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[Business and Pleasure in Nashville](http://thebestparts.net/2011/10/29/business-and-pleasure-in-nashville/)

Posted on [October 29, 2011](http://thebestparts.net/2011/10/29/business-and-pleasure-in-nashville/) by [Ferd](http://thebestparts.net/author/admin/)

Princess Gail and I just got back from a short little trip to Music City, Nashville, TN. We decided to drive the 7 hours from Winston-Salem to enjoy the Fall colors in the mountains. We were so fortunate this year to have taken four separate car trips into the mountains in the past 3 weeks, and enjoyed all the altitudes from the top of Mt Mitchell to the floor of the Piedmont. I think I saw the best Fall colors of my entire life! You saw some of my memories in my last post.

If watching the Fall foliage wasn’t enough, I also downloaded a fun iPhone app. I was thinking about the old car game we played with the kids during long car trips, counting license plates from as many different states as we could. Well of course there is an app for that! License Plate Game was a lot of fun. I got 21 plates during this trip!

I had to be in Nashville for a work-related meeting, which turned out to be very informative, and held at the beautiful Loews Vanderbilt Hotel.

I knew we were going to be there on a Tuesday, so before we left I had purchased tickets for the Grand Ole Opry. I have been there several times before and I love it! You never know the exact line up of entertainers for this live radio show until the last minute, because you never know who happens to be in town on any given show day. It turned out that Keith Urban, who lives in Nashville with wife Nicole Kidman, decided to play! After that, the show rapidly sold out!

Our favorites of the night were Kip Moore:

Sunny Sweeney:

And of course the headliners, Little Big Town:

And the fabulous Keith Urban!

All in all, it was a short but wonderful little trip to Nashville! Good memories made! And as always, we were grateful to return home, safe and sound.

Posted in [Entertainment](http://thebestparts.net/category/entertainment/), [The Best Parts](http://thebestparts.net/category/thebestparts/), [Travel](http://thebestparts.net/category/travel/) | Tagged [Grand Ole Opry](http://thebestparts.net/tag/grand-ole-opry/) | [2 Comments](http://thebestparts.net/2011/10/29/business-and-pleasure-in-nashville/#comments)

[Sunday Scenery – The Blue Ridge Parkway in Autumn](http://thebestparts.net/2011/10/16/sunday-scenery-the-blue-ridge-parkway-in-autumn/)

Posted on [October 16, 2011](http://thebestparts.net/2011/10/16/sunday-scenery-the-blue-ridge-parkway-in-autumn/) by [Ferd](http://thebestparts.net/author/admin/)

Gail’s mother and stepfather are here visiting. We took them up to see a small part of the Blue Ridge Parkway on an absolutely glorious day. I couldn’t decide on just one, so I’ll present nine Sunday Scenery images. I hope you like them!

Click [here](http://www.cincopa.com/media-platform/view.aspx?fid=%5Bcincopa+AAFAtvamVbGR%5D) to open the gallery.

Posted in [HDR](http://thebestparts.net/category/hdr/), [NC](http://thebestparts.net/category/nc/), [Sunday Scenery](http://thebestparts.net/category/sunday-scenery/) | Tagged [The Blue Ridge Parkway](http://thebestparts.net/tag/the-blue-ridge-parkway/) | [8 Comments](http://thebestparts.net/2011/10/16/sunday-scenery-the-blue-ridge-parkway-in-autumn/#comments)

[The Big Year – Steve Martin gives birders some street cred](http://thebestparts.net/2011/10/13/the-big-year-steve-martin-gives-birders-some-street-cred/)

Posted on [October 13, 2011](http://thebestparts.net/2011/10/13/the-big-year-steve-martin-gives-birders-some-street-cred/) by [Ferd](http://thebestparts.net/author/admin/)

Besides the iPhone 4S, another great thing rolls out tomorrow: [The Big Year](http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1053810/)! Steve Martin will be giving one of our favorite hobbies some serious street cred! Owen Wilson and Jack Black will certainly add their own style of fun and snark. I’m really looking forward to it.

Too bad they didn’t cast these good looking real life birders in the movie!

Grab some popcorn and some bird seed and enjoy the show!


We missed opening day, but Gail and I saw The Big Year on day two, and it did not disappoint! Maybe it’s because we are birders ourselves, but we could relate to all of it! Of course Hollywood exaggerates everything, but we all know and expect that.

