Posted in Travel

Asheville Trip Recap

So…we had a very brief fall break last week, and we decided to make a quick trip to Asheville, NC. We’ve been there quite a few times, and actually, when I got to thinking about it, we’ve gone at least once a year the past few years. Asheville is about a four hour drive for us, and we like the outdoor vibe NC has to offer. Also, Asheville is the city with the most breweries, per capita…which makes it a place Trav loves to visit.

A couple of times, Travis and I have stayed at the Red Rocker Inn in Black Mountain. Actually, the first time I ever went to Asheville (in 2004), we stayed at RRI…and all weekend long I thought Travis was going to propose. He did not. That happened a few months later in May of 2004…but that’s a tale for another time. πŸ˜‰

I also booked a stay at RRI in 2013 to celebrate Trav’s birthday with a getaway for the two of us.

For Spring break 2018, we visited Asheville with the kids because Hayden wanted to go to the Biltmore. Of course, we did other activities like hike to a beautiful waterfall, but that was one of our main goals of the trip.

Last fall break, we stayed in Asheville one night before glamping with friends in Pisgah National Forest two additional nights.

Anyway, any time we visit, we check out new (to us) restaurants, breweries, and hiking trails, and we always leave planning a return trip ASAP.

Quick note…We stayed at an Airbnb that was cute and close to downtown. Every place we went—downtown, restaurants, hiking trails, etc….followed Covid protocols very closely. I don’t think I saw a single person without a mask in the 48 hours we were there. Of course, when we hiked, we just kept our masks handy if necessary, but everyone seemed to keep their distance while letting other pass and looking at the views at the top of the trail.

And…my only other mental note for a fall trip is to eat dinner earlier. We ate dinner both nights at around 7:00 which is about dark and much cooler outside. So, if we go back in the fall, I will try to remember to rally my crew for dinner at 5! πŸ˜‰ During the day, with the sunshine, the weather was glorious.

Thursday:

We arrived Thursday around 2:00, found our Airbnb, and unpacked.

The kids were excited to see the bunk beds….but on both nights, Hadley slept on the bottom bunk and then Hayden slept on our floor (don’t ask πŸ˜‚), and then in the other bedroom the next night.

The 3 bedroom Airbnb was so cute and super clean. I loved the bedding and couch so much that I was trying to find the brand name on the tags of the duvet and the cushions of the couch. There was only one bathroom, but we made do.

There were cute little touches around the house like the Asheville bar of soap on our bed, brochures and books for the area, and a welcome packet with info about the house and electronics.

Then we headed to Highland Brewing. We sat in the “meadow” area where there were picnic tables both in the shade and in the sunshine. I don’t have a good picture, but you can see parts of the hoops that had out for social distancing. If you wanted to picnic in the grass, you sat in the hoop on the ground or put your chairs in the hoop to maintain distance. The picnic tables had larger hoops around them, and they had bricks with a red and a green side for dirty vs clean table. The large hoop around our table was wide enough for the kids to move around a bit if they didn’t want to sit at the table. That being said, it wasn’t very crowded, we we could space out some and give them a few extra feet to roam. When you weren’t at your table, you were to wear a mask…and everyone obliged.

The weather was perfection. The kids got a coke and a lemonade while we enjoyed a beer. Hadley spotted the food trucks, so Travis took her to get something to eat. They came back with tamales and a Nutella crepe. Hayden and I weren’t mad about it! So good.

Travis also purchased a hat within the first five minutes. He didn’t pack one from the trip…and to be honest, many of his hats have been #homered! He was due for a new one.

We went back to the house to freshen up and then went to White Duck Taco for dinner. We love this place, and try to go there to eat with each visit. We’ve passed by the one downtown, but have only eaten at the one by the river. There are tons of picnic tables and the scenery is pretty!

I got one steak taco and one gyro taco. So good

After dinner, we headed to Omni Grove Park Inn for drinks and dessert. A couple of Trav’s work friends were also in Asheville, so we met up with them. The kids did a good job letting the adults have some conversation time…

while they devoured the s’mores dessert…and Hayden enjoyed looking at the wall of famous guests who had stayed at OGPI as well as the history of the resort.

