One of the things you can do when you’re retired is pick up and go anywhere, any time. My daughter was here visiting for just over a week in April and we put over 1,000 miles on our car – sightseeing in Charlotte, visiting family in Durham and Greenville and making a trip to Asheville.
It’s been a loooong time since I’ve been to Asheville. It’s a good thing she had GPS on her phone because there are a lot of windy one way streets.
While she visited with her friend, we decided to drive South on The Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s still kind of early for most of the trees and flowers to be blooming but it was still a pretty drive. There were dogwoods at the ranger visitor station and throughout the forests. There was almost no traffic although lots of bikers. Those roads aren’t really designed for bikes and cars to mix, so getting around them was, um, interesting. Still, if you can ride your bike up the roads to get to the Blue Ridge, more power to you.
Having moved from living at about 4,500 feet elevation, we did laugh when we heard a park ranger warn some people about the elevation. We started at about 2,000 feet and ended up at about 5,000.
The first night we ate at Strada Italiano in downtown Asheville. It was excellent. They make all of their bread in house and it shows. Our table had lasagna, chicken Marsala and Tuscan duck. We will definitely go back!
The second day we visited the North Carolina Arboretum. Early spring flowers were out and the butterflies were abundant. One feature is the pansy quilt they plant each year. The pattern is always different and the gift store had postcards with previous years’ patterns. The water features had not been turned on, but the gardens are still very nice. Well worth the trip.
For lunch we went to 12 Bones Smokehouse. Once again, it was good someone knew the way because this is certainly off the beaten path.
Rumor has it that President Obama eats here every time he is in Asheville. The line was out the door and into the parking lot when we arrived and when we left. This was the first restaurant that I have seen that only serves Cheerwine products. You have to be from the south to understand this. I’ve never actually had Cheerwine but it has been described to me as a cross between root beer and Sprite – really sweet.
There’s a lot we didn’t get to on this trip (like the chocolate store) so I predict another visit is on the horizon.