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I’ve been wanting to go to Asheville, North Carolina, for quite a long time. I’d heard that it was a beautiful town with a cool arts scene nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains. And I’d heard that it was a little drop of blue in a sea of red — or “the blueberry in the tomato soup,” as one local told me — a liberal enclave within a strongly conservative region, not unlike Austin, Texas.
The Obamas took a weekend getaway to Asheville in 2010; in 2013, President Obama said he had thought about retiring there. That further intrigued me — I had to get to this town.
Earlier this year, the team at Explore Asheville invited me to come visit for a few days and I happily accepted. When planning my itinerary, I told them I wanted it to be local, local, local. I wanted to focus on cool small businesses. I wanted to eat local food. I wanted to spend my money close to the ground. I wanted to see how nature integrated into the city.
I knew I’d have a great time — but I underestimated just how much I would enjoy this city.
Here are the reasons why I fell so hard for Asheville.
Image courtesy of Asheville Farm to Table Tours.
1. Because Asheville has the most amazing people.
I want to get that out of the way first — Asheville is home to some of the nicest people I have ever met, anywhere. And that goes for the U.S. and abroad.
These days I don’t usually like to say things like that these days — even though I’ve written posts on that topic in the past. Truthfully, most places are filled with 98% nice people with a few jerks thrown in.
But Asheville is special. People aren’t just polite or welcoming — it’s a genuine, honest, open kindness on the level of which I’ve never seen elsewhere. And it’s not necessarily southern hospitality. While I appreciate it, as a native New Englander I sometimes find southern hospitality a bit much — almost insincere.
“Asheville is different — it’s ‘mountain south,'” a local told me. Hmm. Mountain south. All of the kindness but none of the cloying sweetness. I could definitely get on board with that.
The crazy thing is that Asheville is a city of transplants — I met people from Chicago, California, Florida, Michigan, New Orleans, elsewhere in North Carolina. And they all ended up in Asheville because they saw something special in the city.
I find it uncanny but wonderful that in a city of transplants, everyone seems to have such a sunny personality.
2. Because it’s got quirks in all the right places.
Asheville has a population of roughly 87,000, making it more like a large town than a small city, but it runs high in the weirdness department.
On Friday nights from April through October, Asheville erupts into a drum circle. From 6:00 PM until 10:00 PM, people bang on the drums like mad as an audience dances to the beats. Feel free to join in the dancing — or even the drumming.
On Biltmore Street, you’ll fine a “Before I Die” chalkboard with spaces to write out your life goals. It made me smile that most of them were people saying who they wanted to marry.
In Asheville, it’s totally normal to see a dude juggling while balancing on a board, dog on his head. (Also, how great is that dog’s smile?)
Impromptu van sales down by the River Arts District? Also totally normal.
Lavender lemon soda? Absolutely! I rarely drink soda, but I loved this stuff. The Waynesville Soda Jerks are headquartered not too far from Asheville and have other soda flavors like strawberry rhubarb, apple rosemary, and blueberry basil. You can buy them in downtown Asheville at The Rhu.
And a surprising amount of Art Deco architecture is in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We all know Miami is the top Art Deco city in the United States, but who would have guessed Asheville would be a runner-up? This is at the Grove Arcade, a collection of shops downtown. It reminded me of the arcades of Melbourne, Australia.
One of the shops at the arcade is the Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar, which is exactly what it sounds like. Used books. Champagne. A place to chill out.
Considering how much I adore books and champagne, you’d think I’d move in and never leave — but I actually liked another bookstore better. Stay tuned.
3. Because it’s got a literal CHEESE TRAIL.
Asheville is home to several spots on the Western North Carolina Cheese Trail, a new collection of creameries scattered throughout the region.
You know my feelings on cheese.
I got to experience a stop on the trail on a tour with Asheville Farm to Table Tours. These tours seek to educate visitors on how food is grown at the source and used to supply businesses and feed people throughout Asheville.
We started with a visit to Looking Glass Creamery where we learned about several of the kinds of cheeses that are made here and were served the prettiest cheese board I’ve ever seen. I mean, let’s take a closer look:
Yes. Without a doubt, the loveliest cheese plate I’ve ever seen.
In addition to cheese, they also served blindingly hot mustard, an indulgent dulce de leche spread, and strawberry basil “fruit paste,” a term I hadn’t heard before. Their fruit paste was like a thick preserves, but it’s usually even thicker than that — almost like a brick of fruit!
