Some families have stayed in one place for generations; others have scattered (often repeatedly) to the four winds. Both The LovedOne and I come from the scattery kind. Thus, for many years, get-togethers were few and far between.
Then a few years ago, we hit on the idea of, each year, picking a place none of us had yet visited and gathering there for a full week. Minnesota’s North Shore in 2017, Taos, New Mexico in 2018, Rhode Island in 2019 (for a nephew’s wedding). Then COVID appeared and there were no reunions in 2020 or 2021. 😢
By late 2021, COVID had eased-off a lot and none of us were getting any younger, so we made plans to gather in Asheville, North Carolina in October of 2022. As a location, it offers everything from art galleries to restaurants to hiking to breweries 🍺 – all surrounded by peaking Fall colors. 🍂
It was also within driving distance for those relatives still nervous about COVID and crowded airports. And so we had our reunion in 2022! And the weather cooperated with sunny days, 😎 and some rain only at night! 😁
There are a lot of hiking opportunities near Asheville. But, inexplicably, not everyone wanted to hike every day. 🤔 So we did some hikes with family, The LovedOne and I did one together, and I did one solo while the others toured the Biltmore Estate. In all, five hikes in a week with family and beautiful surroundings. That’s a hard combination to beat! 😊
Our first hike, with The LovedOne’s sister and brother-in-law, was a loop through the state arboretum just outside of Asheville. Our 4.6 mile (7.4 km) route included the Hard Times, Owl Ridge, and Rocky Cove Roads and the Creekside, Carolina Mountain, and Wesley Branch Trails. It was well past wildflower season but there were lots of Fall colors for our viewing pleasure.
Often after a hike, we visit a nearby pub – of which there are plenty in Minnesota. Here we wrapped up the hike and the day with a tour (and tasting) at a WHOLE brewery 🍺 – Sierra Nevada’s eastern operation in nearby Mills River (their western and original brewery is in Chico, California). This is one brother-in-law’s favorite beer so all of us were obligated 😉 to participate. Bonding over a brew, so to speak. 😁
❤️ Asheville! It’s been years since we have walked through the Arboretum. They now do a holiday light show and since I love a good holiday activity, I keep hoping to go back. Your pictures are beautiful and clearly a light show is not needed to enjoy a lovely afternoon.in the Arboretum.
We spent two months in the area in summer 2021 and visited several times previously. We like the area a lot…and as you said, no hurricanes. And no wildfires/smoke/drought like in Oregon! And soooo much hiking…
Thanks! Moving to Asheville? It seems like an interesting place with lots to do – and no hurricanes! 😉
The arboretum is delightful, and your photos are beautiful, as always. What a great place for a reunion! We’re currently in Flat Rock, not far from Asheville. We’re thinking of moving here…