Trailing urbanically

Thanksgiving 2014

(yes, I’ve been horrible about completing our Asheville series.  I’m not going to offer explanations or excuses.  You might not believe me anyway.)

After our trip to the Biltmore, and wandering humans-only through downtown Asheville, we fell in love with how walkable and pet-friendly this city is.  Storefronts have bowls of water or treats on hand to spoil four-legged shoppers.  There’s a bookstore/wine bar that not only welcomes lupine literati, but has an entire menu dedicated to their sampling pleasure. IMG_1753 This place is awesome.

We knew a lot of places would be shut down to celebrate Turkey Day, and that was fine with us.  After an early season dusting overnight, we are happy to have a quiet day of eating and imbibing.  But first, we need to earn our meal, and the dogs need to burn off a little energy.

Bundled and leashed, we braved the cold to test Asheville’s Urban Trail.  Part walking tour, part art installation, the Urban Trail is a 1.7 mile stroll through 30 landmarks highlighting people places and events clutch to Asheville’s history.  We were among the few out and about, and we relished the opportunity to take our time, get turned around (we were horrible at map navigation) (both of us), and enjoy the quiet of the city.  Oh the smells!  Oh the sights!  Oh the strangers commenting on our awesome puppy attire!

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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.