Ski Beech Mountain Resort: Great for Family Ski Trip near Atlanta

Ski Beech Mountain with Kids: Beech Mountain Resort, NC

Beech Mountain Resort is one of the popular ski resorts in North Carolina that is within driving distance from Atlanta. Our family loves to go skiing. But living in the Southeast makes it more difficult and less ideal to have family ski trip on a regular basis. So we took opportunity on skiing in North Carolina area as much as we can. Ski Beech Mountain is a good option for family ski trip from Atlanta area.

Quaint Ski Village atop Beech Mountain


Ski Beech Mountain with Kids: Beech Mountain Town, NC


Beech Mountain town which is named ‘Eastern America’s Highest Town’ is a picturesque town with snow covered trees lining the road leading up the mountain. It truly feels like a winter wonderland once we have reach the top of the mountain. This small town offers not just a great winter getaway with snow sports like skiing or snowboarding but also other activities like snowshoeing and sledding hill.

Ski Fun for Kids and First Timer


Ski Beech Mountain with Kids: Beech Mountain Ski resort

Ski at Beech Mountain resort is fun especially those who ski for the first time or still learning how to ski. (ahem.. like myself). The short slope allows me to be able to slowly make my way downhill without the fear of getting stuck on the trail. We were lucky to ski on such a beautiful day or as our mountain host said ‘It’s a 4 or 5 golf balls day’.

Ski Beech Mountain with Kids: Beech Mountain Resort, NC

The perfect temperature on the sunny day provides us the beautiful blue sky with clear view. Mr. Z and I were part of the media group after filled out the form we were suited up with our ski boots and ski in no time. I would think that during the holiday weekend it will probably be busier than this. Plan to arrive early to beat the crowd.

Ski Beech Mountain with Kids- Ski rental

Miss J and Mr. Rojo arrived later but still early enough to be one of the first one to purchase lift tickets so they didn’t have to wait long to get their ski rental before they were on their way up the lift to the green slope.

Mr. Z and I signed up for a semi-private lesson for one hour. It was a good review on what to do for me since this was our first ski of the season. We stayed at the school yard area and used the J-bar to get up the hill for practice a few times for our turns and stops. In the future, I will probably enroll in private lesson for Mr. Z because his skill is clearly outpace me (thanks to ski school at Keystone resort last year) and he felt that it was something he has already known. It would probably be more beneficial if the coach will take him on the real slope for a more challenging lesson.

The school yard area is not only for skiers in class but beginners can also use the bunny slope to learn and get acquainted to ski. I like the fact that they have 2 separate lines for J-bar. One for people in class since they have limited time so it allows them to move along much faster than if everyone wait in line.

Food Options at Beech Mountain


Ski Beech Mountain with Kids: Fred's restaurant

The Alpine Village in Beech Mountain resort provides a few options for dining from cafeteria style at the View Haus where you can get a quick bite or sit down style at the Beech Tree bar and grill that provide the full menu option for those who look for a break after a long day of skiing.

Also if you are willing to drive, just right outside the entrance of Beech Mountain resort is the Famous Fast Eddie’s Chicago style hot dogs & deli that offers authentic Chicago style hot dog. Or for a bit longer drive (no more than 5 more minutes), Fred’s Backside deli offers lunch menu as well. We truly love their breakfast. It’s a great way to start the day.

For more budget-friendly option, you can also pack lunch to save both time and money. Also check out our tips on ways to save on family ski trip.

Overall, we had a great ski trip and already plan to go back again over the long weekend. It’s not ideal for experienced skiers looking for more challenges but it’s perfect for this scary cat skier. :)

 Do you plan to go skiing this season? Where will you go?

Thank you Beech Mountain for providing our family with complimentary accommodation and ski tickets during our stay.

Our Family Travel in 2012

Family Travel: Stone Mountain Park Atlanta

Happy New Year 2013

My favorite post that I love to write each year and I have been consistently keeping it up for all 4 years of blogging is our family travel year end review post. With a lack of posting in the past few months, it’s surprising for me to see that we have done quite a few adventures this year. I can’t say enough of how bless we feel to be able to afford the chances to explore the world with our family. I hope you will find this post not as a bragging on ‘hey-see-where-I-go’ but more of an inspiration to create your own family adventures with your family.

