Asheville N.C.

submitted by Audrey Hulsey - Pegasus Travel Omaha
April 10 â€" 20...

My focus for this vacation was to attend the Regional Bridge Tournament in Gatlinburg TN, it's one of the biggest...there were 3778 people who won masterpoints and a goodly number more than that who went home empty handed.

Flew into Knoxville â€" picked up car â€" drove THROUGH the Smoky Mountains (sometimes in the clouds) to Asheville NC. This is that unique area where TN, NC, KY and

WVA meld together. The drive took the better part of the day, we appreciated the many areas to pull off and enjoy the views. This huge National Park has a lot to offer campers, fishermen, motorcyclists, and especially hikers. Asheville is a wonderful town(arts and crafts...we stumbled on a new gallery opening and enjoyed that) but it's best treasure is the Biltmore Estate. (AND Billy Graham) We visited the Biltmore Estate on Easter Sunday and it was ablaze with tulips, jonquils, flowering trees and green lawns. There were 3 Easter Egg hunts for children that day and the children were dressed in their Sunday best and were so darned cute. I had been to the house at Christmas time previously and that is probably their most busy time. The descendants of George Vanderbilt have worked hard to maintain this estate for the enjoyment of guests. It's worth the trip.

Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Dollywood make a destination for those wishing to visit a theme park, combined with a kind of Branson-like entertainment at Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg with it's main street full of shops, eateries, a ski-lift to the top of the nearby mountain for views of the Great Smoky Mountains. There are many events going on that change weekly...for example there was a "car show” in Pigeon Forge when we were there. It was my first time to the Gatlinburg area, I highly recommend it for it's value, food in Gatlinburg was awesome....”Best Italian” restaurant for pizza, and Linebergers for seafood. AND, the prices are reasonable.

For us however, it was bridge...we played 457 hands of bridge from Mon â€" Sun... our sessions started at 9am â€" 1pm and 7:30pm. (and a midnight madness we did just once...sometimes goes on until 4am) Bridge is an addictive game. We stayed at a family owned motel (2levels) called was perfect. Our balcony was OVER the fast rushing stream; I was very impressed with this property, continental breakfast, wine/cheese from 5-7pm and cookies/milk from 8-10 all included. I was also very impressed with the friendliness of everyone we met, it was true Southern hospitality. And, I got my fill of grits, country ham and red eye gravy....