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Biltmore Estate Asheville, North Carolina. Image © Joe Geronimo 2013

Biltmore Estate Asheville, North Carolina.
Image © Joe Geronimo 2013

This Thanksgiving our family decided to unstuff the traditional family bird and venture south in order to visit our friends in North Carolina for the holiday weekend. Three years ago our friends Sharon and John had retired to North Carolina with visions of warmer weather. However cool Canadian air must have followed us down that never ending Interstate 81. Does the State of Virginia ever end?

Leaving New York Tuesday afternoon it had just begun to snow. Sixty miles to the south snow had changed to rain, a steady rain and that would be the recipe for the first 367 miles to Harrisonburg, VA. Our road weary heads rested and we’re once again on the road. Weather was still chilly but the rain had passed making the final 268 miles to Kannapolis, NC easy. We arrived under the warm rays of the sun to much fanfare. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and catching up.

Thanksgiving morning began early for me as I was to meet my friend Kaye-Lani at 0630 in Cornelius, NC for the Lake Norman 10K Turkey Trot. Our goal was to just have fun and not worry whatsoever about time, that is exactly what we did. Kaye-Lani’s husband Andrew was there to cheer us. After the race a cup of Joe was in order at Summit Coffee in the small college town of Davidson. . Parting ways, I returned to celebrate Thanksgiving with Julie, Michael, Max, Sharon and John. The food was delicious and this bird was completely stuffed. After dinner Julie and I ventured out to witness the crazies lined up at Walmart and then we did the unthinkable, we went in! I was totally ashamed as I swore to myself I would never shop on Thanksgiving. Hopefully I learn from my mistake.

Friday again began early as I went for a 7 1/2 mile run and after breakfast we did some black Friday shopping returning to Davidson to meet up with Kaye-Lani, have some coffee, shop and lunch. At this point Julie, myself and the boys ventured west to Asheville in order to check into our hotel. We were scheduled for an 8 O’clock candle light tour that evening of the Biltmore Estate decorated for Christmas. And this my friends is where we cross one item off our preverbal “Bucket List”. The Biltmore Estate of the late “George Washington Vanderbilt” is the largest private home ever built in America. The home opened to family and friends on Christmas Eve 1895. We have dreamt for years to visit Biltmore all decorated for Christmas. You see Julie and I love Christmas, not only for all the traditions, glitz and glamour but for what the spirit of Christmas represents.

Saturday we returned to our friends home in Kannapolis. That evening we were treated to a firework show, some dinner and one heck of a Christmas light display at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Yes we actually had the opportunity to drive on the track. A great way to end a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Sunday morning we were on the road back to New York. Making great time only to come to a screeching halt at the NY/PA border. It took us and hour and a half to go from the border to kamikaze curve with all the Thanksgiving traffic. Twelve hours later we had arrived home safe and sound and I am thankful for that!