With a booming culinary scene, burgeoning craft beer culture, mountain views, hiking and history, there is no doubt that Asheville is a highly sought after travel destination. But what if you only have 48 hours??
What did you say….that’s not enough time? I agree, I wish I had more time to explore but if you only have the weekend, here is an itinerary to help you make the most of your short time! I hope you are prepared to move, because we didn’t stop!
First things, First! Where do you stay?
I have found you the most perfect place to stay during your time in Asheville. It has the quaint charm and feel of an older home but with all the modern amenities of the highest end hotels. We received a text message letting us know we could check in early with all the keyless entry information required for the parking gate and room entry. I fell in love just driving up to the Bunn House. It’s situated on an acre and half and only can be described as an oasis among the bustling city scene that is Asheville.
Every piece of this property has been thoughtfully executed. Snacks and drinks (local beer and excellent wine) were not only provided in a stocked kitchenette, they were also re-stocked each morning. A small vineyard on the grounds (oh yeah, they make and provide their very own grape jam) welcomes guests with a pre-built fire and walking paths. And the rooftop… oh the rooftop. We came home early both nights to enjoy our drinks on the rooftop overlooking the city for our night cap. Soft music and muted lights were skillfully designed to come on when guests needed them.
You truly feel like you are alone in a quaint cottage in your own piece of paradise forgetting, for just a moment, that you are conveniently nestled within walking distance of downtown Asheville. The Bunn House provides all of the uniqueness that you wanted with all of the modern amenities that you never knew you needed.
Now that you know where to stay, let’s get on with the adventure!
We luckily were able to leave early morning and arrive in Asheville at the start of the afternoon. We of course went straight to a tap room! Hello weekend, let’s get started.
When we arrived at New Belgium early afternoon we were surprised by how busy it was already. There were still tables available to sit outside and tours were still available, however, we decided to get a flight and enjoy the unseasonably warm afternoon on the patio. There was a food truck available and the grounds were large with a grassy area ready for some corn hole (bags) to be played and lots of seating in and around the area. I enjoyed the Session which is only sold at this particular New Belgium Brewery while my husband liked the Atomic Pumpkin (it’s Fall what can I say). I imagine New Belgium gets pretty busy as the day goes on.
Right across the river from New Belgium is a cute and eclectic artist area with art studios, shopping and of course another fantastic brewery. Wedge was suggested to us by a fellow beer friend and oh goodness are we so happy we stopped. Quite a different atmosphere from New Belgium which wasn’t even a mile away. Wedge had a large outdoor sitting area but their actual bar was a bit small on the inside. Who wants to sit inside anyway, not me! We loved their Pilsner and their Stout plus their tap handles were hands down the best I saw! Did I mention, they have free peanuts…. I should have started with that! Who doesn’t love free peanuts? While we sampled some peanuts and drank our beer we also decided to partake in the fabulous food truck called Melt your heart specializing in grilled cheese. I feel like I don’t have to say anything else. I had you at grilled cheese!
The check in was early so we dropped our bags before heading out!
Tapas with a kick! I can’t even tell you how many people told me to try Cúrate! It is a modern take on a spanish classic. A la carte ordering to your ideal meal, we enjoyed both the red and the white sangria to start. We had to try them both… because well, that’s what we do. I loved the white sparkling while my husband preferred the dryer red. We enjoyed roasted almonds, sauteed mushrooms in sherry, a spanish take on a classic bruschetta, a fig, ham, and goat cheese on artisan bread, and a few others. I found the dessert to be the most interesting and would never have ordered it, but our waiter highly recommended it! It was called the Merengue de “gin & tonic” and was gin soaked berries, vanilla-yogurt ice cream, torched merengue and tonic snow…. so delicious. If you want to try Cúrate you better reserve it early as it was busy when we got there at 5 and only continued to fill up.
A quick stop into a true urban brew pub. Burial Brewing has been knocking out small batches since 2013 and there location is eclectic and inviting. There is ample space along the side where both kids and dogs are welcome a great boon to the weekend traveler. A killer 80’s themed mural and off-the-wall seating options give this brewery a fun ‘hang out’ vibe. Salt & Smoke, the on-site kitchen, highlights charcuteries and plates that pair well with Burial’s brews.
Our final stop of the night was into Green Man’s original tasting room, Dirty Jack’s. Located just next door to their main production facility the bar is right next to their specialty beer brewing location. A fun local crowd greeted us and I was happy to see a wide variety of options on tap. Two different soccer games being played on the T.V.’s and darts being slung at the back.
Knowing that you have a private rooftop balcony waiting for you is a great way to cap off the night. With wine and beers provided by The Bunn House, we were able to take in the sights and sounds of a sleepy city as we made plans for the next day.
There is no better way to start a morning than with a great breakfast. If you feel the same way, do I have a spot for you. Early Girl Eatery (named after a tomato, how cool is that) is located downtown in Asheville and offers delicious southern food in a casual welcoming atmosphere.
Owned and operated by John and Julie Stehling, who ironically got their start working for John’s brother at the Hominy Grill in Charleston, SC, the restaurant sits quaintly in downtown Asheville on historic Wall Street.
Right away you are welcomed by an energetic and friendly staff. The daily specials are up on the board and a menu that relies heavy on local CSA’s (community-supported agriculture) gets you in the mood to, as my husband put it, “eat all the things.” A bit aggressive I’d say but after you see the food you’ll probably agree.
We were able to try the Local Sausage and Sweet Potato Scramble, Omelet of the day and the French Toast. As you can see from the pictures, they were absolutely amazing. The scramble, featured a new-to-me combination of sweet potato and eggs that I’m not sure I’ve ever had…I will never make that mistake again!
