The Perfect Weekend in Asheville
As someone who has grown up on the West coast, East coast destinations have never been apart of my go-to spots. I really have only spent time on the East coast if it had something to do with snowboarding or a sponsor commitment, so when one of my longest, dearest friends invited me to go on a long weekend adventure with her I jumped at the idea. America is SO large, and has so many sub-cultures within it, visiting a new part of the country often times can feel like you are half way around the world, not just across the continent.
We decided to rode trip from where she was living in Atlanta, Georgia to Asheville, North Carolina. Until this trip I had heard little rumors of Asheville being a cool city, but other than that I was completely unfamiliar with the area. Once we were out of Atlanta the views and landscape completely surprised me. Lush green forests covered the rolling hills, farms with big open plots of land were scattered along the highway, and a warm breeze filled the car. I don’t know what I thought it was like in the South, but this wasn’t the picture I had in my head! THIS was amazing, better than I could have ever expected. As we drove East I got educated on what Asheville is suppose to be all about. Live music, micro breweries, art, food, and beautiful outdoor activities. YES PLEASE!
To start our weekend off we checked into our super reasonably priced but EPIC, hostel of sorts. Basically this place you can reserve private rooms on Airbnb, but is a shared house, with a shared kitchen and bathroom, but is taken care of like a hotel. Super clean, lots of space, friendly staff and right in the middle of town, the perfect situation for people like us who planned to just be out and about the entire weekend.
After arriving we went for a quick tour and popped into a few breweries to begin to taste the flavors of Asheville. We loved the Wicked Weed for its outdoor patio and delicious pilsner, and One World Brewing for its interesting flavors and creative beer names.
Our first meal was at a vegan restaurant I found on YELP… Plant The idea that vegan food restaurants all have to have a dirty hippy feel, that the food looks and tastes like bird food is completely outdated and this restaurant has been created to change that stigma. They have brought an upscale vibe, beautifully decorated dishes, and complex flavors together to create a true fine dining experience. To say that we enjoyed our meal would be an understatement.
The following morning we woke early to head to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a hike, stopping in at Trade and Lore coffee on the way for a delicious almond milk latte for the drive. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a beautiful scenic drive that winds through the Southern Appalachian mountains. It begins just outside of Asheville and continues on for miles and miles. We drank our coffee and enjoyed the views of bright green rolling hills, flowers fields, thick forests, and waterfalls. The entire time I was thinking, WOW I had no idea North Carolina could be so incredible!
Finding a hike along the Parkway is easy, choosing which one to embark upon is a little more difficult. Ultimately we stopped and found a lovely hike to get our bodies moving and be able to experience the surroundings with a closer eye. At this point, I am falling in love with this state! Food, coffee, miles and miles of untouched nature right outside the city! What else could you ask for?
The hike was followed by a quick bite to eat and a beer as we were aiming to test out as many of Asheville’s famous breweries as possible… and then off we were again, this time to the Grey Eagle venue to see a band that I had never heard of, The James Brown Dance Party. But really, let’s discuss… who DOESN’T want to go to a James Brown dance party?! The Grey Eagle happens to be one of Asheville’s go-to’s, the longest running all-ages venue in the city, so this place has seen some legends! It is a very intimate setting with a maybe 400 cap room, it is the perfect spot to dance the night away, and with the help of the band, that we did!
The live music culture in Asheville is alive and well, which I love, there is nothing better than listening to live instruments and a vocalist to make you feel alive and connected to the world. I find live music to be the most beautiful median…to connect people on a level that transcends any differences or separation we may feel.
Sunday began with another coffee mission at yet another great coffee spot High Five Coffee and a trip to Biscuit Head, one of Asheville’s famous breakfast spots. There is nothing that is more Southern than having biscuits for breakfast, so being that we were in North Carolina we had to do just that. This joint has every kind of biscuit and every kind of topping you could ever imagine, AND 100+ jams in case you just want some extra flavor on top of it all… Since this spot has been highlighted on Food and Wine and USA Today it has become very popular so don’t come hungry because you are guaranteed to stand in line…. but 100% worth the wait!
Later on we walked off our biscuits downtown, visiting a few shops and shortly happening upon a small music festival was going on. I later came to find out that the town hosts music festivals in the downtown area multiple times a month in the summertime. A great gathering spot for locals and tourists alike to relish in all that Asheville has to offer in one area. How awesome is that?! We perused the venders, tested more beers from many of the local breweries and danced to more live music from all over the globe.
With our bellys and hearts full from the epic adventure weekend we jumped in the car and headed back towards Atlanta. North Carolina far exceeded my expectations, and made me really realize what a beautiful country we live in. There is SO much variety within the United States. Landscapes you would never guess existed and towns full of culture unlike that of your home town or state. This trip fueled my excitement for more exploring of the US, although has definitely Asheville left my expectations high.
Until the next adventure ….