Ok, so I took a trip to Asheville, NC and FELL IN LOVE. At first glance, Asheville seems like a small tucked away town with incredible scenery. That is not wrong.. but Asheville, NC has so much more to offer than the view. In fact, Asheville is where this blog all started. I actually created ‘Stout-n-About’ during this trip.
It is places that have such character like Asheville, NC that inspire travelers like me to share them with the world.
When I stepped out of the car and on to the streets, I felt like I had just opened a time capsule from the early 1900s. In every direction is a unique piece of architecture- no two buildings look the same.
Before the depression hit, Asheville was trying to find itself. Many designers and city planners contributed to the city, but construction halted during the depression leaving it a mod podge of creations. For nearly 50 years the city stayed untouched until finally revitalization efforts prevailed in the 1980s.
Today, Asheville, NC can be found on the top of every U.S travel list. In fact, the Lonely Planet named Asheville, NC the “Best in the U.S” at number one on their 2017 destinations!
Not only do you get to view the beautiful Smoky Mountains and historical architecture – the locals provide for a special atmosphere on the streets. There are live bands and artists on every corner, and we even bumped into hilarious YouTube celeb, Hannah Hart!
12 hours in this quirky, mountain city just wasn’t enough – if I had it my way I would pack up and move right now! With that being said, I only had time to experience a few aspects of the town, but I think I chose wisely.
After a two-hour morning car ride from Charlotte, we were in need of some serious caffeine so we stopped at a local cafe.
High Five Coffee
The atmosphere alone in this place will give you a wake up call! It was pretty busy and it seemed to be a local favorite. It was steady but the workers seemed at ease and focused. They were also super efficient; they used a wire to send tickets over to the drink station and popped them out pretty quickly.
Their Spicy Chai was incredible (definitely more spicy than sweet) and I added a shot of espresso for that extra kick. Apparently, they are keen on flavor because they also feature the Diablo and Cubano which include ingredients like chili and other intense spices. High Five Coffee is definitely a good spot to try something new.
Once we had a chance to wake up, we headed over to a bookstore that I had heard all about from fellow travelers. The bookstore just happened to be located in one of the most historic buildings in Asheville, The Grove Arcade.
To learn more about the history of Grove Arcade check out the website.
Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar
This book store is a dream come true. There are three things you must know about Battery Park:
What more could you want?!
Once you’ve got champagne in hand, you can explore the multi-level store. The Battery Park Book Exchange has literally every subject of book you can think of! It is crazy; I kept walking and walking it seemed like the isles never ended.
I highly recommend this if you’re a book nerd like me. This is another great place to snag a gift for a friend or hang out for a few hours.
On our way out the door, we noticed a few stalls set up just outside and decided to check out the market.
Grove Arcade, Outdoor Artists Market
Located on the sidewalk of the gorgeous 1920’s building, the Outdoor Artists Market is perfect if you are looking for a unique gift for a friend or just looking to treat-yo-self with some super cool jewelry.
The Outdoor Artists Market features locally made items like soaps, paintings, and uniquely crafted art. My favorite find by far is my terrarium necklace.
I had never seen anything like it before and absolutely love plant life. The artist talked to me about her inspirations behind it and I was sold; she told me the only plant she could keep alive was a terrarium and that she loved being able to carry a little bit of life around with her. My best friend was kind enough to purchase it for me for my birthday and I wear it all the time!
Aside from the Arcade there are tons of little shops in Downtown Asheville and we explored them for hours! After a while we were getting a little hangry and decided to stop for food.
Mela Indian Restaurant
After much debate (with so many delicious options) we stopped here for lunch. If you’ve been wanting to try Indian food but it seems intimidating, try this place. Coming from someone that lived in India for 4 months, the food here is incredibly close to the ‘real thing’ and they have a buffet for lunch which allows you to try whatever you want (11:30-2:30 pm.)! They also have a full bar with domestic and international beers on tap. If you’re looking to try an Indian beer go with the King Fischer.
Seriously though, I wish this restaurant was closer to home… it is everything I want when I’m craving Indian food!
The Thirsty Monk: Brewery & Pub
Me and my two compadres decided it was time for a midday beer – or five. We were heading to a brewery that we found on Google when the rain gods decided to lead us into the nearest building AKA The Thirsty Monk.
We sat down, thankful for a roof over our head and were greeted with a list of at least 50 draft beers. They have beer from far and wide of all different kinds. They also have two different bars under one roof in this downtown location. The main level is full of American drafts while the basement is their Belgian Bar which is decked out with rustic wood, stone, and comfy couches for the ultimate relaxing experience while enjoying a large selection of European and rare beer.
This is definitely a memorable part of our day trip because we met a wonderful woman named, Angela (pictured above)! She was a teacher visiting from England and was on a trip around the U.S to visit any and all Elvis Presley related sites. I had also come to find out that her family is from Goa, India; if you have read my blog you know that India is close to my heart. She was such a joy to talk to and exchange travel stories with.
I wish we had had more time to explore the gorgeous city of Asheville, NC., but if you have even 12 hours to stop it is totally worth it! I sincerely hope this blog painted an appealing picture of Asheville. It is by far one of my favorite cities in the U.S and I hope you get the chance to visit!