Steve Martin was his usual lovable self. Owen Wilson and Jack Black gave surprisingly toned-down performances, actually showing more of their acting chops. Who would have guessed I would ever like Jack Black in a semi-serious role!? There were many other good actors in smaller roles. Rashida Jones shines with her natural, girl-next-door attitude and beauty.

But it was really all about the birds! Appreciation, fascination and obsession! I am happy to say I truly understand that.

Gail and I just agreed that in the future, if I ever see a first year in retirement, we will do a Big Year of our own. What a great thing for our bucket list!

Posted in [Entertainment](http://thebestparts.net/category/entertainment/), [Ferd's Birds](http://thebestparts.net/category/ferds-birds/) | Tagged [The Big Year](http://thebestparts.net/tag/the-big-year/) | [12 Comments](http://thebestparts.net/2011/10/13/the-big-year-steve-martin-gives-birders-some-street-cred/#comments)

[Steve Jobs is Dead, Long Live Steve Jobs](http://thebestparts.net/2011/10/05/steve-jobs-is-dead-long-live-steve-jobs/)

Posted on [October 5, 2011](http://thebestparts.net/2011/10/05/steve-jobs-is-dead-long-live-steve-jobs/) by [Ferd](http://thebestparts.net/author/admin/)

I have sung Steve’s praises for half of my life, as I [recently shared](http://thebestparts.net/2011/08/25/my-first-tribute-to-steve-jobs/). Today came the terribly sad news of his passing. My heart goes out to his family. Steve was a great man, and the world is a far better place because of him. He will be missed by many!

Posted in [The Best Parts](http://thebestparts.net/category/thebestparts/) | Tagged [Steve Jobs](http://thebestparts.net/tag/steve-jobs/) | [13 Comments](http://thebestparts.net/2011/10/05/steve-jobs-is-dead-long-live-steve-jobs/#comments)

[How to Start and Own Your WordPress Blog ~ Made Easy](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/27/how-to-start-and-own-your-wordpress-blog-made-easy/)

Posted on [September 27, 2011](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/27/how-to-start-and-own-your-wordpress-blog-made-easy/) by [Ferd](http://thebestparts.net/author/admin/)

My first ebook just went up for sale! Here’s the story:

About a year ago, I offered to help a friend start her own blog. She was already an accomplished writer, producing regular articles for her local newspaper, and had a “fake” blog on the online version of that same newspaper. I suggested to her that she should have a “real” blog. After a while, she took me up on it!

Linda turned out to be an enthusiastic newbie to the world of blogging, and she needed a helping hand through each step of the process. Many emails went back and forth from NC to her nomadic locations in OH, MI and FL. We started from the very beginning and took small steps until she had her blog up and running. [Shoes for an Imaginary Life](http://shoesforanimaginarylife.com/) is a beautiful expression of Linda’s view of the world. Her blog has been a great addition to the blogosphere!

During the process of setting up her blog, we joked that the emails would be good material for a “how to” book about starting a blog. I guess that planted a seed which must have grown in the back of my mind. After a few months, I reviewed the emails and started writing. A little ebook gradually took form. My daughter, Ginny, helped me with some key insights and with encouragement. There was a technical learning curve regarding ebook self publishing, but with a little luck and determination, I gradually figured it out!

[How to Start and Own Your WordPress Blog ~ Made Easy](http://www.amazon.com/Start-Your-WordPress-Blog-ebook/dp/B005OA3378/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1316815400&sr=8-2) is my first ebook! It seems crazy, but it is available on Amazon (for the Kindle,) on Apple’s iBookstore (for the iPhone and iPad) and will soon be up on Barnes and Noble (for the Nook reader.)

Of course, most of you reading this already have your own blog and don’t need the information. But I do hope other people find their way to this post by way of searches, and that they are encouraged to start their own blog! This ebook is essentially the helping hand used to bring Linda’s blog to life. It’s a step by step tutorial, easy to follow, so that anyone who wants to can easily start and own their blog!

I’m very excited about this project and I hope it reaches the audience for whom it is intended. Please help me promote it with a Facebook “Share” or “Like.” I would really appreciate that! Thank you very much!

Posted in [The Best Parts](http://thebestparts.net/category/thebestparts/) | Tagged [ebook](http://thebestparts.net/tag/ebook/) | [22 Comments](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/27/how-to-start-and-own-your-wordpress-blog-made-easy/#comments)

[Happy Autumnal Equinox](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/23/happy-autumnal-equinox/)

Posted on [September 23, 2011](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/23/happy-autumnal-equinox/) by [Ferd](http://thebestparts.net/author/admin/)

Gail dressed up the mantle for the fall. She has an artistic eye.

