Biltmore Estate and Misc McQ family pics

We spent most of the day Monday touring the Biltmore Estate and Winery. It was the Vanderbilt’s house…er… mansion, and is beyond description. Unfortunately, they don’t let you take pictures inside so there’s no way to show you the crazy over-the-top opulence (big word, I know, but it’s the only one I can think of to fit!) Some highlights for me: indoor swimming pool, the “man wing” of the house that had a secret door in the wall, the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag (but that’s only bc Scott and I are obsessed w/ the HBO miniseries John Adams), and I looooved the library.

So here’s some pics:

If you’re wondering what’s up w/ the “look”, it’s bc he’s saying “Jame, stop taking pictures of me.” This one had a bus-full of hyper middle schoolers off to the side looking. I think he was worried what they would think 🙂

These old and crotchety trees were just amazing!

I call this one “two men with computer bags”:
They brought the sass all on their own…

Family pic!!

There’s more to come… if you can believe it!! 🙂



…was awesome! We had such a great time. We left Sunday night with Scott’s parents, who were in town for the wedding. I’m uploading all of the pics today… and will post them to the blog when I can! Here’s the first installment. Our first night there, we went to the Grove Park Inn for the Gingerbread House exhibit – I think it’s a national competition where everything has to be edible and the most creative and prettiest win. It was definitely amazing! Strolling around the Grove Park Inn was pretty fun too – it’s a gorgeous and ritzy hotel. 🙂

Here’s a few awesome Gingerbread Houses:

Ok, now THESE are the good ones! All of the above ones were either made by kids or were honorable mentions. They were just so impressive, I doubt the coolness can be captured, even by a Nikon D80.

Some Christmas decor from the Grove Park! It was so pretty at night…

Scott was really fixated on this butterfly ornament… hmmmmm…
Scott got to see Santa’s list!! Lucky!!

The Maine Event

…well, we’re off tomorrow morning at 6am. Yes, take off. Ugh, why do I book these flights to dang early? Oh yeah, bc they’re the only cheap ones.

We’re super excited – we’re flying into Portland and renting a car to drive up the coast to Bar Harbor for some Lobstah. Then on Friday we’re trekking over to Sugarloaf for the Desrochers wedding and fun w/ Susquehanna friends! On Sunday we’re spending a few hours in Portland before our flight takes off in the evening. I.can’t.wait.

The rest of NY & The Hurds’ Wedding!

I have been meaning to get the rest of these pictures up here to share…

First off – Scott and I went to a Mets game Friday night! It was fun, and neat to see Shea Stadium, though I have to say I get why it’s its last year… not the nicest stadium. But full of history so it was ok by me 🙂

Scott, holding 2 $8 beers. Yeah… when in Shea…

The field. IDK what’s happening. Oh, and the Mets won… I will confess that we left early to get on the train back to Manhattan w/out waiting 3 years, and yes, I fell asleep on the subway. Sue me, I woke up at 3:45 that morning. You would have fallen asleep if you had a strapping young man to rest your head on too. 🙂

The next morning we met up with Scott’s friends Anne and Matt who helped us navigate (er… ok, so we wouldn’t have figured out the NJ Transit w/out them!) the train to Montvale. It was a fun ride!

Tim & Cara’s wedding was so much fun! It was great to see all of Scott’s college friends again – and we’re super excited to go up to Maine in a few weeks for another one! Here are some pics…

The Bride & Groom’s car, so cute!

Tim & Cara Hurd

OMG, CHAD MILLER! It was so much fun seeing Scott’s old buddy… who is our neighbor to the South. He and his girlfriend live in Charleston and apparently visit Raleigh often 🙂 Very cool.

Next up…the cocktail hour that was 2.5 hours. You’re free to draw your own conclusions there…

Me, Scott & Heins

They’re next! Ryan (though he’ll always be Basehead to me) and Nicky.

Leanne (who I stole a few of these pics from – thanks!), Ed, Ginty and Christina

Kait, Ed and Anne

Not a bad pic!

