This wander should really all be credited to Brian. He surprised me in early April with a weekend trip to Asheville, North Carolina. Despite my controlling bitch ways, we had a wonderfully romantic weekend on a whim.
As we drove into Asheville, a random search on Google Maps we came upon Tupelo Honey Cafe, which just happened to be one of the best new southern food joints in town. We supped at the chefs counter watching the kitchen staff as we enjoyed sweet tea, fried green tomatoes, a Fried Chicken BLT and a Charleston Chicken Sandwich with grilled chicken, Havarti and a tangy cranberry mayo. We finished with softball sized homemade biscuits slathered with some of the namesake Tupelo honey and blackberry jam.
At Tupelo’s, we also randomly ran into our friends that had moved from Denver to the Triangle area just a month before we did. It is this moment that puts me at ease for our weekend. I love randomly meeting familiar faces because it makes me feel that all the decisions that had lead up to that point were the right choices. This moment that unites past and present in s the sweetest of ways.
After checking into our bed and breakfast the Black Mountain Inn, I needed to fulfill a vegan cupcake craving that had been nagging me for three weeks. It was satiated at Short Street Cakes with a chocolate chocolate delight. We found this bakery on a recommendation from a Asheville blogger Healthy Ashley.
Then on to an afternoon of art gallery viewing at the River Arts District. Much to our dismay, many of the studios were appointment only so we didn’t see much. (Which actually pissed me off – why be listed on an artist map if you can’t see their work. What is the point?!) Our favorite stop, which did result in a purchase, was at Asheville Glass Center which had live glass blowing demonstrations. FIRE – huuhh, huh – FIRE!
Our real goal for the afternoon was the Wedge Brew Company. Booze and art is always a good mix for the Furds. This awesome tap room serves nothing but beer and peanuts amongst a post-apocalyptic beer garden. Perched on a funky arty chair which spun in 360 degrees (much to my delight) we shared a pitcher of amber Payne’s Pale Ale. I also got to see a baby goat in the back of someone’s SUV and we met a beer drinking dog named Jack – his owner assured us that beer is an infrequent treat.
Taking the downtime to review our dinner choices. Brian tried to sneak a decision on me by asking what I wanted for dinner and I promptly reminded him “decision free weekend.” Brian found tasty choice in downtown Asheville. (Note: We had actually wanted to go to Tomato Conina Latina for a second time – we had forgotten that we tried to go here when we drove across country – and it is CLOSED despite its listing on Yelp – Asheville)
After getting seriously rock star parking in downtown Asheville, we stopping in a cuuuute shop Loft before dinner. Full of beer and peanuts we found this funky store beyond entertaining. Amongst the Fuck Book, Day of the Dead jewelry and a pursuit of a bath bomb (a phrase Brian found endlessly entertaining) we left with a fabulous new necklace for me and bath salts for the footed tub back at the B&B.
Our dining destination was Sazerac a hip Creole restaurant with a oh la la modern interior. Two rounds of incredible cocktails later – honestly some of the best potent potables we’ve ever had. I sipped a classic Sazerac. Brian downed a Melpomene: Tragedy a magical mix of tequila, apple, lemon, ginger and garnished with a jalepeno slice. Food was good, but honestly not very filling. We had the Pan Seared Scallops and the Roasted Pork Loin.
Before heading home we stopped for quick photo opp with the farm animal sculptures in Pack Square.
Waking up on Sunday morning, we breakfasted with our B&B host with homemade cinnamon-y granola and quiche (or scrambled eggs for the lactose-free crowd). We also met a fellow house-guest who was from Atlanta, so friendly and fabulous. I love the South!
Then it was off to Biltmore Estate! I have wanted to visit the Biltmore Estate since I was in high school. I remember watching a special on HGTV way back in the day that toured America’s largest home and a Lowe’s gardening tips commercial series in the early 2000s. The beautiful gardens and home has held a magical place in my heart.
Our first stop was the Biltmore Estate for the self-guided tour. We walked the ornate rooms of the 1895 home. Beautifully restored fabrics, furniture and clothing were breathtaking. It strongly reminded us of Versailles in France, overly ornate and a monument to materialism. There was no photography allowed inside the home so you’ll just have to wander there yourself to see the luxuries!
Some wander well tips for y’all. Even in early April it was starting to get muggy inside the home. It was also a lot of walking, serious hikes around the house. Make sure to check the Biltmore’s Busy Day calendar – we went on a not so busy day and there were plenty of people.
Outside the gardens were just beginning to wake up. It was the start of the Festival of Flowers and the tulips were just opening. Honestly, we were too early for azaleas and most of the beautiful blooms. The Conservatory was in full bloom with orchids and other lovely tropical plants. One of my favorite vignettes were plants stuffed into the pockets of hard-sided luggage. Such a cute idea!
From there we ambled over to the Antler Hill Village and Winery for lunch at the Smokehouse in the Barn. Good pulled pork sandwiches on Texas Toast all washed down with a Cedric Brown Ale.
A highlight of our trip to Biltmore was the Barn Yard, I seriously heart farm animals. I have a secret fantasy of being a farm girl but I’m far to prissy to actually be a farmhand. Seriously, I can barely take care of my dog, so I can’t imagine taking care of farm animals. Regardless, I love petting farm animals.
Goats are some of the most affectionate farm animals of all time. Maybe they just know that I am thankful for their lactose-safe milk. Eeeek! And chickens! I love these little barnyard dinosaurs. They had fancy chickens at Biltmore with feathery feet and ones with no feathers on their head which Brian dubbed “land vultures.”
We then turned our wheels towards Raleigh. What a wonderful weekend. Whim it up people and make your way to Asheville!
Distance From Raleigh: Round about 4 hours – Get the map
See LOTS more photos from the trip on Flickr
Wander Well Tips:
- Go Local – this is a creative community and it’s showcased in their food, art and flare
- For the Biltmore Estate get your tickets in advance and check their calendar for Busy Days
- Do happy hour at Sazerac, you will not be sad!