Each year I try escape somewhere new for a little r&r. This summer I managed to squeeze in a short trip to Asheville, NC. Asheville isn’t totally new to me, I spent a long weekend there one January about 3 1/2 years ago. But this trip was different.
I rented a mountain bike from Marty at Pro Bikes in Asheville. I didn’t pick Pro Bikes because it was female owned, but when I discovered that it was, I was extra psyched. Pro Bikes had Fuji and Rocky Mountain bikes, and plenty of gear to browse (I would have bought a Pro Bike cycling jersey if they only had a large!). Marty set us up with bikes and a trunk rack, and we headed out to Bent Creek in Pisgah National Forest.
I didn’t realize that I had been to Bent Creek before until I recognized a creek running through one of the trails we were on. Last time it was covered in snow. This time that red Carolina mud was everywhere. The riding was great and trails were endless.
As a side note, I went white water rafting for the first time ever, which I really enjoyed. Low water levels meant no class 4 rapids, but the 5 mile trip down the French Broad River was a lot of fun. Our guide even stopped so we could climb up a ledge and jump off a 12 ft rock.
What I had a chance to notice most was how similar the region is to southern New England. The vegetation and wildlife reminded me of home, along with the progressive liberal downtown Asheville, sporting independent owned shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Asheville is like a much larger version of Northampton, MA–but slightly more upscale, with even better restaurants. In fact, the food there was so very incredibly good, even if you aren’t into hiking, biking, rafting and art……go there for the food.It’s fabulous.
Thumbs up for AsheVegas!