Like I said in my previous post, I spent the final 10 days of April traveling through North Carolina! It was so great being able to go from city to city, visiting different stores with Alley that sold Tevas. Our route looked a little something like this:
I’m quite certain we hit every single REI and Mast General Store that exists in the state, which should warrant that we earn some kind of award from Teva for most miles driven. Ambitious, I know, but I don’t think I’m wrong.
I’ve been to Charlotte a handful of times in my life, but I haven’t spent as much time there as we did this trip. While we spent 4 of the 5 days there at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, we were able to check out some really cool spots around the city both in our off-time and on the 5th day as we hit stores around the perimeter.
One of my goals on the road is to find good coffee and good shops that can go on my recommendation list when people ask me about what there is to do in different cities. So, my favorite coffee here in Charlotte came from Not Just Coffee and Summit Coffee Roasters.
NJC served Counter Culture, which is an incredible company that trains, resources, and does business with wholesale accounts across the country. Along with Onyx Coffee Labs, Counter Culture is in my top 5 favorite roasters, so I was super pleased with the cappuccino I ordered at NJC. Summit Coffee Roasters was the official coffee company for Tuck Fest, and they served their own roast, which was really flavorful and fruity. To top it off, one of the baristas gave me a sample bag of Kenyan coffee, which is really delicious.
There’s not much to speak about when it comes to the RDU/Greensboro areas, unfortunately. It was such a whirlwind driving around these cities this trip, so it was convenient that they’re relatively close to each other.
From past experience in the areas, the best things going on between these two cities is (obviously) the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Greensboro Arena where loads of concerts happen.
If you’re looking for coffee suggestions, right outside of Greensboro in High Point is a local roaster called FosterHobbs Coffee. They work closely with Premier Productions, CCM’s largest promoter, and the company that puts on WinterJam & Outcry, so from the couple dates I spent with the crew I got to taste this great brand. Counter Culture also has a distribution center in Durham, in the metro area of Raleigh.
Ah Asheville. My favorite city in North Carolina. I grew up visiting this area growing up, since my family is from 20 miles west of the city. This, my friends, is NC coffee mecca (in my opinion). From High Five to Trade & Lore, there are so many different shops to enjoy and visit.
If you’re into the outdoor scene like I am, this is the perfect city around which you can center your travel, especially in North Carolina. You’re within 20 to 30 minutes of some great trails, parks, and outdoor features that are breathtaking.
I seriously could spend hours talking about how much I enjoy Asheville, so I’ll sum it up into a few short words: Go. Visit. This. City.
WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA
The last few days of the trip were around so many different cities with such a short time in each that it’s way too difficult to write something about each. Western North Carolina is truly my favorite area in the country (so far), and everything is so accessible. Whether you’re spending time in the Nantahala Forest or on Black Mountain, you’re never going to be disappointed.
If you’re traveling through the town of Black Mountain, you HAVE to go to Dripolator Coffeehouse.
I first visited this shop in Summer 2016, and every single time I’m around Asheville I make sure that I can go visit. The Iced Killer Bee (honey, vanilla, cinnamon latte) is incredible.
Nestled just 20 miles outside of Asheville is honestly my true 2nd home. From the time I was born, I’ve been visiting Waynesville almost yearly. Both my mom’s and dad’s sides of the family are natives here, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I was related to the whole town. It has touches of commercial chain and small town vibes, from the necessities of grocery stores and fast food spots to the local artisan craft shops and diners that make the city what it is. And since Alley had a store to visit there, it was a must to stop and see the family.
This trip, obviously, was an incredible time of rest, travel, and enjoyment. But, it also birthed a wonderful new venture and something that gets me really excited.
Over the course of the trip, Alley and I said to each other multiple times, “This whole travel thing is fun. Let’s do this more often and write about this kinda stuff.’
So, I’m excited to announce the launch of Chasing Rays!
We love traveling, going on adventures, and doing all sorts of fun things. This new endeavor is a way for both Alley and myself to tell stories of all kinds that pertain to life on and off the road. You’ll find trip recaps (like this), gear reviews for the products that help us adventure well, and stories from and based on the experiences that we’ve had.
This is more than a blog though. Combining other social media outlets with the site, we want this to be a brand and avenue to invite people, both believers and non-believers, to enjoy the outdoors from a perspective of faith and the joy that comes from our beliefs. We want to encourage and empower others to take advantage of the world and resources around them, awakening awe and wonder for the things that we sometimes take for granted.