Wordless Wednesday: one trip, two stops!

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Asheville, NC- The Biltmore

November 2015

We were drawn to Asheville for a number of reasons: artsy community, excellent food, walkable, and dog-friendly.

Since we went the week leading up to Thanksgiving, James still had to check in with work.  To keep our dogs out of his hair while on a conference call, we leashed up and headed out to the Biltmore Estate.

Holy cow is that place incredible.  Under construction from 1889-1895, George Vanderbilt’s 3,000 acre estate boats of “four acres of floor space, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces.”  So, your typical country cottage.

While dogs aren’t allowed inside the main house, they are permitted to roam the gardens, hike the trails, and get a coffee.

[Side note: If you want to walk the estate and then tour the mansion, the Biltmore does have first-come/first-serve kennels where dogs can curl up with fresh water and protection from the elements.  We didn’t opt for that feature during our tour– first came the adventure with the dogs, then I dropped the furries back and snagged James for our human’s-only tour in the house.]

Two dogs, one Kari and a pocketful of treats left our little mountain respite for this expansive tourist draw in Asheville.  We had a dusting of snow that morning, so MJ was wearing one of her (my) favorite hoodies to keep her warm.  We got more comments about the dog-in-outfit during our walk!

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To get to the estate, you park your car about 1/3 of a mile down a slope. Humans can get on a shuttle that delivers you to the front door. For those with pups, your walk starts right away, on pine needle trails through the woods.

A view of the train depot approach to the estate. That's the front lawn. (This really adorable older couple insisted on taking our picture. He knew how to use an iPhone, and proceeded to take 47 pictures that look exactly like this one. No lie.)

A view of the train depot approach to the estate. That’s the front lawn. (This really adorable older couple insisted on taking our picture. He knew how to use an iPhone, and proceeded to take 47 pictures that look exactly like this one. No lie.)

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What we loved most about the estate is variety of paving/ground the dogs got to walk on. Brick, grass, pebbles, concrete, sodden earth… they took them all like champs. Although we liked the pebbles the least (the princess disliked sitting on them).

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We followed this trail into a bamboo forest. I stopped to pick up a pup-deposit, got twisted in the leads and turned around. Then, basically, we got lost in a bamboo forest for 20 minutes. It’s cool, though. We broke several rules and walked off the path to find our way out.

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This should have been our Christmas card. I couldn’t get organized fast enough.

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Good flare.

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one of each

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This is MJ’s “I”m over it” face. Doodle is obviously having the time of his life.

We got to the estate as they opened for the day, so the trails were rather un-peopled and we could take our time with sniffs and changing directions.  If I read the map correctly, we wandered over 5 miles of the estate, which wore everyone out and drained the pocket of treats.

And when you find yourself in Asheville

Thanksgiving 2014

James and I have started planning our out-of-town escapes around things we can do with the dogs; rather, places we can go with the dogs.

Criteria:

  • must be an easy car ride (less that 8 hours without traffic)
  • must have well-lit, green-area’d rest stops along the way
  • must not be in a state with BSL about pit bull breed
  • must have dog-friendly activities
  • must not require kenneling

We’ve taken them to the Outer Banks.  We take them on overnights to relatives’ houses.  And now, they’ve been to Asheville.

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Through homeaway.com, We rented a wonderful converted barn just a few miles outside of downtown Asheville, NC, for a Thanksgiving escape.    Pet-friendly with wooded trails, lots of sniffs and radiant flooring.

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The barn is behind us.   Cameo appearance by Zozo's tongue.

The barn is behind us.
Cameo appearance by Zozo’s tongue.

We woke up our second morning to find a dusting of mountain snow!

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not interested in snow. going back to sleep on the warm spot on the warm floor.

We ate, we napped, we went on adventures (you’ll have to wait for those), and we broke out of our travel crate.

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Oh, and there were bears.  We saw them.  Well, one.  Our renters book was full of helpful information, like “Will a bear attack my dog?”

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Asheville is a great, walkable town.  And we have the pictures to prove it.  Next time, on Serial.

Missing you

November 2014

Earlier this fall, James took an extended business trip, and the pups and I were left to our own devices for four whole weeks.  All Kari All The Time.

Here’s some things you need to know before we move on:

-Owning two dogs– parenting two dogs– is much easier with four hands.  It’s an extra person to hold the leash, to scoop the food, to rub the bellies, or to tag out when training gets to be frustrating.

-Our dogs love James more.  Given the choice between snuggling with me or snuggling with him, he always wins.  Yes, yes, it’s not a competition.  Whatever.  But I do walk away feeling a bit chopped-liverish when I’ve taken them on an adventure, rewarded them with treats, and hauled out the pool for afternoon lounging, only to have James walk through the door and they react as though I’ve tortured and ignored them.

– We have a routine that allows for a fairly equal distribution of labor.  It is rare that schedule goes out the window.  This trip blew up the schedule.

Right.  So.  Four weeks without James.  We had set ourselves up a fairly ambitious schedule of home improvements and CGC prep-training.  And every day, James received photo updates and emails from the dogs (yep) about how things were going.

First, they were confused by his absence, looking longingly out the windows for his return.

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Then, they mourned him.

just to be clear: i was organizing closets.  the floor of our bedroom doesn't always look this... adolescent.

just to be clear: i was organizing closets. the floor of our bedroom doesn’t always look this… adolescent. And she wouldn’t let me touch one of those shirts.

…Even though adventures were continuing in his absence.

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now, with harnesses!

IMG_1501 IMG_1557We tried skyping, but they just weren’t into it.  They’d bark at the iPad or run around the corner to look for James.  Even worse was when they couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to look at the camera.

Before long, they got clingy, helping me get ready for work or checking up if they lost sight of me for a few minutes.

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We broke a few rules… (sorrynotsorry).

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it’s possible i slept here all night.

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James finally came home, and the love and snuggles I had selfishly enjoyed for those few weeks disappeared. No room for me. IMG_0611

He might have missed them more than he missed me.

But seriously, they were rockstars.  They were flexible when work ran long (no accidents in the house).  They were respectful when we took big adventures on our own.  They helped out with house chores (I wish I had took pictures when I put Swiffer wipes on Zozo’s tail.  You’ll just have to trust me) and yard work. They sang along or talked back as I prattled on when making everyone dinner.  They were their typical loving, well-behaved, mildly-spoiled selves.  But it was weird.

Furrrlough

Y’all, Doodle an’ I just wanted to let y’all know that we are available for adventures

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or snuggles an’ naptimes

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or even playin’ dress-up

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durin’ the furrrlough.  Or maybe you jes want kisses-n-hugs?

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SO: if y’all’s bored with the shutdown, have your people contact my humans.  We’ll help you pass the time.  Especially if you gots hot dogs.