Asheville, NC Day Trip

We are continuing our farewell North Carolina tours and this past weekend we headed west to the mountains.  We try to get to the mountains frequently, especially since they are in such close proximity. 

On Saturday we took off for Asheville, NC for a day trip.  The cooler was purposely empty to leave room for souvenirs.  Asheville has been voted Beer City, USA four years in a row now in the Examiner’s Poll.  It has more breweries per capita than any other U.S. city, with 1 brewery for every 8, 000 people.  Nuff said, we needed some room.

We made the short drive in just a few hours, taking a detour through Marion to enjoy some mountain roads while Greta napped.  When we rolled into Asheville we headed straight to my favorite restaurant on this planet – The Laughing Seed Cafe.  This place is a fantastic vegetarian restaurant right in the heart of the best part of downtown Asheville.  The stairs you see to the left take one downstairs and into the Jack of the Wood Tavern – a great place for darts and sampling local brews.

Greta gobbled up bread, soup, and a smoothie.  

 I enjoyed a burrito, chips, and salad with mango dressing.

 Eric had a curry tofu dish.  I am sorry that these terrible cell phone images do these dishes no justice.  As Eric said, “If everyone ate at Laughing Seed at least once, you’d know that you don’t need animal products to make food delicious.”  Amen.  I’d make this drive more often, if I could.  This food is that good.

Unfortunately we are in the middle of North Carolina’s monsoon season which made it more difficult to walk around and enjoy the local food festival that was slated to begin at 2 PM that day.  Greta took no time at all to puddle jump – thoroughly soaking herself. 

We made a few stops at some of the breweries farther out from downtown – taking a stop at Green Man first.  This brewery has a tasting room/bar area and an outdoor patio area.  The brewing gear is a stone’s throw away.  We picked up their IPA.

Eric found the perfect map with all the breweries in the area.  Meanwhile, Greta’s socks dried on the dash.

 So wet.

 We stopped at another brewery, The Wedge, which was conveniently located in a fantastic arts district.
  

 These are the best window boxes I have ever seen!  This will be appearing in my classroom soon – a great way to decorate and show the kids what happens when brushes aren’t washed properly.

The Wedge Brewery is on the backside of a building housing artists, you have to walk down steep steps, toward the tracks to get to its entrance.  This fun fence with seating faces the train tracks and in the summer, they show outdoor movies.  

The inside is cozy with bars, stools, and buckets of peanuts.  My peanut waited patiently as Eric tasted an IPA and got a growler to go.  She was not the only child in this brewery, by the way.

The glass blower across the street makes pint glasses for sale, they are gorgeously uneven and rimmed in yellow.  The lamp with three holes cut out to illuminate the glasses was also pretty neat.

The other bonus to this trip – replacing the Karen Newgard mug I broke a couple weeks ago.  I love her nature and animal motifs done in sgraffito carving technique on porcelain.

A few other things we have done while in Asheville and the immediate vicinity are below and on this post. 

Catch a show at the Orange Peel.  We saw G. Love there a few years ago – it’s a fantastic show space.

Get outdoors.  The mountain biking in this area is world-famous.

Take a hike.  There are plenty of great hiking places nearby, we like the trail to Deep Gap that takes you to Mt. Craig.

 The Blue Ridge Parkway.  Drive it in the autumn for breathtaking views and picturesque colors.

Bike it for a slower pace to really experience the loss of breath.  I know am I biased, but I truly love the North Carolina section of the parkway.

Check out the Biltmore Estate and Vineyards.  This private home is open to tours and if you aren’t willing to shell out the ticket fees, the grounds are equally as interesting.

The acres and acres of gardens, forests, greenhouses, fish ponds, and views of the surrounding mountains can easily use up an entire day in Asheville.

Check out Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi River.  When we were there in 2009, it was too foggy to see the views, but it is a great vantage point. 

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