field trip: asheville, north carolina

Asheville is approximately 5 and 1/2 hours southeast of Louisville (that makes it about the same distance to Chicago.)  I had never been to Asheville, but had always heard that it was a great place.  A friend of mine even referred to it as the “Portland (Oregon) of the East.” 

I suppose that comparison refers to Asheville’s socially progressive, environmentally conscientious residents, its natural beauty, its vibrant arts scene, ridiculous number of good microbrews and locally-grown food.  In short, paradise.  I can’t dispute that reputation after a wonderful recent visit.  Here are the pictures.  Specific details appear at the end:

























Photos 1-5: Taken in Asheville’s lively downtown, which features a large number of restored art deco style historic buildings.  The Woolworth building is now an art/craft gallery area and has a working old fashioned soda fountain where you can get an egg cream.

Photos 6-8: Taken on a trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway called “Graveyard Fields.”  Two large waterfalls and a gorgeous valley.  This trail is located south of Asheville. 

Photos 9-10: Taken on a trail in Mount Mitchell State Park, which is the highest point of all land east of the Mississippi River. Mt Mitchell is right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, north of Asheville.

Photos 11-12: Taken on a trail called “Craggy Gardens” off the Blue Ridge Parkway, north of Asheville.  Known for the large number of Rhodedendron bushes, which decorate the trails with tons of pink petals.  Breathtakingly gorgeous trail.

Photos 13-17: Weird signs taken at random spots around town.

Photos 18-19: The Grove Park Inn, a historic and storied hotel known for its famous former guests including Helen Keller and Thomas Edison, along with many others.  We couldn’t afford to stay in a place this fancy, but anyone is allowed to go in and order a drink and enjoy the spectacular view on their back patio (seen in photo 19.)  One of the highlights of the trip.

Photo 20: Early Girl Eatery– really good breakfasts.  They do lunch and dinner too, though.  Lots of veggie and non veggie options.  Pictured: very unusual take on eggs benedict with tomato gravey, grits cakes, bacon, and biscut.

Photo 21: Rosetta’s Kitchen– vegetarian/vegan restaurant with a huge menu, huge portions, and very high quality.  The dish here includes kale, delicious mashed potatoes, and peanut butter roasted tofu- sounds weird, tasted amazing.

Photo 22: Sunny Pointe Cafe– Awesome breakfast!! Breakfast blueberry bread pudding with whipped cream and other decadent ingredients in it.  You have to go over to the West Asheville neighborhood for this one.

Photo 23: Limones– this is a pretty fancy/pricey spot for dinner, but it was definitely well worth it.  This picture is of wild mushroom quesadillas. 

Photo 24: Thirsty Monk– My favorite spot for beer in Asheville.  Features an upstairs and a downstairs bar.  The upstairs bar features local, regional, and national craft brews, while the downstairs stocks all Belgian beers, 14 of which are on tap.  Definitely check out the downstairs bar, where I tasted some of the best beers I’ve had in my life.  The Thirsty Monk has convienient half pint glass sizes, so you can sample more beers in one visit.

Other great places to eat, drink, and shop:

Harvest Records– Asheville’s best record store. In West Asheville.

Malaprops Books– Fantastic selection of books!  Kind of reminds me of Louisville’s long lost Hawley-Cooke Booksellers.  Malaprops has a large selection of just about everything, including a section devoted to banned books, a huge local interest section, and several shelves devoted soley to eco-friendly/sustainable design and architecture.

City Bakery Cafe– Homeade cheddar onion biscuits with melted cheese, egg, and fake bacon.  Or you can get real bacon. And breakfast pasteries… and desserts.. or crazy cakes that could rival Charm City’s!

Tupelo Honey Cafe– Great southern food with an innovative twist.  Goat cheese grits with everything. Local produce.  It was too dark to take a picture, otherwise I would have posted one.

Jack of the Wood/Green Man Brewery– good local brewery, focusing more on English style brews.

Barley’s Taproom– huge selection of local and regional beers, plus pizza that’s supposedly pretty good.


3 Responses to “field trip: asheville, north carolina”

  1. June 29, 2009 at 4:27 am

    That was one of the best photo posts so far!

  2. 2 aprettypickle
    June 29, 2009 at 4:41 am

    thanks! it helps when you’ve got great subject matter everywhere you turn

  3. June 29, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Wow! Beautiful. I especially like the food pictures. I’ve always wanted to visit Asheville.

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