Enjoy the Colorful Photographic Impressions created by Vann Helms
With almost half a foot of snow still on the ground and in the trees, the bright morning Sun only intensified the colors and the beauty.
Yesterday evening, the Sun appeared just as it was setting over the southwestern Mountains…
If there was ever a doubt how the “Blue Ridge” got its name, this view from the foothills west of Rutherfordton will dispel any other explanations. With winter arriving today, low humidity allows us to see these mountains in all their splendor.
The major mountains shown above in this view toward the northwest stretch from just north of Lake Lure, to Mt. Mitchell and this “escarpment” runs along a line from southwest to northeast. From left to right, they are, Stone Mountain. Young’s Mountain, Little Pisgah Mountain, Round Mountain, the “Seven Sisters”, Roan Horsetop Mountain, The Black Mountains in the far distance, Hickory Nut Mountain in the near foreground, and Mt. Mitchell, the peak to the distant far right, the tallest of them all.
The long mountain along the first ridge is Tom’s Mountain, also called New Forest Mountain with an elevation of 2,500 feet. Next comes Hickory Nut at 3,100 feet, with the Black Mountains along the distant horizon topping out at over 6,500 feet. The log home’s elevation is just under 1,000 feet.
Normally, December snows are gone in a few days, but this one is different. Touring Sunset Mountain yesterday revealed snow that has lingered for a week. Looking down on Uptown Asheville felt more like a European city in the Alps. All it was missing was a good ski slope.
Surprisingly, the snow was still deep in many places.
Snow was still lining the narrow roads that hug Sunset Mountain, just above the historic Grove Park Inn.
Driving back east toward Marion, the view of the soaring Black Mountains from I-40 is always breathtaking.
A surprisingly early December snowfall dumped over half a foot in the valley, and was almost continuous for over a day. That’s the longest period of snow I’ve seen since coming here eight years ago. The temperature barely reached the freezing mark, but frigid temperatures since Saturday have preserved the snow in the shadows, and on rooftops facing away from the sun. Here are a few photos I made of the event.
Last year, I retreated to Florida for three weeks around Thanksgiving to escape the smoke and fire threat around Lake Lure, but this year, the visit was totally for pleasure after so much rain had fallen this Autumn. Having grown up in Miami, I spent quality time with many friends and my family.
Coral Gables was my first stop, and the natural beauty in this man made paradise always amazes me.
Canals and waterways abound in this tropical setting.
My friends, Bibi and Jay, live in a home surrounded by a tropical garden, featuring a wide variety of palms and trees.
The Traveler Palm always grows east to west, giving directions to lost explorers.
My friend Jay has a large collection of rare vintage radios.
Back north into Broward County, I visited my brother’s corporate offices where he features prints of my most popular Miami paintings on hallway walls.My interpretation of The Atlantis high rise along Biscayne Bay
St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Miami, and a South Miami Beach fantasy.
A visit to South Florida is never complete without spending time in South Miami Beach. A stroll along historic Lincoln Road Mall always brings a smile to anyone’s face.Famed 1950’s architect Morris Lapidus designed this pedestrian mall where bustling Lincoln Road once stood in 1959. Today it is a popular destination for dining and high end shopping.
A modern NIKE store window reflects the historic Colony Theatre across the Mall.
After sunset, the Mall really comes to life as tourists and locals alike look for that perfect sidewalk cafe for dinner.
Across the Bay from Miami Beach is an area of Miami just north of downtown known as the Miami Design District. Originally a collection of decorator shops catering to the trade, the area now features European designer boutiques and restaurants to match. As the holidays approach, the streets and stores are dressed in their best clothes.Bulgari and Louis Vuitton with Midtown skyline in the distance.
A giant mural adorns the wall of a store next to a public park. Miami sunlight is always bright, and accentuates the colors.
Delightful courtyards are hidden between the buildings, with cafes and fountains.
In Ft. Lauderdale, the New River runs along scenic neighborhoods and towering buildings. Water taxis run constantly in this “Venice of the Americas”.
This is the New River home of Wayne Huizenza, former owner of Blockbuster, Autonation, and the Miami Dolphins.
A visit to Lauderdale is not complete until you’ve cruised the river and the Intracoastal Waterway in a large boat. My brother lives along the New River, and this is Eddie’s view of the Lauderdale skyline from his boat. He graciously took me on a short ride.
We tied up at the Fort Lauderdale Yacht Club, where our neighbor was a beautiful fishing boat.
A five hour drive north put me in Gainesville, home to the University of Florida. I stayed with lifelong friends in their nature retreat among Spanish Moss draped trees.
Two hours to the northwest is Tallahassee, the State Capital, and home to Florida State University. I graduated in 1970, but a stroll around campus 47 years later is always a treat.The fountain on Landis Green has been a popular place to rest and study at FSU for decades. Stozier Library sits at the far northern side of Landis Green.
I was fortunate to sit in during a rehearsal of the FSU Symphony. The School of Music is one of the more respected music institutions in the entire country.
Autumn arrives very late to this Deep South campus.
A very close friend from Miami now lives among the Live Oaks, and her window seat is a gallery for her family’s creations. The oil landscape is by her son, Douglas Foltz, a well respected and highly sought after southern artist. http://www.dougfoltz.com
My trip home to the mountains took me through eastern Georgia, where I happened upon this old dowager Antebellum mansion, hoping for a revival. Sherman must have missed this one on his march to the sea after burning Atlanta. Oh, the stories this place could tell.
Arriving home in Otter Creek, I was greeted with a almost full Moon over Otter Pond. I missed my mountains, and now I will await the season’s first snowfall, and remember the life I left 800 miles to the south.
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