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Posts Tagged ‘AVL’

2014 races

Posted by eemilla on February 20, 2015

After running the 2013 Runway 5k I spontaneously proposed running a 5k a month to my dear friend who agreed to join me.

Our first race was the The Hot Chocolate 10k, and I loved running the flat course until the last mile or so where it becomes a steep, convoluted uphill. Being slow and near the back I got to spend part of the climb huffing exhaust which really sucks.  The post race hot chocolate was delicious, and the pre-race flush toilets were handy.  I don’t like running in the cold and dark of winter as required by my work schedule, lack of gym equipment, and the Earth’s rotation, but I did plan to register for the 2015 race (although I found out at packet pick up that I had failed to do so).

February brought us the Frostbite 10k, and the shirt was premium quality. We opted for same day packet pick-up, and the line went quickly even though there were tons of people. The start seemed much delayed which is frustrating. The course was super hilly with the beginning of both the 10k and 5k races going up Howard Gap, and the 10k continued on Howard Gap to Jackson Rd. With the course being on such well traversed roads I understand that traffic control is difficult especially given the mid afternoon start, but it really stinks to run behind a vehicle (pun intended). This race is not one I would do again.

At the beginning of the 2014 Hot Chocolate Asheville High’s marching band played on an overpass, so when I saw the card for the Band Aid 8k I was down. Unfortunately both my running buddy and my childcare were busy so I changed my registration to the 5k as I had to push a jogging stroller and my daughter. The course is a good combination of hills, flats, and downhill around Asheville High, AB Tech, and Victoria Rd; I don’t know if it was the chilly March Saturday morning start, but I didn’t encounter more than one vehicle. Having the sections of the band entertains runners along the course was really awesome, and I look forward to running this again.  The shirt was a good quality light cotton, and this is a small race so race day packet pick up was a breeze.

I couldn’t pass up a race to support a green way that also earned me a Pisgah pint glass so in April I did the Black Mountain Greenway Challenge.  There was a long downhill that had me worried about the uphill return, but it was really quite manageable. In fact this was the first 10k that I ran/jogged the entire course.  Most of the course is on the road, but there was almost no traffic to speak of. The pint glass is offered in lieu of a shirt, but one can purchase the shirt separately. After so many easy same day packet pick ups I quit bothering with the extra trip, and this race didn’t prove me wrong. I will do this race again.

The Cradle to Grave 5k filled our May race, and the major climb happened at the beginning. While it is nice to get the hill over early, it was a doozy.  The course was almost completely paved for the 5k, and I enjoyed not having to run with any cars. Oskar Blues supplied post race beer, but it was a bit too early for me. The large t-shirt was much too small for me, my buddy, and my mom. Amazingly the 30k front runners were finishing as we were leaving. I’ve registered again for this year.

In June I registered for the Shindig on the Green at Carrier Park then I saw the Park to Park 8k for later the same month. Both races were were flat and began before the heat as well as being along waterways and busy roads for at least a portion of the course. Of the two I preferred the Park to Park even with its mostly in and back course; much of the course was shaded and had great volunteers directing runners. My mom joined me for both races pushing my girl in a jogging stroller, and she finished the Shindig race early when she missed a turn. Neither race offered a shirt I wanted to wear again.

July offered plenty of options for 4th races, but the Brevard Firecracker 10k seemed the best option. The 10k course is almost an out and back, and I had my butt kicked by multiple people pushing one or more kids in jogging strollers; the shirt went straight to the donation pile. Sadly this was my last race with my running buddy before she moved. I wanted to do the Highland Night Flight, but Beck came to town and put on an awesome show.

The race pickings were slim for August so we drove to Highlands to find a charity race as I committed to only running for a cause. The Twilight 5k was tough. I don’t know if it was the elevation or me missing my running buddy or my kid throwing a fit, but this race was tough and not much fun for me. The course runs only on streets, but the traffic control was good. It is a mixed grade course over pavement, and even with the elevation change it was hot, hot, hot. I would not run this race again as the course isn’t unique or interesting enough to justify the drive. I stumbled across the Foot Rx Cross Counrty Series after I’d registered for the Highlands race so I ended up running the Montreat 5k which was my favorite course of the series. The surfaces varied from gravel to grass to rooty trail to pavement, and if you register for the series you get a really nice pullover.