Posted in [HDR](http://thebestparts.net/category/hdr/), [The Best Parts](http://thebestparts.net/category/thebestparts/) | [14 Comments](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/23/happy-autumnal-equinox/#comments)

[A museum of Cedar Waxwings!](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/20/a-museum-of-cedar-waxwings/)

Posted on [September 20, 2011](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/20/a-museum-of-cedar-waxwings/) by [Ferd](http://thebestparts.net/author/admin/)

Posted in [Ferd's Birds](http://thebestparts.net/category/ferds-birds/) | Tagged [Cedar Waxwings](http://thebestparts.net/tag/cedar-waxwings/) | [9 Comments](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/20/a-museum-of-cedar-waxwings/#comments)

[Pisgah View Ranch](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/12/pisgah-view-ranch/)

Posted on [September 12, 2011](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/12/pisgah-view-ranch/) by [Ferd](http://thebestparts.net/author/admin/)

Gail’s son Eric graduated last year, and as a graduation present she offered him a horseback riding trip. With his autism Eric doesn’t do very well interacting with people but he LOVES animals. So Gail organized a little trip to the [Pisgah View Ranch](http://www.pisgahviewranch.net/), a horse ranch in Candler, NC, just west of Asheville. She picked this time of year because it is quiet on the ranch, without the agitating distractions of too many people.

The rides were fun, slow walks up the forested mountain along the various trails of this 2,500 acre ranch, which has been in the owner’s family since the 1700′s!

Gail and Eric enjoyed making friends with the horses…

…and enjoyed some quality time together.

The ranch offered a little entertainment in the evenings. One night we were treated to a really great introduction to the world of [Cowboy Action Shooting](http://www.sassnet.com/)! After their demonstration event, we had the opportunity to shoot handguns and rifles. Gail turned out to be a very accurate shooter, a real natural! I guess I better always behave myself!

The ranch provided very tasty, hearty meals and warm hospitality. There was also plenty of time to hike and to partake of our special interest in birding. Some of the highlights included a Wood Thrush,

…an ear-full of Cedar Waxwings,

…a number of hawks, including this juvenile Red-tailed Hawk,

…numerous Eastern Wood-Pewees,

…a Belted Kingfisher (I don’t like taking pictures of birds on wires, but this is an exception,)

…and a Black-throated Green Warbler.

I don’t have a picture, but we also had the pleasure of hearing, tracking down, and spotting a Pileated Woodpecker. It is always fun to see and hear this large bird of the deep forests. And we heard an Eastern Screech-Owl right outside our cabin at 3:00 in the morning. I went outside to check but it was too dark. Next time we’ll have a flashlight!

All in all, it was a nice little trip! And I can wholeheartedly recommend the [Pisgah View Ranch](http://www.pisgahviewranch.net/)!

Posted in [NC](http://thebestparts.net/category/nc/), [The Best Parts](http://thebestparts.net/category/thebestparts/) | Tagged [Pisgah View Ranch](http://thebestparts.net/tag/pisgah-view-ranch/) | [18 Comments](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/12/pisgah-view-ranch/#comments)

[Sunday Scenery – Mt. Pisgah](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/11/sunday-scenery-mt-pisgah/)

Posted on [September 11, 2011](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/11/sunday-scenery-mt-pisgah/) by [Ferd](http://thebestparts.net/author/admin/)

Posted in [HDR](http://thebestparts.net/category/hdr/), [NC](http://thebestparts.net/category/nc/), [Sunday Scenery](http://thebestparts.net/category/sunday-scenery/) | Tagged [Mt. Pisgah](http://thebestparts.net/tag/mt-pisgah/) | [10 Comments](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/11/sunday-scenery-mt-pisgah/#comments)

[A nice little trip to Blowing Rock, NC](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/03/a-nice-little-trip-to-blowing-rock-nc/)

Posted on [September 3, 2011](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/03/a-nice-little-trip-to-blowing-rock-nc/) by [Ferd](http://thebestparts.net/author/admin/)

Princess Gail and I just spent a couple of days in and around [Blowing Rock, NC](http://www.blowingrock.com/). It is a less than 2 hour drive northeast of us from Winston, up into the Blue Ridge Mountains. In fact, Blowing Rock is at one of the exits off [The Blue Ridge Parkway](http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/).

We found Blowing Rock to be a really pretty, quaint little town. The walkable main street is full of very nice shops (not the cheap touristy stuff) and excellent restaurants. We enjoyed nice meals at The Village Café, Twigg’s, and the Storie Street Grille. My favorite was the Village Café, with an upscale menu, a beautiful, secluded outside patio, and reasonable prices.

