Travel

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Visiting Asheville, North Carolina has been on my list for years, and despite the fact that I have an aunt and cousin living there, I didn’t make the journey until this past August when said cousin was getting married.

When planning any travel lately, I tend to look at house rentals even before checking out local hotels. I love hotels, but for any extended period of time, and especially with a group, I have found that renting a house is comfortable, fun, and usually a great savings. Once again I consulted Flipkey for houses that would fit seven of us so my little family could all stay together.

We’ve used Flipkey a few times before, starting with this amazing Sonoma wine country cottage (a portion of which was generously covered y Flipkey) and this last minute Ipswich rental last week.

Once again, a house rental turned out to be the perfect solution. Our two story, three bedroom house was immaculate and beautiful with some stunning mountain views. It was super clean, well-stocked with all of the basics we needed, and a minute from the grocery store. We were slightly outside of downtown Asheville and closer to the wedding venue, a decision we made purposely as we knew we would be visiting the venue the day before to help out as well as the day after.

asheville  flipkey rental

The house had two living rooms and plenty of space for the kids to run around. We generally had breakfast there in the mornings and then spread out at night watching the Olympics and enjoying being together but also the space we had if we needed some time apart!

Much of the rest of the time was spent at my aunt’s house near Biltmore Village.

cottage She lives in the most charming English garden style cottage, and it was love at first sight. She has great style and has collected so many beautiful things over the years, making for a lovely space that I didn’t want to leave. The grounds were equally as beautiful and made for lots of outdoor time playing with neighborhood dogs and looking for butterflies. My aunt’s neighbor grew the flowers for the wedding, and my aunt arranged them. The day before the wedding we loaded them in the car and drove them up to the wedding venue, Sherrill’s Inn at Hickory Nut Gap Farm.

wedding flowers Hickory Nut Gap Farm The wedding venue was one of the prettiest I have been to; it included a historic home, cold spring house, plenty of green space, and horses, who were wandering around just behind the reception for most of the evening. Magical.

horses in asheville

sherill's inn

The beauty of the Asheville area didn’t end there. The day after the wedding we made the drive up to Lake Lure, through winding mountain roads taking in stunning vistas and a hot, blue sky summer day. Lake Lure was stunning and felt so relaxed, definitely a place I would like to visit again to stay for a few days. We also JUST missed the Dirty Dancing Festival by a few days; maybe a return visit for that next year?

Lake Lure  Lake Lure

We rounded out our visit to Asheville with a family dinner at Luella’s for BBQ, plates piled high with yummy BBQ meats and sides, my favorite of any BBQ meal. All paired with local Asheville beer, of course!

Luella's BBQ Luella's BBQ

Speaking of Asheville beer, you can read all about our beer tasting adventures here.

Asheville was the perfect combination of gorgeous nature, great food, music, family, and perfect weather. It’s an easy two hour flight from Boston to Charlotte and a two hour drive after that, close enough for a three day weekend, though you’ll want to stay longer!

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Tags: Asheville, North Carolina, Travel, travel blog, travel blogging

Summer is winding down this week, but I have a few more summer travel posts to share! To me, summer is a state of mind (or so I try to remind myself when I am shoveling snow and falling on icy sidewalks), and this year, like those past, was filled with time outside and moments where I fell in love with the season over and over again.

This past weekend we took a last minute, last weekend of summer getaway to somewhere close to home, Ipswich. While we are lucky to travel around the US and internationally fairly often, I am always craving a getaway that combines my love of New England and the sea and one that’s not super far away. I wanted to relax for the weekend without having to take a huge journey, and that’s just what we did. Once again, we used Flipkey for our rental, which I have found to be super easy, along with having lots of options. (Read about our Flipkey experience in Sonoma, one of the best getaways of my life.)

beach cottage

Back to Ipswich. . .

After way too much traffic to get from Boston to Ipswich, we were met with beautiful coastal views as we made our way to the peninsula of Little Neck, accessed by a narrow road not far from Ipswich town. A friendly greeting from the property manager, including zucchini bread made by his mom, and a tour of the cottage set the tone for a great weekend.

IMG_8667

For me, the cottage was love at first sight. With two makeshift bedrooms, one that doubled as the living room, it was the perfect amount of space for four of us, and the rustic, beachy nature of the place was as though I had designed it myself.

beach cottagebeach cottage

Inside was so sweet, with all of the comforts of home, including good WiFi and air conditioning, while still feeling like a relaxing throwback to a bygone era. We certainly didn’t need the air conditioning; windows open allowed for cool cross breezes to come through, making it very comfortable, especially for sleeping.

The inside was a little piece of cottage heaven, but the porch. . .

beach cottage Unless we were sleeping or out, we spent all of our time on the porch. Stretching the length of the cottage and screened in (perfect for my husband and friend who are bug bite magnets), the porch was an oasis with water views all around. Also, it was SO quiet that we could mostly hear the current of the water and the wind in the grass at the water’s edge. Peaceful.

coastal living

The porch was great for evening chats until we moved inside to be respectful of the neighbors, and it was blissful for late afternoon happy hour with Domaine Chandon and a cheese plate.

happy hour

On our first morning, I happened to open my eyes just at sunrise, and while everyone else was tucked in, ran outside barefoot into the cool, dewy grass to take this photo. Something about a summer sunrise, especially one that I got all to myself, makes my soul so happy. This was something I will never forget.

sunrise in Ipswich

I can’t say enough about this cottage, and I could easily see us spending a week there next summer. Little Neck feels like a world away, but it’s just a few miles from Ipswich town and all of its stores and restaurants. Crane Beach is also nearby, but the Little Neck cottage comes with access to a private beach for the community as well as access to Pavilion Beach, a few minutes’ walk away.

Ipswich

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Tags: beaches, beachy, coastal living, Ipswich, Massachusetts, New England, summer, Travel

One of the best parts about our visit to Asheville last month was that we were visiting locals for a wedding, and all of the wedding events had great local touches. The night before the wedding wasn’t your traditional rehearsal dinner but rather was a casual get together at the very cool space that is Salvage Station.

 

salvage station asheville

A riverfront complex of buildings including a concert hall, lawn games, and several bars, Salvage Station offers all sorts of experiences all in one place, all depending on what area you choose.

salvage station asheville salvage station asheville

From a giant PBR can that houses a local beer bar inside to the River Bar and  Riverside seating to the wide expanse of lawn, Salvage Station has enough space for everyone and was fun for the kids and adults in our party.

salvage station asheville

salvage station asheville salvage station asheville

Since I was with my niece and nephew, we spent a lot of time exploring, checking out the river, playing table tennis, and playing with an antique cigarette machine. . . bad auntie!

salvage station asheville

live music ashveille

In addition to all of the seating areas, Salvage Station has one big warehouse-like space that features live music and plenty of seating, perfect for our big family.

salvage station pulled pork When we tired of exploring and found ourselves hungry, we went to the food stand and picked up some truly excellent fare including pulled pork, tater tots, and fish tacos. The food was simple, fast, and fresh, great for a busy night of socializing and sampling local Asheville beers. We ate and we were up and about again!

fish tacos

Without being invited to the pre-wedding celebrations, we might not have found Salvage Station, so I am excited that it all worked out the way it did!

Have you gotten a good insider recommendation from a local when traveling recently?

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Tags: art, Asheville, Food, North Carolina, Restaurants, Travel

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