A Weekend in Asheville
Beer Town, U.S.A. and so much more
Set amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville served as a cool, green getaway for both artists and the wealthy in the 1880s — with George W. Vanderbilt most famously building his sprawling Biltmore Estate in the area. The Depression hit Asheville hard, with many of its occupants fleeing the city and turning its Downtown area into somewhat of a ghost town. Ironically, for that reason, Asheville’s Downtown is now resplendent with gorgeous examples of classic Art Deco architecture traditionally reserved for New York City and Chicago.
Asheville is now a city that attracts artists and creatives. Its downtown is filled with galleries. Be sure to check out the vintage Woolworths that has been turned into a co-op artist gallery complete with a counter ice cream parlor and diner.
For those that like fresh air, the city offers spectacular hiking just minutes away.
Where to Stay
While the Biltmore Estate is the most famous — and lush — accommodation in Asheville, the city offers a grand selection of Bed and Breakfasts set inside beautiful Victorian houses. The Wright Inn and Carriage House is a fine example. Built in 1899, the gabled house has been lovingly restored, and even offers pet-friendly rooms. The inn is just a mile from Downtown Asheville, making it a pleasant walk to the galleries and breweries.
Where to Eat
Some of the best barbecue in Asheville is served out of a food truck — meaning you might have to research where Carolina Ace is, but it’s worth it for ribs with meat that falls off the bone and a hearty pulled pork sandwich.
James Beard nominee Katie Button’s Curate has a national reputation for good reason. The restaurant, which specializes in tapas, is truly a masterpiece. Make plans to sit at the counter to watch the chefs prepare the food in a precision ballet. Also, be prepared to order everything on the menu from the patatas bravas to the seared octopus to the piquillo peppers stuffed with Spanish goat cheese.
It’s hard to miss Double D’s — just look for the London Double Decker bus. That bus has been outfitted into a coffee shop, serving coffee drinks, freshly baked pastries, and smoothies. Don’t miss the honey lavender latte, made with local honey.
Chef John Fleer, formerly of Blackberry Farm offers diners rustic wood-fired fare made with local farm-fresh ingredients like goat cheese burrata, and possibly the best gnocchi ever. Rhubarb also serves weekend brunch — ask your bartender to make you an Old Fashioned mimosa — basically an Old Fashioned topped with bubbles!