Trip Recap: Asheville

Thursday, May 9

We started on our way to Asheville pretty early on Thursday morning.  The trip took about 3.5 hours, but we experienced very little traffic and the last section of it was through some beautiful mountain scenery, so it was a very pleasant drive.  After getting settled at our hotel, we walked up the hill to the Vance Memorial at Pack Square Park, where our Brews Cruise tour began.

The Brews Cruise is a bus tour of several breweries in the area.  Asheville has a large number of craft breweries (14 I think), and is often known as “beer city”, so it’s definitely worth checking out their beer scene if you are there.  However, I only recommend this tour if 1) you REALLY like beer and 2) if you have eaten something first, because you will be trying a LOT of beer.  By the end, I was so glad we only had to walk down the hill to get back to our hotel.  But we had a really fun time on the tour.  We got to visit Altamont, Highland, and French Broad.  At each stop, we got tours of their brewing facility and learned about their processes.  What was kind of neat about this tour were the variations of the breweries.  Altamont is relatively new and tiny.  Highland is HUGE and ships all over the country.  French Broad is larger than Altamont, but much smaller than Highland, and has been around for a long time.

Altamont Brewery

Highland Brewery

Highland’s brewing facility

Highland Taproom

French Broad taproom

French Broad brewing facility

After the tour, we were dropped back off at Pack Square Park and headed to Pack’s Tavern for dinner.  I was able to use a Restaurant.com certificate here ($25 off $35) and we got dinner for next to nothing!  Would highly recommend this place.  Very nice, charming, casual tavern-style atmosphere.  Also, their fried pickles were amazing.

Friday, May 10

This was our Biltmore Estate day, which I already shared with you.  But just because I loved it so much, here are a few more pics, this time from my phone.

Can’t get enough of that place!  Afterwards, we refreshed ourselves at the hotel and then decided to leave the camera behind so we could have a more relaxing evening.  We walked to dinner at Lexington Ave Brewery (yes, ANOTHER brewery!) and then on our way back to the hotel, we stumbled upon this cute, cozy little cocktail bar called Sazerac.  We liked it so much, we ended up back there the next night.  Not even really sure what we loved so much about it, but we just clicked with the place.  They had some pretty interesting and creative cocktails too.

Saturday, May 11

Our last day of vacation…So sad.  And to add insult to injury, the forecast was calling for rain.  We sadly decided to forgo our original plan of driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, since the scenery wouldn’t be quite so magical with gloomy skies and downpours.  Instead, we decided to explore Asheville a bit more.  We had breakfast at this great place in West Asheville called West End Bakery, where I had the best bagel sandwich EVER.  Herbed cream cheese, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion, and sprouts on a delicious fresh-baked bagel.  So good!  Tadd loved his breakfast too.  We were happy campers.  If I lived in West Asheville, I would be here every morning.

We drove around, and shopped around a little bit, eventually ending up at The Grove Arcade, a beautiful historic building full of interesting little shops.  We bought a few souvenirs and just enjoyed the charming ambiance.

We eventually decided to check out one of the local theaters and see The Great Gatsby (which we both loved).  Turns out they sell craft beer in the movie theaters too!  After the movie, we headed back to the hotel, walked back up the hill and had some unremarkable sushi for dinner, followed by a lovely time at Sazerac once again to have a few cocktails while we relaxed and reminisced about our trip.

The next morning, we packed up the car, and drove the 10 hours back home.  The end!

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