4. Because the farm stands run on an honor system.
Want to buy some produce? Just pick out what you’d like and put some money in the box!
And not just that — they’ve modernized for the present day. You can also pay via Paypal. How amazing is that?!
Our second stop on the tour was Flying Cloud Farm, which was home to fresh produce, flowers, and an adorable puppy keeping watch.
And what better way to finish your day of farm-hopping with a chance to ogle baby goats and pigs at Hickory Nut Gap Farm? We had a lunch with sandwiches made with home-cured capicola and a salad made with astoundingly fresh feta and topped with purple flowers.
A day out at these beautiful farms, getting to know the farmers and the pride they take in the work they do, was a perfect introduction to the food scene in Asheville.
5. Because I went on a blind date with a book.
I always like to check out independent bookstores on my travels, and Malaprop’s in Asheville is one of my new favorites. The best feature? You can go on a blind date with a book.
Favorite books of Malaprop’s employees are wrapped up in brown paper and labeled with words that describe them. You choose a book based on the words. They can’t be unwrapped before purchase, nor can they be returned.
I wanted something from a local author, so I picked up a book labeled, “Clear-sighted, graceful, illuminating, tender, mesmerizing, chilling, local!” I also grabbed a volume of Hafiz poetry from their Persian Poetry section. (Yes, a small local bookstore has a Persian poetry section. I love it.)
I couldn’t wait to tear off the wrapping as soon as I bought it.
The book was A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash, a native of western North Carolina. The Richmond Times-Dispatch said, “Reads as if Cormac McCarthy decided to rewrite Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.” Well, I’ve never been a big To Kill a Mockingbird fan, and I’m still scarred years after reading McCarthy’s The Road, so it’s fair to say I never would have chosen this on my own.
I look forward to reading it!
6. Because I had some of the best Spanish tapas of my life.
Asheville’s culinary scene has really picked up in the past several years, and one of the standouts is Cúrate Tapas Bar (pronounced Kyuh-RAH-tay), a Spanish tapas restaurant.
I expected the food to be decent but not extraordinary. Was I ever wrong. This was my first meal in Asheville and it remained the best, as well as the best tapas I have ever had outside Spain.
Jamon ibérico, because of course.
Crostini with morcilla blood sausage.
Cold almond and garlic soup with crab and flower petals.
Also served: pork and mushrooms, two different plates that were tasty on their own but positively sang when consumed together.
Here’s a hint for you — it’s not listed on the menu, but get the fried eggplant with rosemary ice cream for dessert. It may not sound like a traditional dessert, but trust me, you’ll be smitten.
And just in case, a gin and tonic meringue: tonic-flavored snow, gin-soaked berries, and torched meringue.
Cúrate blew my mind and I would leap tall buildings to have that same meal all over again. They’re also famous for their vermouth selection and I discovered how much I love white vermouth with a twist of lemon.
7. Because it’s a city of cool, welcoming artists.
After all you’ve read, would you be surprised to hear that Asheville is a major arts destination as well? Asheville is home to more than 200 artists, many of whom are clustered in the River Arts District, a little more than a mile from downtown.
You can walk around and explore the neighborhood on your own, but I recommend taking a two-hour Asheville Art Studio Tour. Led by John Miguel Almaguer, an accomplished glass artist who even apprenticed in Murano in Venice (!!), this tour took us to visit four studios in the neighborhood.
John has more personality in a fingernail than most people I’ve ever met. The man isn’t just a visual artist — he has the most wonderful presence. You’ll love him.
Here’s John posing with one of his works at his studio, the North Carolina Glass Center. (Also, I told him he totally reminded me of Bruno Mars. Maybe it was the hat.)
Stephen St. Claire, along with his wife Joy, create masterpieces of oil paint, metal leaf, and resin at St. Claire Art. He’s still tweaking his method, Stephen told us.
Daniel McClendon creates bright, primitive, abstract paintings inspired by all kinds of animals. I showed him my quokka selfies from Western Australia and suggested he visit WA to be inspired by the quokka for a future subject!
Andrea Kulisch at Studio A creates traditional Ukrainian eggs — and puts a modern spin on them as well with polka dots, trees, and even unicorns! Andrea is of Ukrainian heritage and I encouraged her to go to Ukraine and experience the country for herself.
I know I keep going on about how friendly everyone is in Asheville, but I was so impressed at how each of the artists talked to our group like they were telling their stories for the first time ever, not like they’d done the spiel a million times.
