We’ve been exploring the Carolinas a bit the last few years. We visited Charleston a couple times and quickly fell in love with the city. Our most recent crush? Definitely Asheville.
Back in February (this post has been a long time coming!) Danny and I spent a long weekend in Asheville to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. From St. Pete, it’s a quick getaway, and I’ve been gushing about what a wonderful weekend we had ever since.
We stayed in a cozy airbnb just a short drive in a zippy rented Fiat into the heart of the city. It was close, but far enough so that at night, the sky was brilliantly lit with stars. It was also snowing! We woke up to flurries one morning and it was the BEST. Especially recalling that now in deep summer.
The highlight of the trip was a six-mile hike up the Looking Glass Rock Trail in the Pisgah National Forest. It was nearly 4,000 feet at the highest point and it was about 20 degrees outside! After three exhilarating hours, we were so ready for beer and pizza.
We promptly went to All Souls Pizza in the Riverside Arts District and had one of the best pizzas I’ve had in a while. I like unexpected pizza toppings but was still skeptical of a special with turnips. But I’m so glad Danny talked me into it. We devoured the whole pie adorned with pale slices of turnips and pepperoni that curled slightly at the edges. After a late lunch, we walked through the galleries in the arts district, talking to friendly artists and gazing at artwork both massive and small.
We also loved having dinner at The Admiral, another place I could see us visiting a lot if we lived in Asheville. We had the most beautiful plate of beef tartare (sorry for the dark photo, but it was late), fresh chickpeas, and delicious crispy chicken skin. Cocktails were bomb, too. The New York Sour is perf.
We also did a bit of shopping and walking around, ending up at Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar for—what else?—champagne! Danny signed the bar’s guestbook and we chatted with our friendly bartender about the didgeridoo restorative yoga class we were planning on taking later thanks to a tip on our Airbnb fridge—me saying let’s skip it, Danny saying let’s go work out, our bartender pretty skeptical. We quickly learned restorative yoga is not a workout. Three poses in more than an hour made it feel more like guided nap time but, well, we did feel relaxed after the class.
There were more great places to eat or drink than we could ever visit in a weekend, but we did our best. I’ve included a list below of most of the places we visited, and a list of places we’ll hit up on our next visit to Asheville. We could not have had a better time celebrating our first anniversary in cozy, fun Asheville, and I’m looking forward to our next trip to Asheville.
Places we visited in Asheville
The Admiral // We had the most beautiful plate of beef tartare. We also had great cocktails, my favorite being the New York Sour with its dramatic layer of red wine. We also ordered snapper with grits and crispy chicken skin. Loved this spot. On the weekend, the divey restaurant pushes the tables out of the way after dinner and turns into a dance party.
Biscuit Head // Funky spot for breakfast with excellent biscuits and coffee. The mimosa chicken biscuit is what you should order. But also make room for the gravy flight, which comes with one and a half biscuits. Their biscuits are on the tender rather than flaky side, and they are huge.
Top of the Monk + Thirsty Monk // Belgian beers downstairs. Cocktails, prohibition style, at Top of the Monk upstairs. For $1, become a member and step in to a great little cocktail bar. With each drink, you get a key to a locker filled with bar snacks.
Battery Park Book Exchange // Bookstore with a champagne bar. Sit, drink, and read a while.
River Arts District // 150 artists occupy 20ish buildings along the French Broad River. Restaurants and theater nearby, too.
All Souls Pizza // After a three-hour hike, we pulled up to this spot in the River Arts District for pizza. This place has a roadside diner feel and excellent pizzas. We tried a version with turnips on it and were totally smitten. If I lived in Asheville, I’d be here a lot.
Cúrate // Spanish tapas. Chef Katie Button is an alum of El Bulli and also worked with chef Jose Andres. Excellent food and cocktails.
Bomba // I am on a breakfast burrito kick, and they have a bomb burrito here! For $5, you get a petite yet generous and delicious burrito + good coffee. Hike fuel or a great breakfast deal on your way out of town.
French Broad Chocolate Lounge // Everything chocolate! The Maple and Smoked Sea Salt Hot Chocolate is as good as it sounds. Have a drink, bring home some treats.
The Rhu // This little sliver of a bakery hooked us up with snacks, thought they also offer salads and some handsome sandwiches. We picked up a ham and cheese ‘cruffin’ and brown sugar benne popcorn.
Wicked Weed // Bison burger was a bit of a letdown, but oh man, the boiled peanuts! I also had the best bourbon-aged stout.
Notes for our next visit to Asheville
Burial // Brewery!
Asheville City Market // Farmers’ market, open 10-12 on Saturday morning. This wasn’t open when we visited during winter.
Early Girl Eatery // Breakfast all day. Grilled cheese w pimento. Mountain trout. Homey alt to hyped Tupelo Honey Cafe.
Sovereign Remedies // Cocktails. Try root daiquri.
Tiger Mountain // Dive bar. Photo booth.
George Washington Carver Edible Park // Graze on apples, chestnuts, etc. To find it, take the outdoor stairway behind Pack’s Tavern, go left on Marjorie Street and cross the pedestrian bridge by the corner of Marjorie and Davidson.
Chai Pani // Indian street food.
North Asheville Tailgate Market // Farmers market.