Drifted Earth's Guide to Asheville, NC

Drifted Earth's Guide to Asheville, NC

I have said many times before, Asheville is full of cool things to do…some I have done and some I have yet to try, so I keep going back for more. 

Here is your Drifted Earth weekend guide to exploration that will lead to adoration for this funky, hippie town.  I am going to steer clear of the typical Biltmore guide, although incredible, a common tourist spot, and I will list some things a little more authentic to the feel of this mountain town I have loved for so long.  Just do us one favor, when it comes to a schedule in Asheville, throw it out the window!  

See and Do

Arts

Visit the River Art’s District – there is some awesome Grafiti lining the streets, tons of galleries, and studios along the way, and the best part is that it’s right next to the beautiful French Broad River.
Music Venues

 Up there with Asheville's expertise is bringing and generating great music.  Orange Peel, The Grey Eagle, and Pisgah Brewing are up there with Drifted Earth's certified faves.  Listing music venues in Asheville comes with a severe DISCLAIMER...the best thing you can do is follow your ears.  You never know when you’ll see music and performances on the streets or walk by and hear something that catches your ear.  If you like what you hear, walk on in and give it a listen.  It's almost a guarantee that it will be a solid performance. 

Relaxation

Shoji Spa – what better way to relax after a day of hiking the Blue Ridge than to look out over the mountains from one of the hot tubs at Shoji Japanese spa.  Make sure to request a tub with a view.
Salt Cave – Lots of cool things offered in the caves – Reiki, sound meditation, and yoga to name a few.  Check out their site for some of Asheville’s more zen feels.
For a little history and class, visit the Omni Grove Park Inn.  It has the most stunning fireplace I have ever seen and is a work of art in and of itself.

Hike

The best part about Asheville is that the Blue Ridge parkway is right by the city…
…And the best part about these 2 hikes is that they are right off of it Black Balsom Knob and Graveyard Fields.  Graveyard Fields is below Black Balsom and is a beautiful valley with waterfalls and rivers and Black Balsom is an open grove above the valley that has incredible views and the opportunity for a good sunset.  Make sure to bundle up because it is ALWAYS windy on top of the knob.  You can do both of these trails in a day.
Another off the Parkway is Skinny Dip Falls – its short, sweet, and rewarding.
Looking for a little something more chill? The Asheville Botanical Gardens is closer to town and does not disappoint, although, when it comes to gardens, the NC Arboretum takes the cake!

 

Eat

I have yet to have a bad meal in Asheville…so here’s my top runners on the food scene

                Breakfast:

Sunny Point Café – this is in the West End part of town and always has a wait, but has a great area outside to chill and walk the gardens before you get seated.  It will not disappoint.
Early Girl Eatery – right downtown and super delicious + coffee and tea shops nearby if you have a wait.  The menu has some heavier options that will last you through lunch and the grits are off the chain

               

Lunch:

If you decided to check out the River Art’s District, there are a few options in the area to have a bite -  All Souls Pizza menu looks slightly AMAZING and The Junction often has live music and is right on the river, so you can sit on their patio and see the river rats (aka rafters and kayakers) floating by as you enjoy some good eats.

                Dinner:

Asheville is infused with Himalayan and Indian influence, so there are a pretty good selection of restaurants to choose from – my friends and I like Blue Dream Curry House, which is right downtown and plenty delicious.
Rhubarb – this one is for the local feel –  it targets that farm to table foodie crowd and is currently all the rave.
For a more romantic scene and fun atmosphere, Zambra Tapas is the way to go.  Just take a look at the gallery and see what I’m talking about.

               

Coffee and Tea:

 A beautiful tea room to start the day – yes please!  Visit Dobra Tea
My personal fave, you ask?  Green Sage Cafe – coffee so fresh

Drink

Just like music, listing Asheville's best breweries is tough to do because they all deserve credit, plus there is always something amazing brewing just around the corner.  In fact, they even have a certified Craft Beer Academy at Blue Ridge Community College.  However, I will give you a little perspective on each of the vibes at some of our most visited - each of which tends to have music and food trucks, as well.

Highland Brewing Co - Highland does not disappoint.  It has a variety of rooms and a deck that make it a fun place to tour around while you sip your beer.  Their patio has a great view and a nice elevator ride to the top.

Wicked Weed Brewery - I like this one because it is a nice pre-gamer to the Orange Peel and they have great beers.  In fact, if you didn't get tickets to the show you wanted to see, hang out here.  You can at least hear the show and create your own dance floor on their patio (no judgement).

Funkatorium - Wicked Weed's Sour project for all the sour lovers out there!  It's a fun little pallet adventure and a nice, smaller venue with many small batch barrels ready to be tapped as the backdrop. 

Sierra Nevada Brewery - truly the Country Club of breweries and really not in Asheville.  This is going to be your tourist destination of breweries.  Although, a great setup with corn hole, gardens, and trails in their back yard, it's a lot different than the typical craft beer environment you will find around Asheville.  Don't get me wrong though, the food is great, and I love the beer.

New Belgium Brewing - right on the French Broad with a great big patio and tasty beers.  Convenience and view of the river makes this one a great follow up to a day on the French Broad.

Pisgah Brewing - great beer, awesome logo - some designed by the same artist that did Grateful Dead album covers (so I hear), amazing music.  This one is in Black Mountain, but still pretty close to Asheville if you don't mind the commute.  Check their website to see if there is something going on.

Don't limit yourself here, there are so many fun breweries in Asheville, you are likely to find your new favorite craft beer, good people, and a sweet tap room with a little exploration.  Cheers!

Stay

Maybe I’m not the best person to recommend something here because I live most of my days in a tent when I am not at home, but I’ll do my best to throw some cool options out there that are 100% Asheville.  Obviously, I am going to recommend an AirBnB.  If you go this route, find yourself a “Super Host” close to town and you can’t go wrong.
For something a little more adventurous, check out Asheville Glamping – you’ve gotta admit the “Dome” looks pretty sweet!
If you are looking for something a little more luxurious, Hotel Indigo is a really nice place that has a modern, colorful setting and is in a great location of the city.  Aloft has a similar feel right downtown, as well, and you might even pick up a new furry friend while your there through their pet adoption program -> how cool is that?  A major perk of this hotel is that it is not only pet friendly, but pets stay free to support the wag more environment of this animal friendly town!  Both hotels have a great view of the city. 
Warning!! Hotels tend to be pretty high $$$ Asheville, though.

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