Vaca with the Monaghans – Asheville

 

Hi friends!,

It’s a Friday night and I’m sitting on the couch (procrastinating on my school work) to write out this blog on our vacation to Asheville and man, I’m just dying to go back!! It doesn’t have to be to Asheville, which was wonderful, fyi! Just back to vacation. Away from real life. I came back all happy and high on life and life said I was too happy and slapped me across the face with a giant dose of reality. So let’s spend the night drinking a glass of red wine and pretending we are somewhere else, shall we?!

TJ and I loved our (short) stay in Charleston but I was so excited to leave and head for the mountains! As a Florida girl there’s not a whole lot of scenery dimension going on. It’s flat everywhere you turn. And if you don’t live by the beach (which we don’t, we are forty five minutes away) then you also don’t have any great views. Asheville provided all that and more! We stayed in another charming Airbnb. I think we are really getting a hang of this whole Airbnb thing. It took me a bit to get used to Uber but now I can’t remember life without it. I have a pretty good feeling that Airbnb is going to be the same way. How can you resist rooms like this?!

 

 

 

Before we could check in to our Asheville Airbnb we had a little time to kill so we stopped at the highly recommended Sierra Nevada Brewery. The views were just perfection. The large amounts of craft beer didn’t hurt in my husbands eyes either. If you’re planning on visiting Asheville I highly recommend that you stop by. We were leaving right as they were starting a crawfish boil. They also have a little amphitheater right there on site for live music. You can do a self tour of the brewery and bring along your beer (or wine for those of us who have a gluten allergy) to explore. If you stop by the restaurant then I highly recommend the skillet pimento and cheese with pretzels. Things I’m not allowed to eat but the pain felt worth it! The south sure loves their pimento cheese and we reveled in it at every restaurant we could.

 

After we checked into our Airbnb and freshened up we headed out to see what other breweries had to offer. I will admit right here and now that we did not make it to the most recommended brewery to us, Wicked Weed. We did however go straight to their sour beer brewery, The Funkatorium. TJ loves sour beers and he grabbed a flight while I grabbed myself some wine and we headed to their outdoor seating. That was my favorite thing about Asheville. You could sit outdoors everywhere you went. It’s only May and it’s already too hot in Florida to do that. We left the Funkatorium and ventured out to a brewery across the street that was not a recommendation from anyone but we were happy we came across it. Twin Leafs was a small, hip, and fun little brewery. They also offered outdoor seating but had games inside that called our names. We played a (sorta) friendly game of shuffle board until another couple came along and had such an intense game of giant jenga that we had to stop everything we were doing and watch! And we weren’t the only ones!

 

From there we made a (hard) walk up what is probably just a slight incline to Asheville natives but to us Floridians it was more of a walk up a mountain side! The hike was definitely worth it though. We made our way up to the Top of the Monk, which is the upstairs bar at Thirsty Monk. The drinks were hand crafted and the views were storybook. You actually are required to be a member but don’t worry, membership fee is only $1.

One of the things I love most about Airbnb is that they typically give you recommendations from the local owners on where to eat. We chose to take our Asheville hosts up on their suggestion of a local Mexican restaurant, Zia Taqueria. While the service left something to be desired the food completely satisfied! Chips and salsa are given to you upon arrival but we added an order of queso onto that. I chose chicken taquitos for my meal and was a little nervous that only three came with it (I should note this is from the appetizers) but they were full of meat and goodness and I actually only managed to eat two. TJ chose three tacos, one of each meat. Chicken, pork, and beef. Both of us were pleasantly surprised with this little find our host had turned us onto. It was a long day so even though our Airbnb didn’t have a tv for TJ to watch all his NBA and NHL playoff games, we headed “home”.

The next day we headed out for our next adventure, the Biltmore Estate! Now let me be super honest for a second, TJ was NOT excited about this. We had been told it was a bit expensive but when we looked it up it was $65/adult plus $11/adult for the audio if you want to be able to actually know details about the rooms you are staring at. TJ said we were paying Disney prices for no rides. But honestly, that’s HALF of Disney’s prices. He should know better. In the end, we chose to do the audio with our tour and we were both very happy with our day at the Biltmore Estate. The grounds are phenomenal. Unlike anything you have seen before if you live in the United States. It’s hard to fathom that people actually lived this way. Just one family, living in a what might as well be a hotel. It was beautiful and educational and a MUST STOP if you’re in the Asheville area. Besides the house tour (which takes a few hours in itself considering it’s nearly 200,000 square feet) there’s also 2 miles of gorgeous gardens and further down the property a winery with a free wine tasting included in your visit. Trust us when we say we took full advantage!

Once we left the Biltmore Estate we proceeded back to our room to change and head back out! We had one night left on vacation and it was not to be wasted so we made our way to another MUST on every single persons Asheville recommendation list, Omni Grove Park Inn Hotel. We were trying to get there early enough to beat everyone else out for the sunset view seating which just so happened to put us at rush hour times so we did face quite a bit of traffic on our uber ride . The city is not built for the amount of tourism that they receive but either way, we made it. We took full advantage of the first come, first serve seating on the patio. The views are nothing you have witnessed before, unless of course you live in the beautiful mountain tops us Floridians can only dream of. They have a restaurant out there as well with the best sunset views but after a very dreamy dinner in Charleston we decided that just wasn’t in the budget.

After such a long day of exploring we decided to have a simple finish to our vacation with a dinner at a Pack’s Tavern. It was the perfect mixture of bar meets class. I had their gluten free roasted lemon and rosemary chicken. Definitely not your typical bar food. It was delicious! TJ tried their Irish Egg Roll. It was something very different but it paid off. He followed up with their Bison Meatloaf.

Moral of the story here is that if you’re looking for a beautiful, low-key vacation spot, this is your spot! TJ and I were so happy with our time in both Charleston and Asheville. I hope that our short trips can be of some help in planning your own vacation trips there. Till next time…

Alohomora,

-Ash

 

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