8. Because I got to frolic at the Richie Rich house.
If there’s any one attraction you should visit in Asheville, it’s the Biltmore Estate. This massive French-style chateau was built by George Vanderbilt in 1889 and it’s since become one of the symbols of Asheville.
As soon as I saw the mansion, I knew it looked familiar — but how? Then the answer came from a follower on Snapchat — it was the Richie Rich house! Of course it was! I used to watch that movie all the time when I was a kid!
Seriously, how is this place in North Carolina?!
The inside is spectacular — I can only imagine how beautiful it is decorated for Christmas.
George Vanderbilt was an avid reader — he averaged 81 books per year, which puts me to shame — so there’s currently a display of costumes from literary movies like Anna Karenina and Finding Neverland. Above is Uma Thurman’s peacock costume from The Golden Bowl.
If you want to see even more of the mansion, the rooftop tour is pretty cool. I can’t believe those gargoyles!
The Biltmore is such a cool place, and there are plenty more grounds to discover, including a winery and some gardens. And if you’re looking for the ultimate Asheville selfie, throw on your favorite red dress and pose in front of the building!
9. Because I found a brewery that was just right for me.
Asheville is home to more breweries per capita than any city in the United States — so if you love beer, you need to come here at least once in your life.
I like beer, but I’m not a hardcore beer fan — I’ll go to breweries in the company of my beer-loving dad and sister, but not on my own. Still, I liked the look of the Wedge Brewing Company, down in the River Arts District, and decided to give it a whirl on my way back from the Biltmore Estate. I couldn’t go to Asheville and not hit up a brewery.
Like everywhere else in Asheville, the Wedge is casual and welcoming. And it’s a family-friendly brewery, with games for kids and space for them to run around during the day. (It becomes adults-only after 8:00 PM.)
I tried four beers and especially liked their Hefeweizen and porter. But it was so nice to just sit outside in the shade, enjoying a few beer samples, and watching the freight trains go by. Chill breweries are the best breweries.
You can read more about Asheville’s beer scene here on Explore Asheville.
10. Because Southern cuisine is the sweetest of cuisines.
Blackbird is one of the signature restaurants in Asheville, and if you’re looking for something southern with a twist, this is a place to visit. I adore southern food and go for it whenever I can, but it’s always best at the source.
I started with a local peach and brie salad. Peach and brie is a heavenly combination — how have I never had that in my life?
Next up was trout with a peanut romesco and zucchini watercress salad. Owner Jesson Gil told me that he considered this dish his “death row meal.” It was fabulous — and also light, which is great considering how much heavy food you’ll be eating in Asheville.
Of course I had to order their award-winning coconut cake. (“Don’t worry, I’ll bring you a box,” my waitress told me. “Just how big is this cake?!” I thought. The answer? Pretty damn big, and yes, I did use the box.)
OH MY GOD, THIS CAKE. SERIOUSLY, THIS CAKE. It is so decadent.
11. Because creative small businesses thrive here.
One of my favorite shops I visited was the Asheville Bee Charmer, a beautiful store devoted to honey and related products.
Owners Kim and Jill came to Asheville from Chicago and envisioned their business out of “a passion for honey, a curiosity for bees, a love of cooking, and a yearning for connection to community.”
“What do you wish people knew about honey?” I asked Kim. “That honey is not just one basic product,” she told me. “There are 350 kinds of honey. Tasting honey is like tasting wine.”
And I tasted a lot of honey. Dark buckwheat honey that could substitute molasses. Chai infused honey that would be fantastic in green tea. And I even tried ghost pepper honey, which was certainly hot but not nearly as bad as I feared.
Since moving into my apartment, I’ve tried to pick up something for my home on most of my trips. In Asheville everyone recommended I check out Horse & Hero, a store filled with prints, cards, and creations by local artists.
This is a cool store, and you can find original art for fairly cheap. I picked up a print that reads LOVE IS OVER TAKING ME upward and downward.
Biscuit Head came highly recommended by my friend Amy, a former Ashevillian. In my experience, one recommendation trumps several recommendations, so I had to go. What are they famous for? BISCUIT AND GRAVY FLIGHTS. (Not the best picture, but I was so hungry I dove in and forgot to photograph it first. I apologize for what I did when I was hungry.)
