Ok so we arrive in Asheville and check int our hotel which I loved. We stayed at Hotel Indigo the nights of June 2nd and 3rd. I loved our room and our view of the Mountains. Definitely the most modern hotel of our trip.
Now Asheville is famous for beer. Almost as famous as Portland. In fact there’s a little rivalry between the two of which city deserves the title of “beer city USA.” You could draw a lot of similarities between Portland and Asheville – microbrewing culture, hippies/hipsters, health conscious, active… whenever we told someone we lived in Portland people either told us they’d been there, lived there, thought about living there or wanted to visit. No where else on our trip did we get so much recognition of our city. It was a little bit like being home. Although we would probably place Asheville a little more in the Bend realm than Portland…probably why we liked it so much ha!
So we arrive late, like 8ish and after dropping our stuff off we head out to explore. After talking with our very helpful concierge we get a list of breweries we need to hit and all the sudden we’re off on a mini pub crawl. Wicked Weed , Asheville Brewing , Jack of the Wood (serves the Green Man Brewing ), Lexington Avenue Brewing,Oyster House Brewing and Wedge Brewing were the ones he told us we had to try and on our 1st night we managed to get to all but Wedge and Oyster House. I liked Wicked Weed best. I had a saison that I liked and they had Chris’ favorite beer of the trip. I can’t remember what it was called but beer enthusiasts have to go to this place. It’s the newest brewery in Asheville and super popular. We got right in because it was so late but sounds like there is normally quite a wait to get it. Also the food was awesome. We had some sort of turkey/cranberry sandwich and a delicious apple/pecan/black pepper honey salad. I think the food may have also tasted so good to us because it was the 1st time we’d actually eaten something healthy!!
So night one was about beer but the next morning was all about relaxing. This was probably the only time on our trip where we slept in and didn’t rush around to do anything. In hindsight I’m a little annoyed about it and feel like we missed some great opportunities in Asheville. It’s the kind of place with really cool coffee shops and cafes and I wish we would have gotten up and found a cute little spot to have coffee and then wandered around town until lunchtime. But instead we finally pulled ourselves together and went in search of the Biltmore . On our way there we grabbed lunch at Tupelo Honey Cafe which wins the award for the restaurant with the best name. I had some awesome shrimp tacos and an amazing biscuit. Side note – the south serves biscuits like Mexican restaurants serve you chips and salsa. It’s like a free appetizer. Amazing.
So we get to the Biltmore Estate and it’s crazy. You have to go through this long road and check in at the visitor’s building before you get anywhere close to the actual building. And when we got there we found out tickets were $60 a person. Now Chris really didn’t want to go see this at all and I didn’t feel like eating or drinking wine (which were big things to do within the estate) so paying $120 felt like too much so we turned around in left. Turns out this was the biggest regret of our trip. When all was said and done $120 was not that much money compared to everything else we spent and we just should have done it because everyone we talked to, including our friends we met for dinner that night said it was worth it. Live and learn right? So my advice, if you’re ever in Asheville – go to the Biltmore.
After we left we drove around town and wound up at the French Broad River Park and decided we really needed to get a workout in so we headed back to our hotel to change and then planned on coming back. But once we got to our hotel we just decided to workout in the gym there. This turned out to be the only time we would workout on the trip. And we did it on a treadmill…not even exploring a city. But at least it we had AC :) After we worked out we changed and headed out to meet some friends for dinner and stopped at Oyster House Brewing so Chris could check that off his list. Ok but nothing to write home about. We also toured the city a bit.
We went back to the LAB for dinner with our friends the Watson’s. They’re from Bend but have been living in Asheville for the past year for Dave’s job. They were originally going to head home in Oct/November but Alissa is pregnant, due in August and can’t fly past 33 weeks so she had to cut the trip short and is heading home to Bend at the end of June. Dave will fly back and forth until his job is done. They also have the most adorable little girl, Hazel. I seriously wanted to take her back home with me. So cute. And so well-behaved.
After dinner we headed to my favorite place of the entire trip – The French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Um this place was INCREDIBLE. I literally was a kid in a candy store. I had no idea what to order because they had so many delicious things. Apparently they are famous for their drinkable chocolate but I went straight to the dessert case and ended up with a coconut macaroon brownie . The best brownie I’ve ever had. Hands down. And then because they’re also famous for truffles I had to get some of those. At the recommendation of Alissa I went with the vanilla burbon (amazing) and the dark chocolate salted honey caramel. Good but the burbon was way better.
After we finished dessert and said goodbye we hightailed it to Wedge brewing. While we really liked Wicked Weed, Wedge is where most of the locals said their favorite beer was. They were only open until 10 and so we had about 20 minutes to find it and have a beer. It was back near the river district and totally hidden down this crazy path covered in ivy so it took us a bit but it was super cool. Probably the spot that reminded me most of Portland. I could totally see this spot on the east side somewhere.
And then we went to bed. Probably one of my favorite nights of the trip. Great city, great beer, great friends and great chocolate :)