Road Trip to Asheville: “Bring Your Happiness With You”
By Kamille D. Whittaker,
I was sitting cross-legged in Triangle Park in the historic “Block” district of Asheville, NC; soaking in the sun at high noon on a near perfect day. My backdrop, over 270 linear feet of mural paintings and mosaics commandeered by an upwelling of local artists, community volunteers and $60,000 of community reinvestment into “The Block.” Each stroke depicted a swath of downtown Asheville’s historic African-American business district and surrounding Valley Street/East-End neighborhoods as an area that remained the cultural and economic center from the time of Reconstruction until the near present. Triangle Park is a remnant of this era, where people who grew up around Valley Street still gather and fellowship.
The park was quiet that Friday afternoon. On a bench, with the murals as a backdrop, a young artist was sketching – feverishly — something in his visual field or mind. I let him be. Instead, I took up conversation with Ivan, a horticulturist who I saw had stopped to rest under a nearby tree. A military brat, the son of a German and African was world-traveled and considered Decatur, Ga, one of his many homes. Second to Asheville.
Like old friends, we talked about travel, foodways, and local artisans, and settled in on beginnings and endings and the natural desire to preserve the novelty of good experiences and suspend them in time.
I told him about my stay at the Omni Grove Park Inn, a stone laden expanse that is chiseled into the side of a mountain with terraces that have front seat views to the prerogatives of the sun and clouds. It sits on the other side of a cradled valley that the Blue Ridge Mountains gently flank in the distance.
With rooms that front nature on all sides, it’s designed to always keep you in close proximity to the elements – whether you’re dining al fresco at Edison’s Craft and Ales + Kitchen, named for Thomas Edison’s frequent visits, hiking the sunset nature trail in the healing, clean mountain air or steaming with eucalyptus in the cavernous spa.
When you travel well, you tune into all the senses, is what scent sommelier Kelly, of Kelly & Jones – Eau de Parfum reiterated during our blending session in the Buick Sensory Lounge. We mixed Osmanthus and Fig with a Shea-based body oil for a signature scent. The blend, called “Tea Leaves,” was reminiscent of the aromatic warmth of Bergamot and Basil stirred by memories of both; memories, I can wear on my skin wherever I went.
“Bring your happiness with you,” Ivan and I concluded, as our parting mantra.
Indeed, I was on my way home, wearing the scents of Asheville on me; bringing the close to a road trip that distilled wellness in such a way that centers you from beginning to end. A holistic approach to well-being that begins and ends in your vehicle, the 2017 Buick LaCrosse has all senses comfortably connected and considered.
Just like the ride to Asheville, the ride back was an incredibly quiet, relaxing and reflective driving experience with every need anticipated – spa-like. Innovative acoustics and noise cancellation detected and neutralized unwanted sounds, and helped absorb road noise before it had the chance to reach my ears. I only heard precisely what I wanted to hear with the built-in 4G WiFi activated the whole way and Buick IntelliLink indulged me with my favorite sounds, all the while helping me text, and get directions just by using my voice.
In queue, were three meditative wellness podcasts to make efficient use of the 198-mile scenic sojourn to and from Asheville and Atlanta. I lingered the longest on the “Cabral Concept,” in which Dr. Stephen Cabral, a naturopathic, Ayurvedic and functional medicine doctor addresses all things wellness from motivation to mindfulness. The Head-Up Display that projects information onto the windshield and the gentle seat vibrations did all the heavy lifting so I could stay focused on the road ahead, making possible only fluid and deliberate movements. After a short while, when it essentially said to “be still” and stay in your lane with its signals and nudges, you combine it with your own intuition, and learn to trust it and get in the flow.
When combined with the moon-white ambient lighting and heated massage seats that can go the distance … traveling well – literally enveloped in high quality details and design — becomes the expectation; generating euphoric impressions — and happiness — that lingers and can be brought with you; wherever you go. AT
Well-Being and Quietness Activities at
The Omni Grove Park Inn:
Stroll the Sunset Trail
The hiking trail — originally opened in 1913 — travels up Sunset Mountain and into the wildlife terrain of the western North Carolina mountains
A relaxed environment to enjoy light and nourishing house made juice, smoothies, healthy breakfasts, salads, sandwiches and wraps.
Spa Pools and Day Passes
Take time for yourself and enjoy the spas relaxation pools, exhilarating contrast pools, a lap pool, an inhalation room, a sauna, and a eucalyptus infused steam room; or simply relax, sip herbal teas.
Sign up for Gentle Yoga or Subtle yoga to get started. Or for a greater challenge, try Flow Yoga.
On the Road Again …
Bend the contours of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the LaCrosse and experience exquisite and nimble road handling.
Picnic on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Spread your blanket on the grass or tailgate at any of the many overlooks and soak in the view.
Historic Biltmore Village
A bustling, contemporary shopping and culinary destination for foodies and friends.
Established in 1999, ScreenDoor offers 25,000 square feet of unique home and garden accessories and antiques from more than 100 vendors.