Once upon a time, there was an extra cold and long winter. One Ragamuffin was away for over a month from Korea to South Africa. The other Ragamuffin was up to her eyeballs in work, entertaining visitors, 2 wild puppies and one senior dog.
Once the Ragamuffins were reunited, they knew they needed a little time away from the everyday. Having neither of them ever been, they decided to give Asheville, North Carolina a try.
Our friend Grant agreed to pet sit the 3 pooches and stay at our place. Our friend Kat, who claims Asheville as her second home, gave us some pointers on places to eat and visit. So, with everything squared away, we hit the road early in the morning on Friday March 14th.
It is only about a 3 and a half hour drive from Charleston to Asheville, and a very scenic one at that!
We arrived to town just in time for lunch.
Tupelo Honey was highly recommended, and we sat down to warm biscuit with the house-made blueberry jam & honey. We ordered the Tupelo Honey Rye Ale which is the house beer – made just for the Cafe from Riverbend Rye Malt from Asheville and real Tupelo Honey. I really enjoyed the 3 B’s…. Biscuit, Blueberry Jam, and Beer!! Not only that, but our lunch itself was very, very good! Jonathan ordered the Fried Green Tomatoes with basil over goat cheese grits as a starter. I enjoyed the Misse’s Ashevilles VeggieMelt with Havarti and Jonathan had the Panko Crusted Pork Sandwich. Again – the food was fantastic…. but we were stuffed! We decided to walk off the food and see the town a bit before getting into our hotel.
We walked and looked in windows as we went along. I saw 2 specific historical markers that caught my eye; one for Jimmie Rodgers, who began his music career there in Asheville via broadcasts on WWNC in the late 1920s, and the other for O. Henry (William Sydney Porter), the famous author who had a small office downtown when he lived there. O Henry is also buried in Asheville.
We walked in and out of random shops…. but came upon the Kress Emporium. We spent a good deal of time in this building! The S.H. Kress & Co was a chain of “five and dimes” and department stores which began in 1896 on the “Main Streets” of cities all over America. It was also well-known for the architectural style of each Kress building. The one in Asheville was built in 1928 in a neoclassical style, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Charleston’s Kress building was built in 1931 in a Mayan Revival style and was meant to be very sumptuous as it was one of the first “superstores”. There was one built in 1913 in Charleston in the same location. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find out what happened to the first one; perhaps fire.
Back to Asheville, however… Their Kress building is now a multi-level fine art gallery which is set-up in a vendor style. It was very interesting and there were some very impressive art displayed.
We did a bit more walking about, but it was time to go secure our hotel room.
This was a very long, and tiring experience….. BUT – in short…
Jonathan had booked a room prior to our arrival in Asheville. An Extended Stay, which is usually a pretty nice place. THIS ONE WAS HORRID. We went in to our room, turned right back around and the front desk clerk did not even question our wanting to leave. Besides the smoke, the body hair all over the “new sheets” and the greasy hand print upon the picture over the bed – the place was all over filthy. After about 30 minutes on the phone and driving up to 4 different hotels, Jon found a place RIGHT in the center of downtown. We could walk to everything in minutes, it was far cheaper than anything else we had looked at, AND the people that worked there were very kind.
This was the view from our Hotel.
After getting situated, we went out looking for warmer cover-ups. The weather shifted a bit then we planned for and we needed something for the chilly evenings. We walked over to the Mast General Store and found some nice (and on sale) warmies.
Then we stopped for a little coffee at Double D’s Coffee & Desserts.
You can see why we stopped here. An old Double Decker Bus with coffee! Really cute and creative shop. The first level is the kitchen and ordering area, with a cream and sugar station. On the top level there is seating, and a small garden area for seating as well. Not only was it a unique business, the coffee was delicious!
We went out for dinner, walked around to see the town at night, stopped for a drink at the Thirsty Monk, visited the Yacht Club, and then over to Jack of the Woods for some live music.
Saturday we woke up, checked out the Grove Arcade, and then headed over to The Biltmore Estate. We toured the estate, hiked the gardens, ate ice cream from the Biltmore Dairy, and had a great time. We spend several hours there enjoying the outdoors and the scenery.
This is Jonathan asking for “information”.
Headed back to our hotel for an hour’s nap, then dressed for supper at The Lobster Trap. Fantastic Supper! Great food, fun atmosphere, and a live bluegrass band!
Sunday, before heading back home to Charleston, we had lunch at a Jamaican themed restaurant called Nine Mile – which was recommended by our friend Kat. It was very delicious!!
It was a wonderful weekend and it was nice to spend some time together sans the “kids”. We saw, pretty much, all there is to see about the downtown area. I hope to go again to only focus on the great hiking, camping, and zip line outdoor experience of the Asheville Area.