Asheville, NC

My trip to Asheville has been a long time coming.

Four years to be exact. It’s always held a spot on my North Carolina bucket list and with school coming to a close so soon, it was about time. Everyone said that I’d absolutely love it, that it was my kind of place. The hippy in me was intrigued.

They weren’t wrong. My belly was constantly and delightedly full with farm-to-table deliciousness, my taste buds are still enthralled with memories of caramel notes and bitter hops which sprang from flights of craft beers, my mind is free and easy from music floating through the streets, my lungs clean and pure from the crisp, clean air and my quads and glutes sore from climbing and straining. It was a good weekend.

I’d recommend all of the places Victoria and I ate and drank again and again. We tried a huge variety of beers from the spacious and woodsy Highland Brewing Company, the grungy Thirsty Monk and the modern and soulful Wicked Weed brewery. We inhaled delectable southern-style Eggs Benedict’s at the quaint Early Girl Eatery, savored every second of the caribbean-mexican cuisine at Salsa’s, devoured an enormous and heavenly slice of carrot cake at the Chocolate Factory, snacked our way through the menu at Wicked Weed alongside our beers and enjoyed coffee from Double D’s Coffee and Desserts – a repurposed double decker bus. I wish I could re-eat and -drink every single thing that entered my mouth. It was all amazing. In Asheville, you can’t go wrong.

Asheville is relaxed and funky, gritty but sweet. The people are everything but mainstream while staying true to their south-of-the-Mason-Dixie-line home as they are all every bit kind, easygoing and hospitable. Asheville takes its time, does its own thing and wears whatever it wants with a smile on its face and Tevas on each foot. Simply put, Asheville feels good. Art abounds, streaming out of shops and into the streets – walls are murals and statues peek out from parks and behind buildings. The mantra, ‘buy local’ is encouraged city-wide and all kinds of works from paintings to soaps to dinner tables created by local artists are easily found anywhere and everywhere, both for sale and to marvel at. It truly is one big, integrated community where each person supports each other.

Eating our way through Asheville was aaaalmost guilt-free considering how much there was to explore. We meandered our way through and about the Grove Park Inn, an incredible history-entrenched hotel that while luxurious, manages to feel homey and lodgey with it’s massive and roaring fireplaces, antler chandeliers, ancient and sturdy stone walls and easy rocking chairs. We were able to experience the smokies up close and personally with a gorgeous drive through part of the Blue Ridge Parkway and a short but strenuous hike up Mt. Pisgah. The view from the top was fantastic but if (or when) I go back, I’ll be sure to hike up to the summit of Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi. We also made sure to explore some of Transylvania County, the Land of Waterfalls, and reveled in the cold mist cast off by Looking Glass Falls, the most photographed falls in North Carolina. I had absolutely no idea how beautiful North Carolina was when I came down south four short years ago but I’m so happy to have learned.

We had a wonderful time. The best company, mouth-watering food, good, rich beer and the great outdoors – my kind of heaven. There are still so many restaurants left to enjoy and space left to explore so one day, I’m sure I’ll find myself drawn back to this peaceful and happy little oasis.

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