Join Us for Adventures: The Gingerbread Houses, The Cave, The Fireplace, & More!
By Charlene & Richard Mixa
“Hello”, my name is Louis. I am almost 6 years old (just two months shy) and my little sister, Lucy, is 4 years old. At first we asked our Mimi and Papa (writers of this article): “Why do we have to go to a hotel?” It was awesome! Now my sister Lucy and I are excited to share our recent visit to the enchanting and fun Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. We hope other kids will find exciting adventures at the Inn, too.
It’s a castle! Look at all the rocks! It’ like a fairy tale! Is Rapunzel hiding here? Does the wicked witch live here? Outside on the porch is a gigantic Christmas tree. Papa takes us in the Great Hall. It is ginormous! The fireplace is SO BIG. I could stand in it with my hands up and not touch the top. Whoa! I see the biggest Gingerbread House ever. Hurrah, they sell Hot Chocolate, too. Up close, I confirm it is really gingerbread. Okay, I didn’t take a bite. Mommy reads a sign that the outside is all gingerbread.
We drop off our backpacks in our room. It has lots of space with two big beds, chairs, desk and even a baby refrigerator. “Lucy, look out the window. Lots of steps and a golf course.” Hurrah! We’re off with Papa to explore. Goodness! There are Christmas trees everywhere. Lucy loves the beautiful decorations. Ooh! Behind the huge fireplace is a 102 year old elevator. A lady operates the elevator and takes us up. We hop off and look around then jump back on the elevator. Wow, Papa shows us a 102 year old car! That is OLD!
I love Gingerbread! Licking the bowl and the icing is the best. We’re off to see Gingerbread Houses. Mimi reminds Lucy and me, “No licking, these are just for looking!” Gingerbread Houses are everywhere! Mimi explains that Gingerbread Houses can take 500 hours to make and it all has to edible. “What’s edible?” It must be able to be eaten. How long is 500 hours? I can’t even count to 500! “Why make a Gingerbread House you can’t eat?” I spot a colorful turtle. Look at the ski slope full of gingerbread skiers. See the Christmas Tree Farm. Funny, Minions surround a big Christmas tree. So many to see! Lucy’s favorite is “The Village” with cute little houses and a church. To me “Star Wars!” is the coolest. Mommy likes “The Camper” while Daddy’s admires the “Soldier’s Boots.”
The Grand Prize Winner, “The Wishing Tree” has a lot of detail. We see an owl perched on its roof, a possum hanging from the rafter and a girl walking up the path of an old tree house that looks like it might fall. “Mimi, who made all these Gingerbread Houses?” Some are made by one person and some by groups, such as, teams, classes, or Girl Scouts. If I made a Gingerbread House, Lucy and I’d be too busy licking the bowls and eating the Gingerbread.
After seeing all these Gingerbread houses, we’re hungry. At Edison’s Lucy finishes off her chicken tenders. “Louis how is your PB& J,” asks Mimi. “What’s PB&J?” It’s Peanut Butter and Jelly. I impress Mimi and Papa by eating all my PB & J.
Hurrah it’s time for more adventures. Taking our hands, Mimi and Papa, lead Lucy and me off for more exploring. Look a sleigh and huge reindeer! Lucy and I quickly hop in the sleigh. “Giddy-up,” I yell, as I take the reins while Daddy snaps a picture. Looking out we can see the mountains. Mimi tells us these are the Blue Ridge Mountains. Yes, they do kinda look blue. Steps, steps, and more steps. Going down the steps is fun! Beautiful! At the bottom is a tall waterfall. Papa opens a door. It’s a huge cave! Inside it is cool with rocks surrounding us on both sides and on the roof. “Are there bats?” Wow! Water gently slides down a stone wall into a pond. “Look there is money in the ponds! Can I reach in and get some money?” “No!” Papa takes us into a room where adults go to The Spa. We peek in a window. Wow, it’s a huge rock cavern with a big swimming pool. Cool!
Walking through the cave we come to the hotel. Shh! We must be quiet in the hallways. Outside Mommy, Daddy, Mimi and Papa lead us to little shops. I jump up and walk along the top of the stone wall. Lucy walks along the wall holding Mimi’s hand. Hurrah a Hill! Wee! I run down to the bottom. “Papa what are these tall plants.” He says, “They are bamboo plants, Louis.” Daddy comes down the hill. “Bet you can’t find me!” I play ‘hide and seek” in these plants with Daddy.
At the top of the hill, Lucy is picking mint leaves. Umm it smells good! More pictures! “Smile! Say cheese!” Grownups sure take a lot of pictures. Lucy and I pose and walk through gates as Mommy and Mimi snap photos.
It’s been a full day of exploring at the Grove Park Inn. After a quick dinner Lucy and I slip into our pajamas. Mommy and Daddy laugh, as they don’t even have to read us a bedtime story before we fall asleep in the comfy beds.
Up early, we enjoy tasty muffins and juice from The Market. Ugh – it’s raining! Mimi had planned a trek on Sunset Trail today. Instead we’re off to do more exploring. We find a pool table! Mimi explains the pool table was lost. “How can you lose a big pool table?” In the old days the Inn was closed in the winter and the employees would take the furniture home. Whoever took the pool table did not return it. Then it showed up for sale on eBay. This story has me asking Mimi lots of questions. “Who took it? How did they get it back? What’s eBay? How much did they pay for it?”
Next we find Black bears hiding in a corner. I stand in a fireplace for a picture. Back to the cave! Crystals! Look at the crystals in the rocks. Mimi and Mommy find so many beautiful crystals and glittering stones. Now we’re on the “hunt” for crystals. Whoa- looking through a narrow opening, we see a little pool of water with walls covered in shining crystals. Mommy uses her phone flashlight so we see the sparkling crystals. “How are we going to get them all home?” asks Lucy. I tell them, “I need a pickax!”
We hop on the elevator and go back to the Great Hall and its roaring fire. Hurrah, a couple of rockers are empty. Lucy jumps in one and I hop into the other. It’s fun rocking in front of this big fireplace. Mimi and Papa decide to relax with a mug of “hot buttered rum.” It must really be good. They are both smiling. A fun finish to our visit to the Grove Park Inn – rocking in front of a fireplace with Mimi, Papa, Mommy and Daddy. Hope we come back again soon to do more exploring!
If you go:
The National Gingerbread Competition is from November 18, 2015 – January 3, 2016
We hope you enjoyed a child’s view of the Grove Park Inn. Please note they do have a Kid’s Activities Program for children 5-12. Taking our grandchildren to the Inn was so much fun and they seemed excited over so many of the little things. The “Cave” is really the tunnel to The Spa. To children it is great for them to explore it as a cave. It is amazing how easily children can be entertained and use their or our imagination to create an adventure.
Omni Grove Park Inn, 290 Macon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804
We hope you enjoyed our adventures at the Grove Park Inn! Stop by for a visit yourself. It is AMAZING!