Asheville | North Carolina

One of the interesting things about living on the opposite side of the country from where you grew up is discovering all the new places people travel to. For example, when living in California, Las Vegas would be where you go for a crazy Bachelorette party (or break-up party as I once attended). Here in Alabama, the much closer New Orleans is the destination. For a tropical beach vacay, Hawaii is much closer to the West Coast, but when living in the South it's the Caribbean.

Asheville, North Carolina, is one of those gems I'd never even heard about before moving to Alabama. It's a day trip (5 hours) from Huntsville, but worth every second of the drive as I found out a few weeks ago when I headed there for the first time with my friend Sarah. Our goal? To spa it up and eat our way through the city. Spoiler alert - we succeeded!

We got in Saturday afternoon, and kicked off our weekend with a walk to Social Lounge for house-made Burrata and cocktail/mocktails. We decided to stay at The Marriott downtown, which was just perfect because it allowed us to walk to just about all the restaurants without worrying about parking (even in the winter, the city was hopping).

Dinner that night was at Rhubarb (reservations most definitely needed on a Saturday night). We started with the baked oysters...

Followed by quail (for me) and pork tender (for Sarah). The presentation is a bit rustic, but the flavor was spot on. We had planned to pop over to The Chocolate Lounge for dessert afterward, but the line was literally around the corner (even in 35 degree weather!). So instead, we walked over to Old Europe Pastries for a Hazelnut Napolean and Pot de Crème - both amaze!! We finally did get into The Chocolate Lounge later in the trip, however I really think Old Europe Pastries was just as good. In fact, when we were researching restaurants for our trip, we were surprised that most every thing was super highly rated - I just think you cannot go wrong with just about any of the restaurants here!

The next morning, we had reservations at Spanish focused Cúrate.

The menu is Tapas style, and extensive. Luckily, Sarah had traveled Spain last summer and navigated the menu for us. Her choices...

Torrijas (kind of like a french toast), huevos estellados (egg and chorizo over peppers and tomatoes), buñuelos de viento (lemon fennel donut-like pastries), and...

My favorite, patatas bravas (these are on all lunch and dinner menus as well and are a must if you dine here!).

The bar area had such fun energy!

From there we drove the ten minutes or so to The Biltmore Estate where we had tickets to enter at noon. I really wasn't sure what to expect, but their current exhibition, A Vanderbilt House Party Audio Tour, was seriously so much fun!!

We popped in our headphones and listened to the narration by an English "butler" who guided us through the house as though we were visitors in the early 1900's there for a party.

Replicas of photographed outfits were on display as well, and I just loved seeing how all the rooms were decorated (the details were just unreal!). 

The tour itself lasted over two hours - it was a lot of walking (and a lot of stairs), so we totally worked up an appetite for dinner! We walked right into The Lobster Trap (everything proved to be much less crowded on a rainy Sunday night). 

We enjoyed the live music, and shared several plates (our M.O. for the weekend).

Sunday night also  proved to be the time to visit The Chocolate Lounge - just a short line inside!

We ended up getting take-out dessert and eating it in bed with the Grammys.

The next morning (Monday) was Spa Day! We kicked it off with breakfast in Biltmore Village...

And then headed to the super-posh spa at the Omni hotel. They are quite serious about their no-phone or cameras policy inside, but the amenities are most definitely among the best and nicest I've ever experienced!

Overall, I'd highly recommend everything we did (and ate!) while in Asheville. I'd love to come back in warmer weather to explore the outdoors of the Biltmore Estate, to try the ice cream and milkshakes at The Chocolate Lounge, and of course do another treatment at the heavenly Omni spa. 


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