Friday, October 10, 2014

Asheville

Everyone has spots that make them happier just being there. For me, Asheville is one of those places, along with St. Augustine and my beloved Downtown Orlando, but this post is all about the peacefulness that is Asheville, North Carolina. 
 I can't fully explain why but I think it stems from my many visits there as a child.  We always took a family vacation every Christmas and would sometimes head up there during the summer months too. Our Asheville trips hold some of my favorite childhood memories but also allowed me to forget about the outside world. Maybe visiting places where you have fond memories is good for the soul or maybe because it's neat to see a place in a different light. Kinda like a movie that you watched countless times as a child but only get the jokes when you watch it back as an adult. Ummm, Clueless anyone? Or maybe there is no real reason at all and some places just provide an unexplained sense of peace to certain visitors. And that's what Asheville does to me. It makes my heart happy for some reason that I can't yet explain.

Asheville is not only known for the stunning scenery and famous attraction, it also has become the craft-brewing center of the Southeast, which made Ryan giddy like a schoolboy.

We didn't even check in our hotel before going directly to Highland Brewery Company, a reco we were given by every person who knew we were visiting Asheville. 
While we waited for the tour to start, we sipped on their famous Gaelic Ale and enjoyed the adorable setup. 
Protective goggles on and ready to go! Cheers to my first brewery tour! :)
We had the best tour guide. He had us laughing the entire time with his dry and sarcastic humor. We also learned a lot about the process of making beer. 
Beer flights after the tour!
Without fail, every Christmas my parents took us to The Grove Park Inn and to this day, it's the most grand hotel I've ever been to. The history behind the place and the Christmas decorations during the winter make it a must see for anyone that visits Asheville.  When we decided that Asheville was going to be a stop on our 7 day road trip, my first thought was that The Grove Park Inn had to be on the agenda. My sweet boyfriend happily obliged and seemed genuinely excited to see this place I talked so highly about. 
When we first arrived, we grabbed drinks and sat outside by the fire to enjoy the cool crisp air and the beautiful decor. I obviously opted for the souvenir glass that was never offered to me as a child.
The holiday decor at this place is unlike anything I've ever seen. They have over 100 differently themed Christmas trees decorated and spread throughout the estate. Talk about a beautiful sight. 
They also host an annual Gingerbread contest and walking around to look at the different talent from all ages is something I always looked forward to. Yes, every piece of these are edible. So amazing!
You can always tell when someone has fun and wasn't just doing it to make you happy when they bring it up to their friends on their own. That was the perfect satisfaction to me :)
Later that night we met up with some of Ryan's friends at a place called Bens Tune Up. We ordered the pupu platter, which is an imperial platter of Tune-Up ribs, chicken wings, shrimp skewers, Bad Buddha pork dumplings, shrunken egg rolls, house pickled veggies, tofu skewers and seasonal salad.
It had been a very long day but we didn't want to leave until we explored some nightlife. We wondered into Scully's for some drinks and dancing then hit LAB before calling it a night. I will say that I wish we spent more time in LAB because it had a really great vibe. 
The next day we got up bright and early to walk around downtown in the perfect weather. Sure it was a tad chilly but nothing beats the mountain views while stopping in the cute little downtown shops. We also spent a good 45 minutes walking around looking for this arcade we saw signs for, who doesn't love a little friendly competition? Come to find out, while we were searching for a place that houses games, we were in the arcade/mall/gallery the entire time. 
We did find another brewery during our hunt the arcade and decide to drown our sorrows in a few brews after our unsuccessful search. The Thirsty Monk is a world famous pub & brewery that was voted the #2 American Beer Bar in the South. If we hadn't already grabbed salads, I would have indulged in some of their delicious looking food.

Unlike the pretentious bartenders you find in craft beer bars and speakeasies in Orlando, we experienced amazing and quality interactions with all of our servers and bartenders in Asheville. I don't know what it is about these historical cities but everyone seems to genuinely enjoy sharing their knowledge about their offerings and the city itself.
After our downtown experience, we took a ride up the Blue Ridge Parkway. I may or may not have had a meltdown the entire way up but boy was the view worth it in the end. We went on my first hiking adventure and I was just in awe of the scenery. 
Later that night, we went night skiing - definitely a bucket list item! I knew I found the best travel buddy ever when he suggested we go skiing in the same location I went as a child, Cataloochee in Maggie Valley. My happy place is the bunny slope, but I did get adventurous at Ryan's request. Sure we aren't skiing down Mount Everest type trails but their Blue Diamond still gives me quite a scare.
Our Asheville time had come to an end because we were heading to Nashville the next morning to celebrate New Years Eve.

Little did we know, it would only be a few more weeks until we took a spontaneous trip to Asheville for the long weekend. Stay tuned for scenes from both of those trips :)


4 comments:

  1. I really, really, REALLY need to visit Asheville!

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  2. Aw, this post was so sweet. This definitely looks like a very relaxing and fun place to go. Also, the personality of the bartenders? It's the South, girl! :)

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  3. 1. i want to go there now.
    2. you might have to stop posting all this delicious looking food, it's making me SO hungry!
    --jill

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  4. I love the Carolina's! Hiking is really amazing if you love to hike at all... Glad you two enjoyed your trip :)

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