Asheville, NC

2 Oct

We’re back from a fun-filled four days in Asheville, NC with Brian’s parents. I loved it there. It’s such a special little city filled with great art, culture, restaurants, history and dripping with southern charm. It’s also a picturesque city nestled between the Blue Ridge and Smoky mountains, which are both breathtaking. We arrived just as all the leaves were changing and it finally made it feel like it was fall. I even got to wear scarves and boots!

My top 5 in Asheville, NC

1- The Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar

The Battery Park Book Exchange was my favorite stop in Asheville- It’s part vintage book store and part champagne and wine bar. Brilliant idea huh?! Who doesn’t want to cozy up with a glass of champagne and a book? It was a cold and rainy afternoon when we popped in to the place which made the whole experience even cozier. We wandered the rows and rows of vintage books getting lost in the pages. Brian found a first edition “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote which he snatched up to bring home with us. After we sat on old leather couches and drank rose champagne while watching the city buzz around us. If I lived in Asheville, NC I would be at this place every weekend.

2. 12 Bones BBQ

Our first stop when we arrived in Asheville (before even checking into our hotel) was lunch at the BBQ spot 12 Bones. The last time I ate a plate full of BBQ was when I was in Memphis, TN at Blue’s City Cafe. I thought that experience would be impossible to beat but to my surprise 12 Bones did! The restaurant is located in a funky little building on the side of train tracks in the River Arts District.When we pulled up there was already a huge line of people waiting to get in at noon on a Friday. A very good sign in my mind. After waiting for twenty minutes we finally made it to the front of the line to order. I went with the half rack of ribs with a side of smoked potato salad and coleslaw. OMG. The smoked potato salad was ammmmazing. Seriously if you’re ever in Asheville and like to eat meat it’s a must.

3. The Biltmore Tour

The Biltmore is mind-blowing to see in person. It is the largest privately owned home in the United States, at 175,000 square feet and featuring 250 rooms. Let those numbers sink in…crazy huh? It was built-in 1889 by George Washington Vanderbilt and is one of the most prominent examples of the Gilded Age. It’s pure decadence. Strangely enough I enjoyed the tour of the servant quarters the best. It is composed of living quarters and various work rooms. I couldn’t get over how many different rooms there was- a pastry kitchen, a butcher room, a room to hold pots and arrange flowers. The laundry room actually made me heart skip a beat. Have I told you how much I love doing laundry? Well, this room was pure laundry heaven. The only room I hated in the whole house was the cave like indoor pool area because it provoked me to feel claustrophobic and panicky. Brian said he’s never seen somebody book it out of a room quicker than I did in that moment.

4. The Blue Ridge Parkway drive

After the tour of The Biltmore we headed out to drive the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s a 469 miles connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Clearly we did not drive the whole 469 miles in an afternoon but we did drive 80 miles of it and it was stunning. The usually green hills were covered in spots of yellow and red.

5. The Grove Park Inn

The first night in Asheville we went to dinner (yes we somehow managed to eat dinner after a huge BBQ lunch) at The Grove Park Inn. It is the funniest looking hotel nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. From the front it looks like something out of a horror film.  Built with huge granite boulders that stick out and a funny curved roof. It felt so heavy and dark from the outside. But when you walk in you enter a huge fancy room and you’re met with the most beautiful view of the mountains.

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20 Responses to “Asheville, NC”

  1. Christina Z. October 2, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    Wow – thanks for these recommendations! (I’m now convinced I’d love to go on a weekend trip to Asheville myself someday…preferably during fall.) I would love to see the Biltmore in person! It reminds me of Downton Abbey. And the Grove Park Inn looks really interesting! Where did you stay?

  2. Danielle October 2, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    North Carolina is awfully beautiful this time of year. Sounds like such a fun time, too 🙂 I hope to visit your top five venues eventually!

    • katemcclafferty October 2, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

      Thanks Danielle!! Hope Paris is treating you well. SO jealous:)

  3. Rebecca Koo October 2, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    Just seeing these pictures brings me hope that fall is happening somewhere and might just visit here too……someday. Had no idea you have a laundry fettish! Feel free to visit here and we will provide you with laundry more plentiful than your wildest dreams! Fun post Kate, thank you!

