Tuesday, October 20, 2009

what a weekend!!!

And I can say that on a Tuesday, because my weekend extends into Monday! What a nice way to cap off my fun little surprise escapade with my hubby -- with one more day off!

So, the fun started Saturday morning. Todd came home off shift, showered, and we loaded up the car. I had lots of questions; most of them went answered! Anyway, we got settled in the car, ready to head out, and Todd had me put this into our trusty GPS:

Okay! I now know we're headed north to Murfreesboro, Tennessee! Our drive was about an hour and a half through rolling hills and lots of farm land. The leaves are just starting to change, and had it not been a drizzling day, the color would have been absolutely spectacular!

We finally turned our last corner, into the driveway of our destination, which was:

The Hastings House Bed & Breakfast! We were warmly greeted by our hostess, Jane Blakey, and shown to our room, The Quilt Room. How appropriate is that?!?! As you entered the room, the first thing that catches your eye is:

This beautiful quilt that her grandmother had hand quilted hangs over the sleigh bed. Quite beautiful! There were several quilted items in the room, including this gem which was one the wall at the door --

It was a piece of an old crazy quilt that had been in her family, and she'd had made into a skirt. When the skirt was finally too worn to wear anymore, she had a piece cut and framed to save forever. Really cool! There was also an embroidered quilt on the bed, with matching pillow, and several additional quilted pillows, including a patchwork cat! This was truly my kind of lady, as you can see here:

And this was definitely a home; she had two indoor/outdoor cats and four indoor cats! Two of the indoor cats were downstairs cats and two were upstairs cats. The two downstairs felines, Spot & Maddy, were long-haired, but groomed like lions. They were both very sweet cats and beautiful! Jane did warn us that we needed to shut the door to our room; the cats took ownership seriously, and to a cat (as anyone knows) an open door is an invitation! In addition to the live cats, there were a plethora of cats throughout the house as decor; Todd and I counted 49 just in our bed & bath rooms! There is no telling how many there were throughout the whole house. Hundreds upon hundreds, easily!

On top of the cat decor, Jane takes her holidays seriously, and the entire house was decked out in Halloween! It was quite fun, and literally was in every available space!

My favorites in the dining room were the buzzards perched on top of the china cabinet.

The three rats sitting on the parlor table were quite realistic (unless you take all the cats into consideration; perhaps that's why they were so "ratty"!

And there were lots more fun things (and I took lots of pictures that are not posted here), but it was time to get back into the car, because the surprises weren't finished! After a bite to eat at Logan's we headed to . . .

Bell Buckle, Tennessee!!! Where they had their HUGE annual arts & crafts/flea market/festival weekend going on! It was huge -- over 500 vendors, spread throughout the town. All *kinds* of stuff, from hand-crafted hats, to seasonal decorations, to jewelry . . . you name it, it was findable at Bell Buckle! We were able to park relatively close to the action, and the first order of business was finding a vendor who had GLOVES and HATS and SCARVES! It was *soooo* cold, windy, and drizzly! My first purchase, in fact, was a $2 pair of mittens. After that, I was good to go, but I didn't take a lot of pictures, because that meant taking my fingers out of their warm & cozy mittens! Weren't no way! I took one photo going into the food area, because at that point I had a very nostalgic sense of the Annapolis Renaissance Festival and it made me happy! :)

The festival shut down at dusk, and we stayed until the end! I found some fun pins -- a scarecrow, a cornucopia, and a darling snowman with snowflake earrings. I also grabbed some wonderful hot chocolate mix, a red flannel scarf that went perfectly with my newly fabricated sweatshirt jacket, a pink John Deere t-shirt for my Secret Pal, and some yummy pumpkin fudge for me and sugar-free fudge for Todd! Todd was more rudimentary in his purchases -- fingerless gloves with a mitten top, a crocheted scarf, and a crocheted cap. I'll probably end up wearing the cap! :)

Once we were spent, we headed back to the car. I was so glad to get the heat pumping! We had seen a Cracker Barrel on our way to Bell Buckle, and had already decided that would be our dinner stop. I was still so chilled, I had decaf coffee with my dinner! After dinner we (I) did a little (more) shopping. They had a black fleece poncho with a faux fur-lined hood which I snatched up. I also got a squirrel votive holder for James (because he'd coveted mine), and some Halloweenish stuff for my SP. From Cracker Barrel, we made a quick stop at KMart, and then headed back to the B&B to watch the Alabama vs. South Carolina game! When we got into our room, we found the fire place on, our bed turned down, and bon bons on the bed! I ate mine. Todd's is pictured. I ate his, too! :)

Oh yeah -- Alabama did finally win . . . but not before I feel asleep in the bed! I woke up in time to turn off the light and roll over! Hey, walking around in the chill and damp looking for serious sales and finds is hard work! :)

Sunday morning we leisurely got up and had a wonderful breakfast. There was coconut-rolled truffles in ice milk as an appetizer, with a slice of lemon friendship bread. YUM! Chocolate and ice cream for breakfast? I need to come back here! Then we had egg soufflés, country bacon, sour-dough toast (with a pecan honey jam that was superb), and garlic grits. Breakfast was delicious! Jane had put our napkins in big, plastic spiders. I immediately took mine and reposed it in a rather threatening way! Jane told me later that her husband noticed it and commented, "I bet I know where the man sat!" To which she was tickled to be able to say, "Actually, that's where the lady sat!" I'm a kid at heart, what can I say?!? Jane later showed me her collection of napkin rings -- I'm telling you, she and I were kindred spirits!

On a side note, she also told me that she purchases her milk from a local dairy farmer. He has, she told me, a "cow of the month". I'll have to check it out! Or rather, I did; clink on the link back there and check out Hatcher Family Dairy!

At one point, she was telling Todd & I their history and how they came to purchase the house and whatnot, and she said, "My husband said when he finished school he'd have to work another three years for the VA. I told him, 'You better plan on working longer than that -- I like to shop!" I felt the need to give her a high-five!

After breakfast, we showered and dressed and headed down the street and around the corner (we really could have walked) to First Baptist Church Murfreesboro. We had decided to go to the 11:15 service, which was the contemporary worship. It was a light crowd (the pastor explained they were in the middle of their fall break), but the worship was sincere and wonderful and the message was right on point.

We headed back and packed up, and Jane decided she wanted to show us the rest of her house (included the elevator and the basement) and her church, which was out her back door, through the gate, and across the parking lot! What a bonus for me, as there were several more quilts hanging in their vestry! Lovely.

When it was finally time for us to hit the road, I noticed the house across the street:

BOO! I love the spiders crawling down the side of this big, old, beautiful home. I am sure this town is a lot of fun on Halloween night!

Then we were back in the car and ready to hit the road for home!

My husband *loves* having his picture taken!

What a wonderful birthday weekend I had! We had a lovely drive home, stopping for lunch at a steak house along the way. The sun was shining and we got to see the beautiful fall colors. I really enjoy my dear man's company. I like just sitting beside him and noting things of interest as we drive. We are definitely comfortable companions!

We got home about 4:30; Merlin was most happy to see us! Traveling is fun, but it's always nice to be home. I think that's one of the reasons we're both so excited about RV living. The comforts of home will follow us no matter where we travel!

Thank, dear husband, for a lovely and memorable birthday trip! I had a marvelous time!



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