I chose to use the Foot Rx Cross Country Series as my September race so I ran at Asheville School which had the same terrain as Montreat albeit a much longer wooded section.  In October I began the  Foot Rx Cross Country Series Jackson Park race only to skin my knees pretty good on a tumble; I felt like such a whiny pants, but my knees were scabby for weeks.

I tried to come full circle with The Turkey Trot, but I had to have my wisdom teeth out so my honey, girl, and I did the Gobble Wobble.  My girl loves her racing water bottles, and my husband enjoyed doing the wobble. This will be a Thanksgiving tradition.

My daughter and I did the Jingle Bell 5k for my last race of 2014, and I somehow forgot to pack the jogging stroller so I carried her most of the 5k.  She loved the jingle bells we received at packet pick up, and I enjoyed the course through Montford where I encountered almost no vehicles.  I would run this race again.


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White Duck for the win

Posted by eemilla on February 19, 2015

I enjoyed White Duck in the River Arts District, but their downtown Asheville location has been such a blessing.  The service is quick, and the food is cheap and tasty. Our family of three can eat a meal including a beer for my honey for about $30.  I enjoy the bahn mi taco as of the two or three vegetarian options it suits me; we tried the black bean for our daughter, but it was too spicy hot for her. They do have quesadillas, but the cost is about the same as a taco so she eats the bahn mi too. My husband enjoys the fish and jerk chicken, and he wasn’t impressed by their duck taco.  We’ve eaten there on Black Friday when lines and waits scared us away from plenty of other eateries, and they’ve been the spot before shows with their proximity to Diana Wortham and The Orange Peel. Even when the line is to the door it moves quickly. Their salsa trio with the chips varies wildly in heat and flavor, and their margaritas just aren’t as intoxicating or as tasty or as much of a bargain as The Lucky Otter’s (which frankly could describe plenty of margaritas).  I do wish I could tip with my credit card as I don’t carry cash, but I love having a downtown Duck.

White Duck Taco Shop on Urbanspoon

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2013 Turkey Trot

Posted by eemilla on October 6, 2014

On a freezing cold morning, I joined tons of other runners to earn our gluttony later in the day at the 2013 Turkey Trot.  It was a nice route with some downtown and neighborhood streets, and none of the hills were killer.  It was my first road running experience so I didn’t appreciate the lack of cars on the route (granted it was Thanksgiving morning).  It was awesome to see the firefighters running in their gear, and it’s also pretty insane how fast some runners completed the race.  As I’m such a slow runner, I typically finish behind the pack so maybe I’m missing the lines, but the lines for post race snacks were incredibly long and slow moving.  I’ve registered for the upcoming race, and my honey and LB are going to do the Gobble Wobble.

2013 Turkey Trot

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Another local chain for South Asheville

Posted by eemilla on October 5, 2014

Since I live in South Asheville/Arden, I’m used to the only new restaurants being chains.  Our latest addition is Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack, and it comes just as my friend who has been begging someone to put a pub within walking distance is moving away.  Maybe if I move we’ll get greenways and better bus service.  We have been a few times to check it out, and we love that we can pretend we live in West Asheville by walking our dog to the park and stopping by with him to eat and drink on the patio.  The staff has been great to him, bringing him water when we forgot and giving him some kind words.  I love being able to order a pitcher and share it without a bit of worry about getting behind the wheel.  Being a vegetarian, there are a couple of things I can eat.  While they may have tons of sides that qualify, it’s all stuff I don’t prefer.  I do love french fries, and I was not pleased with the almost soggy ones I had.  They do make a fried green tomato appetizer special which has been on the menu the few times we’ve dined there; it runs $6.95 which isn’t expensive for an appetizer, but Tupelo Honey right down the road serves a superior fried green tomato appetizer with grits for $7.95 (and a delicious, complimentary biscuit).

Since we’ve brought the dog every time we’ve been, we have not eaten inside.  From our trips to the counter and the restroom, I was surprised at how large the interior is.  They’ve got a big TV for sports along with a great beer selection and a full liquor bar.  We’ve had at least one pitcher with each visit, and even taking out the alcohol the food tab is pretty high for a chicken shack.  The beer menu is good enough and fairly priced which is enough for us to keep stopping by.
Rockys Hot Chicken Shack on Urbanspoon

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Lego Sculptures

Posted by eemilla on September 24, 2014

Last fall until about January 2014 the NC Arboretum had an awesome exhibit of Lego sculptures by Sean Kinney; it was great to see them up close with the thousands of blocks forming a hummingbird, a rose, a bee, and a gardener among other sculptures.  Check out Sean Kenney’s website to find out where you can see the sculptures.



