Chestnut Street Inn, Asheville, NC

The Inn_edited-1 (800x546)The little orange cat looked up at me through the side door of The Chestnut Street Inn. Because I had not done my homework, I did not know that this was THE Mr. Pumpkin Pie, feline resident and official greeter.

The Inn, located in the Chestnut Hill Historic District of Asheville, NC, is part of a unique neighborhood, listed on the National Register of Historic Places (1983). Pumpkin Pie’s home, built for William R. Whitson (ca. 1905 by J.M. Westall), is a lovely Grand Colonial Revival with gorgeous dark woodwork, including a graceful closed stringer stairway, arts & crafts wainscoting, and elaborate mirrored mantles.

Pumpkin Pie, resident cat at Chestnut street Inn
Pumpkin Pie, resident cat at Chestnut street Inn

Guests stay in classically elegant rooms with names like The Blue Ridge, Biltmore and the Chestnut Hill Room. There is also the option of the roomy and beautifully appointed Beau Catcher Suite adjacent to the main house. With a whirlpool tub, separate living and bedroom areas and gas fireplace, this is a perfect accommodation for a romantic‚Äďor working getaway, and is where we stayed!

Innkeeper LaDonna and her amazing staff have an easy camaraderie with guests and one quickly appreciates the artistic and holistic spirit that embodies Asheville‚Äď and keeps people coming back. The Chestnut Street Inn is a must!

Happily, Pumpkin Pie and I made peace in the warm sun on the side porch. The wide front porch with rockers invitingly queued is a favorite spot. If you like, there is a basket of soft blankets tucked neatly inside the front door so you can rock and watch the birds in the early morning, protected from any chill in the air.

Asheville, North Carolina

An amazing Thanksgiving is a memory and we soldier on… My nephew (via LA), his mom (who drove from Oak Ridge, TN) and my partner and I met in Asheville, NC for the long holiday weekend. Photos first…stories later :). Christine

Inspired by a comment:

A fantastic blog:, introduced to those of us who follow Frizztext, and authored by Patti K., inspired me to post- yet again…sorry!!! Patti lives in, and photographs NYC. After a quick e-chat, she asked me what parts of the city I liked. Many!! Wish we could visit more often…

St. Augustine and Tarpon Springs, Florida

St. Augustine and Tarpon Springs are unique and disparate cities. I must confess that Tarpon Springs charmed me with a gritty, kitschy charm. The Greek industry of sponge diving lives on, as does the feel of culture and heritage.

Located in Pinellas County, Tarpon Springs has the highest percentage of  Greek Americans of any city in the US. The first Greek immigrants arrived to this city during the 1880s, when they were hired to work as divers in the growing sponge harvesting industry. In 1905, John Cocoris introduced the technique of sponge diving to Tarpon Springs. Cocoris recruited Greek sponge divers from the Dodecanese Islands of Greece, in particular Kalymnos, Symi and Halki leading, by the 1930s, to a very productive sponge industry in Tarpon Springs, generating millions of dollars a year. The 1953 film Beneath the 12-Mile Reef, depicting sponge diving, takes place and was filmed in Tarpon Springs. (Wikipedia)

St. Augustine, founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer and admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, it is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and port in the continental United States.

My view:

Tarpon Springs

St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach

Family: Girl goes South

Thank you family!

We are a geographically scattered lot. Though begat from five siblings who grew up in Alfred, New York, the ‚Äėextendeds‚Äô (three generations and counting) live coast to coast.

The stark contrast to this is my partner’s clan- all Minnesotan, most in the Twin Cities. There is no need to catch up after months- or years. It is difficult to explain this dilemma to people who have not lived it.

When I go to see ‚Äėmy people‚Äô, the rough edges and deepest emotion of family bloom.

This year I traveled to St. Augustine, Florida for the newest tradition- the 2nd Annual Southern Thanksgiving, hosted by my 2nd cousin Jess.

There is some inevitable name fumbling and awkwardness, but only for a few moments. Jess handed me a glass of Médoc and one of the Boston terriers dropped a tennis ball at my feet and, well…it is family- blood. The green bean casserole tasted better somehow. The cranberry relish superlative. The laughter and jokes are, well, genetic.