We have only been RV’ing since October of 2014, but since then we have traveled around 20,000 miles in 15 states. Some of those miles have been over the same territory, but nevertheless we seem to have different experiences each trip. There are certain places that we have become attracted to and want to return. Either we didn’t see everything that we wanted to or the area’s offerings are something we want to experience again. It could even be both of these reasons. For example, Lajitas and Terlingua, TX near Big Bend National Park are two places that we found intriguing not only in their history, but also in their current day status. Big Bend as one of the top ten “dark” skies in the lower 48 along with its natural charm and remoteness to civilization make it a place we would like to return. The Maverick Ranch RV Park is in the desert, and even though dusty and somewhat barren has a natural charm about it.
As good as Big Bend and others are, the location that seems to always draw us back is Asheville, NC and Mama Gertie’s Hideaway. Asheville is located in Western North Carolina and is 80,000 plus in population with the larger four county metropolitan area being over
400,000. Asheville has so much to offer starting with the Biltmore Estates, it’s gardens and winery and continuing with spectacular restaurants and shopping. The city and area has received a multitude of awards and recognition for its offerings. It is one of those places that draws artists and eccentrics and has been listed as one of the 20 best places for writers. It has been voted as one of the 10 most beautiful places in America and was rated in the top seven places to live in the United States (Frommers). The micro brewery industry has laid claim to the area and Asheville has been referred to as “Beer City” when it comes to new breweries. Sierra Nevada opened its new east coast brewery in 2014. It is a state of the art environmentally friendly facility just a few miles outside Asheville. The city is nestled in the Smokey Mountains making the scenery beautiful and providing a multitude of recreational possibilities. Hiking, biking and camping abound.
It is only fitting that you should stay at a place that equals Asheville in its unique splendor. Nestled in the mountains a few miles east in Swananoa, NC is an RV park called Mama Gertie’s Hideaway. Mama Gertie’s is not a “resort” campground in the sense that it has many amenities or a hot tub, pool and spa. It is, however, unique and exceptional in a different way. This campground was literally cut out of the side of the mountain. I’m not sure what the elevation change is from the bottom of the park to the top, but the climb is steep and continuous all they way. The streets are asphalt and the parking sites are gravel, except for the top level which is all gravel. The sites on the lower levels are covered with trees which keeps them cool in the summer, but makes satellite use difficult (cable tv is provided). When you make it to the top of the last grade you are treated to a spectacular view of the Smokey Mountains.
The park is well cared for and maintenance of the sites and utilities are excellent. A young couple hosts the park and they work very hard to keep it functioning great and to make your stay enjoyable. The sites range from smaller back in spaces on the lower levels to drive through ones with a deck overlooking the side of the mountain (these sites are popular and must be booked well in advance). Until this year the top level had no bath or laundry facilities requiring the units to be self contained, however, a new facility is being built on that level and should be completed shortly.
This post only scratches the surface of what there is to see and do in
Asheville and we have only started our discovery. Below are a couple of links that will really show you what the area is all about. Don’t forget to check TripAdvisor too. It is always a great source to check out places and things to do.