Then… the reception. It was the most delicious food, a fabulous band and a super fun table too! I also recall more than my fair share of drinks…

Seeee! Fun table! I especially enjoyed the sitting down dancing to Earth Wind & Fire September. Very fun.
Kait, Matt, Scott, Jamie

The newlyweds! Anne & Kait… riiiight at the end of the reception. We didn’t want it to end!

Ed and Scott. Side note: Blue shirts seemed to be the uniform for most males attending the wedding. Self pic from the drunk bus home. SOOO FUN! They had a bus take us all around (church, reception, hotel…) and the way home was hilarious! There was singing…mostly fun songs but I recall someone picking up with the Charles In Charge theme? What was up with that? 🙂

Next is the HOTEL LOBBY (bar, but isn’t that in a song or something? I don’t know my pop/rap all that well.)

Leanne & Ethan… these two make me laugh.
And I’ll leave you with the quintessential Jamie/Scott drinking pic. We had a BLAST at the wedding and can’t wait for the sequel in Maine next month!

I’m not going to go on and on about what a terrible trip we had back bc – hey, we’ve all had terrible airport experiences. I’ll just leave it at this: We spent 24 extra hours in Newark, which I do not recommend. Esp if you’re hungover.


So Scott and I just got home today from our weekend “up north” and we had a splendid time. I haven’t gotten all the pictures up just yet, but I will share the New York City pics today, and post some from the awesome and super fun wedding from Saturday in the days to come. I know you’re excited. 🙂

So NYC… we left super early to fly into the city. It was good…until the evening, but I’ll get there. We arrived, did a great job figuring out the shuttle buses and getting to our hotel. We stayed close to the New York Public Library and Bryant Park, and apparently missed a free Jonas Brothers concert by a few minutes. Lucky us we got to see lots of tweenagers with homemade tshirts and signs for the Jonas Brothers. Whoever the heck they are… we’re old.

Here’s the Public Library – it was in the Sex and the City movie, as was the park behind it. I won’t say what happened there as it’s a key plot point/spoiler, but I recognized it!!! 🙂

After checking in, we embarked on our 2.5 mile (thanks google maps) walk to the Met, up Broadway, through Times Square and through Central Park.

Chanelling Michael Scott – the Best New York Pizza! Sadly, we said that every time we saw a Sbarro… we’re funny like that.
I love the smell of advertising in the morning… hey! Does anyone know if there’s a Starbucks around here anywhere? Or …5?

I absolutely loved Central Park…I was kinda sad I didn’t get to do a run in the park. There was some whining when we kept passing runners. The weather was fabulous too, esp being used to NC craziness & humidity. We saw a small portion of the park, even though it felt like we were walking there forever… it’s so big!

This seemed to be a recognizable place… we actually saw a movie/tv show being filmed here.
As good a place for a self pic as any… 🙂

View down 5th Ave…gorgeous and probably really affordable housing on one side, and the park on the other. I assume it’s affordable housing bc it seemed like those people had lots of money left over for nice SUVs and purses…Just an assumption.

This is the street across from The Met… I just thought it was pretty.

The Met! *Shocking* that it had scaffolding on it… like every cool attraction in Italy a few months ago. Guess NYC knew we were coming to town!! 🙂
Oh, the Met. We LOVED it. It seriously could have taken ALL day if we’d had unlimited time and attention spans, but we only had about 3 hours, so we hit the exhibits that were the most interesting to us. We started off with the awesome Egyptian exhibit, where they somehow got real pieces of pyramids and stuff and recreated them indoors…it was very cool. Mummies, tombs and pretty jewelry that was astoundingly old. So cool.

A tomb. It was ridic.
Uhh, the map was v confusing.
The American Wing… now I love my country and all, but it was just eh compared to freaking armor from 500+ years ago and pottery from 3000 years BC from Egypt. Just sayin…

But…you know, Scott does love a good bust (now that he knows what they are…see this story for explanation) . Exhibit A:

This was definitely our favorite exhibit – it was just awesome. Jeff Koons on the Rooftop – we have no clue *how* he made these pieces but they were just amazing. I guess it’s abstract art… but we definitely loved it. The coolest part was we could photograph ourselves and the city through the art…see if you can find us!!!

