When I was accepted into the World of Art Showcase several months ago, we knew it would also provide a great opportunity to explore the Raleigh, North Carolina, area. We were in North Carolina in the Spring of 2012 for the Highpoint market and we were both intrigued with the area in general. We were looking forward to returning to North Carolina but by doing a road trip there and back this time, we would have even more chances to visit places that neither of us had ever been before. And since the show was set for Oct. 31-Nov. 3, we were looking forward to catching some fall color as well.
|Falls Colors outside our hotel in Raleigh, NC.|
We left for our trip on Oct. 22 and drove across Louisiana and into Alabama before turning northward toward Atlanta. Along the way we stayed over in Lake Charles, took a detour and spent a little time in Layfette where we enjoyed a stroll in the downtown, and ended up in Atmore, Alabama, for another layover. We then headed up to Georgia with the Atlanta area being our destination where we were able to visit with David's sister and her family.
After a few side trip visits in the Atlanta area to Roswell and Marietta, where we visited with gallery owners, we hit the road for our next stop, Savannah. We spent some time walking through the historic downtown area that Friday evening and would have liked to have spent more time but we needed to make our way to the next stop, which was Charleston, South Carolina.
Our next layover was Myrtle Beach, where we caught the sun rising over the horizon the next morning as we walked on t. While we would have liked to spend more time, we decided to push ahead and made it to Wilmington, NC, for our next stop. After some more gallery visits we then we hit the road for Raleigh, where we arrived on Oct. 29, a week after leaving home.
|The October sunrise on Myrtle Beach was ... breathtaking!|
|Daytrip in Hillsborough, NC|
While the World of Art Showcase did not open for the public until Friday, they hosted a VIP reception, a masquerade ball, Thursday night that featured live music. David and I donned matching masks we had picked up at a costume shop earlier in the day to get into the evening's festivities.
|Ready for Masquerade Ball!|
Sunday evening we packed up our booth, returned to the hotel for our last night in Raleigh and starting mapping the next portion of our trip.
|Pleasant surprise in Montreat, near Black Mtn.|
In case you are wondering, we did not attempt to visit the Biltmore Estate. We are putting that on our list for a return visit.
Two highlights of our time there was a visit to Black Mountain and nearby Montreat, about 15 miles east of Asheville. Black Mountain reminded me a little of Gruene but larger and with a few more galleries. But it had several cute little shops and restaurants making for what looked like a thriving business district. Montreat, from what we could tell, was more of a bedroom community to Black Mountain and is home to a college. We drove up one road until we came upon a park where we spent some time walking and taking photos.
The second day trip out of Asheville that I'd like share was our visit south west of town, about 15 or 20 miles, down to Chimney Rock. The winding road provided a scenic drive but it was the lookout over the country side and Lake Lure from Chimney Rock that made a lasting impression.
|The awesome view from Chimney Rock!|
We left North Carolina on Saturday, heading over the Great Smoky Mountains to Tennessee.
|The Great Smoky Mountains.|
By now we were getting toward the final leg of our trip and needed to home within a few days. So our objective was to make the best time we could but still enjoy the drive and attempt to visit a few more galleries along the way. We had two layovers in Tennessee, one near Knoxville, and the other near Memphis. We decided to take a detour though Mississippi, on to Arkansas where we did a few gallery visits in Little Rock. By then we found ourselves out of time and decided to head for East Texas for one last layover before making the final push for home.
We saw some jaw-dropping scenery, met some wonderful people, made some great gallery contacts and, all-in-all, had a wonderful trip. We are looking forward to returning to several of the areas for extended visits and to continue our explorations!
|Whitewater Falls in Southwestern North Carolina, just one of the many "colorful" stops!|