Retreat & Revive: Local Escapes

Since this is the Back to Campus issue, I would like to remind you that AAA is here to help you with those college moves.  We can route your journey to that new home away from home for you or your child.  If you require an overnight stay or restaurant information, we can assist there, too.  If you can’t quite fit all of those college necessities into your car, then you need 
to check out AAA Member discounts with Penske.

I have spent many a weekend moving a child to college, but those days are long gone for me.  So, if you aren’t involved in the college scene, I have a great long 
weekend excursion for the coming autumn season.  

Recently, my family and I headed to North Carolina for an extended weekend getaway.  We visited wineries in the Yadkin Valley area and it turns out, you don’t have to go all of the way to California for some great wine!  You could actually spend days in this area visiting the many wineries scattered along the countryside. One of our favorites was Raffaldini, a beautiful Tuscan style winery with wonderful Chiantis.  After our wine tasting, we sat on the piazza and enjoyed a glass of wine and a yummy lunch.  Another favorite was Laurel Gray Winery, where the Southern hospitality was as appreciated as the great wine.  Check out this spot’s incredible award-winning sauces, too. 
Asheville was our next stop. We dined at the Red Stag Grille located in the new Grand Bohemian Hotel, an eclectic hunting lodge hotel with a very elegant flair.  Our dinner was incredible and the menu included traditional North Carolina fare.  A visit to Asheville would not be complete without a tour of George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate. This home sits on more than 8,000 acres of beautiful mountain property and is still owned by the Vanderbilt family.  The estate will amaze and entertain you for hours.  AAA members receive a discount on pre-purchased tickets from your local AAA store!  

Our last stop before heading home is one of my all time favorites.  Blowing Rock is nestled right off of 
the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest.  
We stayed at the historic Inn at Ragged Gardens.  
The Inn houses 12 enchanting suites and an amazing restaurant, The Best Cellar.  There are quaint shops, cozy bed and breakfasts and charming shops in this mountain hamlet.  

To make your mountain getaway complete, make sure that you take in the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway.  
One of the most beautiful views on the parkway is Jumping Off Rock – don’t miss it!