Then, we went back to the house and went to bed.

Friday:

On Friday morning, we slept in a bit. I actually slept until 9:00 which was pure bliss. Then, my crazy crew decided to go for a trail run…

off they go…

while I ….sipped my coffee and read The Flatshare on my Kindle.

When they got back, we got ready for the day. We decided to head to downtown Asheville, walk around a bit and find a place to eat.

We stumbled upon H&F Burger. We did eat inside because outside seating was all bar top sitting in a row. We wanted a table to sit at, so we went inside. Like the other restaurants, everyone had on masks unless sitting at their table and tables we very spaced out. Also, it wasn’t crowded for inside eating.

I got the ricotta gnocchi with bolognese sauce, and it was amazing!

The kids each got a milkshake, and I had a Diet Coke from a bottle (which Hayden thought was so funny). Travis got a burger, and both kids got the chili cheese dog. Both of them loved it so much, and let me have a bite.

Hayden loved it so much that he borrowed Trav’s phone to leave a review! πŸ˜‚He’s very into reviews lately…more on that in a minute.

Then, we headed down the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping at a couple of lookout points…

Hadley actually dozed off in the car, so it’s only Hayden in this lookout pic.

We drove to the Craggy Pinnacle Trailhead and parked. This was our view when getting out of car…

With the elevation, it was definitely cooler, so Hayden went back to the car for this jacket before we hiked. The hike was only a little over 1.5 miles round trip, but it was pretty much uphill to get to the top.

family selfie before the hike

On our way to the top…

Halfway point…

View from the top. Gorgeous.

Gorgeous part 2:

We snapped a couple of photos and headed back down the trail.

Love this pic of my 3 ❀️

It’s no secret Hayden loves to golf. We haven’t been to a putt putt course in quite some time. Well, Hayden searched for putt putt places in Asheville and stumbled upon Lakeview Putt and Play. He said, “Moooommmm…they have over 100 five star reviews, and their ice cream is supposed to be amazing!”

Honestly, when he gets an idea in his head, he’s like a dog with a bone! So, we fit it into our day after the hike. I am glad we went. We had a good time…and I humbled him by beating him by turning my putting game around for the last few holes. Travis won…and Hadley came in last. Poor girl…she started off strong though!

Of note, we did get a scoop of ice cream after our round, and it is pretty good!

We went back to the house to relax for a bit before a low key pizza dinner.

Travis found All Souls Pizza, and the outside seating was so cute. The pizza was delicious as well. The kids got pepperoni, and Travis and I tried the sausage, fennel, fontina pizza…SO good!

We were pretty chilly, so we didn’t stick around long after dinner. Again, the setting was so pretty, but the temperatures definitely drop quickly when the sun goes down!

We were back to the house around 8:00, hung out, watched tv and read before 10:00 bedtime.

Saturday:

Saturday morning, we eased into the day, but were packed and out of the house around 9:45. We wanted to make a pit stop at Pisgah to see our friends who were glamping and camping.

By the time I went to make a glamping reservation, there were no more tents…which is how we ended up at the Airbnb. So, of the three families in Asheville, we stayed at a house, one family glamped, and the other family camped….like in a tent, on the ground. I’m not about that life! …but would like to try glamping again.

The kids were excited to see their friends and run around for a bit..

while the adults drank coffee and caught up.

We left Pisgah around noon and got back about 4:00 Saturday afternoon…just in time to see the Cats (lose in a heart breaker of a game), for Trav to watch the Preakness race, and to see my mom and Gma who were in town at my brother’s house.

One more day in Asheville would have been perfect, but we are always happy to get home…

Let me know if you have any Asheville questions! It’s definitely a great place to visit.

See you back here on Friday for this week’s Friday Favorites.

Take care,

Posted in Travel

Fall break: Part 2

Did you read about Part 1 of our fall break in Asheville?

