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A Drivable Vacation Destination

Owner of Pure Star Travel describes a five-day, four-night trip to The Omni Grove Park Inn in North Carolina.

After the COVID-19 pandemic this spring, many are questioning summer travel and whether or not they should keep their current vacation plans– or possibly even make new ones. Although some feel more comfortable staying home this year, others in the community feel OK about traveling these next few months as long as certain precautions are taken. 

Raquel Jalou Orow, owner of Pure Star Travel in Troy, has planned several drivable trips this summer, including one to The Omni Grove Park Inn, a historical hotel in Asheville, North Carolina.

“There’s so much we can offer to our children and family by just getting in a car and driving, and right now, that’s probably our best bet as far as what the CDC wants us to do,” Orow said back in May. “I’m not comfortable telling someone to go on an airplane yet, so, instead, I planned out enjoyable trips for families that are not only drivable but ones where they won’t have to be exposed to other people.”

The Omni Grove Park Inn has been serving guests, including celebrities like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Helen Keller and Jerry Seinfield, with both classic comfort and modern convenience for over a century. It’s known for its tradition of southern hospitality amidst the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Whether escaping for a romantic getaway, retreating for rest and relaxation or looking for a family-friendly vacation, The Omni Grove Park Inn prides itself as being the “ultimate Asheville, North Carolina destination with special packages that will fit all lifestyles,” and this includes those with dogs. According to, “Registered resort pet guests are welcome at The Omni Grove Park Inn. Pet rooms are limited and are based on availability.”

“We all need a break from being trapped home, and this is one creative way to get out in the world while still saying safe,” Orow explained.

Orow said she has been traveling to The Omni Grove Park Inn every August for the last three years. Her favorite thing to do is just sitting on the open patio and taking in all the beautiful scenery. She also loves the fireplace inside the hotel as there are rocking chairs that guests can sit on and get cozy by the fire before calling it a night.

Here’s what she has planned for the five-day, four-night vacation:

  • Day 1: Check into The Omni Grove Park Inn around 4 p.m. Walk the grounds and take in the breathtaking views. Enjoy dinner at the Sunset Terrace, which features the finest premier chops, hand-cut steaks and fresh seafood. After dinner, head to the patio for a nightcap and more beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

  • Day 2: Enjoy a full day of peace and relaxation at the hotel’s unique subterranean spa. Pamper yourself with any of the Blue Ridge massage treatments offered. Find yourself submerging in any of the mineral based pools while glancing at the beautiful arches and tunnels of rock that make up the breathtaking facility.

  • Day 3: Breakfast at Biscuit Head (subject to COVID-19 guidelines). Tour the historical and famous Biltmore House that was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II in 1889 and is currently the largest privately-owned house in the US, followed by another tour of its grounds and winery (also subject to COVID-19 guidelines). (Cool fact: the 1994 family comedy “Richie Rich” was filmed here!).

  • Day 4: Take a ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy the views and hiking trails. Stop at Pisgah National Forest to explore waterfalls and some of the region’s best hiking trails. Head back to the hotel for an early dinner at Edison where you can experience the best local southern ingredients and the best craft ales. End your night with some singing, laughing and dancing entertainment that the hotel has to offer at its dueling piano bar, Elaine’s.

The Omni Grove Park Inn sits on 150 acres about 2,000 feet above sea level. It’s address is 290 Macon Avenue in Asheville, North Carolina; from Downtown Birmingham, it will be about a 10-hour drive.

“Start early morning when the sun rises, and that way it will put you at a decent arrival time into Asheville,” Orow said.

She encouraged road trippers to stop and stretch their legs in Lexington, Kentucky at Ashland - The Henry Clay Estate, the homeplace of politician, farmer, lawyer and “Kentucky’s Favorite Son.” Although the museum may still be closed because of the coronavirus, Orow said the grounds, specifically a beautiful garden, will be open for travelers to walk through and take photos– as long as social distancing is being practiced.

Orow has been married for 17 years and was a stay-at-home mother to three beautiful children until her family and friends began calling her, asking where they should go on vacation. 

“One night two years ago over some wine, my cousin told me that I was missing my calling,” Orow explained. “I took her advice, and here I am today. I didn’t travel much as a child, but my husband and I took our first trip to Hawaii on our honeymoon, and then three months later, we went back. We have not stopped traveling since then. Every three months, we find a new adventure to take, some with the kids and a few without. I am very passionate about making memories with my husband and children, and it makes me so happy to share those memories and experiences with my clients.”

For more information about this specific trip to The Omni Grove Park Inn or to learn about other vacation itineraries, call Orow of Pure Star Travel at (248)-292-9114.