I’ve always wanted to stay on a bison farm.
Kidding… I don’t know if I actually realized how something like that would even look in real life, or where the heck you’d find a domesticated herd of bison. Well, apparently you can find some in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, more specifically, Clyde, NC. Not only is the area absolutely gorgeous (and surprisingly green in early March), but the food we found was fantastic, and it’s close enough to Asheville that you can make the 30 minute trip to check out some of their famous breweries (New Belgium, Burial, Highland, Sierra Nevada, a bunch more).
We even got to stay in a 1960’s caboose:
For what it’s worth, I’m sharing our spending breakdown for the trip. This is with my wife, myself, and a 1 and 3 year old in tow.
Financials – Grand Total: $605.94
Rent: $397.60 ($165/night for 2 nights, $25 cleaning fee, 12% taxes)
Mileage: $37.67 (368 miles @ 21mpg, gas avg’d $2.15/gal)
Day 1: Left for NC in the afternoon, arrived around 5pm
Dinner @ Home/Caboose
Breakfast @ Panacea Coffee House: $26.64
Lunch @ Home/Caboose
Bag of Coffee Beans @ Panacea Coffee House: $14.28
Dinner @ Haywood Smokehouse: $56.47
Day 3: Left for home after lunch
Breakfast @ Home/Caboose
6 Beer Tasters @ New Belgium Brewery: $13.00
Lunch @ RootDown Food Truck: $19.00
Coffee @ Green Sage Cafe: $5.89
What I think these numbers say about us is that, even though we are 100% debt-free and living quite comfortably, we don’t really go nuts on vacations. We sure did enjoy ourselves, and dinner at Haywood Smokehouse included full entrees (the brisket was heavenly) and dessert to make you leave feeling “just a little too full for comfort.” I don’t consider $165/night to be very expensive by any stretch, especially not for staying in a caboose on a bison farm. And we could have gone to several breweries, but we chose to stick with one and come back another time to see more.
What would we have done if we were in debt-payoff mode?
I think we would have looked for tent camping options (in warmer weather) at a park since you can find reservations for about $30/night. Camping is a lot of fun, and rent alone was 66% of our trip cost, so camping would have instantly brought the grand total from $600 down to around $280. You can still go visit the bison farm during the day, even if you aren’t staying there. For groceries, we probably would have shopped at home and packed a cooler, and quite honestly we would have shared an entree at the smokehouse if we’d have gone at all. We wouldn’t have done the food truck, we’d have looked for something at a better rate. So our trip total might theoretically have been closer to $215, not to mention we wouldn’t have taken the money out of our normal budget. I would have looked for income outside our day jobs to pay for the trip; most likely some sort of IT side work.
So hopefully this post was helpful in some way to you. I want to share my experiences, both current and past so that you can see what it’s like (at least from my perspective) to dig and claw your way out of debt, but also to enjoy life after winning the battle. If there are other details you’d like me to share, please leave a comment so that I can do a better job on future posts. Until next time, keep working your goals. You can certainly achieve them, and you are not alone.
If you are interested staying at this farm, take a look at Buffalo Creek Vacations.