Wednesday, September 2, 2015

We're Coming to Asheville. What Do You Recommend? (Updated 04/29/18)

Some of the Catawba Falls
We get phone calls and emails from friends, friends of friends, clients and blog readers who say, “We are coming to Asheville. What do you recommend?” We have so many choices and so little time! Click on Asheville for a link to a map of downtown Asheville

So let's begin ... by watching a short video about Asheville to get a flavor of this town and area!

Beer ... don't like beer? Then why are you coming to Asheville?

Asheville is Beer USA. We have more breweries per capita than any other place in the United States. The Asheville Brewers Alliance shows fifty-nine breweries in its membership.

Sierra Nevada in Mills River is worth visiting, touring, sampling their beers (even if you don’t like beer!) and eating in their taproom room. Incredible food that is from local farmers (as is the case with many of Asheville’s local restaurants). Check out my personal favorites, the sausage and sprouts and the smoked trout salad.

New Belgium Brewing opened in May, 2016. No food, but usually a good food truck outside their taproom. Plenty of room to throw a Frisbee. Excellent selection of beer! At least four IPA's on tap and usually another two or three special IPA brews! Try NB's Hemperor HPA made from hops and hemp. You toke it rather than drink it!
Lexington Avenue Brewery - creates some outstanding beers as well a nice menu.

Asheville Pizza and Brewing - combines great beers with good pub food.

Other great craft brewers on my list:

The Wedge - excellent Iron Rail IPA.

Catawba Brewing - hike to Catawba Falls and then you'll understand why the beer is so good! 

Green Man - great place to drink a tasty brew and catch a soccer game!

Get the Chocolate Liquid Truffle!
Hi Wire - around the corner from Asheville Pizza and Brewing.

Hillman Brewing opened in 2017. It is more of a pub. It has the feel of the old TV show, Cheers. Great selection of craft beers as well as the Rise Above Deli is connected to Hillman. They have an excellent Reuben sandwich to go along with your beer selection.

Coffee ... let's face it, the day isn't going to happen until there's coffee!

High Five Brewing -
Counter Culture coffee (IMHO...the best!) 

Filo - Counter Culture coffee and sweets

Liberty House Coffee and Cafe - great coffee and healthy food! I walk over from City Hall a couple times a month!

Breakfast ... don't skip breakfast!

Vortex Donuts - incredible donuts and incredible coffee from 1000 Faces Coffee -  (right next to Catawba Brewing on Bank Street - this could be a two-for-one-stop!)

Biscuit Head - wonderful comfort breakfast food that will knock your socks off!

Early Girl Eatery - you could also do lunch here and not be disappointed!

Sunny Point Cafe - they serve an attitude adjustment to get your day started right!

Lunch ... mid-day refuel!

12 Bones - even if you don’t care for President Obama, his taste for good 'Que cannot be denied! He’s been to 12 Bones every time he comes to town! Republicans have been known to eat here! Our foodie daughter requests a 12 Bones visit when she comes to town. Even if you are a vegetarian, the sides will make you want to come back! Note: 12 Bones is only open from 11 AM - 4 PM, M-F in the RAD and 11 AM - 4 PM, Tue-Sat, Arden. There will be a line no matter when you go. Be patient. It is worth it!

Pisgah Inn - food is good. The view (if it’s not foggy) is incredible. Pisgah Inn is up on the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville.

Every town has some place that grills a great burger. In Asheville, go to The Rankin Vault Cocktail Lounge!  Voted "best burger" in Asheville two years in a row via the Mountain Xpress! Montford Pullup, 231 Montford Rd recently got the People's Choice Award for best burger, but it's strictly carryout. 😞

Home Grown - the fried chicken … this ain’t KFC … this is good!

White Duck Taco Shop - If Trump were to eat just one of WDTS's 14 different tacos, he'd have an attitude adjustment on our neighbor to the south. Taste for yourself!

Before Dinner … another chance for attitude and altitude adjustment!

Sovereign Remedies - excellent craft cocktails in an interesting setting.

The Imperial - excellent craft cocktails on the 2nd floor above Table,  where you can have dinner.

The Top of the Monk - Think of a speakeasy in the 21st century! Members only, but it only costs $1 to join!

Sky Bar - an expanded fire escape on the side of the Flat Iron Building in downtown Asheville. Have a libation at sunset! Great view! 

Speaking of great views, the new AC Hotel's Capella On 9 has a nearly 360 degree of view of Asheville. Worth a drink and a view!
Battery Park Book Exchange

Battery Park Book Exchange - have a glass of wine, a craft beer or latte and browse the used books! Also a great spot to gather with friends and play Scrabble among the books on a rainy afternoon!

Behind this door at 106 Lexington is The Crow and Quill. This contemporary-speak-easy-feeling-adult-libation spot has over 350 whiskey's on it's shelves behind it's bar! And if you don't drink whiskey or crafted cocktails, they have over 350 other adult beverages! Consider trying a Dark and Stormy Daniels! Do not judge the book by it's cover!

Dinner ... we are blessed to have sooo many incredible restaurants! These are just a few!

Table - just plain good old gourmet comfort food good! 

Are you looking for Italian? Check out Chiesa! Billed as food for the soul...your taste buds get their food first! Damn good lasagna (only on Wednesdays!) Finish your dinner with a slice of Limoncello Marscapone Cake!

Nashville, TN is the birthplace of hot chicken. I've had Nashville's Hattie B's Hot Chicken. It's good, BUT Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack here in Asheville beats Hattie B's! Eight levels of heat for your chicken from plain (no heat) to XX-Hot Mount St. Hell No!

Blue Dream Curry House - an international taste sensation. My favorite is the Cosmic Korma.

