From Raleigh we drove to Holden Beach to visit Fay, Jason's grandmother. We relaxed in the seaside air with Christmas shopping trips, walks on the beach and a bit of seafood NC style!
We were due back in Raleigh soon enough for Amanda's graduation from NC State. CONGRATULATIONS Amanda, we're so very proud of you! Now it's time to really start saving so you can join us sometime in 2009 :-)
Jason's mom, Karen, was kind enough to give us all a package to the Biltmore House for Christmas so the day after graduation we hit the road to Asheville, NC and started with a candlelight tour of the house. The next morning we returned for a full tour of the gardens, house & winery...it was fantastic! The BIltmore goes all out for Christmas with over more Christmas trees than you can count! After the tour we drove to the winery where our whole group participated in a seminar of wine and chocolate...Tracy was in heaven :-) After the seminar we headed through the winery and into the tasting room where we sampled many of the Biltmore wines before continuing our journey to TN!
Arriving in TN we started work on our annual early Christmas preparations. We dug out the rolling pins, cooking sheets and flour and began rolling Moravian molasses and sugar cookies as well as lefse! By the end of the day we had a feast prepared complete with turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, stuffing & cranberries! And so began our first Christmas of the year!
Driving back to Jason's Dad's house in time for Christmas Eve we had dinner at Darlene's parents (wow...her mom is a fabulous cook). Bellies full we headed to Winston Salem for the Love Feast at the Moravian Church. The next morning we celebrated Christmas at Jason's Dad's house and in the following days visited Old Salem and had additional Christmas celebrations at Aunt Lois and Uncle Danny's house. Our last night in NC we were able to get together with the extended Bedsaul clan one last time before flying into Minneapolis, visiting friends Jamie, Maria & Emma and then taking to train to North Dakota (arrival temp was -16...brrrrr)!