For the last couple of months, we have been keeping in touch with some new friends we met at Alumafandango who are also traveling around the country. We had planned to meet up with them again when we got to Asheville. They had returned from their 4-month trip a bit earlier and came up to visit up at the campground today.
Frank and Debbie are a couple who recently retired and are new owners to their 28 ft Safari. Frank had retired from a career of being a physician with many of those years as a pediatrician. Along with several children and grandchildren, that makes him pretty much an expert at handling babies. After their retirement, they moved into their mountain cabin about 35 miles south of Asheville. They decided to make the drive up to see us at the campground and to spend the day with us as our private tour guides.
One of the most famous landmarks in Asheville is the Biltmore Estates. It is the world’s largest private residence. Since it is probably also the world’s most expensive private home tour, we decided to skip a tour of it as the kids are still too little to enjoy it. Frank and Debbie instead told us about a great hotel built in 1913 in town called The Grove Park Inn.
This hotel was conceptualized by Edwin Wiley Grove. He owned a pharmaceutical company and made millions of dollars in the late 1800s selling a popular elixir that was, at the time, more popular than Coca Cola. He began accumulating land in the Asheville area with an idea of building a hotel. He believed that the climate in the mountains of North Carolina had health benefits and would make a great place for a resort. Construction began in 1911 and it was completed in less than a year. The hotel is built of giant granite boulders harvested in an nearby mountain. In 1911, only mules, wagons and ropes were available for hauling the stones with some weighing over 10,000 lbs.
The lobby has some of the largest fireplaces I have ever seen. It is a bit misleading in this photo as there is nothing to reference the size. This fireplace is over 6 feet tall and the logs in the fire are the size of small children.
This hotel was used in World War II as an internment location for some of the Axis diplomats. It was also used as a Navy hospital and rehab center for sailors returning from the war. In the last 100 years since it opened its doors, 10 U.S. Presidents have also visited here. Starting from Taft to Obama, the Presidential suite at The Grove Park Inn gets a lot of use.
Another cool place to visit in downtown Asheville is an old fashion general store called Mast General Store.
It has been around since 1883 and you can buy candy from barrels by the pound.
After our excursion in town with Frank and Debbie, we parted ways and headed back to camp. We will see them in a couple of days as we head south towards their house where they have offered their driveway for us to courtesy park for a night or two.
We decided to come back to the campground to enjoy the great waterfront views. This is the French Broad River that runs right next to us. It starts near the village of Rosman, North Carolina and runs for over 200 miles to end near Knoxville at the Tennessee river.
Wilson’s Riverfront RV Park is a privately owned campground. The interesting thing about this campground is that a walking and biking trail operated by the city runs right down the middle of it.
Ava had another meeting with her teacher Stephanie in California via Skype to talk about her homeschooling progress with views of the French Broad right outside.
This has to be the best classroom in Asheville right about now.
“My name is Ava, and today, we are going to learn about emotions. I am happy.”
“My mama is silly.”
“And this is my daddy who is sad because he has to work.”
over and out,