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Thirsty Monk Biltmore Park

Posted by eemilla on September 22, 2014

I didn’t know what to think about another Thirsty Monk on the south end of the county, and I was glad to hear that both locations were staying open (although Gerber Village has since closed).  I like Gerber Village for its enclosed outdoor patio, but I like Biltmore Village for having a bigger menu and its long benches. Additionally Biltmore Park seems to have better tap takeovers and pint nights (buy the beer keep the glass) along with liquor.  I haven’t been back to Biltmore Park since the Gerber Village location closed so I don’t know if the pretzels that I so loved have moved to Biltmore Village; I appreciate that Biltmore Park has a kid menu, but I wish the options were less junky (the mac and cheese is so greasy and over-cheesed that I would be surprised if there were less than a pound of cheese in the small ramekin it is served in).   My grandmother holds a standing Sunday lunch date with her children and grandchildren which is great except when it coincides with Mother’s Day, and Thirsty Monk Biltmore Park was the perfect place for us to dine without a wait on Mother’s Day.  Even if I don’t love the kid menu, I do love that the ambience is family friendly enough to make me feel comfortable to bring my child and teetotaling grandmother and mother.


The Thirsty Monk on Urbanspoon

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The Local Joint

Posted by eemilla on September 3, 2014

A few months back I ventured to try The Local Joint as we’d begun to tire of our normal rotation of lunch spots.  After hearing lots of good noise about The Local Joint and Little Bee Thai (both of which are attached to gas stations), I decided we should have check it out.  We were disappointed to have to wait about thirty minutes for our table, but we were thankful for the nice weather as the waiting area consists of the parking lot.  Once we were seated we were greeted by our server and gave our drank orders, and we had all had time to decide on our orders during the wait so we were ready.  The restaurant is not very large and it was quite busy so there should have been enough noise to cover up the complaints of the wait staff, but it with our seats so close to the kitchen door we got to hear plenty of unpleasantness.

Overall the service was okay aside from drinks needing refills and a long wait to pay, but the food was enjoyable.  With the lack of a waiting area and the lack of staff privacy we haven’t been back, but I like to stick with a three strikes so I’ll give it another shot in hopes of a better experience.


The Local Joint on Urbanspoon

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Return to running (and blogging)

Posted by eemilla on July 20, 2014

The only sport I participated in while in high school was cross-country, and I really enjoyed it once I got in shape and moved from the back of pack to the middle. However, I got distracted in the off-season, and I lost all the progress I had made so I didn’t return for a second season. Years later, a friend talked me into running the Runway 5k. I had ample time to complete a couch to 5k program (running my first 5k distance in Central Park), and I let the summer heat keep me from training. I still ran (or jogged or almost walked) the race. At the end I was so flushed with endorphins I suggested running a race a month, and my friend agreed. We skipped October, and I skipped December; we’ve done at least one race a month since January. Even though she’s moving across the country we’re still planning on running at least one race a month  for all of 2014. I did not particularly enjoy the Runway 5k due to the exhaust from idling vehicles on the course, but for my first 5k since high school I could not have asked for a flatter course in Asheville.  The race will not happen this year which gives me mixed feelings; fortunately there are plenty of other races to choose.

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Avoid the lines at brunch and enjoy dinner

Posted by eemilla on September 17, 2013

After our return from Manhattan, we dined at a few favorite spots like Reza and Chai Pani.  We also decided to stop in and say hello to one of my honey’s former co-workers at Sunny Point Cafe.  My last visit was a few years back when we were a one car household and I drove my honey to his job on Sunday before 8am.  I figured surely so early on a cold winter morning the wait wouldn’t be that mad, but there were enough people to pretty much fill the restaurant as soon as they opened the doors.  The free coffee was pretty tasty, and the food was good too.  However, I hate waiting to eat so I never returned.

