There’s more to Asheville than the Biltmore! This town has long been known for this architectural marvel, but there's so much more to the AVL.
Here are some that make Asheville worthy of a trip:
Asheville has a new age/hippie vibe. There are multiple spas, foot baths, yoga studios, a couple of salt caves, and a social sauna. Take some time to find one that fits your needs/wellness goals and indulge in some much-needed self-care!
There is a huge focus in Asheville on farm-to-table, local, organic, sustainable food. This was so refreshing to find. We try to eat organic as much as possible and I’m all for supporting local farmers/producers, so I found this very refreshing. I shy away from chains anytime we travel and like to try local food. Asheville did not disappoint!
Here are just a couple to try:
Time dinner here just right to stake out a spot before sunset. The food and cocktails were inventive and yummy and the views were absolutely breathtaking. We got there about thirty minutes before sunset on the first pretty winter day in quite some time. We missed having a table on the small balcony, but everyone was friendly and accommodating in allowing those of us dining inside to take photos of the sunset. The pictures in NO way do it justice! Every few seconds, the sky seemed to be more beautiful than the moment before. Even the staff were taking pictures of it that day. It was such a fun highlight of our trip!
Yes, I just said I shy away from chains when I travel and it’s a chain now, but it started in Asheville and tastes nothing like mass-prepared food. And they serve grass-fed beef and work with local farmers near each location. It is a great spot for lunch. Be sure to try the FB fries with a side of FB sauce.
Several of the breweries offer food. We enjoyed our time in this one. Check out a tour and a flight and stay for a bite. Their menu is upscale pub fare. We enjoyed everything we had as well as the atmosphere. Their outside patio has firepits set up and would be a fun place to hang out with friends.
This tavern, named after the Vanderbilt family's dog, Cedric, is located in the Biltmore Village. You actually don’t have to visit the Biltmore (although I highly recommend it) to check out the Village. You can have an Uber/Lyft drop you off at there or at the hotel that is right there. We had dinner here. They have live music every night and they had a singer/songwriter playing an acoustic guitar when we were there. We enjoyed the music, service, food, and atmosphere. It was a nice way to end our day. (Note: There are other dining options at the Biltmore-this was one of the more laid-back options.)
So this is not really a dining spot-more of a neat used bookstore and champagne bar that offers a few charcuterie boards. We loved the atmosphere here. They offer champagne flights, cocktails, bottles, or by the glass. My hubby is not much of a champagne drinker so he chose the champagne of beers for his drink of choice instead.
There are so many (over 50 in the area!) within a short walk or stumble. We tried several: Wicked Weed, Burial, and Green Man. My husband’s favorite was a lager from Green Man. He’s actually been searching for it since we’ve been home because he enjoyed it so much. I suggest taking a tour of one of them and then just doing tasting flights at the others. This is my personal opinion because most of the brewing operations are similar to me. However, if you are a real beer aficionado, you may want to do the tour at all off them. It is a good way to get the “personality” of each brand. I like ordering the flights so I can taste small pours of several different kinds. Many of these breweries have fun bars or beer gardens to enjoy your purchase. Several have outdoor games on pretty days and a few offer snacks or a full restaurant.
Asheville has a strong arts community. From potters to woodworkers to painters, Asheville has a vibrant arts community. According to our Uber driver (do you talk to yours? My hubby becomes BFFs with every one of ours lol), Asheville’s history of artisans is said to be rich because of all the descendants of the master craftsmen Mr. Vanderbilt brought in when he was building his castle. I’m not sure if that’s accurate, but it makes sense. Whatever the reason, the arts are alive and well and you can go home with some beautiful, unique souvenirs of your trip.
There are so many spots in Asheville that won’t even require a filter.
The Biltmore can’t be beat for gorgeous grounds and a backdrop for your bougie shots.
Murals and street art abound in Asheville. From nostalgic to quirky, the town has a little of everything. Check out Asheville.com for a step-by-step tour of most of the town’s murals.
The Blue Ridge Mountains are the perfect natural backdrop for stunning pictures. The sunset over these mountains is something you don’t want to miss!
Asheville’s location in the Blue Ridge Mountains makes it a perfect spot for hiking or driving the Blue Ridge Parkway. Within an hour of Blue Ridge are a variety of fun spots to hike that range from easy to difficult. The Hunger Games was shot in several different locations in the area. Katniss fans will definitely want to visit DuPont State Forest. Some of the most iconic shots from the movie were filmed here. To see a more comprehensive list of locations, check out Asheville.com.
Of course, I couldn’t recommend Asheville sites without including this one. It really is something to see. The house itself is a marvel and was very technologically advanced for its time. The grounds, designed by the same landscape architect who designed Central Park in NYC, are gorgeous and vary with the different times of year. We were there on a day, the grounds were not so stunning. It was raining and dreary, as February often is. However, one benefit to February was the low crowds. When we visited years ago, we got to see the halls of the home decked for Christmas, but it was very crowded. This time, the grounds were not gorgeous, but the crowds were so light I never felt I had to rush or push my way to see anything. The home tour includes a free wine tasting at the Biltmore Winery. We decided to tour the home early in the day and came back later by Uber to do the winery tour and have dinner at the village tavern. This was a good choice for us, but do be sure to check times for things. We made it back in time for the wine tasting right before they closed for the day, but ended up missing the Downton Abbey exhibit that is available for a limited time. I’m not a Downton fan, but I still wanted to see the costumes on display so I was a little bummed I had not planned that well. On a prettier day, I don’t think we would have left and would have explored the grounds, but the cold and the rain kept us from that this trip.
There are a variety of places to stay depending on the type of trip you have in mind. Anything from tent camping to luxury hotels. Tent camping and cabin rentals will keep you connected with nature, but you’ll be out of the city center. The Biltmore and The Grove Park are luxurious options outside of town. However, for this trip, we chose to stay in downtown Asheville to be within walking distance of most of what we had planned for our short trip.
The Foundry hotel (a Hilton property) was our choice. We LOVED this hotel. It is an old metal foundry that was converted to a hotel with painstaking care. It has a modern industrial chic for its décor. The staff were always friendly and helpful whether it was something hotel related, offering umbrellas, or restaurant recommendations. The room was beautiful, clean, modern, and charming. I loved the exposed brick and the turndown service each night that included a thermos of herbal tea, a treat, and a card telling you the weather forecast for the next day. There was a great little bar just off the lobby and the restaurant -Benne served yummy breakfast. One of the most unique things about the hotel was their downtown courtesy shuttle. It is a Tesla! I highly recommend this hotel and we will definitely be back!