Five days in Asheville, NC (visit #6)

Vista at Mount Mitchell State Park

Bugsy at the campsite

…and we’re back in Asheville. As I mentioned in my Sylva post, we needed a quick trip to knock the dust off our Airstreaming skills before our next Big Trip in a couple weeks. You may know that we are big fans of Asheville; it’s a fun town with great food, beer, and hiking, and it’s relatively close to home.

Campground

Tour de Fat in the campground

We stayed at Wilson’s Riverfront RV Park, as we usually do. Relaxing, eating meals, and drinking beers by the campfire in a  riverfront campsite just cannot be beat. This trip, we had a little extra entertainment: the river was high from Hurricane Florence, and in addition to the many kayaks and tubes we saw cruise by, we saw a JET SKI. On the river! It was wild! Also, the Tour de Fat bike parade of hilariously costumed cyclists rolled down the Greenway that runs through the middle of the campground. Bugsy got to bark at a bicycling ape, T-Rex, and unicorn, among other oddities.

Drinking

Beer

Burial Brewing

Once again, our favorite brewery hangout in Asheville was Burial. We dropped by a couple times to try some of their new IPAs in their welcoming backyard. My technical beer tasting notes on their newly-released IPA: “super yum.”

At Upcountry Brewing you can choose the bar on the sort of sterile, brighter side, or the bar around the corner in a darker, dingier, louder space with a band. We listened to the band and I drank two of my top beers from the trip: a rosemary pale ale, and a dill pickle gose. I have dreamed about that gose since.

We were near Hillman Beer after visiting Biltmore so popped by and had a good IPA on their patio. One of my criteria for liking a brewery is how appealing their t-shirts are, and Hillman has some really appealing gear for sale. Don’t judge me.

Appalachian Vintner

We also relished several beers by the fire pit at our campsite. It’s pretty surreal to be just a couple miles from a city, and yet be sitting by a campfire by your Airstream parked next to a river. We recommend Appalachian Vintner for purchasing all your favorite local beers (and snacks and crafts) in one place.

Cocktails

We tried two new cocktail bars and two we’ve sampled before, and concluded that if we want a fancy cocktail in Asheville, we’ll just go straight to Sovereign Remedies and not mess around. We also gave Imperial Life a return visit, and the drinks were well-made, but we were the only two people there (we’re earlybirds) and that was awkward.

New to us were Crow and Quill and Little Jumbo, both private clubs that cost a dollar to join. Crow and Quill has a speakeasy-esque disguised entrance, kooky goth-grandma decor, and lots of dark little sitting nooks. The drinks use creative ingredients, but the two we ordered were too heavily flavored for our tastes.

Little Jumbo is a cocktail club in a neat old house at the edge of a residential neighborhood just outside downtown. The atmosphere, service, and cocktail menu are all top-notch… but we still give Sovereign Remedies the slight edge.

Coffee

Summit Coffee in the River Arts District is our new favorite coffeeshop for doing a little computer work. It’s airy and bright, with power outlets and good coffee and tea.

I got some really delicious but oddly expensive coffee from Proving Grounds, a little coffee truck just down the road from our campground. Can’t beat the convenience to Wilson’s when grabbing to-go coffee, though.

We did a little more computer work at our usual coffee spot Ultra, a bustling little cafe with gorgeous pastries in the River Arts District. Just to mix it up, we’d tried to go to down the block to Penny Cup instead, but left because they have zero power outlets.

Eating

Non-biscuits

Limones. I don’t even need to say anything about how much we love Limones.

Limones has a little sister next door that was on our must-hit list, En La Calle. For some reason, when we stopped by (they don’t take reservations) it was pretty empty and we snagged two seats at the bar. The food and drink were similar to Limones (ie, GREAT) but different enough to warrant a separate trip.

White Duck Tacos by the river

Returning famished from a hike, we stumbled on a new White Duck location in River Arts! (I’ve talked a lot before about my love for White Duck.) It’s huge and has shaded picnic tables along the river. The tacos and margaritas were fab per usual, and Bugsy approved of the sitting area.

We’d had Rhubarb on our list for a long time, after reading about it on a best-of list. The food is fancy, creative, delicious, local, kind of heavy, and we had a great experience and don’t feel like we need to go back. The burrata appetizer we had was our best dish of the trip.

corn custard at nightbell

Nightbell was also on our to-do list: it’s the sister of Curaté, which we loved a couple visits ago. It’s a gorgeous space with lovely food that is thankfully (for me) less piggy-centric.

Biscuits

biscuit head jam bar

Biscuit Head biscuits never disappoint. If you arrive when they open on a weekday, you won’t have to wait in line! Be sure to visit the bar stocked with homemade butters and jams. We biscuited for our last hurrah in Asheville before packing up the Airstream and heading home.

At City Bakery (locations around town; we went to the North Asheville location) we picked up a cheddar scallion biscuit sandwich to go, to eat while driving to our Mt Mitchell hike. The biscuits were no Biscuit Head, but tasty (but super dense… but cheddar scallion!) and the coffee was good.

Hiking

Bugsy on Mt Mitchell

Vista at Mount Mitchell State Park

hiking Maple Camp Bald

We wanted to hike around Mt Mitchell but were scared of battling crowds, so we chose this hike that wasn’t supposed to be crowded. It’s 8 miles, includes Mt Mitchell and a couple wild balds below the peak, and few other hikers. All that is true, but the description neglects to mention that it’s totally brutal and overgrown in spots. Overall we had a great day, but holy cow. It’s also a pretty long drive from Asheville, so make sure you’ve got your biscuit sandwich for the ride there.

Bugsy swimming at Catawba Falls

Another day, we just wanted a quick and easy hike close to Asheville, so we popped out to Catawba Falls in Pisgah National Forest for a lovely little hike. It’s very crowded, with lots of dogs and families, but it’s a short walk to fantastic falls and we thorough enjoyed it

Additional Asheville Activities

Chihuly at night

Chihuly at Biltmore

I love Chihuly glass sculptures. There was a Chihuly exhibit at Biltmore so we paid $1000000 to see it at night. It was gorgeous and a total madhouse and parking was a pain and gripe gripe gripe but I thought it was fascinating enough to return the next day to see the sculptures in daylight (a daytime garden visit is included in the nightime ticket). J was not inspired to return with me. I couldn’t handle the traffic so didn’t revisit the exhibit at the house, and hit the sculptures in the Antler Hill Village section of the estate.

We visit the Blue Spiral 1 gallery each time we visit Asheville. The collection is filled with an always-evolving selection of works by local and regional artists.

MADabolic Asheville is our go-to fitness studio in town. It’s a great way to counter all the beer and food we consume with some HIIT work.

We were lucky enough to visit the studio of one of our favorite artists whose work is displayed at Blue Spiral 1, Heather Hietala, and in addition to teaching us about the technical intricacies of her art, she told us about Asheville’s chimney swifts: every Fall for about a week, massive flocks of chimney swifts pass through Asheville, many overnighting in chimneys at the Grove Arcade. We just missed seeing them, but will be looking for them during future late September visits!

To Do

riverfront campsite

On a future visit, we want to check out:

  • Oasis Taproom at the river outfitters next to the campground (summer only)
  • Cascade Lounge down street from the campground
  • Bartaco was on our previous to-do list, but the Asheville location is closing

As always, let us know what we should add to the list!

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