Asheville, NC – worth the stop! 4/15/14 – 4/17/14

The impressive Biltmore

The impressive Biltmore

We left Augusta with mixed feelings because it was such an amazing week at the tournament and spending time with our friends. But, time to get on with the next part of the trip. Asheville, NC wasn’t originally on our itinerary, but we had several people along the way tell us that this was a must-stop, so we added it in. The weather had turned cold, windy & wet, which made for a bit of a challenging drive for Mike. Luckily it was a short one, only about 3 hours. We arrived at the Bear Creek RV Park and decided to just kennel in for the night. Temps were expected in the high 20’s, so we bundled up, ate in and caught up on some shows.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

Asheville is located near the south end of the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, so we decided to drive part of it and take in the scenery. This was the first we had seen some elevation in a long time, probably since December, so we welcomed this familiar landscape. Much of our drive was through the Pisgah National Forest which consisted of many tunnels, tons of mountain viewpoints overlooking the valleys below and vegetation that was about 2 weeks away from full bloom. We saw huge rhododendrons, which are a familiar plant from home. It was very cold the night before, so there was still a bit of residual ice and snow in areas. What a change from the 80-degree weather we experienced in Augusta. We returned to downtown Asheville and somehow fell into a mini-pub crawl (surprise, surprise!). Started at Asheville Brewing Company, then found Green Man Brewery. This turned out to be a soccer bar with a game on the big screen so Mike was in heaven! One last stop at the Wicked Weed Brewing then ended at Pack’s Tavern for dinner. Mike had a huge order of ribs and I had fried green tomatoes and salad. All very good and classic southern hospitality y’all! This downtown area was very fun and kind of reminded us of Bend, OR. A very funky and hip vibe with lots of cool little shops and tons of interesting looking restaurants and bars.

Ice from the cold temps the night before

Ice from the cold temps the night before

HIghest Elevation

HIghest Elevation on the Parkway

On our pub crawl

On our pub crawl, the Wicked Weed Brewery

On our last day, we decided to be tourists and go to the Biltmore. It was a bit pricey ($64 per person), but we had heard so much about it and it was another strong recommendation. The Biltmore is an 8,000-acre estate with a 175,000 sq ft mansion that George Vanderbilt built in 1888 (took 6 yrs to build) and was the largest private residence in the country. I believe it still is. This place is HUGE! It has 43 bathrooms, 250 rooms and a 70,000-gallon indoor pool. We toured the inside of the house, then headed out to the impressive gardens and grounds. Photos weren’t allowed inside, so we only have shots of the outside. It was a beautiful day, so we spent a couple of hours walking the grounds. Unfortunately, the azalea and rose gardens weren’t quite in bloom yet, so we could only imagine how gorgeous they will be. But, the tulips in the walled garden were pretty spectacular and the conservatory housed some unique plants. There is also a full hotel, winery, restaurants, farm and shops on site. The winery area was our last stop where we enjoyed complimentary wine tasting and a delicious ham & cheese fondue appy at Cedric’s Tavern. It was a perfect day and we were so glad we did this tour. We heard that locals buy an annual pass so they can visit the gardens multiple times of the year to see the different cycles of flowers and landscaping. I can see why!

Walled garden - tulips galore!

Walled garden – tulips galore!

Bass Lake on the Biltmore Estate grounds

Bass Lake on the Biltmore Estate grounds

Perfect end to the day at Cedric's Tavern

Perfect end to the day at Cedric’s Tavern

Click HERE for more photo’s at the Biltmore!

Our next stop is Knoxville, Tennessee – a new state! Happy Easter all!


4 thoughts on “Asheville, NC – worth the stop! 4/15/14 – 4/17/14

  1. James Haug

    I love your blog. This is great. NC is a blast isn’t it. I’m glad you got to go inland NC and to Pisgah. I grew up going to Pisgah View Ranch every summer for family reunions. Love the area. If you are still there you must visit Sliding Rock which might be too cold for a swim but cool to see.

    1. Mike

      We did enjoy NC, but have moved on to Tenn., but did spend about 3 weeks total in NC if you look back over the last several posts. We were not able to get down to Sliding Rock, looks like it would be fun in the heat of the summer. The area is still dormant, just starting to bloom, so the trees in the mountains area still very bare, in about a month or two, I am sure it will look a lot different.


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