WNC Travel Guide

op shoneysIf someone had told me 30 years ago that someday I’d be sentimental about a Shoney’s restaurant closing down, I would have laughed out loud and accused them of being delusional. I guess I’ve always had a soft spot for their potato soup and hot fudge cakes, which I used to order as a kid when my parents took us there on infrequent trips out of town, but it is nothing I’d ever get misty-eyed over, anymore than I would over a three-piece original recipe chicken plate from Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Then again, 30 years ago, I could not have foreseen the unlikely role Shoney’s would wind up playing in my family history. Not just any Shoney’s, but this particular Shoney’s, sitting high on its perch in Waynesville like an enormous neon bird watching over the bustling traffic on U.S. 23-74 while keeping one wary eye on Lowe’s across the way.

Mountain Momma

art mommaSupposedly just 8 percent of Americans who make a New Year’s resolution keep it.

The obvious reason is human beings just aren’t very good at self improvement. But some resolutions are doomed from the start.

Mountain Momma

art mtnmommaLike many of you, I’ve been amassing Christmas presents for months now — stocking up at consignment sales, cruising craigslist for good deals, and slipping irresistible stocking stuffers into the shopping basket when the kids aren’t looking. There’s something slightly exhilarating about shepherding bags of future presents into the house undetected and squirreling them way on the top shelves of cupboards and in corners of the basement.

Mountain Momma

art mtnmommaLast weekend, I sat down with a calendar and began sifting through all the fabulous Christmas-related events happening this month.

As I plotted out which ones we could try to squeeze in — Christmas parades, Christmas concerts, Christmas plays, live nativity scenes, town tree lightings, Santa visits, and nighttime holiday festivities in our downtowns — I had a flashback to last year’s Disney preparations.

Mountain Momma

art mtnmommaI was caught flat-footed last year when my oldest daughter began questioning the myriad Santa spottings of the Christmas season.

Santa’s peripatetic ways just didn’t compute.

Mountain Momma

Dear Pottery Barn photographers,

Please consider hiring a consultant who actually has kids before you shoot your next product magazine. Otherwise, your catalogs will be reclassified and shelved in the comedy section. 

From, Been-there-done-that-and-it-sure-didn’t-look-like-that.

Mountain Momma

art mtnmommaIf you can eek out the time for a trip to Asheville, here’s a great excursion for the last lingering weeks of fall sunshine before winter puts a damper on outside activities.

Giant LEGO sculptures have put down roots on the grounds of the N.C. Arboretum. An 8-foot tall hummingbird, a 5-foot tall butterfly, a bison, a dragonfly — 27 sculptures in all, made from 500,000 LEGO pieces.

Mountain Momma

art mtnmommaWe’re in the Halloween homestretch, but I’d wager at least half of you are still riding the costume rollercoaster, days away from closing in on what your kid wants to be.

Back in the days before Amazon.com — when we actually had to make our own costumes — if you weren’t in the early throes of gathering your wardrobe supplies by this stage in the game, chances were a white sheet with two eye holes was in your forecast.

Mountain Momma

art mtnmommaI had a bit of a wake-up call this week as I read over a fabulous collection of kid’s nature activities compiled by the folks at “Take a Child Outside” week. 

The list of splendidly simple ideas for exploring the world beyond the back door gave me a whole new perspective on playing outside, ways to engage and interact with the natural world that never would have dawned on me.

Mountain Momma

I recently took stock of our craft supply cupboard and realized it’s looking a little paltry.

At one time, I was proud of the run-of-the-mill pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks and multi-colored pom-poms in our craft stash. But that was before a Michaels craft store opened in Waynesville, and now, I find myself wandering the aisles craving must-have craft supplies I was once blissfully ignorant of. 

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