What a nice change from our previous night's stay at the hotel under construction! Last night we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Cherokee and it was very comfortable. I had a wonderful night, wished I could have slept longer but I wanted to be able to check the news, etc. before my daughter woke up.
I left reviews on TripAdvisor for the last 2 hotels where we stayed. Darn it, I should have thought to read the review before making my reservations because everyone was complaining about the state of the Chattanooga hotel! Speaking of which, I need to go check the reviews for our Asheville hotel... Phew, everything seems to be alright, people love it. Good to know.
Well, chances of rain for Cherokee and Asheville are both 100%. I'm hoping that since we'll be dipping South quite a bit with the Blue Ridge Parkway before going back North towards Asheville, we will at least get some good weather at the stops we had planned to make!
Last night we looked at the pictures we had taken and they're... meh. The cloud cover and rain from yesterday really didn't help translate the beauty of the area we travelled through. Or maybe we just suck as photographers!
Breakfast this morning was fine. I think the hotel in Columbus spoiled me, though :) I had 2 scrambled eggs, 1/2 an English muffin (I kept the 2nd half for a later snack), a banana, and 2 cups of skim milk. I brought a cup of decaf along for the trip.
|The breakfast offerings.|
|My breakfast. No pancakes or muffins here!|
|Book in Cherokee|
|Approaching a tunnel|
|I was worried that my daughter's experience of the Blue Ridge Parkway would be limited to this!|
|Almost missed the turn!|
|Yours truly. Hey, my butt doesn't look as big as I feared! I should always wear black and walk|
around in the fog, LOL.
|Yes, the fog really helped. Here the fog is going away (picture taken after our walk). See how|
high we were?
|Here we go...|
|Beginning of the trail. It was labeled as an "easy" trail on the map. Oh, OK. Doesn't look bad and it's|
only 0.5 a mile to the top...
|Yeah, this is going to be a piece of cake!|
|Beautiful rhododendrons... or were they mountain laurels? I can't really tell.|
|Still manageable, if a little steep. It doesn't look it but don't forget we're at over 5.000 ft in|
And then... it started getting a little more daunting...
|More steps?! Puff, puff...|
Oh, good grief... and this is the easy trail?!
Yes, we climbed this by the way. It ended up being my daughter's favorite hike because of all the fog. She loved the fog! Good, because I was really worried that she was hating the trip because of the fog!
After a while we got to the top. It was so foggy that there really was nothing to see. There was a bench so we sat down to catch our breath and took silly selfies together :)
Then it was time to negotiate the descent. I was worried that we would slip and fall, and also that I might hurt my knee so I was extra careful.
|Going down. It was in the 40s or 50s, I seem to remember, but I had put my sweater around my waist a long time ago!|
|I wish I had gotten a walking stick, something that I ended up wishing on several occasions|
during the trip but I never did buy one.
|There is no way we only walked 18 minutes... we were so slow!|
|Tailgating in the SUV|
|Finally, we get to see "The Blue Ridge"!|
|Driving conditions have improved somewhat, although the road is still wet and pockets of fog remains at times.|
|I did mention that my daughter loved taking pictures of mountains, fogs, clouds and rocks, right? You'll see more of those.|
|Source: Yahoo Photos|
|Mountain laurels were blooming everywhere!|
|And those little blue flowers were everywhere as well! So pretty.|
|The name was a little ominous but from what I remember, it had to do with tree stumps that had been left a storm, that made it look like the mountainside was covered with a field of graves.|
|The narrow paved trail meandered down the mountainside through tree copses.|
|Oh my gravy, more stairs!|
|A small boardwalk...|
|The worst part is that we had to climb all those stairs back up again!|
|But yeah it was kind of worth it. I think those kids were all part of a lifeguard group that|
was on a roadtrip.
|On the way back up, my daughter asked me to take her picture in the middle of the creek.|
We rested for a couple of hours. Well, my daughter watched "The Office" on her laptop while I planned our route for tomorrow.
At about 6 p.m. we were hungry so we decided to drive into downtown Asheville to check out the restaurants there. My in-laws used to live in Fletcher, just 20 minutes away, so I have been to Asheville several times and each time I have been disappointed with the downtown. Tonight was no exception. Everyone looked either homeless or like they were tourists. It was drizzling and I guess Monday night isn't a busy night in Asheville. A lot of storefronts are unoccupied and we walked around quite a bit before finding a restaurant that we agreed on. To be honest, I would have eaten in a bunch of different places (Dim Sum, Himalayan Restaurant, Mediterranean Cuisine, etc) but my daughter is picky and only likes chicken. She had declared that we needed to avoid Italian restaurants because she loves pasta and she was trying to be healthier, but after looking for a while and being very hungry, we passed an Italian restaurant and decided to just eat there. Not a mistake, it was SO GOOD. It's called "Modesto Wood Fire Kitchen". If you go there, have the Organic Chicken Carbonara. It's served with a fried egg on top and it's so, so good! For dessert, we shared an Orange Blossom Creme Brulee that was made with Grand Marnier. Ooooooh..... and in case you think "What happened to your diet?!" I'll have you know that I haven't been eaten ANY of my exercise calories at all since I have started dieting. So I think I'm OK :) I didn't have any bread and I drank water. And then we had to walk back to our car. Did I mention that parking was $7?! Yikes.
|Our meals. They were so totally delicious! Seriously, go eat there if you're in Asheville.|
I didn't take any pictures of downtown Asheville. It was rainy, it was dusk, and nothing would have turned out. Plus, it wasn't all that picturesque. Asheville is mostly known for the Biltmore Estate, which is amazing, but we'd already visited it on past trips to Asheville so we skipped it this time.
Back at the hotel, I called Greg and Youngest Son and exchanged the low-down on our days. I miss my guys and my kitties!
|Youngest Son texted me this picture of Explorer and his brother Tabby Kitten, taking a nap|
together on an armchair. We missed them!