Asheville. There aren't enough adjectives to correctly describe the Asheville area, and we only just saw a tiny bit. May I humbly suggest that you add a trip to Asheville to your travel bucket list? You won't regret it. I thought Autumn was pretty spectacular, but in the early summer when the rhododendrons bloom would also be a stunner of a trip. Maybe it's always amazing.
We got into Asheville about 2pm and checked into our hotel. (Another excellent Hampton) After a couple of minutes of book and map consultations we headed out to do a drive of the southern part of the Blue Ridge Parkway which is something like 400 miles long so you know we only saw a small bit. A little miscalculation led us into Bent Creek Experimental Forest which was amazing and the high point for that days visit. A quick "good on you" to the biker we saw struggling up the road. Serious athletes, those folks.
Day 2 we went the other way on the parkway where we took in one scenic vista after another.
And there were tunnels! I love a tunnel.
Part of what made these tunnels so cool was that they were completely dark, so when you came out the other end the impact of the sunshine was impressive.
On the way up the mountain the landscape changed again and again. Craggy armed trees with no leaves to mostly evergreens and back to hardwoods. As we got higher we noticed icicles hanging on most of the shaded outcroppings.
We stopped at the top of Mount Mitchell and had lunch in a little restaurant there and then turned around a came back down. Going down was much faster than going up. :-)
Once back in the city we headed downtown because it's always fun to see the actual city and because I wanted to go to Mast General Store which was advertised to have everything you could possibly need. I think that might have been true.
While browsing in Mast I discovered a display for Official Rockford Red Heeled Socks.
I have lived in Rockford my entire life, and while I was certainly aware of the red heeled sock monkey phenomenon, I have never seen the socks sold anywhere here in Rockford. Go figure. I must be going to the wrong places. Not that I need red heeled socks. At all.
That night we had a really, really nice dinner with Tom's sister Kathy and her husband Carlos. They were driving back to Austin and made a stop in Asheville so we got the chance to spend time together, just the four of us.
The next morning we headed for home. We made a one night stop in Louisville where we caught an IMAX showing of Crimson Peak (Oh the Hidds!) and a great dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse. We have one here in Rockford, but had never visited. Good food, nice atmosphere. We were home the next day by 3:30pm. Never have I been happier to get off my butt. Way too many days in the car, but a wonderful trip. Our next trip will be to....wait for it.... MINNESOTA for the week between Christmas and New Years. We will celebrate our 15th anniversary in front of the fire with snow falling outside. (please let there be snow falling outside)
Out 8 states were Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virgina, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennesse, and Kentucky. All good, but home is best.