something beyond horses and that is bourbon whiskey. Bourbon is distilled mainly from corn and is aged in oak barrels. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is an association of whiskey distillers that offer tours at their distillery locations. Brands of the various members include Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, Wild Turkey and Four Roses.

We toured the Buffalo Trace distillery, which was the closest one to the location where we were camped. Although not a formal stop on the Bourbon Trail, it is definitely one of the old order of distilleries in Kentucky. Some of their whiskey brands include Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, and Blanton's. You can see the layout of the distillery complex and view live cameras in the following link:

Our tour did not include the stills as there was a separate hard hat tour going through that area, but we did get to see specialty bottling, the barrel houses, and a tasting. Our favorites were the Bourbon Ball candies. They have a bourbon-laced creamy center, covered in chocolate, and topped with a pecan half. Yummy! We went to the Rebecca-Ruth candy factory where they are made and bought a pound box of them. We are trying not to touch them until we are back in Florida when we can share them on very special occasions.




Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Horsing Around In Lexington, KY

From Columbus we moved one State south to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. What is a Commonwealth and why does Kentucky call itself one? Commonwealth basically means a political community founded for the common good of its people. It does loosely relate back to the days of British colonies and rule. Kentucky wasn't a colony of Britain, but it was a part of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Commonwealth moniker apparently stuck when Kentucky separated from Virginia. The few States that call themselves Commonwealths have no special status vis-a-vis any other State, it's just a part of history reflected in the official name of the State.

We had driven by Lexington on I75 on a few occasions. It was one of those places where you say, "one day we will find the time to stop here for awhile." This time we did. Kentucky is known for horses. And the horse center of Kentucky is the greater Lexington area. One major theme of our visit was to experience a bit of that horse culture.

We did a few different driving tours to see the bluegrass, board fence, rock wall horse farms of Lexington.



  We spent a good part of a day touring the Kentucky Horse Park, somewhat of a theme park of man's relationship with the horse. It is a two-square-mile working horse farm that holds various shows and competitions as well. There was a horse jumping competition going on during our visit. There are two museums on site -- the Museum of the Horse, an affiliate of the Smithsonian, and the American Saddlebred Museum. The Park showcases many of the various breeds of horses of the world.




Another horse related stop we made was to Keeneland Farms. It is famous in horse circles for two reasons -- its racetrack which many regard as the world's finest and as the premier horse auction venue of the world. There weren't any races going on at Keeneland during our stay, but they were conducting their all important Fall sale of yearling thoroughbred horses -- where potential future Triple Crown race winners are sold. We were able to sit in on part of the auction. After recently watching a 4-H auction of animals in a sawdust ring in a barn, we were blown away by the sale facility at Keeneland. While watching we made sure we didn't make any sudden body movements and thereby purchasing by accident a Thoroughbred horse. We saw one sell for $150,000. We heard earlier in the week a yearling had sold for $3 million. But we saw one horse sell where the auctioneer practically had to beg to draw out a winning bid of $1,000.


Click on any of the pictures to make them larger.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Last Summer Visit to Columbus

After Labor Day we proceeded to our third and final stay in Columbus with little grandson Victor. We got to watch him two full days on each of our final two weeks there. It was nice spending some real quality and bonding time with the little guy. The new news between our Columbus visits was that Victor had his hair cut for the first time. The curls now are gone and he looks so much more grown up.


We all went out for a belated 65th birthday dinner for Gary as we had been in Michigan on his actual birthday. Victor celebrated by crawling up to the booster seat which earlier had been set aside in the corner of the back of the booth. And I was able to snap a picture of the Boone Boys.


Victor did have a very special message for his Grandpa Boone.  Click on the following link:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sister's Birthday/Michigan Wrap Up

Once again, I am behind in my blogging.  So let’s get at least the beginning of the month caught up.

My younger sister turned 50 this year (she is the one in the pictures "wearing" the bunny ears). We planned our schedule this Summer so we could be in Michigan for Gary's 5K race and me to be around for my sister's birthday. And I wasn't just around. I threw a birthday party around the old campfire for her (albeit "camped" at the Wayne County Fairgrounds). But we really did have a campfire.

My mother and my older sister came as well and of course Gary was there too. We got all caught up, solved all the world's problems, and had a nice birthday celebration. I cooked out and grilled chicken and had a meal with all the fixings. I even made a birthday pie -- the Boone family recipe for sugar cream pie. And to finish it off, we had toasted marshmallows over that campfire I mentioned.



We finished our stay in Michigan after Labor Day. We spent a total of 5 weeks there this Summer. It was nice to be "home" with family and friends. So on to Columbus (from where we actually already have left) and more time with Grandson Victor. I'll have to get that blog done before at least we move on from our current location.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Gary Isn't The Only One To Lose Weight

Gary isn't the only one of us who has lost weight. Actually, I have lost just about as much as he has. We joke that between us we have lost the equivalent of a person.

Most of Gary's weight loss has been through diet and exercise. Mine came off a little differently as I had two life events in the past year that affected my lifestyle. One was the loss of my Dad. That was an emotional and stressful time and I lost weight because of it. And the other was my shoulder surgery and subsequent recovery. You just don't eat a lot when you are in the kind of pain that accompanies a shoulder surgery and the pain medicine took away my appetite as well. And the physical therapy got me active..

But Gary and I are both eating much more wisely. We eschew the buffets, sweets, and snacks. So just how much did I lose? Well, a woman never tells. But from the pictures below you will get the idea.