Breakdown brings bonus adventures in North Carolina

Colorful language filled the cabin when our motorhome lost its oomph on the southern Appalachians of North Carolina early in June. Thankfully, we planned more than an extra week into our Outer Banks trip. So, while a visit to the Biltmore and its wine-tasting room was already on the agenda, bonus adventures made possible by the breakdown included discovery of an excellent coach care facility, a great little brewery, a nearby greenway and more!

The Biltmore

Asheville, North Carolina

The model railroad exhibit at the Biltmore is fantastic and all made out of natural objects, like sticks and stones,, bark, mushrooms, acorns, moss and other things.
Yes, we need training…but the model railroad village is fabulous! See our YouTube video here!

We wanted at least one full day to explore the Biltmore, and now we know that two or more would have been better! Besides the house and outbuildings, there is a whole village to explore, as well as bicycle trails all over the place. Heck, maybe a full week here would be spectacular! Here’s a little video of their spectacular model railroad village, just for fun.

We decided to stay outside the city, at Cove Creek RV Park. We barely fit our big rig through her young entry trees, though, so future visits might be impossible for us, unless some helpful soul talks her into removing them. After sweating the entry, we thought we’d get stuck in the park, but we actually made it around the park and into site #1 just fine, with no problems and no damage. Cove Creek was beautiful, clean and quiet. Before departure, we drove two or three miles farther up the rural road to a farm stand advertised back at the intersection in town. We arrived too late in the morning for tomatoes, darn it, but she did give us some delicious micro greens for only $1. They made it more than worth the two-mile drive! It was a cute little farm, too.

Large motorhome next to big tree.
Spot #1 at Cove Creek, a beautiful, clean and quiet park.

Cove Creek RV Park
1784 Davis Town Church Road, Old Fort NC.
GPS: 35.56387, -8218116

After enjoying the small selection of Biltmore photos, keep scrolling for the bonus adventures made possible by our loss of oomph!

gargoyle or grotesque of hooded man with chin in hand

Back of stone mansion with a couple gargoyles at top, a row of 8 plain concrete scuppers and four downspouts.
The back of the mansion is almost plain compared to the front, but there are a few gargoyles, and although the main scuppers are plain, downspouts sport decorative straps and end in wide-mouthed, fishy-looking copper gargoyles. My camera wouldn’t zoom far enough, but I found an image of it on Pinterest.

gargoyle or grotesque of critter with wings and bulbous checks and boobs under which it holds a shield

gargoyle or grotesque of man with horns, big ears and a beard. He wears a roman robe with one breast exposed

gargoyle or grotesque of man playing squeeze box and lips are puckers as if whistling or singing an ooh sound


Highly decorated room circa 1930s, with embellished shields and scrolls on the cornices and rich mahogany wood-framed walls.
Ornate carvings and embellishments decorate every surface throughout the Biltmore Estate, even on walls and woodwork.
Wooden, two-lane bowling alley in a narrow white hallway.
Boredom is just not an option at the Biltmore.
purple flowers hanging into oval frame within a trellis of wood slats in a diamond weave pattern.
Purple clematis peeks out on one of many lush garden areas at the Biltmore.
orchid face, light green mug and white hat with green stripes
A multitude of flowers thrive at the Biltmore Estate.
Organ pipes high up in a domed alcove with carved Biblical scenes full of people underneath.
Besides ornate artwork on almost every surface, amenities at the Biltmore also include a pipe organ.
twin high back chairs featuring ornate artwork, almost like gargoyles carved into the wood, with golden yellow jacquard fabric backs and seats
Yet another example of the ornate artwork found at the Biltmore.
Ceiling of wood framed glass panes in a spider web like dome
Imagine luncheon with warm winter sunshine pouring through the roof and into the winter sitting room.

Halloween scene with black cat in full moon and twin dormer windows, one with man and guitar, the other with a smiling woman
Even the basement features artwork at the Biltmore. This is where the Halloween parties are located.

Near Raleigh, North Carolina

Weather was rather warm and humid, but not too bad for this western mountain gal – except for bicycling days. Note to self: Bring more cold water to drink and a bag of wet towels to cool off with after the ride, maybe even a bucket full of ice water. Ugh.

two jars of jam, one is Frog Jam the other is toe jam
Bonus find! These jams are so good! Discover them right near the Cummins shop at Ronnie’s Country Store, 280 US Highway 701 S
Four Oaks, NC 27524. Call them at (919) 989-3045‬

Cummins Atlantic, in Kenly, is where we parked our coach for service, and just in time, too. I walked outside to see if Stu needed help with the hookups and found the beginnings of a puddle under the radiator. They provided excellent customer service and had us in and out in plenty of time to make it to the Outer Banks for some family fun time with one of three sets of grandchildren. There are pedestals with electric and water, a dump and a propane fill. Their RV customer lounge and bathroom/shower could have been cleaner and better stocked, but there was a washer and dryer available, and the wi-fi was fantastic from in there. All in all, a great place if one breaks down, especially since it’s so close to a greenway! Cummins Atlantic, located at 350 Cummins Drive, Kenly, NC 27542. Call them at (919)284-9111.

The Neuse Greenway

This beautiful greenway is a wide, well maintained, paved multi-use trail on the east side of Raleigh NC. Since the miles of greenway are so well maintained, the disrespect shown by the many people who trash the parking areas and leave their disgusting filth in the few and far-between restrooms. One restroom even had tubs of disinfectant wipes in each stall, but people still disrespected it. Another restroom reeked of urine, as if no one mops or cleans it very often…even after noon on a Monday…sad.

Parking highlights

North of Raleigh
Buffaloe Road Athletic Park
5812 Buffaloe Rd, Raleigh, NC 27616

Yes, that spelling is unusual. The first parking lot has restrooms, a playground and shady area with picnic tables.

Anderson Point Park
20 Anderson Point Dr, Raleigh, NC 27610
Restrooms, a picnic pavilion and a couple shaded parking sites at midday. There is also a greenway parking area before crossing the bridge to the park, but I overheard a bicyclist telling his companions about how someone smashed car windows recently. He left his windows down. “It’s plain to see, there’s nothing to steal in there,” he said.

North of Sam’s Branch
This lot has no restroom facilities, but it’s a nice place to park.
3241 Auburn Knightdale Rd, Raleigh, NC 27610

Sam’s Branch Greenway
Approx locations on Apple Maps: 1200 N Oneil St., Clayton, NC 27520

There is a port-a-potty here, but we did not stay, since the trail was closed nearby due to construction. Hopefully they are done soon, because it’s perfectly situated near Deep River Brewing, which just so happens to share their business locale with a bicycle shop. The brewery was open with food wagon and music at about 4 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays, and earlier on Sundays, which were Yoga and Pizza days.

Good Eats

two white oval platters, one with fish and chips, the other with fish tacos and rice pilaf
Fish tacos or fish and chips, both are great! Are we stuck on the same menu items almost everywhere we go? LOL
two glasses of dark beer sit in front of man's bright orange T-shirt and a black sun visor with Cummins logo
Deep River Brewing has great beer selections! And it’s just steps away from the Sam’s Branch Greenway!

Two brewpubs quenched our never-ending search for satisfactory porters and stouts, Deep River Brewing, which features food trucks and live music late Thursday through Sunday afternoons, and Carolina Ale House, where  fishy delights pair well with local stout.


Other attractions we visited:

Hinnant Family Vineyards in Kenly
We actually found their muscadine wines too sweet for our tastes, but they did have other options in their fun little shop. Instead of a paid tasting, we each just ordered one glass, and the hostess graciously provided sips beforehand to help us decide which one to try.

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