Part 2 of our Asheville trip entailed glamping. By last Friday afternoon, we were settled into our tent and sipping on White Claws while the kids ran around. I was really pleased with how nice the facilities were and the area was so pretty. Like I said, we’d be to Asheville many times and even hiked in different areas like Chimney Rock, but Pisgah and Lake Powhatan were new to us. My friend Krista found this location, and the pictures online certainly do it justice.

After a little while, we decided to hike down to the lake. It was a little over a mile or so, and it was good for the kids to run around and for us to get our bearings. We were gone a little over an hour and then decided to make dinner.

Pics from our hike to the lake
Family fun x2
Lake Powhatan
Yes, I said, “Hey kids, turn and look at the lake!” but Hadley’s arm around C just shows their naturally sweet friendship.

After we returned from getting the lay of the land, we started dinner. We were hungry and didn’t give our fire time to roar, so we ended up having hot dogs and hamburgers rather than the original plan of the foil packs with chicken and potatoes. Then, it was time for s’mores and ghost stories.

Hayden’s turn to tell a ghost story. “It was a dark and stormy night…and I ended up sleeping bed with my mom!” haha

This is going to sound stupid—but I didn’t realize how dark it would be…and so early. Thank goodness for our flashlights and lanterns…but even still, we were in bed by 9:30.

I woke up to this view the next morning…and a huge dip in temperature!! Friday was in the 80’s and Saturday was in the low 60’s and a drizzle rain most of the day. I am a fan of the fresh air, but I also am wise enough to pack my allergy medicine!

I spent a few minutes on the porch sipping my coffee before we got the day started.

Travis went on a trail run #showoff while the moms read , and the kids ran around and then played games. Go Fish for the girls and Chess for the boys!

Just a few pics of our manly men manning the fire as well as some of our food. Saturday morning breakfast included sausage, bacon, and pancakes on the cast iron skillet. #howdidthepioneerwomendoit ?!

After breakfast, we all went on about a 3 mile trail hike and ended with us by the lake. The evening before, we went to the fishing pier, but that morning we ended up on the beach. The kids were so awesome on the hike! They were usually way ahead of us and in charge of the map. We stayed on the blue trail, and they had fun finding the mile markers.

After the hike, we cleaned up and headed to Asheville to have a late (3:00!) lunch at the Wicked Weed Brewery. We usually go there when we are in Asheville, and the food, beverages, and atmosphere never disappoint. Hadley went to check on a table option while we waited, and I ended up checking on her…what was taking so long was she had found the free pretzels and was stocking up for the rest of us while we waited. haha

After lunch, we walked around for awhile and even ended up getting coffee and hot chocolate before heading back to the camp site.

We were all pretty full from lunch, so we just ate snacks and more hot dogs for dinner followed by more s’mores and ghost stories. Then, again, another early bedtime of 9:30 or so.

We woke up the next morning around 7:30, packed up, and left by 9:00. We had fun but were ready to get home, start laundry, see Homer, and sleep in our own beds!

I’ve only been camping one other time (besides my Girl Scout days when I was in elementary school) When Travis and I had been dating for almost a year, we went camping for one night near Columbia, Missouri where we lived. We had a great time, but even then, with just the two of us, it took so much effort, planning, and packing! I’ll never forget as we drove home from that camping trip in the spring of 2002, he turned, looked at me, and said, “You passed the test!” haha…Listen, I’m not high maintenance, and he (and my friends and family) know that…I love the outdoors. I will hike, bike, paddle board, etc…eat hot dogs, s’mores, and all the things…I just prefer to sleep at a Marriott! I struggle with needing to be in control, and it’s hard to control all the things in nature, so it takes me a minute to let that character trait of mine go. That being said, I would definitely do this again. It definitely did take a lot of planning and preparation (and I think my friend did most of that!!), but the effort was worth it in the end. It was a great as a family to unplug for awhile, let the kids run around, and see what the world has to offer. And, it was certainly fun to go with another family who we are great friends with!

These memories will last a lifetime, I’m sure!

Sweet friends
Hadley slept most of the four hour ride home!

That’s a wrap on Fall Break, Part 2! We went from novice campers to somewhat novice campers!!

