The Last Week’s Activities in Asheville

This is quite a long blog since it’s been a while since I posted – feel free to skim read!!

Last Friday Mark had the great idea of doing the trolley bus tour of Asheville.  It was a excellent way to orient ourselves and learn a bit of the history of Asheville.  We went through the historic Montford residential area just outside of downtown with it’s beautiful big 2 and 3 storeyed wooden houses with fantastic big porches wrapping round the front – I love them! We drove up through the Grove Park Inn (previously mentioned) and through the River Arts District (previously pretty scummy area that has become trendy with artists and has lots of studios). We briefly stopped there and saw some great pottery which we’ll go back to.  Our guide on the second half had a great Southern accent – loved listening to her.  I’ve had a couple of people say to me, in a very heavy southern accent – “y’all not from round here?” -love it!!

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Local Pottery

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Us on the Trolley Bus

The architecture in downtown is great – lots of art deco buildings (which my photos don’t do justice of)!!

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Downtown architecture

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Church downtown

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more cool architecture

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fountain downtown

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Basilica

After the tour we headed out to a Nature Center where they also have a public pool next door.  The nature center had some cool animals – black bears, red and grey wolves, owls, eagles, foxes, bobcats, cougars – unfortunately they had eaten about an hour before we got there so most of them were sleeping – still pretty cool.  The grey wolf was beautiful!

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Jacob at Nature Centre

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Mark at Nature Centre

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Black Bear

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Grey wolf

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Cougars

The pool is a great public pool with a good shallow bit for Jacob and only about 15 minutes from home so might go back there.

The next day was the annual Arts and Craft Festival at the Church of All Saints at the Biltmore Village (the Biltmore Estate is the largest house in the US with 250 rooms – it was built by the Vanderbilts who owned huge amounts of the Blue Ridge Mountains. On the bus tour we were heading to Biltmore and the tour guide told us that all the mountains as far as we could see to the west had been purchased by the Vanderbilts).  The Arts and Crafts Festival wasn’t so great for Mark and Jacob who spent most of their time in the church playground – I had a better time wandering round the stalls and made a few wee purchases!!!  It was pretty hot so we headed in to town for lunch and then to Splashville which is this cool fountain park in the middle of town for kids (although I would have joined in if I had my togs).  Jacob was a bit tentative at the start but then was getting in amongst it – the kids never know when the fountains are going to start and where so they are rushing all over the place – peering down into them and then getting a faceful of water – it’s fantastic.

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Splashville

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Sunday was a quietish day doing the housework (uggh but small house so didn’t take too long with everyone helping).  Kathy Milam, a friend of ours who is living in Blenheim and comes from Asheville (small world), gave us some introductions to people here in Asheville.  One of the, Kiki, invited us to her house for a hike followed by a cook out (ie BBQ).  Jacob was stoked because they have a dog and a 14 year old, Will, who he had a great time with playing in his room with all his cool toys.  The hike was great and Jacob loved it.  At dinner we met Kiki’s husband, Chris, and her parents from Washington.  We sat out on the covered porch looking over the woods (apparently they had had a bear there a couple of days ago and the bear and dog had a very long stand-off until the bear walked away – Lucy the dog, who is a sweet dog, was pretty shaken for a few days)!!  The talk of bears prevented Jacob from going down into the woods to Will’s fort as it was getting dark and very scarey!!  It was really nice to be out at someone’s house for dinner – they were fun people.  We took Jacob back on the Tuesday and he had a 3 hour play with Will – his new best friend.

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Will, Jacob and Lucy walking by the Swannanoa River

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Mark and jacob by the River

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Kiki, Will and Lucy

Jacob and i have been having breakfast outside quite a bit – which takes about 45 minutes because Jacob is too busy talking to actually eat (can never understand how food isn’t his number 1 priority like it is for me).  We have been waging a battle against the squirrels who are constantly eating the bird feed preventing the birds from getting it.  We would constantly run out and chase them away only to have them all back in 5 minutes.  I decided to give up the battle when I got up one morning and there was 6 of them out there – I had visions of being “taken down” by a bunch of mutant ninja squirrels!!

One time when I was out there I heard this squealing in the garden and out popped a couple of fighting moles!!!  I’ve never seen one before so I presume they were moles – they were smaller than I imagined though.  They scarpered off in the separate directions and disappeared under the ground and haven’t seen them since.

I’ll post this now and the last few days in the next post.

love Charlotte, Mark and Jacob xo

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