We always make it a point to visit Asheville Visitor Center whenever we pass by – it’s the quickest way to find out what’s happening around during our stay (and if you’re a first-timer, get some trinkets or other souvenirs ;)). Another good reason would be the convenient parking lot right behind – you can leave your car there and do some walking around historic downtown without stressing out about where to park.
If this is your first time in Asheville, I would highly recommend spending a day touring Biltmore Estate – once home to famous George Vanderbilt and his family, it is one of the largest private residences in United States. Other than the mansion itself, there are plenty of other attractions to chose from, you won’t be disappointed. I hear that the winery is pretty good, too :).
Day 6 – August 3rd, 2017
We have skipped Biltmore this time round and instead focused on checking out downtown. First, we visited Basilica of St Lawrence located just a few blocks away from the visitor center. Praised for its architecture and historic significance as a place of worship it is definitely worth stopping by.
After walking around town for a while we were getting hungry. We decided to give vegetarian food a try. It took us a while to figure out the menu, trying to find something that would sound remotely familiar to our taste buds. After a while we settled for these creative dishes:
It was definitely an experience, but I think we are not going to convert anytime soon. We are grateful though for filling up our hungry stomachs.
Our next endeavor took us to Chocolate Fetish – famous for hand-made confection of chocolate. If you have a sweet tooth (I bet you do!) you should definitely take a tour. If you are still unconvinced, they provide free samples along the way.
If you like arts & crafts, Kress Emporium should add to your satisfaction. A few other places worth checking out:
- Asheville Bee Charmer – pure honey (literally)
- Grove Arcade – for your shopping needs
- Biltmore Village, featuring a unique McDonald’s restaurant – inside you will find a grand piano (you can hear it on occasions, too) and the meals are ordered and brought to your table – not something you are accustomed to when visiting fast food.
Our last stop before heading back to the hotel was the Asheville Pinball Museum. For a small fee you can revive those childhood memories to your heart’s content. Some of the restored machines are available for purchase, too!
This concludes day one of our stay. Time to get back and catch some rest. My only regret: I didn’t charge the car before calling it a day. More on it later, so read on.
Day 7 – August 4th, 2017
Our second day in Asheville was dedicated to visiting some other attractions around Blue Ridge Parkway. First, we would stop at Craggy Gardens (mile post 364).
Blue Ridge Parkway between Asheville and Blowing Rock. Image courtesy of Google.
Continuing on the Parkway we would reach Little Switzerland. On top of the beautiful scenery it is also a nice place to stop and take home some of the local craft, or to enjoy home-made food while engaging in conversation with the shop owner.
Next, we drove towards Mount Mitchell – the highest elevation East of the Rockies (6683 with a short hike to the mountain top, 6578 where you park your car). All along the way we have enjoyed a breathtaking vista intertwined with some of the most brilliant human engineering to make the great journey possible. One should definitely spare a thought to the hardship of people who helped to build the Blue Ridge Parkway, so the future generations can enjoy the best that nature has to offer up close.
Judging by our previous experience on the scenic road I felt confident that regenerative braking will compensate for any ascent that will lie ahead of us, so I have decided to skip a supercharger visit the preceding night. Leaving the parkway then, we had to stop at Canyons Historic Restaurant and Bar in Blowing Rock to charge the car (the restaurant has Tesla HPWC!). This was the first time I have seen the energy bar showing a different color than green:
Too close for my comfort, for sure. We had spend about 1,5 hours there, waiting for the car’s trip planner to advise that we had enough energy to make it back safely to the hotel. Lesson learned!
I have also realized that Canyons is closing its doors to make room for another restaurant. While I haven’t had a chance to chat with the Canyons’ owner (Bart Conway), I’ve read and heard only great stuff about him. I, for one, should be thankful for him providing the Tesla charger (thank you sir)! Hopefully the next restaurant will continue the tradition of providing EV charging for its customers.
Returning to Asheville, we have stopped at the supercharger. Next day (Aug 5th) we were starting our journey back home. We were about to leave the car to check out the mall nearby when we were approached by two older gentlemen that were clearly intrigued by the stalls and a never-before-seen car plugged in. They have not heard much about supercharger, but they were clearly interested in technology and modern inventions. It made for a very pleasant conversation. In exchange for me educating them on Tesla and EVs they offered a number of useful tips for our stay around the area. Too bad we would be leaving the next day, but we can surely use some of that information on our next returning visit.
Number of miles traveled: 220
Number of other Teslas spotted along the way: 0
* * *
This is pretty much it for the inaugural road trip in our Tesla Model S. It would take us another 2 days to get back home. We followed pretty much the same route that brought us here, stopping at the following superchargers along the way:
- Knoxville, TN
- Brentwood, TN
- Jackson, TN (we would explore the train museum and surrounding shops/galeries this time round)
- Memphis, TN (where we would stay for the night)
- Little Rock, AR
- Texarkana, TX
- Sulphur Springs, TX
Number of miles traveled on this trip (total): 2390
Number of other Teslas spotted along the way (total): 6 (1 at Knoxville and 2 at Memphis on the way back)
Counting the number of fellow Teslas along the way was more of a fun-fact gathering exercise than anything, but it provided an interesting bit of information about how rare these cars still are. Model 3 is about to change it pretty soon!
Needless to say, we had a fantastic experience in the amazing, technologically advanced piece of machinery that Tesla is. The superchargers along the way provided the necessary convenience to make our trip stress-free. As I write this final chapter we are within days of embarking our our next road trip. I will make sure to report on it as well, so stay tuned!