Asheville – Playgrounds and Campgrounds

We left Blacksburg with a plan, sort of. Although we didn’t have a day-to-day schedule we did know that we wanted to be in Anna, TX on Saturday afternoon for the hot air balloon “glowfest”. So with six days to spare, we decided to head to Ashville.

With the fall colors in full swing we enjoyed a beautiful drive down to North Carolina and Brienne (the van) met her first Sportsmobile cousin.

A sunny scenic overlook outside of Asheville.  apparently only those wearing sunglasses could smile

A sunny scenic overlook outside of Asheville. Love the attitudes!

Imagine our surprise when we pulled in behind another sportsmobile 4X4.

Imagine our surprise when we pulled in behind another sportsmobile 4X4.

 

This was a family from Atlanta, returning from a week in the VA mountains. They had two kids and a dog on board and were towing a trailer full of motocross bikes, making us feel like we we traveling light. They own a restaurant in Atlanta, bought their Sportsmobile in 2006, and homeschool their kids. Very cool encounter to say the least.

On to Ashville…

We arrived mid-afternoon, checked into our first campground of the trip (the previous two nights we parked in Nicole and Dave’s driveway), and headed out to a local playground to burn off some energy. We put the sun to bed at the playground and decided we weren’t ready to prepare our first meal in the van so we dropped by an Olive Garden for some endless salad and breadsticks.

The next morning we woke up just outside of Ashville and headed to the Western North Carolina Nature Center. On the way, Morgan asked where we were. I replied, “North Carolina”. After a pause, she said, “It looks like NY, are you sure we’re in the right place?”. This was the first of many Morganisms, so we decided to make a page dedicated to these comments.

The Nature Center was first class. Honestly the best I’ve ever seen. They are part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, a group committed to the safe and healthy housing of creatures, and it showed. We had a blast, learned a lot, and were able to participate in the otter feeding, howl with the coyotes, measure ourselves against a turkey vulture, and lead our own puppet show.

A hollowed log kept our little turtles nice and dry.  and happy!

A hollowed log kept our little turtles nice and dry. and happy!

Derek's puppet show included 2 unruly snakes

Derek’s puppet show included 2 unruly snakes

Our little howlers

Howling with the coyotes

Morgan's still much smaller than a turkey vulture.

Morgan’s still much smaller than a turkey vulture.

Otter feeding time.  can you see the one standing up?  he was hamming it up for the crowd

Otter feeding time. Can you see the one standing up? he was hamming it up for the crowd

After the Nature Center we drove into downtown Asheville to walk around check out the town and grab some lunch.  We were only there for 2 hours but wish it was at least 2 days.  Marcy kept saying that the overall vibe (the people, the quirky shops and unique artwork/street art) reminded her of the west village in NYC.  We will definitely return.

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