Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I Wanna Get Away

Since fall is just around the corner, I have been thinking about a weekend getaway.  For the past two years, my husband and I have visited Asheville, N.C. in the fall.  I love driving through the mountains, seeing the gorgeous fall foliage, and enjoying the overall vibe of the Asheville area.  It's small enough to tackle in a weekend and offers a variety of activities, from shopping to dining to outdoor excursions.  Here are my recommendations:
Where to Stay

Guest Room Bath

This boutique hotel is located in Biltmore Village, close to the Biltmore mansion, and is the height of luxury.  An intimate setting with exquisite interiors.

What to Eat

Grove Park Inn Sunset Terrace
A great spot for a romantic dinner complete with stunning views of downtown Asheville and the mountains.  Make sure to book a reservation just prior to sunset.  In addition to the setting, the food is phenomenal.  The hotel also has Christmas decorations and gingerbread house displays beginning mid-November.

Zambra Tapas Restaurant

Cozy, eclectic interiors are a major draw at this little tapas restaurant in downtown.  Benches with pillows make you want to linger several hours and taste all the great dishes on the menu.

Neo Cantina
No frills Southwestern grill in the heart of Biltmore Village.  Indoor and outdoor seating and a perfect place to get your queso and chips fix.

The Corner Kitchen
Another great restaurant in Biltmore Village.  We didn't get a chance to have dinner here, but the breakfast was yummy.

Red Stag Grill
Restaurant located in the Grand Bohemian Hotel.  This meal came after the steak at the Grove Park, which nothing could top.  You don't have to eat dinner here, but definitely stop in for drinks and check out the interior design in this space.

Lexington Avenue Brewery
Hip and trendy restaurant/brewery/music venue located downtown.  The Lab beef sliders were great for lunch.  Didn't catch the live music (couldn't stay up late enough), but sure it was good stuff.

Tupelo Honey Cafe
Well known local staple with locations downtown and southside.
Do I even need to explain this one?

Where to Shop

Antique Tobacco Barn
Huge store packed with just about anything you can imagine.  Reserve a couple of hours to see it all.

Screen Door Antiques
One of my absolute faves.  Well edited booths with a great mix of industrial pieces and hand crafted items.

Sweeten Creek Antiques
Large antique mall with lots of booths/dealers.  All kinds of stuff, though nothing really noteworthy when I visited.

Village Antiques at Biltmore
I can't afford anything in this store 'cause it is 'spensive, but I love to drool over all of the fine antiques.

Oddfellows Antiques
Another one of my faves.  Well edited booths representing the latest trends in antiques in home decor.

Folk art in a variety of mediums from a variety of artists.  Great pottery and wood bowls.

The name says it all, general store with a little bit of everything.  Nothing really unique (they sell lots of name brand stuff), but fun to shop anyway.

Outdoor Experiences

Chimney Rock State Park
Climb to the top of this thing and there should be a stiff drink or a chocolate dessert waiting for you, but unfortunately there are only great views of the mountains.  The park is extremely well kept and has several trails.  The perfect place for a picnic.

Blue Ridge National Heritage Area
Plenty of trails to choose from and again great views of the mountains.  Perfect for hiking and enjoying the outdoors.  The drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway is a treat as well.

If you are ready for the holiday season, the best place to go is to the Biltmore for the Candlelight Christmas evenings.  The luminaries and lights sparkle at night as you see how the rich folks lived more than a century ago.  Truly stunning.
If you decide to plan a trip, I want to go with you.

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