Paranoia Across the Carolinas
Hurricane Florence came full force to North Carolina causing flooding and fear all over the state with extensive rain and strong winds. Lucky for Michael and me, we only had small to medium-sized branches fall onto our deck. We were scared that the trees would topple our home, but Florence did not hit our city hard enough to cause devastation – unlike the coast.
We were left in limbo as we were unsure of whether or not it was safe to go glamping in Asheville. The hurricane had developed into a tropical depression and was headed really close to Asheville, NC – the location of our campsite. We had planned to go glamping a month ahead and the booking was non-refundable! With $500 at sake, you can see our dilemma.
PS) For those of you unfamiliar with the term “glamping,” it is camping at a luxury level. Often, this means a bed, air conditioning, and other amenities to make camping much more comfortable.
When we booked the reservation at Asheville Glamping, we did not foresee a reason why we would cancel. We wanted to come rain or shine. However, a hurricane was nowhere near our radar of affecting the mountains in the way people predicted at the time of booking. Thus you can imagine our disappointment finding out a week before a Hurricane that is of a category level 5 was headed our way.
Mike and I nearly lost our minds trying to decide on what to do. The fear of the storm was contagious as almost everyone warned us not to go. However, I was not about to give up hope especially when the owners of the development said that not only was their property going to be just fine, but downtown Asheville would be as well. So with Mike shitting his pants, I convinced him to pursue our adventure.
I promised Mike that if the roads flooded or the wind got intense, we would turn right back around and head to the comforts of our home. That put him at ease.
The rain poured consistently on our windshield as we passed emergency and boat transport vehicles heading to the coast. The drive was 2.5 hours away from Winston-Salem and as we drove, we enjoyed listening to the Joe Rogan podcast as he discussed spearfishing with a Valentine Thomas. I was curious to see what we would encounter but I felt that it was all going to be fine.
My manager recommended a restaurant with great food and strong drinks called Mountain Madre. It was a great choice because their vegetarian/vegan choices were phenomenal. Though the menu wasn’t as diverse as we had hoped, it was not a struggle to find what we wanted to try. Michael got a faux chicken enchilada, and I got a faux chicken taco – both so amazingly delicious. The chicken was made locally and with soy-free products. Our plates were so yummy that Mike and I argued which plate was better. To complement our meal, Mike and I shared got a spicy margarita with basalt. I think if we had our own glass, we would have left tipsy because you could taste the tequila right away. I respect restaurants that don’t skimp on the booze.
With the instructions emailed to us beforehand, the property was not a hard find and was solely 20 minutes away from downtown Asheville. Gravel paved the way to the campus which was a relief as we were worried we would have to go through mud.
It is an adorable piece of land filled with hills, a tiny lake, and bunnies hopping along the path. We expected rain the whole time so when the sun arose the next day, it was a pleasant surprise to see a beautiful, new day glow. The only real critique my husband had was that the sites were too close together, but we understood the logistics of having to provide power to sites further apart to be a harder expense. Mike and I were fortunate enough that because of the storm, no one was there. We think had there been other people, the experience wouldn’t have been as tranquil.
We booked the Deluxe Tent mounted on a wooden deck. The tent was smaller than what we had imagined. Additionally, though the decor was cute, it wasn’t as lavish as we had envisioned. Instead, the tent itself looked dingy and was humid despite the air conditioner.
The bed did not feel like a queen – especially when Mike’s feet hung over the edges. However, the bed was extremely comfortable and cozy. When we arrived, the rain patted the outside of the tent which lured us into a deep and dreamy nap.
When we woke up, we drank some water and headed straight to the Jacuzzi that was all ready for us when we arrived. We considered this our “shower.” We didn’t use soap or anything, but whenever we felt sweaty, we just dipped into that hot swirling pool and sighed. Relaxing in there was the best part of our site and saved us from feeling too icky from the humid and hot landscape. As for the toilet, we had a porta potty located down a whole freaking hill – which is too far for my taste.
PS) If you ordered camp wood, make sure to check that you got any and then call right away. We didn’t call right away so by the time we decided to leave, it was too late. Sadly we paid for $10 camp wood that we did not receive.
The Other Sites
Because the whole site was empty, we peeked into the other tents, RVs and more importantly, the domes to get a sense of how the other sites were set up. The Domes were the most impressive. Even the smallest one was adorable and slightly made us regret our choice.
The owners were smart to provide each site with one attractive feature the others lacked. For us, we chose the Deluxe tent just because of the Jacuzzi. For the domes, the spaciousness and fresh air would have made it so much more comfortable for us. Some domes had a bathroom, another a fridge! The dome’s hurricane-proof material and white color made each of them feel clean and airy whereas our tent felt dingy with the low headspace and dirty/stained tent material.
Some sites had a shower and toilet, and others had a luxury furniture. Others were blessed with lovely views whereas other sites circled a campfire. They have it to where you get certain amenities depending on what you value and want.
The staff was super friendly and understanding to our worry-filled questions. We treated the owner like she was the weather woman but she was kindly helped us. If she had not been so understanding to our annoying questions, we would not have made it.
I genuinely think that once the bathhouse is built, it will add to the property as a must-go. Not having a shower or a working toilet was kind of too close to camping for me. I despise porta-potties, and thus preferred to pee outside (luckily, that is all I had to do). If I had to do it again, I would choose the dome at the top of the hill with a shower, working toilet and mini fridge. It had cooler air and a great view!
Asheville Glamping must rake it in if other guests felt the way we thought by the next morning. After breakfast, we were ready to leave and ended up heading back a day early. Our beds, foods, shower, and little do-dads of comfort were calling us. Even though we woke up with sunshine peering over the hills beautifully, we figured trails would be muddy and without the proper shoes, there was no way that hiking would be fun.
I believe that going to the site in the fall with cooler temperatures would be much more comfortable and I would have been much more attuned to the idea of hiking. You would not have to worry about bugs, hurricanes, feel sweaty or depend on a shower. I would definitely try it again ONLY in the fall.