Travel Diary: Taking on North Carolina

I feel like this year we are making up for the lack of travel 2020 brought due to the global pandemic. After all, I had declared 2020 (back on Jan. 1st), the year of adventuring….little did I know it would be all about creating adventure at home.

So now that we are used to masking at life…we decided to take a trip over spring break with our good friends and godchildren to North Carolina for some real adventure.

This ended up being Link’s first airplane trip, which luckily was uneventful! He loved flying, slept the majority of each flight and barely made a sound. Exactly what you want in a flying baby.

Link’s first flight

We split the trip into two parts. The first weekend we spent it as a family in Asheville, NC and then headed to the mountains at Blowing Rock to meet up with our friends in a cabin for the week and to go skiing.

Asheville

Asheville was such a darling little town. I loved the vibe and the beautiful architecture, art murals and mix of hipster vibes and old money decadence of the Biltmore.

We explored the downtown area Saturday after landing and ended up spending a good chunk of the afternoon at the up and coming Science Museum.

We were planning to eat at Hemingway’s Cuba, which boasted a very interesting and delicious take on Cuban food. Unfortunately our reservation was too early and we weren’t able to change it and missed dinner. Hoping to try it next time!

The real highlight of course was The Biltmore Estate. Westley really enjoyed the house tour and we also walked around the gardens, village and explored the property. This is definitely a not to be missed stop in Asheville. It’s basically the most epic bachelor pad ever to be built.

Biltmore Estate
Entrance way
The Dining Room with 7 story high ceilings
The Ladies Quarters

After our afternoon at the Biltmore, we headed to the mountains – it was a scenic and relatively quick 1hr and 50 minute drive to Blowing Rock to begin part two of our adventure.

The Cabin

A mountain cabin is a must in NC. It was so fun to have multiple levels, Blue Ridge mountain views, a fire pit, a hot tub, a swing on a private balcony and more.

A cabin set up is super family friendly and allowed us to truly relax and also make great meals, eat outdoors surrounded by gorgeous views and chill out in the evenings after full days of adventuring.

If you’re traveling with kids, a large group, etc. it’s the perfect set up.

Skiing

The highlight of the mountain portion of the trip was skiing. I was worried because it had been 16 years since my hubby and I had gone skiing and Westley’s first time.

We headed to Sugar Mountain for day one and it ended up being an awesome day on the slopes. While it does take some time to go through the sign up, getting equipment and clothing, etc. it was so fun once we finally made it to the slopes.

Of course we started at the bunny slopes and Westley and I fell a couple of times, but we got right up and kept going. Their bunny slope area was not as large as I would have preferred, but overall Sugar Mountain had a lot more options for skiing once you graduate to the regular slopes. We ended up taking the ski lift to one of the easier mountains and all of us made it down successfully.

On the bunny slopes at Sugar Mountain
Headed to the top

For Sam it was as if he had never stopped skiing. He made it all the way to very top and skied down like a pro. Safe to say we are all now addicted to the snow!

We decided to try another ski resort for our second day of skiing and we landed on Appalachian Ski Mountain, which was a lot more family friendly and geared toward beginners.

Some of the pros: on-site nursery for Link (he had a great day), online sign up and payment, making the getting ready to ski portion of the day significantly easier, better food options and more slopes made for beginners.

There were two levels of bunny slopes. A traditional small one and then a larger slope that gave you a feeling of actually skiing. Finally they had a beginner mountain where you took the ski lift and it was pretty long, but very easy to ski. Westley loved going on the ski lift and was a pro by the end of the day.

The family that skis together…
At the top of the mountain!
Snow Bunnies

Sam skied the hardest mountain here, but would recommend Sugar Mountain over Appalachian if you’re intermediate to advanced. But for family friendly, newbies, we definitely agree Appalachian was the better choice.

Next time, we would also like to visit Beech Mountain, which is the third ski resort in the area to fully compare the options!

So proud of Westley for skiing his little heart out.

Other Activities

Outside of skiing, we enjoyed snow tubing one day, hiking and exploring and also went to Mystery Hill — a place with a gravitational anomaly that will give you a case of vertigo, but was still fun to experience.

This was a crazy feeling
It was real!

Overall we had a wonderful family trip with friends and made incredible memories. Can’t wait to go skiing again.

Happy Travels,

Ivette

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