Ryan and I recently celebrated our six year wedding anniversary in Asheville, North Carolina. We had initially planned on a low-key parent’s night out in Atlanta, but at the last minute we decided to pack up the fam and head to Asheville.
Asheville has been on my list of places to check out for a while now…it’s a short drive from Atlanta (3 1/2 hours), has lots of hiking trails around the city, is known for it’s craft beer and food scene, and is super dog friendly. It’s also one of those places that I was concerned wouldn’t live up to my expectations…I felt like I had build up this city in my mind and by the time we got there I wasn’t really sure what to expect.
Once we made the decision to go I scoured Airbnb and Homeaway in the hopes of finding a condo or home for us to settle into for the weekend. I don’t know if it was because of how last minute it was, or because October is a popular month to visit Asheville, but I couldn’t find one single place for us to rent. So we ended up going the hotel route, and staying at the new AC Hotel by Marriott in downtown Asheville. They were dog friendly (for a small fee), provided a pack ‘n play for Jackson, and were walking distance to everything. This turned out to be a great home base for us, and honestly we’ll probably stay here again when we head back…hopefully sooner than later!
We got into Asheville early Saturday morning and went straight to the mountains for a short hike. The weather wasn’t looking great for the weekend so we wanted to make sure we got at least one hike in while we were there. There are a lot of trail options to choose from, and we ended up at Craven Gap Trail…it was about 20 minutes outside the city, was rated Easy to Moderate and in the description was listed as relatively flat with beautiful mountain views. Overall this was just what we were looking for, my only complaint was the trail is very thin so with a dog and a baby it wasn’t easy to pass by other hikers.
After the hike we still had some time to kill before check-in and Jackson was getting a little “hangry” so we decided to head over to Asheville Brewing Company for lunch. This was one of three breweries we visited while we there. Asheville has the most breweries per capita in the US – so when we were deciding which ones to visit it was really difficult to decide. Our two prerequisites were that they had to allow kids and be dog friendly…which almost all of them did. Asheville Brewing Company had the best selection of beer for my palette. I don’t usually drink beer and when I do I prefer light brews, pale ales or wheat beer and that’s pretty much what they had on tap. But my favorite overall brewery was definitely Burial Beer Company, the daily beer selection and the overall atmosphere were on point. The other brewery we visited was Twin Leaf Brewery, I don’t know if it was because at this point I was over drinking beer or it was the long wait to actually order beer but this was my least favorite stop. That said, I really don’t have anything to complain about and would probably go back, just of the three it didn’t impress as much as the others.
While the beer scene is unrivaled, the food scene is pretty amazing too. There are so many options, and most are healthy and lots have gluten-free and vegan options. Of all the places we ate my favorites were our breakfast and brunch stops. This was a surprise for me, breakfast is actually my least favorite meal of the day. But there is a reason Tupelo Honey Cafe is famous and difficult to get into – we got lucky and only had to wait 20 minutes for a table, but by the time we left the wait was well over an hour. Across the street from our hotel was the really cute Green Sage Cafe, the service is a little slow but the coffee and the food are both amazing. It’s well worth the wait – and everything is locally sourced and healthy! And if you need a morning, or afternoon pick-me-up, you have to check out Double D’s Coffee and Dessert – it’s a double decker bus turned into a cafe. Jackson is obsessed with buses so this was a big hit. We even had a little bit of a melt-down when it was time to leave.
Overall Asheville exceeded our expectations, by the time it was ready to leave I was trying to figure out a way to move there. This is a city we will definitely be back to – I feel like there is still so much we didn’t get to check out while there.