The weekend after my husband’s birthday in May, we made our way south to Asheville, NC for a fun weekend getaway. A friend had lent us her beautiful rental property on the outskirts of town. We had planned to enjoy the weekend with another couple, but between COVID, the gas shortage, and traveling with their infant son they ended up bagging it. I can’t say I blame them!
Our first stop was actually in Greenville, SC, where we flew in and picked up our rental car. My sister-in-law lives there, and we had a quick visit with her and her boyfriend. We walked around Falls Park and had lunch at a really cool food court-style place called Gather. They offer everything from lobster rolls to acai bowls, and more importantly, beer and frosé!
We slept in (it was vacation, after all!) and then headed down the hill to Filo for coffee and breakfast to fuel up for our Blue Ridge Parkway adventure! While we didn’t plan a ton of hiking for this trip, we drove to a couple of spots near Asheville for some shorter hikes. The views along the actual road are absolutely stunning.
We were a little early for some of the regions to be green, but they were stunning nonetheless.
Because we’re suckers for a high point (hello, Mt. Washington trip!), we couldn’t skip Mt. Mitchell. We didn’t hike this one, but we’d like to return to do it someday!
We then drove closer to the city, stopping at White Duck Taco Shop (the one on the river, not downtown) for a quick lunch to fuel up for our brewery crawl.
Asheville has an entire neighborhood dedicated to craft beer called South Slope. We toyed with the idea of doing a guided tour but since my husband very much likes to explore and research breweries, we went it alone. It is beyond fun! You can easily walk from brewery to brewery, and restaurants are scattered throughout. There are SO many breweries, we really had to narrow it down. We chose to visit Catawba Brewing, Green Man Brewing, Burial Beer Co., and Hi-Wire Brewing. We enjoyed the beer at Catawba the best, but the atmosphere at Burial was incredible! It was like a giant outdoor party.
We grabbed dinner at Bear’s BBQ right around the corner from the breweries, before heading home completely exhausted!
The next day we got up at a mostly reasonable time (it was vacation, after all) to hike to Catawba Falls. This 2ish mile hike is a really great trail for hikers of all abilities and is dog friendly. It follows the path of a river and, most importantly, it ends at a gorgeous, cascading waterfall!
We then headed to Highland Brewing for one final round of local craft beer and lunch from one of their visiting food trucks. They have what I can only describe as a campus, with multiple bars, picnic areas, activities and more. It’s a really impressive space!
Then, we made the stop EVERYONE who we told we were going to Asheville said we just had to make — we went to the Biltmore. And let me tell you, it was WORTH the visit. We lived in Newport for 4 years so we’ve seen our fair share of guilded-age mansions and incredible domestic architecture, but the Biltmore had all of those Newport mansions beat by a landslide.
We did a house tour, wandered the gardens a bit, and then stopped into the winery for what I was pleasantly surprised was actually good wine (good enough we brought bottles home for our parents!)
We spent our last night in Asheville at the Omni Grove Park Inn, thanks to a very generous gift card from a military family group I helped run while my husband was overseas. The property is beyond stunning, and sunset cocktails on the stepped terrace were by far my highlight of the trip.
We had dinner at the hotel’s Edison Kitchen, with a sweeping view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Downtown Asheville.
I didn’t snap any photos, but we had breakfast on the terrace as well, grabbing a bite to eat from a cafe near the hotel lobby. Then we piled back into the rental car and headed back to Greenville to catch our flight home, planning all the way for our next visit!