Asheville, North Carolina

Before heading home from Western North Carolina, I decided to stop in Asheville for a few days to celebrate the 4th of July.  That's one of the things I love most about being an accidental tourist, I can stop wherever and whenever - pulling off the highway, or making a detour.  I love the unexpected, random and spontaneous types of trips the best.

I managed to get a beautiful room at the Omni Grove Park Inn.  I have been pretty fortunate with getting last-minute rooms at a great deal - another advantage to spontaneous travel, although it isn't always guaranteed!

The Grove Park Inn is an historic hotel, over 100 years old.  I spent hours walking through the lobby and hallways, reading the history and impressive list of authors, poets, artists, politicians and screen stars who have stayed there over the last century. It sits on a hill overlooking Asheville and it was a perfect place to watch the fireworks on the 4th.

One of the biggest reasons for stopping in Asheville was to see the  Chihuly Glass exhibit at the Biltmore .  What an incredible explosion of color and shape!  I love the man-made mixed with the natural in the gardens of the Estate.  I took my time walking through the pathways and discovering the surprise glass sculptures embedded throughout. 

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Even though the temperature was over 100 degrees, I did sit for a brief time to do a quick sketch of the Greenhouse, one of my favorite spots on the property.

I loved my few days in Asheville - I also made some time to head to the River Arts District and stroll through the galleries and admire other artists' work. The Busker's downtown gave the city a party vibe as I stopped to listen to their music and made my way in and out of the shops and breweries. Don't miss the Sierra Nevada Brewery with its fine food, incredible selection of crafts and IPA's and the grounds complete with gardens, live music and a tour of the brewery!  I definitely plan to return to Asheville - next time with a group of girlfriends to enjoy the city with me!