You get to choose three kinds of gravy with your biscuits. I chose fried chicken, sweet potato coconut, and espresso red bean. Sweet potato coconut was simply outstanding. They also have several gluten-free varieties, which is nice, because biscuits and gravy are normally an extremely glutenous dish.
And this has to be the coolest — a red double-decker London bus turned into a coffeeshop! It’s technically called Double D’s Coffee and Desserts, but most people in Asheville just call it the double-decker bus.
The bus doesn’t drive anywhere, but it’s parked in a lovely little lot where you can sit outside at a picnic table underneath an umbrella.
12. Because local food can be innovated into something new and different.
For my last dinner in Asheville, I ate at Rhubarb. Rhubarb specializes in local ingredients but with very sophisticated twists, and it was the restaurant I found most akin to a high-end restaurant in a city like New York.
I go crazy for charcuterie in any form, but Rhubarb’s offering took it to the next level. Look at all those various meats packed into gel! Including headcheese! A lot of people might blanche at this plate, but I was in heaven.
Ever had goat cheese burrata before? I had not. (The goat cheese is in the center; mozzarella still forms the outside.) It was served with pickled strawberries, stewed rhubarb, and crispy shallots.
The pickled beets and cucumbers were perfect counterparts, but the highlight was the pickled ramps! Ramps grow wild in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Rhubarb is the only place besides The Spotted Pig in New York that I’ve seen serve gnudi — it’s like gnocchi, only made with ricotta instead of potato.
I have to say that no meal delighted me more intellectually than the spread I enjoyed at Rhubarb.
13. Because the cocktail scene is loads of fun.
Asheville might be most famous for beer, but I’m a cocktail girl — and there are plenty of places to enjoy cocktails around the city.
I stayed at the Hyatt Place in downtown Asheville and they’re known for their rooftop bar, The Montford. I ordered a Last Word cocktail made with Bombay gin, green chartreuse, maraschino, and lime. You should go for the view, especially during sunset.
For the cool factor, there are two spots I recommend you check out: Top of the Monk, where they serve each cocktail with a key to a tiny mailbox (what’s inside is a surprise!), and the Crow and Quill, a Victorian gothic lounge that looks like something Edgar Allen Poe dreamed up. (The door is unmarked; go by its address. Also, ask for a cocktail infused with tobacco smoke — it’s quite a show.)
But the absolute best cocktails, in my opinion, were made at Sovereign Remedies. I had the most fabulous gin cocktail — light and citrusy and delicate, the perfect beverage on a hot summer night. I never go to bars alone, but I did in Asheville for research purposes — and I actually made a friend! A cool girl who works in the hospitality industry in Asheville who was also enjoying a cocktail solo.
“It doesn’t look like it, but I’m at work right now,” she said, holding her glass up to toast.
I raised my glass in return. “So am I.” We burst out laughing.
I might have returned for a second night in a row.
14. Because there is SO much more I want to do!!
A weekend is not enough time to experience the best of Asheville. I think something like five days would be perfect.
At one point I gazed over the French Broad river and saw people floating along in tubes and thought, “I want to be there.”
I didn’t get to do too much outdoorsy stuff, and I definitely want to go rafting and do some hikes to waterfalls. Here’s a guide to hiking in Asheville.
I want to visit the Sierra Nevada Brewery, which is a LEED-certified building and a beacon of environmental sustainability in architecture.
Oh yeah, and I need to hit up the French Broad Chocolate Lounge for dessert. I was fed such amazing desserts this weekend that I couldn’t justify going!
But most of all, I want to get into the mountains during the foliage season. The best foliage in Asheville is in mid-October, by the way.
Looking for more? Here’s a list of 50 things to do in Asheville.
This all sounds good — but did anything negative happen?
No, not really! Part of that was because the Explore Asheville team and I planned the trip to be closely tailored to my interests and what I thought you, dear reader, would enjoy reading the most.
I will say one thing, though — remember how I said that in most places, 98% of people are awesome? Well, I did meet part of the 2% as well. I was photographing a street with my wide-angle lens and a saxophonist who thought I was photographing him yelled, “You know it’s rude to take a photo of a musician and not give him a dollar!”
Oh ho ho. You’re talking to the girl who constantly yells at her friends, If a street musician made you stop in your tracks, you owe him a dollar!