We stayed at the Chetola Resort only because we got a Groupon for over a hundred bucks off. Otherwise it would not be worth the price to stay, at least not for me. If I’m in the mountains I want a mountain view, and though the grounds are lovely, there is no mountain view. We saw many little motel-type places right in town that were really done nicely! If we ever go back we’ll stay at one of those.

The town of Blowing Rock has a lot of local activities all summer long. Just stop at the Visitor Center as you come into town and get a list. We weren’t there for the good shopping or eating, though. We love the great outdoors. Right in town, we can suggest the Glen Burney Trail. The rough trail follows a little stream for 1.6 downhill miles, with three waterfalls along the way. It is an excellent spot for birding. Just remember you then have to walk the 1.6 uphill miles! This little Carolina Wren came out from the underbrush to pose for us:

Right outside of town is the town’s namesake, [The Blowing Rock](http://www.theblowingrock.com/). The rock itself is nothing at all to speak of and wouldn’t be worth the price of admission if not for the views. The views are pretty cool. It was a bit overcast, but here is an example. Princess Gail with Grandfather Mountain in the distance.

We spent a morning at [Grandfather Mountain](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandfather_Mountain). It is one of the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge, and famous for numerous wildlife habitats at the different altitudes as well as some dramatic (and dangerous) weather. We were hoping to spot a Peregrine Falcon but were unlucky. Here are a few pictures at the [Mile High Swinging Bridge](http://www.grandfather.com/swinging_bridge/) where winds have been measured at over 100 mph.

Can you tell how she feels about heights and howling winds?

The short span of The Blue Ridge Parkway between Grandfather Mountain and the town of Blowing Rock is full of activity. That includes The Moses Cone Memorial Park, the Julian Price Memorial Park, and the Tanawha Trail. There are numerous scenic overlooks as well. You can spend days just in that tiny bit of the Parkway.

We had fun! Life is good!


Posted in [NC](http://thebestparts.net/category/nc/), [The Best Parts](http://thebestparts.net/category/thebestparts/), [Travel](http://thebestparts.net/category/travel/) | Tagged [Blowing Rock](http://thebestparts.net/tag/blowing-rock/), [Grandfather Mountain](http://thebestparts.net/tag/grandfather-mountain/), [Mile High Swinging Bridge](http://thebestparts.net/tag/mile-high-swinging-bridge/) | [14 Comments](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/03/a-nice-little-trip-to-blowing-rock-nc/#comments)

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Thank you, Steve!

Ferd & Gail

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[Business and Pleasure in Nashville](http://thebestparts.net/2011/10/29/business-and-pleasure-in-nashville/) [Sunday Scenery – The Blue Ridge Parkway in Autumn](http://thebestparts.net/2011/10/16/sunday-scenery-the-blue-ridge-parkway-in-autumn/) [The Big Year – Steve Martin gives birders some street cred](http://thebestparts.net/2011/10/13/the-big-year-steve-martin-gives-birders-some-street-cred/) [Steve Jobs is Dead, Long Live Steve Jobs](http://thebestparts.net/2011/10/05/steve-jobs-is-dead-long-live-steve-jobs/) [How to Start and Own Your WordPress Blog ~ Made Easy](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/27/how-to-start-and-own-your-wordpress-blog-made-easy/) [Happy Autumnal Equinox](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/23/happy-autumnal-equinox/) [A museum of Cedar Waxwings!](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/20/a-museum-of-cedar-waxwings/) [Pisgah View Ranch](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/12/pisgah-view-ranch/) [Sunday Scenery – Mt. Pisgah](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/11/sunday-scenery-mt-pisgah/) [A nice little trip to Blowing Rock, NC](http://thebestparts.net/2011/09/03/a-nice-little-trip-to-blowing-rock-nc/) [A Personal Tribute to Steve Jobs](http://thebestparts.net/2011/08/25/my-first-tribute-to-steve-jobs/) [Kevin’s Sylvania Triathlon 2011](http://thebestparts.net/2011/08/15/kevins-sylvania-triathlon-2011/) [The Present](http://thebestparts.net/2011/08/12/the-present/) [How to convert an older Quicken data file to use on Mac OS 10.7 Lion](http://thebestparts.net/2011/07/26/how-to-convert-an-older-quicken-data-file-to-use-on-mac-os-10-7-lion/) [Bethabara Park clean-up](http://thebestparts.net/2011/07/16/bethabara-park-clean-up/)
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