After much talk we have finally begun our official exploration into places where we might retire. Okay, that sentence really does a good job of illustrating how indecisive I am. But hey, baby steps! We decided to start with North Carolina, a place we have heard mentioned in lots of articles as a nice state for retirees: affordable housing, good health care – you know, the usual suspects. We thought it would be interesting to check out a bit of everything from the western part of the state, to the middle as well as the coast. So the plan was to spend a few days in the Asheville area, then two days in Charlotte and wrap things up in Wilmington.
We took a red eye from LAX to Raleigh-Durham via SFO (thanks, Alaska Airlines for that weird route which we can’t complain TOO much about since we flew cheap using a companion pass), picked up a rental car and drove to Asheville. No big deal, right? Well since neither Chuck nor I can sleep on planes so by the time we got to Raleigh-Durham we were close to zombies – although we were also caught up on several recent film releases. Chuck drove for about half an hour until he was too pooped to continue, then I took over, fueled by a Starbucks latte and a Hardee’s country ham biscuit (it appears that biscuits are the state food), for about two hours and he took over for the last hour. We arrived at our hotel (a Country Inn & Suites a bit outside downtown Asheville). We have had great luck with Country Inn & Suites – they were our go-to chain when we took our first road trip with Maggie as they are dog-friendly. This one wasn’t dog-friendly and was okey but overpriced for what we got and the location wasn’t really “downtown” – it was located on a busy thoroughfare about a mile from downtown in an area that felt a bit sketchy after dark. While it wasn’t awful, we definitely wouldn’t stay there again.
Since our room wasn’t ready when we arrived so we wen to the Waffle House next door and had brunch. I had eggs, grits, bacon and biscuits and gravy. In fairness, the picture on the menu did not imply the quantity of food I was served. Chuck ordered a hash brown bowl which sounded really weird but turned out to be really good (along with the hashbrowns, the bowl included eggs, cheese and sausage). After brunch we headed back to the hotel, check in and Chuck took a nap (I was too geared up from all that food and had transcended being tired so caught up on email and stuff). After he woke up we walked into town and did a little initial exploring. We ended up going to Capella on 9, a very neat tapas bar located on the top floor of the AC Hotel (most definitely NOT a Country Inn & Suites) that had a fabulous view and yummy food and drinks. It rained a bit off and on but we came prepared with rain jackets so were unfazed. We trudged back to our hotel and finally lost consciousness after being more or less awake for 24 hours plus. Phew!