Sep 9, 2013

Asheville 2013

We had heard that Asheville was a cool town and a beer town from several different people over the last couple of years. When we got a wedding invitation to attend a wedding outside of Asheville we decided to make the trip and see the town.

I left work early and we headed out on our longest car trip in a few years. We hit some traffic outside of Nashville which was a bummer, but we made it to town around 9:30. After checking into our AirBnB basement apartment we went out in search of food. We had decided on the way into town that we would try Ben's Tune Up, which had good Urbanspoon reviews and was mentioned in a Garden and Gun article before it had even opened.

Ben's Tune Up is in an old car shop and has an open air courtyard with such a cool electic vibe. Unfortunately the kitchen closes at 10 and we arrived at 10:10. After begging the waitress we were able to get a plate of sticky rice with swordfish and we were very much grateful. We also both enjoyed two first pints of beer on the trip. We were both impressed, but I think the long trip combined with our hunger/thirst helped.

The next morning Bryan got up early for a run and I slept in a bit. We ventured into town for coffee and breakfast. We didn't have time for a full breakfast as we had tickets to the Biltmore.

The Biltmore. We had been told it was a must. After seeing how expensive tickets were I was a bit hesitant and also a bit resentful. But we purchased our tickets online in advance to save some money. It was quite the operation. Bryan and I were both impressed with the amount of staff and organization to the whole enterprise.

We parked and were shuttled to the front of the house. After going to the bathroom and drinking some water we entered the house a little after our ticket time. I think we avoided a line by being a little be late. The inside is grand and amazing. But there are people everywhere. With these annoying little ear/phone devices. We had opted out of the audio ($10/person... no thanks) and read the information on the guide, looked at the rooms at our own pace and scooted past the audio people.

The whole time we pretended it was Downton Abbey, comparing rooms and imagining the characters there. Dorky, yes.

The grounds were incredible. I had heard that there were gardens and being a garden dork now, I was excited to see them. They were impressive to say the least. I love the grounds of Monticello, but this is totally different. Olmstead was a genius.

We opted out of additional tours in favor of heading back into town for beer. If we were staying longer I think we could have spent an entire day on the grounds, but alas, our focus for this trip was beer.

We had a list of places we wanted to try and we started ticking them off.

First up, Wicked Weed which has an incredible tap list of house made beer along with some really delicious food. We stopped here first for lunch and brews.

Next stop was LAB where we got a sampler flight.

Next up the Thirsty Monk basement which features a Belgium bar. Bryan wasn't a huge fan.

Then we walked down the hill to Asheville Brewing Company where we split some garlic knots and had a pint each. We sat outside and watch kids play games and families eat.

We went back to our apartment to change and rest up before dinner. We drop to West Asheville for dinner at The Admiral. We sat at the bar and got to watch the bar staff and the kitchen which was highly amusing. Dinner was great but we were feeling full and funky from all the beer that day.

Street art outside of the Admiral

Sunday morning we got up and went to breakfast at Early Girl. It was incredible. Beer is not allowed to be served until noon in NC so we changed into our wedding clothes and then went to Hi Wire Brewery before we went out of town to the wedding. Like many of the breweries in Asheville they did not serve food, but had a food truck outside. We snacked on some fries to hold us over to the reception.

Hi Wire Tap Room

Ben and Elizabeth got married at a Christian conference center in Flat Rock, NC. It was about a 30 minute drive outside of Asheville. We enjoyed seeing Ben, meeting his new wife, and catching up with old friends, Ricky and Starr and seeing their baby.

A moment on the patio of the conference center before we left.

Once back in Asheville it was time to hit a few more breweries. We started outside the city in Black Mountain at Pisgah Brewery. They are highly awarded and are all organic. They had a surprisingly nice little outdoor area for the industrial building they were in.

Our next stop was Wedge in the River Arts district. It was sadly raining when we arrived. I would have loved to see (and also enjoy) their eclectic outdoor area. We enjoyed a pint inside with a bowl of peanuts. They also had a food truck outside.

For dinner we wanted to go back to Ben's Tune Up for a real meal. We enjoyed our last dinner and another pint.

Monday morning we packed up and went back over to West Asheville for our last meal at Sunny Point. The wait was kind of ridiculous, but the weather was nice and they had a nice outdoor area for waiting. They also had their own impressive garden which I enjoyed perusing during the wait.

Their heuvos rancheros was amazing. Best meal of the trip. We stopped at a grocery store to buy some beer before hitting the road.

Overall it was a great weekend away. It was so refreshing to be in a totally new environment. The weather didn't hurt either!

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