The Towns I Like, Asheville, NC – Stories From Home, A Podcast


*** SHOW NOTES ***


Tonight, it’s Asheville, NC, but first, let’s spin around the interwebs….

Bald eagle attacks state’s $950 drone in U.P., sends it to bottom of Lake Michigan

ESCANABA, MI – In what state officials are describing tongue-in-cheek as a “brazen attack,” a bald eagle recently snatched a $950 drone belonging to the state of Michigan that was being flown to document shoreline erosion damage in the Upper Peninsula. After a brief tussle, the big bird ripped off one of the propellers from the small spinning aircraft and sent it to the bottom of Lake Michigan near Escanaba, 

The drone was being operated by a pilot for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) when the July 21 attack occurred. Is the department’s acronym a coincidence when considering the predator? The state thinks not.

“The attack could have been a territorial squabble with the electronic foe, or just a hungry eagle. Or maybe it did not like its name being misspelled,” 

Central Florida resort offers work-from-hotel option for remote workers – Fox 35 Orlando

Most people have been working remotely since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but if you’re getting tired of working out of your home office or at the dining room table, one Orlando resort is offering a unique way to switch up your routine.

The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes is offering a work-from-hotel package.

Trade your home office for a resort office. I have done numerous events at this property and it is top notch. I’m sure most of us have done remote work at Starbucks but imagine your next Zoom meeting with a cabana or pool in the background? The stuff office legends are made of. 

The Ritz even offers a “Business Butler” to handle your scanning and faxing needs. 

That reminds me of a joke…..

‘Could you fax me over a copy?’

‘No, I can’t fax because of where I live’

‘Where do you live?’

‘The 21st century’

I spent some time on their website, but couldn’t nail down a price for their “Work-From-Home” package. Good news, Ritz is part of Marriott Bonvoy so possibly you can cash in some points on this promotion.


Airplane Mode is a game that’s going places – BoingBoing

Airplane Mode is a new game that simulates the exciting experience of a long plane flight in economy class. From your seat, you can watch the jet taxi and take off, enjoy snacks and meal service, dig around in your personal item carrier, play sudoko, read a book, fiddle with lights and air, or watch a selection of seat-back entertainment options. There are even random events such as turbulence, failing WiFi and “delays”.

If you are bored out of your everloving skull, and you’re longing for the time you used to spend sitting on a plane, then this game is for you. Plan on hours, yes hours navigating your way through Airplane Mode. Side note, the game does not include – the kid behind you kicking the seat, crying babies or the reclining seat that suddenly comes back and spills your bourbon.


I’ve made a few work related road trips over the past 30 days, nothing that spectacular, but since they were more than an hour away from home I fired up Waze, and for no other reason to know where the police were hiding.

I haven’t used Waze since March so I noticed a few upgrades.

  • You can now talk to Google and Waze will interpret it.
  • Waze carpool, I ride or I drive.
  • A pop-up with the amount of tolls for your route.


Onto tonight’s topic, it’s Another One of the towns I like is Asheville, and that’s tonight’s topics. I’ll give you my take and then we’ll include an interview with at least one current Asheville resident, possibly two.

When it comes to Asheville NC you’ll often hear, Mountains are the Soul’s Fuel, and I’d have to agree.


First the basics Asheville facts.

Elevation: 2,134′

Weather: Year round average – 79°F 

Population: 92,452 (2018)

Second, how do you get there?

If you drive from central Florida, figure at least 8 hours. Take I-95 into South Carolina merge onto I-26 north all the way into Asheville.

If you want to take a bird, Asheville does have an airport but plan on connections if you fly out of Orlando. Fly into Charlotte, rent a car, you’ll need one and make the two-hour drive west to Asheville.

Third, where to stay – If money is no object book at the Grove Park Inn. Serving guests for over a century, The Omni Grove Park Inn welcomes you with a tradition of southern hospitality amidst the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

  • 513 Guest Rooms and Suites, Including 28 Rooms on an Adults-Only Floor
  • 43,000 Sq. Ft. Subterranean Spa
  • 50,000 Sq. Ft. Sports Complex with Weight Rooms and Fitness Classes
  • Indoor and Outdoor Pools
  • 18-Hole, Donald Ross Designed Mountain Golf Course
  • 3 Indoor and 3 Outdoor Tennis Courts

Rooms start at about $300.00 per night

If you’re on a budget there’s no shortage of Hilton or Marriott properties close by.


Fourth, what do I do in Asheville? Glad you asked, I think.

Are you the outdoorsy, adventurous type?

Remember that rental I suggested, you’re going to need it.

Sliding Rock, NC

 First stop Sliding Rock in Brevard, NC. – Sliding Rock is a 60-foot mountain water slide that ends in an 8-foot deep pool of water. Nearly 11,000 gallons of water per minute power this natural wonder. 

Tips for Sliding Rock

  • $4.00 per person to enter the recreation area.
  • There are several observation areas to watch the sliders. So, it’s a great place to visit even if you don’t want to get wet.
  • The pool at the bottom of the falls is eight feet deep. So you must know how to swim!
  • Children under 7 years must slide with an adult.
  • Life jackets are the only flotation device allowed.
  • Water shoes are recommended for sliding on the rock (and rugged shorts/swimsuits since you are sliding across a big rock!).
  • Slide down in sitting position only.
  • Don’t expect wi-fi or even mobile phone reception.
  • No alcohol is permitted.

Sliding rock is a blast, especially on those hot summer mountain days. It’s been years since I’ve slid down, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Here’s the best part: the water is a heart-stopping 50 – 60 degrees. No matter how many times you slide down the water never gets any warmer. My daughter, who is now 30, going to sliding rock was her first out of state trip probably 1991.

