Saturday, August 13, 2016

Back to Asheville, NC

As part of our now yearly summer trips around the state with Daddy for his work, we headed back to Asheville for a week after our week in New Bern.  While Daddy was working and teaching our state's teachers all about forestry for the week, we had to find ways to occupy our time.  Much like New Bern, I didn't feel capable of doing too many adventures alone with three young boys so we paced ourselves and just did what we could handle.  I do think the boys enjoyed their week although we didn't get to utilize the pool nearly as much as they would have liked because the weather didn't always cooperate.  We would try to wait until later in the afternoon or evening to swim when it was cooler, but then a summer storm would come up.  I am looking forward to these trips when the boys are older because there are a lot more adventures and things to explore in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina when they are old enough.  I foresee lots of whitewater rafting, tubing, hiking, waterfall exploring, and more.

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For our first day, we decided to just check out the Asheville Outlets and explore the big Field and Stream store there.  Our hotel was just across the parking lot from these stores.  I was still on the hunt for more back to school sales for the boys.  My little redneck man Evan wanted this redneck plunger.  Haha!   He always wants to be prepared for those plumbing emergencies.  Yes, that would be a plunger on the end of a shotgun.  

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After we left Field and Stream which is a much higher priced version of Bass Pro Shop, we saw someone with a Rita's cup.  We were on the hunt for the Rita's store and found out that although there wasn't a store in the outlet mall, there was a cart selling their Italian ice.  We all enjoyed some yummy mango ice. 

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Evan insisted he needed this new jacket from Gap, and since it was on sale and majorly marked down, I obliged.  Little brother Brody can inherit his old jacket.  Brody loves loves loves a photo booth.  If he sees one, he simply must climb inside and say cheese!  At some point, I know I need to actually put money in it and let it take his picture for him, but for now, we settled for a selfie on the camera phone.  I am sure his actual photo booth pics would have been pretty cute and funny. 

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This little guy entertained himself in the hotel room with his car boat which has been a favorite with all of our boys at this age.  We bought it for Evan for the pool, and he would just sit in it and caress it lovingly while saying "my car boat" over and over.  

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The boys and I felt more adventurous the next day after lunch so we decided to check out this section of the Blue Ridge Parkway by the Visitor's Center.  There was a little one mile hiking trail that I felt confident we could manage.  It did say no bikes, but it didn't say no strollers so off we went.  The first half of the trail wasn't too bad and actually went mostly downhill.  Then, we started climbing.  The trail got pretty steep a few times and was kind of narrow with lots of tree roots across it.  I had to take Mattox out and carry him up the hills and let Evan hold him at the top while I went back for the stroller.  Besides that, I was pretty proud we accomplished this hike.  I think it was good preparation for our future hikes.  The boys had a little nature scavenger hunt to do as well. 

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Later, we rode with the teachers on the bus over to Biltmore Village for a little walking tour given by a city arborist to talk about the tree planning for this pretty little community.  It was planned and designed by Frederick L. Olmsted  who became known as the father of American landscape architecture.  He was hired by George Vanderbilt to plan and design the gardens around Biltmore Estate as well as the adjacent Village.   Olmsted is also famous for designing New York's Central Park, Brooklyn's Prospect Park, and the country's first municipal park.  Evan sat and listened to the arborist talking through a headset.  It was too hard for the arborist to be heard by everyone in the crowd so Eddie supplies all of the teachers with headsets to listen while walking.  Brody enjoyed seeing some beautiful flowers.  

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Forester Eddie talking to the city arborist about the trees planted in the Village. 

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The boys and I enjoyed lunch at this fun little cafe.  If you ever visit Asheville or are just passing through on Interstate 40, you simply must stop at the Moose Cafe for some good old country cooking. 

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These boys enjoyed their corn bread and homemade biscuits.  

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For dinner, we met the teachers again at Pack's Tavern in downtown Asheville.  Brody was enjoying a little dessert of strawberry shortcake. 

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