Day Trippin' for the Perfect Summer Treat (and How You Can Have an Awesome Day Trip, Too)
Although I like to be organized and plan ahead for major things like our trip to England, I’m all about spur-of-the-moment day trips.
Living in Asheville, North Carolina offers some major perks as far as having plenty of do within a couple hours’ drive. Whenever we get a hankerin’ for a change of scenery, Ty and I will usually head toward Cherokee or Pigeon Forge. Those tend to be our go-to day trips during the fall and spring months when touristy spots are less crowded. Otherwise, we prefer to lay low in the summertime because, you know . . . people.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but my husband and I have crazy sleep schedules. I don’t even know if you can call it a schedule, really.
Ty works 12-hour night shifts, and he’s off on whatever days he worked the previous week (that means having every other weekend off). As a freelancer, I get to set my own hours. I’m a natural night owl and don’t do mornings unless I’ve been awake all night (then I love mornings!), so I generally end up sleeping whenever my husband does. This means sleeping all day and being up all night, unless we have a day off and want to do something . . . then we have to somehow find a way to be awake during the day.
Sometimes (okay, oftentimes) our typical sleep schedule gets really messed up. Here lately on our days off, we’ve found ourselves getting tired by 5 or 6pm and sleeping until 4am. We’ll wake up feeling rested enough to take on the world – or at least a good breakfast.
This was the case yesterday. We were both wide awake around 4am and decided we should take advantage of being conscious during the early morning hours. After a 15-minute discussion of possible day trip destinations, we settled on The Happy Berry farm in Six Mile, South Carolina.
You’re probably wondering, “why a farm?”
Well, I should admit something. I love figs. Scratch that. I’m a fig addict. If I could eat figs every day for the rest of my life, I’d be a happy girl.
Specifically, I love freshly picked brown turkey figs. The problem? They only grow for a short period of time in late summer. Oh, and they don’t grow in North Carolina. At least not in my neck of the woods.
Ty’s from Texas, and his parents grow figs at their home along with several other fruit varieties. I’d never even tried figs until several years ago when Ty offered me some from his parents’ fig trees. Until that moment, I had no idea what I’d missing all my life.
This late summer treat became the reason I looked forward to the sweltering season, but they were scarce in my home state.
The WNC Farmers Market had them on occasion, brought up from the South Carolina Upstate, but it was always a hit or miss. I had to find a reliable source of these tasty little gems, and that’s how I stumbled upon The Happy Berry a couple years ago. It’s an hour and half drive from our home, but hey, I can have my pick of the figs!
After a tasty breakfast at Asheville’s Biscuit Head, we headed for the state line. Our GPS was drunk, trying to take us down every backroad from here to Pickens County, but we’d been to the farm once before and knew the general route that stuck to the main roads. It’s a lovely drive, so we tuned into Willie’s Roadhouse on Sirius XM and enjoyed the journey. More often than not, the road trip is half the fun!
The farm is easy to drive to – if not a bit off the beaten path – but once you’re there if feels like another world altogether. There are acres upon acres of fig trees, blackberry bushes, blueberry plants, and muscadine grape vines. Ty had his eye on the blackberry bushes, but I was there for one thing.
Since we’d left home so early, the temperature only reached about 85 degrees while we were at the farm, but South Carolina is humid and we worked up quite a sweat. We even climbed a steep hill at the promise of sweeter blackberries at the far end of the farm. I’m still not sure how I managed that since me and heat are not old friends, and I generally prefer to pass the summer inside with the AC on full blast.
After an hour of picking in the hot sun, taking a wrong turn in a maze of fruit bushes, and having to cut through a blueberry hedge to have our spoils weighed, we were out of breath and drenched in sweat, but it was so worth it! More than that, I had a blast. It was one of those perfect spontaneous summer days I live for.
Tips for an Awesome Day Trip
I’ve read tips on pulling off successful day trips by people who say to plan ahead, stay organized, and pack everything but the kitchen sink in order to anticipate every need, but that’s not what I’d suggest. Day trips, for me anyway, are about spontaneity. Let loose and enjoy yourself!
1. Don’t Plan Ahead
You’ve probably got a few destinations in mind, and a general idea of when a day trip might be feasible, but don’t plan the day down to every last detail. See where the trip takes you! Some of the best trips are only planned when you wake up that morning and decide to go somewhere.
2. Bring Only the Essentials
Don’t pack for a long trip. In fact, don’t pack at all. My purse, some cash, a pack of hand wipes (since I knew we’d be picking sticky fruit), and a bottle of water were enough for our drive to South Carolina and back. We ate at local restaurants instead of picnicking or bringing snacks, so there was even less to bring.
3. Take a Detour
On our way back from the farm, we took a detour to Greenville and drove through downtown. It was nearly 95 degrees by this time, so we didn’t get out of the car to walk around, but now we know exactly what day trip we want to take in the fall when the weather is cooler!
It’s a short list, but the whole point of the day trip is to keep it simple. Rather than spend your next day off running errands or relaxing at home, why not give the day trip a go? Ty and I have made some of our best memories with these spur-of-the-moment trips, which is reason enough for doing them.
Oh, and did I mention figs?!