Over the years I have traveled to North Carolina a lot. I have family in the Greensboro area and friends in Raleigh. I love the Boone area and the Blue Ridge Mountains, but I had never made it to Asheville before this trip.
I had been told many times that Asheville is an awesome place and it had been on my bucket list for awhile. When my good friends moved there last year, I was excited because I knew I would finally be able to see Asheville while visiting them. So back in September I booked a cheap flight on a budget airline for me and Penelope to go visit our friends and finally explore Asheville.
I knew I would love it, but I didn’t realize how much. I immediately felt at home. It felt like this was the answer to what I had been searching for for a long time.
My family and I just moved to South Florida, also known as the land of the “shiny people”, and sometimes I feel like I moved to Mars. Evenwhen I lived in semi-crunchy Tallahassee, I felt out of place sometimes. But not in Asheville! Asheville is my people. Asheville gets me. I am not weird in Asheville. In fact, I look kind of yuppyish compared to some of the hippy-hipsters there.
Pretty much, a couple hours into our trip, I was daydreaming and made a goal of buying property here one day. For a long time I have wanted a farm and some acreage for chickens and huge vegetable garden, where I would be surrounded by like-minded people. I don’t know how to even begin to make this dream a reality, because right now we don’t even own a home, let alone have the income to buy a second property! But I will figure it out one day. One day I will have my South Florida beach house and my Asheville mountain house, too.
On our first night there, we went to a cool place called Highland Brewing Company, that serves beer and wine and has a great lawn for families to hang out and listen to live music. It was exactly my kind of scene. It’s hard to find family-friendly live music venues, although it was a little loud and overwhelming for Penelope, but they had these great hammock swings everywhere so she rolled herself up into a little cocoon burrito and swung to compensate for the sensory overload.
We headed downtown to see the famed Friday night drum circle and get some dinner. The drum circle was awesome reminded me of my hippy college days. I would have stayed longer, but again it was too loud for Penelope, so we headed to Farm Burger for dinner. It was so good. Farm to table, grass fed, organic, you know the drill. My mothership.
I saw signs like this everywhere. This particular one I loved. In my head I was shouting, “Yes! That’s me! You understand!” after I read each bullet item. I just want to live here so badly!!
The next day we headed to Hickory Nut Gap Farm and oh my goodness is was like a day out of Martha Stewart magazine. The place was gorgeous and we had such a good time. It was one of those idyllic, perfect Fall day that you dream up.
This weekend was such a welcome reprieve of perfectness. I feel like I need to say this: If you go through these pictures and you start to think my life is magazine perfect, please know that it’s not. Trust me. I can’t tell you how many times I have found myself sobbing in the shower, in the past 6 months, just begging for God to LET. UP.
Penelope loves horses. And apparently Equine Therapy is really great for kids with SPD. I think in a couple of years we will try horse riding lessons to see how she likes it.
I love this Tea Collection dress so much (and it’s on sale right now!). Penelope only wants to wear dresses, and now I know it is because of her sensory disorder. It clicked that the reason she prefers Tea Collection dresses is because their dresses are all loose and comfy and most have no tags! It all makes sense now. I did a happy dance when they launched their nightgown collection, because not only does she only wear dresses, she only wears nightgowns and it is so hard to find good quality cotton ones. Penelope would prefer to wear nothing but dresses, but she will tolerate leggings well. The comfortable compression is actually calming to her. I love how Tea makes coordinating leggings for all their tops and dresses.
Oh, these two. These girls have been friends since they were 10 months old. They were so excited to go on the train ride. Harper was rocking some stripes on this day, too.
My beautiful girl. God, I love her so much.
I love me some Tea Collection, too. They always have the best comfy, flowy, flattering tops for women. This is one I got last year that I luh-uv and it’s on sale! I am starting to pay more attention to the kind of clothes that I feel the most comfortable in, and I am realizing I am more like Penelope and have similar sensory issues.
They have this indoor barn thing with a swing, a hay mountain to climb, farm animals to pet, and this little bike riding area. This moment made me tear up a bit. This was the first time Penelope has ever ridden a bike. I am not sure what it was about these bikes, but we need to get one. Maybe it’s the bigger wheels and a wider base that it was easier for her. My heart still broke a little, there were kids her age zooming by and she was focusing so hard and going so slow. Still, it was HUGE that she could even do it just a little bit.
And my swing loving child could not walk past this, of course.
We came a tad too early in the season to see the much of the leaves changing, but still it was just gorgeous. Goldenrod, one of my favorite flowers, was in full bloom. They were everywhere.
As were the wild Asters.
Dahlias are some of my favorite flowers, too. They’re growing wild here!
Oh you know, just a bunch of perfect pumpkins hanging out on a farm, on a perfect fall day.
Apple tasting was fun.
And later, Penelope and I’s first time apple picking! So much fun! A what a view.
The orchard we went to, Altapass Orchard, was quite a hike but we got to drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway to get there. The drive was gorgeous, but I forgot how carsick I get on windy roads — I was happy when we got to the orchard!
My friends picked this orchard since they don’t use any chemicals. And boy, you could tell! Their apples were not picture perfect, some were crazy looking, but they tasted great. Turns out they do actually spray a little bit, way less than a regular orchard and they do leave a small area of the orchard totally unsprayed.
Penelope took off her fancy Hunter rain boots at some point and we left them in the orchard. The folks at the orchard were nice enough to go out and find them for me and ship them back!
Penelope loved picking apples.
And she ate one while walking along, skin and all, which blew my mind as she is normally an peeled apple kind of girl.
The next day we went on a hike to Hooker Falls. It was quite the hike, especially with a 40 pound 3 year old on my back, but it was awesome. My beach walks are great, but something about my energy system just feels more balanced when I am around huge trees on hilly hiking trails.
The water was freezing!! And after this photo was taken, she fell in… fun times.
Don’t know what we would do without our Ergo!
This scarf is from Tea Collection women’s clothing, too. Inspired by the way fashionABLE is committed to bettering the lives of women, Tea partnered with them to design this exclusive scarf. It’s made of soft Ethiopian cotton and crafted by small-business cooperatives in Africa that give women meaningful work with fair pay. My scarf came with a handwritten note from the woman who made my scarf and it said, “Because of you, I am ABLE to be a healthy example for my daughter.” Which I just love more than words can say, because I care so deeply about setting a good example for my own daughter.
All and all, an amazing trip. Getting to spend quality time with Penelope and catching up with our friends in such a beautiful place was just what I needed. I can’t wait to go back for another visit and I am so excited for the day when I have my own little piece of mountain heaven up there.
If you want to see more pictures, head on over to my Instagram account. I am Mama and Baby Love over there if you want to follow along every day, or you can search #mblashevilletrip to see all the photos from our trip.
And lastly, some great news! Tea Collection is giving away a $1oo gift card to a lucky M+BL reader. They have the cutest holiday collection out right now. Enter below for your chance to win!