Hi! Over Memorial Day weekend this year we went camping in Asheville to celebrate our anniversary and Stephen’s birthday. The week leading up to it had been tough for us (you can read about that HERE) so we figured we’d get off the grid and spend some quality time together. Asheville, NC is only about 2.5 hours away from us in Columbia, SC which makes it pretty convenient to pack up all of the gear and hit the road. We had the best time and drove home feeling really thankful for this season in which we get to do things like this together, just the two of us (plus the pups, of course). Speaking of pups… It would’ve been even better if Adi could learn how to sleep in a tent for an entire night…
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WHERE WE WENT
Stephen is really great at planning things like this so he knew exactly where we were headed – first we would check Davidson River Campground and then we’d drive along this service road near it that had a bunch of camping spots to see if there were any empty spots available. Unfortunately, the campground was full and there weren’t any empty spots along the dirt road. That was a huge bummer because they would’ve been really great with the dogs and had a bunch of trails around to hike, etc. I’m sure you’re thinking, “Of course they were full! It was Memorial Day weekend!” Trust me, one of us in this marriage had the same thought but the other half is just extra optimistic and wanted to try anyway. 😉
We decided to check out the Lake Powhatan Campground which was only about a 15 minute drive away to see if there happened to be any spots there. I’ll be darn… Someone cancelled just before we got there and we were able to snag the ONLY spot left. For $28 we said we’d happily take it so we didn’t have to turn the car around and head home. We would’ve loved to camp in an area where there weren’t tons of people around so that the dogs didn’t get excited every other second but it was also really nice to have functioning and surprisingly decent restrooms close by! I was really impressed with how well they were taken care of.
If all else failed, the drive up was absolutely beautiful at least! The Blue Ridge Parkway holds a really special place in our hearts.
WHAT WE ATE
The day before we drove up I prepared our dinner and stuck it in the freezer so it stayed cold until we cooked it. I cut up an onion, pepper, and Trader Joe’s chicken sausage and added a pad of butter (you could also just do olive/avocado oil!) to the top along with some salt, pepper, and garlic. I wrapped the whole thing in a foil “boat” and placed that on a grate over our campfire. I did the same thing with some multi-colored potatoes. You can also place it directly on the fire but I wouldn’t suggest doing that until the fire calms down. My hunger got the best of me and I put these on a little bit too early…
We had the BEST s’mores for dessert! We both love the nostalgic Hershey’s chocolate bar + Jet Puffed marshmallows + graham crackers but these gave them a run for their money! I wanted to get something *almost* paleo so we used THIS chocolate which is paleo and so so so good (expensive, but delicious I’ll add), THESE graham crackers, and THESE cinnamon churro marshmallows. I’m not typically a marshmallow person unless it’s in a s’more but oh my lanta those are so yummy. We’ll definitely be purchasing more and trying the other flavors!
On Sunday morning we were going to make oatmeal with coconut sugar and pecans but instead we opted to try out a local donut shop in Asheville called Hole Donuts. It was a cute little shop where they make the donuts from start to finish right there in front of you. Talk about FRESH! So fresh in fact that they were too hot to hold at the beginning. That’s my kind of donut… That day they offered 4 flavors including toasted almond sesame, cinnamon sugar, vanilla glazed, and sugar cayenne. We ordered the latter three of the four and enjoyed every last bite. I think our favorite was the cinnamon sugar. If you are ever in the area you should check it out! Their donuts were fantastic and the atmosphere was different than any donut shop we’ve tried (which I will say is quite a few!).
We’ll definitely be going camping again in Asheville this summer and when we do we’re 100% going to make a stop at Biscuit Head. We tried to go on Sunday but the line was wrapped around the building! I can only imagine why… The menu looks fantastic!
WHAT WE DID
Lots of hiking and sitting around the fire! During our hunt for a camping spot, we found a trail and took the dogs for a decent hike and then also around Lake Powhatan area a couple of times. There are quite a few trails that we spotted in that area to explore. The lake has a nice little beach that look very well maintained. If we didn’t have the pups with us we definitely would’ve spent some time there.
If you’re into mountain biking, there were so many people doing that both around the Davidson River area and Lake Powhatan. It looked like it was a blast! Of course, the dogs loved to try to chase after them when they sped by.
WHAT WE USE
We’ve been told by numerous people that ticks in our area are going to be really bad this year because we barely had a winter. I was really worried we’d all get covered so I made this DIY bug off recipe using essential oils. When we got home on Sunday night we checked ourselves and the dogs over really carefully and didn’t find ANY ticks!!! We were so shocked. Either we need to do a better job searching despite how diligent we were or the spray did the trick! When we used this the first time Stephen decided to not spray the back of his legs and within 30 minutes on the trails I found two ticks right where he didn’t spray. He didn’t make that mistake again and we never found another one.
Here’s the recipe in case you want to try it out for yourself! I’ll be sharing an entire post about how you can get your own Young Living essential oils to make things like this! I can’t say enough about how much we love them around here.
Bug N Tick Off Spray
I used this recipe on both Stephen and I as well as both of our dogs (one is 65 lb and the other is 35 lb). You might have to adjust the recipe accordingly depending on how you plan to use it!
- 16 oz Glass spray bottle
- 1 tsp Witch hazel
- 10 drops Lemongrass
- 10 drops Geranium
- 10 drops Citronella
- 3-4 drops Peppermint
- 3-4 drops Eucalyptus globulus/radiata
- Distilled water
** Kunzea would also be a great addition! It's called "tick tree" because people sleep under it to avoid ticks.
Add the witch hazel and oils to the glass spray bottle and top off the remainder with distilled water. I suggest spot testing on a small area to make sure your dog doesn't have any reactions. Ours were fine though!
Spray all over yourself and the dog(s) before you're outside for prolonged periods of time or every 90ish minutes. It smells great and doesn't leave a sticky feeling!
Essentially all of our camping gear was acquired from my parents (it’s probably twenty+ years old but it works just fine!) but if you are starting from scratch, these are the very basics that we’d suggest investing in:
TENT | SLEEPING BAG | SLEEPING PAD | CHAIRS | CAMP STOVE | COOKING SET | UTENSILS SET | MATCHES (keep these and some cotton balls + Vaseline in your camping box and you’ll have all you need to start a fire!) | ROASTING STICKS | FLASHLIGHTS | COOLER
If you’re planning on going camping anytime soon or maybe have never been but suddenly feel inspired (GO!! IT’S SO FUN!!), I hope this post gives you some ideas for your trip!
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