As we passed through Asheville, North Carolina after a short weekend of snow skiing in the Mountains, we discovered this area had a lot to offer. In our short time passing through we saw a number of local restaurants, art galleries and antique shops that would make a great place to return for a weekend getaway. Of course, we added it to our list and returned a month later for a relaxing weekend.
Asheville is a short 3.5-hour drive (210 miles) from Atlanta, GA, our home base. Leaving on a Friday evening allowed us to arrive in time for the Asheville Art District first Friday Art Walk that included 23 galleries and demonstrations in historic downtown. The mix of families, college students and local residents provided such a fresh and relaxing atmosphere. After our art stroll, we searched for a local place for food and drinks. Asheville has the reputation as being the beer city of the US. North Carolina has 100 craft breweries across the state. We settled on Wicked Weed Brewing and enjoyed the busy atmosphere and outdoor seating. It was located next door to the Orange Peel, which was a live music venue.
The next day we kept busy exploring downtown Asheville and discovered quaint shops and antique shops in which to stroll. As the day came to a close, we started asking locals for some recommendations on where to watch the sun set over the mountains. The Sky Bar is where we were directed. Upon arriving in a small lobby of an old building we rode up an old fashion elevator driven by a friendly elevator operator. He really added to the vintage experience of the location. We were seated on the extended fire escape on the side of the building that was made up of three floors. Our small bistro table provided the perfect place to watch the setting sun.
Sunday we started our day in the Biltmore Village Historic District. This area was designed with an English flavor and tutor style housing and buildings in the early 1900’s. Originally designed as an extension of the Biltmore grounds as the employee housing community, this area is now has a number of galleries, shops and restaurants located in these one-time residences. We stopped for Sunday Brunch at the Corner Kitchen and immediately enjoyed the “home’ atmosphere and quaint seating. The food was tasty and filling and our server was happy and attentive.
Our last stop was the Biltmore Estate. The drive into the manicured estate grounds set the tone for this fairyland homestead. The house was started in 1888 by George Vanderbilt and is one of the largest estates in the US. Opened to public viewing in 1930 after the Great Depression, the house and grounds are nothing short than spectacular. It could have easily been an all day experience. However, we did the house tour, a walk in the garden and the winery tour in about 5 hours.
We enjoyed our short stay in Asheville and we were very surprised at how much of a ‘hip’ culture was infused with the mountain culture and history.