Well, it had come along eventually. The last day of the Birthday Mystery Trip. We elected to go into town and poke around Asheville for awhile. Some people had specific shops they wanted to check out and others of us (like me) were just happy to wander around and happen across wonderful things. If we didn't walk on every single street in downtown Asheville, we covered at least most of it. We are intrepid shoppers.
Inexplicably, we found, right on the streets of Asheville in a large open area, a cornhole game set up. Naturally we had to play. Julie won handily and as it turned out, she had never played before! Beginners luck? Or is she just a natural?
We admired the artwork, both statues and murals that we saw along the way and enjoyed listening to the streets musicians as we strolled along. We went to multiple bookstores, where Julie and I both found some wonderful reads and Jessie found an adorable pair of "reader" eyeglasses that I loved but did not buy. (If I hadn't already bought the book they would definitely have come home with me though). We darted in and out of a lot of clothing stores seeking the perfect tee-shirt for Jessie, Chocolate stores primarily for Hurley but honestly, we all enjoyed the chocolate stores, a potato chips shop where Julie and Hurley found wonderful treats and walked by shops of every shape, size and specialty imaginable.
One of the ones that cracked me up the most was a yarn store that knit "cozies" for the lampposts outside the shop. Looked like the lampposts were wearing afghans. One of my favorites of all the shops we saw happened to be the last store. It's called the Mast General Store. It was glorious. So much to see everywhere you looked and most of it had a rather retro vibe. Including an old fashioned candy section that was enormous! Barrels upon barrels in row upon row of Mary Jane's and Toffee's, Jelly beans and lollipops, Pixie sticks and root beer barrels and everything in between. You could choose just one lollipop or a dozen because they priced it by the pound. That was so fun! Julie found a very pretty amber suncatcher and Jessie finally found her perfect tee-shirt. Hurley and I contented ourselves loading up our buckets.
Once done, we Uber-ed back to the house to spend the remainder of our time together once again, talking, laughing, watching the ducks, watching movies, eating good food and making great memories. Corbin very thoughtfully brought some unusual snacks for Hurley to review for his Instagram site (including one from Scotland that was Whiskey and Haggis flavoured!) It was interesting to watch Hurley with Jessie as his "camera person" film his review. Mostly, we just enjoyed the novelty of being together.
We had some great meals too. One of my favourites was a place called, Louellas, which I neglected to take any photos of. It looked a little shabby on the outside but inside it was clean, the people were very friendly and the food was terrific! They had hulahoops and yet another set up of cornhole outside for patrons. I cannot hulahoop but Jessie hula'd the heck outta those hoops. Hurley and Corbin took another crack at the cornhole game too. I thought that was a wonderful idea and I wonder why other places don't offer things like that. Probably has something to do with potential lawsuits. Seems that most things do anymore.
One of the things that bind groups of people together (and particularly our family) is good food. We found a lot of it here and applied ourselves with great enthusiasm! I was too busy enjoying the food to remember to grab photos of everything, but here is a cross-section of some good southern cookin'.
Sunday we were up and out and on our way, the kids to the airport where they flew home (eventually - due to delayed and cancelled flights. It was an unfortunate mess but eventually everyone safely arrived where they needed to be though it was a realllllly late night for Corbin and Julie in particular) . Tim and I got back in the car and drove the eleven plus hours to our starting point.
So that's kind of it. The entire story. I'm sure I missed a few things but you got the gist of it. Start with Awesome and move forward from there.
Once again, it was the best surprise of my life and the best birthday of my life. Everyone in my family is now forever absolved from ever having to celebrate or even acknowledge, my birthday again. I left with a heartfull of wonderful moments.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.