    • katemcclafferty October 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

      Rebecca, I got off the plane in LA dressed in fall clothes and almost cried. When is this heat going to end???!!!! SO over it as well. Oh and if I ever pass through your hood I will most definitely do your laundry:) I find it so meditative.

      • Rebecca Koo October 3, 2012 at 9:11 am #

        Meditative….this is a new way of viewing laundry for me. I shall have to give it a try. 🙂

  4. shianwrites October 2, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    Awww, you guys had fun. 🙂 Very beautiful.

  5. Erin Haslag (@WELLinLA) October 2, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    Asheville feels magical. I haven’t been since I was … 16? … but your pictures bring back memories of the trip and The Biltmore (wow!). After Nepal… backpacking through the Smokies?? Did you bring back a little slice of autumn for us in L.A.? (I’m anxiously awaiting jeans/boots/scarves!)

  6. sarahannnoel October 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    SO, SO fun! I loved following your trip on instagram too! I grew up in NC–loved going to the Biltmore. I’m glad you guys had such a great time!

    P.S. Those leaves! Those leaves! Those leaves!

    • katemcclafferty October 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

      I didn’t know you grew up in NC! What a lovely place to grow up. Oh and yes those leaves are to DIE for.

  7. Wendell A. Brown October 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    Kate love the pictures, but i want to make one comment. I can remember my wife’s mother when she first saw us together smiled and said we were siamese twins connected by the lips! Your smiles embracing each other in the pictures say so much a forever longlasting love, for you are two kindred spirits who are two sides of the same coin! Both of your spirits have told me so. BLessings to both of you! And i loved the post my sister!

    • katemcclafferty October 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

      Oh Wendell, I am always amazed by how much your kind words touch me. Thank you for always being so generous with your spirit.Hoping you are happy and well!

  8. Hattie Wilcox October 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    Biscuits and gravy! The land of cherry cider! The hills in fall colors from the Grove Park Inn look like a billowing quilt, don’t they? Never heard of it, so thanks for the barbecue news and picture of 12 Bones plate. When you mentioned smoked potato salad, I was catapulted back home and I could almost . . . almost . . . ALMOST taste it! Love the books and champagne hangout. Did you hear any local music, or anything about it?

    • katemcclafferty October 2, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

      Sadly, we didn’t hear any music when we were there. Tell me more!

  9. liz October 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    I’m so glad you had a great time! You did exactly the things that you should do when visiting Asheville. 🙂 Thanks for sharing you photos too (which are fabulous!)… makes me feel closer to home. Can’t wait to get back to my home town for a visit during Christmas.

    • katemcclafferty October 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

      There was so much I wanted to see while we were there so it’s nice to hear we picked right!! I bet Asheville is gorgeous during Christmas 🙂

  10. fivereflections October 2, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    you both look great together… i’m glad you had a chance to visit Asheville, NC… my favorite books were written by Thomas Clayton Wolfe – born there in 1900.

    when i was a youngster, i could see the Blue Ridge Mountains from our Maryland dairy.

    glad you were able to experience the ‘Blue Ridge Parkway’.

    the food looks great… wonder if you got to see the night sky over the Appalachian Mountains so you could compare with your night sky?

    speaking of Truman Capote, i spent a long weekend on a ranch in Holcomb, Kansas, back in 1968 – saw Herbert Clutter farm… when reading the descriptions of that area in the book, ‘in cold blood’, it is exactly the experience you’d get by being there… i was going to college in Oklahoma at the time, but still am amaze how flat the land is there… you’d swear it is flatter than the Atlantic Ocean – with the exception of those calm days when the ground swells were like a mirror….

  11. Cassy October 3, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    Looks like such an amazing trip!! =D I was down in Virginia Beach in September which is pretty close to North Carolina… and I just love the atmosphere down there!

  12. righteousbruin9 October 4, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    That tour looks fantastic. I find the various styles of BBQ often are linked in ways that seem superfluous at first, but make all the difference. Both Memphis and North Carolina use cole slaw on top of their pulled pork sandwiches. Maybe that is because so many Memphis settlers came from NC.

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