I don’t know about you, but honestly, I’m kind of glad the Holiday Hoopla™ is over. I love Christmas as much as the next person, but something about this year was just I N S A N I T Y. Maybe it had a little bit to do with putting on a Christmas concert with Cháilini on the 5th, performing in a Christmas cabaret the following week, then filming on location for almost a week right before Christmas, combined with family holiday traveling had me exhausted. Grateful for the work, absolutely- but doing all that and also working full-time…it can be a bit much sometimes!
So instead of worrying about finding the perfect gifts for each other, my husband Kyle and I decided (as we usually do) to go on a little getaway while we had a week off from work.
Our destination? Asheville, N.C.
We heard that Asheville was a craft beer heaven (SPOILER ALERT: IT IS.) and that it had a really cool, artsy vibe along with some great hiking- so we thought it would be a great place to explore!
Here were some of our favorite spots we discovered through the help of our friends/colleagues and some internet research of our own. Keep in mind this is by no means an exhaustive list- as there are lots of places (ahem, breweries...) that we didn’t get a chance to visit on this trip. But I’m sure we’ll be back again to explore more!
As usual, we checked into an Airbnb, because to us- it’s the absolute best way to travel, bar none. The ability to rent an entire house/apartment with flexible check-in/checkout times as opposed to staying in a tiny shoebox for LESS than the price of a hotel? Yes, please! We found a great little spot that was a quick drive to downtown and extremely close to some other local joints and had a lovely time.
1.) Burial Brewery
This brewery ended up being my husband’s favorite spot of the whole trip. And how could you not love it, with their amazing Donut Stout that’s served WITH A LITERAL DONUT. How could you go wrong? I think this had to be my favorite beer as well the whole trip.
The Donut Stout is a very malty, smooth, rich stout with a sweetness that’s not too overpowering. It’s delicious!
The brewery is on the small side of the ones in Asheville- but has a good bit of charm. It’s clearly popular- as it was packed each time we went! (Yes, we went several times…)
They have other great beers, too, but the Donut Stout was a CLEAR fan favorite. A close second is the Bolo Coconut Brown, which is a very smooth brown ale with a punch of coconut. Very good, almost like an Almond Joy in beer form. Which I’m all about.
2.) Wicked Weed Brewery
Wicked Weed is quite a bit larger than Burial, with a large Brewpub as well as its separate “Funkatorium”- brewery where they brew their sours. It’s definitely an Asheville favorite! Wicked Weed is very much known for its IPAs and sours, not so much a darker beer place, but we did have a great stout there. Always gotta try a stout.
We had a lovely cheese board and a sampling of some of their favorite beers. It was also really packed- you can tell it’s a local favorite for sure. Highly recommended for any beer lover!
3.) New Belgium Brewery
First of all, this place is quite large. It’s in an amazing location overlooking the river, and I can tell when the weather is nice their outdoor patio is probably the best place to be in town. They also have a large green space where lots of people were chilling out with a beer, playing fetch with their dog, or engaging in some lively cornhole.
But they have quite a large indoor space as well, with a huge wall of tons of beer varieties. One of the strangest ones there that we tried was a collaboration with Ben & Jerry’s… a chocolate chip cookie dough ale. Honestly, the weirdest part about it was HOW MUCH it actually tasted like cookie dough. So much so that it weirded me out! I love beer, and love cookie dough, but somehow putting those things together was too much for my brain to handle, honestly. It was drinkable, but just a weird experience.
They had an extremely large variety of brews there and they were all really good. They definitely do Belgians well!
1.) White Duck Taco Shop
This was actually our very first stop in Asheville, and it was a delight. Truly unique and delicious tacos- you really can’t go wrong here. While they had some really crazy concoctions, my favorite was the fish taco. It’s just a classic that is always satisfying. I will say that I’m terrible at taking food photos (I get really hungry, OK!) so enjoy some photos of all our food hangs courtesy of Instagram:
2.) Local Provisions
We wanted to go somewhere ~fancy~ one night, so we took this recommendation from a friend and we are glad we did! Kyle enjoyed his steak and I went for the buttermilk fried quail. Really fresh ingredients, very high-quality stuff. Excellent place.
After a hike on Mt. Pisgah- we were in the mood for lots of food, namely, lots of Mexican food. This place definitely fit the bill. Latin-inspired tacos, fajitas, and monster burrito-type bowls in a really chill setting. We loved it!
As far as other things to do in Asheville besides drink beer and eat- we definitely came across some interesting places to hang out for a spell.
1.) Moog Factory
I’ve recently gotten really interested in synths and creating my own beats- so this was a treat. They actually had a room set up with all the Moog synthesizers that you could demo and play with. While it was a bit intimidating- it was really fun to be able to experiment like that with some top of the line equipment. If you catch it at just the right time, you can take a tour of the factory. They hand-make all the synths on-site which is truly fascinating.
2.) General Downtown Area
Downtown is home to some really neat places- and if you find yourself strolling there you’re bound to come upon all kinds of cool art galleries, shops, coffee houses, etc. I won’t name every single one, but there definitely is something for everyone here. We enjoyed getting to explore the expansive downtown area!
We came across a double decker bus that is ACTUALLY a super cute coffee shop. Love.
Asheville is smack-dab in the middle of the mountains, so it comes as a surprise to no one that it is very outdoors-oriented. Lots of camping/hiking gear to be found, and it looked like everyone wore hiking boots as their day-to-day uniform. That and North Face jackets. So much so, that it was actually a bit strange…
We were advised to check out Mt. Pisgah- which was about a 40 min. drive out from Asheville, and our last day we were blessed with absolutely gorgeous weather, so we made our way out there.
It was an extremely clear day so we were able to fully take in the views which were spectacular. (See above.)
I will say, the altitude was very high and the hike was a bit of an effort. Which made the top view all the more satisfying!
I actually decided to shoot a little video during our hike to really capture it all- check it out:
We really loved Asheville and look forward to visiting again sometime soon. Comment with your favorite Asheville places below 🙂