Poppy’s By Design in Blowing Rock NC is Christmas decked out in wonder

 Poppy’s By Design in Blowing Rock, NC is Christmas decked out in wonder for old and young alike. I take all my guest to see them.

 Every square inch is packed full of magical moments and ideas to be packed up and recreated in your home. 100_3088

Lots of red and white seem to be the theme this season but not without adding that blue grassy softness that breaks up the tones and adds just the right amount of softness.



Hey….look…..a giant snowman or several hiding in every corner. 100_3091

and did you see the visions of sugar plums…….100_3092

You must see their oil candles made here in the USA. or…..enhance a painting that you might already have…..or better yet…take this one home….100_3104

there is still pletny of autumn deals throughtout the store and many of us like to leave out our fall decorating in the lower south till about mid December…so Poppy’s has something for everyone.


They really do look beautiful in every season with exceptional floral arrangements made custom or bought right off the rack. visit Poppy’s By Design in Blowing Rock, NC or visit their Facebook page100_3093

Yellow roses at Raffaldini Vineyards, North Carolina

A View From Raffaldini Vineyards in North Carolina

Even on this cold blustery day in April, you can still see the beauty in the view from Raffaldini Vineyards in North Carolina. On any other day, the view would be clear for at least 50 miles. Our seasons seemed t have been reversed. Winter was warm and spring is cool which the roses love.  The driveway is lined with millions of yellow rose blooms and here you can see the purple irises making their splash.

Grapes grow just as they would on the hillsides of Italy. You can see that the Yadkin River Valley consists of rolling hills and larger mountains in the background. This valley is in the Piedmont of North Carolina that hosts a semi mild winter and hot dry autumn…most of the time.

Raffaldini Vineyards is part of the Yadkin Valley Wine tour where you can sample some of NC’s newest variety of wines and take a stroll through the gardens. Below my friend Jennifer is smelling one of the blossoms.

Jennifer has been visiting me this week and we’ve taken in the best that NC has to offer. One of them being the vineyards. NC has had a long history of producing grapes until the prohibition came along and then came the decline in this industry. Today it’s back in full swing since big tobacco got sued and a trust was set up as part of the settlement that will help tobacco farmers plant alternative crops like grapes. Those farms that have been in the family for generations are laughing a bit. The government made them stop growing grapes in the 1920’s and now they are paying them to grow once again.

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Come visit North Carolina and tour the Yadkin Valley Wine tour.


Flag waving proudly at The Baird House, Valle Crucis NC

The Baird House bed and breakfast is located in Valle Crucis, North Carolina. The only inn located on the Watauga river. The Baird House was built by the Baird family in 1790 and was an active farm and served as a distillery during the civil war.

In 1777, the first flag act was passed. 13 stripes alternating red and white with 13 stars on a blue background to represent a new constellation.

 In 1790 when the Baird House was completed, this would have been the flag being flown.

George Washington was the only president to have served under this flag.

Until an executive order in 1912 stated the proportions of the flag, you might find just about any arrangement of stars and stripes. Some would be circular and even square.

In 1912, President Taft decided upon the proportions: established proportions of the flag and provided for arrangement of the stars in six horizontal rows of eight each, a single point of each star to be upward. Photo and description courtesy of http://www.usflag.org/.

Our flag today is through the executive order of President Eisenhower:

  • Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated August 21, 1959 – provided for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows of stars staggered horizon tally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically.
The Baird House is run by Tom and Deede Hinson.
innkeepers1Deede Pope grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas and Tom Hinson in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Deede’s family moved to the Myrtle Beach area in 1977.

