Guide to Asheville
We are back from a week in Asheville and I am already missing the fresh mountain air and delicious food. Asheville is an easy-going, super friendly city and we made the most of our time there by taking lots of hikes, drinking lots of local beer, and eating good southern food. Below is a list of some of the things I loved and would recommend. There was so much more to do than our time there allowed, so I look forward to the next time we visit.
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$$$- most expensive
How to Get There
We made the drive to Asheville from Brooklyn, splitting it up into two days on the way down and then hauling it back in one day on the trip home. Asheville also has an airport if road trips aren't your thing or if you are going for a shorter amount of time.
Where to Stay
I love staying in AirBnB's since it offers all the amenities and comforts of being home while I travel and its affordable. We stayed in two locations during our stay and both our choices ended up being great. Please let me know if you would want a recommendation. There are also plenty of hotels downtown and in the surrounding areas.
I would definitely recommend having access to a car while in Asheville. We ended up driving everywhere and having a car allowed us to get to hikes that where further away. That said, we had a really great experience using Uber during our trip. The waits were always short and we didn't have any trouble getting a ride to and from our AirBnB which was located on the outskirts of town.
Biscuit Head ($)- Biscuit Head is a breakfast spot in West Asheville (and other locations throughout the city and south) that offers up a host of biscuits and toppings including a homemade jam bar (!!!). The space is bright, open, and airy-- much larger than I am used to coming from Brooklyn. I have a serious love of biscuits and will order them whenever and wherever I am in the south. Biscuit Head's biscuits were light and fluffy and BIG! I had mine with rosemary-peach and sour cherry jam and a side of over-easy eggs, perfect for dipping.
Hole Doughnuts ($)- Hole Doughnuts was a highly recommended spot to us when we asked locals where to eat. The doughnuts are yeasted and made to order. Each day Hole offers three classic flavors, vanilla glazed, toasted almond sesame cinnamon, and cinnamon sugar, and one daily flavor--beignet on the day we went. We ended up loving the vanilla glaze and cinnamon sugar topping which melted into the warm yeast doughnut and tasted amazing.
Tupelo Honey Cafe ($$)- Tupelo Honey Cafe is a must eat in Asheville. There are two locations in Asheville, the original in Downtown and an outpost in South Asheville. We went to the Downtown location, which has been serving updated southern fare since 2000. What drew me to want to eat at Tupelo Honey Cafe is their commitment to responsibly-sourced food and supporting local farmers. This commitment shows in their food which was absolutely delicious. We had dinner at the restaurant and ended up ordering the shrimp and grits and the southern egg rolls. While the egg rolls left a little to be desired, the shrimp and grits--made with goat cheese and chorizo--were the best we've ever had! The sweetest treat about Tupelo Honey Cafe is the warm biscuits with blueberry jam and honey they serve to the table while you wait for your food to arrive.
Nine Mile ($)- Nine Mile can best be described as a Caribbean inspired restaurant. I'd like to describe it as one of the best meals I've ever had. After receiving enthusiastic recommendations for this West Asheville restaurant, we decided on Nine Mile for a late lunch after a rainy day of hiking. The menu was a mix of caribbean staples like jerk chicken, seafood, and pasta dishes-- which sounds weird but somehow works. I ordered the Rock Steady, with jerk tofu, creamy coconut rice, and black beans. Billy ordered the Irie Ites with chicken and a super creamy, dairy-free pesto. We left with our bellies full and a wish to have a place like this closer to home.
12 Bones BBQ ($)- We couldn't head to NC with out getting some BBQ. 12 Bones is located in the River Arts Districts, attached to a brewery. Our focus, however, was on the food. Known for their ribs, I ordered the brown-sugar rubbed ribs which were melt-off the bone good, We also had the brisket, pulled pork, sweet potatoes, baked beans, and corn bread. I loved that you could order sides of meat to be able to taste a little. The portions are big, delicious and affordable.
One World Brewing ($)- We headed to One World Brewing after two recommendations from locals. The brewery was described to us as speakeasy-like bar that could be found down a little alley way. Once we found the bar, we headed down into the basement where they had a small brewery and bar. I choose an IPA from the list of beers, the Citra Bomb which had a nice citrusy taste and was just a little bitter.
Green Man Brewery ($)- Located in the South Slope, Green Man serves up their different beers at a small bar located within the brewery warehouse. I appreciated that the beer offerings were a little more diverse and I was able to enjoy the Rambler, a refreshing pale ale. The brewery also offers darts and an outdoor patio and kinda feels like someone's uncles basement.
Burial Brewery ($)- Burial Brewery's taproom, located in South Slope, is a large space with an additional outdoor area. They have a large selection of both beers on tap and in cans to have at the taproom or to take home. We each got a different IPA, mine a session, that we enjoyed outside as the sun set over Asheville.
Hikes/ Must Do
Craggy Pinnacle- Craggy Pinnacle is located a roughly 1/2 hour drive north of Asheville along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Once you park, its a short ascent, less than a mile, up to the top of the pinnacle which is about 6,000 ft elevation. We went on a rainy day, so instead of being rewarded with gorgeous views, we were in a cloud! We still enjoyed the misty and sometimes thrilling drive up to the pinnacle which offered beautiful vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Bent Creek Trails- Bent Creek is located in the Pisgah National Forest and a short drive from downtown Asheville. A mix of hiking, biking, and horse trails, Bent Creek is perfect for when you have a few hours to spend hiking and don't want to drive too far. We ended up doing the Homestead Trail and Deerfield Loop, a total of about 2 easy miles. The Homestead Trail leads you around a lake and different waterways which Hal loved and if it were warmer we would have too.
Graveyard Fields- Roughly 45 minutes south of Asheville along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Graveyard Fields has a mix of short and long hikes to discover. We went on a sunny, blue sky day and enjoyed the drive along the Mount Pisgah ridge. We ended up doing the Upper Falls hike, an easy 4-mile loop, which lead us through big patches of flowering catawba rhodendron and little creeks to a beautiful waterfall and swimming hole. Needless to say, Hal was in heaven getting to dip in and out of the creeks and we were happy taking in the fresh air and surroundings.
The Biltmore Estate ($$$)- It would be hard to go to Asheville and not visit the Biltmore Estate-- a 200+ room mansion and gardens built by the Vanderbilt family. We spent about a 1/2 day touring the mansion and gardens of Biltmore, opting to do an audio tour to learn more about what we were seeing. Our favorites ended up being the bowling alley, swimming pool. and for me, the kitchens (one room specifically dedicated to rotisseries, yum!). After touring the house, we spent time walking through the gardens and the special Chiluly glass exhibit. We were lucky enough to come at time when the garden was blooming and I really loved being able to see all the different types of plants, flowers, and trees-- especially the rose garden.