North Carolina, Where We've Been

Blue Ridge Parkway, West N.C. Nature Center, & the Biltmore

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Blue Ridge Parkway

Although the leaves were just past their peak in Tennessee, by the time we got to Asheville, North Carolina, they were definitely past their prime. 

We tried driving the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, but bare trees were all we found, along with a thick haze from a nearby wildfire. Still, there’s beauty in the waterfalls that run along the Parkway.

We decided to make the trip worthwhile though and went to a place called Sliding Rock. During the summer, this place is apparently packed with swimmers looking to cool off in the chilly water. The rock slide has been in use for at least around 100 years when moms would take their kids to the swimming hole and sit with a needle and thread ready to sew up their kids swimming shorts after they gone down the slide several times. By now, the slide has more than likely been smoothed out so that the sewing is much less frequent, though the water this time of year was too chilly to try it ourselves.

The small pool in front of the slide goes down to around 8′ deep. Although it’s open all year, it is a swim at your own risk during the off season. During the summer, there is a lifeguard on duty and the temperature, while still cool, wouldn’t be hypothermic.

This would definitely be a great place to come back to in the summer!


West North Carolina Nature Center

It may not have been the best time to visit the Asheville area for fall, but the animals at the West North Carolina Nature Center were out and about this time of year.

The black bears were fattening up for the winter hibernation.

The staff gave each of the bears their own pumpkin to enjoy and they gnawed on it until the rind was the only thing left.

This gray wolf was hiding out in his den, keeping an eye on all the passerbys. We called to him to see if he would come down to meet us, but he was content to sit in his den.

These gray foxes were probably the most active of all the animals at the center. They were playing with each other, grabbing at each other’s ears and keeping watch up on their perch.

This gray wolf was impressive in height and stature. Much taller than a dog, he stood at the end of his shelter to peer out over the land.


The Biltmore

The Biltmore is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. It is the largest privately owned estate in the U.S., encompassing 8,000 acres of prime real estate.

The estate is owned by the Vanderbilt family and is open to tours for the public throughout the year. During Christmas time, the estate is decorated with thousands of lights, wreaths, and bows. 

It is also a highly sought after time to visit the Biltmore and unfortunately, the prices reflect that. I hemmed and hawed all week over the price, considering the Disney-esque pricing of the visit for a family of four.

Eventually I had realized that if I purchased the season pass, the kids would be able to get in free and I would be able to get Ben’s pass at a discounted rate. Perfect!

Unfortunately, just as I was about the purchase the tickets, the event sold out… for the rest of the days we were there. 

So the best I could do was to travel up to an overlook area on a mountain road to take this picture. Still it’s a great view of an impressive house, from nearly 5 miles away. 

It’ll have to be next time.



Hominy Valley RV Park

Hominy Valley RV Park is located in Candler, just outside of Asheville. There are only 7 sites, most of which seem to be permanent or long term sites. 

There is a private residence on site, which has its own fire pit, gazebo and parking for a large rig.

Our site was paid for by check through a deposit box with a camera attached to it. We never met the owner personally, but spoke to him over the phone. He welcomed us to the park when we arrived and let us know where to leave the check. It was otherwise quiet besides some road noise.

It was a little tight turning in to the campground. You would need to make a wide turn on the busy highway to avoid the ditch. Getting into our spot, which was the third on the left was a little tight as well, but doable for our 40′ fifth wheel. (See overhead drone shot). 

We had full hookups and no problems with any of the utilities. 

We got 20 down/9 up on Starlink. 3 bars on the Verizon phones and 5 bars with the cell antenna (59/20). AT&T was 5 bars with the cell antenna (23/10). The campground also had stellar WiFi with (348/11).