We’ve been looking forward to this place and it didn’t disappoint. We rolled in to the Lake Powhatan Recreation Area’s campground as the sun was setting with no reservation and a hope that there would be a spot open for us. We really lucked out getting a gorgeous site with full hookups. This is a beautiful spot, super convenient to downtown Asheville and the Blueridge Mountains.
After finishing work and school Monday morning, we headed out to climb the 499 steps of Chimney Rock. That’s one BIG rock. The view from the top was amazing. Unfortunately there was a wildfire (actually there were several) burning on the mountain side that, later in the week, caused an evacuation of the area including Chimney Rock and the little town below.
Tuesday was a walk around downtown Asheville to peek in shops and grab some coffee and generally get the lay of the land. There was LOADS of construction going on and I sort of expected the town to be more quaint than it was? But it did have a cool vibe and was beautifully diverse. That I loved. That evening we were lucky enough to meet up with the Woods, friends we met via Instagram. They lived in their Airstream for 17 month before deciding to settle in Asheville. We had a lovely visit and delicious dinner at the Sierra Nevada Brewery. They have 2 younger boys and all the kids enjoyed sharing their obsession with Angry Birds and doing some impressive artwork while the grown-ups chatted. You know what’s cool? Meeting people for the first time and feeling, instantly, like you’ve known them for a very long time.
Wednesday was a chill day with a drive through the mountains to take pictures. The landscape here is unreal…so pretty.
Thursday was the day we were all excited about…the Biltmore! Just WOW and double WOW since it was already decorated for Christmas. We got the boys the audio tour so they could learn more about the history of the Biltmore than simply walking through each room. That was a smart move.
Friday was a hike to Lake Powhatan and since it was a beautiful day, a swim for Vader and some bare feet sand play for the boys.
Saturday we met up with an old high school friend of mine and his family at Asheville’s River Arts District for a very cool Gallery Stroll. Dozens and dozens of really amazing artists opened up their studios, some even having demonstrations of how they do their craft. Then the 4 kids found a massive rock pile near the train tracks and that was the end of the art. We had a great time with the Hornsbys and I completely fell in love with the River Arts District.
So, our general take on what little of Asheville we saw was definitely a thumbs up. As the Woods said, it’s a GREAT time to buy in Asheville since it seems like there’s a lot of construction and upgrades around the city going on. We couldn’t believe the amount of cafes, pubs and restaurants plus all the small boutiques…there are so many it’s hard to imagine how they all stay open! We would have liked to learn more of Asheville’s history—probably should have done an on/off trolley tour. The River Arts District is wonderful and the diversity of the people is lovely. And the donuts at Hole Doughnuts? Just as life changing as we were told. Well done Asheville, well done.