Asheville, North Carolina & a piece of the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway

The trip from South Carolina to North Carolina was another short trip.  At the first sight of the mountains we both found ourselves smiling.

There’s just something about the mountains!

We spent four nights at the KOA East in Swannanoa just outside Asheville.  This was a campground with a view…

The camper backed right up to a small lake and the mountains could be seen through the trees.

No sooner than we got set up Ronnie was wetting a hook…

No sooner than he wet the hook he was pulling out a nice size fish…

He was one happy camper! He threw it back in but catching something right off the bat was a nice way to start off our stay in North Carolina.

You never know what you’re in for when choosing a campground sight unseen. Thankfully this was a beautiful campground…

… with nice facilities and amenities.

I enjoyed watching the young geese and ducklings imitate their parents and the turtles basking in the sun.

While we were in and near Asheville we thought we might check out the Biltmore Estate again.  We were there several years ago during Christmas and we toured the estate in all its glory while the halls were decked out in holly.  It was a sight to behold so we thought we’d like to see it this time of year with the gardens bestowing all their glory.

The days of just showing up and buying your ticket are gone.  As I got online to check out the prices I discovered a) that ticket prices had gone up considerably since the last time we were there and b) that reservations with time time slots needed to be made then paid for and c) tickets needed to either be printed or could be shown on one’s phone.  The first two were surprising to discover but not really a big deal.  The third one posed a problem as we don’t have a printer anymore.  I did manage to get my email set up on the phone so that would have taken care of the tickets.  However, I waited a day to make the reservations and in that time of waiting I decided that we probably wouldn’t get our monies worth since Ronnie is not able to be on his feet for very long.  He was willing to go because he knows how much I love that place but there’s a lot of walking involved between touring the estate and walking the vast gardens and I didn’t want him to be miserable.

Instead, we took a drive a short ways along the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopped at almost all the scenic overlooks.  Such beautiful views!

We drove through tunnels; saw a waterfall and lake; and enjoyed the cool weather.

It was a wonderful day spent absorbing the beauty of nature.

On the way back and not far from the campground we ate at Okie Dokie Smokehouse for supper.  We like checking out local restaurants and this one was worth the stop.  It was delicious!

Another day we walked a block or two around downtown Asheville.  We spent quite a bit of time in two of the stores in particular – the Asheville Gem Mine and The Bee Charmer.  We stopped at the Bee Charmer first.  Oh my!  Honey and bee themed stuff galore.  I love them both so I’m pretty sure my mouth was open for the first few minutes after entering the shop.  They had such a variety of honey from local to around the globe.  There was even a taste testing bar.  I think we were both a bit overwhelmed so after walking the entire store we walked out empty-handed.

The next store we spent a lot of time in was the gem mine or rock shop.  Rocks are so cool because what may look plain and simple and possibly even ugly on the outside may have a beautiful gem inside.  I’ve always like rocks.  When I was a kid I had a rock tumbler.  It was a kit and came with some rocks and sand.  I remember it being noisy so I had to put it in the garage.  I can’t remember how long those rocks tumbled but when I finally turned it off and opened up the tumbler I had the smoothest, shiniest and pretty rocks.  They were so different from the rough and jagged rocks I originally put in. To this day I still have all those rocks stored in a glass Walt Disney World candy jar.

Ronnie and I must’ve checked out every rock and gem in the store and I walked out with this inexpensive but beautiful necklace…

…plain on the outside but beautiful on the inside!

We wound up back at the Bee Charmer and this second time around we weren’t quite so overwhelmed.  This time we sampled several various infused honey’s and walked out with quite a few of the one’s we sampled – Chai infused honey, Cocoa infused honey, Fireweed honey and Firecracker Hot honey.  When I saw the hot honey on the shelf I couldn’t imagine how it might taste but it was delicious!  It’s going to be so tasty drizzled over goat cheese or used as a glaze on chicken or salmon.  The Fireweed will pair nicely with Greek yogurt and the Chai and Cocoa infused honey’s will be lovely in a cup of hot tea and maybe over some ice cream.  I’m sure we’ll discover more uses for them but this bee and honey-loving girl was in bee themed and honey heaven!

We also snagged an adorable drip-free honey server sporting a honeycomb design. The honey comes out the bottom and you can put warm water in the stand to keep the honey from crystalizing.  It works great although I do have to put it in a cupholder in the truck when we’re on the road because it’s glass and I don’t want to take the chance of it toppling over or breaking.  It’s worth the precaution though!

After we were finished walking and shopping we stopped at the Mellow Mushroom for lunch.

It’s a converted gas station and in case you’re wondering what those colored things in the wall are they’re bowling balls.  How fun!

We started with a Bruschetta appetizer which was delicious…

…then we enjoyed an equally delicious pizza for lunch.  I failed to get a picture of the pizza because it was gone before I thought to get a photo. oops!

After lunch we drove around looking for a place like a park or something where we could sit and enjoy the French Broad River.  We could not find any such place on the river so we drove to the Historic River Arts District.  What a neat place!

I really like that these wonderful old buildings are being used as artists’ studios and shops and not sitting vacant or being torn down.

These buildings are part of our nations’ history and are still creating history and art.  We like trying to determine what the buildings were used for back in their day from old signage or writing. If those walls could talk I’m sure they would have some stories to tell!

While in the Historic River Arts District we did find a spot where I could see a portion of the French Broad River…

Shortly after snapping the above photo a couple of kayakers and rafters came floating by.

The rest of our time in Asheville was spent at the campground relaxing, enjoying the view, fishing for Ronnie, and blogging and knitting for me.

Speaking of knitting, I checked email one day and discovered a request for ten dish scrubbies.  I had a little bit of scrubby yarn left so I was able to get started but I’ll have to get some more when we’re out and about.

And speaking of email, we’re finding out that there’s not too many campgrounds with Internet or WiFi available.  A few days without it is OK but we may have to come up with a solution so that we’re not without for too long.  Personally, I don’t mind being disconnected but I’m getting behind on blogging and we don’t want to miss any important messages or emails.  Hopefully we’ll find a solution that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Till next time friends!

dates in Asheville, NC: May 16 – 20

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