Sometimes the best destinations are in your own backyard. When my (now) wife and I started dating, the FIRST trip we took together was to the mountains of North Carolina. Both of us are natives of the state, but DJ lived on the coast. In fact, she had never been to the mountains before this trip. So for our first excursion as a couple we didn’t even have to cross the state line. It is our good fortune the wonderful city of Asheville, nestled in the Great Smokey Mountains, lies within the borders of our home state.
Taking Pets on Trip
That trip was many years ago, but this Christmas season we decided to spend a few days in Asheville and ring in the New Year. However, we wanted to take our two dogs on this trip. There is a serious subset of travelers that take their pets along (since we often frequent hotels that allow pets and we often notice people taking their animals with them), but it has not been something we have been willing to try before. One of our dogs has an anxiety problem, and we have found that it is better to keep him close to home and family where he feels comfortable. That being said, they are good “car” dogs, and we often take them on long drives (several hours) and they enjoy the ride as much as we enjoy their company.
Grand Bohemian Hotel
In trying to find a hotel, the overriding requirement was a hotel that would accommodate our dogs. As Biltmore passholders, we planned to spend a significant amount of time at the Biltmore House Estate. However, we were disappointed to find that the Biltmore did not allow pets at their hotels on site. An internet search showed there was a hotel right outside the main gate to Biltmore that accepted dogs, the Grand Bohemian Hotel.
While a smaller hotel, what it lacked in size it more than made up for in attentive staff, spacious rooms and a unique decor. The hotel had a nice restaurant on site (the Red Stag Grill) and is located in Biltmore Village. The village contains many great small shops and eateries. In fact, the only real issue is that the hotel building has busy streets on three sides. This was a concern when taking our fur-babies for walks.
As Biltmore Annual Pass holders, we knew we would want to spend time at the Biltmore Estate. Completed in 1895 by George Vanderbilt, the Biltmore Estate is the largest privately owned home in the United States and a wonderful example of the opulence of the Gilded Age. The Biltmore Estate is THE tourist attraction in the NC mountains, drawing over a million visitors every year. The Estate is also decorated for the holiday season, making this a must see for visitors to Asheville during this time of year. During the holidays the Biltmore also has the Candlelight Tour, where the house is lit in candlelight, giving one a glimpse of what it looked like during its heyday back in the late 1890s.
It is often freezing and windy in the mountains this time of year, so the views from the verandas in different parts of the house can be unpleasant experiences. If you cannot handle the biting cold of the North Carolina mountains in December (like my wife), the Biltmore does offer valet parking at the front of the house at a reasonable cost.