Months ago, we realized Columbus Day weekend meant the children had a few days out of school and that it coincided with my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday, and she wanted her daughters and their families to get together somewhere for a weekend of fun, but we also realized we’d miss seeing Twenty-One Pilots in Atlanta if we were out of town that weekend, but then we additionally realized the band would play in Greenville the preceding evening and that Greenville is on the way to Asheville, which is where my MIL wanted us to all hang out over the weekend, so we had a plan.
We left Friday morning, searched for little bronze mice on Main Street, hiked along the Reedy River and its waterfall in the middle of town, and explored the “Fall for Greenville” festival a few blocks from our hotel. Greenville, if you’ve never been, is nice–in the nicest way.
That night, we saw the concert, and it was awesome (despite not being on the first row like we were for our experience in Birmingham)!
The next morning, we drove to Asheville, meeting the 7 other family members at at an antique car museum by Grove Park Inn before exploring downtown Asheville, including watching the Alabama game at a brewpub where we had lunch, watching glass get blown and shaped at Lexington Glassworks (and buying some orbs for our newly renovated bathroom), and having an excellent dinner at Red Stag Grill.
The next day we hiked up Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi, and explored the visitor center at Blue Ridge Parkway national parkway (where we tried to let the children get junior ranger badges, but one must visit every point along the entire width of the parkway, which goes from Shenandoah to Great Smoky Mountains, to get the coveted patch, but they did get a badge for the portion we visited). Lunch was at a German restaurant (of significance since my bride was born at an Air Force base in Germany) near our Air B&B in Montreat. Montreat is a beautiful town just east of Asheville that (unlike Asheville) allows Air B&Bs.
Monday, everyone split up into 4 cars to head back to Boston, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, or Atlanta. As we drove southwest toward Atlanta, we saw a sign off I-26 for the Carl Sandburg Home national historic site; we hesitantly decided to pull over. We loved it.
I found Sandburg so interesting that I bought a biography on him at the gift shop. We loved learning about his wife’s prized goats (and letting the children pet them), seeing where he wrote his Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry and other works, and enjoying the serenity of the woods and grounds that surrounded the house.
Our school system starts a week or two after many of our surrounding counties’ systems, so we don’t get a fall break, but Columbus Day weekend is as close as we get to having one. This was a wonderful way to spend a 5-day weekend without spending much money–enjoying nature, family, live music, wonderful food, and exercising. I’m glad we took this roadtrip and would love to do it again sometime.
This was a really unexpected weekend. It was planned but still had surprises, it was family but we also found solitude in nature, it was kid-friendly but also romantic, and it felt super close to home. The Sandburg house was icing on the cake. contented sigh