Posts Tagged 'Grove Park Inn'

Following in Obama’s Footsteps to Asheville

Just five days after the First Family left Asheville, we drove to the charming North Carolina town. While we missed out on the Blue Ridge Mountain hike that the Obamas apparently took, we managed to walk the town’s hilly streets, admire the mountain view, and watch an impressive game of hacky sack in Pritchard Park.

It felt like a small slice of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury — and not just because of the footbag kicking game. Young people lounging in the park, strumming guitars and chatting, give the city a laid-back feel. Art studios dappled throughout Asheville showcase paintings, jewelry and other offerings from local artists.

I do not believe that any Asheville micro breweries decided to brew a beer in our honor, as one did to mark the President’s visit. But my husband did enjoy his taste of a local beer. Our waitress looked downright thrilled when he ordered an Asheville, rather than imported, drink (and boy was it strong).

Thanks to the early May sunshine and wide sidewalks, we were able to walk from one end of town to the other. We bought treats from the Marble Slab Creamery, which served massive, made-to-order tubs of homemade ice cream.

The small, independent restaurants were a welcome departure from the chains we tend to frequent. Locally grown, organic food seemed to be the pride of these places. I liked the Fried Green Tomato Napoleon at the Early Girl Eatery, a cheery diner tucked down a narrow side street.

While we didn’t stay at the posh Grove Park Inn, where the Obamas stayed, we did stop by. We asked the host standing guard outside the famed Sunset Terrace, where the Obamas are said to have dined, if we could sit and drink coffee with our two toddlers.

He responded that he would like to invite us to sit inside instead, in a dark and empty area. It would appear that toddlers are not encouraged admire the breathtaking mountain view from the Sunset Terrace.

But youngsters seem to be welcome almost everywhere else in Asheville. When we visited the highly recommended brunch spot, Tupelo Honey Cafe, the waitresses and patrons laughed and smiled as our kids threw crayons and raisins. I loved the goat cheese grits that came along with the special omelet. And of course, I bought a jar of Tupelo Honey as a souvenir.

We realized that Asheville is a lovely town, filled with friendly people, charming local restaurants, shops, and art studios. It is certainly worth a visit if you’re in the South, and if you’re the President, it is worth flying to from DC.

Especially if you get a beer named after you.

Following in the President’s Footsteps to Asheville

We are planning a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, which is supposed to be charming and picturesque.

But our family isn’t the only one to be aware of the allure of the city: the Obamas are heading there this weekend. We were wondering why we couldn’t find an available hotel room….

Our trip there will mark our first family road trip, which is long overdue by American standards. People I meet in Atlanta regularly take five hour — even ten! — hour long drives, with young children.

My vivid memories of getting carsick in our weekly one hour drives to visit my grandmother in Westchester are only part of what has precluded us from taking to the roads.

We have taken the kids on the nine hour flight from London to Atlanta several times, but somehow, flying with two toddlers seems easier than to me driving.

You can walk around; raid the snack/drinks cart; climb over seats; and play with the tray on the seat in front of you (not advisable on an overnight flight at 2 AM).

But since we have a car, we might as well use it. Asheville is a mere three or three and a half hour drive from Atlanta, depending on whom you ask.

And it looks like the perfect artsy, kid-friendly beauty spot we’d like to visit. Plus, I hear that there is a J. Crew outlet.

We will have to ask the Obamas how they like the Grove Park Inn….