Thursday, September 8, 2011

to Asheville and back again

Ooooooh we had a lovely time on our vacation. Asheville, NC and the surrounding area is just as beautiful and imaginative as anyplace I have ever been. We stayed in this awesome timber-framed cabin called Byrd's Nest nestled on a mountain in the quaint town of Black Mountain. I loved the house. I loved Black Mountain. I loved seeing my brother and meeting his girlfriend. I loved being with my whole family. And I loved this Coffee Shop too: The Dripolator serves some of the best coffee I have ever tasted, ever. And they had a cute little location in downtown Black Mountain right next to A YARN STORE. Oh, and that is not all. The streets are lined with pottery shops and antique stores, a fabric shop and a specialty tea and spice store. We spent a little money. And we drooled a lot! I felt so at home our cozy cabin in that little town I was ready to pack up and move there. And if everything fell into place I would do it too. But our life is here. Our home is here. Our friends and family and everything is here. But I did love it there. At least I have a bag of Dripolator coffee to brew here, in my home.

Ok, so as if the awesome, crafty, deliciously caffeinated town of Black Mountain wasn't awesome enough, it is surrounded by WATERFALLS. As in, tons of waterfalls. Most of them are about an hour away, but they are there and everywhere. We decided to do a waterfall tour with the whole family. Our first stop was the above Sliding Rock. We were hesitant to stop because in all the pictures we had seen online beforehand, there were crowds of people lined up to take their turn sliding down the waterfall. But we stopped and it just so happened to be the off season and we were the only ones there!!! And it was FREEZING but possibly the most exhilarating and exciting and SCARY thing I have done in a very, very long time. It was so. much. fun. If you are in the area, and school is in session, you must do this. The water falling over the smooth rock creates a natural water slide, and it is pretty long and gets quite fast at the end before it shoots you into a freezing 8ft pool at the bottom. The kids were too young to enjoy this natural playground, but all of us grown-ups felt like little kids flying down the waterfall. It was definitely the highlight of our trip for me.

Then we went about a mile down the road to looking glass falls. This is supposedly a "perfect waterfall". And it is. It was very pretty, though we did not go over this one. I did jump into the pool at the bottom and tried to swim up to it, but the fall was so powerful it pushed me away. It was pretty for sure. After lunch and a couple hours in the van on very windy roads, we came to our third waterfall of the day which we were able to drive under:

Do you see the waterfall behind us? That thing that looks like rain is called "Bridal Veil Falls" and we drove FOREVER to get to the darn thing. And that was it. Water dripping over a rock that you could drive under. We all had a very long and good laugh. But I guess that is all part of the adventure. The adventure ended on a very pleasant note though.

The final fall we visited was "dry falls" and despite its name, this fall was wet and stunning and you could even walk underneath the falling cascades. It was definitely the most beautiful fall we saw on our trip and we ended the tour at a Brewery in Asheville for pizza and beer. :) YUm. Another highlight of our trip was Robert Lake Park in Montreat, NC. It was a nice little park built along a creekbed with creekside picnic tables and playgrounds built around trees. Our girls enjoyed splashing in the creek and we couldn't have asked for a nicer spot for a picnic!

We spent a day in Asheville looking through some artsy craftsy stores, and spent nights in the hot tub. We were creamed in a game of Cranium with my family and cooked out and enjoyed the views from the cabin and swang on a swing to nowhere. There were so many things we didn't get to do as well. On our way home we took the Blue Ridge Parkway and hiked along the Linville Gorge and Waterfalls. The vastness of the gorge was pretty spell binding and somewhat frightening. It was a nice hike to break up our time in the car. It was so pretty in the forest, and quite magical. And I do love our home in Virginia, but North Carolina has its own bounty of natural treasures that I hope to explore more of in this lifetime. But like water over a waterfall, our life seems to be flowing by so fast. I blink and my baby is pulling himself up. My 4-year-old is taking ballet. My 2-year-old can count to ten. And they can cut their own hair all by themselves. And I could have cried while scooping up their curls from the floor. Yet it is just a part of having little ones. They are so much trouble, so much work, and such great big bundles of love and joy. Life goes by so fast, yet never gets old for the young at heart.

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