We'd been to Asheville once before, but all I remember is that it was windy/cold and there was a pizza place/bar/laundromat which I proclaim to be a genius combination. Sadly, the Bar of Soap no longer exists. We think about it fondly. Someone else, please pick up this idea.
National Bagel Day fell on a Wednesday immediately following Puzzled Pint night, and since both of those had relevance in Asheville we decided to make an overnight trip across the border from Spartanburg.
Also, on the way we discovered Chimney Rock. $10 per person is kind of steep for a state park entry fee, but it was worth it (especially since the weather wasn't nearly as bad as it might have been). Let the fun hiking and exploring commence.
Hello, my brother!
It didn't take long to arrive at the extensive stairway/overlook system leading up the side of the hill that's even steeper than the entry fee:
Gneiss cave you got there:
The Grotto, a little room under a big rock:
One benefit of "almost but not quite crappy" weather was the awesome cloud layer spread out below us:
Almost feels like we climbed up a really high mountain (except without the giant backpacks):
Aptly named Opera Box:
The sea of clouds settled in the valley:
Overlooking an overlook:
We hiked over to the top of Hickory Nut Falls, which was a nice walk but with zero view of the actual falls. We couldn't resist trying the trail to the bottom and were rewarded with a much better vantage point. Apparently a scene from "The Last of the Mohicans" was filmed here - "I will find you!"
That was a few hours well spent - highly recommend.
We continued on to Asheville, checked into a hotel and got cleaned up, and then did some walking around town.
Hey, it's the hiking company owned by Jennifer Pharr Davis, super cool! I've enjoyed reading her books about her Appalachian Trail hikes and amazing overall FKT. Neat to see a sign with her name on it.
"Hot water provided by the sun" - thank you, sun!
One of many pieces of public art:
Puzzled Pint at Well Played Board Game Cafe - it has been a few months since we've made it to one of these (both the event and a board game cafe)! We weren't fast, and we could have used another teammate or 2, but we eventually solved the puzzles, we enjoyed the food, and the space is set up perfectly for this. Super cool.
The next day we wandered around the River Arts area looking for more public art. This seems to say "Love your husband" :) (and your coffee)
Best mural in town:
OK, this one is pretty good too:
Gotta love when the art is creating more of itself - go Bart!
Keep reaching for the stars!
John was captivated by the 3D effect and extra effort here:
Kind of strange...
Another a-bit-freaky mashup:
Lovely egret (I believe):
And finally - Bruegger's Bagels! One baker's dozen please.
We returned to South Carolina quite content. And with bagels.