This little springtime trip didn’t quite go as planned: we swapped around our first few days and landed in White Sulphur Springs, then Seneca Rocks, then Lewisburg. But the final two days didn’t change from the original plan–Asheville!
Asheville is our favorite closeish-to-home Airstreaming destination. We go there so often that I stopped writing posts about our visits after visit #11 in 2021. So I don’t know what number visit this is. Maybe 13? We stopped there at the end of Big Trip #4 in late 2022; it doesn’t seem possible that we went a year between visits, but let’s go with that–this is visit #13.
Our goal for this visit was to do at least ONE new thing in Asheville. We have our favorites, and we tend to just hit those because they’re reliably awesome. Not only did we try several new things this time, we now have places to add to our favorites post!
This wasn’t new: we stayed at Wilson’s Riverfront RV Park for the millionth time. We love it there. It offers no amenities other than the big old river and the in-town location. No riverfront campsites were available, and while we missed having the river outside our window, we think the non-riverfront sites might be a little cleaner (less muddy) and quieter.
What’s a better rainy day activity than a waterfall hike? DuPont State Recreational Forest is known for its waterfalls, and we chose this 6ish-mile loop with a tail that takes you to four waterfalls. Next time we’d skip the out-and-back on a road to Grassy Creek Falls, the least impressive of the bunch.
Overall it was a super hike, with easy access to stunning waterfalls on well-maintained trails. That place must be crazy crowded on a nice weekend day! Go early on a weekday if you can. The trailhead was about a 45-minute drive from Asheville.
On the way home from hiking south of town, you might pass close to the massive East Coast headquarters of Sierra Nevada Brewing in Mills River. It’s an enormous (and perpetually extremely busy) restaurant/taproom/event space/brewery and the food is actually quite good. The bar serves experimental and small-batch Sierra Nevada beers that you can’t find elsewhere, so it’s a fun stop to relax for lunch and a beer sample after hiking.
Eating and drinking
Not new: I already mentioned our stop at White Duck Tacos in Johnson City in the Lewisburg post, a delicious way to break up a long drive.
Not new: We had dinner at The Admiral, our current favorite Asheville restaurant. Every time we go, the food and drinks and service are just phenomenal. We sat at the bar and shared a bunch of dishes; the surprising standout was the nettles!
Not new: The morning we left town we grabbed breakfast bagels from Ultra Coffeebar in the River Arts District, and lattes from Summit Coffee (because Ultra doesn’t sell matcha). Summit is located in maybe the coolest place in Asheville, Foundy Street, where you can find quirky shops, restaurants, booze purveyors, graffiti art, creator studios, and a skate park.
New for us! We’d been told repeatedly to eat dinner at Bull and Beggar and we finally made it. It was incredible. We sat at the bar, as we like to do, and were totally wowed by the food and drink. A highlight: the salad had croutons made from French toast!
This is the first time we’d been to Asheville and didn’t go into downtown at all. That meant no cocktails at Sovereign Remedies, our usual cocktail joint.
Instead, for a pre-dinner drink before The Admiral, we popped into WALK across the street in West Asheville. Yay for trying somewhere new, but it was kind of a family-oriented pub, and we would have preferred a fun cocktail at The Golden Pineapple, which was closed.
Here’s some smarty beer commentary from J, and please note that BOTH of these breweries were new to us!
We learned about Cursus Keme from a laminated “best breweries” list our Uber driver – a non-beer drinker – had had her friend create for her; that friend had listed it as the “best brewery that only the locals knew” as well as “best atmosphere.” We were surprised to hear about it as we regularly google for new breweries when we go to Asheville and had never found it. It turns out it opened in 2018, although it closed for two years during the pandemic. They also have a web site that contains almost no information.
Anyway, it’s located just a 3-mile drive from downtown Asheville, east of the Kenilworth neighborhood and right alongside the Swannanoa River. We agree with our driver’s friend about the atmosphere. It is beautiful there, with massive plants all around the floor and hanging from the ceiling, beautiful hardwood tables, and big bay doors opening onto a patio by the river, which were closed on the rainy day we visited.
While we loved the location, the beers weren’t our favorite. It is a “Belgian inspired brewery,” with some staples like a stout, a pilsner and, of course, a New England IPA. They also had Orval on tap, a guest seltzer and a guest cider, which L drank.
In the course of discovering Cursus Keme, we discovered New Origin Brewing Company, which opened about 18 months ago in the same industrial complex just down river. The atmosphere there was good enough, but the beers were compelling enough that it may be our new favorite brewery in Asheville (in the running with Burial Beer Co (J’s fave) and sadly-reconstituting Bhramari Brewing Company (L’s fave). They had 11 beers on tap when we were there (+ 3 seltzers), four of which were New England IPAs and 2 of which were sours. We loved every beer that we tasted there; sadly, they do not do flights.
Both Cursus Keme and New Origin are dog-friendly, indoors and out.
In other news, it’s good we didn’t go out of our way to go to Bhramari – they’ve closed down and will reopen under new owners, one of which was the former head brewer for Green Man. 🙁
Vivian has been on our to-do list for ages, but somehow keeps getting skipped. The chef was nominated for a James Beard award for Best Chef in the Southeast.
During the warm months, we can walk through the woods from the campground down to Hominy Creek Riverside Bar. We haven’t yet been in town when it’s open, but look forward to walking Bugsy over to check it out.
I keep reading about Neng Jr’s, a tiny new West Asheville Filipino restaurant appearing in magazine and on James Beard lists.
And that’s a wrap on our little Springtime trip to the mountains of WV and NC! We did some stellar hiking, explored some exciting new places, and ate and drank delicious things. Not sure what’s next for the Airstream… we are hoping to get out for another quickie trip before our big one out west in December!