In this age of COVID here’s the COVID skinny

  • Sliding Rock will be open 7 days a week from 9 AM-8 PM.  
  • Lifejackets cannot be provided on-site this year due to COVID sanitizing procedures, but visitors are encouraged to bring their own. 
  • Visitors must follow current CDC guidelines on wearing masks and social distancing.  

Since we started with a water theme lets keep with that. Just down the road, and I mean just, is Looking Glass Falls. Looking Glass is one of the most popular and beautiful waterfalls in North Carolina. And it’s perhaps the easiest to view (one of the few accessible roadside waterfalls, making it perfect for folks with mobility and walking challenges). 

The name “Looking Glass” comes from Looking Glass Rock, where water freezes on its sides in the winter and then glistens in the sunlight like a mirror or looking glass. Looking Glass Creek, which flows past the rock, is also named for the impressive natural structure.

From there it’s a quick drive and you can strap on your boots for Looking Glass Rock Hike.

The Looking Glass Rock Trail climbs about 1,700 ft. in just over three miles (6.5 miles round-trip, allow 4-5 hours). The many switchbacks along the way help make for a long and moderately difficult climb. The views from the top are well worth the effort. The trail is well blazed in yellow and easy to follow.

About NOC | Nantahala Outdoor Center

Still needing to fill that adrenaline tank head out to the NOC Nantahala Outdoor Center for some whitewater rafting. A fully guided 8 mile 3-hour trip is less than $60.00. Yes, it’s a total beginner run, but we’re not trying to die on vacation.

If you need more adventure they offer one of the best paddling schools in America as well as a Swiftwater Rescue for Whitewater Paddlers course. Where you will learn Learn advanced skills in whitewater safety and swift water rescue including rope skills, extraction, and accident prevention, you know stuff that makes you an instant badass.

While there spend a few minutes hiking on the Appalachian Trail and cross that off your bucket list.

If you still need more you can head to Chimney Rock Park for some rock climbing. Fox Moutain Guides handles it all, just show up with sticky shoes and nerves of steel. 

If you want indoor climbing, there’s ClimbMax in Asheville proper.

When it comes to Asheville I tend to break it up into two areas, downtown Asheville and then the Biltmore area, and both are worth visiting.

Live Shows — The Midnight Plowboys


Asheville’s Urban Trail – Take a self-guided “scavenger hunt” to learn about tidbits of Asheville’s fascinating past. With the help of a map, walk 1.7 miles to 30 stations, each with a piece of art and a bronze plaque that commemorates the city’s most significant cultural, educational, social, and architecture stories. 

If you need to get your steps in as well as take up a good part of your day then this is it. As a fan of Geocaching, I love stuff like this.

There is of course the Biltmore Estate, which is worthy of at least one visit. 

Biltmore Estate is America’s largest home at 178,926 square feet, So take that David Siegel with your tiny 85,000 sq ft Versailles McMansion in Windermere, FL.Biltmore i’s a French Renaissance castle in the heart of Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The home features 250 rooms, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces, an architectural masterpiece. 

In addition to the house, the 8,000-acre estate is home to forested trails and beautiful gardens, which include one of the country’s most complete collections of azaleas. Biltmore is also where you’ll find the nation’s most-visited winery. 

If you have a chance visit during the Holiday Season, the decorations are amazing.

My mother spent years managing the Olde World Christmas Shoppe located in the historic village and then she moved on to the now-defunct T.S. Morrisons. T.S. Morrisons was a tribute to the five and dime stores that I frequented in my youth. The T.S. Morrisons building rose from the ashes as the “LAB”. Lexington Avenue Brewing, which has since closed in the last 18 months

Speaking of beer and brewing Asheville is the mecca or at least the East Coast mecca.

Here are just a few places to visit. 

Wicked Weed is located towards the south end of the village right off Biltmore Avenue. They offer some bottled high octane seasonal brews and their Funkatorium selection rotates on a regular basis. They even offer a reduced gluten ale weighing in at 7.5% ABV. They opened a production location last year so save some room in the luggage to bring home a few. They offer brewery tours, but I don’t recall seeing any food offerings.

 Ashville Brewing has been around long before the current craft beer movement and their Coxe Avenue location is within walking distance of Wicked Weed. Make sure to try their Ninja Porter as well as the Fire Escape, think jalapeño beer done right. They offer an excellent food menu as well.

 Burial Beer Co. is filled with people and eclectic artwork. Their decor matches their logo, Slingblade meets Pulp Fiction. Bring the kids and the dogs and settle in for a tasty afternoon filled with IPA’s and Saison’s.

Production brewer New Belgium also has an Asheville location, complete with tours. The taproom is filled with most of their current offerings, but at least they’re all under one roof. New Belgium’s Voodoo Ranger series is hard to beat, all the way up to their Imperial IPA coming in at 9% ABV

Beer Tour Tips

  • Have a designated driver. Got a kid that’s old enough to drive? Time for them to “man-up” and give back to the family.
  • No kids handy, then consider Uber.
  • Pace yourself, order a flight of beer instead of individual pints, it’s a journey, not a destination.
  • Stay hydrated, make sure to take a break and drink some water, and while you’re at it have some food.
  • Expand your beer palate, try an IPA or even a double IPA. You’re not at home glued to your sofa watching football, drinking cheap beer and eating nachos.
  • Looking to brush up on your beer knowledge? Then spend a few minutes on Beeradvocate

If you have a comment you can leave a voicemail on Anchor or send me an email

Each day we’re getting closer traveling and returning to “travel safe” until then stay safe and thanks for listening.

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