Our Working Vacation – Richmond/Asheville Edition

Last August I told Mike I wanted to go to Paducah, Kentucky to visit the National Quilt Museum. I said I didn’t care what route we took, but that was my ultimate destination. That was all it took, and he was off and planning a trip that took us to seven different campgrounds, over 1700 miles, in 20 days! We did a lot, so I’m breaking the trip down into three blogs. Here’s our first week in Richmond, Virginia and Asheville, North Carolina.

000e-Americamps Ashland, VAWe were heading to Richmond for a wedding at Upper Shirley Vineyards and decided to stay at Americamps in Ashland, north of Richmond, right off I-95. Our original plan was to go on Friday, April 26, but since storms and heavy rain were expected on Friday, we decided to leave on the 25th. If you’ve ever traveled down I-95 from Washington DC, you know that traffic is bad on a sunny day. Traveling in a rainstorm pulling a travel trailer in a driving rainstorm is a downright nightmare!

 

The Americamps is a very nice campground, and we learned ownership had recently changed too. The WiFi was very good, which is crucial when you’re working from the road. Storms did materialize on Friday as anticipated, but the worst seemed to have spared the campground. We could hear, and see, I-95, but one of the workers told us a sound wall is being constructed that will be completed in time for the 2020 camping season. That should help with the noise. They are a Good Sam park, so you’ll get an additional discount through them. All the sites looked fairly level, and they had a large number of pull-through sites capable of accommodating larger rigs.

000a-Mike making waffles for everyone

One of the perks of Americamps was a free dinner every Thursday night, and Mike (one of the camp hosts) made Belgium waffles every morning! Yummy!

We worked all day in the camper, Mike on his usual business, and I worked editing a book for a client.  Friday evening we had showers, so we did a little shopping and settled in for the night.

 

001-Richmond VA Slave Trail

Saturday we decided to kill time by checking out sites around Richmond. Our original plan was to bicycle part of the Capital Trail, but since it was so windy, we elected to do other things. We learned about the Richmond Slave Trail  and started to walk some of it. When the trail turned muddy, we returned to the truck and decided to drive around.

 

We stumbled onto the Virginia War Memorial and an event that was going on. The granddaughter of a WWII vet was speaking about the experiences of her grandfather. The museum had a lot interesting artifacts, including letter from Adolf Hitler and this American flag from a WWII prisoner held in Japan. He took a sheet of linen and using colored pencils, made the American flag.

We remembered that the route of the world cycling championships went down the Monument Avenue in Richmond, so we decided to drive down there. Monument Avenue has statues of Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, and Arthur Ashe, a decorated tennis star born in Richmond, going down the middle of the beautifully tree-lined street.

We topped off the Richmond excursion by eating lunch from a food truck called Tree’s Tacos and Tips, which was located near Libby Hill , the famous cobblestone climb the professional cycling championship. The tacos and pork tips were absolutely delicious. The climb, however, was incredibly steep and not smooth at all! As a cyclist who is not a fan of hills, I’m in awe that the pros were able to climb this multiple times during the race!

And the wedding of our dear friends was beautiful!

000e-Drive to Asheville, NCSunday morning, after our free waffle breakfast, we packed up and headed to the Asheville East KOA, in Asheville, North Carolina, our home for the next three nights. We had a long 375-mile drive from Richmond. It was windy the entire trip, which made the drive even more fun; actually, pretty exhausting for Mike!

 

However, we were rewarded with a beautiful site by the creek. 004-Asheville KOA Site

This campground is one we would definitely recommend and stay at again if in the area. Besides the creek, the grounds included 2 ponds, with plenty of back-in sites around them. We took a back-in site next to the creek and loved being lulled to sleep by the sound of the rushing water. Of course, being woken up by the ducks walking under our camper the next morning was an interesting wake-up call!

009-Wicked Weed BreweryMonday we went into Asheville and found a quaint spot called  Wicked Weed Brewery to enjoy 2 cold ones and lunch. Mike had fish and chips while I had the pulled pork sandwich and french fries. Both were delicious! Following lunch, we walked around Asheville. We thought the town was nice with lots of art from local artisans.
012-Old Woolworth's Diner

 

 

We found an old Woolworth Walk Art Gallery , complete with the original lunch counter and working soda fountain! Brought back  a lot of memories of having lunch there with my mom and grandma.

 

 

From Asheville, we drove to Black Mountain, a small town in the foothills of the mountains. We thoroughly enjoyed walking that town. We visited an old general store that took us back in time, reminding Mike of the old Gold Star store in Wooster he used to go to with his dad. While in Black Mountain, we found the location of the trains we’d been hearing at night. Train whistles seemed to be a running theme on this trip!

On a side note, one of the reasons to go to Asheville was to visit the Biltmore. After learning that the cost was between $60-$80/ticket, depending on when you purchased them, and the fact that it would take approximately 6-8 hours to enjoy the property, we opted not to go there this trip. We only had two days, and there was still more to do!

On Tuesday, we got together with our friends who recently moved to Nebo, NC, about 30 minutes from the Asheville East KOA. They built a beautiful log home up in the mountains, and the views were absolutely breathtaking.018-Judges Restaurant

After touring their home, we drove to Judge’s Riverside, a restaurant located on the banks of the Catawba River in Morganton, NC. Mike remembered eating there years ago when he was riding the Cycle North Carolina Mountains to Coast ride. The food was outstanding and the views of the Catawba River were great.

023-Huff Mountain Home

We drove back to our friends’ beautiful home to spend the rest of the day relaxing and having dinner.  As much as we didn’t want the day to end, we had to get back and get ready for our next destination – Pigeon Forge, TN.

 

 

Jennifer Skinnell is the author of the Hope Springs Romance Series available on Amazon. Check out her website, Jennifer Skinnell Quilting  for all the details.

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