Since we hit up the beach for a few days last summer, this year we decided to spend a few days in the mountains. While I certainly enjoy the beach, I really love the mountains.
We typically prefer to rent a condo or Air B&B when we travel with Penelope, but this time we decided to splurge and use our credit card points to stay at the Grove Park Inn. I am happy to say we had wonderful experience and couldn’t have been happier with our stay. And I have to give them a special shout-out because they were very accommodating to families with kids.
We left Raleigh at about 9 on Sunday morning and got to the Grove Park around 1:30 that afternoon. Penelope had taken a short cat nap in the car, but was still tired after we arrived so we got her down for a nap while we unpacked, ordered a late lunch from room service and relaxed for a few minutes at the hotel.
Then we spent a few minutes exploring the property and commenting on how gorgeous the views were.
There were a few local breweries the hubby wanted to try while we were there so went downtown to Lexington Avenue Brewery so he could try a few beers and sampled some of their delicious appetizers.
Then we headed back to the hotel to explore more of the property before putting Penelope down for bed that night. Lucky for us, our room was located directly above a beautiful patio so Randy and I were able to head down there for a few minutes to enjoy a small dinner and still keep an eye on P through our baby monitor! Parenting win!
The weather forecast for Monday wasn’t great so we knew to expect some rain. We decided to get an early start with coffee and breakfast at High Five Coffee Bar and walk around downtown while the weather held off. We went into a few shops and bought some gifts at the Mast General Store before heading back to the hotel for my much-anticipated spa appointment.
When we booked our stay at the Grove Park, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take advantage of their award-winning spa. I got a massage and took advantage of their pools; such a treat!
That afternoon we headed to the Pinball Museum; this was on the hubby’s Asheville bucket list and since he was kind enough to let me spend a few hours at the spa, I indulged him with this. (Pardon the bad photos but it was really dark inside.)
For dinner that night, we headed to 12 Bones Smokehouse after hearing rave-reviews. It was so delicious and our favorite meal of the trip! I’m still dreaming about those ribs…
Tuesday morning we all slept in a bit, got our breakfasts to-go and headed straight to the Western North Carolina Nature Center. We loved the nature center and seeing all the different animals. The bears were our favorite! The center was really nice – not too big and not too small; there were lots of mini-play areas throughout to keep toddlers entertained and moving around. We were there for about 1.5-2 hours and it was the perfect amount of time.
After naps and a little relaxing that afternoon, we headed to my husband’s favorite part of the trip, Highland Brewing Company. He took a tour while Penelope and I played outside. I am happy to say that one of the things I love about Asheville is how kid-friendly it is, especially the breweries! Penelope was entertained the entire time by playing with the other kiddos. It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon.
By that evening Miss Penelope was pooped so we got some dinner in her belly and put her straight to bed while the two of us enjoyed another mini-date out on the patio. While the hotel was lovely and we enjoyed our stay thoroughly, my one complaint is that the food on-site was just so-so. I guess you can’t be good at everything, right? Regardless, we enjoyed the time together and the beautiful views.
On Wednesday, we got up early, checked out of the hotel and headed straight for coffee and a delicious breakfast at Liberty House Coffee & Cafe (my favorite breakfast spot of the trip.) It was the most beautiful day so we took advantage and headed straight for the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We drove for about 45 minutes and got to Craggy Pinnacle where we hiked a short .7 miles to reach the top. I hate that these pictures don’t do it justice but the views were truly breathtaking.
Then we drove a little further down the Parkway and passed the signs for Mount Mitchell and figured – why not? So we drove as far up as we could and then took the paved trail up to the top. It was much more crowded so it was tough to take any decent photos, but once again, we were blown away from the beautiful views and so glad we stopped! It’s hard to believe we were at the highest elevation point east of the Mississippi!
After our detours, it was early afternoon and we were all hungry and tired so we grabbed a quick lunch and headed home. Penelope slept for the majority of the ride home (in fact, we had to wake her up!) so I think that was a good sign of a successful trip. 🙂
Spending a few days in Asheville was the perfect way to start our summer and we all look forward to our next family adventure!