She and Tom met at the end of 1978 and married in 1981 and occupational moves sent them to Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi then back to Myrtle Beach in 1987. After vacationing in Valle Crucis in 1997 an opportunity to buy a beautiful farm house along the banks of the Watauga River came along. After much soul-searching, Deede and Tom and their two daughters and two sons left the Low Country for the High Country in October 1997. In April 1998 the Baird House B & B opened its doors.It’s unique history and setting ( the only riverside Valle Crucis bed and breakfast ) makes the Baird House a ” must-do ” place to visit. Deede’s family own & operate a large oceanfront resort in Ocean Isle Beach. Tom comes from a family who owned & operated oceanfront hotels in Myrtle Beach, a bed and breakfast in Charleston,SC & one in Savannah,GA.

The philosophy of Deede, Tom, and The Baird House is to provide their guests a warm, casual, and hospitable enviroment  where they can decompress and relax. Whether it be recommendations and reservations for dinner, suggesting things to do or inviting guests into the kitchen for coffee while breakfast is being prepared, Tom and Deede warmly welcome you to The Baird House, the oldest home as a Boone bed and breakfast. .

“You two are master hosts! Your warmth, love of people, and nourishing personalities restore the weary and set them on their way well-fed, relaxed and refreshed.” -Mary and Will, Raleigh, NC

Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions or special needs.

Email: bairdhouse@charter.net

Toll-free:  1 800 297 1342

Local: 1 828 297 4055

John Baird left his ancestral home in Scotland in 1650 and sailed the Atlantic to New Jersey. 135 years later John’s grandson, Ezekiel Baird, traveled from New Jersey with his wife settling in what is now Valle Crucis building their home which is now the Baird House Bed and Breakfast inn ( the oldest house in the county ) near Boone, NC. As time progressed more people of Scottish & Irish ancestry settled in this area bringing with them a culture rich in music and tradition.

One of the Bairds narrowly escaped serving in the Southern army by asking his captors to give him a last night with his wife before being taken as an enlisted member during the Civil War. This was a common practice of that time as most knew the mortality rate of war was high. Instead of sleeping with his wife, the young Baird ask a servant to alert him when the soldiers had fallen asleep. The servant was to brush the ceiling with a broom. Once young Baird heard the soft brushes—he escaped out the window. This was short lived however…

The soldiers waited in the nearby hilltops as shown to the right. When Mrs. Baird went out to plow the fields—Mr. Baird could not stand it and came out of hiding to help. He was quickly taken captive again and then became a soldier. He was opposed to war so this did not set well with him.

The Bairds were a distillery during the Civil War as NC used to be the number one grape producing state before tobacco became king–now grapes are on the comeback. Fearing that Union and Confederate soldiers would raid their supplies of whiskey—-The Bairds threw hay, buckets, and such over their supplies. They were afraid if they buried it–the soldiers would find the bottles and in their drunken stupor destroy the town and the estate. The plan worked. Seeing as the barn looked as though it was just filled with hay and the everyday makings of life—the farm passed on by without one ounce of harm.

 Today, Tom and Deede run the Baird House as a bed and breakfast. I can tell you that the breakfast is superior and hearty. We were served fruit cups, casseroles, scrambled eggs, and all the fixings that go with homemade biscuits. Fresh coffee, juices, and tea on the menu also. Cookies, soft drinks, and tea were served around the clock.

This is the porch dining area and decorated with Deede’s love for red both in the dishes and on the walls.

And on the right, the main dining room.

 This quilt hangs on the wall in the porch dining area. Below is Deede’s kitchen.

Please enjoy the photo gallery from our recent trip to The Baird House. Take your fishing rod as it’s the perfect place to go fly fishing. Take your camera as every season is perfect for photographing. Leave your stress at home but bring your appetite.

The Baird House and SEE THE ROOMS HERE

When wine bottles become objects of art

decorated wine bottles from NC

While touring the gift shop at The Winery at Iron Gate Farm which I did a post on HERE, I saw these wine bottles which were glowing and decorated nicely. Of course I thought of ya’ll and how you’d want to see it too. The lighting was perfect to capture the shot in just the right character—don’t you think?

I am just finishing up a podcast on Benjamin Vineyards and Winery. I hope you’ll come back to see.