This past weekend I learned a valuable mommy traveler’s lesson- it’s WAY harder to travel with kids! Even though Theo is an AWESOME traveler, we still only get to see/do about half of what we plan (and again, this is with a baby that loves to be out and about). We are pretty spoiled to have such a good baby, but we did learn some very valuable lessons about traveling with a little one that will come in handy when we travel abroad later this year. I’ll touch on that at the end of the post, but first let’s talk about Asheville!
When we got to Asheville, we went straight to Farm Burger. We first tried Farm Burger on our way through and they make the best burgers that I have ever tasted and I don’t even like burgers! All of their meat comes from grass-fed cows and everything is organic. The line is always super long, but they are fast at finding you a seat, even with a baby which we really appreciated. They also have amazing sweet potato fries and a bocce ball court inside.
We also added to the “Before I Die” wall downtown. I loved reading the other responses. I want to go to Italy and Todd wants to go to the Super Bowl.
For dinner, we had some delicious southern comfort food at Tupelo Honey Cafe. Right before we got there, we were pretty flustered with a cranky baby. Fortunately he calmed down right before we got there so we could try it. They have incredible biscuits that are served with jam before your meal comes. They are so good! We wanted to try some of their signature entrees, so I got the fried chicken and biscuits and Todd got the shoo mercy pancake. My food was yummy, but Todd’s was incredible! He was skeptical of chicken and waffles after a bad experience, but this one was a sweet potato pancake topped with bacon and fried chicken. Sounds healthy right? It’s a pretty solid combo on a freezing night in the south! The pancake was one of the best things I have ever tasted. If you go, you need to try it.
After dinner, we wandered over to The Chocolate Lounge to get dessert, but Theo was done and ready to be in bed at this point so we decided to skip out on waiting in line and headed back to the hotel. From what I hear, the desserts are pretty amazing.
We spent the next day exploring the Biltmore Estate, which is the largest house in the United States. We were skeptical to go since admission is a little pricey, but it is definitely worth the trip. Also, during the winter months the tickets are discounted after the holiday season and you can save $10 per ticket if you purchase them a week in advance online. They also have deals for children and infants are free. I recommend bringing a carrier instead of a stroller through the house. There are lots of stairs along the audio tour and I don’t think you are even allowed to bring strollers through the house.
Since we got up first thing and got to the house by 10 a.m., we beat most of the crowds and felt like we had plenty of time in each room without being crowded by other visitors. Photography is not allowed inside the house which is kind of a bummer, but it allows you to listen to the audio tour (which is included in your admission fee) without worrying about getting pictures. The house is amazing and made me feel like I was on the Downton Abbey set! The stables on the estate were converted into shops and a cafe, so we warmed up in the shops, sampled some chocolates, and purchased a bottle of their grape juice.
Before we left, we stopped at the Stable Cafe for lunch. The restaurant is pretty cool because the booths are all part of the stalls that used to house the horses. The food was also yummy and it was nice to warm up with their fabulous garlic potato soup.
On a warmer day, it would be fun to explore the grounds more and take in more of the beautiful views of the mountains. They also have a conservatory that you can visit. Overall, we had a great experience.
During the summer in Asheville, you can catch one of the outdoor concerts in the park, drive the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, and go hiking on hundreds of trails. We will need to come back, plus there are so many restaurants to try!
Okay so traveling with a baby is hard, obviously. We are slowly learning what we can and cannot do. Here are a few tips I learned on our trip (I’m sure I’ll be writing a more extensive post on this in the future):
1) Plan to stay at a “nice” hotel. Gone are the days of booking the cheapest hotel room you can find. With a baby, you definitely will spend more time in your hotel room. We stayed at a decent, mid-range hotel, but it was a drive to the main downtown area. Proximity is everything when you have a baby that is ready to be done for the night. My two cents is to splurge for a nicer room closer to where you will be spending most of your time since you will probably be stuck in it from bedtime on. You might as well enjoy a more luxurious room and maybe order dessert so you can watch a movie and snuggle while your baby sleeps.
2) Bring a carrier and a stroller. When Theo is ready to be out of his stroller, there is nothing you can do that will calm him down until he is out. The Ergo 360 Carrier is a lifesaver and allows us to carry him handsfree. Even if your baby is asleep in the stroller, throw the carrier in.
3) When baby is done, it’s time to go back to the hotel. This one is pretty straight forward, but if your baby is used to going to bed by seven, they aren’t going to be very happy if they are still awake at ten.
4) Try to stick to the bedtime routine as much as you can. We put Theo to bed an hour past his regular bedtime and he still went down without a fuss since we stuck to the routine. We took a bath, then I fed him and laid him down with his favorite lovie and turned the sound machine on. He slept through most of the night with me in the bed and despite taking naps at different times and lengths throughout the day.
5) Make sure they are still getting nap(s) in. When we travel, Theo sleeps on-the-go in his carrier, the car seat, or his stroller. As long as he is getting sleep, he is happy.