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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international mushroom consultants. About living in Italy, the Veneto area near Venice; in Indonesia, central Java. Why we love the southeast of the United States and moved back from Italy. Our love for gardening, the botanical way. Sharing with you our manifold treasures from exotic places and even offering several at Spectrenoir: http://ebay.to/2xI69uc, for others to enjoy. As well as high end silver items from Giovanni Raspini, Italy. I also do classes and consulting... too much to list here! Love to bring back some romance and quality to the daily life of others... 

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Charlottesville Virginia to Charlotte North Carolina

We felt almost like HOME after our 4 nights at Hyatt Place Charlottesville, Virginia!
But now we had to pack up and move to the next Hyatt, to Hyatt House in Charlotte, North Carolina...
Hyatt Place Charlottesville, Virginia has a pleasant exterior and there is free parking on the side and in the back.
Very courteous management too, this is what I got in reply to my review:
For any future guests, parking is always complimentary here. We even have car charging stations for those with electric cars (8 are Tesla specific).
~
It also was conveniently located for making our trips to Monticello and to the Skyline Drive. See links below.
Breakfast at any Hyatt Place is great!
Here I'm showing you their MONSTER-SIZED BLUE BERRIES...
The day sure started out chilly at 0ºC or 32 ºF but SUNNY!
So on November 2, we left our Hyatt Place 'Home Away from Home' for getting onto the I-85 and driving south towards Charlotte, North Carolina. No more scenic routes but still it is a beautiful area.
It would be ONLY 269 miles or 443 km!
Hyatt House Charlotte Airport in North Carolina click through
By 16:36 we were inside our Hyatt House One Bedroom King Suite with full kitchen etc.
Yes, we had done shopping, at Whole Foods Market the day prior, so we were all set for having our supper and an easy relaxed evening at home!
A beautiful view from our Kingsize bed!
Yes, we had sunny weather...
Our short Relive video of the day
My solo 4 hour 48 minute drive via Interstate and total of 443.4 km or 269 miles.

We would stay here only one night... stay tuned for the next segment.

Related links:

Friday, January 10, 2020

Skyline Drive & Shenandoah River in Virginia

So after staying 'home' for the day of the tornado on October 31, we woke up on November 1, to SUNSHINE!
It was good foresight from me to book us 4 nights here at the Hyatt Place in Charlottesville, VA...
So off we went to our Skyline Drive in Virginia.
Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive and the other way driving south, you enter the Blue Ridge Parkway what we did for two days.
This was in Waynesboro, Virginia around 10:00 in the morning and look at the blue sky!
After a visit at the Visitor Center to pick up some brochures and maps, I had to capture our U.S.A. flag waving against the blue sky here at Lyndhurst, Virginia.
Oh, the gentleman at the Visitor Center told us that the ENTIRE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY was CLOSED! This due to lots of fallen trees because of the tornado...
How lucky we both have been for having had two sunny days when we rode it on October 28 and 29!
So here we enter SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK on the SKYLINE DRIVE...
At the entrance I showed our National Park Pass and that was all fine but the lady told us that we had to turn back around the building as there was a fallen tree on the narrow road and it could not be removed in time.
About one hour later, we entered, after using a regular road, at Swift Run Gap Entrance Station and turned north on the Skyline Drive to start our new adventure...
That way we missed about  of the entire Skyline Drive but it was not as bad as tourists that had come down from New Hampshire to enter the Blue Ridge Parkway and had to go back! Sad for those people who came in vain.
Shenandoah National Park, Elkton, Virginia
Oh, the golden colors of Autumn agains the blue sky!
Shenandoah National Park, Stanardsville, Virginia
Yep, at Stanardsville, Virginia the time and temperature 36ºF or 2.2ºC tells you that at that height it was cold! 
It even had been as low as 32ºF or 0ºC before...
Shenandoah National Park, Elkton, Virginia, so we are circling back and forth into certain sections.
Mighty views over quite a distance!
Shenandoah National Park, Stanley, Virginia giving you a better impression by this overview. 
Don't listen to my Limburgs... I just say: 'yesterday tornado and today beautiful clear weather. First section was closed but here we are!'
In 1968 the eastern hemlock tree was present in the Appalachian and they were over 300 years old. 
Sadly Ninety-five percent of Shenandoah's hemlocks are gone, killed by an invasive pest called the hemlock woolly adelgid. 
This was at Sperryville, Virginia.
Shenandoah National Park, Sperryville, Virginia
The gray, broken tree trunks of Hemlock Springs remind us of the hundreds of thousands already lost and the ecosystems forever changed.
Shenandoah National Park, Sperryville, Virginia
Shenandoah National Park, Bentonville, Virginia
Shenandoah National Park, Bentonville, Virginia with our Nissan Murano against the rocks to the left.
Shenandoah National Park, Washington, Virginia with some more dead Eastern Hemlock Trees...
Shenandoah National Park, Washington, Virginia - Yep, this was very close to Washington, D.C. the nation's capitol.
Shenandoah National Park, Front Royal, Virginia with Pieter standing against a gorgeous background where you even see Shenandoah River to the left and Shenandoah Valley...
Shenandoah National Park, Front Royal, Virginia
For seeing all The Overlooks of Skyline Drive click here
When exiting the Skyline Drive we were in awe of the sight of the Virginian Stack Train (yep, TWO layers of containers!!!) passing by!
What a sight at Riverton junction, VA just click through... Got more of this majestic Virginian on my Pinterest under FAVORITE PLACES I've Visited...
Shenandoah, Virginia and the Shenandoah River
Being more precise, South Fork Shenandoah River...
Did sent from Shenandoah River in Shenandoah, this short video via WhatsApp to my youngest brother... This is us on July 27, 1999 singing with John Denver - Take me Home, Country Roads click on link
Sweet memories of their 1st visit to the USA and Jan with wife Wilma intended to drive to Shenandoah, Virginia but got discouraged by the way too vast distance and never went all the way.
So I wrote to Jan: In my thoughts I took you along... and then sent him the location.
South Fork Shenandoah River as seen from the bridge in Shenandoah, Virginia
The other side of South Fork Shenandoah River in Shenandoah, Virginia
From there I drove back to our Whole Foods Market near the hotel, also to Trader Joe's and Costco to do some shopping and to gas up for next day when we would be heading to our next destination.
Both of us felt very happy and blessed with such great weather for all our outings.
Despite not being able to do any hiking, this was a great adventure!
The total km 353.1 km or 219.4 miles and the 9h 7m is total time, including our breaks for food and shopping etc.
Skyline Drive - Shenandoah National Park click it

