Friday, June 14, 2013

A California Mama in North Carolina

 My babies at the WNC Nature Center

Beautiful Asheville, North Carolina




Good morning everyone! Well, it's really the afternoon here (EST), but my internal clock is still stubbornly set to California time. It's a beautiful day in the Blue Ridge Mountains, outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Yep, that's Appalachia ya'll! And this born and bred California girl is doing her best to adjust. 

A few weeks ago, my little family and I flew out of sunny Sacramento and headed Southeast. My husband, a mechanical engineer, was to be here all summer working on a new brewery for a certain famous craft beer company, so we decided to tag along. Along with our girls- Ashlin, age 2 and Kathleen, age 9 months, we packed up our lives and prepared to rough it for the next 3-4 months. (I use rough it VERY lightly- our little Asheville apartment is just beautiful. Just going from semi-rural living on an acre and a half to an apartment complex with kids can be a little tough).  We left a new-to-us house, a kitchen remodel and our dog with Grandma and Grandpa, and off we flew!

After 8 hours of toddler meltdowns and bad airport food, we made it! And let me tell you, the difference hit us like a ton of bricks as soon as we got out of the airport. Man, was it humid!!!! After only ever living on the West Coast, this mama almost melted to death in her first hour here. But it's ok- the more water weight I sweat off, the more biscuits I can have, right?

And speaking of biscuits..... let me tell you a little about the food here.... It's. Freaking. Delicious. Oh boy. But more of that in future posts- best to start at the beginning.  Our first meal was, yes... at The Cracker Barrel. Ok, so my Southern friends are freaking out right now, but it was right by our apartment and we were starving. I know someone once said hunger is the best sauce, it was pretty good! Any restaurant that brings you a hot plate of biscuits and jam straight off the bat is OK by me. I had a big plate of ham, greens, and cornbread, and my hubby had chicken and dumplings. Not too shabby. It was a great place to bring noisy kids and the service was wonderful. My biggest issue with it is you have to walk through a packed gift shop full of little do-dahs to get in to eat AND that's where you pay before you leave. I understand the the marketing strategy here (why yes, I do indeed need that biscuit mix to take home with me), but parading your tired, grabby-handed kids through there and and getting out alive is a Herculean feat by any standard. 

By the time we got back to our apartment, it was nearly 8pm. My husband and I put our exhausted and full-bellied kids to bed, and went to hang out on our little balcony to enjoy the rest of the evening. It was just beautiful. Much of the mid-day humidity was all but gone and a nice breeze was wafting up through the trees. You can see why the South has a reputation for back porches and rocking chairs. If this is how it is most of the time,  I'm going right back to that Cracker Barrel and buying me the first big ol' rocker I see. Oh yes, they sell those there too.

More to come about our adventures in Asheville. Until then, I'm going to enjoy this mountain breeze.