Take the Long Way Home

Late last week I attended a legal conference.

Legal conferences are not usually a serene, enchanting, pleasant affair.

But this one surely was. It wasn’t the conference that was serene, it was the venue where it was held. And my trip back home.

It was in Asheville, North Carolina at the Grove Park Inn.

Autumn was in the air.

Leaves were beginning to turn from green to red, yellow, orange.

Pumpkin Spice coffee.



Life is tough, I tell you.

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Grove Park Inn was built in 1913 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In order to complete it in one year, 400 men worked 10-hour shifts six days a week.  Huge granite boulders, some weighing as much as 10,000 pounds were brought to the hotel site with mules, wagons and ropes. Do you see all those boulders? wowzer. As a rock lover, I found this place to be seriously beautiful and charming.

There are two fireplaces in the huge lobby, one on each end. They were so large I bet 10 people could stand comfortably inside each one.

Do you notice those words on the stone to the left of the fireplace opening?

It says:

Ain’t that the truth?

Rocking chairs everywhere. This is a place that invites relaxation. Sit down, take a load off…

It felt like a sanctuary for the soul.

And hey, there’s no place I’ve ever seen this.

Red plaid golf nickers and a beret to match.I took that photo of the guy in the fancy golf outfit and then thought I’d take a “selfie” ’cause I was looking mighty fancy myself.

Like my cowgirl boots? PS No cows had to die for these. All fake, fake, fake.

The room.

Purty nice!

And the view from the room.  This is the backside of the Grove Park Inn.

But all that wonderfulness is not the subject of this blog post.

The subject is Taking The Long Way Home.

Ever since I moved here a little over a year ago, I often take the Long Way Home.

I take side roads, country roads, out of the way roads.

Bumpy, one lane, no guard rails with big drop offs, dirt country roads.

Roads that make me hold my breath as I come around a blind turn.So, on my way home from this trip I saw a sign “Blue Ridge Parkway ahead”  and then this beautiful stone overpass with another sign beyond it (that brown sign says “Parkway.”)

I whipped right in there at the last minute, wondering then if it would be open with the government shut-down and all. It was!

My theme of this trip was autumn. I had discovered Micky-D’s Pumpkin Spice Latte on the way to Asheville. And before I saw the Blue Ridge Parkway sign, I had just filled my tank with gas and picked up another Pumpkin Spice Latte. I was ready to roll!

Now, two things working together meant that I wasn’t going to make any stops on the Parkway. First, I’m having car problems and can’t always get my car to start after I’ve turned it off. Second, I was ready to see my Hubs and Daughter. So, instead of stopping at any of the overlook pull-offs (and there was a ton), I just took photos from the driver’s seat as I drove.

Obviously, I got a lot of photos that looked like this:

And this:

But I also got some nice “out of the passenger’s window” shots. Come with me down the Blue Ridge Parkway…

Now that’s a great spot for a picnic!

(that’s a bicycle rider ahead)

Just in case you haven’t seen enough, I posted a short video on my blog at


(excuse the type-o’s in it; I made it hurriedly.)

So that’s the Long Way Home. I encourage you to take the long way home next time you get a chance. Take a different route and see some things you’ve never seen before. You don’t have to go far from home to see things from a different perspective, things that might broaden your horizons. Take a different path than the one you know and see where it leads you….

Talk to me.

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl (living in the country, learning to slow down, learning to linger), Rebekah

  1. carol branum says:

    Becka,You are a very lucky girl! carol

  2. Denise S says:

    beautiful looking hotel! loved the pictures and watched the video, all very pretty. are there lots of drop offs, is the road close to the edge? I’m sort of a afraid of driving on roads like that so that’s why I’m wondering!

  3. Meredith says:

    Good Morning! Your post made me remember how lucky I am to live in the foothills of the Bue Ridge Mountains! The Blue Ridge Parkway is just a short drive from my home here in Virginia. And oh, the Grove Park Inn! My husband and I spent a weekend there before my daughter was born, it will always be a special place for me, and I would love to go back! Thanks for taking us " the long way home!

  4. Patricia says:

    Take the long way home……really hits home with me! I do this all of the time and sometimes have my camera and sometimes not but it is always worth it. Today I have the day off and a lot of cleaning to do but also it is shaping up to be a beautiful fall day so I might clean a little and go explore at a new waterfall that I have never been to. My sister loved that song "Take the Long Way Home" so that caught my eye.

  5. maureen says:

    Hi Rebecca,

    You’re so right to "take the long way Home". Several weeks ago my husband and I did that on the way back from Estes Park, CO. We took the back roads home and it’s a good thing we did. We can savor the memories of a landscape that has forever been changed by the recent floods we’ve had. Many of buildings and turn-outs are no longer there. It will certainly be a different view when the roads are reopened (whenever that will be!). It’s funny how life and landscapes can remain the same for years and then be changed in an instant. What is amazing is that a diversion dam designed almost a century ago held, saving countless lives and destruction. Kudos to the designers and craftsmen of long ago! I certainly want to visit that hotel and area of your blog. The Smokies are on my bucket list. Beautiful!

