A Visit to Historic Biltmore Village
A visit to the charming tree-lined streets of Asheville’s Biltmore Village will immediately have you wondering if you’ve somehow wandered into the pages of a Dickens novel. This quaint village was originally built in the 1900s to house the thousands of tradesmen needed to construct the famous Biltmore Estate. Over the six years that it took to erect the elaborate Vanderbilt home, the village grew to include a school, pharmacy, soda shop, church and other businesses to accommodate the workers and their families. Today those historic cottages provide a beautiful backdrop for chic boutiques, numerous galleries, and a few tasty restaurants.
There are many inviting shops lining the brick streets of Biltmore Village, but your first stop should definitely be the New Morning Gallery. An hour could easily slip by as you wander through this multi-level store filled with beautiful handmade arts and crafts. The gallery features work by locally and nationally recognized artists and each room is filled with stunning pottery, delicate textiles and hand carved furniture. It is a fantastic place to pick up a unique souvenir that reflects Asheville’s thriving artist community.
Perhaps you’ve managed to walked off the Beaufort House’s delicious two course breakfast and your stomach is rumbling? Step into The Well Bred Bakery and Cafe for a delicious afternoon snack. Give in to temptation and order one of their signature mountain eclairs—you might need a friend to help you finish this enormous creation! The cafe’s patio is a perfect spot to sip a steaming latte and rest your feet.
The rest of the village is filled with an array of sophisticated national chains with just enough small businesses mixed in to keep it fun and refreshing. Browse the kitchen gadgets at Williams and Sonoma, or pick out a suit at Brooks Brothers. Purchase some trendy workout gear at Lululemon or a pretty sweater at J. Jill—it’s your vacation after all!
While you shop, you will also have plenty of opportunity to support business unique to Asheville. There are a multitude of excellent boutiques and locally owned shops to browse. Stop into Blue, which features jewelry handcrafted onsite or Bellagio which is filled with artisan made clothing and accessories. Another shop not to be missed is the Southern Highland Craft Guild. The Guild is carefully curated to highlight the many talented artists in WNC. Pick up a hand-turned wooden ornament for your Christmas tree or a beautiful photograph of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Now that your feet are aching and your pocket book is empty, head to the Corner Kitchen for an upscale southern dinner. The cozy cottage feels more like dining at someone’s home than a restaurant. The menu, which is changed daily, features elevated comfort food. Order a sweet tea and try to decide between the cornmeal dusted oysters, local Sunburst Farm Trout, or the shrimp with cheesy southern grits—you really can’t go wrong at this Asheville staple.
But don’t take our word for it! In 2010 President Obama and the First Lady made the Corner Kitchen one of their stops during a visit to Asheville. While you are waiting for your chocolate soufflé to arrive (please tell me you ordered the soufflé!”) check your table for a small hidden plaque—there’s a chance you might be sharing the very seat as the President of the United States!
If you still aren’t ready to head back to the inn yet, cross Biltmore Ave and step into the elaborately decorated lobby of the Grand Bohemian Hotel. Settle down onto one of the leather seats and warm your hands by the enormous roaring fire. Order a cinnamon apple sangria at the connected Red Stag Bar to keep you warm on the inside too. This delicious cocktail is made from Troy and Son’s Whiskey, distilled right here in the mountains. It is a comfortable way to finish up an afternoon filled with shopping and delicious food in Asheville’s picturesque Biltmore Village.