Yeah. I wanted to say that. But you always think up your best comebacks a few seconds too late. (“Dude. I just gave a dollar to that guy juggling on a board with a dog on his head. You were literally playing Old McDonald Had a Farm.”) Anyway, long story short, he wouldn’t stop yelling at me and people were staring. So I gave him a dollar while grumbling, “This is just to prove I’m not a jerk.”
You guys know I always write about the bad experiences along with the good ones. And if that’s as bad as it got for me in Asheville, well, it was a pretty awesome weekend.
Where to Stay in Asheville
Where’s the best place to stay in Asheville? It’s a small enough city that there are plenty of central options! Here are the top rated central stays at each price tier:
Luxury: Bunn House: A Boutique Hotel
Mid-range: Hyatt Place
Budget: The Beaucatcher: A Boutique Motel
Find deals on Asheville hotels here.
Asheville is one of my new favorite U.S. getaways. And I feel like it would be great for all kinds of travelers — solo travelers, couples, groups of friends, families. But there are a few types of people who I think would especially enjoy Asheville:
Couples where one partner loves the city and the other loves the outdoors. I know a lot of couples like that and Asheville is the best of both worlds.
People into local, farm-to-table cuisine. There are so many options to get into local fare here.
Art lovers and collectors who like to chat with artists. I found the art scene here to be very open and friendly.
Beer fans. I mean, if you’re into beer, this is the place to come.
And even if you don’t fit any of that criteria, keep Asheville in mind. If you’re looking for a nice destination in the US that isn’t too overdone, where you can eat great food and visit cool businesses and spend time with some of the friendliest people in the world, I bet you’ll enjoy Asheville for sure.
Essential Info: In Asheville I stayed at the Hyatt Place and highly recommend it. It’s modern with artistic twists (they also bought some local Asheville glass art, I noticed!). My room was huge and had beautiful views of the mountains. Rates from $161. There’s an indoor pool. The hotel offers valet parking or self-parking at the same price: $16 per day.
I had hoped I could do Asheville without renting a car, but I soon learned it was best to have a car. If you’re visiting the Biltmore Estate, you absolutely need a car, unless you’re booking a tour that picks you up and drops you off at your accommodation. Plus, the airport is about a 14.5-mile, 20-minute drive from downtown. Other than that, you can get by walking and using Lyft.
Admission to the Biltmore Estate starts at $75 for adults. You can get a $10 discount by booking seven days in advance. Kids age 16 and under are free through Labor Day.
Asheville Farm to Table Tours start at $89 per person, start in the morning, and include a late lunch. My tour was in Fairview County, but the specific itinerary can vary each day. See more tours here.
Asheville Art Studio Tours last two hours and cost $32 per person.
I never travel anywhere without travel insurance — it could save your life (or finances). For this trip to Asheville, I used World Nomads and highly recommend them.
Many thanks to Explore Asheville for hosting my stay in the city and helping me plan an itinerary filled with things I loved. All opinions, as always, are my own.
54 thoughts on “14 Reasons Why I’m Smitten with Asheville, North Carolina”
I set up a surprise visit to Asheville when my husband returned from Afghanistan, and we had such an amazing time! Breakfast at our LGBTQ-friendly BnB with a fantastic group of people, dinner at Curate where we chatted up the couples on either side of us at the bar and one secretly paid for our entire dinner before they left, then tipsily lured by live music into a random bar where this couple who couldn’t have been older than 20 were putting on an impromptu swing dancing display and pulled us in to join them in the circle formed by the crowd who’d gathered around and I didn’t fall on my face — and that was just one day!
And now I see that there’s so much we missed. We have great friends in the triangle area of NC who are trying to get us to move there when we’re done with the military, but if I’d consider moving back to NC at all, I’d say Asheville stands a far better chance. Like you said, it kind of has the best of everything — a mountain south climate mixed with midwestern friendly people and a solid sense of open and accepting community. And it IS as stunning as they say during autumn.
P.S. One interesting fact about Curate: The Chef, Katie Button, quit her prestigious PhD program in Neuroscience (after earning her master’s from L’Ecole Centrale in Paris, France, and her bachelor’s from Cornell University) in “pursuit of passion, life, and happiness.” Love it.
So glad you came to North Carolina!!! Now that you’ve seen the mountain region of our great state, I hope you make it out to the Outer Banks sometime! Completely different atmosphere then Asheville, but seeing wild mustangs on the beach is something that can’t be missed! Plus the amazing amount of fresh seafood!
Thanks for the Asheville post! It’s one of my favorite places in NC, and you have listed quite a few places I haven’t even heard of. This is why I love your blog so much!