  6. Dianne says:

    Rebekah: One year hubby and I drove the entire Parkway and camped along the way. It is so beautiful. I remember a snowy night visiting the Grove Park Inn. It seemed magical.I can never get enough of mountain views and country roads. Thanks for sharing you trip.

  7. Patricia says:

    I forgot to say I loved your photos and the ride through the Blue Ridge Pkwy. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Mary Lou says:

    Rebekah, we were crossing paths this weekend. I, to Jonesborough for the 41st International Storytelling Festival, and you to Asheville. The drive up I-26 just takes my breath away. I thought about you and wanted to take the circuitous route and view your neck of the woods, but had to get along home. Someday, yes, someday, I too, am going to take the long road home .

  9. Joan says:

    Oh my Oh my heart is JUMPING!!!! I was so privileged to drive from Springfield, TN, to Ashville and back. Your pictures have brought back all the wonderful scenery and the smell of the Blue Ridge Mnts. I like our Rockies but oh them thare Mnts. are home to me. The fog, foliage, Biltmore, Grove Park Inn, the town of Ashville – all the history – oh my so glad you got to do the Gateway. And let me tell ya those are some boots you have there!!! Thanks for the fun trip. God Bless

  10. Myra Jean HAll says:

    No pictures of their underground SPA. Is it not there? I have always wanted to go to it.
    Love the Inn when they decorated for Christmas and have those 6 ft logs blazing. Along with the gingerbread house competition.
    They also have ghost hauntings!!!

  11. Jan says:

    I think that once I reached a 50-something age in life, I really did start taking the long way home, or as I like to call it, ‘the scenic route’. We must take time to unwind, wander, and enjoy! Just yesterday I took the scenic route to my weekly workout class. I found a lovely new walking trail, just minutes from my house and since I just discovered the sport of Nordic walking, I will definitely pop over there…

    Lucky you to have stayed in such a wonderful hotel. I am also a lover of anything stone!

    Happy trails!

  12. Adrienne says:

    As a former full-time RVer, I tried to always take the long way home, the road less traveled (a la Blue Highways), and look for the small, little-known-except-to-locals places. Aren’t they wonderful gifts to treasure in photos?

  13. Kim says:

    I don’t get too many perks at my job but The Grove Park Inn is one of them! My bosses gift my husband and I with a Spa Package / long weekend at The Grove Park every year for Christmas. We love it! So awesome.

  14. Margaret says:

    We just took the long way home from Statesville, NC to Kansas. Took us 3 days across N.C., S.C., TN, & MO to get home and like you said the leaves are just starting to turn. The countryside changes back on the slower roads. You get to see how the local folks live and the crops of cotton, soybeans, corn, etc. Plus all the scenry of "trees". Living in KS and NE most of my life it is amazing the miles and miles of trees you all have back East. Tunnels of trees down the roads as you drive compared to open spaces of miles and miles of view in the Western states. But great to see other places in USA. However did get a little upset when even the "trailheads" were blocked off by the government. Maybe next time we will have time to stop and see the Historical sites.

    Well have to check out that historic Grove Park Inn. Looks like it ranks up there with the Yellowstone Park Inn for historical Inns.

  15. Carol in NC says:

    Before we moved to our farm we lived only a couple of blocks from the Grovepark. Sometimes when walking our dog, a giant Newfoundland, we would end up there and ‘park’ him with the valet guys then go sit by the fireplace and drink coffee. Definitely the long way home! Don’t know if they’d let us do that now,lol.
    If you didn’t get a chance to visit the spa this round, coming back is a must! A bargain really for one of the top spas in the country, because for the price of a simple manicure you can go early, stay ALL day and enjoy the different pools and saunas, drink tea, and read a book in the ‘quiet room’. It’s a fun mother/daughter day and super relaxing.

  16. Karin says:

    We have driven the entire length of the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway many times and hope to do so many more. It’s beautiful at all times of the year, but autumn is truly the best. If you ever get the chance, take a few days to drive and visit all the overlooks, trails, places like Mabry Mill, Natural Bridge, Linville Falls, Peaks of Otter, and visit the delightful little towns along the way. It is so worth the time.

  17. bobbie calgaro says:

    Absolutely love the Grove Park Inn and traveling the Blue
    Ridge. Have mad that trip many times. Staying in Asheville is one of my husband’s and my favorite things to do. I know how blessed you felt to make that journey.

  18. Nicole White says:

    I LOVE that Parkway. Lucky you live near it. I had to go turn on Rodney Atkins "take a back road" ‘put a little gravel in your travel’ ‘I need a curvy, windy, twisty road to nowhere’ ‘get lost and get right with my soul’ Thanks for the pictures of a place close to my heart, but now far from where I live.

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