Since our kids could not be with us this Thanksgiving, and we decided not to travel to Ohio (where Greg’s family is), we made plans early in October to travel up to the mountains of North Carolina near Asheville. We have stayed at this RV (Lakewood RV Park) park many, many times so it was good to go back to familiar territory.
The trip up here was pretty uneventful. We left early Tuesday morning and made great time. We were all unhooked here by 5:00pm. On our travel days I always like to have something prepared for dinner. Since I knew it would be colder here than where we had come from, I prepared some soup a few days beforehand. All I had to do was to heat it up. I’m going to put the recipe here so I can go back and remember how I made it. I tried to duplicate a soup I ordered at a local restaurant in Southport. I had never had Tomato Sausage & Shrimp soup (or something like that) before, but since it was about the only semi-appealing thing on the menu at this particular establishment, I decided to try it. To my surprise it was delicious. The name of the soup stated it had shrimp in it but I as hard as I might, the only shrimp I found in it were about 3 tiny sized pieces so I decided to leave the shrimp out of my soup recipe.
Crock – Pot – Sausage and Tomato Soup
- 2 links of Italian sausage cut in diagonal, think (1/4″ slices).
- 1 large can of stewed tomatoes (cut tomatoes in bite size pieces)
- 4 cups chicken stock – Pacific (brands of chicken stock make or break a soup – pick a good one)
- 3 medium stalks celery – sliced 1/4″ slices
- 1/2 mild onion – chopped
- 1/2 clove minced garlic
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. Salt or more to taste
- 1 tsp. olive oil
Sweat celery, onion and garlic in olive oil. Cover pan and let soften on med/low until tender. Throw everything in the crock pot, cover and cook 4 – 6 hours on high.
Okay, back to our camping trip….
Wednesday morning we decide to drive out to Black Mountain, NC. It’s about a 40 minute drive from here. It’s right off the interstate so it was very easy to get to. Our first stop was the Blue Ridge Biscuit Company. Oh my…. we both agreed that was probably one of the best breakfasts we have had in a very long time. The atmosphere was so charming and and the biscuits were spectacular, or as “spectacular” as biscuits can be. I’m not a huge fan of biscuits but my gluten free biscuit was so flaky that I was ready for another one. Greg (the biscuit connoisseur in the family) had the normal biscuit and he agreed it was “spectacular.” The bacon was done just the way we like it and was also delicious. So we will be back to the Blue Ridge Biscuit Co. next time we’re in the area.
Next we headed into the historical section of Black Mountain’s town. There we found about 3 or 4 blocks of shops and restaurants. I of course headed for the yarn store I had looked up ahead of time. If you’re a knitter (which I’ve become hooked on), you would love this yarn store. I bought a few hanks of wool and of course I had to get their “cute” little bag.
We spent the rest of the afternoon in shops and walking the streets. It was such a festive atmosphere there. I guess it was because it was the holiday week that it just felt like a perfect storybook town and a storybook day.
Thanksgiving Day – Grove Park Inn
We had made reservations at the Grove Park Inn back in October. I had heard and read so much about this hotel that I really wanted to visit it. Since we camp and travel with our 85 pound pooch, I thought going to Thanksgiving dinner would be a great way to experience the hotel without actually having to stay there. So at 2:15 our reservations were set.
Before our big dinner we thought it would be a good idea to get some walking in. We really didn’t have time to drive down to Dupont or go on any hikes, so we made our way to Flat Rock’s “The Park.” This is a nature park less than 3 miles from the RV park. It’s a beautiful area nestled in a wooded and meadow area. It has one large loop which is 1.5 miles around with branches of trails for shorter distances. Many others had the same idea we had in getting some walking in before the big dinner. We ended up going back to this park everyday we were here it was that nice.
We started toward’s Asheville around 12:30 to get there in plenty of time for parking and navigating where the dining room was. I found out the night before that I had made reservations in the Vue 1913 restaurant. I thought I had made reservations for the Thanksgiving buffet in the Grand Ballroom area but found out I could not change them at that late of date. I was sort of bummed that we had to dine in a more upscale area than the family oriented area I thought we were going to but was determined to make the best of it. We arrived around 1:30 and after finding a parking garage and figuring out where to go, we still had about 20 minutes to kill. The hotel was beautiful. It was not hard to spend time waiting around in that beautiful hotel. The national gingerbread competition was just completed there so we were able to view many gingerbread houses while we waited.
We were seated in the Vue promptly at 2:15. It was a close fit with all the tables but it was “okay.” The meal was a 3 course dinner preplanned by the restaurant. We did have some choices but we ended up with a plate of turkey and dressing for the main course. The portions were small and I was a little shocked when the “salad” arrived. It looked like 5 spinach leaves with a few croutons drizzled with something on a huge plate. I will say everything was absolutely delicious. We always have the tendency to overeat at thanksgiving but we didn’t have to worry about it with this $70 meal. The desert was pumpkin cheesecake which again was small on a huge plate lol…
We do plan on making this a tradition with possibly family meeting us here next year. I will make sure I book at the buffet next time. After dinner we continued to explore the rest of the hotel. The lobby was really crowded as more and more people were coming in to dine. As we were walking through I heard a voice coming from near one of the fireplaces. I knew I recognized that voice but couldn’t figure out from where. I turned and looked and saw actress Andie McDowell there with what I think was her family…. the women all had her hair lol… I haven’t seen to many actresses in person in my life but this is the second time I have seen this woman. The first time was back in the 90’s when I was sitting in the 2nd row of the David Letterman show. She was his guest. Just strange I would see her at that hotel lol… BTW she’s just as beautiful in person as she is on the screen.
We got up Friday morning and decided to head into Flat Rock. We’ve been here before and just loved this little village. It’s not very big and there is really only one shop that is a bakery and gift shop and coffee shop all in one. Next to it there is a BBQ place where the fire smelled so good coming from outside. We ate lunch and just walked around a little bit. Friday evening we headed to the tree lighting in the next town over, Hendersonville.
We decided to go back to Hendersonville and do the Small Shop Saturday there. They had a few streets with shops on it but the store we found most interesting was the Mast General Store. I’ve never been in a general store where they had so much. I found out they have these in a few other small towns around here but if you can’t find what you’re looking for in this store, you probably don’t need it. We probably could have spent a lot more time in this store if it wasn’t so crowded. When we come back to this area I’m sure we will be going back to shop more.
Sunday morning we decided to go visit a church that is the same denomination as what we attend at home Covenant Presbyterian. We belong to a PCA (Presbyterian Church of America) church in Wilmington and there are not a lot of these type churches around. I saw this church on a previous visit and thought since we were going to be here on a Sunday, why not go visit it. The church was beautiful and the message was very good.
After church we ended up back in Flat Rock. We ate at a restaurant in the village called Honey and Salt. Really good breakfast and again a charming atmosphere.
Tomorrow we will be heading back home. It takes us about 6 – 7 hours to get here so hopefully we won’t have to much traffic heading back. Our business (QuiltMyShirts.com) is calling us back and we will probably be working 60 hour weeks until Christmas just to get all our orders out. This is the price we pay when we take off on vacation and owning a business. Not complaining…. very blessed to have so much work to go back to, but just sometimes we wish we could be gone a little longer and go farther. Maybe someday…..
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