I hope you have a great weekend,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweetea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Travel

Fall Break: Part 1

We had a short fall break with a four day weekend. While our summer vacations are usually traditionally spent at the beach, for fall and spring breaks, we usually mix it up. Sometimes we stay home and do things around Lexington that we usually don’t have time to do, other times, we have family visit or we go visit them, but often times we try to go somewhere new or do something a little different in the few days we have off.

This year, the four of us went to Asheville (we go there once every couple of years or so–there’s so much to do outdoors…and so many breweries, that we have some faves but also try new things) on Thursday, but then on Friday met up with our Lexington friends to go glamping at Lake Powhatan.

So–this is me…today…with tons of laundry and trying to get our life back on track!

Travis found an Air bnb (our first experience staying at one) and said, “Jen, the location is perfect!” (read: riiiight across from New Belgium Brewing) When we arrived Thursday afternoon, we got settled and walked across to the brewery. Kids were running around the grassy area, there was a food truck, and others were sitting in adirondack chairs with a view of the French Broad River. Travis and I enjoyed a flight of beer while the kids had a Sprite and looked around. Then, we headed back to get ready for dinner.

For dinner, we went to White Duck Taco which was also nearby. I got the Bangkok shrimp taco and the steak and cheese taco with a margarita! So good. Travis tried a few other tacos while Hayden also had two steak and cheese tacos, and Hadley enjoyed the black bean taco…Fun fact about Hadley: she can eat her weight in black beans, so she loved these tacos! We all split the chips and queso. After dinner, we found an ice cream place for dessert and went to bed pretty early.

On Friday morning, we ate breakfast at Biscuit Head in West Asheville. Listen, I’ve said it before…I’m not from the south…I’m not all about the big southern breakfast of biscuits and gravy (Hadley, on the other hand, eats gravy with a spoon! #southernbelle)…but these biscuits were so good. I got the Classic Biscuit Sandwich with egg and cheddar cheese and a side of bacon. We all shared the biscuit donuts tossed in cinnamon sugar and served with a side of lemon curd. So delicious!

New Belgium Brewery, White Duck Taco, and Biscuit Head

This meme cracks me up…and is so true. I could eat Mexican food and/or tacos at least once a week…so I was definitely in my happy place at White Duck Taco.

After breakfast, we packed up and Travis had mentioned to the kids about a place you could zipline nearby. Well, once those words were out of his mouth, there was not turning back (unfortunately, for me! haha) Since day one, Hadley has always been more adventurous and Hayden more reserved. Let’s just say the kids get these traits honestly—Hayden from me and Hadley from Travis. As soon as we got out of the car, I saw the big ziplines…and Hayden looked uncertain. That’s when Travis told them about the Kid Zip area. I’ve never been happier that my kids weigh 65 (ish) lbs. You could be eight years old and zip on the big lines but have to weigh 70 lbs! So–we were limited to the kid zip area. Honestly, I think zip lining is fun, but I like to remind everyone that I’m trying not to break any bones at this point in my life! Hayden was a bit hesitant at first and even said, “Uh, I’m not sure this is for me. I don’t even get on the monkey bars at recess!” haha. Anyway, after some instruction, we were set! We all had so much fun….Hayden too. Hadley liked to show off with, “Look, mom! No hands!” There were definitely some higher zip lines in the kid zone and even some that went through the trees. We were able to zip line from 1:00-3:00, and after a few times on the nine zip lines, we even let the kids just zip on their own.

After zip lining, we headed to the grocery to pick up a few last minute items before meeting our friends at the glampling place.

Here are the kids at our tent, and our friends were just a couple of tents away.

Here’s the inside of the tent. The bed was comfy and the tent included a fan (which we didn’t need as it got into upper 50s/low 60s at night), coffee pot, lamp, towels, charging station, cot, etc.

We got settled and then hung out with our friends before walking around Pisgah.

That’s it for part 1 of fall break. I hope to share the rest of our adventure (the actual glamping part) the end of the week.

I hope you have a great Monday.

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea