Road Trip 2020, Western North Carolina

Scroll down to content

We have two weeks in Asheville to spend time with family and friends.  Saturday morning September 5 Jim returns our rental car to the Asheville airport and takes a taxi home.  We will be using the MacAlpines Toyota Camry which has 158,000 miles on it.  We are so appreciative of their generosity in allowing us a two week stay in their guest suite and unlimited use of their home and auto.  We spend Saturday and Sunday with son Geoffrey and brother Philip’s family in Madison County.  It is so rewarding to watch all of the cousins interacting and playing together.  Jim’s brother David drove 3.5 hours from Silver Point Tennessee and joined us on Sunday with his wife Lynn.

IMG_4593
Jim holding Gaorii, also called Gigi or just “baby”, Bhavanii at his side and Freya in front.
IMG_4589
Sandy and Freya.
IMG_4590
Jim with Gigi.
IMG_4587
They call this a zipper spider because of its distinctive zig-zag in the web. There are so many of these on Geoff and Sofi’s land.
IMG_4596
Philip and Phyllis’s home which Philip built himself many years ago. There are creeks running by on both sides.
IMG_4594
Such an idyllic spot.
IMG_4021
Second cousins Gigi and Chauncey.
IMG_4023
Kid’s table inside, adults are on the back porch although the pictures appear vice versa.

IMG_4062

IMG_4597
Brothers, Jim and Philip.
IMG_0475
Brothers again with David in the middle.

Running is very problematic for us in Asheville as the roads are so narrow and there are so many hills.  We have found that we are forced to drive to specific locations where we can avoid the narrow roads but not the hills.

IMG_4025
Riverside Cemetery in the Montford section of Asheville ended up being our favorite running venue, scenic, mostly shady and rolling hills.
IMG_4027
Grave of Zebulon Baird Vance a Confederate military officer, Senator and twice Governor of North Carolina.
IMG_4029
Jim came across these headstones of the parents and brother of a college friend, Robert Brannan.
IMG_4608
Arguably Asheville’s most famous resident, writer Thomas Wolfe.

IMG_4629

IMG_4031
Art in downtown Asheville, stairs from Wall Street up to Battery Park Avenue.
IMG_4610
Hard to read but it says “Asheville loves you too.
IMG_4616
David, Philip and Jim in Philip’s for a final meal Labor Day evening.

We spent most of our first week in Asheville hanging out with Bob and Gail at their home in Candler.  A high school, college and medical school classmate of Jim and Bob’s, Bill Boyle, was also staying at MacAlpines with his wife Karen.  Bill is retired and living in the mountains of Colorado.  They were in Asheville visiting Karen’s parents.  We met up with Geoff and family as much as possible and also got together with our close friends Jill and David Merrell who have a dental practice in Weaverville.  Jill is Gail and Bob’s daughter.  We became close to these two while they were in Dental School at Tufts University in Boston.

IMG_4041
We took a hike in the North Carolina Arboretum with Bill Boyle, Gail and Bob.
IMG_4620
Dinner with the Merrell’s and MacAlpine’s at Forestry Camp Bar and Restaurant.
IMG_4042
Freya
IMG_4043
Gigi
IMG_4046
Jim & Freya.
IMG_4625
Bhavanii, Jim & Freya.
IMG_4050
Evelyn and Mitch, David and Jill’s offspring and exceptional young adults. We had dinner with them at The Country Club of Asheville.
IMG_4630
Another run in Riverside Cemetery where we found the grave of William Sydney Porter AKA O’Henry.
IMG_4631
Sandy placing a penny on O’Henry’s grave. His best known work is Gift of the Magi which has references to pennies.
IMG_4052
Trying on shoes at Tops For Shoes, a large independently owned and family run store for three generations. Jim shopped here as a kid and it is now one of Sandy’s favorite shoe stores.
IMG_4635
Dinner at Tupelo Honey with Geoff and family.
IMG_4636
Great fun being a grandfather.
IMG_4056
Playing in downtown Asheville.

IMG_4055

We drove to Greenville South Carolina to see our friends Mary Jane and Rick Jacques.  Jim went to high school with Mary Jane’s brothers Paul and Johnny.  We have become close to Mary Jane and Rick through the Boston Marathon. Rick has run Boston 25 times, the last one being virtual the weekend prior to our visit.  17 of his Boston Marathons have been consecutive.  While Rick runs and rests, Mary Jane explores Boston when there.  She has taken numerous pictures of our Marathon flower boxes before she ever knew that we lived there.  We just happened to connect through a mutual friend who lives near us in Boston and Rick and Mary Jane have been attending our Marathon parties ever since.

IMG_1166
Sandy has been putting flowers in running shoes for about 30 years.

IMG_3233.JPG

IMG_1168.JPG
Our typical Marathon Party with 26.2 balloons hanging from the ceiling.
IMG_4646
Rick & Mary Jane in front of their house in Greenville SC.
IMG_4644
They provided us a very tasty lunch.

IMG_4647

IMG_4648
After lunch we took a walk in downtown Greenville. This is the Liberty Bridge at Falls Park built in 2004.

IMG_4649IMG_4650

IMG_4653
This is a very lightweight bridge designed to look as if it is floating in air.
IMG_4658
We had the privilege of visiting with Mary Jane’s brothers John, far left and Paul, next to Sandy.  Jim hasn’t seen them since high school.
IMG_4656
John Gilbert’s home built in 1990 has the stately feel of an old European home.

We had a really lovely day with Mary Jane and Rick.  Thank you so much for your Southern Hospitality.

IMG_4067
We took a couple of runs along the dirty French Broad River. Quite flat but not as interesting as the cemetery.
IMG_4663
We took a day trip by ourselves to the top of Mt. Mitchell which is the highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains.
IMG_4070
It was a cloudy misty day and this was our view from the summit.

IMG_4068

IMG_4660
We did have some brief views of the mountains.
IMG_4667
Dinner at the MacAlpine’s with the Merrell’s in attendance also.
IMG_4671
Another day trip to Black Mountain, Swannanoa and Montreat.
IMG_4674
We visited the burial site of Jim’s parents, Claude and Elizabeth who passed in 2014 and 2015.
IMG_4672
Sandy bought a preserved rose for the grave marker.
IMG_4673
Quite emotional for us to visit Western Carolina State Veteran’s Cemetery in Black Mountain.

Our last big outing with the MacAlpine’s was a drive through Brevard to Lake Toxaway, Cashiers, Highlands, Dry Falls, Sylva and back home.

IMG_4676
The Greystone Inn on Lake Toxaway, an elegant old mansion with beautiful views of the lake.

IMG_4680

IMG_4681
Lake Toxaway is a beautiful meandering mountain lake surrounded by fancy estates. It is manmade and is the largest privately held lake in North Carolina.

IMG_4683

IMG_4686
We had a wonderful outdoor lunch at the lakes edge.
IMG_4690
Old Edwards Inn, Highlands North Carolina.
IMG_4691
We had dessert at The Old Edwards Inn.
IMG_4694
Bob’s massive pecan pie. No he did not finish it.
IMG_4702
Dry Falls.
IMG_4712
Not sure why it is called Dry Falls as it had an impressive amount of water the day that we visited. The path runs behind the falls.
IMG_6169
Our last full day in Asheville, Jim had an outdoor lunch in the rain with his good friend Leon Elliston who is a college and medical school classmate.
IMG_4089
Last breakfast with friends and family at Sunny Point Cafe in West Asheville.

We had a great time in Asheville hanging out with friends and family.  We did not get to see enough of Geoffrey and his family as they came down with mild cold symptoms the last week and we felt that it would be safer to stay away from them.  Many thanks to Bob and Gail for being such great hosts and putting up with house guests for two weeks.

6 Replies to “Road Trip 2020, Western North Carolina”

  1. Wonderful to hear about your recent adventure with the gorgeous pictures. So glad you are having another good time. Looking forward to your next fabulous trip!

    Many Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There is no stopping the Steens!
    The covid virus can’t find u or keep up wt u!!! ( & we hope it NEVER does!) We have missed ur adventures & blogs… but no more. Happy Trails to u wherever ur travels lead. 💖Linda & Lenny

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: