So yes- I went allll the way back to Florida and then alllll the way back to the Carolinas again- this time to Asheville. I was pretty tired, so I broke up the drive by stopping at Tallulah Gorge State Park in Georgia.
This first photo is, therefore, quite deceiving, since it's in Georgia and nowhere near Asheville. It was well worth the visit nonetheless- I only wish I had gotten there earlier so I could have hiked down to the falls. Unfortunately, even the shorter rim hikes are on tough terrain, so you need a permit to go anywhere past the first quarter mile, and you have to get there before 4 pm. There's always next time...
Asheville itself was perfect. Peter and his roommate met me there and we had such a nice time. Any city with a giant climbing wall right downtown is O.K. in my book. Add a bookstore-bar-cafe trifecta and I was in heaven. And the crafts, artwork and independent shops that dotted every corner were so fun to explore. Peter and I scored two beautiful lamps at super super discount- our very first purchase for our brand new home together, wherever that may be. Is it weird how exciting I find that? After 4 years of long distance, just the idea that these lamps would be for us- not just for me or for him- was super emotional.
Did anyone have one of these as a child? it's basically a tube filled with glitter and colored fluid that you view through a kaleidoscope. It's one of those weird blasts from the past that I completely forgot existed. I wanted to grab one, but we're cinching the belt tight these days with the upcoming move and our wedding (! )
Maybe my favorite shot of Peter (:
As for food, we did really, really well here too. Eating and traveling is definitely harder during lent. Not only is your diet somewhat restricted, but you have to be mindful of the fact that we shouldn't be indulging too much either. We definitely missed the craft beer scene, but the vegan opportunities in Asheville are both abundant and diverse. Our favorite place was by far Plant, a totally vegan spot, but we also did well at the Laughing Seed Cafe. Tupelo Honey Cafe was also good, but had a dearth of lenten options, and the Early Girl Eatery was a really nice breakfast spot.
We stopped at R.E.I. too, to get fitted for back-country camping packs and see if there was anything else we wanted (we're registering for our wedding here!)
Asheville was seriously so fun, and a nice quick visit if you live in the mid-Atlantic or Southeast part of the country. Staying in the center is a lot more expensive, so we found some cute cabins for a reasonable price just a short drive from the city. Parking wasn't terrible and I really don't think we missed too much being a little ways out- it was actually quite peaceful! If you like food, craft beer, handmade Americana, or mountains, you have to pay a visit :)