7-28-11 Thursday (Damn You Groupon)

Warning!  I bitch a lot during this post…

We took a drive (about an hour) to Grandfather Mountain.  It was 15 frickin’ dollars each to get in to the park.  I’m not sure who owns the park, be it state, county, or what ever but I thought the admission price was steep.  So we pay our $30 and are given a free audio tour CD.  Number one, I hate the word “free” when I pay for something.  Number two, thanks for the great CD I can’t play.

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What, no FM station to tune to?  No MP3 to download with my smartphone?  Hell, at least it wasn’t an 8 track tape.

Our first stop inside the park was the restrooms followed by lunch.  The restaurant was an order from counter and then sit down with your tray type of place.  Kind of like fast food.  That also resembled the type of food available.  The seat we took had 4 hummingbird feeders in sight.  Many hummingbirds buzzed to and from these feeders constantly.  It was awesome.

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Next, a few shots with a statue:

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We stepped into a theater for a few minutes but the movie seemed lame and boring.  We walked (quickly) through the mini museum.  We browsed the useless trinkets in the gift shop.  We saw an animal habitat sign.  The first we saw was “bear habitat”.  I wasn’t expecting a mini zoo of sorts but that what it was.  Perhaps I would have known that if my CD had fit into my antiquated tape player.  Here’s a ton of photos:

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2011-07-28 013Above: The otter was yawning.

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The last photo, just for fun.  I liked the “Animal Habitats”.  It was an unexpected.

Next we drove higher up to the mountain where we walked across the “Mile High Swinging Bridge”. 

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After our day of nature, we returned to Asheville to freshen up for the evening’s plans.  First a swim in the pool.  Ahhhhhh.

Next, a drive to Cherokee, NC to see “Unto These Hills” which is an outdoor play about the Cherokee Nation, how we took their land, and the Trail of Tears.  The strange thing about this is we ran out of time to see this the other day.  Later that same day, a frickin’ Groupon came out for half price.  Luckily, we have our laptops and printer to utilize the purchase on this trip.

OK, so dinner first before the show.  We decide to hit the Harrah’s Casino buffet (Fresh Market Square Buffet).  First of all, I barely saw many people smoking yet I could hardly breathe as we walked 52.62 miles to the buffet through the casino.  Sure, some of that is cause I’m fat and out of shape and the other part of it has to do with poor ventilation I guess.  Unfortunately, my comparison of the place will be to that of Vegas and even furthermore in unfortunateness is that there truly is NO comparison. 

The buffet was $18 a person.  I know it’s expensive in Vegas too however this place didn’t even have prime rib.  What a rip.  Why do we pay these dumb prices?  We decided to head across the casino to Paula Deen’s Kitchen.  We were greeted with “do you have reservations?  No?  Well we have seats available for 8:30 (it was 7 now).”  We passed.  We had that show at 8pm to see.

Back at the buffet… there were a few people ahead of us in line.  One cashier and it seemed as though each person in front of us had a complex transaction to make.  Perhaps it was questions about if the Cherokee Nation made the paper the receipts were printed on or perhaps if Harrah’s was an Indian word or not?  Whatever the reasons, it took forever.  After we paid we had to stand in another spot to allow the hostess to seat us.  This woman, Amelia, looked like Chaz Bono.  So we’re seated.  Now the feasting at the troughs can begin.  Lame.  The best food was fresh carved turkey.  The other meat choice at the carving station was kielbasa.  Really?  That’s the best they can do?  The pudding at the dessert station came from a can.  I can tell.  I’ve had it many a times from a can (when I was much younger and actually liked it).  Awful.  A major improvement they could hope to make is to burn it down and let Golden Corral take it.  That’s saying a lot, isn’t it?    Oh and the sanitation score was 90 which is terrible and yet we ate there.  I think after walking around we had given up.  I could go on and on about each food station and their abundance of lameness but I have to save some gripes/bitching/ranting for my review of the show.

Unto These Hills.  Ugh.  This sucked.

  1. The costumes seemed off.  Way off.  Early 1800’s and the Indian women dressed like they were guest starring on Little House on the Prairie?  The website had better Native American dress.
  2. There was a LOT of over-acting going on.
  3. The lack of Indian actors, whites, made it odd.
  4. The lack of Indian accents made it strange.
  5. I think it was twice that someone broke out into song.  It’s not a musical.  It was strange.
  6. Most of the Indian men seemed flabby.  I had a hard time seeing famine and sickness.  I guess my imagination wasn’t in full swing.
  7. The one and only bathroom sink barely had water.  It trickled out.  My guess is there were a lot of people walking around with bacteria laden hands.
  8. The seats were too tall, most people’s feet were dangling.  Ushers came around and provided some people with step stools.  Really.
  9. The parking lot was up a VERY steep grade.  I cannot believe they didn’t terrace the lot.  The walk up/down sucked.
  10. There was not one single wigwam, papoose or tee-pee.  Sometimes Indians stood outside their cabin.  A cabin?  Was this Cherokee way?
  11. It was difficult to tell the British or Americans from the Indians.  Sad.
  12. I read, “The drama was updated in 2006 with a new script and new costumes” several times.  People who had seen the other version had much better things to say.

 2011-07-28 049Above: My lower back hurt… a lot.  See people’s feet up on the stools?

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2011-07-28 048Above: The guy in the orange shirt and blue “hat” was a “Cherokee”.  What’s with the costumes?

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Jim’s birthday is tomorrow.  Long time friends are coming to Asheville.  Vacation is almost over…


  1. I sure hope you post a comment on their website!

  2. Geez you got a FREE CD what more could you ask for??

  3. Joanie: If I do, I'll have to tone it down a little.

    Anon: A CD player.

  4. Just give me the CD; looks like we might need to plan a trip to Grandfather Mountain, 'cause it looks pretty cool.

    I wouldn't complain too loudly about the costumes without doing a little research. I'm sure the natives picked up a lot of clothing from the Europeans as they lost their old lifestyles. Still, those are some boring-looking costumes. I sure hope the Indians weren't that boring in real life.

    The only casinos I've been to as an adult were in Biloxi, MS. There is something about those places that invites cigarette smoke to just come on in and hang out for a spell...a good long spell. Between that, the noise and the odd half-light, I always felt some part of me screaming to turn around and RUN!!

    Miss Chef like them, though. Go figure.

  5. Yawning otters!


    Glancing sheepishly at the ginormous Grizzly over your shoulder.

    Ahhh.... the stuff dreams are made of.

    Gorgeous photography as usual. You're getting REALLY good.

    But my favorites were the otter photos by a mile. I like otters.

  6. @Flartus: True about the costumes. I had thought about that but even the costumes from before the Europeans came were lame. Big elaborate sewn stuff. And you're not missing out on casinos.

    Boozy: Did you dream?

  7. That bear totally photo bombed you.


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