What should you do after an amazing breakfast? Well, if you’re like me, the need to burn off some calories and check out what the surrounding state has to offer is next on the list. Chimney Rock State Park located only about 45 minutes from downtown is a great spot for a day trip. A relaxing drive through western North Carolina will get anyone off to a great start.
The entrance fee to the park (13-15$ per adult) was well worth the views that were in store for us. Apparently, there is an elevator for those wanting an easier way to the top. It was out of order that day so they were offering reduced fares for entry. Honestly, I wasn’t going to take the easy way out anyway but I am not even sure where it was located. I never did see it.
The hike up to Chimney Rock is along a very well-manicured and constructed path (or stairs if you will). It only took 30-40 minutes for the walk up and that includes the additional summit to Exclamation Point which is a bit higher than the famous outlook and gives you a one of a kind perspective of the rock, river and valley below. Just another tip, I would try to get there as early as possible which allows you to park near the top. As we were leaving, people had to park near the gate and get bused to the top.
Remember the relaxing drive I mentioned on the way to the State Park? Well, apparently you drive through a small community called Bat Cave, NC. Seriously. I never did see Michael Keaton or Adam West but we did drive by several apple cider stands and were able to pull off into one. Free apple cider samples and a couple apples to go set us off well and we headed back to Asheville.
Asheville’s third oldest brewery is where we started our evening. The Asheville Brewing Company started in 1998 as a pizza, theater, brewpub conglomeration. There are 7 working owners, which means one is at one of their 3 locations all the time. The original located at 675 Merrimon Avenue was picked because it has a 7bbl system in place as well as a second run movie theater! Their downtown location (77 Coxe Avenue) was picked long before there were any other breweries on the South Slope which is where we started the evening.
We were able to meet up with Manager, Jason Jeter, who helped show us around. He immediately directed us to his favorite beer that they have aptly named Perfect Day IPA. When faced with a large list of great sounding beers, you can never go wrong by asking the people working there what they like. The beer was amazing! My husband went with a Bantha Milk Blueberry Stout, because Star Wars, I guess, it went over my head. I had the Lemon Space Dog and it was refreshing for the hot day!
We also tried the Fire Escape Pale Ale which is brewed with Jalapenos. I know, I know it sounds weird but once you’ve tried it, you all will know why they are so good.
There are a lot of different reasons to go to a brewery. Storm clouds, lightening and torrential rain was ours for this stop. It must have been a sign from the heavens though. A live band, booming crowd and the smell of popcorn greeted us as soon as we stepped inside.
Then, to my surprise I noticed that they had one of my favorite style of beers on tap. The MDXXI 1521 Imperial Mexican Chocolate Stout. Brewed with coca, cinnamon and arbol chiles this beer was out of this world. Rain check? Still raining, another round for the win. Live music and popcorn? Double win.
The last brewery stop of the day had us pop into another south slope location. We had heard that Catawba Brewing had a Peanut Butter Jelly Time still on draft as one of their seasonal brews. We were not disappointed. The tap room, one of their three in western North Carolina, is home to it’s smaller production lines as well as its barrel aging program. It’s a gorgeous facility and very inviting.
We ended the night, by walking through the city listening to street performers and heading to our final destination.
The Sky bar is a must, especially right before sunset. In order to get to the top, you enter a retro iron accordian elevator doors with an attendant waiting for you. It was swanky and fun. My best recommendation would be to get here a bit before sunset in order to claim your spot on the railing to see the sunset over the moutains without obstuctions. They brought out some fun new speciality cocktails which mimicked the color of the sky on the horizon. Beautiful drinks for a beautiful view.
Breakfast. You’re probably starting to see a theme here. This has become one of my favorite spots to eat while in Asheville. Technically West Asheville, an area of town that is coming into its own light. Once you stop by Sunny Point Café, you’ll realize why people are flocking to this neighborhood.
A family run restaurant, three generations now, serving comfort food from “dawn to dusk” takes the farm to table concept and amps it up a few notches. Seriously, the restaurant maintains a garden on site that covers more than half an acre and services the restaurant directly. This allows the café to provide unique additions to their specials that showcase ingredients that would never be possible without this level of commitment.
Their signature dish, Huevos Rancheros, had my name all over it from the get go. Eggs, avocado, nacho chips, cheese? Sure will, thanks for asking. My husband had his sights on their interpretation of the southern classic, chicken and waffles, which they offered sandwich style.
A Bloody Mary with bacon and vegetables from the garden. There may be no greater sentence ever written in modern English.
Get there early as the secret is out. On the plus side waiting for a table here is actually pretty pleasant. Not only will the anticipation of their menu make the time pass quickly they offer coffee and sweet snacks as well as garden strolls, places for kids to run around and a park like atmosphere to pass the time. I wouldn’t be surprised if people just came by to wait, it’s that pleasant.
For an alternative itinerary, The Biltmore is always an option as is the Biltmore village with shopping and additional restaurants and wineries. It really can’t be described in any other manner than exquisite and legendary. You can spend all day there or only a few hours depending on if you have been before or what your interest in the history may be. There are options galore when it comes to tours. We have been before so we decided to pop in early on Sunday when we knew it was less busy for a “quick” walk around. You could spend an entire weekend on this property, so plan your trip accordingly!
48 hours in Asheville is not enough time to do everything and you will see why when you visit. However, with 48 hours you can still grab a picture of the beauty, the people and the fun and funky vibe that is Asheville.
As always if you have any questions please feel free to ask!
Until next time, Cheers!