JAN: Appalachian Ski Trip, Blowing Rock, NC


Family Travel: Appalachian Ski with Kids

We continued our ski-bug-bite from the previous year trip to Keystone resort with family ski trip with a group of friends to Appalachian Ski resort in North Carolina. The ski resort is nothing compared to the Colorado mountain but it’s the companionship that made the trip. Kids enjoyed playing in the snow when we got snowed in for a day and had a blast on the slopes the next day. It’s a great alternative for us to get some ski time near Atlanta area.

FEB: Cataloochee Ski Trip, Maggie Valley, NC


Family Travel: Cattaloochee Ski with kids

Yet another short ski trip from Atlanta to satisfy the kids new favorite sport. For a beginner in skiing, the Cattaloochee ski resort in North Carolina area is perfect for us. The within-driving distance from Atlanta, low-key ski resort, more affordable lift ticket and ski rental are great for us to learn how to master our skill after learning from Keystone Ski school. But we know eventually we will need to plan a proper ski trip out West or even further up North for them to enjoy. But this trip was yet another successful fun trip for them. It goes to show that traveling with kids doesn’t have to be fancy.

MAR: Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta, GA


Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta with Kids

In March, we explored our own backyard and checked out the newly opened Legoland Discovery Center in Atlanta. With a boy whose currently toys collection consisted of only LEGO, it was beyond happy for Mr. Z.

APR: Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL


Disney with Kids- Disney's Art of Animation Resort: Playground

This month, we were invited to attend Disney Social Media Mom celebration in Disney World and got a chance to get a sneak peek at their new Disney’s Art of Animation resort, a great new addition to Walt Disney World resort that we plan to stay on our next trip.

APR: Stone Mountain, Atlanta, GA


Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta with Kids

During Spring break, we stayed in town and visited Stone Mountain park to check out their new attraction, the Geyser Towers. Kids had fun on the hot day.

JUN: Month long visit to Thailand


Phuket with Kids, Phuket, Thailand

The summer of 2012, we spent 2 months in Thailand with my family. It will take us a while to write about our visit. We took several side trips from Bangkok to Hua Hin, Rayong, Phuket and Ayutthaya. It was one of the highlight for us to be able to spend a big chunk of time with cousins and relatives.

JUL: Hong Kong


Family Travel: Hong Kong with Kids

With our long stay in Thailand, we took advantage of cheap airfare from Air Asia and went to Hong Kong for a few days. We explored the island slowly and enjoyed our time walking, eating and sightseeing.

JUL: Singapore


Family Travel: Singapore with Kids

On our way back from Thailand, we had a stopover in Singapore for a few days. My family flew there with us and we had a great time checking out Universal Studio Singapore and eating chilli crab. It was a short yet sweet trip for us to end our summer in Asia.

SEP: Anniversary trip to Savannah, GA


Trip to Savannah, Georgia

We escaped for a couple trip to Savannah to celebrate our anniversary. I fell in love with this historic mossy town. We plan to bring the kids back with us later this year. After all, Miss J is a girl scout so she has been asking about a visit to Savannah for a while.

After that, we have been staying put in town. I guess the months long trip to Asia has done it for us. It makes me realized that I love to travel but I also love to be home in my own bed, taking my dog for a walk and having coffee with my friends. So the last quarter of the year was all about friends and parties.

It has been yet another blessed year for us that we can continue to pursue our love of travel and adventures with our children.

So here come 2013, we are excited to the new adventures. What are you most exciting about your 2013 plan?


And if you have free time, you can check out our family travel in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.


Family Ski Vacation in North Carolina @ Appalachian Ski Mountain

Family Ski Trip Appalachian Mountain North Carolina

After our first ever family skip trip to Keystone Resort, our family is hooked to this new winter sport. However, it’s hard for us to find a good ski resorts within driving distance to Atlanta. I did a little search and found that there are several ski areas near Atlanta that we can drive up over a weekend. So the plan was in motion to go for another ski trip.