Crazy Armor and Weapons exhibit…it was neat! They had armor from all over the world, and it was cool bc (obv) all regions were really different. Plus, if you know me, you know I heart guns (hah.)
Yes, there’s a man with a audio guide passed out on that couch. Overwhelmed by the beauty of the art, I’d guess…

Roman sculpture garden 🙂 Apple Store!! Yes, that’s a line in front of it.

Pretty fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel. It looked like a decent hotel, I’m gonna check on expedia for it next time we visit. 🙂

…and we went to a Mets game that night… I don’t have the energy to post all of them tonight too and I realize this is quite a lot of pics so I’ll pace myself. 🙂

We’re *so* Metropolitan…

Er, we will be tomorrow, when we hit NYC and visit the Met Museum of Art and attend a Mets baseball game. It’s like too cute, but I promise that’s not the reason we decided to do each of those things…

So yeah, TOMORROW is our day of fun in New York City – we fly out super early at 6am (don’t do the math on when we have to arrive at the airport and park our car…just don’t.) But the upside of that is we get to New York early and get an entire day there! And first task: figure out all the lovely public transit. Oh, and get coffee, which I think should come first, don’t you??

The Met is on the agenda first, which I’m totally jazzed about. Somehow I’ve never been there, and quite honestly, I can’t remember ever going to Central Park either. The Met is kind of on the border of Central Park and the city, so I think we’re going to walk it and check out the park. So many movies and TV shows have scenes that take place there, it’ll be really neat to actually *see* it.

We don’t really have anything else planned until the evening. The top rated attraction in NYC and the thing that’s been recommended to me up and down is Top of the Rock – which is high up on the Rockafeller Center building and supposedly the best panoramic view of the city. I’m having a hard time rationalizing *another* $20/pp cost just to see the city from up high… (pardon my flip tone… I don’t mean to be so dismissive. I guess I’m just so *metropolitan* now, it’s all commonplace to me 😉 ) so I haven’t bought any tickets and I think we’ll do it if we feel totally inspired to see the city from up high… IDK. TBD.

Then we’re light on the agenda till the Mets v Marlins game at 7:10. Woot! Again with the figuring out public transit to whatever the heck borough Shea Stadium is in. Beers cost $9 at the concert we went to last week at Walnut Creek, I’m on the edge of my seat to see how much they cost at Shea. Seriously! If you didn’t assume it already, this is “Scott’s thing” that he chose, and I chose The Met.

I’m excited because we’re staying downtown, right near Times Square. We’re leaving fairly early the next morning (though after reading when we’re leaving NC, “early” kind of takes on a new meaning…) to hop a train to New Jersey with one of Scott’s college friends who lives in the city. I was foolishly hoping to get a run in in Central Park (cause it’s kind of like the quintessential place to run, if you ask me…) but with the train time and taking into account that I’ll likely be really tired and not want to be in a bad mood all day bc I got up early… I decided to spare Scott that fun 🙂 On to Montvale and wedding fun!! It’s going to be a lot of fun to see them again. And fun to wear my new dress.

Then we leave from Newark early in the afternoon, and come home to Carolina just in time for a Sunday afternoon nap. And I’ll post lots and lots of pictures, don’t worry, Internets.

New York City!

Woohoo! We booked our trip to NYC last night, and actually got what feels like a really good deal on airfare! We’re going for 1 day and 1 night, then heading to NJ (just outside the city) for Tim & Cara’s wedding on August 9th. It’ll be a fun reunion of all of Scott’s college buddies!

So far for our NYC day, we think we’re going to do The Met and go to a Mets game (cute, right?) We *might* go to Top of the Rock…but we’re kind of on the fence. Anything else super fabulous and fun we should hit?