Places to Go (Vacation) - 5000 Miles in 5 Weeks - Week 1 - Asheville, NC to Little Rock, AK
DAY 1 - Northern VA to Asheville, NC (470 miles)
This was one of our longer days in the car (7 hours of driving time), so we didn't stop much, which makes me a little sad as southern VA was crazy beautiful. Gorgeous blue hills surrounded by green trees, P said it felt like driving through broccoli. And almost every highway exit had signs for another state park with a lake.
We all wanted to stop and explore, but we also wanted to hurry up and arrive (the great road trip quandary). So we danced/snacked/partied at rest stops in an effort to make the best out of the time we had.
DAY 2 - Asheville, NC - The Biltmore
We visited the Biltmore six years ago, when T was a baby in a stroller and I fell in love with the landscaped grounds. So I wanted to see it again and even though the kids bored with all the walking after awhile, even they were impressed by the crazy beautifulness everywhere.
Of course, we had to stop for ice cream. (By the way, P had a staff infection on her neck, which (luckily) responded to antibiotics. But that's the big red spot you see).
I'm a little obsessed with the south's murals. They're everywhere.
And of course there were moments like this.
DAY 3 - Asheville, NC to Nashville, TN (with a side trip to the Lost Sea Adventure) (360 miles)
I'm not sure the Lost Sea Adventure really warranted the detour, after all we've seen our fare share of caves in the last few years. But the boat ride in an underground lake was sort of spooky awesome.
The tunnel to the cave looked like something out of a sci-fi movie. And the lake was so dark I had trouble with focus. But I tried.
T remains enamored with gift shops. This gun lasted for two weeks before a kid at our campground in Mesa Verde broke the cork.
We arrived to a Nashville airbnb with a lovely balcony on the river and guitars. Happiness.
DAY 4 - Nashville, TN - The Country Music Hall of Fame
We aren't exactly huge country music fans, but as Nashville was crazy hot, this seemed like a perfect way to entertain the kids for the morning. Especially since the museum's collection includes Taylor Swift's guitar (yay!!).
The recording studios were a huge hit with everyone. Even though we can't sing.
One of my favorite parts of the whole vacation was the Country Music Hall of Fame's puppet show. Possibly the most creative thing I've ever seen. Crazy cool.
I really wanted to stop in and check out the live music, but I wasn't sure I wanted to be alone in a bar with my three kids. I'm not that brave.
So instead we bought ice cream and posed with Elvis statues.
And played in the apartment pool.
And took silly photos at dinner.
DAY 5 - Nashville, TN to Memphis, TN (The Parthenon) (215 miles)
We ate crepes for breakfast, which felt like such a weekday luxury. And then headed to Nashville's FULL SIZE REPLICA of the Parthenon (how random is that?)
So glad to finally have a photo with me and the three kids.
Our apartment in Memphis was full of cool trinkets, the kids couldn't stop exploring.
Like a real record player (and a crazy good record collection).
But eventually they reverted back to the iPad.
At night we tried to watch a drive-in movie, but the mosquitos were so awful we turned around and headed home.
DAY 6 - Memphis, TN (Graceland)
I'm not a huge Elvis fan, but I love Paul Simon, so Graceland seemed like something we had to do. After the lines, crowds, heat, and money spent - I'm not really sure it was worth it. But there is something awesome about the jungle room.
The whole tour is done by iPad, with John Stamos as the narrator. It's a little over the top, but then again so is Graceland.
Selfie in the jungle room? Hell yes!!
This is T asking, "who is this guy again? And why are we at his house?"
DAY 7 - Memphis, TN to Arkadelphia, AK (The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel) (205 miles)
F called the National Civil Rights Museum the most depressing place she's ever visited, but as a museum it is incredibly well-done. And there's something especially moving about standing in the place where MLK was assassinated.
Dan flew into meet us for our last night in Memphis and I was SO HAPPY to have another adult with us, especially one whom I'm in love with. Six days alone with the kids was pretty awesome, but so is sharing a bottle of wine and staying up late.
Dan wanted to try a barbecue place on Bourbon Street. He was a little disappointed, but I thought the food tasted great.
According to P, there's an art to the selfie.
Another amazing southern mural.
We left Memphis in the afternoon to drive to Arkadelphia, AK. We originally planned on staying in a cabin outside Hot Springs, but a storm caused us to reroute. Luckily the Hampton Inn in Arkadelphia still had an available room.
We stopped in Little Rock on the way, at a riverfront park. And wow was it hot. But luckily, there were murals!
And a splash park!
So that concludes our first week on the road! The south is hot (as in REALLY HOT), but full of pockets of awesome. I'll post on week 2 - Arkansas through Santa Fe, next week!
In the meantime, I hope you're all having a good August!