by thesoontobemurrys

It was Betsy’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, and to celebrate we took a weekend trip to Asheville, NC. We heard really good things about Asheville from friends and were excited to check things out. We actually visited Asheville about with a couple of friends on a road trip about 8 years ago. But unfortunately this is about all we saw of the apparently hip and bustling Appalachian city:

This time was much different. Some highlights of the trip:

Hotel: We stayed at the aloft in downtown Asheville. Aside from the surprisingly thin walls, it is a very nice hotel. The breakfast food is pretty good and the staff is very nice. We regretted not bringing our dog because the hotel is very dog friendly. They even had fancy dog houses on display in the lobby. The hotel is very close to anything downtown, including the art museum, the park with the drummers on Friday night, and a bunch of restaurants. There also a nice looking pool area which we would have definitely taken advantage of if it was a little (lot) warmer.

Food: The restaurant scene was a very pleasant surprise for us. We had two very good meals. The first was at Table in downtown Asheville. For me the highlight was the dessert my better half ordered: pumpkin ice cream sandwich. The other highlight was Bets’ very tasty seared Ahi dish.

Curate, also in downtown, was the food highlight of the trip. We were a little tired from a full day of touring the Biltmore Estate, so we asked our server to pick put tapas for us. I also had a very tasty local proter from Green Man Ales. Everything was delicious. We had:

bread with tomatoes and manchego cheese
baby beet and greens salad with oranges and walnuts
cooked shrimp in a garlic sauce
north african spiced lamb skewers
fried eggplant with honey

We also ate a really good brunch at Mayfel’s on Sunday morning. Warning: brunch is a big deal in this town, so be prepared to wait a long time before getting seated — at least Bluegrass wait times.
To Do: It seems like there is a lot to do in the Asheville area, including a heavy dose of hiking in the nearby state and national parks. But since we only had one full day we decided to spend the day at the Biltmore Estate.

The house tour was extremely well done. We have a thing for old house tours anyways, but this was one of the best. It’s like America’s version of Versailles (except A LOT smaller). It is the biggest house in the U.S., and was built in the late 1800’s by a Vanderbilt heir. The house is still owned by the Vanderbilt family. It gets very crowded on the weekends, so you need to make a reservation. Also, its not cheap to visit. But overall, we thought it was a day well spent.

The highlight of the day was the afternoon trail ride. Betsy’s horse was named Murphy, and wanted to eat everything in sight. My horse was name Traveler, which is to say he traveled very very slow. It was my first time riding a horse, and I had a blast. I can’t wait to do it again. Plus we got to see the beautiful countryside of the Biltmore. Although we only spent one day here, you could probably make Biltmore a two day affair. There are miles of gardens, hiking, bike trails, and a vineyard.

All in all we had a great time in Asheville. It was well worth the 5 1/2 hour drive.