Last weekend Ron and I slipped away to Yurtopia! My niece just opened a new mountain vacation rental business and we just had to go and support her endeavors and see what all the “Sky Ridge Yurt” excitement was all about. We met my sister Rosa and her husband, William in Asheville (they live in a yurt year round). We played around in Asheville a little and then traveled one more hour west to Yurtopia. William named it Yurtopia and I just love it. That’s what I’ll call it forever! My niece just calls it Sky Ridge Yurts as it located on Sky Ridge Drive, Bryson City, NC
Ron and I got to Asheville a little before Rosa and William so we had time to explore a bit. We had an awesome lunch at Rosetta’s Kitchen. Ron kept calling it Rosetta Stone and I would laugh every time.
I had “Asheville’s Best Veggie Burger” and Ron had the Tempeh Rueben. We cut them in half so we could share. They were both out of this world delicious!
Ron tried out some local beers but I got the vegan pineapple upside-down cake.
Next up was the LaZoom Holly Jolly Holiday tour of Asheville. Ron and I learned about this comedy tour on Our State on PBS over a year ago and have wanted to go ever since. Rosa and William heard about our wish and gave us tickets for our Christmas gift. They joined us on the tour and we had a ball. Thank you so much Rosa and William!
Our tour guide was Agusta Wind and she was so funny! We were laughing from the very beginning. Along the way, Agusta shared some truthful Asheville history and so not so truthful hilarious Asheville jokes.
There were other characters that we met along the tour and they were rolling on the floor funny too.
This turkey was sorta weird looking to me but what else can you expect from “HippieTown?”
Here are a few pics of Asheville.
All in all the LaZoom tours gets a 5 star rating from me. If you ever have the chance you should try to check it out.
Next up was dinner at Pasqualino’s.
This little Italian restaurant in Bryson City was so adorable. It reminded me so much of my late step-father, Alberto Salvador DiBenedetto. He would have loved it. Did you know that some Italian’s sometimes call the marinara sauce, gravy? The couple seated next to us asked for more gravy for their spaghetti. What they wanted was more of the sauce. Cool huh?
Check out this neat night photo of the river right across from Pasqualino’s.
It’s the Nantahala and it looked so much more beautiful than this Evo phone photo can show.
Then it was on to Yurtopia!
After we got settled in, we played an awesome game of Racko! It’s a card game and all you have to do is get your hand in numerical order. Pretty easy but oh so fun! Ron was the 2011 Racko champion.
We set off a few fireworks at the stroke of midnight. The fireworks that William had brought up from South Carolina were really pretty good. However, the real star of the show was the beautiful night sky. It was so breathtaking and much more glorious than it is in the city. The Smoky Mountain night skies were firework enough for me.
Here are some pictures of the yurts.
Aren’t they unique?
On New Years’ morning, Ron and I ran up and down and up and down Sky Ridge Drive. With it going straight up and down the mountain, it was quite the workout. I think we covered about 2 miles.
Ron also brought his crazy rope exercise contraption. I have no idea what it’s supposed to do but he sure loves it.
After our showers, we headed down to the NOC. (Nantahala Outdoor Center) This gem is literally only about 3 minutes from the yurts and when I got there, I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. The river is too beautiful for words.
The NOC (which Ron likes to call the OC because he is from Southern California) had so many cool things that I wanted to buy. Check out this hat!
And this shirt!
I wanted everything.
Ron got some toe socks and we scored big time for Mason. Rosa found two pair of Keen sandals for him for only $5.00 each. That’s $60 worth of coolness for only 10 bucks!
We stayed and watched some of the kayakers and learned that winter is the best time for their sport. During the summer they get run over by all the rafters. Even though it was quite chilly for us, the kayakers said the water temps and the temps just above the water were actually warmer. They only got cold when they got out of the water.
This bridge at the “OC” is on the Appalachian Trail.
Another cool thing to do is the Smokey Mountain Railroad. I saw it when we were in Bryson Citythe night before and then Rosa showed me another stop here at the river. I would LOVE to bring Mason here and ride the train with him.
The River’s End Restaurant looked so good but we skipped this time and headed on to our next adventure.
Next on the agenda was a trip to Cherokee and then over the mountain to Gatlinburg, TN. It’s only a 35 mile trip but it takes almost an hour to drive. I enjoyed the ride up and our stop at the top near Clingmans Dome.
I also really enjoyed my first ever dinner at the Mellow Mushroom in Gatlinburg. Truly delicious pizza!
Other than tasting some apple pie moonshine at the Ole Smokey Tennessee Moonshine Distillery and enjoying the pizza, you can have Gatlinburg. I’m just not in to all the shops and crowds. Next time I go to the yurts, I’ll travel the hour back to Asheville if I’m in need of some other form of entertainment other than just relaxing at the yurts or playing in the river.
When we got back to the yurts that evening, we played Racko again. This time William and I were battling it out for first place. Ron was dead last. Dead last by a lot! You get extra points in Racko if you get your cards lined up consecutively and Ron ended up winning the game with this last unbelievable hand.
Ron’s now the reigning 2012 Racko champ and he’s never going to let us forget it.
All in all, we had the time of our lives even though it was only a two night trip. I have plans to book our summer whitewater rafting vacation as soon as our work vacations are approved. One full week at Yurtopia here we come!