Campfire Lodgings, Asheville, NC 5/9-13/2014

The view

Our friend enjoying the view!

We have stayed in some very nice “resort” campgrounds.  But we’ve noticed, we don’t spend any time there!  We take off for the day, to sightsee or be with our grandson.  So finally, we spent most of our time in Asheville – at the campground!  We did pay more for this one, as with some of the other private resort campgrounds, and finally felt we got our monies worth.  We do attribute this to the fact we met friends there and they know how to camp!  This was our second time to camp with them and it made it really special.

For one, they love making a campfire, so we really enjoyed it, especially the food cooked on it.  While our particular sites didn’t have the view (covered by trees) we did take time and sat and enjoyed the view from this common area, where my friend is fully enjoying the beautiful view!  We all sat here for a few hours, soaking it up!

The ride up the mountain to the top to the campground was a bit challenging.  All we could think about was what if a Class A motor home was coming down the hill towards us!  There was only room for one vehicle!  But they said they have never had a problem as everyone comes and goes during the proper check in and check out times.  Well, everyone except us!  We arrived early.  Oh well, no one was coming down late.  The manager said that if someone is coming in extra early, they will block the road so only one vehicle is on it.  We talked to several owners of bigger RVs and no one seemed bothered by the drive up.  I guess that means we are still rookies.

Our campsite was actually the end site for RVs.  We were told that all the wild life comes up to our site early in the morning, so we hoped to see some…but while eating dinner our first night, we had a visitor, a wild turkey! Wild TurkeyThat was about it for the wildlife.  We were cautioned about leaving food outside as there had been some black bear activity.  We did enjoy a short hike on a trail nearby, but we didn’t have that much excitement…

Our second day there, Saturday, we went downtown Asheville to shop at Mast General Store.  Bill and I needed new hiking boots and I needed a new pair of hiking pants.  They gave us GREAT service! We were amazed at how vibrant the downtown was.  Busy busy busy!  Bill had to search for a place to park.  Our truck doesn’t like old downtowns where the parking places a small.  Since we’re not shoppers, so we were happy just going to the one store. Our friends visited a few other stores while we took our time getting fitted.  We were all hungry for dinner, fresh mountain air, so we hurried home to start the grill and campfire.  We had a wonderful dinner enjoying the outdoors.

Sunday, we went to church, which was also Mother’s Day.  We found Walnut Hills  Baptist Church to attend.   It was so vibrant and alive with young people and families!  It was very encouraging!  The sermon was one of those we will remember for a long time!  The pastor used a snickers bar and a diet coke to illustrate his point.  Ask us sometime about it! The rest of the day was pure relaxation – until time to cook an early dinner on the grill and campfire!  We all pitched in, so that helped and was fun.  We did spend a lot of time in the community park for the great views. One of the main things we wanted to see in Asheville was The Biltmore.  Our friends had seen it many times before – and when it was cheaper – so we went after they left Monday (the husband still works).  We didn’t know what to expect, except that it was a place to see.  I was hoping it would be worth the money as it is a bit pricy…but we decided in the end, it was well worth it!  We wanted to take full advantage of all it had to offer, so we were prepared to do some hiking and brought our lunch and lots of water.  The hiking was really more around the grounds but in between the gardens.  I saw one other “hiker” in hiking garb – we looked out of place!  Most people seemed there for a little stroll where as we were dressed for hiking!  It turned out to be just over 3 miles if you take all the side trails and walked all the gardens.  While that was good, we were over dressed in our hiking clothes, but it was a good way to break in our new shoes we bought Saturday.  We needed all the water I managed to carry as it was hot and sunny!

From the website about the gardens:  “Stroll acres of formal and informal gardens designed by America’s foremost landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. From the beauty of the Italian Garden to the breathtaking trees in America’s first managed forest, Biltmore’s lush landscape is a living tribute to Olmsted’s genius. Our horticultural experts continually work to preserve the original vision for the gardens and grounds, including our Rose Garden that features more than 250 varieties. “As a century-old model for forest conservation (and, more recently, for sustainability, thanks to six acres of solar panels), Biltmore continues to honor Vanderbilt’s legacy of environmental protection. “Hike the grounds of our estate at your own pace with our extensive network of trails. Enjoy a walk along the French Broad River, through lush green forests, or the open meadows of Deer Park. Take a stroll on the 2.5 miles of paths in our manicured gardens.” Here is a slide show of our day, not exactly in order:

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After we toured the house and grounds, we went back for our truck, then had to drive a short ways to the Antler Hill Village.  There was more to see there, mainly a showcase for their Vineyards (and wine business – a financial mainstay).  But we wanted to learn more about the family life of the Vanderbilt’s.  So we visited the Biltmore Legacy – a museum of sorts that really gave the family history you barely touched on at the mansion.  After we were done, we decided to really do everything, you needed to be there two days!  And ideally, if we didn’t have the RV, we’d want to stay at the Biltmore Hotel on the grounds.  Everything was so elegant and the staff was second to none!  Just so gracious and pleasant to encounter every where!  To learn more, visit their website, which starts out by saying “Travel to a whole new state of mind!”

Our time in North Carolina came to an end and we headed south on Tuesday.  We wanted to see so much more, including Maggie Valley.  A dear friend was going to stay in her family’s cottage nearby for a month.  We had hoped to meet up with her, but missed her by 4 days.  So much to see and do and so little time!

Here is a picture of Colin on May 10, his first day at a play ground and in a swing!  I think he likes it! IMG_5098 So as I close, I just looked over some scriptures I bookmarked this year as I read through the Bible.  I really liked these verses and they seem to reflect how I was feeling as we headed south, and farther away from Colin, Psalm 143:8 & 10:

 8Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!