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The Mountains Were Calling (Part I)

For the 11 years of our marriage we have always traveled at least 5 hours for vacation. We've played on sandy beaches of OBX, Charleston, Destin, Nassau and St. Augustine. We've also traveled by rail to NYC. Each year we say, "let's do a mountain vacation next year." But, the warm beaches and ocean breezes typically tug at our hearts and pull us back. 
This year's vacation plan was to travel to VA Beach for a few days for a military sightseeing experience and then head to OBX for a few days of relaxation. As we watched the forecast of rain and storms intensify, we became wary of our plans. Oceana is hosting a huge air show in September and I was hoping to find some way to take Trav, but traveling over 7 hours twice in two months was not ideal.

Just a few weeks ago we visited the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina and had an amazing time. Our visits to the Asheville area include driving the Parkway, hiking the mountains, eating lots of yummy food, and enjoying the Art scene. We always leave wanting to do more so we began considering this location as a vacation destination.

We needed to make a decision fast so I hopped online and began a search of rentals available in Western NC. We were unsure if we would find anything suitable (we needed a dog-friendly home) a week out from our vacation dates. Then, there it was... tucked away, magical, hobbit-like. Migration Station- this perfect, dreamy home was available, affordable, in an ideal location and pet friendly.

Hallelujah! I booked Migration Station immediately and re-scheduled our military/beach trip. Graybeard Realty and Rentals

We had many questions about our home, location and adventures from our social media shares so we thought we'd share the details. Below are pics with location (including distance from our home) and our thoughts about each experience.

(arrival day)
There's nothing like seeing the rows upon rows of blue mountain tops as you cross the mountain into NC. It's wondrous. Black Mountain, where our home was located, is about 15 minutes from Asheville. We arrived in town and knew this was going to be an ideal location. Shops and restaurants line the main street and locals and tourists walk the streets taking in the surrounding sights.

Migration Station
(thoughts: while ideal for a shorter stay, we'd opt for a larger home with mountain views next time)

Once we settled in, we headed out on the Parkway and grabbed some dinner. It was a perfect mid 70s day but the temperatures dropped to low 60s as we climbed elevation. We were greeted by rolling fog which made for an incredible sight.
(Take time to hike at Craggy Gardens. There are many trails leading to different views)
(overlook below the clouds)
Approximately 25 minutes from Black Mountain, NC

The weather forecast called for scattered showers so we found some indoor options, which meant shopping. : ) We had breakfast at Cracker Barrel, of course, then visited the outlets and Biltmore Park shops. We caught a break in the rain and made our way to the NC Arboretum. The Arboretum features an art gallery, butterfly garden, bonsai garden, quilt garden and more. It was stunning (despite the humidity draining us...).

The Arboretum is also a wonderful destination for families as programs and exhibits are frequently offered. Check out the website for details.

(NC Arboretum is approximately 25 minutes from Black Mountain)

Of course, Biltmore Estate is always a great option but we've been many times so decided to add new sights to our list.
(tip: if you live close enough to visit Biltmore more than once in a year, go ahead and upgrade to an annual pass. Annual passes typically cost less than the cost of 2 visits. Win/win)

We ended the day with a trip to grocery store and homemade scampi linguine (crab linguine for me).

I'll share Part II in just a few days!
(includes MUCH more adventure)

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