I love Asheville. Asheville is the portland of the south and it’s all the right kind of weird! I love it. It’s a small city filled with man buns, tattoos, artisan coffee shops, beards, free thinkers, and EVERYTHING is art. This is my kind of place! You can feel the laid back energy of the city as you stroll the streets. There is so much to see here, just roaming the streets. On the street corners are special treats. You might run into an amateur juggler, a yarn bomb knitting Ukulele player, a full rock band, a typer writer poet waiting to write you a free poem, or a drum circle. I think I even saw a feminist book store. (LOL Portlandia reference.)
Just outside of the main city is the Asheville WNC Farmers Market. This huge indoor farmers market is a true farmers market. Real farmers, with dirt still on their overall will sell you the freshest produce and meats you can find. There are also local artists that sell crafts.
For some upscale shopping and restaurants, check out the Grove Arcade. This is a beautiful indoor mall set in an architectural gem right in the heart of the city! It reminded me of Union Station – simply gorgeous!
Just a short walk down the road from the Grove is a perfect coffee shop called “World Coffee” & Sky Bar. They serve coffee from all over the world and the sweetest cinnamon roll you’ve ever licked! In the top floor, a short walk or elevator ride up you will find the night version of World Coffee. Run by the same owners, Sky Bar is a 21 and older rooftop bar that provides one of the best views in asheville! It’s worth it just to take a peek, but if you fee like a drink, stay a while. I recommend doing this visit at sunset!
Finding a cup of coffee is not hard in the city of Asheville. There’s a unique coffee place around every corner. (No Starbucks monopoly here!) This was my second favorite place to get coffee. They make excellent homemade macaroons, by the way! It’s called “Old Europe Coffee & Pastries” . It does have an old european feel to it. I’m not sure which is better, the brewed coffee or the pastries.
One of the best places that I found to grab a bite to eat was a place called “Farm Burger”. This place only serves grass fed fresh ground beef. I hear the burgers are delightful but I was more interested in their crazy salad. It’s called the Superfood Salad with farm goddess dressing! It has lacinato kale, roasted carrots, caramelized onions, dried cranberries, golden beets, tahini dressing, honey cinnamon pecans, and sprinkles of nutritional yeast on top! It was like eating the rainbow.
Every friday night 6p-9p, weather permitting, there is a public drum circle that meets in Pritchard park. It is more active in the summer and early fall, and after 7:30pm. Everyone is welcome to bring an instrument or a drum and join in on the public musical experience!
If you are looking for a relaxing quiet moment while on vacation, try out the Asheville Salt Caves. Sounds outdoorsy right? This organic healing experience is more spa like than antyhing. Inside of a “spa” there is a giant man made salt save. With 20 tons of pure pink salt, they have sustained a perfect climate by maintaining the specific temperature and humidity levels found in a naturally occurring cave. The salt in the caves come from three mines in Poland, from over 500 meters below the earths surface. It is anti-bacterial, uncontaminated by dirt, and is free of toxins and pollutants. The health benefits are astounding. For a full read on the caves and the healing properties (and how they benefited my family) CLICK HERE to read my post. You can book private sessions in the caves, couples massages, yoga, sound healing, reiki therapy or my personal favorite – the Kids Quiet Play Session held every Sunday Morning at 9am! My kids loved it.
The small SMALL small town of Black Mountain is just 20 minutes of Asheville if you are looking for a more country antique town. The small downtown area has a small park and few street shops to walk down. They are beautiful and the antique stores are unique. The general store will make you feel like you’ve time traveled to the 1940s! This little area is worth passing by.
You came to asheville to by “in the mountains” especially if you are from sunny Miami beach. My usual island geography is quite different from the forestry mountains of Asheville. Be sure to drive through the Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway! There is one particular hike that is perfect for families. It’s the hike to Catawba Falls. The hike is super short and non strenuous at all. I highly recommend it for anyone, from little kids to the elderly! My kids hiked the whole way! (Says the proud Momma) Round trip is less than 3 miles, but the falls are magnificent! You can’t believe that something like this is hidden deep in the forest. Just take a look!
Put this address into your GPS to find the beginning of the trailhead: 3074 Catawba River Rd, Old Fort, NC 28762
There is a tourist attraction in Asheville that I did not visit but is worth mentioning because every told me to do it. The Biltmore is a breathtaking old mansion with 30+ rooms that are perfectly preserved. It’s the largest “home” in America and with its gardens the entire estate is about 8000 sq feet. It’s very pretty and a lot of people get married here. It costs $75 to get in, so we passed. It didn’t seem like a fun activity with a 2 yr old and a 4 yr old for the price. But maybe when they are older, we will go back and spend a day exploring the grounds.
With all that there is to do in Asheville, North Carolina you might forget to do the most important thing you came to do. Stare mesmerized at the natural beauty of the smokey mountains. Each sunrise and sunset is special.
Learn how important it is to put your phone down and just stare in silence at God’s beautiful creation.