Asheville (Vacation part 2)

After John, Arie, and I spent a week near the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, we drove a couple hours northeast to go camping in Asheville, North Carolina.

Now if you are a regular reader of my blog, you know I go camping but don't love it which may lead to you ask why we would tack 4 days of camping on to our summer vacation?

It was for the food.

The food in Asheville. You guys. The food.

Oh my.

Last year a vlogger I follow took her family to Asheville and left me drooling over videos of what they ate. When John and I made our plans for Tennessee he asked me, "When your family leaves, do you want to do something just the three of us for a few days?" "Actually... let me google map something a moment..."

Asheville was less than two hours from our location in Tennessee  (!!!) and it turned out to be a big microbrew hub which made my husband happy.

So we booked a site at a KOA camp just outside the city and started making our plans.

I love KOA camps! (If anyone from KOA is reading this, you can pay me to be a spokesperson for you. Here's a free sample.) They always have the best things for kids to do (playgrounds, pools, or Arie's favorite: jumping pillows) and most importantly their bathrooms are SO CLEAN! I've stayed at different state or provincial (Canada) parks and I'll tell you it is like night and day. State parks bathrooms smell like feet and seem to always have a collection of bugs committing suicide around ceiling lights. Between our travels last summer and this summer I've stayed at five different KOAs and their bathrooms are so fresh! They barely even have water splashed around the sinks. I could almost shower in them without flip flops. KOA camps you make camping enjoyable for me.

We arrived in Asheville a few hours before we could check into the campground. We ate a picnic lunch at the visitor's center, picked up a handful of maps and went to explore the city. Here's the first thing I loved about Asheville: cheap parking! The city is pretty old and it quickly became obvious that it was not build to accommodate modern parking needs... or driving needs for that matter (map NECESSARY). To make up for it, the city has lots of garage parking. The first hour in the garages we used was free and then it was only $1 for each additional hour! Sweet.

Once we scored our parking spot, we began to explore. After a few shops we stumbled upon a parked double-decker red bus. Ever since we rode on for a tour of Quebec City last summer Arie gets really excited when he sees them, "Can I go on it Mom? Can I? Can I? Can I?" (Side note: this spring in Chicago we saw one with an enormous Victoria's Secret ad plastered on the side. In lieu of explaining lingerie I may have failed to correct Arie's belief that it was a bus you could ride in your underwear. He now categorizes double decker buses as ones you can ride in your clothes and... ones you can ride in your underwear.)
Studying the big red bus we quickly realized it wasn't a tour bus, but food bus! (Of course!) The shinning star of the menu was something my dear boy loves even more than bus rides: milkshakes.

After the milkshake we got back in our car and went to check into the KOA.

In Michigan we like to joke about the weather: If you don't like it, just wait five minutes! and the weather forecasters: Seriously do they just GUESS what the weather might be!? but the reality is that living so close to the Great Lakes, it can be hard to predict the weather. The lakes can turn the weather in strange and unpredictable ways. Well, Asheville is just outside the Blue Ridge Mountains and it TURNS OUT THE MOUNTAINS DO THE SAME THING! Only, worse.

Here is how our first 24 hours-ish of camping went:

4ish PM: The weather forecast is terrible. Lots of rain. There is an angry cloud and a lightning bolt picture on my weather app. There is an 80% chance of thundershowers all evening and night long. We have upgraded our tent site to a camping cabin to avoid setting up our tent in the rain.

5PM: We are checked in to our cabin. The sun is still shinning so YAY we can eat outside! John I say, Can you go grab us some tacos and bring them back? John does. We eat the most delicious tacos outside, sipping red wine from our plastic cups and smiling at our fortune that the rain as held off just long enough for our dinner.

7PM: The rain has still held off! I am a little perturbed that we spent extra money on the camping cabin when we really could have set up tent by now. Oh well, says John, At least we know we'll stay dry tonight. 

