Meet: Asheville, NC

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If I had to pick a city to spend a weekend in after a few days of living in the wilderness with nothing but a lighter and some stream water to sustain life, Asheville NC would most definitely be in my top 5 choices.

When you talk about this place at least one person in the room mentions how they plan to move there someday. It is a place that actually lives up to the cool vibes it portrays. You drive into the downtown area where to your right is the herbal acupuncture shop and to your left is the cold pressed juice bar-hippies, townies & wannabes are clearly welcome here.

We definitely fell into the wannabes category, walking stiff and wobbly from the beating our bodies took on the Appalachian trail a few days before; the definition of an Asheville tourist.

What do all great tourists do to make a good impression? Find the nearest bar that’s what! Only in Asheville you have to find all 6 of them.

A walking brewery tour seemed like the best answer to celebrate the weekend and avoid the legs morphing into cement mode from the days of hiking. Your choices as far as walking paths are endless, and conveniently enough all of the destinations are located within 2 miles of each other.

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The 6 must sees:

  • Asheville Brewery co.- Please try the Fire Escape-think spicy jalapeno beer party in your mouth
  • Burial Brewing-(Pictured at the top) every man’s fantasy of owning a garage-esque brew palace humming with indie moody music
  • French Broad Chocolate Factory-literally choke on the taste of the chocolate in the air
  • Greenman Brewing (pictured above)-where non-beer drinking girls start to love drinking beer aka the Triton
  • Hi Wire Brewing-laid back circus style vibe (in the less nightmare-ish way)
  • Twin Leaf Brewery-they provide the community with beer yoga…what more could you want?

After a little less than two days here it was apparent that another trip was necessary. I mean clearly there’s more to see the only pictures I have are of…um…beverages. There is so much to do in every single season from hiking to herbal acupuncture, making it a perfect road trip weekend destination for a couple of stir crazy Ohioans.

Perhaps one of the most therapeutic effects of experiencing a hippie town brewery tour is that talking yourself into more semi insane section hikes becomes 10x easier when everyone you are surrounded by lives and breathes outdoor adventures.

-RV

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Meet: Traverse City MI

Summer in Northern MI is was one of those places where you easily convince yourself the brutal winters and endless snow would be a small sacrifice for springs and summers like this.

It is a place where grand ideas of yoga studios located in the hearts of vineyards aren’t so impossible,  because buzzed yoga would be the ultimate outer body experience. It is where cherry flavored anything is better, especially with a body of water framing the sun’s good morning and good night. Basically Tim Allen nails it every time, Traverse City MI really is a little slice of northern heaven.

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lighthouse

This little light house where who knows how many weddings are held each year (because look at that it!!) is extra special because it is on the 45th parallel. What’s so cool about the 45th parallel?  Just when you feel like you are as far North as you can get (aka ice water for miles) in the “True North” state, plot twist,  you are only half way to the north pole from the equator. I’ll stay here on this steamy 70 degree day thx.

 

dune hill

While this giant mound of sand picture has the photographic sophistication of a pre-schooler (No Nikon 3500 sharp shooter for this girl), it is actually really magical because that couple in view had just asked us to take their picture. It is one of my favorite tourist moments, taking pictures for other tourists. The mixed emotions towards this picture continue because it does not explain how steep this bad boy was.

 

dunes

The dunes wound through brush and beach grass filled with hilarious people on the verge of heart attacks, cursing the distance of the path to the lake. By this point my gym shoes were filled with about 2 pounds of scalding sand, the lengths necessary to avoid a blister. I know it really doesn’t get more extreme than sand filled sneakers.

 

swans

After a 2.5 hour hike through sand mountains we thought it was a great plan to bike 5 miles to the top of a damn, where we waited Huckelberry Fin style in the forest for someone, who we would “know when we saw”, to drop of kayaks so we could journey back by water into Traverse Bay.

This marathon kayak adventure took us from the top of the dam through 8 miles of two rivers and one hot dog shaped lake. I managed to get excessive amounts of water shots from this leg of the journey during excessive breaks due to my toothpick arms threatening to fall off while conquering the hot dog.

These swans (they mate for life you know!) were so exciting to see at eye level after the couple at the dunes , love is all over Michigan, except for that poor guy bringing up the rear.

 

lake kayak

 

lake kayak city

 

vineyard

The vineyards, wineries, and cellars were sprawling and everywhere had the “best blend around!”

wine barrels

From the trails to the coastal bay views it was the closest to a perfect day that I could possibly imagine. The temperature forced us to stay in the sun drawing everyone into the light, what a true north summer is all about.

Meet: Augusta KY

solid barnThe weekend was spent strolling through this quaint little Kentucky riverside town. What is strolling? I can’t even remember the last time I strolled. With about two blocks of solid city there was a lot of time to walk…the long way…around the block. If there is one thing that is known about Augusta KY it is that the Clooneys rule this town, which means the city is frequented with George (who Cincinnati tries to claim as their own) homecoming events every few years.  I realized they were like any small town family as Nina Clooney came over while we shopped in her antique store and complimented my (resale) dress, and I pretend to not be dying of excitement. It was a weekend of full fat eating and absolute simplicity.

better benchIt’s the type of town you picture to have patios like this. Vintage furniture and perfectly accented brick weathered by river air.

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resale shopThe stores were filled to the brim with disturbingly adorable things. Displays that convey without a doubt of the necessity of Siamese cat creamers in your life.

cellarHome to the oldest winery in the USA, I wasn’t surprised to see that the view from the cellar into the winery is exactly what heaven looks like.

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…and what heavenly beverages looks like.

james dean

Dina at the heaven winery lived up to expectations when she likened us to Marilyn Monroe and James Dean, a compliment I am sure to never receive again, but will be sure to repeat whenever possible. Being Marilyn for the day combined with Nina’s praise claims this my first ever A-lister weekend. The next day we saw this poster at the cafe which was all the affirmation we needed.

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Sunsets in Augusta are slower and warmer. The end of day warmth fills the town that has been shut down for hours. No one works past 5 and everyone knows how to take a step back and slow down.

river

-RV