bugsy running on lone rock beach with the airstream and f-150 in the background

Trip planning: Fall quickie to the mountains

Based on this planning post we ended up going to Asheville and Black Mountain in November 2023.

Bugsy posing in the campground in Black Mountain
Bugsy enjoying our KOA in Black Mountain

It was a pretty good excuse for a little Airstream trip: My sister was having a big Thanksgiving gathering at her house in central NC, so obviously we should take our trailer and tack on a few days of Airstreaming! We love parking the trailer in her driveway, and her location in Burlington, NC is both close to home and convenient to the NC mountains.

Bugsy hiking in Hanging Rock State Park
Bugsy rock climbing in Hanging Rock State Park in NC

We hadn’t been to Asheville, our favorite sort-of-close-to-home Airstream destination, since April when we did another quickie trip to the mountains, so we decided on two days in Asheville, a day in Burlington for the big Thanksgiving event, then one or two days… somewhere. Our goals, as always, were to eat and drink delicious things, hike in beautiful places, and tootle around a welcoming town–and camp within a fifteen-minute drive from the main downtown area (that part’s often the deal-killer when we’re considering new Airstream destinations).

Bugsy and my Chai Pani salad in South Mountains State Park
eating a Chai Pani salad in South Mountains State Park

Here’s our destination brainstorm for future trip-planning use:

Mount Airy, NC

Tiny Mount Airy is said to be the inspiration for Andy Griffith’s Mayberry. Veterans Park campground is well-located in the heart of the small town, and we identified several eating and drinking establishments (wee Mount Airy has three breweries?!) that interested us, in addition to the very cute and walkable downtown area:

Mount Airy was the frontrunner at first, since it’s not too off the route between Burlington and home, we’d never been, and it’s pleasingly quaint–but we were a little bummed that none of the breweries looked like they had beers we’d be super into.

Winston-Salem, NC

We have friends in Winston-Salem and spent a couple days visiting several years ago, but we aren’t really familiar with the cool-seeming city. The closest campground to downtown is just outside our desired driving radius (downtown seems to have the largest concentration of fun stuff), and that combined with the lack of close-by hiking (please correct me if I’m missing something, W-S experts), we decided against Winston-Salem this time. I’m keeping it here as a future possibility to consider when Airstreaming across North Carolina, as the city does have lots of appealing food and drink options.

Asheville, NC

Bugsy walking along the French Broad Greenway in Asheville
walking the French Broad Greenway from our campground in Asheville

There’s always Asheville! We considered just driving back to Asheville for a couple more days. It’s a three-hour drive from Burlington, in the wrong direction from home, but we knew we’d have a good time there. In the end, we decided it was too far and maybe too gluttonous to go back, but if we were willing to drive that far, we should consider a town we once admired on a biscuit-pickup drive-through, that’s not quite as far west as Asheville…

Black Mountain, NC

hiking the Graybeard Trail in Montreat, NC
hiking near Black Mountain

And here’s our winner! Black Mountain is only twenty minutes from Asheville; it’s small, adorable, has lots of eating and drinking options we liked the sound of (and a surprising number of outdoor music venues, but we were out of season for that), convenient hiking trails, and a well-located campground. Spoiler: it was AWESOME and we can’t wait to go back!

the view from the top of Hanging Rock State Park
the view from our hike in Hanging Rock State Park on the way to Asheville

I’m excited to write about Black Mountain, but first, I’ll write a little about our two days in Asheville. We did a couple of new-to-us things, but mostly stuck to our tried-and-true favorites.


3 responses to “Trip planning: Fall quickie to the mountains”

  1. Elizabeth Sheeran Avatar
    Elizabeth Sheeran

    I am so glad that you two have checked out all the best cocktails. I am getting very excited about our upcoming trip!

  2. […] We were in Asheville in mid-November 2023, as part of our fall quickie to the mountains trip. […]

  3. […] were in Black Mountain in mid-November 2023, as part of our fall quickie to the mountains trip. We also visited Asheville on this […]

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