Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Asheville Recap: Part I

Happy Halloween, everyone! I'm back from Asheville and ready to chat about our awesome getaway. We packed a lot of fun into this trip so I am going to split the recap into 2 parts so that these posts aren't too obnoxiously long (they'll still be long).

We landed in Charlotte mid-day on Wednesday, picked up our car and started to head towards Asheville, which is about 2 hours from Charlotte. We stopped along the way for some BBQ at Peace N Hominy in Belmont. We could definitely tell we were in the south as the daily menu included a bible verse (this is something you would never seen in the Midwest, despite the fact that we have a large Christian population!). Our lunch was delicious and inexpensive. I like NC BBQ because the sauces are vinegar-based and I LOVE vinegar. :) I had pulled pork and fries and Phil had a pulled pork sandwich.

After that pit-stop, we got back on the road and got to Asheville in the late afternoon. We checked into our airbnb. As I mentioned in my travel post, we much prefer airbnb's to hotels as we like having access to a kitchen. The airbnb we rented was a loft and it was located in a great location. It was downtown, but not in the loudest area of downtown. And it was huge! Phil said it was like sleeping on a basketball court.

There were 2 beds - 1 king and 1 queen - so this unit could have been shared with another couple, which would cut down on the cost. I still thought it was a reasonable expense and really appreciated that parking was included because parking in Asheville is really difficult - especially on the weekends.

After getting settled in, we walked to Trader Joe's and got some eggs and hash browns to make for breakfast each day as well as some snacks for our hikes. We ended up only eating out one meal a day while we were in Asheville as we'd make a bigger breakfast, snack during the afternoon, and then go out for dinner at the end of the day. As a result, we spent very little on food which was nice!

Our first dinner out was at my favorite Asheville restaurant - Chai Pani. If you find yourself in Asheville and like Indian, you have to check this place out! We shared an appetizer, but I forgot to take a picture of it, and we each got our own entrees. Phil got a Chicken Tikka roll which was an Indian-style burrito with naan as the burrito wrapper and I got a 'thali' which included butter chicken, rice, daal, pickled cabbage, pappadams (crispy bread-like things made from chickpeas) and raita. It was delicious!

On Thursday morning we slept in. And I mean really slept in as we didn't get up until 9:30 am (which felt like 8:30 to us with the time change)! I slept for 11 hours which felt amazing! I can't remember the last time I slept more than 7-8 hours. My body really needed the extra sleep. We made breakfast and headed out for some hikes along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Phil jokes that all of our trips involve windy, curvy roads.

There were definitely lots of sharp curves but at least there weren't any one-lane bridges like there were in Maui!  :)

Our first hike was a short 2 mile (round trip) hike called Craggy Pinnacle. The fall colors were absolutely beautiful. It was a little bit cool, but not too cold for us hearty Midwesterners.

Most of the people we saw were wearing winter jackets. Phil, on the other hand, wore shorts! It was in the upper 40s/low 50s. Notice the icicles in the picture below!

For our next hike we decided to hike to the summit of Mount Mitchell, which is the higher point east of the Mississippi. The full hike is 10+ miles one way, but we just did the last 1.5 miles to the top, so 3 miles round trip. It was a pretty difficult trail in some parts as you had to scramble over rocks and tree roots and such, but it was a fun trail. You could also drive to the top of Mount Mitchell but as Phil said, 'where's the fun in that?'

The views from the observation deck were beautiful. Pictures don't do it justice but the fall colors were spectacular.

After that hike we headed back to Asheville and went straight to New Belgium Brewery. This is one of Phil's favorite beer makers so I am glad we had time to tour their site.

We've done a lot of brewery tours but this one was definitely the best we've been on. You can tell the brewery was designed with the tour in mind. They had lots of beautiful artwork throughout the brewery, much of which was circus-themed. New Belgium holds fundraisers each year and they tend to be circus-themed so that is the reason why the art is circus-themed.

At one point we needed to go from the 2nd level to the ground level and there was a slide to get to the lower level.

Phil coming out of the slide
Phil enjoyed trying 4 different beers (I obviously stuck with water since I don't drink beer and I'm pregnant).

By the time we finished the tour it was after 6 pm so we headed back to our loft, showered, and headed out for some tacos at White Duck Taco. They had lots of different tacos, many of which were GF. I had a Korean Beef, a jerk chicken and a grilled fish taco. My favorite of the 3 was definitely the fish taco.

