Asheville, NC: Lake Powhatan National Forest Recreation Area

Rose had two stops in mind in between Atlanta and Wilmington: Asheville and Charlotte, NC.  So we went a bit out of our way to the former, and chose Lake Powhatan National Forest Recreation Area as our base camp.  Good weather and a popular destination area meant this excellent park had few openings, but with our stated willingness to move sites, the staff was able to find us a four day stay.  Our high tempo travel pattern has made us particularly good at moving quickly and without drama.

Our first site at Lake Powhatan.  So much better than the private RV “resorts” provide.

Lake Powhatan is yet another one of those fantastic National Forest campgrounds located in a beautifully wooded setting on a series of creek fed lakes, with the added distinction of being 10 minutes from the heart of Asheville.  We love the careful balance between being in nature and yet close to a lively area that places like Lake Powhatan provide.

The campground offers options from dry to electric/water only to full hook up sites; based more on view and specific location than services, we chose the $31 full hook up option.  That’s a pretty good rate for a beautiful spot so close to a city as interesting and cool as Asheville.  If there is a downside to Lake Powhatan, it is the very tenuous-to-nonexistent Verizon connectivity available in the park.

Aside from relaxing in the forest, while there we made daily outings to the local libraries and a wonderful indoor farmers market: the former for wifi and the latter for excellent local cheese, butter lettuce, and the “caviar of the south,” pimento cheese spread.  I grew up on the stuff, but it was all generic, big brand stuff.  For the first time in my life I had actual small batch, home made, high end versions of it, and I am completely sold.  Whether you are a southern boy who at least had the Winn Dixie option growing up, or a northerner who has never heard of pimento cheese, I urge you to give the real version a try.

Our site pics are almost always from the front.  Here is something a bit different; a shot from the hill leading to the lake.  Also: notice but one bike on the ladder rack?  Not for long…

As a part of Rosemarie’s jewelry making ventures she has dealt with a large variety of suppliers, but one of her favorites has been Cherry Tree Beads.  So passing through their home town could we possible avoid a pilgrimage there?  No we could not; and though we did not buy all that much from them that day, we learned a lot about the way a big bead and gem distributor works, and will be definitely be ordering more from them in the future.

As we were departing Cherry Tree Beads, we spotted a Bicycle Thrift Shop, and pulled in on a whim.  This is exactly what it sounds like: a thrift store that specializes in, or perhaps more accurately, exclusively deals in bicycles and their associated parts and accouterments, and does so for the benefit of Trips For Kids, a charity focused on providing children with outdoor bike activities.

The past few years of casual biking have made clear that Rosemarie needs a 24″ bike (not one of the more common sizes; they tend to jump from 20″ to 26″.)  And what did we discover at Bicycle Thrift Shop?  A practically brand new 24″ women’s mountain bike in purple glitter and white.  It could not have been more perfect for Rosemarie, and at $40, a steal.  We added a floor pump and an interesting behind the seat strap down addition for $10 bucks total.  What a deal. 

Lastly, Aheville is a top tier craft brewery destination, and we took advantage of that with trip to a couple of the locals; of particular note is Burial Brewery.  We were unable to hook up with brother Jason this trip, but hopefully on our next visit to the region we can meet up.

6 thoughts on “Asheville, NC: Lake Powhatan National Forest Recreation Area

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