Smoky Park Supper Club -  Arrive by kayak, inner tube, on foot or car. This is a unique venue on the French Broad River in the RAD and is built from steel shipping containers! The crafted food and drinks match the unique construction!

bartaco- is a recent addition to AVL food scene. Bartaco is rated as one of the best tacos in America! Go taste for yourself!

en la calle is "Limones' little sister bar whose sole purpose is to put a smile on that beautiful face of yours!" And it does that and puts a smile on your taste buds, too! Lobster nachos are a must!
Plant - OK, I'm a carnivore, but this place could get me to become a vegan! EXCELLENT!

King Daddy's Chicken and Waffles - the name alone should give you a clue this ain't your momma's cooking! Try this. When your server comes up to take your order just say, "I've never been here before. Surprise me!

Vietnamese Crepe...a favorite!
The Admiral - we were just back at The Admiral recently with our classically-educated-chef daughter. She gives it four stars (and she should know as she is associated with the #1 best restaurant in the world, Eleven Madison Park, NYC) Note: Reservations recommended at least a month in advance. 

Nine Mile - wonderful Caribbean fare. There are two locations. We are partial to the Haywood Rd location.

Gan Shan Station - deliciously mystical! Sit at the bar and be entertained while being nourished!

Dessert ... save room!

French Broad Chocolate Lounge - A MUST DO!  It’s been known to change people’s lives! Note: October 25, 2015 - 10 Best: Chocolate As a Pure Art Form - French Broad Chocolate Lounge...#1!

How about a truly delicious homemade ice cream sandwich like none you've ever had? Go to Sunshine Sammies! It began as an ice cream cart in 2013 and has morphed into a storefront at 99 Lexington Ave. OMG good!

Beyond Food…so much to experience!

Navitat - do the Blue Ridge Experience - there is one zip-line over 3500 feet long and nearly 500 feet above the forest floor with an incredible view!


Craggy Gardens - hike with a view.

Catawba Falls - easy hike beside a beautiful stream and numerous water falls.
Coming through Nantahala Falls, class III/IV rapid

NOC - white water rafting! Rafting on the
Nantahala River begins in the late morning as the water from Fontana Reservoir is released. I've been down the Nantahala River several times. It never gets old! Dine on good food at the River's End afterwards.

Celebrating Terri's Birthday with 38 family and friends!
LaZoom - laugh and tour Asheville at the same time! Augusta Wind is my favorite tour guide! She makes me laugh tears! Try the Band and Beer tour! Visit two local craft brewers and listen to great live music as you travel from brewery to brewery.

The River Arts District (RAD) has 22 buildings with over 200 artists including glass blowers, jewelry designers, painters, sculptors and potters. You will also find the intimate Magnetic Theater in the RAD. Just saw the world premiere of Better Strangers directed by Callan White. Excellent!

We've got the regular big screen movie theaters, but we also have Grail Moviehouse. The viewing spaces are more like your home living room on steroids! Wonderful way to watch first run artsy movies! The Fine Arts Theater, a former porn theater back in the day, is also a good venue for independent movies.

Speaking of art, Asheville has over 30 tattoo parlors and over 100 tattoo artists in the area. For the artistic pain, I recommend Danny Reed at Hot Stuff Tattoo! Danny has been named "Best of WNC" several times!

Asheville has more massage and pamper boutiques than any town our size. I give Sole Haven four stars! The atmosphere is pure joy. The foot soak followed by a foot reflexology is pure heaven! Your feet will say thank you. Your body will say AHHHHHH...

TOPS for Shoes - every kind of shoe for everyone!

The Screen Door - eclectic, unusual, whimsical, fun to explore … especially on a rainy Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Mast General Store - remember penny candy? Mast has this and so much more! Think of it as a local LL Bean!

The Orange Peel - All kinds of music!

Drum Circle in Pritchard Park, downtown AVL
The Drum Circle - occurs Friday evenings beginning around 5 PM until 10 PM - weather permitting. Bring your drum, dance or just watch! 

Elaine’s Dueling Piano Bar - Great entertainment at the Grove Park Inn

Haywood Street Congregation - the one Christian fellowship where I believe Jesus would show up! On Wednesdays at 12:30 PM and Sunday evenings at 6:00 PM! Incredible Welcome Table before worship where local restaurants serve over 300 people at three seatings.

When you've done all this and if you still have money ... visit the largest private 250-room home in America, the Biltmore.

Where to stay ...

Asheville has the normal hotel chains... Hampton Inn, Courtyard, Sheraton, Holiday Inn ... the upscale Indigo Inn and Grand Bohemian Hotel ... but if you want different, consider...

Albemarle Inn - bed and breakfast. We stayed at the Albemarle Inn in 2008. It's close to the Grove Park Inn. Excellent!

Sourwood Inn - bed and breakfast.  It's been open for 17 years. Susan and Jeff Curtis are the innkeepers. Wonderful hospitality! Setting is north of Asheville, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Have you ever stayed in a yurt? This is glamping! Check out Campfire Lodgings just north of Asheville with a beautiful view of the French Broad river valley. We stayed 2 nights in May 2015. Luxury in the woods ... seriously good! Click on glamping for more possibilities!  
Inside the yurt at Campfire Lodgings...fireplace, AC, bathroom...

We hear good things about Sweet Pea Hostel right in downtown Asheville. Friends have stayed there and gave it big thumbs up! It's on our radar to try! 

Friends recently stayed at Posh Boutique Hotel in the Biltmore Village. They gave it thumbs up.  

So to sum it up, take a look at these 17 postcards of Asheville! Got questions? Post a comment and I'll get back to you.