We have left South Carolina for one of my favorite parts of North Carolina – Asheville.


I had visited Asheville 2 1/2 years ago and was so excited to return. 



Each time we go on a road trip, we stay in regular hotels – (Hampton Inn is our favorite).


However, we usually pick one special place to stay for one night of our trip.


My mother knew where she wanted us to stay – The Grove Park Inn.  She had visited the inn years ago with my dad, but they had never stayed there.  Sadly, my dad died before they got the chance to visit again.


The inn is over 100 years old and just beautiful.  As you walk through the inn, rocking chairs are scattered along the property, inviting you to sit down and take some time to relax and enjoy the view.



When we arrived, we were water-logged from seeing a lot of rain.  It was chilly and I took advantage of a warm seat in front of the fireplace.

The fireplace was huge…
Over 30 ft. tall.

We had a delicious dinner overlooking the gardens from the balcony.

In the morning, we were happy to see a bright, sunny day.


But, before we left, I had to see the gardens.  



The hotel sits atop a steep slope, so access to the gardens is via a LOT of stairs.



The creeping phlox and the flowering dogwood were just lovely.



After we left the hotel, we headed to the Historic Biltmore Village, which is filled with small shops housed in what was formerly a planned community built in the 1890’s at the entrance to the Biltmore Estate.  


Later, we headed downtown for shopping the unique shops filled with the work of the local crafts people.



Just before we left Asheville, we hopped onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, is over 400 miles long and runs through the Appalachian mountains in Virginia and North Carolina. 



One place that you must visit in Asheville is the Folk Art Center, which features crafts made from artisans who live in the Southeastern Appalachians.  Another wonderful reason to visit is that they feature a local artisan who creates his/her craft in front of you and answers questions.


Now, it was time to get back on the road and head for Knoxville, TN.


On our way, we drove through some small towns and visited some roadside stands.



Seriously, ‘boiled peanuts’ are a big deal in the South.



Jars of cider, honey and preserves filled the shelves.



I bet you didn’t know there was such a thing as ‘kudzu’ and ‘moon shine’ jelly, did you?



Fresh pork rinds were available.  I must confess that I have never tried them before.  



We stopped by this roadside stand in order to buy ‘toe’ and ‘frog’ jam.


Toe jam is made from tangerine, orange and elderberry.  Frog jam is made of a combination of fig, raspberry, orange and ginger.  I bought a jar of each.



Along the road, we journeyed through the Cherokee Indian Reservation.


Then we took the road through the Smoky Mountain Parkway.  It is so picturesque.  




The road was windy and fun to drive.








We arrived to our hotel in Knoxville and then headed out for dinner.  On our way, we passed a restaurant whose billboard advertised ‘chicken livers and gizzards’ for dinner.


We went to the local Italian restaurant instead 😉


Come back tomorrow for our next day of adventures.

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

1 reply
  1. antigonum cajan
    antigonum cajan says:

    The huge stones by the chimney reminds yours truly of a landslide, ugly as hell. But everything else has some beauty, no matter which beholder sets eye on it.

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