As soon as the temperature drops and the leaves show even a hint of change, my imagination soars more than usual. It's a great time to get out of my studio and look around at the bounty before us. This year, the adventure began with a "date" with my sweet Louise to the NC State Fair followed by a weekend at the glorious Blackberry Farm near Knoxville, TN. Both were inspirational, in their own way, but definitely different.
The Fair provided a hokey kind of whimsy from varied perspectives. We laughed at the Moo-ternity Ward where baby calves arrived exactly as planned for families to "ooh and ah" at during Fair week. But then we fell in love with L'il Paul, a baby llama born on 9/11, the day before our visit.
A little girl with a heart on her T-shirt, sitting astride a Shetland, was bittersweet. The art reminded us a bit of our BrokenHeart Pets as Scooter and Boots always wear their (broken) hearts on their chest. And the pony looked sad, too. But the little girl was thrilled and she may very well show up as a Wispenwood Whimsie. And, the view from above when we rode the cable cars brought a breathtaking panorama and fond memories of the fairs we visited as children.
As always, I shared stories of childhood with Louise including thoughts of soft ice cream, funnel cakes and turkey legs. We smelled "fried" ourselves just walking through the midway and resisted treats until the very end. Swirled chocolate and vanilla soft serve, of course!
Our weekend trip to Blackberry Farm, just 2 1/2 hours from home (3 1/2 hrs. if you followed Louise's directions!) was inspiring in a totally different way. At the top of any travel experience, this glorious resort brought beautiful vistas, peace and quiet, flowers, food and lodging at the top of its class (*****, all the way). The gardens, all organic, were so lovely that they looked like they had bloomed especially for us. John Coykendahl, master gardener, gave us the inside scoop on heirloom seeds, with a wonderful story to go with each in his collection. Louise asked about the picturesque wagon and large sugar kettle out in the field as they looked perfectly "placed" for a landscape painting. He laughed and called them countrified "eye candy," but it all felt authentic to us. Keep watching for the wagon and animals to show up in Wispenwood.
But this is just the beginning of my annual "affair" with fall. When I walk Sheba each night, I see just a bit of color change on our beautiful Biltmore Lake trails. Last night, we saw a tiny salamander with varying shades of flourescent orange. Sheba loves to chase the bunnies on our trails. She tracks them slowly, s-l-o-w-l-y... and always thinks she might be able to catch one to play with. Our gal has "stamina," and never gives up the thrill of the game!
There will be lots of fall art showing up on our social media pages and plenty already on our website. In fact, I'm working on something new right now with Scooter and Boots. They like autumn, too!