Just got back from a long weekend in Asheville – what a beautiful place! We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn – great room, super nice staff and a great rooftop bar called Pillar, with a fabulous view of the mountains. North Carolina is the perfect vacation state – the best of both worlds, with our miles of coastline in the east, and the mountains to the west.
Downtown Asheville was walkable from our hotel, so we hoofed it pretty much everywhere – I think we did 5-6 miles of walking every day. Downtown is quite vibrant, with events taking place at various parks and squares, some outdoor dining, and lots of cool shops. The city is still working its way back from the pandemic, like pretty much everywhere else in the country, but the shortage of restaurant workers was really evident at almost every place we visited. Many restaurants were closed extra days, some were open, but serving a limited menu (things that had been prepared in advance with no cooking required when ordered), restaurants open for drinking, but not serving food, as they didn’t have staff to cook. Things were definitely hopping on the weekend — the streets were filled with people and bars and restaurants were packed. Asheville is a very inclusive city, welcoming all races, genders and persuasions, and it’s also very dog friendly. We saw people with their pooches everywhere we went. My husband and I are foodies, so we really enjoyed the variety of dining options – some suggestions for food and drinks:
The Corner Kitchen in Biltmore Village – lavendar marinated chicken breast salad – yum!
Incredible service and delectable chicken satay, drunken noodles and shrimp pad thai at Suwana’s Thai Orchid.
You must visit the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Try the chocolate creme brulee – it’s sinful! The salted caramel brownies are also delish. Another great dessert place is Old Europe – we loved the triple choclate cookies and the key lime pie.
Roman’s Deli – fab Greek salad.
Early Girl Eatery – we planned to do breakfast here, because their menu looked amazing, but we ended up doing dinner. Best spicy fried chicken sandwich ever!! I loved it, and my husband wiped out a dish of Pork BBQ Mac & Cheese.
Crave bills itself as a dessert bar, but we had drinks and an appetizer here, and they also serve dinner. I had a very decadent hibiscus infused Bellini that was pure heaven, and we loved their poutine.
In addition to visting downtown, we took a road trip down the Blue RIdge Parkway. Amazing! What incredible beauty. I wish we’d had more time to spend in the mountains, roaming the trails and the woods. We did visit the Folk Art Center, which features some great exhibits and has a large gift shop. We wandered through the River Arts District, and checked out some cool studios and shops. We hit the shops at Biltmore Village too, and of course, headed to the incomparable Biltmore Estate. WOW – can I just say….WOW again?!?!?! A big thanks to the Biltmore team for their hospitality in setting us up wtih passes to tour the gardens and the grounds. (Next trip – the house tour for sure!) You could spend several days just wandering the various gardens and outbuildings before even thinking about heading into the mansion itself. We spent a lot of time in the conservatory getting up close and personal with the zillion plants and flowers inside – mind blowing! And with all that walking, we needed some relaxation, so we had a great couples massage at Asheville Massage and Bodywork.
Check out some fab photos right here!