7:10PM: Arie asks for a campfire. Not tonight, we say, It's going to rain any minute now. Maybe Papa can take you for a quick swim before bed. I think the rain will hold off. It is partly cloudy right now, but the cloud parts look pretty angry.

8PM: Arie has swum and is now in bed. It starts to sprinkle. Here comes the storm! Glad we didn't waste our money after all. 

8:05PM: The sprinkle storm has passed.

10PM: We go to bed. Check, check, and double check that we have pulled all our wet towels off the cabin porch railing, all our stuff us off the picnic table, van windows rolled up... etc

7AM: We wake up! Wow we all slept through the storm. Awesome! We go outside. Hm. Things are a little damp... but I'm pretty sure that's just the dew. Did it even rain?? 

8AM: I check the forecast. John, I say, the morning is clear, but it looks like rain "again" this afternoon. Can you ask at the office if we can move to our site early so we can set up before it rains? 

10AM: We pull the van into our tent site. Looks great! We pop the hatch and pull out all our crap. It starts sprinkling.

10:05AM-NOON: It rains for two hours while we set up our camp. John moves the dining tent three times because I can't decide where I want it. We are all crabby. We get a divorce. We get remarried. Arie has left and entered the van 45237 times to get in and out of the rain, leaving an inch of mud caked to the floor under his carseat.

12:01PM: We finish setting up. It stops raining. We go to lunch.
From Instagram: high five. We survived setting up a tent in the rain! Marriage tester. 
HOW CAN YOU BEAT AN AWESOME MORNING LIKE THAT, you wonder? I know. It was hard. We did it by getting lunch and stiff drinks at the most DELICIOUS vegetarian cafe IN THE WORLD. (We ate a lot of BBQ in Tennessee and our bodies were like please give me some vegetables!)

If you are going to Asheville I very much recommend the Laughing Seed Cafe.

The rest of our trip was mostly eating. This is not a food blog, so I won't leave you with food pictures but here are some recommendations if you find yourself that way:

White Duck Taco Shop (I think we tried 8 different kinds but my favorite was the mushroom taco.)
The Laughing Seed (Went for lunch and Sunday brunch. Both fantastic. Brunch was to die for.)
Wicked Weed Brewing (Tried steak tartare here for the first time. I'm squeamish about such things but boy... it was great. I can see why people love it! Also, good beer.)

And a few more pictures:
Exploring a neighboring village. 
back in Asheville

And the end.

We looooooooved our time in Asheville. If you are at all into food or craft beer you too would love this place. If you would like to save money on accommodations so you have more to spend on food like we did, we recommend the Asheville West KOA. Very clean bathrooms. Very poor weather forecasting.



  1. Went to Asheville for our honeymoon and loved every minute of it. The mountains are gorgeous!

    1. My cousin went there for her honeymoon too! Must be a popular place and I can see why! :-)

  2. I was hoping you ate at White Duck! SO GOOD! Please oh please can you turn this into a food blog just this once? :P Jk. We live 45 minutes from Asheville and know that's a huge blessing. Mostly because I'm a huge foodie too! Please tell me you went to Dobra Tea?! And the hard cider place... Urban Orchard!! Ahhhh! Too many amazing options. Glad you had a great trip, despite the wonky weather. :)

    1. Ah I'm jealous how close you live! We did not make it to the other two places; probably should have asked for recommendations! I have a feeling we'll be back there someday and check out more places!

  3. I was in Asheville for a one month internship this summer, and I absolutely loved it. White Duck was my go-to food stop (the fish taco was my favorite.) The mountains are so beautiful, and the city is so artistic and charming. Good choice :)

    1. Awesome! What field was your internship in?

  4. One of my best friends went to UNC Asheville and raves about it! I've only been there once but oh my, the food and the beer were fantastic. Your morning setting up your tent made me laugh (sorry) - but only because we've had that experience, too! I'm glad the rest of the trip wasn't quite as stressful. ;)

    1. Ha! I'm glad it made you laugh. Some joy had to come of it!


I love reading your comments! Those left on posts older than 2 days will require moderation.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...