As a mom of four, I research our trips…a lot. I look for ideas and read reviews until I have all the details. So, I thought I would put together a little diary of our trip to Asheville, NC in hopes that it could/would help other moms out there planning trips with kids. I also thought my mother-in-law might like to read and see pictures of our trip!
We arrived at the Grove Park Inn around 3:30 on Monday. What an impressive resort! I highly recommend staying there. Every person we interacted with was kind and helpful. The property was gorgeous and the view to die for. A little tip-self parking is super easy, really convenient to the guest rooms and less expensive than the alternative valet parking. If you’re like us, things get left in the car all the time and having to call the Valet to bring your car to the front is a pain.
After unpacking and exploring a bit, we went downtown to dinner. Our first meal was at Tupelo Honey Cafe. The food was so good I thought they would have to roll me up the hill to get back to the hotel. It is kid friendly with a fab kids’ menu and they use local farmers for their food. If you like grits, have the cheesey goat cheese grits with fried green tomatoes…you will not be sorry! We hurried back to the hotel so the kids could swim in the indoor pool with Justin and my mom and I had a drink in the awesome lobby.
We woke up to rain/sleet/snow and obviously very cold temperatures. When I read the weather forecast, I wrongly assumed the coldest temps were for the night but on Tuesday the warmest temp was at 1am. So, Justin and I got day passes to the spa and Grandma took the kids to the pool. The spa…where do I begin? As soon as we got off the elevator, it smelled like heaven…or maybe just not like the hotel room Eva had thrown up all over during the night. Hot tubs, pools and saunas galore and no one under 18 is allowed in. The pools have music piped in underwater and one has thousands of LED lights that look like stars as you float on your back. We spend time there in the morning and then again in the afternoon. As we had an early happy hour drink, snow fell on us in the hot tub. I wasn’t thrilled about the snow as I have had enough of white precipitation but it was beautiful against the mountain backdrop. After our time in the pool, I tried a face cream that I loved called Colostrum Cream. It wasn’t until we were going up in the elevator that I remembered what colostrum was….google it if you’ve forgotten.
In between the spa, we ate at White Duck Taco. Delicious, healthy and cheap…what more could a family want! (A friend recommended tons of great restaurants and I also did some research on SouthernLiving.com and nytimes.com.) Seating is limited but if it’s a nice day there are plenty of picnic tables. Taco fillings ranged from duck to black beans with a little bit of everything in between. Ethan had a fish taco and loved it and the girls had black bean tacos and devoured them. There are a bunch of galleries in the area but the weather wasn’t conducive to checking them out. We did head over for a quick stop to Biltmore Village to check out the shops though and that was pleasant…basically because every store meant a break from the wintry mix. We also went to French Broad Chocolate Lounge. HEAVEN! You have not lived until you’ve had their liquid truffle. They have cakes, trifles, mousse and chocolate bars. Perfect mid-afternoon sweet treat. That night we ate at Asheville Brewing Company. Nothing spectacular, pretty normal bar/brewery food, but I liked ordering—and drinking—the Rocket Girl beer. The highlight of our dinner was the waiter telling our four children there was a ghost at our hotel. They promptly googled it and read the stories and one child, the one who threw up the night before, stayed up half the night scared to close her eyes. Thank goodness she was in Grandma’s room! And the waiter…I hope he has triplets.
On Wednesday we toured the Biltmore Estate. It is beautiful and we had a gorgeous day to see it. The sun was out and the mountains were gorgeous. We toured the house on speed mode because that’s what happens when you have little kids. Then we went to the gardens and finally the village with the animals. The kids loved it all, as did we. After a quick lunch at the bakery in Antler Village, we drove to DuPont State Forest to do some hiking.
My kids wanted to hike the trails from The Hunger Games…don’t judge that they all know what The Hunger Games are! When you have a seven year age span between kids, little ones end up seeing things you never could have imagined and big ones are forced to watch Frozen and listen to Let It Go on repeat. After we found the forest, Google Maps sent us twenty-five miles out of our way, we parked in the Hooker Falls lot and walked the half mile up to Triple Falls. The hike was uphill and then to get to the falls there are dozens of steps. The kids managed just fine and to quote Alex, “It was the most amazing thing I’ve even seen.” The falls were breathtaking and you get to be up close and personal with them. We made our way down and walked over to Hooker Falls-another half mile from our car. Hooker Falls was not too impressive but we accidentally did some rockclimbing that resulted in tears and me thinking we were going to lose at least one child. After that ordeal, we drove up to High Falls and parked in the access lot. Another half mile hike to the falls but we couldn’t or didn’t get up close. High Falls was beautiful though and worth it.
We were exhausted that evening after walking over seven and a half miles during the day, so we ate at Edison in the hotel. The food was good. The beer was great. The view was stunning. We sat outside under heaters and watched the sunset over the mountain. The waitstaff was delightful sharing stories of the city and the resort with us. Oh! I forgot to mention The Pink Pig—the candy store at the resort. A perfect bribe each day for my kids!
On Thursday we went to Asheville Treetops Adventure Park. This was way outside of my comfort zone. We got all suited up with all kinds of climbing equipment and learned how to make our way through the self-guided courses. It’s complicated. The kids really have to learn how to lock and unlock the thing-a-majiggers that are holding them up in the air. They can’t accidentally unlock themselves and fall but the whole system takes some getting used to. I wouldn’t recommend taking kids younger than the twins—7. The little guys and I stuck to the easy course (there are four courses) and that was enough of a challenge for me. I wish they had had a course that was after the beginners and between the next offerings for my little guys. The others were too hard but Alex loved them. He sailed through the sky on a kayak and repeled down a pole. It was a great few hours.
Before leaving Asheville, we ate at 12 Bones. NC bbq at its best! Don’t be intimidated if there’s a line, it moves quickly.
The trip was awesome and a great mix of history, relaxation and adventure. Asheville is a great little urban area with a lot to offer.