For this year’s summer travel, we headed west, western North Carolina that is. One of this Allergic Traveler’s mantras is to visit a new place every year. It does not matter if it is 25 miles away or 25000 miles away. I believe we can always learn and appreciate new things when we venture outside of our cocoon. We try to venture to unfamiliar places every year. The idea behind this is that you never know what you will take back with you. It could be a breathtaking view, a delicious recipe or adopting a new custom.
This year’s destination was Maggie Valley, NC. We headed here specifically for the Slingshots in the Smokies convention. It sits in the far west corner of the state of North Carolina. Maggie Valley is just down the street from Tennessee. It would be our launching point to the Tail of the Dragon. My husband and I own a Polaris Slingshot, which is a 3-wheel auto-cycle. We were very much looking forward to a respite from the heat. Maggie Valley sits right in the Smokies. The weather is refreshing from the heat of central North Carolina.
We packed our bags and strapped them strategically to the bike. They had to be attached tightly as to not fly off. The next challenge was to pack the cooler carefully. Ridding in the open air can be quite hot. There is no air conditioning so it is important to keep food and meds temperature controlled. This can obviously be challenging when it is 95F (35C) out. As we were heading out in the rain, we put our rain suits on and hoped for the best. We were headed to Asheville, NC for the night and then onto Maggie Valley. If you have not been to Asheville, I highly recommend it. The city is known for its restaurateurs and how it accommodates to special diets.
By the time we got to Asheville, we were soaked. As were our clothes and food. We unpacked and headed straight for Tupelo Honey. This is a GREAT restaurant! It was my first time eating at this location. They also have one in Charlotte, which I have been to. They handle food allergies beautifully. My meal happened to be gluten free ( I am not) as well as nut free, garlic free, celery free, egg free, etc! It was delicious. It gave me some innovative ideas to try and replicate at home.
The next morning, we headed to Maggie Valley, again in the rain. By the time we checked in, we were soaked again. We were there to ride the Tail of the Dragon, but we could not. It rained for 3 days. Hey – at least there was no heat! We spent a few days venturing around the town, checking out the shops and socializing with other Sling shot owners. By day 3, we all had cabin fever.
The Sun Came out!
On the fourth day, we saw the sun. Drivers united and hit the road to explore the Smokies. We spent 8 hours driving winding roads. My husband and I rode the Tail of the Dragon, Deals Gap and across the Cherokee Skyway. The twists and turns on these roads are comparable to any of the great roller coasters in your favorite amusement park. The Tailof the Dragon has 318 turns in 11 miles!
We saw animals galore. Deer, turtles, wild turkeys and snakes to name a few.
When lunch time hit, we had packed some snacks and were able to stop at the side of a mountain to take in the views. Eventually we ran out of snacks, and then we simply stopped in at the local grocery store to reload.
It was time to hit the road again and head home. Guess what was waiting for us? More rain! I had to go though because we had to be in Winston-Salem for the Gluten Free & Allergy Free Show.
All in all, it was a great trip. I would highly recommend the area if you like the great outdoors. Maybe plan better than we did though and order some sun!
Safe travels. Where are you heading this summer? Tell us for a chance to win a surprise snack pack. Simply share this post on any social media site and comment. Good luck! Winners will be announced Aug 31.
Author: Tarah Jakubiak
After working for 20 years in the corporate world, Tarah Jakubiak founded Allergic Traveler. Jakubiak, president of Allergic Traveler has traveled the world since the age of two. She has been to 24 countries and 26 states. Jakubiak has been to all inclusives, gone on cruises, gone camping; backpacking through Europe, gone to the big cities, and little hidden gems. She has multiple food allergies but it does not stop her from seeing the world. Jakubiak is allergic to eggs, nuts, mushroom, soy, garlic, corn, sesame, potatoes, celery, shellfish, chicken, pork, peanuts, and many fruits. She is originally from Montreal, Quebec and now lives in Greensboro, NC with her husband.