“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
By far one of my most favorite places to visit in North Carolina has to Asheville. Located in Western NC, it is about a two hours drive from Charlotte, making it an ideal place for a relaxing one day trip or a short weekend trip. If you are someone who enjoys slowing down and unwinding once in a while, but still want to want to have a good time, then Asheville is the place for you.
About an hour away Asheville is The Blue Ridge Parkway, with many beautiful trails and waterfalls. There’s also Looking Glass Fall if you prefer to drive and enjoy the view instead of hiking. If you are into classic English designs/glamourous/romantic places that will take you back to the 1800s, then you can visit Biltmore Estate, located ~15 minutes away. It is the largest privately owned mansion in the U.S, built in the 1880s. I’ve visited Biltmore House about 10 years ago, so it is definitely on my bucket list revisit. There are also many different breweries and bars in downtown Asheville. You can also have a beer tour at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
I traveled to Asheville with a friend during for our fall break. The trip was much needed since we were hammered with school and stress prior, so I suggested taking a short day trip. I’ve been to Asheville many times, during the summer and the winter. But this time was my first time traveling in the fall, and I thought “why didn’t I came here sooner?”. Since it was right at the beginning of fall, the weather was perfect, ~75 degrees. It was nice and sunny with gentle breezes here and there, it wasn’t humid compared to the summer. The locals were friendly, and they were nice to talk to. The atmosphere was layback, yet artistic. We spent the whole day exploring downtown Asheville, which was filled with many unique boutiques and awesome eateries.
“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food” – Paul Prudhomme
Chai Pani ~ Indian Restaurant
One of my favorite restaurants EVAAA is a small Indian restaurant that serves up some big favor, Chai Pani. They have a unique menu, with a good selection for vegetarian and meat lover like myself. One of my most favorite dishes was fried okra (you might be thinking, really fried okra???). The okras were thinly sliced and deep fried to a nice crunchy texture, and simply seasoned with salt and pepper. It was served alongside a lime wedge which was recommended to be squeezed over the okras. The combination of a bit of tanginess and saltiness made this dish addicting, but not too heavy (honestly I would pick it over french fries any day).
As for the main dish, we ordered a plate of chicken thali that came with rice, purple cabbage sourkrouts, lentil soup, and naan. The portion was big enough for two, especially since we also had an appetizer and mango lassi. The thali was a nice thick aromatic and flavourful sauce with a little bit of heat.
Chocolate Lounge ~ Sweets Shop
If you are a chocolate lover, then you must visit one of the most popular sweet shops, Chocolate Lounge. They have a large selection of chocolate truffles, pastries, cakes, and ice cream. Most of the ingredients they use are organic and local, as well as being gluten-free. We ordered a slice of mocha chocolate cake (flourless).
Asheville’s Landmark Coffee Bus ~ Coffee Shop
Another popular place that we visited was the Coffee Bus. It was a double-decker bus that got remodeled into a coffee shop. Guests can place drink orders on the bottom and pick it up from the window. They had a small outside sitting area, as well as the inside sitting area on the upper level. My friend went for a peppermint chocolate frap while I opted for a hot caramel latte. We enjoyed our sweet treats on the upper level while people watch.
The many unique backdrops and surrounding downtown are ideal for impromptu photoshoots or vlogging. If you are into photography, I recommend to bring your camera and do a walking tour, you will sure to capture some awesome pictures.
As someone who lives in a busy and crowded city, I always adore my time in Asheville. The layback atmosphere and unique always inspired me to relax and reflect on myself. I love traveling to places that allow me to take a step back from my normal life and blend in with the locals. If you ever visit North Carolina, I recommend you to make a stop here. The night time is also to die for with many awesome bars and restaurants, but that’s for another blog!
Thank you for reading!