Oh, I would love to go to the Outer Banks! My mom went there a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Thanks so much!
That sounds like a magical day! If you end up moving to Asheville, I’m so coming to crash on your couch!
Russia is obsessed with honey and you can find hundreds of different kinds (based on different plants and regions – not infusions or reinventions with offbeat ingredients) at the seasonal honey fairs. Sadly, all this bounty is lost on me, as I dont like the taste of it. EXCEPT – I fell in love with Mike’s Hot Honey after trying Hellboy pizza at Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Your photo of the Asheville Beer Charmer honeys made me miss it so bad!
That’s so cool! I had no idea craft honey was popular in Russia.
Perfectly timed as I’m planning a girls getaway to Asheville with my (scattered-around-the-U.S.) best friends in September! I already made our reservation at Curate…
Smart lady! Hope you girls have a wonderful trip. And don’t miss the cocktails at Sovereign Remedies and Crow and Quill!
I think i would just spend the entire time eating =o) Asheville looks like a beautiful place to visit! I’ve had it on my list of places for the south to visit
Oh believe me, at times it felt like I was doing nothing but eating!
I’ve been waiting for this post to come out! I think this has been my favorite place you’ve visited recently and the one I’m most excited about visiting. I already looked at the tapas restaurant’s website.
That’s awesome, LaMesha! I hope you make it to Asheville soon!
I am an Asheville native and it makes me overly excited to know how much people love my city. While I’ve probably done just about everything there is to do, I realized that by living here, I might take it for granted sometimes. Reading these beautiful words helps me to open my eyes again! Thank you.
I’m so glad to hear that! Thank you.
I’ve also heard awesome things about Asheville and it’s top on my list of places to visit when I return to the US! But I’m also afraid to go because I might never leave! How were the prices? Did you find it affordable compared to other US cities?
Compared to places like New York, Boston, San Francisco, and DC, Asheville is MUCH more affordable! It’s not the cheapest southern place I’ve ever been to, but I found the value overall to be quite good.
As a local, I can say that prices are moderate… nothing like NYC or San Francisco, but not cheap. Also, if you love it and want to stay, be advised that good housing is increasingly expensive. Again, not like NYC but maybe comparable to Atlanta.
You sold me – I had already wanted to go to Asheville, and Austin for that matter, and now I want to go even more! Places with friendly people, loads of great (and inventive) food options, easy access to the outdoors and breweries are my kind of places. I’m hoping to get a housesit there next year when we are planning to do a Southern Road Trip. I LOVE Southern food too but am yet to have it at its source – that needs to change! As for a city of transplants being friendly – I think it is more likely to be so as the people living there chose it – Denver is the same (where I am currently based)
That’s a good point. Choosing where to live is like choosing your family. 🙂
Yayyyyy! I’m so glad you loved Asheville! I wish we still lived there so we could have met up for a visit. Ah well, NYC beckons! 😉
Man, oh man…it really is such a wonderful city, and your post perfectly encapsulates the artsy meets boho meets southern aspect of it. When we lived there we just LOVED the climate, too. Never too cold. Rarely too hot. Haha, now I’m asking myself, why don’t we live there again?? Sigh. This post made me feel all kinds of nostalgic…not the least of which is that scintillating photo of Biscuit Head! I’m glad you trusted that rec 😀 hehehe! Ah. Ok, maybe I’ll return soon for a visit!!
Yes, that’s another great point! Southern + mountains = excellent climate.
I had the briefest of stays in Asheville about 10 years ago when I was visiting Chimney Rock nearby. I love hiking so that was the goal of the trip before swinging back to Chattanooga. The town definitely won my interest and I’ve been dying to go back ever since. It’s not a horrible drive for me either so your discussion of the beer scene is enough to put it back on my radar!
If you’re into beer, Asheville is a must!
Thanks for the kind words . Our city is wonderful and you definitely hit some if the best spots. Your comment on ” in North Carolina?” is offensive.. this state has it going on. While there are conservatives in the mountains surrounding Asheville , there also is a great culture of forward thinking people. Just think is dread heads in the general store of petttcoat junction.. oops you are too young. The mountains from Boone to Murphy have some of the best people in the world from snake handling folks to oraganic farmers. What people don’t get is the montain Scott’s live by the live and live mantra.
This state is awesome from the mountains to the Outerbanks. You yankees just discovered our secrets.. ?
