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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Getting Lost in Asheville, NC

Three hours north of Atlanta is a city in the mountains that is a hidden gem! It makes one of the best weekend getaways from Atlanta in my book and that city is Asheville, NC. You can go all out here or you can do it on the cheap. It's your call. To me, Asheville is the East Coast equivalent to Boulder, CO (which I love too). When a place has a hippy vibe you can always count on coming across some funky shops, good eats, and interesting people watching. Here is a breakdown of our quick 24 in Asheville.

Accommodations: Aloft Hotel, Downtown Asheville.
    - Style at a Steal. An appropriate tag line for the Aloft hotels. Aloft hotels are a part of the Starwood family so if you have points you can use them or earn them. Your choice. I've always been a fan of W Hotels. I always feel a little more fancy when I stay there and I'm sucker for that modern feel. The Aloft is the more affordable answer to the W and frankly more laid back for a family.

Photo courtesy of Aloft Asheville
What you need to know about the Aloft Asheville is pretty universal across this entire chain. It has a super open floor plan in the lobby that is chill, hip and inviting with bright colors. What I love is that the adults can grab a craft or a cocktail while we play pool or a board game with the little one. See, something for everyone This particular hotel is pet-friendly so I'm looking forward to taking our new puppy back soon. 

The location can't be beat as it's right in the hear of downtown. In the warmer months you'll find a gorgeous rooftop pool and the fire pit is one of my favorite features. The staff was super friendly and I never got that "why did you bring your kid here look" from anyone.

Photo courtesy of Aloft Asheville
As we strolled around Asheville on this chilly day my hubby suggested we have lunch at The Lexington Brewery for lunch. Craft beers, insane food and a kid's menu that went beyond a grilled cheese (Kid's Falafel and Kid's Hummus...that's a refreshing change).

  You may have heard that Asheville is a mecca for Craft Beer so you are bound to meet a great selection almost anywhere you go. On our bucket list is to tour some of the many local breweries. The LAB's beers are all crafted onsite in the 15 barrel brewhouse. Not too shabby.

Appetizers include things such as Asparagus Hot Pockets and Belly & Brussels. I had an amazing pizza that had duck, pickled onions, brussels and a gravy base. It was the special and boy was it special! And frankly they won me over with the music; Johnny, Dolly and the gang...I was in love.

So now you're stuffed and feeling good from your beer. I suggest picking a direction and strolling around town. Wander in and out of shops, stop at the General Store (as they have old school toys that kid's find exciting) and then make your way over to The Grove Arcade. Okay, so it's NOT an arcade but rather a gorgeous old building full of local shops that offer something really unique. We spent some time wandering around and peeking in and out of some shops.

The Blackbird Restaurant: We chose The Blackbird for dinner as it was next to our hotel, looked delicious and had good reviews. The Blackbird's food is "modern Southern with a nod to tradition". The menu is seasonal so you'll always get variety. This would be a great date spot but I have a theory about dining with kids at these types of restaurants.

Photo Courtesy of The Black Bird
If we are there before 7p (date nights commencing) we are in the clear. The staff was super accommodating and brought our little guy some complimentary truffle fries to get him started (they get it...what a good sign!). We drank excellent wine and our food delicious. They had grilled quail as an appetizer which pretty much sealed the deal on eating there. Ever since living in California and eating some amazing quail at The Hitching Post I am immediately sold if I see it on a menu.

Photo Courtesy of The Black Bird
Double D's Coffee Shop:I ended up coming across two places I want to share with you that my son went over the moon for in Asheville. Like I said, I like to incorporate fun for and of course for him. The following morning we came upon the most amazing coffee shop I've visually ever seen.

Photo Courtesy of Double D's

It's on the block next to the hotel and I was dying to check it out. Double D's Coffee Shop is a Double Decker bus that has been converted into the shop.
It doesn't move but it is truly unique and adorable. Order up your little one a hot chocolate and a baked good and let them roam around. My latte was ridiculously amazing. Besides, what kid doesn't like to pretend he's driving a double decker? Let the imaginations run wild while you sip your latte.


Western North Carolina Nature Center:
 I mentioned to you that while we certainly don't plan our day around a 'zoo' I am game for checking out something new. The best part about this Nature Center is that it's not huge so you can spend as little or as long here as you'd like. They have wolves, mountain lions, bears, and this is the first time we ever felt so close to these animals.
The little one went nuts (me too actually). It's also just a lovely place and you feel like you're strolling through the mountains. It's good for the soul. Lastly, if you have an Atlanta Zoo membership you get a deeply discounted ticket (it costs $8 for two of us).

Wow, I guess we did quite a lot in 24 hours and I don't even feel like I scratched the surface in Asheville. I'd love to hear some of your favorite places in Asheville to check out or in the South for that matter. Hopefully some of these suggestions come in handy down the road.

Now, go get lost!



  1. Hi...I found your blog by way of The Hunted Interior's post where you visited the tree farm. Just wanted to say you did a great job sharing some of Asheville's hot spots. I'm a life long resident of Asheville. It definitely is an uber cool town. Glad you enjoyed your visit!

    1. Thanks Lisa! I am sorry I am just seeing this comment. I love Asheville. We are planning to go back in February :)

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