Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Lights and Champs (and Segways), Oh My!

I'm just going to come right out and say it: the North Carolina Department of Tourism would be in awe of the weekend we just had. After I post this and word gets around, I expect some sort of certificate of recognition or plaque to be presented.

We had friends visiting Charlotte for their very first time. They came in from San Diego and we had 54 hours (or so) to show them the town. Which basically meant a chance for me to do all the fun things I have been wanting to do around this joint but haven't had an excuse. First, the boys wanted barbecue, so we did that. Pulled pork sandwiches and cole slaw and the whole lot for lunch. But let's fast forward (which I rarely do where food is concerned, so that should tell you something). I have two words for you: Segway tour.

If you haven't ever ridden one of these things, they are so much fun. Super fun. Crazy fun. And we spent an hour and a half touring Uptown, Bank of America stadium, historic Fourth Ward, etc. on our new sets of wheels Friday afternoon. Did it rain? Yes. Was it cold? Indeed. Did I make the tragic decision to leave my coat and gloves in the car? You know it. And it was still one of those grin ear-to-ear experiences.

That would be me, geeking out on my Segway. If I ever go back to work, I am going to give tours. On Segways. The bad news is that you can never have a good hair day wearing a helmet. The good news is that you can never have a bad hair day in one either.

I told our tour guide that I wanted a Segway, and he informed me that you can buy them on Amazon (duh...I could have told him that) and they go for $6,000. Yeah, I wanted one but I didn't want to trade my car in for one. So if anyone is looking for Christmas gift ideas for me, I'm just floating it out there....
Friday evening our adorable neighbors joined us for dinner, and then we limoed it (that is probably not a word, but it should be, so use it in a sentence before the end of the day and let's get the ball rolling on it) to McAdenville, North Carolina a.k.a. Christmastown USA. McAdenville has a town population of about 650 people and more Christmas spirit than Whoville on Christmas morning. Every house, every tree is dripping in clear, red and green lights and the whole town is a soundtrack of church bells and carols. Richard and Amy (adorable neighbors) even had the genius to bring champs. I'd like to thank Heather from Real Housewives of Orange County for teaching us to call champagne "champs." It just classes it up even more.

I could stop there and you would be slightly impressed. Maybe even a little jealous. But I wasn't finished (although apparently I was finished with taking pictures, because I don't have any photographic evidence of what followed). Saturday we loaded up the sleigh and took our guests to Asheville for a candlelight Christmas tour of the Biltmore Estate and a stay at the Grove Park Inn.
If you like beautiful mansions, Christmas decorations, fireplaces, hot toddies, cozy spaces, the National Gingerbread Competition (it is held every year at the Grove Park and the only thing no one has done <yet> is make a working gingerbread space shuttle) and/or good times, you would love Biltmore and the Grove Park. If you don't like any of those things, well, you would probably forget yourself and wind up having a good time anyway.
After a brunch of goat cheese grits, fresh biscuits and fried egg BLTs (and a sweet potato pancake or two), it was time to send them back to the West Coast. I think we sent them back with a little more Christmas spirit and maybe even a little dose of Southern-ness in their back pockets.
Christmas lights and champs and Segways, oh my! Consider this town painted.

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