Wander Well: A Weekend in Asheville, NC
Over the past couple of years, I've focused on being a little more intentional with my "wants," making sure that the things I spend time and money on align with the ultimate vision I have for my life. Like most people, I want a lot of things, but as of late, experiences have been topping my list.
I've had a touch of wanderlust since coming home from Iceland, leaving me with the itch to explore a new place. So when Eric asked me what I wanted for my birthday, a weekend trip was the first thing that came to mind.
Autumn is by far my favorite season. Crisper temperatures, and a forest filled with an array of warm colors and crunchy leaves make me giddy. Knowing it was a popular destination in the fall due to all the aforementioned things, Asheville was at the top of my list. It's known for its endless options of beautiful hiking trails, delicious foods, and is within driving distance of Nashville, making it a perfect impromptu destination to spend my birthday weekend!
Social media can be a wonderful thing. I received so many recommendations from friends, that we had a tough time paring down how we wanted to spend our 2 full days there. After some deliberating, we finally came up with a loose plan.
Our first morning there, we did the Triple Falls Hike, which came highly recommended from a multitude of people. After seeing Skogafoss, waterfalls have become my newfound obsession. So when I heard this trail had three, it was an obvious choice.
The day started out pretty chilly, which I gladly welcomed, as I had brought plenty of warm layers from Athleta that I'd been looking forward to wearing. The trail leading to the waterfalls was absolutely breathtaking! The sunlight broke through the trees, causing the leaves to shimmer, as a slight breeze rustled them off their cozy branches towards the ground. One of my favorite scenes to be fully present for is standing among the trees, as leaves fall like snowflakes to the ground. We experienced that countless times during this hike, and it warmed me to the core.
The triple falls were so pretty! It was a perfect spot to stop and spend a little time. If we were to hike this trail again, we'd for sure bring a blanket and items for a delicious picnic!
After our hike, we decided to head into town to grab a bite to eat. Our first food stop was at the Laughing Seed Cafe. Nestled into the side of the cutest street in Asheville, it provided a perfect respite for a late lunch. Luckily, this vegetarian restaurant had a beautiful patio, making it very accommodating for Luna, who enjoyed introducing herself to any and all passersby.
Although neither one of us are vegetarians, we loved this place! Everything we tried was so delicious and filling, though I'd have to say the burrito Eric ordered was my favorite. After enjoying fresh pressed juice, hummus, a locally sourced cheese plate, and our entrees, we wandered around various shops before heading back to our cabin to rest and recharge for a delicious Spanish tapas dinner at Curate.
The second day, we woke early and headed out with plans of catching the sunrise as we drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway towards the Craggy Gardens Trail. On our way there, we saw a black bear on the side of the road, basically in someone's back yard. She was kind enough to allow us to snap a few pictures before sauntering back into the woods. They are deceivingly cute, and thankfully we were in the car, because Luna was beside herself at the thought of making a new friend.
Though we had planned on hiking once we reached the Craggy Gardens, my lack of coffee and early morning pep got the best of me and my tolerance for the cold. So instead, we settled for warmth and comfort, and made our way back into town for some brunch.
First things first, we grabbed lattes from Trade and Lore Coffee, before eating at the Early Girl Eatery. I loved this place. They locally source everything possible, and offer some of the most delicious brunch foods! Once we were properly fueled, we set out about town to do some more exploring.
One of my absolute favorite shops was the Spice and Tea Exchange. I stocked up on a wonderfully odd variety of things that will absolutely find their way into future recipes!
Thankfully, I had a couple of friends also recommend the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, and my, oh my, was it delicious! We stopped in to grab a hot chocolate, and take a little break from walking around. However, with the variety of chocolate options available, it was impossible not to indulge a little.
For my actual birthday dinner, we made reservations at the Grove Park Inn's Sunset Terrace. Not only were the food and service amazing, but the views were magnificent! We were able to watch the sun set over the mountains as we ate a delicious meal. After dinner, we went inside and hung out near one of a large, roaring fireplaces. It was a perfectly relaxing evening, and I couldn't have thought of a better way to end the weekend.
This was the first trip we've been able to bring our fluffy companion on, and I was a little nervous as to how she would handle it. Thankfully, Asheville is a very dog-friendly place, and we have both decided that Luna probably had the best time out of all of us! Now, every time we're leaving home, she races to the door with her favorite toy, ready to go again.
Pack a picnic and head to the Triple Falls Hike. It's slightly less crowded in the morning and would be the perfect spot to hang out and enjoy a picnic brunch!
Try the Buckwheat Farro Flatbread at Rhubarb.
Grab lunch at the Laughing Seed Cafe and order the Bright Eyes juice and the South by Southwest Burrito.
Stop into the French Broad Chocolate Lounge and try the Oaxaca hot chocolate, the Salted Honey Caramel, Hazelnut Crunch, and Sorghum Caramel Truffles.
Make early reservations at the Sunset Terrace and enjoy their Créme Brûlée while watching the sunset.
Grab a dirty chai and a lox bagel at the High Five Coffee bar.
Head to the Spice and Tea Exchange and load up on a few new herbs to try.
If you can, spend 3 days there!
Eat brunch at the Early Girl Eatery. If you get there right when it opens, you won't have quite as long of a wait. If you don't, put your name down, and walk down the street to grab a coffee to sip on from Trade and Lore while you wait!
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