We were in Asheville from May 16 to May 18, 2021. Yes, I just published a trip planning post for a trip we finished months ago. The info is still useful, right?
I know, I know, you’re sick of me writing about Asheville. Well, too bad. It’s fun and it’s close to home, so we’ll keep going there. This trip was different though: we had friends camping with us! Not with us in the Airstream, that would be less enjoyable, but in a rental RV across the way.
We always try to stay at Wilson’s Riverfront RV Park. It’s a no-frills park with campsites perched on the edge of the French Broad river (which isn’t always a good thing) and a fantastic location close to everything. When we booked, only two spots were open: one on the water, and one across the street closer to the highway. Since it was their first visit, our buddies got the waterfront spot, and for the first time we stayed on the highway side, and I can report that it’s louder over there.
Our newbie buddies left their power cable in their garage. Their sweet rental RV was too fully stocked with travel gear and they removed a bunch of stuff–extra chairs and grills and big things like that–before leaving home. And that included their power cable. Oops. Fortunately, Camping World of Asheville is only about 20 minutes south of Wilson’s, so they were able to pick up a new one.
Because we wanted to show Asheville off to our friends, we repeated a lot of things we’re done a million times before. But we did a couple new things and they were super! Note that only three of the four of us were fully vaccinated, so we were still sticking to establishments with outdoor seating. That’s how it should be in North Carolina in mid-May, anyway!
As I mentioned in my trip planning post, Limones (our #1) and Benne on Eagle (at the top of our to-do list) are closed Sunday and Monday nights, and that’s when we visited. So we had dinner at our favorite cocktail spot, Sovereign Remedies. Everything was delicious, but on the heavy side with an abundance of fried food.
We planned to eat out once and cook once in each town, with the exception of Asheville, because the restaurants are so good. So on our second night, we went to The Admiral, long on our restaurant wish list. I have no idea why we hadn’t been before. It was phenomenal. The screened porch, the music, the salads and apps and mains and cocktails… Everything was perfect, and J said it was maybe the best steak he’d ever had.
Of course we had to hit White Duck for lunch. The River Arts location is close to the campground and dog-friendly. The tacos were awesome as always and everyone was very happy.
After eating downtown at Sovereign, we stopped by Old Europe Pastries for some goodies to take home and enjoy at our friends’ riverfront picnic table. We’ve tried their treats a few times, always with the same experience: everything looks so beautiful and scrumptious, but tastes just ok. Well, the cheesecake was ok-plus.
Our friend Cheenius is not a beer drinker, so unusually for us we didn’t plan to hit any breweries this time in Asheville. We did, however, take her to the Funkatorium: beers (especially for me–sours are their specialty) for us and wine or liquor for her. And a great dog patio for Bugsy.
When in West Asheville for dinner at The Admiral, we hoped to have a drink at The Golden Pineapple, a craft cocktail joint also on our to-do list for a while. They weren’t open–I think it was a staff vacation or something–but didn’t seem to have outdoor seating anyway. Next time!
So when we couldn’t go to Golden Pineapple, we stopped at a nearby bar, Desoto Lounge. It’s a super cool neighborhood spot: a dive bar with games inside and a little patio out back. Like many bars in Asheville, it’s a private club where you pay $1 to join–that’s how they get around the liquor laws that require bars to make a certain percentage of money from food. We’re members of several Asheville clubs, and generally we’ve only been to each once!
As I explained in the trip planning post, J and Bugsy and I were responsible for planning hikes, and our buddies planned the bike rides. We usually ride around 25 miles, and the ride they put together for us was a pleasant 25-mile lollipop leaving from the campground, heading west along the French Broad and Hominy Creek (a new-to-us dirt path that would be super awesome for running) and then into the countryside. My favorite part: we ended with loops on the velodrome in Carrier Park next door to the campground!
Our friends had been to Asheville briefly before, mostly to see the Biltmore. So to show off some of our favorite places, we walked through the River Arts District (just down the road from the campground), popping into some art studios and getting coffee at Ultra. Later we took them to our #1 Asheville art gallery, Blue Spiral 1, and two other fun galleries down the same block, Haen Gallery, and American Folk Art and Framing.
We had a super couple days in Asheville, and our two-day itinerary gave our friends a fun overview of why we like to camp, eat, drink, and play there!
Next stop, Boone!
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