Well, it has come and gone, our mini-class reunion in Chapel Hill, NC and points west graciously hosted by Gerald Miwa. Here is a glimpse at what those of us who were able to attend experienced between our arrival on October 15th and when some of us headed for home on October 20th. The weather was absolutely perfect with the fall colors in their early stages.
Our group was small, but this allowed us to reconnect as a group and individually. I needed a wider angle lens for the group picture below, but at least everyone is smiling. There are better ones I’m sure in Richard’s camera, which he always had with him.
From left to right around the table is Richard Liebig, Gerald, Gerald’s wife Barbara, Gail Liebig (Fisher), Donna McLaughlin, Harry Nieves, Harry’s wife Elaine, and Margaret Hollins (Emig). I’m out of view behind the camera.
Below is a somewhat better picture of Donna, Margaret, and Richard.
Gerald had planned several sightseeing activities for our visit. Saturday after breakfast, which we all helped prepare, we headed off to visit the Rose Garden at Duke University. Duke was playing Miami in football, which allowed us to take a leisurely walk from our cars to the old part of Duke and the garden.
Sunday morning we headed off on a scenic, four hour drive to Ashville and a tour of its Biltmore House. It was opened in 1895 by George W. Vanderbilt, and to this day remains the largest privately owned estate in the country. It was opened to the public in 1930.
After our tour, we enjoyed a relaxing dinner at the Bistro 1895 in downtown Asheville. After dinner we continued on to Bryson City for the night. Monday was certainly the most exciting day. It started off with a train ride up the Nantahala River Gorge along the foothills of the Smokey Mountains.
Midway through the train ride, about half of us left the train for our 8-mile raft trip down the Nantahala River. The weather was cool and overcast for our raft trip down the river. The water temperature was in the mid-fifties, although it felt ten degrees colder. Most people do their rafting in the summer months, but not our hardy group. The picture below shows us as we navigated through the roughest rapid. In this picture, we realize that we have conquered the river without being thrown overboard.
Gail, Richard, me, Barbara, and Gerald were the rafters in our group. For me a late afternoon hot shower and a nap back at our Bryson City hotel capped off the day. That evening we enjoyed wine and dinner at a local Italian restaurant in Bryson City.
On Tuesday morning, we headed back to Chapel Hill, but started our journey with a brunch at the exclusive Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa. It is huge and truly breathtaking with a spectacular view of the countryside.
Well, this is a quick rundown on what could not have been a better reunion. The weather was perfect, our activities were superbly planned and coordinated well before we arrived, all by Gerald.
In between the meals we enjoyed at various restaurants, we were treated to gourmet dishes prepared by head chef, Gerald, his talented assistant, Barbara, and his band of dicers and choppers, us. As it turns out, among his many talents, Gerald is also an excellent cook, ready for his own show on the Food Channel.
On Wednesday, some of us reluctantly returned home. Margaret and Donna stayed an extra day. Margaret had an appointment with Gerald’s realtor – who knows Margaret may very well retire to the Chapel Hill area at some point. Richard and Gail travelled on to do some sightseeing in Virginia.
Well, there you have it. Look for more photos on our web site coming soon.
As our stay was winding down, we could not help but think about our 50th Reunion coming up in 2013. We talked about possible locations etc. It’s about two and a half years away, but that time will certainly fly by. About half of our class is still on the Missing List, hopefully we will find many of them before our 50th. In the meantime, don’t accidently become a member of the list. Please let us know if you relocate and/or change email addresses.
Check out another rafting picture posted by Gerald on Facebook.