Three days in Asheville, NC (visit #10)

Bugsy overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains
relaxing at an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville

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.

Campground

Bugsy hanging out by the airstream at our riverfront campsite

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.

Eating

dinner at Benne on Eagle
salad and ricotta dip at Benne on Eagle

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.

tacos and a margarita at White Duck
lunch tacos and margarita at White Duck Tacos
Bugsy licking her chops at White Duck Taco
Bugsy offering to help with scraps at White Duck

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.

dinner at Limones in Asheville
Steak and enchiladas at Limones

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.

dinner at The Admiral
Pad Thai at The Admiral

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.

eating paneer salads from Chai Pani in the Airstream
paneer salads and kale pakoras from Chai Pani

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.

jam bar at Biscuit Head
The homemade jam bar at Biscuit Head… with a sad lack of homemade butter

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.

Drinking

Beer

watching USA soccer at Olde London Road
watching USA soccer at Olde London Road

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.

beers and cans to go at Bhramari Brewing
drinking beers and taking a bunch to go at Bhramari Brewing

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.

beer at Wicked Weed
beer at the bar at Wicked Weed

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.

beer at Hi-Wire Brewing
beers at Hi-Wire

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.

beer on the deck at New Belgium
beer on the deck at New Belgium

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.

Cocktails

Drink at the bar at Golden Pineapple
cocktail at The Golden Pineapple. The drink is inside that pineapple!

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.

cocktails at Sovereign Remedies
cocktails at the bar at Sovereign Remedies

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.

Coffee

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.

Hiking

Bugsy at the top of Mt Pisgah
Bugsy not admiring the view from the top of Mt Pisgah

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.

The view from the tower on Frying Pan Mountain
the view from the tower at the top of Frying Pan Mountain
Bugsy looking up at the tower on Frying Pan Mountain
Bugsy was concerned about her father climbing the sketchy tower

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.

Hiking Bearwallow Mountain Trail in Asheville
J sending work emails from Bearwallow Mountain
Hiking Trombatore Trail in Asheville
Blue Ridge Pastures on Trombatore Trail

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.

Around town

View of The Haen Gallery
The Haen Gallery

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.

To do

The river from out the Airstream window
the view of the river from the Airstream

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.

I added a few bars/restaurants to our to-dos from this informative list:

What else needs to be on our Asheville to-do list?

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