Asheville North Carolina: My Love Story

Our Asheville weekend

Since 1999 I wanted to visit Asheville, North Carolina. I had never been there and I’m not sure why I wanted to go.  In fact when I graduated from Western State College in Gunnision, Colorado I had full intentions of packing up my 87 Tercel and driving east with my dog Summit. Destination: Asheville, North Carolina. I can’t tell you what was pulling me there but I can tell you that I never made it. I got a job as a reporter for a small paper in Denver and never looked back.

My husband and I moved to the Raleigh area about 2 years ago and visited Asheville for our 5 year wedding anniversary. It  was a whirlwind weekend of hiking, eating and well….more eating. This started my love affair with the city.

Everything that you read or hear about this lovely gem is true. The food is great, the vibe is brilliant and people are fantastic. In fact I would move there tomorrow. I have lots of little stories to tell about our weekend getaway but will write up some personal reviews about our weekend in another post. In a nutshell, Asheville is a great place to go for a romantic weekend without the kids. But it’s also a fantastic family spot.

This is kind of my push to get that going. *insert* smile.


Day trip to Oriental


One advantage to living near the coast of North Carolina is visiting the quaint coastal towns near us. They are charming, picturesque and best of all they make great day trips. And with a family that includes to dogs that hate to be alone, it’s a big bonus.

Our first day trip was in the Spring when we took a 2 hour drive east to  Oriental, North Carolina, the sailing capitol of the state.

Oriental is nestled in Pamlico County and is an easy drive from Raleigh. We took Hwy 70 to Hwy 55 east right into the sailing community. We didn’t go with a plan except to hangout and be by the water. There are some access to parks but not much in terms of sandy beaches. We loved that our leashed dogs were welcomed as well. Being from Colorado where everyone loves dogs we found the same love and acceptance in Oriental.

A sea side gem

For lunch there are some cafe’s and small restaurants. We ate at M & M’s Cafe and had a great meal. Our dogs were leashed outside by a large tree and were welcomed. After lunch we walked around the water front and looked around at some of the sail boats. We then headed out of town and took our first fairy in North Carolina from the Pamlico sound over back to 70. We were home by 6 p.m.

I highly recommend a day visit to the sailing capitol of North Carolina. We hope to make another visit there during the Summer months.

Make us the Deep Fried Ambassadors: My Fair Ladies -The Wrangler Edition

My Fair Ladies

If one one deep fried ambassador is good imagine how tasty 3 would be! Giving you three unique perspectives on the 2011 NC State Fair, we three fabulous ladies will cover the full gamut of food, rides, entertainment, competitions, exhibits and fun “only at the Fair” odd bits. Telling the story through photos, videos and, of course, wildly entertaining words, this gaggle of gals is sure to make everyone want to come out to the Fair.

  • The Kamikaze – aka Rebecca Aslaksen – Nothing stops this Fair enthusiast. No food will be left uneaten, no ride unridden. Put a plate before her and she will devour it. Beat: Food & Rides
  • Fairly Odd – aka Dawn Crawford – Fun just got a little funky at the State Fair. Get a backstage look at the music, the best of our state’s produce and livestock and side-shows. Exploring the entertaining, wacky and downright odd parts of the Fair. Beat: Competitions & Entertainment
  • The Wrangler – aka ME! Valentina Garcia Gerdes from Worldview Mother – Armed with sunscreen, family meet-up points and a purse of non-sugary snacks, this mom knows how to make the Fair fun for all ages. Beat: Family Activities & Exhibits

And here is my story of why I want to be a Deep Fried Ambassador:
I’m always looking for awesome adventures with my family. The State Fair holds a treasure of fun, out of the ordinary activities. My goal as The Wrangler blogger for the 2011 NC State Fair blog will be to inspire families to kick-up their heels and venture off the beaten path.

If I didn’t step out of my ordinary suburban life every now and then I would seriously loose my mind. I’m a sucker for all things Americana and I get a nostalgic feeling when I get around the smell of a state fair.

I don’t really know what draws me to seek unique cultural experiences like the state fair. Perhaps it a combination of my Latin roots and coming to the United States at such a young age, but I am drawn to these learning and growing opportunities, especially when it comes to my local community.  As a journalist by nature and trade, I am compelled to help others find out about what is current and happening in their local environment. That’s why I want to be The Wrangler mom and a Deep Fried Ambassador.  And I want to encourage families to venture off their beaten path, to step out of your box and get out of their daily life activities and into something fun and exciting.

I live in Johnston County, in Clayton to be exact, and relocated here from Denver, Colorado just last year. I’m a Latina with Midwest upbringing and a mountain heart.  And I credit my background with my zest for learning through others.
I’ve only lived in North Carolina for a year but already feel like a local. Armed with my new and shiny GPS, my vivacious 5-year-old and my iPhone we ventured out pretty quickly.  Within my first month in the Triangle we had experienced to the Museum of Life and Sciences in Durham, Marbles Children’s Museum and the NC State Farmers Market. Not to mention the beaches!!

People tell me I’m so brave to venture out so quickly but really I’m just curious and want to experience all that North Carolina has to offer. I’m a mom on the go and proud of it.  Plus, as I mentioned before, I would loose my mind if I didn’t learn something new and exciting on a frequent basis.

When you roll up my life experience you’ll find a journalist, a mother, and a socially driven communicator. I can’t wait to be the Deep Fried Ambassodor!! And it’s okay to eat cotton candy for dinner every once in a while. It’s going to be okay.

Get your Marbles on!

Hockey at Marbles

Don’t let being new to a city slow you down let alone intimidate you. I know it’s scary driving around with tots in tow but get a GPS, hop online and search for fun things to do. When I’m new to a town I love to jump in news Websites and Chamber of Commerce sites. You can easily find out what’s going on around town and what family friendly things are going on. Bug Playing hockey at Marbles.

First on my Raleigh agenda is the Marbles Kids Museum.  Before we left Denver a group of my mommy friends from the Website gave us a membership to Marbles. I honestly didn’t have an expectations so bug and I drove there one day to check it out.

All I can say is WOW! This is one heck of a museum. It’s of 3 levels filled with imaginary play, creative play, exploration and movement. I think I fell in love at first site. The entrance is marvelous and it has ample space and you never really feel crowded.

We love every part about it but my son is a sport enthusiast so we spent about 2 hours at mock ice rink that is sponsored by the local hokey team the Hurricanes. There’s also a mini soccer area, dancing, rock climbing, surfing, biking and a mini yoga mats and a mini music station for kids to get their groove on. I also love the attention to the world and other cultures. You know that gives Marbles a thumbs up from me.

If you’re in doubt about Marbles you shouldn’t be. The museum is so much fun and it’s well worth getting a membership. Get out and have some fun!

Making friends is a leap of faith

Beautiful Butterfly

Everyone says it’s so easy to make new friends and perhaps for some people it is, but when you’re in your late 30’s like me, you almost have to take a leap of faith and give it a go.

My adventures in mommy blind dating have been hysterical! From failed play dates to mommy groups that just weren’t my thing. I’ve met people the old fashion way. By networking and trial and error. But honestly, it takes time to meet and make new friends.

There are many ways to meet new friends if you’re new to town. Join a gym, find a meet up, strike up a conversation at the pool and if you’re lucky you’ll have great neighbors. It was when my son started preschool that I started to make friends and since then it’s been great.

Making nuevos amigos is not easy and at times it takes a leap of faith. Jump in and enjoy the ride.