Stay tuned for next part!

Thanks for your visit and comment.

Related links:
Monticello Gardens of President Thomas Jefferson and Mulberry Row | previous post by me
Mabry Mill Restaurant and Blue Ridge Parkway | previous post by me
SO Proud of my NONAGENARIAN | previous post by me

Monday, January 6, 2020

Monticello Gardens of President Thomas Jefferson and Mulberry Row

So here we are now in Virginia and after checking out the weather we made our plans.
There would be rain in the afternoon and next day a tornado...
So we left early, after breakfast for Monticello, home and plantation of the 3rd President of the United States; Thomas Jefferson.
The one that wrote the Declaration of Independence... with tremendous Dutch influence (see link at the bottom of post).
Around 10:00 we were at Monticello and went with their bus to the place where the garden tour would start.
Here husband Pieter is in front of the Littleleaf Linden.
As a little girl, I went with my Dad, seated at the front of his bike, to Ommel, The Netherlands, a pilgrimage site of Our Lady of Refuge for Comfort in every need. There was a statue under a huge Linden tree.
 Seated on Dad's bike, I managed to touch with my hands those mature fruits!
Childhood memories...
This is also the tree from which they make the Linden Flower Tea and Linden Honey as we tasted in Eastern Europe in May: Day 6, Panoramic Belgrade, Serbia where I had Linden Honey in my tea.
This was the house but we both did not tour the inside as we come from the Old World and have seen enough of that architecture over there.
Thomas Jefferson did bring those ideas from Europe.
From the deck of his house, overlooking a vast area since it is built on a little mountain.
Pieter standing next to a huge potplant that obviously was thriving well, being partly indoors.
Interesting windows that could be totally pushed upwards.
Behind Pieter you still see where the potplant was, just behind his right arm inside the open space.
That's me standing at the top of those stairs...
WILLOW OAK or Quercus phellos
It's diameter was impressive!
Still the same tree, trying to capture it completely.
Our Garden & Grounds Guide showed us this laminated copy of Thomas Jefferson's 1766 Garden Diary - nice handwriting!
Of course we were visiting rather late in season, so the garden sure was not at its peak!
Here you see a variety of Okra, a huge one.
You also see that the sky is highly pregnant with rain...
There was an entire arbor where the Purple Hyacinth Bean was climbing up on both sides and overhead. A favorite of Thomas Jefferson.
A vineyard...
What an over view from there!
Vegetable garden and to the right you see a one-room slave house along Mulberry Row...
Yes, Thomas Jefferson maintained his 5,000 acres or 2,023 hectare by keeping some 400 slaves...
They lived in the tiny, one-room houses!
We did tour the smokehouse... Interesting and even I as a young girl remember smoked meats.
This is exactly what we also saw at: Netherlands Open Air Museum with Mom & Dad and American Colleague's Wife as shown in pictures taken there.
Aerial View: The Monticello Mountaintop just click and click through again for seeing how VAST this really is.
Thomas Jefferson's Daily Ride short video showing the vast property on the little mountain, just click and click through again.
Also interesting to listen to this documentary about Jefferson's 'concubine', the half-sister of his deceased wife Martha. At that time the slave owner often used his female slaves as personal property. His wife Martha's father, had done so and there were several half-sisters/brothers from a mulatto slave woman... Jefferson fathered 6 children with Sally Hemings. We both have mixed feelings about his part in history... Only in 1998 it has been proven by DNA that Jefferson was the father and sadly he never acknowledged those six children!
Sally Hemings (Documentary) click
We enjoyed some coffee and cookies (Pieter) at the Gift Shop and found some chocolate too.
In all, a great place to visit.
There also is a restaurant that serves fresh produce from the garden!
With our ticket we could have started the tour of the Home by 12:00 PM, but we left with their shuttle to the parking and went for lunch.
It was only a 25 min. drive back and forth to the Hyatt Place Hotel for us.
At 14:00 it was 17 ºC or 62 ºF

We got back to our Hotel around 14:00 after going to Whole Foods Market where we ate some lunch and did bring some salad home for next day with yoghurt and fruits.
Due to a TORNADO WATCH we decided to stay in for that day on October 31 and catch up on our reading instead...
On October 31, it would be a very wet day and 19ºC or 66ºF
The weather would be a LOT cooler from 26ºC (78.8ºF) to only 15ºC (59ºF) for November 1.

Perfect for our plan... stay tuned! 

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