My first Christmas in Asheville has been fantastic. It included the first snow, Santas galore, gingerbread capers, double d’s and escape rooms. In no particular order, here are the highlights from the last couple of weeks.
The weatherman predicted a light dusting… we got almost a foot of snow in less than 8 hours. I am keenly aware of this because when I arrived at work the roads were clear and by lunchtime it was a ghost town in my office. By the time I had the good sense to leave, my car had at least 9 inches of snow covering it. The good news was that the roads has been plowed and there was no one on them, so my commute time home was the shortest time ever! I was lucky enough to snap this photo of a cardinal from my patio once I arrived home safely.
Gingerbread Houses at Grove Park Inn
The Grove Park Inn is always spectacular, but as the host of a National Gingerbread Contest the place was filled with the heavenly scent of gingerbread and sugary goodness. In order to avoid the $20 parking fee, I parked at Biltmore Industries, took a quick tour of the car museum and artisan shops and then walked across the road to the hotel. People are so creative and you can view the 2017 winners here. Below is one of the whimsical gingerbread creations that caught my eye.
I was meeting some friends for dinner in early December, when I noticed a lot of people dressed up like Santa Clause or elves. Even by Asheville standards this seemed a little odd. As yet another group of Santas passed by, I asked them what was going on … well SantaCon of course.
Run, Run fast as you can… I heard rumors that if I was lucky, I might see the infamous ginger”dred” man. While finishing some shopping one afternoon, I found him catching his breath on a bench downtown.
A great place to people watch is from the top of Double D’s coffee bus on Biltmore Avenue. I grabbed a gingerbread latte and took a break with my family in the bench seat on the top level of the double decker bus, which seats four very comfortably.
Biltmore House at Christmas
I have been told over and over again that the Biltmore house was not to be missed at Christmas. This was my first time to tour the 178,926 square feet home – the largest private home in America. I was glad that I could share my first visit with my visiting daughters. It was indeed a spectacular home made even more spectacular by the extravagant decorations. It rightly deserves its very own blog. Here’s a sneak peak of the grand dining hall with its 35 foot Christmas tree.
Escape Room Bonding
I had this idea that it would be fun to try an escape room with my family this holiday season. I knew it would be risky – either we would work together or have a meltdown – either way memories would be made. We escaped somewhat to the surprise of the owner, who later informed us that only 15% of the people actually complete the room we attempted. Our final time was only 1 minute and 15 seconds off making the top ten fastest escapes. It was frustrating at times, very challenging and we did need to work as a team to get out. For those of you searching for a good escape room, A-Escape on New Leicester Highway costs half of what the escape rooms charge in downtown Asheville. Read more about my escape room adventure.
Hope your holidays were filled with good times and lasting memories!