We were fully aware that the snow, the trails or even the facility will not be anywhere near what we had experienced in Keystone like my friend, Kristin mentioned on her blog :) . But as beginner skiers, we just want to learn the art and skill of skiing at this time. Appalachian Ski Mountain is located in Blowing Rock, North Carolina about 5 hours drive from Atlanta, not too bad for a long weekend.

More Fun with More Friends

Appalachian Family Ski Trip with kids

This trip we planned it with a group of friends that have kids similar in ages to Miss J and Mr. Z. Traveling or planning a trip with group of friends can help save on family ski vacation and kids will have instant playmates.

We had enough in our group to even get the discount group rate for our ski lift tickets and rentals. Another bonus of group traveling.

Cabin Stay in the Snow

Appalachian Family Ski Trip Cabin Rental

There were different types of accommodations available in Appalachian area. Most popular ones are cabin rentals or hotel stay. We chose to rent a cabin since it can accommodate all of us and we had extra space for kids to hang out and play.

Kitchen was a center of our action during our whole stay. We cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner all throughout our stay. With a bit of pre-trip planning, each family just had to prepare minimum about of work and it was more fun cooking with friends.

Appalachian Family Ski Trip Snow Falling

We were lucky to get snow the night we arrived. Kids couldn’t dress up in layer fast enough to enjoy the snow flake and play outside.

Appalachian Family Ski Trip Snow

In the morning, we woke up to several inches of fresh, untouched, white snow surrounding our cabin and covering our driveway. Here’s where we learned one valuable lesson in choosing a cabin rental (make sure that the driveway is not too steep to get in and out during snow or properly maintain with salt & gravel) or preparing for staying in a cabin rental during winter. Living in Atlanta, we don’t have to worry about snow tire or anything in that nature. So we were quite unprepared to handle this situation. We ended up stuck inside the house half a day before we could go anywhere.

Appalachian Family Ski Trip Snow Fort

But it’s not exactly a big problem for us or the kids. There were fun things to do all around the house in the snow. They built a fort, had a snow ball fight, sled down the hill and enjoyed time together.

The Appalachian Ski Mountain Experience

Our cabin was only a few minutes from the Appalachian Ski mountain entrance. So it was a quick hop in the car to start our day at the ski area.

Appalachian Family Ski Vacation with kids

The rental process for group rental was very efficient and fast. A coordinator gave us a quick overview and provided our group with lift ticket. After a few minutes, we were off to get our ski rental gears.

I loved the fact that there were plenty of staffs to help direct people to where they need to be. Many instructors even helped us out to put our ski boot on. With many kids on our trip, some of them took a basic lesson to refresh their learning and some headed to the magic carpet.

Family Ski Trip Appalachian Mountain View

There are not many choices for the trails if you are an expert who frequent much higher elevation slopes in the West or the Colorado mountain but it’s sufficient for first time skiers family especially for kids. We (ok.. *I*) stick to the only slope I could manage while Mr. Rojo and our friend who is more experience skier than us took the kids to try out different slopes.

We spent the whole day there and lunch time was a challenge. We didn’t pack lunch as we should so the line was long but moved at the reasonable speed. After several more runs on the trail, it was time to say goodbye to the slope.

Family Ski Trip Appalachian Mountain Kids Skiing

Kids had a wonderful time partly because they had many friends to share their fun experience with. I would be lying if I say I hardly compare this family ski experience with our family ski trip in Colorado. But knowing that this experience provided us with different experience and allowed us to improve our skill within a budget, I’m okay with that.

We actually planned another trip to try out another ski resort in North Carolina soon.

Here are family ski vacation tips we learned from our trip:

  • If your schedule allows, try to ski on non-holiday and non-weekend day. We went during MLK day and ski on Monday and got a great discount in addition to our group rate.
  • Choose your accommodation wisely. Check to make sure that you can get in and out of your cabin during snow. There are hotels in Boone area which is about 15 minutes drive from Appalachian Ski mountain.
  • Pack your own lunch to avoid paying steep price for food.
  • If you plan to buy food, eat early or later than normal lunch time.
  • Enjoy!!!

So have you been to Appalachian Ski Mountain in North Carolina? Any tips you would like to share?

