Our Favorite Things to Do in Asheville, NC

Hey friends!

I was thinking the other day — you know, James and I travel a lot for work, and we’re always looking for things to do when we’re in a new city. So, why not blog about the things we find?

Over the past couple years, we’ve fallen in love with a handful of cities — places we want to keep coming back to again and again. Asheville, NC is one of those gems.

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The Garden Room

May 1st, how glad I am to see you! Particularly the sunshine you’ve brought to Albany.

Yes, friends, I am back in Albany now! And it’s been a whirlwind already.

Our Garden Room

Monday afternoon Jen and I traipsed through Canada (trying out “New York Fries,” which was strange since I didn’t know we had any famous fries, and — to be honest — they weren’t all that good), then crossing into Buffalo, where we parted ways…

When I got to my parents house in Albany, I walked upstairs to set my bags in my old bedroom…only to see THIS:

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Apparently three months is too long…I’ve been replaced by a greenhouse! My family has even dubbed this room “The Garden Room.” Sounds so much fancier than it is.

Am I staying in this room? Um, NO. I have far too many belongings. I picked my bags back up and stole a different bedroom.

Hospital Times

Tuesday morning I was woken by my dad letting me know that Grandma had to have emergency surgery. Thank God I was home for that! I spent the day with her, which was actually a ton of fun. When we prayed before surgery, I was like, “Thank you God for this fun day with Grandma.” Dad started cracking up and pointed accusingly at Gram, “She’s YOUR granddaughter, you know!” which had Grandma in “stitches” as she would say.

Surgery went well, but Gram can’t see well for a few weeks. So the day after I moved into my parents’ house for the summer, Grandma moved in…

…to our beautiful, new-fangled luxury suite: “The Garden Room.”

Plans for Summer

I’ve pretty much finished unpacking now and started substitute teaching again, bringing in some extra income, always working to pay off these seemingly endless college loans (ugh) and for some much-needed redesign work my friend is doing this summer.

So the plans for now? I’ll be based in Albany until the beginning of September, working as much as possible, speaking as little as possible (break times are needed so I never stop loving speaking), revising my old book, writing my new book, getting new merch ready, and working with my fabulous Booking Coordinator Joanna to get the fall and spring tours ready.

Welcome home, and welcome Spring! We even have a Garden Room in which to enjoy your short-lived company.

Top Ten Funniest Moments of Tour

We have laughed so much on tour, I’m pretty sure we’ve added at least ten years to our lives.

These are some of our funniest, fondest moments — our top ten, but in no particular order. The moments that make us want to cry because it’s coming to a close in just three days…

[Commence the waterworks.]

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The city where Jen busted out “Let It Go” at the top of her lungs, every time we walked into a crowded area or a bus full of people. Before she’d even seen the movie.

The street in Minneapolis where we were running from a strange man, who was asking where “you RBGs came from,” then clarifying he meant “Ravishingly Beautiful Girls.”

The guest house with the door that wouldn’t lock, where at midnight I propped a chair under the handle to barricade the door, so if anyone broke in I would hear and know. The morning after when Jen found that chair and almost died laughing at my paranoia.

The hike on which I randomly decided I didn’t feel like carrying my trusty pink water bottle anymore, and promptly chucked it in the garbage can. WHY would I do that?!

The new friend who was cooking a placenta on her kitchen stove. Enough said.

The field where we slammed on our brakes to stop and see all the elk…and then accidentally stepped in all their poop.

The hotel where Jen bolted straight up in bed, screaming, “President Martin just Facebook messaged me!! This is the BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!!!”

That time we realized we were true nature snobs. Driving into Yosemite, we looked down our noses, saying city girl things like, “Oh look, some big logs, that’s cool.” “Oh look, mountains. That’s cool.” Then I comforted Jen, saying, “Don’t worry, we’ll see some malls too,” as we turned back to drinking our Starbucks and complaining that we were losing cell service.

The day walking through Denver’s downtown, outdoor mall, when a guy walked up to shake our hands, saying: “Do you know what this spot is?” Looking at the ground in awe, we couldn’t believe we were standing on a famous spot! He continued, “It’s the spot where we first met. What are your names?” Now THAT deserves a girl’s attention.

The night in Texas where a Christian school so kindly set us up with a hotel…not realizing it had been renovated into a night club.

Oh yeah, and I can’t forget…

The time I thought I could dance.

 

The Huge Redwoods!!

Yesterday Jen and I explored Redwood National Forest, and specifically “Big Tree.” (Yes, that’s actually its name.)

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WOW!! Those trees are MASSIVE!! It felt like stepping into Narnia or something, with the sparkling Pacific Ocean on one side, and then this silent, enchanted forest on the other side.

