Exploring the Land of the Sky in Asheville, NC
Packing up our family of six, two adults, two kids and two dogs, for our first adventure we were so excited to see our first new city since moving to South Carolina. With over 260 miles between the two cities there is so much to see and do before you get to your hotel, AirBnB or campsite. Heading Northwest, from Charleston, up I-26 W just over four hours away lays a small mountain town that acts as a fantastic backdrop for exploring.
Heading to Asheville we made sure to include some stops so that we could stretch our legs, allow our two dogs to explore and eat along the way. Our first stop was the Battle of Musgrove Mill State Historic Site, our third South Carolina State Park out of 47, where we ate lunch, hiked the 1.0 mile British Camp Trail and learn along the way. We made a point to have our kids read each sign and discuss what we learned. We asked questions, talked about it and made it a learning experience. We made it a point to have the kids read every sign, ask questions and make it a true learning experience. Take extra time and maybe even pack a bathing suit for the quick walk. Along the path you will see a stream where you can walk out on the rocks and get wet if you want. You can also fish while you are there.
From there we made our way into North Carolina to Sky Top Orchard to pick our own apples, indulge in their apple cider doughnuts and sip their hard cider in both apple and cherry. First, get tickets to the apple cannon and buy an empty bucket to fill with apples. Make your way down to the apple cannon and see some animals while you are there. Then pick your apples on the way back up the hill. Check out the store with all the yummy snacks and then if you have children, one adult take the kids to the big playground and the other get in line for cider and donuts. You can sit there at the picnic tables, enjoy your hard cider, the kids enjoy their non-hard cider and you can eat donuts while everyone plays.
From there we booked it to Pisgah National Forest where we took in the natural wonders of Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock. The water was cold but wow was it amazing. The Looking Glass waterfall was so beautiful to see and you could get right up next to it and swim. Only a couple minutes away was Sliding Rock. It was super easy to get to, a super quick walk and you can go down the natural waterslide. The whole family did this even though I am sure all of us were terrified. Tip: Don’t wear flip flops going down the slide – with a quick plunge into the water, I lost my shoes and had a quick panic. After that we picked up dinner from the Universal Joint Asheville to take to our Retro Camper that we booked through AirBNB, use my code and get $65 off of your first booking!
We decided that now was a great time to try something we have never done before, so renting a camper was perfect. Basically we were glamping, and it was perfect for the short amount of time we were actually there.
While in Asheville, we went to the Biltmore Estate. You could make a whole day out of this visit alone. We saved money and toured the house without getting the audio tour. With little kids, it would be hard to make sure everyone was listening and paying attention. So instead, we used the guide that was provided for us and read it aloud in each room. We talked, asked questions, reiterated everything we learned and helped the kids to understand what this was all about.
The Biltmore has a cafe you can eat in after the tour or you can go onto the next spot on the estate. We drove on and toured the estate and stopped to see more shops, a winery and a little animal farm. There is also a playground there and you have the opportunity to sit back and let the kids play and see animals. A must see there is the train garden which was AMAZING!
We were eager to see downtown Asheville and we have heard so many good things about local breweries so we visited Wicked Weed Brew Pub and loved it. We had amazing soft pretzels to start, a great cider and an IPA. The kids even loved their meal. Just a couple minutes walk from the pub was a unique coffee and dessert place called Double D’s Coffee & Desserts. You order right out of the double decker bus and you can sit in the little garden patio area and eat and drink.
And then because we are full of energy, crazy and we knew we had time in the day left, we decided to head to Craggy Pinnacle and see the most amazing view and sunset. If there is anything that I recommend doing, DO THIS. Go here. Find something in your life that you want to celebrate, grab some champagne and take it to the top and toast to just being alive. I could have stayed up at the top for the longest time so I wish I brought a snack and drink there so I could sit back and enjoy view and the sun setting longer.
For those with kids, it is an easy hike. Wear closed toed shoes if you can, drive to the top and you will see signs for it. The hike isn’t far at all and it is mostly shaded along the way. It was a good hike and you will see big rocks and water streaming down so it makes it enjoyable. This part of our trip was our highlight and it made my kids want to take more hikes to see more beautiful views.
Overall, Asheville was a great trip. There is a lot to do, a lot of good food, good brews, history and hiking.
If you go and remember something I said, tag me on IG @farindoran – I would love to see your adventures!!