Southern Road Trip: Asheville

Although you might not believe it from the delay of this post, for once I didn’t have a hard time jumping back into my every day routine following vacation. Nick and I agreed that spending a week exploring three different places made it seem much longer than if we stayed in one place.

I plan to do separate posts about each of our three stops, so for now, here’s a little bit about what we did in Asheville.

Day One – Our first stop was Asheville. (Well, actually it was the Waffle House in Corbin, Kentucky, but that’s another story.) When we arrived, we checked into our Airbnb that was located close to both downtown and the River Arts district. After unpacking, we wandered around downtown and got the lay of the land. We enjoyed an early dinner at Tupelo Honey Cafe, where I got my fill of southern-inspired food. When I asked the server if it was too late to order a mimosa, she replied, “It’s never too late to order a mimosa!” and I immediately took a liking to her. Not surprisingly, instead of a basket of bread, we were each brought a biscuit with blueberry jam and the house honey. For my meal I ordered the Venerated Veggie Bowl, which contained cheesy grits, fried okra, sauteed greens, black eyed peas, and fresh salsa. I chuckle at how southern cuisine makes vegetables a little less healthy, but a lot more delicious. Nick chose a plate of sides, including mac & cheese, sauteed greens, bene coated asparagus, and a blueberry & lemon quinoa.

Venerated Veggie Bowl

Day Two – The next day, Sunday, we slept in a little and then headed to French Broad River Park, where Nick ran and I biked along the greenway. We then cleaned up and went to Mass at the Basilica of St. Lawrence (where the cutest little boy did the readings.) After another change of clothes, we drove northeast toward the Blue Ridge Parkway to hike at Craven Gap. We spent a lot of time deliberating where we wanted to hike, and settled on this “moderate” trail at 3,133 feet, as it was said to offer great views. Truth be told, the views from the trail were not that clear, but we did get to stop at some great lookouts on the Parkway before driving back down. It seems that for us, hiking and pizza go together, so we chose Fresh for wood fired pizzas. This was also the day that I begged Nick to go with me to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, where we split a brownie (even Nick admitted it was fabulous.) Exhausted, we turned in early that night.

Mountain Pose on a mountain

Asheville Day Three – Believe it or not, I willingly woke up at 5AM on a Monday on vacation to go to a yoga class at Go Yoga, a Baptiste Affiliate studio. The studio is in the bottom of a building whose foundation was built into a mountain, so much of their interior walls are natural rock. I felt immediately at home and so welcomed, which started the day off right. Nick ran while I was at yoga, and so we both needed a quick shower before heading to the North Carolina Arboretum. They have a handful of lovely gardens, which we leisurely walked through first. We then set out on some of the easier trails, making a loop from the Carolina Mountain Trail, which has trees labeled along the way (a dream for us two who both took a botany class in college) and the Bent Creek Trail, which follows a beautiful little creek. We had brought our bikes along as well, but the unpaved, hilly roads were more than our tired legs could handle. Instead, we visited the Folk Art Center, which I thought I’d been to on my previous visit, but hadn’t, which was a pleasant surprise. We then returned to town and ate dinner at a vegetarian restaurant, Laughing Seed Cafe, on the recommendation of Graylin Porter, who is one of my local Asheville experts. Nick and I both ordered the tico burrito, which contained crumbled tofu, brown rice, veggies, mole, and avocado. I didn’t want to share, but we did split a slice of the brownie bottom pie, which was vegan and so, so delicious. In order to walk off our dinner a little, we explored a few more shops in the area before returning to our apartment. It was another early night as we intended to hit the road the next morning.

The greenhouse at the arboretum




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