Asheville, North Carolina

July 30, 2013
My sister Denise and I had not been able to see each other for almost a full year, and the last time was did actually see each other was at a funeral, so we wanted to plan something special and fun for when we did finally get to meet.  About two years ago we talked about how we wanted to make a trip out to Asheville and see the Biltmore.  My sis has been a resident of North Carolina for years now, and she had not yet made it out to the Biltmore, so we thought this would fit the bill of being special!  We tried to do this several times, but it just never worked out, mostly because of my hectic schedule.  An opportunity finally arose so that I was able to take three days off of work, so my sis drove about 6 hours, and I drove about 9 and a half, and we met in Asheville!  We were lucky enough to stay right downtown, so everything in the city center was within walking distance for us.

The first day, we just spent strolling around Asheville.  We checked out some stores, took in the sights, and just enjoyed each other's company.

It was pretty rainy, and I had no umbrella, but I found a pretty cute one.  :)

 I loved how everywhere you turned, there was art!  Whether it be a street artist performing or a mural or a statue, it really added to the character of the city.

One of the very best things about Asheville were the restaurants!  Many of the restaurants use fresh, organic produce right off the farms--it's called Farm to Table.  I'll link all of the restaurants/cafes Denise and I ate at while in Asheville...

The Laughing Seed Vegetarian Restaurant
Dobra Tea
Jerusalem Garden Cafe
Twisted Crepe
Farm Burger

I would recommend all of those restaurants.  The only thing that I didn't like about Farm Burger was that they had all these pictures of cows hanging everywhere.  I really felt terrible and guilty for eating a burger with all of those cows "looking" at me.  It did not affect my sis, but I do get weird about meat.

We also really wanted to try Tupelo Honey Cafe, but every single time we tried to get a seat there was at least a 45 minute wait, and we were told that they do not take reservations.  This cafe sure seems to be popular at all times.

Enjoying the pasta of the day from The Laughing Seed Cafe

 On our 2nd day, we visited the Biltmore!!!  It is as great as it looks!  In case you have no idea what the Biltmore is, it used to be the private mansion of the Vanderbilts, and is the largest house in the whole United States.  A Vanderbilt still owns the estate, but it is open to the public and the funds from tourists are used to maintain the property.  Some parts were so lavish that it reminded me of Versailles, which parts of the home were modeled after.

View from the balcony at the Biltmore

No photography is permitted inside, so if you want to get a look, you'll just have to visit in person.  I'd love to go back during the holidays because I heard they go all out with Christmas decorations!

If you do end up visiting the Biltmore, you can save money by purchasing tickets advance online.  We saved $15 each since we booked our tickets more than a week ahead of time.  The tickets are good for the estate, gardens, winery, and Legacy exhibition.  We made a whole day out of our visit, which was easy to do.  Do not miss the winery--you get an unlimited number of wine tastings at no extra cost!

We visited the Asheville Mall, and I went into Ulta for my first time ever!   I'm going to do a haul post on that and my other purchases in Asheville later, so be on the lookout if you are interested in that.

On our very last day, we went on a food tour through a company called Eating Asheville. We met at The Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar, and then went on to taste small samples of food at five more places: Zambra, Gourmet Chip Co.,Strada, Laurey's, and The Chocolate Lounge.

On the tour we learned fun facts like:

*The owner of Strada is Italian who cannot tolerate gluten, so there are gluten-free options available, which is not that common in an Italian place. 

* The staff at Laury's knows how much everyone else makes and where all of the money goes.  It is also one of the few restaurants that offers its staff with health insurance and a living wage (meaning enough $$ to live on.)

* Zambra doesn't have a menu, really.  They base what they will make for the night on what fresh food is available, which can change on a daily basis.

We both had a really great time on our trip to Asheville.  We were going to go on a hike, but it was storming out, so we had to pass.

I'm also linking up this post with Found Love, Now What? and A Compass Rose, who host Travel Tuesday together.  I can't wait to hop around because I'll never get sick of reading travel posts!

Share your thoughts on Asheville, NC in the comments below.
13 comments on "Asheville, North Carolina"
  1. Oh my gosh Asheville looks so amazing! I was only about 12 when I went to the Biltmore so I did not truly appreciate it! I would love to go back!

    1. You should go back and visit again. I had such a good time there, and we didn't even get to do the nature stuff because of the bad weather.

  2. I love places like this with so much art to look at, I LOVE the truck!

    1. I know, so cool!! We were constantly finding little "treats" to admire all over Asheville. My favorite statue is of a cat perched up on a ledge.

  3. This place is WOW . All the lush scenes and buildings , this trip must be a thumb up ! I just love your umbrella !
    Noor @ Noor's Place

    1. It really was worth the trip...I would go back in a heartbeat!

  4. What a wonderful trip! I have always wanted to go to the Biltmore and now I HAVE to! Such great pictures!

    1. I wish I had had more time there. My sis is there right now (I'm so jealous) and she ate at the Tupelo Honey Cafe and is doing all the outdoorsy stuff.
      The Biltmore is really a must!

  5. Such lovely pictures, I wish I can visit there sometimes!

  6. You did a great job on posting about Asheville! It really was so much fun! I'm so glad you wrote down all the names of the restaurants we ate at during the Eating Asheville tour. I would love to eat at The Chocolate Lounge-not just a sample this time. :) Did you ever do that update with all of your Asheville purchases and a blog about Ulta?

    1. I miss it there! Too bad NC is ranked the 48th worst for teachers or I would try to move. Yes, I did do a post on my Asheville haul. Here is the link:

  7. We need to plan another trip soon!! :)