CAM00140When we finally drove slightly away from the coast and straight into the forest, little patches of sunlight filtered through the branches, but otherwise it was dim, and perfectly silent. It felt like you were in a church sanctuary or cathedral, like you wanted to whisper as you stood in awe…

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Humor of the day at Chick-Fil-A

Don’t you just love Chick-Fil-A?

Seriously, BEST customer service EVER. Okay, little rant: WHY are they not in NY? (For those of you who are not NY-ers, you don’t understand the JOY it brings us to travel south…or west…or anywhere…and get those amazing waffle fries!!)

Okay so here’s the reason for this random post about Chick-Fil-A:

My purse was lost or stolen this weekend. It completely disappeared into thin air! So until my replacement credit/debit card comes in (tomorrow, God willing)…I am reduced to using change to pay for things.

Not one dollar bill change…COIN change.

So I definitely just went to Chick-Fil-A and asked, “Do you mind if I pay in coins?” The guy said yes, but I’m pretty sure he had no idea what he was getting into. I literally paid in coins.

Um, yes.

Thankfully he seemed quite amused and was laughing with me. (Not AT me; WITH me. Just to clarify.)

Now there’s a new favorite Chick-Fil-A moment to remember! 🙂

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Things for single girls to do on Valentine’s Day

Are you single this Valentine’s Day? Welcome to the club! 🙂 

But being single doesn’t mean we can’t have fun on Single’s Awareness Day!

Today Jen and I are in Knoxville for some speaking engagements (several of which have been cancelled due to weather…) and we’ve got ideas of things to do today…as single King’s daughters!

1. Spend some Father-daughter time. 

There is no better way to start my day than with my heavenly Father, remembering who He is and His heart toward me. The more I remember all He is, the more I trust Him. And trust — not relationships, not valentines, not perfect circumstances — TRUST leads to JOY.

2. Get the endorphins flowing.

Jen and I just went for a run. My lungs were burning and legs searing…but we did it! (We’re trying to train for a 15k…but we only ran about a mile today hahaha.) Nevertheless, now I feel accomplished and full of good endorphins!

3. Pamper yourself.

Today is the day for mani-pedis, massages, concerts, sushi, flowers — whatever it is that you just love. Choose something you love to do…and do it!!

4. Get some friends together.

And who says they have to be just girls?? I love what my friend Moriah is doing — she’s organized a Valentine’s party with a Photo Booth and candies for tons of friends, guys and girls alike. They’re all getting dolled up to celebrate. Some are couples, some are singles. What a great idea!

5. Do something you’ve never done before!

Today Jen and I are exploring Knoxville. I’ve never been here, so we’re finding some touristy attractions and checking them out. If I was back in my hometown, I could find an area of town or a restaurant I’d never experienced before…or try a new activity like mountain biking, hiking a new trail, or a cooking class. (Oh wait, you’re probably stuck in the snow…maybe you should try skiing.)

6. Write a letter.

One of the best ways to help take our eyes off ourselves is to serve someone else. Write a letter to someone you care about — maybe a single girlfriend, little sister, parent, or someone else. What about someone in a retired living home? Or a patient in a hospital? Or a newly widowed person? Let them know how much you appreciate them. Send someone flowers — Jen is sending some to her mom — or visit them; lift their spirits.

7. Enjoy a movie night.

Find your favorite movie and pop yourself some popcorn. Or, better yet, pair it with chocolate and caramels! And if you’re anything like me, maybe choose a comedy or action movie. Chick flicks leave a weird aftertaste of cynicism in my heart. Not just cause they make you more aware of being alone, but because Hollywood paints a very strange image of relationships…don’t even get me started

8. Eat some really good food.

Why not spend the day baking and then enjoy delicious desserts with friends or family? Or bring those baked goods to someone who is sick and can’t leave their house.

9. Meet new people!

Wherever you go today, say hi to new people! (And not JUST guys…c’mon now!) Jen and I met this elderly gentleman in a coffee shop this morning, who lived in upstate NY for a little while. It was such a fun little conversation! Take the time to chat with people of all ages and backgrounds. See what you learn!

Have some more ideas of things to do on Valentine’s Day? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear what you do or have done in the past! 🙂

And enjoy your day as a single and BELOVED King’s daughter!!

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Video Update #1!

I’m on the road as I write this…Jen is driving as we barrel along at 80mph toward Louisiana (love Texas speed limits:)). Everything had been so crazy that I haven’t had much time to blog, but so much has been happening that I keep thinking how much I want and need to blog! So for today, let me share this humorous video update of our trip so far! Love and miss you all! 🙂