Offensive?! Not at all! I was simply saying that it was surprising that *a French-style chateau* was in North Carolina! I would have said the same thing about Massachusetts or California or Texas or basically anywhere that was *not France*.
Hi, Kate, Being from Europe, My idea of the USA is basically New York, LA, Seattle (Grey’s anatomy buff!) and Texas(?). Thank you for sharing other beautiful places you can find in the US. It opens a whole new world to people who live outside of the country. Asheville looks awesome for a relaxed and easy-going trip. Great photos as usual. And let me tell you, you look especially beautiful here. Nina
Thanks for letting me know, Nina. I’m so glad I can introduce you to new places in the US. A few other favorites of mine are Savannah, Key West, and New Orleans. And that’s so kind of you to say!
I was in Asheville about 10 years ago, and yes, noticed it was quite charming. But the restaurants you’ve shown look fabulous! I think it is time for a return visit!
I think so too! 🙂
Oh man, I’m SO glad you got to eat at Curate. Amazing, right?
I’m from the eastern part of the state, so when I visited Asheville for the first time as an adult (well, as a person of legal drinking age), I was like, “Whoa, I’ve been missing out!” Holy food and beers.
Sierra Nevada is like an amusement park for adults. I thought that being so big and nationally known would make it not so cool, but no, the selection is incredible and the food is fab – I had welsh rarebit rabbit crostinis there I think? Just silly good.
Awww, you make me want to go there even more now! And yes — Curate blew my mind!!
Too funny–I live in Asheville but went to your web-site today to read about London, Brussel and Paris–places I plan to visit this fall and what do I see? AVL featured today! Small world indeed;-]
Fun reading about the city I now call home
I meant Brussels-]
Glad you enjoyed it, Kris!
Great post; some information on Asheville comes in handy for my upcoming trip there! Thank you.
Hope you have a great time, Chris!
Please travel to more places in the US! So many bloggers are focused on far off international destinations. Your blog stands out because you’re willing to head to lesser known destinations in the US. As a reader, it feels a lot more attainable and accessible than planning a trip to Fiji or something. It also makes me excited about what’s in my own country. I love it!
I really love exploring the US, especially since I’m based here now. Coming up next is some Colorado action in August…
Hah, hah. A guy riding a skateboard while juggling with a dog on his head … now THERE’s something you don’t see every day! I really enjoyed this blog on Asheville. Thanks for this!
You have so excited about my upcoming trip to Asheville. I am all about cheese and beer, so I am in for a good time.
I hope you have a wonderful time!
Asheville seems breathtaking and extremely picturesque, Kate! Did you like the book A Land More Kind Than Home?
I actually have yet to read it because it doesn’t fulfill any of the categories of my 2017 book challenge (and it’s ONLY JULY and I only have SIX BOOKS LEFT!!). Soon, though!
Amazing post! I recently went to Asheville and fell in love. You’re so right — it is definitely quirky in all the right places. And the mountains all around make it so breathtaking.
Love this post! Wear is your red dress in your first picture on this post from?!
It’s from ModCloth but I bought it a few years ago so I doubt it would be easy to find…
It is a wonderful city and the downtown, food and arts scene has evolved so much over the years. It’s another place where you need to plan your restaurants in advance! My other favorite there is the Thomas Wolfe house/tour (in case you go back and are looking for something book-ish to do…)!
Thank you for the tip!
I visited this beautiful town in 2015 with a work colleague from Nashville who was showing me around the Smoky Mountains. I travelled from Australia and never stop telling people how they should visit beautiful areas and towns for a change instead of major cities. I feel I could also live in this town and am doing a major detour just to get there in September. I read your blogs thoroughly for all your recommendations especially before I travel. Thank you Kate.
I’m going to Asheville tomorrow to see Aziz Ansari and am following as much of this as I can as it relates to dinner and post-show drinks. Just moved two hours from here so thinking there will be many more visits in my future. 🙂
Our family went in October and loved it. Food and beer were great. Make sure and take the New Belgium tour if you go again. Our kids even liked it. Personally, it’s one of my favorite cities we’ve visited.
It’s definitely a city I could live in.
Hey there! I love living in Asheville! Let me know if you come back and will take you out for a beer wine or liquor drink, we now make them all locally!
Thanks Kate for this lovely post and giving me an insight to Asheville. Wow the arcades certainly look very much like Melbourne. Just amazing and hope you are keeping well?