On my second visit we went for dinner so there wasn’t a wait, and they serve breakfast all day.  LB had carrot pancakes, and my honey enjoyed egg rolls and hush puppies.  I had a nice fresh salad with delicious rice cakes.  My visit reminded me how much I love a simple salad alongside dinner.  The patio was nicer than I recall it, and our service was good.  I loved the cute signs about the rules for the playground.

cut up carrot pancakes

fluffy biscuit

egg rolls

hush puppies

the rules

rice cakes with salad

Sunny Point Cafe & Bakery on Urbanspoon

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NYC arrival

Posted by eemilla on June 29, 2013


After years of searching we were finally able to fly out of Asheville; typically even factoring in for gas and parking and time, flying out of Charlotte, Greenville, or Greensboro has been a couple of hundred dollars cheaper.  However, AVL has direct flights to both LGA and EWR so keeping in mind LB’s travel endurance a direct flight seemed like the best option for us and our fellow passengers, and flying out of a tiny airport with a tiny security checkpoint definitely would have pushed us to fly locally.  On this flight, though, we didn’t have to do any calculus as the AVL fare was cheaper than either CLT or GSP.  Being able to leave our house and arrive at the airport in ten minutes was absolutely awesome, and I have to say the savings of flying out of another airport will have to be even higher next time.

We’ve been to Manhattan a few times over the course of our relationship, and our last trip left me terribly disappointed that I didn’t get my fill of the Met so I’ve been dreaming of returning for about ten years.  Lodging in Manhattan is expensive so we spent hours searching for a place to stay; our goal is to avoid hotels due to their lack of privacy and ambience, plus having a kitchen is nice especially with a toddler who wants to snack all day long.  With LB still being in diapers we needed a washing machine and dryer in the apartment, and apparently not many other NYC vacationers want or need to do laundry.  Meeting our criteria for proximity to our tourist spots, price, kid friendly, and having a washer and dryer made this one of the hardest vacation rental searches we’ve done.  It would be nice if more vacation rental sites had better search functions.  Unfortunately, our rental ended up being pretty far north of our ideal neighborhood so we had about a 40 minute commute (walking plus train ride) to get to our tourists spots.  Another unfortunate thing about our rental was that it was furnished with two air mattress and a futon; even with the mattresses inflated to the firmest setting, they were too soft and squishy.  One was a twin and one was a queen or a full so LB and I shared one while my husband tried both the twin and the futon.  I have confirmed that no matter how nice the air mattress is, it is still an air mattress.  On the bright side, the washer and dryer weren’t horribly old and slow, and the apartment was filled with natural light during the day even though we were below street level.

IMG_0833 IMG_0834

We arrived in the afternoon.  Although carseats are not required in for hire vehicles, I couldn’t think about LB sitting in a taxi for a forty minute drive from the airport to our apartment so my honey came through and quickly installed the carseat into the hired car.  I felt completely vindicated about my insistence on the carseat watching some of our fellow motorists swerve and tailgate.  Dial7 provided professional drivers and clean and comfortable vehicles for both our arrival and departure.  Compared to the taxi rates, I really liked knowing that we could schedule a car rather than wait in the taxi line.

After getting settled (including planning our route with the Embark app) we walked to the subway and rode the train down to the lower East Side to visit Ess-A-Bagel which was recommended by a former Manhattanite.  Fortunately, my honey found a closer mid-town location that we hit for our mid vacation bagel re-up.  These bagels were what I crave when I think about bagels: crusty before being toasted with a chewy interior.  They had tons of bagels and spreads to choose from; I didn’t see any plain tofu cream cheese so we had to buy that at the store, but my honey and LB enjoyed the tofu with veggie spread we purchased from Ess-A-Bagel.

Ess-a-Bagel on Urbanspoon

After a full day of travel plus the bagel quest we decided that we’d go ahead and get delivery pizza rather than try to drag LB out to a restaurant so took a peek into the tourist info folder the apartment’s owners had compiled.  We opted for Bad Horse Pizza delivery while my husband ran to store to pick up some provisions.  His trip took forever due to a massively steep hill that forced him to diverge from the shortest route coupled with the storefront being less than obvious.  LB and I started dinner without him, and it was great.  I ordered the meatless, and he ordered the trifecta to share with LB; while the meatless was fine, the trifecta was delicious.

Bad Horse trifecta BadHorse meatless
Bad Horse Pizza on Urbanspoon



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