A Long Weekend in Asheville: Days 1-2

I have been dying to share details and photos of our trip to Asheville (in DECEMBER) for some time now.

We went with two of our favorite friends from when we lived in Pittsburgh. We don’t get to see them nearly enough but when we do we end up taking a cool trip to somewhere new, so that works out really well. We also traveled to St. Maarten with them a few years ago!  It’s really nice to have a couple friend that you are compatible with travel wise. We are all pretty laid back and enjoy the same kind of things and are interested in seeing the new and different.

We ended up staying in West Asheville, mostly because we waited until the last minute to book a place and there were few places downtown and the ones that were available were pretty expensive. West Asheville is across the bridge and has more of a residential cozy neighborhood feel. There are a few smaller breweries and restaurants but overall we really enjoyed staying there and the Uber to main downtown was only about $10, so it really was worth it.

We drove to Asheville from Wilmington and got an early start. We ended up getting there a little too early and needed to kill some time before we checked into our Airbnb. I was looking up breweries on the way in the car and we ultimately decided to make a stop at Sierra Nevada to kill some time. This place was seriously impressive!  The brewery really had a huge ski lodge kind of feel. It was also packed af on a Monday afternoon (granted it was the week between Christmas and New Years). We got lucky and found a spot at the bar and decided to do one of their flights.

I tend to like wheat and fruity beers, so I stuck to those.  As we were sitting there, plate after plate of food was brought by and it all looked amaaazing.  The beers were also delicious, except for maybe the lemon verbena. It was a bit too lemony for me. I was surprised by how much I liked the tropical IPA!  Up until this point, I always found IPAs to be bitter but I think the fruitiness of this one made it a little lighter.

Local roasted heirloom pumpkin beer – I didn’t know my fav beer could sound so pretentious

After our beers we checked into our apartment and looked up a West Asheville spot to walk to while we waited on our friends.  We found a trippy hippy little spot that weirdly reminded me of Morgantown. It was here that I had my first sour beer. The bartender forced my to try a sample before she would pour me a full one, I guess people order the sours not fully knowing what they are getting themselves into?  The sour reminded me more of a cider or kombucha or something like that, tart/vinegary/fruity. I loved it!

After we met up with our friends we decided to head downtown for dinner. We went to Wicked Weed and enjoyed an array of hummus, a cheese plate, burgers and salad. It was all really good!

One of 2,833,656,987,515 beard and flannel combos we encountered

After Wicked Weed we apparently stopped by Asheville Brewing Company, I only know this because I had the following picture on my phone, no recollection of this place whatsoever.

You are welcome for this value added photo

We then walked over to Top of the Monk. This bar is split into three floors, each which has a unique theme and beers. We started at the bottom which featured Belgian beers. Megan and I did another flight.


Later we ended up heading upstairs to the fancy bar. They had a speakeasy theme going on and specialized in cocktails. I think this was some sort of gin and grapefruit? I saw in the menu that you got a key to the snack chest with each drink, so after I ordered my drink I went over and unlocked some olives. Turns out, we only got one key PER GROUP and I used it on OLIVES of all things, which is totally polarizing and there weren’t even four of them. #theworst. By the time we were done with our drinks here it was absolutely pouring so we got an uber and headed home.


The next morning we decided to head to the famed Biscuit Head for breakfast.  Leading up to this trip we all asked family and friends for restaurant recommendations and EVERY SINGLE PERSON recommended Biscuit Head.  We tried to get as there as early as our hangovers would allow but still ended up waiting in line for a while.

It was completely worth it though because the food was god damn fantastic.  They obviously specialize in biscuits, and have an entire bar dedicated to biscuit toppings.  Every  combo of honey, jam and butter that you could ever imagine.  I had a REALLY hard time deciding, mainly because of their multiple types of gravy and the fact that a GRAVY FLIGHT was an option.  Gravy is like, one of my top 3 favorite foods (of course it’s a food, don’t tell me otherwise).  There is also a GRAVY OF THE DAY (bestill my beating heart) but I ultimately went for the Brisket Biscuit, which was smoked pulled brisket, goat cheese, and buffalo hollandaise on a biscuit, topped with a poached egg.  It was AMAZING.  The biscuits were so large and buttery.  I’ve only ever attempted biscuits one time and they turned out like inedible dense little pucks.  These biscuits were the complete opposite of that, fluffy yet rich.  A real feat of chemistry.  Everybody’s food was really amazing, there wasn’t a bad thing between the four of us.

So yes, in case you can’t tell I think this place is a must-do in Asheville.  They currently have 2 Asheville locations and have recently opened a GREENVILLE SC location(!!!!!).  SO MANY CAPS but I’m just so passionate about biscuits and gravy guys.

 

This day was also our best day of weather, so we decided to take our full bellies outside and hike some of these famed Smokey Mountains that we kept hearing so much about.  We thought we would do a nice hike, but there are SO many mountains around Asheville it was really hard to narrow it down to an area, let alone a single trail.

I ended up finding this site on my phone, which seemed very helpful.  But Nick seemed to have an idea of where to head for the entrance of the National Park, so away we head.

I don’t want to criticize, because I certainly didn’t want to navigate..but Nick decidedly did NOT know where he was going.  I think we had to turn around 2-3 times, and we ended up climbing some mountain that a Toyota Corolla should never have attempted.

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We hiked around for about 30 or so mins and decided to head back and find some waterfalls.  More beautiful mountain driving later and we found ourselves at a random roadside waterfall.

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After all that adventure we were more than ready for a freakin beer and found the cutest little gem, Frog Level Brewing Co.  This place was in the middle of the tiny little downtown of Waynesville, NC and had an awesome outdoor area.  It actually ended up being one of our favorite spots!  There were about 8-10 picnic tables along the river behind the place.  The scenery plus the Salamandar Slam IPA made for a very happy crew.  In addition to the beers, we got some chips and chipotle hummus (which was amazing).  We were pretty hungry from our hike and it had been a while since our late breakfast, so it really hit the spot.

 

So….I know this seems like a really unnatural place to end this post, but this is getting really long and we did a lot of activities and breweries, so I cannot even fathom how long you would have to listen to me blather on if I actually attempted to finish out this day.  So I’ll wrap it up here and save the rest for next week’s travel post!

 

This post is part of the Wanderful Wednesday link-up, be sure to check out the other posts!

 

 

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