After a full day of activity we were in bed early! All that fresh air definitely wore us out and I ended up sleeping for 10 hours that night! If only I could sleep that soundly and for that many hours at home!

Have you been on a brewery tour? Even though I don't drink beer, I enjoy going on brewery tours as you learn so much about the company and their brewing process. And Phil enjoys the free beer!


Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Oh man, your photos make me want to go back there! I remember the food selections being excellent, but have not tried either of the places that you went to. Those fish tacos do look good! I also love tacos because they are small and you can try a bunch of different kinds at the same time. After we went to Bryce this summer, on our way back to Vegas, we stopped at a Mexican taco place and I had lengua (tongue) and two other tacos I had never tried before. They also had some really fun ones like brain and head and stomach, but I will have to try that the next time!

It looks like you guys had perfect weather! I think high 40s low 50s is great, especially if you are being active. Our mornings have been in the low 40s and it is perfect for running!! I just hate it when it's really moist, as that makes it feel colder than it really is. However, I can't complain about the 40s when sometimes in Iowa it got into the negative 40s!

Marlys said...

Boy, does that food look great! And the views are spectacular!
I am so thrilled that you slept that many hours, as I know you really needed that! I always have trouble sleeping when I am away from home so glad that isn't your problem!
I look forward to the next post!

Carolina John said...

Yay! I really meant to text you over the weekend to see how the trip was going. That looks like an amazing time. And if Phil wants to come back for a real challenge, the Assault on Mt Mitchell is a 106 mile bike ride that finishes at the summit. That's tough.

So glad you had fun, got nice weather, and found the good attractions!

katielookingforward said...

Looks like a great trip! I just listened to a podcast with the worst air bnb experience, glad to hear you picked a good one!

Stephany said...

I have been obsessively checking the weather forecast for Asheville because I'm a thin-skinned Florida girl. Thankfully, the weather should be BEAUTIFUL with highs in the low 70s. I'm so excited!

I've never been on a brewery tour. I don't drink beer, so I just don't think it would be enjoyable for me. Meh.

Nora said...

That's so cool that you got to go to New Belgium! D would love that. He's for sure a fan of brewery tours and we do them when we can, if not, we at least visit and he tries some (and I have sparkling water because I'm not a beer drinker, either).

We are the same on trips, try to have a big breakfast, snack in the afternoon and one meal out that we pay for to cut down on costs. It just makes sense that way!

Jeanie said...

I'm so glad you could tour Phil's favorite brewery! What a treat. Your room looks great and lucky you, near TJs! Looks like the weather was just lovely. We do the same thing with meals on trips. Then you can splurge on dinner and not feel too guilty!

Charbelle said...

I love the pictures!!! I'm so glad you were able to enjoy the hiking! I agree it's nice to eat a big breakfast, have some light snacks and then just have dinner out. AirBNB is great, and likely you got a better deal then had you tried to find a hotel. Lodging in that area is pricey! I had the best time when we did the brewery crawl Spring 2016. I would love to take Michael back so I can visit Wicked Weed again and I would like to visit New Belgium as well!

Gracie said...

The hardwood floors in your Airbnb are so pretty. And it worked out well for your eating habits. That's such a perk of having the airbnb option, especially if you'll be out and doing a lot of activities and may not want to take the time to circle back for a meal (or won't be dressed to eat out, or want to picnic, or so many other reasons).

Amber said...

Asheville looks like such an amazing place to visit! So glad you guys got away for a little babymoon and also had such great weather. The fall colours are incredible, it's making me want to book a fall getaway next year somewhere really colourful like that. There is nothing better than those amazing fall leaves!

We always go on tours of breweries / wineries / distilleries if there are some in the place we are visiting. We both really enjoy them! When we were in Ireland and Scotland we did a bunch of whiskey distillery tours and Eric got to have all my samples as that is one kind of drink I just do not enjoy!

San said...

Wow, Asheville sounds like a great place to visit... and as always, you really got outdoors and explored the area :) I love your hikes and the beautiful views!
The AirBnB looks like a nice place to stay for a few days, too!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I love vinegar too!

I haven't been on a brewery tour, but I'd definitely like to go on one some day. We tried to while in Halifax, but the website was incorrect, and the brewery wasn't actually giving tours on the day we arrived, which was disappointing.

Nice AirBnB!