Asheville With Kids: Step Back in Time @ Mast General Store

Asheville with kids Mast General Store Sign

With all the posts I have written about fun things to do with kids in Asheville, great place to eat with kids and family-friendly hotels to stay, you will think that I work for Asheville Tourism.

But I guess when you travel, there will always be a few destinations or places that tug at you more than any others and Asheville is the place for me.

This small town just keeps surprised me in every corner from the fun coffee bus to cool downtown.

Another Discovery in Asheville at Mast General Store

Asheville with kids Mast General Store Cash register

I stole a quick afternoon between sessions during Type A Mom conference to have coffee & desserts with my family. As we walked along the Biltmore Avenue to work out those calories and passed the front of The Mast General Store, we could hear the call to check out this time capsule store.

Once we opened the door and took in the scene, I felt like we had stepped back in time. The time where life was simpler and the time where this store would be the place to shop for all things from old-fashioned candies, clothing, classic toys to home decoration.

Kids-Friendly Section: Candies, Toys and Drinks

Asheville with kids Mast General Store Candies

It didn’t take long for the kids to sniff out the candies section. Rows of barrels filled to the brim with different kind of old-fashioned candies created a small section in the store that kids or even adults couldn’t contain their excitement.

Asheville with kids Mast General Store Toy

Next to candy lane we saw toys – classic toys like when we were kids – on display. For many young kids, this might not be a cool toy section with no PSP or Nintendo DS in sight. However, we spotted our beloved pull dog that was passing down from Mr. Rojo to them. Now 30 Years later, we saw the exact same toy in store, on the shelf and brand new in box.

Asheville with kids Mast General Store Drinks

As if, the toys and the candies weren’t enough to keep them happy, the cooler in the back filled with classic drinks would most definitely push it to the top. Miss J was so excited to be able to drink her A&W root beer straight from the bottle, a passage that proved that she is no longer a baby but big kid! Mr. Rojo was elated to find RC drink from his old days.

And if you are not into toys, candies or cold drinks (which I don’t know why NOT), there were home decoration and clothing section for you to browse.

I have to say I didn’t expect us to enjoy a quick visit to the Mast General Store as much as we did. It was a great quick stop to revisit our past and to see how much we as a society have changed or remained the same. In the end, kids no matter in what era still love candies and toys. There is no dispute!

Check out other travelers Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.

Asheville With Kids: Cookies & Coffee on the Double Deck Bus

Asheville with kids Double Decker Coffee Bus

There is no word to describe the excitement of Miss J and Mr. Z as their eyes glazed across the street to the double deck bus while we were waiting at the traffic light during our walk in downtown Asheville. They didn’t know what to think of it. They didn’t know they could actually go inside and order drinks or snacks.

But as soon as we stopped and headed into this little sanctuary – the Double D’s Coffee & Desserts, they were ecstatic.

Asheville with kids Double Decker Coffee Get in

The Double D’s Coffee & Desserts is a renovated retired bus from the British public transit that provide a fun family-friendly environment with a twist. This place is a great addition to a town that already fills with great places to eat or as I claim a foodie heaven town.

Miss J couldn’t wait to get inside and inspect the whole bus.

Asheville with kids Double Decker Coffee Menu

As we stepped in, we were greeted with the stairs leading us up to the upper deck. After we ordered our desserts without coffee because we didn’t have enough cash (so bring CASH), the kids were already upstairs and waited in one of the chalkboard table.

Asheville with kids Double Decker Coffee Stairs

The interior is nicely decorated with fun whimsical touch. There are about 6 tables in the main area and then the front row seat where we enjoyed watching people walking by along the Biltmore Avenue.

Asheville with kids Double Decker Coffee Upper Deck

For a family who plan to visit Asheville with kids, I would recommend spend a leisure afternoon at this quirky and fun coffee place. The menu is extensive with organic fair-trade coffee and desserts. It’s also good to know that they also provide free wifi just in case you want to work. It’s a great fun family friendly environment. But one downside, there is no bathroom on premise. So expect this to be a short visit.

Family Tips:

  • Bring cash or check
  • There is seating area outside around the bus so parent with stroller can also enjoy a cup of joe outside
  • There is no restroom on premise so plan accordingly

Hop to WanderFood Wednesday to see other food related post from travelers around the world

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