A Fall Visit to Asheville
There is nothing better than the anticipation of an exciting getaway to Asheville. It might begin with leaving your house at the crack of dawn, pulling out of the driveway with the radio just a little too loud, a steaming travel-mug of coffee in your hand, and thinking about all the things you hope to do on this visit. If you’re lucky, and traffic cooperates, you’ll arrive a bit early and begin wondering how to fill the hours before check-in time.
So maybe you’re like me. Maybe you’re eager to explore this beautiful town and check off some items on your “bucket list”. Perhaps it is a gorgeous Fall day and the edges of the mountains are gilded with hints of gold and red, and the streets are bustling with shoppers. If so, here are some ways you can spend a few stolen hours in the heart of Western NC:
If you’re arriving in time for lunch, I recommend parking at the Aloft hotel garage and wandering down the block to Wicked Weed Brewing for a unique Asheville experience. “Wicked Weed” is a unique local establishment, identified as one of the Top 10 Microbreweries in the country. It borrows its name from a term that King Henry VIII used for that prickly, invasive plant known as Hops. Sometimes I think there are more microbreweries than Subarus in our little town, (actually 22 in all) but who’s complaining?
The Wicked Weed is a great place to start with because of its location in the heart of downtown. The outdoor patio is charming, food is great and it’s a fantastic place to people watch—another favorite past time in Asheville. There is always something interesting to see on our streets, but keep an eye out for the nun riding a giant Bicycle…but that is another story. They don’t call Asheville weird for nothing.
The menu at this locally owned pub is filled with tasty pub food. Try the IPA boiled peanuts sprinkled with sumac for a fun twist on a classic southern snack. For $3 you can hardly turn them down!
The best way to sample the handcrafted brews is to try the beer “flight” (a 5 small-glass sampler) which comes with a variety of flavors. Try them all and then order a pint of your favorite. It’s a great way to kick off a visit to Beer City USA.
Once you are pleasantly filled with a hoppy ale, head up the hill on Biltmore Ave. for some of the best Asheville shopping. Mast General store is a local favorite, filled with everything from upscale outdoor gear to antique barrels of hard candy just like the old general store your grandparents might have visited —you could spent lots of time in this fun shop.
At the top of the climb (you made it!), make a left at the light and find the Kress building at the end of the block. An old art deco façade provides warm display space for local artists who have filled the individual stalls with a dizzying array of art, crafts, jewelry, and pottery. It’s a great place to pick up a hand crafted souvenir.
From there, you can wander in almost any direction to find more locally owned stores, coffee shops and art galleries. You can’t go 30 feet in any direction in this town without finding something unique. When you finally make your way home to the Beaufort House Inn, remember it is an easy stroll to downtown Asheville again at night when the town transforms with additional charm, street performers and a vibrant night life!