A Few Days in Asheville

26 Oct

Earlier in the week, I went to Asheville, North Carolina, one of my favorite cities. It is an artistic city with eclectic shops, art galleries, interesting restaurants and, during this time of year, sits among the fall foliage of the Appalachian mountains. Unfortunately, I wasn’t artistic enough to remember my camera. So, if I include pictures, then they are going to be of the stock variety.

We arrived on Sunday morning and spent the afternoon exploring downtown. We hit a few shops and galleries, but my favorite store was a tribute to that short period of the 1960s when hippiedom was the rage. It was filled with tie-dyed shirts, beads to hang in doorways, posters of Jim Morrison and albums by The Grateful Dead.

Downtown was packed with people from all walks of life. Tourists mingled with locals, and it was not difficult to tell who was who. Mainly, the locals had their dogs. Asheville is a dog-friendly city, and man’s best friend is welcome both inside and out. However, the sidewalks were not only filled with sightseers and pets. It seemed that every corner had a musician playing for tips. Being from Nashville, this is a common thing to see. The difference, i.e. great part, was that they were not playing country music.

The sidewalks were also filled with vendors selling their wares. The most interesting was a lady who made candles in which the melted wax could be used as lotion. She invited everyone to stick their hands in the wax to try it out. I passed. I don’t like lotion.

Anyway, downtown was great, but the best part was a total surprise. We ran into the Asheville Jewish Festival and filled ourselves with hummus, potato latkes with apple sauce and sour cream, and kosher hot dogs. It was awesome stuff.

After the jaunt through the city, we drove to the Grove Park Inn, a rustic, Victorian Era hotel with one of the top spas in the country. We didn’t have time to visit the spa, but we had plenty of times to sit by the fire in the lobby and have cocktails. Some of the most famous people in American history have stayed at the Grove Park Inn, and, unlike this post, they have the pictures to prove it.

Ok, I broke down and used stock photos.

On Monday, we went to the place that everyone must visit while in Asheville, the Biltmore Estate. Built by George Vanderbilt in the 1890s, it is the largest home in the United States. Covering 175,000 square feet, the house is a monument to the extravagances of the Gilded Age. Honestly, the house is too amazing to describe and has to be seen to be believed. I have been several times and am impressed each time I go.

Another stock photo.

After touring the mansion and having lunch in the stables-turned-restaurant, we drove to the Biltmore Winery and sampled its creations. I am not a big wine person. It all tastes the same to me – like vinegar. But, I think I am cultured enough to act right during a wine tasting. I am not sure what I was drinking, but everyone else seemed to like it. I took that as a good sign for a winery in North Carolina.

The day ended with dinner at The Bistro, the restaurant that is attached to the winery. It tries hard to be on the cutting edge of the food scene. Does it succeed? I don’t know, but I know that I really liked the duck breast with potatoes soaked in orange sauce.

The next morning, we hopped into the car for the trip back home. Along the way, we had breakfast at the Cracker Barrel in Newport, Tennessee, and I realized that had made it back to the real world.

10 Responses to “A Few Days in Asheville”

  1. seniorhiker October 26, 2012 at 18:46 #

    I’m glad you had a good visit to Asheville. I used to live about sixteen miles on the other side, and we still get to the Biltmore Estate several times a year.

    • Rick October 26, 2012 at 18:51 #

      It’s one of the most beautiful parts of the country. If I had to pick somewhere else to live, then it would be near the top of the list.

  2. Jan Evett October 27, 2012 at 00:28 #

    Okay, I’m jealous again! I love Asheville, the mountains, the shops …

    It would have been nice if you had taken photos. No camera on your iPhone? You were just having too much fun!

    • Rick October 27, 2012 at 01:31 #

      I had the iPhone but forgot to use it.

  3. kleeyaro October 27, 2012 at 16:36 #

    I love Asheville too. I write about it quite a bit on my own blog.

    • Rick October 28, 2012 at 20:52 #

      Thanks for reading the post and taking time to comment. Asheville is one of my favorite places.

  4. paintlater October 27, 2012 at 20:33 #

    Old hippies,galleries, hot dogs, buskers, castles, fire and wine. Asheville sounds like my kind of artsy town.

    • Rick October 28, 2012 at 20:53 #

      It’s right up your alley.

  5. dianaoverbey October 31, 2012 at 14:10 #

    Asheville is one of my favorite places as well. I’m actually thinking about setting my next novel during the 1920s at the Grove Park Inn–so much history there, it’s hard not to get inspired!

    • Rick October 31, 2012 at 15:45 #

      The Grove Park Inn is an awesome place and would be a great setting for a novel. I would definitely read it. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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