On Friday, the 12th of November 2021, twenty eight members of TMC-SE traveled from the 4 corners of the Southeastern United States enroute to Asheville, NC. It was a beautiful fall day with much of the Autumn leaf colors still intact. The destination in Asheville, NC was the historic Albemarle Inn, our host Bed & Breakfast and main venue for the event. Upon checking in at the Inn, many members took the opportunity to enjoy a refreshing beverage and meet old and new friends.
Officially, the event began at 5:30 pm where the club enjoyed a Prosecco and Cheese reception to launch the event weekend. The Albemarle Inn hosts, Rosemary and Fabrizio Chiariello, provided plenty of Prosecco and offered a wonderful array of cheeses and Italian meats. TMC-SE President, Michael Demyanovich offered a welcome toast to the attendees and provided some brief information on the weekend activities, but most importantly wished the members to have an enjoyable and fun time.
Later that evening the group boarded a yellow school bus, rekindling many childhood school memories, for our transportation to the second event of the weekend - The Mountain Kitchen Cooking School. With the wine flowing, groups were positioned at certain stations to prepare the dinner for that evening. Our dinner menu for the evening; Salad with Pears, Walnuts and Gorgonzola, Flank Steak with Chimichurri, Collard Greens, Rosti Potatoes, and Chocolate Lava Cake. Our meal that evening was absolutely outstanding and our complements go out to our chef/teacher, Ofri Gilan, owner of the Mountain Kitchen Cooking School. This was the second time TMC-SE participated in a cooking school, the first being in Savannah, GA earlier in the year. Cooking schools are an excellent way to promote camaraderie, and allow both new and long time members to interact. The food, laughter, commentary, and of course the wine, provided outstanding entertainment to end the first evening of the event.
Saturday, November 13, started with temperatures hovering in the low to mid 40's (F). However, the sun was shining and after an excellent breakfast at the Albemarle Inn everyone was excited about visiting Biltmore House. At approximately 175,000 Sq. ft., Biltmore is the largest single family home in the United States. We drove the 3 miles from the entrance to our reserved parking on a beautiful winding road as the excitement began building. And we were certainly not disappointed!! With the Holiday season upon us, the Biltmore House was exquisitely decorated for the Christmas Season. After the 2+ hour tour, members were free to visit one of the many restaurants and shops located on the Biltmore grounds for lunch and shopping.
On Saturday afternoon, with sun shining and the Maserati's enjoying the nice cool air, the group began the 120 mile roundtrip drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most scenic routes on the Eastern side of the U.S. The Parkway begins in Virginia and traverses all the way to Southern Tennessee. The small portion we drove took us almost to the highest point on the Parkway to enjoy some spectacular scenery. Afterwards, members were free to stop and enjoy any scenic points on the Parkway as we began the return drive for the evenings festivities at the Albemarle Inn.
Saturday evening began with an impromptu Cocktail Party where members relayed their highlights of the days activities with each other. Later in the evening we enjoyed an excellent dinner which consisted of Mixed Salad w/ Citrus Vinaigrette Dressing, Butternut Squash Ravioli with Butter and Sage Sauce, Beef Tenderloin Fillet or Roasted Trout Fillet, and Panna Cotta or Flourless Chocolate Cake for dessert. Our compliments once again go out to Rosemary Chiariello, main chef and owner of the Albemarle Inn, for an absolutely delicious dinner. The current Board of Directors of TMC-SE were recognized for thier contributions to all the club efforts. Also, a special gift was presented to our previous President, Rob Ahler, in recognition of his leadership of the club over the past several years. Potential future events were also presented to the members for their consideration. Specifically, a potential Winter event and the next fall driving event were mentioned.
Of course, in typical TMC-SE fashion, many of the members gathered around the fireplace in the main area of the Inn for a nightcap (or two, but who's counting) to discuss the weekend's highlights. The one thing that can always be counted on at TMC-SE is fun and laughter. As current President, this is the one thing I always look for in events. If members are engaged with each other, enjoying a glass of wine, and especially laughing, I consider the event to be successful. Based on my observations, TMC-SE had an EXCELLENT event!
For a photographic journey of the event, please see the '2021 Fall Fling - Asheville, NC' photo album in the Members Only Section.