Five days in Asheville, NC (visit #3)

hiking lookout mountain

dog, campfire, river

We love Asheville. Have I mentioned that? This was our third and longest visit, and it has officially become our long weekend getaway destination of choice, for the reasonable driving distance from our base in Central VA, the delicious beer and food scene, the exciting art and music venues, and the gorgeous mountains. I wrote about our first two visits here and here.

wilson's rv campground

We stayed again at Wilson’s Riverfront RV Park, in a spacious spot right on the river, with the popular running and biking trail French Broad River Greenway passing by our door, and kayaks and stand-up paddleboards cruising past our kitchen window. As we do when we go anywhere, we drank a lot of beer, ate a lot of food, ran, and hiked, and this time (because it was our first non-winter visit to Asheville!) we even took the beach cruisers out for a spin (to a brewery, of course).

To avoid boring you with just another ramble of things we did in Asheville, I’ll try (can’t promise, have lots of words) to make this short with the plan of pulling overall Asheville favorites into another post soon.

Beer

Asheville has so many breweries. We’ve been to most of them by now, and decided to visit a mix of old and new on this trip.

Lexington Avenue Brewery had a tasty, easy-drinking saison, but no IPA for J the IPA guy. Luckily, the bitter extra pale ale made a good IPA substitute.

We enjoyed Green Man Brewery on our first Asheville trip, but we were worried it would lose its charm when the massive new tasting room opened. We were a bit turned off by the looks of the new place, but lucky for us: the old taproom is still open!

Hi-Wire Brewing (South Slope location) has a great space too: light and open and dog-friendly. We liked the two IPAs–one for J (Hi-Pitch) and one for me (Lo-Pitch)! Hi-Wire’s a new Asheville favorite for us.

Burial Beer Co is in a cool old brick and wood warehouse with a huge backyard picnic table area, maybe the best place to drink downtown on a nice day. Oh, and they have really good beer.

Some of the beers at Bhramari Brewhouse sound pretty wacky, using local and season ingredients in unexpected ways. I wanted to visit because I read about their purple sweet potato saison (?!), which was not available when we went, but we happily consoled ourselves with the IPA and dry hopped Kolsch.

tasting flight by the river at new belgium

biking french broad greenway to new belgium

While normally we steer away from the giant national breweries, we visited the New Belgium headquarters in Fort Collins last Spring and had a positive experience, so the shiny, modern New Belgium Brewing Asheville was on our list for this trip. Bonus: we could ride our beach cruisers from the campground along the riverside greenway! The ride was especially entertaining on the way home after a tasting flight (and I had no brakes. whee!).

After hiking in the Pisgah, we swung by the cutesy little town of Brevard to check out Brevard Brewing Co. The beer was meh, but cheap. Our main problem with the brewery was the dog-friendly patio (it was a hot day, so Bugsy couldn’t stay in the car) is a tiny, messy smoking section in the alley behind the brewery. We couldn’t even finish our beers because of the smoke.

Ecusta Brewing is just outside the Pisgah, and happily on our way home from Brevard. Their patio overlooks a grassy yard and rushing creek. Much better! We got an IPA and a pale ale, and for once J agreed with me that the pale was better.

pisgah brewing

Post-Lookout Mountain hike, we stopped at Pisgah Brewing and cooled off in the big, open, dog-friendly taproom. We really liked the feel of the place; I liked the IPAs and pale ale we tried more than J did.

cocktail at top of the monk

Not a Beer: because I love rooftop bars, we had an old-timey cocktail at Top of the Monk. The place had a cool vibe when we were there early in the evening, but be warned that the view isn’t super impressive, and you’ll have to fork over a $1 membership fee to get in.

Food

dinner at limones

The best food we’ve had in Asheville thus far across all our trips was dinner at Limones, a recommendation from my most clever sister. Everything we tasted was phenomenal.

Other dinners were at Tupelo Cafe (fantastically decadent Southern food. Those biscuits!!), Zambra (creative tapas featuring locally-sourced ingredients), and Indian takeout to eat at our picnic table from Mela (also fantastically decadent. but we were on vacation so none of it counted).

white duck tacos

After swearing we’d take a break from White Duck Tacos after our subpar Charleston experience, we couldn’t help ourselves and went for lunch in Asheville. We’re back on board the White Duck love train.

hiking lookout mountain with biscuits

We also got lunch from Blue Ridge Biscuit Company in Black Mountain, to take hiking. The biscuits were HUGE, too big to fit in our pack, so we took turns carrying the bag with the to-go boxes while we hiked. It made us look like super experienced hikers. By lunchtime they were a little soggy but so good.

And, finally, we got dessert to go from Old Europe Pastries. It was hard to choose so we picked two! Yum.

Exercise

Hiking

bugsy on john rock

The six mile John Rock/Cedar Rock Falls hike in the Pisgah National Forest has big views from exposed rock faces and quiet forest trails past waterfalls. It was delightful, but popular.

hiking lookout mountain

Lookout Mountain was kind of a strange hike: after the initial vistas, it’s cobbled together from a network of paths on the mountain, and we spent a good amount of time looking at the map and questioning if we were making the correct turn. The trail has some lovely views, the forest is gorgeous, and after the first overlook we were basically alone in the woods. We’d recommend altering the loop to skip the climb over Rocky Top, as there’s no real payoff for all that effort. There’s not much water on this hike for your doggies, fyi.

Running

The French Broad River Greenway is literally right outside your front door, if you stay at Wilson’s. From the RV park, you can run a mile to the west before hitting one terminus, or a few to the east (we got as far as the new section by the New Belgium brewery–about 2.5 miles from the campground–on our beach cruisers before turning back, but the trail continue at least a little ways beyond the brewery).

Art

beware of the dog sign

The River Arts District was hopping on Saturday morning. We had coffee and wifi at the small but cool PennyCup Coffee Co but didn’t explore any of the galleries in that area–next time! We did get to our favorite art galleries downtown, though: Blue Spiral 1 and the Haen Gallery. Asheville is also known for its live music scene, and we had a super fun time seeing a band at the Orange Peel.

dark star orchestra

I kind of told you this would be a long post! 🙂 If you made it this far, thanks for reading!

One thought on “Five days in Asheville, NC (visit #3)

  1. Hey girl, you were in NC….. Smoking is still a religion there-You’ll get used to it on your future visits.

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