We were in Asheville November 16 to 19, 2021, as part of our quickie fall loop from Erwin, TN to Asheville to Lake Lure, NC.
This was our tenth time taking the Airstream to Asheville! Can you tell we love it? I know everyone is bored with my Asheville posts, but we did a couple new things this visit, so try to stick with me. We also hit some of our favorites and decided to reorder our favorite breweries. How can you not read on??
For an index of all our Asheville visits with the Airstream, see our Asheville Favorites post.
We love Wilson’s Riverfront RV Park and always try to stay in a riverside campsite there. Sure, it can be noisy when trucks activate their Jake Brakes on the highway exit ramp, and sure, it can be muddy if it’s raining, and sure, the campground can completely flood if there’s a real rain event, but the location is super and camping adjacent to the river is special.
We ate at a new restaurant! Benne on Eagle has long been on our to-do list, and we finally made it there. We enjoyed our dinner: the elevated Southern food was interesting and tasty, and the ricotta dip was to DIE for… but Benne isn’t going onto our list of favorites. To be fair, it’s a hard list to break into.
Not new: Lunch at White Duck Tacos in the River Arts District. The tacos (and margaritas) are reliably wonderful, and the riverside picnic tables are dog-friendly.
Not new: Dinner at Limones, our longtime #1 restaurant in Asheville. We ate ceviche, vegan enchiladas, a giant steak, and bread pudding. And margaritas, of course.
Not new: Dinner at The Admiral. We first went to The Admiral in May and couldn’t wait to return. The food and cocktails are top-notch… although my pad thai this visit was a little bland.
Not new: Salads from Chai Pani. We figured dinner pickings would be slim in Lake Lure, our next stop, so picked up Chai Pani salads to go the day before we left Asheville. SO good.
Not new: Before we left town, we grabbed breakfast at Biscuit Head. I love biscuits, but I have to say… now that they no longer have a butter bar (is this a Covid thing? They used to have a bunch of homemade flavored butters) I’m not going to rush back. Booooooo.
New! J wanted to watch the US Men’s National Team play a soccer friendly against Jamaica, and found Olde London Road, a European soccer bar just down the road in the River Arts District. What a cool place! They allow dogs inside, serve lots of local beers and ciders, and had the Zia Taqueria food truck parked outside.
Not new: Bhramari is on our list of favorite Asheville breweries, and after this trip, J said maybe this is the best brewery in Asheville! It’s my favorite, for sure: they had a bunch of dessert sours that were like milkshakes. That may sound gross to you but I think they are delicious. J loves their IPAs and we ended up buying 18 cans of various styles to stuff into our tiny Airstream fridge.
Not new: While waiting for our reservation time at Benne, we had a beer at the bar at Wicked Weed, our one-time favorite Asheville brewery. The beer is always good there; the trick is getting a seat, as they are always packed.
Not new: Before leaving downtown one night, we had a nightcap at the South Slope location of Hi-Wire Brewing. It’s also reliably good, and we always enjoy the laid-back scene there.
Not new: New Belgium has a giant campus just down the road from our campground in the River Arts District. The deck high over the river is a great spot for a beer on a sunny day.
New! The Golden Pineapple is a super groovy cocktail bar in West Asheville near The Admiral. It’s a private club, like many drinking establishments in Asheville–being classified as a private club and charging a membership fee (often just a dollar) gets them around the law that 30% of total sales must come from food. We really enjoyed The Golden Pineapple and next time we’ll try some of the yummy-sounding snacks and sandwiches. Note that they’re currently (this was written in late 2021) requiring proof of vaccination to enter.
Not new: We had our usual pre-dinner cocktail at Sovereign Remedies, long on our Asheville Favorites list. You can’t go wrong with their seasonal cocktails, and we snacked on delicious charred carrots.
Not new: Summit Coffee in the River Arts District has become our coffee shop of choice in Asheville. It’s a welcoming place to get some work done, the coffee is fab, and the matcha isn’t from a syrup.
New: Mt. Pisgah is a short (~3 mile) hike with views, not far from town–so it’s very popular, and thus we’ve avoided it in the past. But because we were in Asheville on chilly November weekdays, we thought we’d give it a shot and hope for light crowds. Our opinion: meh. Even on a day when the parking lot wasn’t crowded, there were a bunch of people hanging out on the viewing platform at the top. We waited and waited for our turn to appreciate the vista and were underwhelmed. It’s convenient and a nice walk but set your expectations appropriately. There’s a creek for dog water, at least in the fall.
New: Near Mt. Pisgah, Frying Pan Mountain is shorter (1.75 miles) and has better views. The hike is along a gravel road, which isn’t super scenic, but the tower at the top is cool and the crowds (at least on our day) are less annoying than at Mt Pisgah. I thought the weather station at the top was neat too. There’s dog water on this hike too, but it also might be seasonal.
Not new: On our first Airstream trip to Asheville six and a half years ago (?!?!?!) we absolutely loved hiking Trombatore Trail and Bearwallow Mountain Trail in Hickory Nut Gorge not far from Asheville. Bearwallow Mountain Trail, a two-mile roundtrip to a bald with views, is clearly more popular, so go early. Trombatore is a bit longer, 5 miles roundtrip, and also ends at a bald with views, but we only saw 2 other people and 1 other dog and we super loved it. There’s dog water at mile 1.1.
We had trouble getting Ubers and Lyfts this visit. Apparently fewer drivers are on the road nowadays? Plan ahead! Other than general wandering around downtown, we visited our favorite galleries, Blue Spiral 1 and The Haen Gallery. They’re both worth a visit.
Not sure exactly when we’ll be back in Asheville–could be late December, could be early February, could be later in the year, but we know we’ll always be back, so we like to keep our to-dos updated.
- Drink a tiki cocktail at RosaBee’s, and consider dinner there too–the menu looked interesting
- Explore more trails in Hickory Nut Gorge
I added a few bars/restaurants to our to-dos from this informative list:
- The Montford for a drink with a view
- Social Lounge for a cocktail
- Bull and Beggar for seafood and cocktails
What else needs to be on our Asheville to-do list?
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