Just a two hours’ drive from my hometown of Charlotte, Asheville, N.C. is fast becoming a beloved place to visit. I’ve traveled there more and more in recent years, and each time it grows on me just a little bit more. Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this city is known for its vibrant culture, fantastic food scene and breathtaking vistas. It’s the kind of city that tugs at your heartstrings when you leave, begging you to come back. I showed you a little taste of Asheville earlier this month in my recap of Food Blog Forum, and today I’m going to list a few of the discoveries I’ve made on my last few visits in this Asheville Travel Guide.
Asheville is perhaps best known for the world’s largest home, the Biltmore Estate. It was home to George and Edith Vanderbilt more than a century ago. (So basically a real-life Downton Abbey!) You can learn all about the estate and family history through a tour of the house and winery.
Breweries abound in Asheville, with 20 of them in the area. Nicknamed “Beer City, USA,” it’s the craft-brewing center of the Southeast. Each one offers a unique personality and lots of choices for beer. I’ve yet to make it to all 20, but Highland Brewing (pictured) and Wicked Weed are well-known.
Downtown Asheville is bursting with boutiques, shops and galleries. This is a city that prides itself on its artists and encourages shopping local. When I’m in town, I like to stop in Chevron Trading Post & Bead Co. They have gorgeous star lights hanging in their windows, and it’s all I can do to not buy every single one. These stars would make a great souvenir from Asheville! On my last trip I discovered Garage 34 and Horse & Hero. The former is a vintage boutique, and the latter is a functional art gallery (with cupcakes!)
Click below to see some more reasons to visit Asheville!
Food is, of course, a key component of Asheville! Everything you could possibly eat there is amazing. While I could spend a lengthy paragraph on each of these restaurants, I’ll instead just list out a few of the best I’ve visited or have intended to visit based on friends’ recommendations. Seriously, though. This is Asheville. You can’t go wrong with any of these choices!
- Ben’s Tune-Up — American
- Biscuit Head — Breakfast
- Bouchon — French fare
- Chai-Pani — Indian street food
- Curate — Tapas bar
- Farm Burger — Burgers
- The Market Place — American farm-to-table
- Nightbell — Lounge/speakeasy
- Posana — Gluten-free American
- Rhubarb — New American
- Salsa’s — Mexican & Caribbean fare
- Sante Wine Bar & Tap Room
- Strada — Italian
- Tupelo Honey Cafe — Southern food
After your meal, treat yourself to some dessert from French Broad Chocolates. There you’ll find artisanal chocolates, truffles and caramels, as well as baked goods, coffee and tea. If you can’t decide what to get, I’ll tell you this: I will never stop dreaming about those salted caramel truffles!
After your meals, walk it off with a stroll through downtown and just look at the architecture. Asheville has a wealth of Art Deco style buildings, and as a designer I really appreciate the details in so many of the buildings.
Lastly, you can’t visit Asheville without also taking a drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway. North Carolina is home to this beautiful section of the Appalachian Mountains, and you’d be silly to go all that way and not take this in! The parkway meanders 469 miles through the mountains with numerous vista spots for taking photos and having picnics. Autumn is arguably the best time to take a trip here, because the fall colors are simply that amazing.
Hope you enjoyed this little trip to Asheville! It’s such an amazing little place, and I hope everyone has an opportunity to visit at least once in their lifetime! // susannah