Erin McGrady, Maggie, and Caroline Whatley

Authentic Asheville is a blog created by Caroline Whatley (she/her) and Erin McGrady (she/her) that reflects our passions. We are full-time filmmakers, photographers, writers, FAA certified drone pilots, and content creators who share stories about camper van travel, the outdoors. We also share about what it means to take up space as members of the LGBTQ+ community. We are committed to making the outdoors a safer and more inclusive place for everyone and our work is a reflection of these values. To learn more about our work, you can visit our portfolio or contact us at hello@authenticasheville.com

Our blog started out in 2016 as a way to share about our Ram Promaster City van with a Wayfarer Conversion Kit as we traveled the country for work. But over the years, as we’ve grown, we’ve expanded to include more articles such as gear reviews, the best places to eat and drink, and LGBTQ+ safe spaces. We also, in 2023, purchased a used standup Ram Promaster Van which we are excited to share more about!

We recognize that the land we live and play on, in what is commonly referred to as Asheville, North Carolina, is the ancestral land of the Anikituwagi, more commonly known as the Cherokee.

We’re happy you’re here. Welcome to our community!

Asheville Adventures

The best things to see and do in Asheville, North Carolina.

Best Places to Hammock in Asheville, North Carolina

There are so many fun things to do in and around western North Carolina. The region has miles of scenic trails, more…

Best Instagram Spots in Asheville

One of our favorite things to do when we travel is to find murals. It’s fun to walk around and discover them…

Best Outdoor Breweries and Bars in Asheville

There are a ton of great places to grab a beer in Asheville but if you’re looking to take advantage of some…

Camper Van Life Adventures

Stories and ideas from the road!

How to Choose a Van for Van Life

Ready for a new adventure? One that involves travel? And possibility living out of your van? We’ve spent many, many hours discussing,…

The Best Camper Van Bed is a DIY Bed

On our most recent van life adventure through Canada in our Ram Promaster City Camper we left our Exped Sim Comfort Duo…

DIY Van Window Screens

They say necessity is the mother of invention, right? Such was the case for our DIY Van Window Screens. We spent about…

Recent Adventures

Come explore with us!

Problems with the Ram Promaster City (2018)

We have had our Ram Promaster City cargo van since 2018. Almost immediately after purchasing it we drove it from Delaware to Colorado to have our Wayfarer Camper Van Conversion Kit installed. After several years of working and traveling in the van, we are finally ready to share about some of the not so great…

Places in Asheville With Outdoor Heaters

We went to Instagram and asked our online community to share about places in Asheville with outdoor heaters. Why? Because when we get the chance to go somewhere, we often can’t think of where to go to stay warm. Now all of the information is in one place. Keep reading to see where you can…

Authentic Asheville’s Holiday Gift Guide

We’ve created a holiday gift guide that showcases some of our favorite items carried by local shops and local people in Asheville, North Carolina. Some of these gifts can be purchased at brick-and-mortar stores. Some of them are online only. A bunch of them offer both. When picking out this year’s holiday gifts, or doing…

Gear Reviews

Our top picks for camper van travelers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Review of the Merrell Women’s Speed Solo Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

Erin joined Merrells’ Hiking Club as a Trailblazer in 2023 and has been testing out numerous pairs of their hiking boots. Several pairs have become favorites such as the Merrell Women’s Moab 3 Mids and the Merrell Antora 3 Mid Waterproofs. Today, though, we’re going to do a full review of the Merrell Women’s Speed…

How To Pass the Part 107 Exam To Get Your Remote Pilot Certificate

We’ve been shooting photos for brands and businesses since 2016. We entered into video and filmmaking in 2022. During the summer of 2023, we decided to become certified to fly a drone for commercial work including photos and 4K video four our clients in Asheville and beyond. We wanted to offer them another skill and…

Photography Gear: What Camera, Lenses and Accessories Do We Use?

We sometimes get questions about the kinds of photography equipment we use to create our images. We also briefly touched on this topic in the Adventure Photography class that we recently taught at the REI in Asheville. As a result we decided to create a post that we can point people to! The following is…

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