Did you say Nashville or Asheville? A weekend adventure you don’t want to miss…
The Wolfpack has been dying to go to Asheville for YEARS. Tyler and Jesse got to go about five years ago for their anniversary and have wanted to go back ever since. There’s all kinds of reasons we’ve wanted to visit. Number 1: It’s in the mountains, so it’s insanely beautiful. There is tons of outdoorsy stuff to do if that’s your thing. Number 2: If you like history, this place has got it. Just go check out the Biltmore. You could plan an entire trip around just this one spot alone. Number 3: It’s funky and eclectic- all kinds of people and shops and things to do and see. We are talking festivals and markets, arts and music- all the things. Number 4 and one of our biggest draws: It is home to more breweries per capita than any other U.S. city, and you all know how we love all the beer. So basically if you’re within a reasonable driving distance, this city is a must see. Shoot, we even suggest flying out to see this place. Also, PSA: if you need help planning your trip, this website is an incredibly helpful place to start.
But for the sake of this post, we are just running you through OUR weekend. We wouldn’t claim to call this an Asheville travel guide, because let’s face it: a weekend is not long enough to see and do all the amazing things Asheville has to offer. HOWEVER, if you follow our itinerary, play by play, you are guaranteed a good time. So if you want to use it as a travel guide, be our guests.
Let us just start by saying that we have a planner in our midst (Jesse) and she’s crazy about trying to have a “suggested” itinerary before we go anywhere. By that we mean she can get anxious if we’ve looked at nothing ahead of time. We don’t have to stick to the plan necessarily, but we never want to be left without ideas. So the two of us started working on possible places to eat and breweries to visit a few weeks in advance. FYI: we decided this weekend was mainly to visit breweries, so the awesome outdoorsy things and the Biltmore give us a reason to get back there. TripAdvisor was our go-to for all of this because we could share the “trip” with each other and add places to the same list. Then we plotted all the spots on a Google map, so we could see all the places that were within walking distance of one another. This was actually a genius idea and you should all do this too. If you need help with this, ask us, because between the two of us we got it all figured out.
So we stayed at the Hampton Inn on Tunnel Road. We picked this spot simply because Ed got to use his points on it and it was relatively close to downtown. It was a nice enough place, but honestly we don’t care too much about where we stay because we are in the room so little. As we said earlier, it was relatively close to downtown, but far enough away it was a good $100 cheaper a night to stay than any place downtown. There was also a hot tub. Please believe that if there is EVER a hot tub anywhere we stay, we take advantage. Score. The BEST thing about this place- FREE MINI-VAN SHUTTLE. They took us everywhere we needed to go for free and we looked badass being dropped by a mini-van all weekend long. THANKS, MOM! Worth the stay for that reason alone.
Alright, Friday night we made it to Sierra Nevada, Burial, The Funkatorium, and Antidote. Holy sugar, every single one of these places was awesome. Sierra Nevada is freakin’ gorgeous. Whoever designed this building and space left no detail undone. Everything ties together beautifully. We want to spend a whole spring day at this place. The patio is incredible, they have a full service restaurant, and you can take a self-guided tour of this facility. This place was spotless! We don’t know why this amazes us so much, but we said it about 73 times as we were there. And we get it, we get it- Sierra Nevada isn’t like all the other smaller breweries. Maybe you think they’re pretentious or something. We don’t care. It’s still privately owned, which is impressive. From there, we went straight to Burial, which was recommended to us over and over again by so many locals throughout the weekend. We can see why- the beer was SO good. Jesse had a beer called Old Black Hen, which was a dark sour with pinot noir grapes, and we are still dreaming of it to this day. We left there and were headed to The Funkatorium, but stumbled upon Antidote along the way. We are so happy we did. This place is not a brewery, but it will transport you back to another time. It feels like an old speakeasy. So there’s tons of fun cocktails to try (we suggest any of the gin and tonics). Not to mention, it’s just a cool hangout (there’s a patio with a fireplace too). From there, we did actually make it to The Funkatorium. If you don’t know, the Funkatorium is an extension of Wicked Weed; they’re a taproom for sours and other funky, yummy beers. At this point in the night, we had yet to eat dinner (we were just so excited to get to all these places!), so we just hopped over to Barley’s for some late, LATE night pizza. We don’t know if it was because we were starving or because it was actually just that good, but the pizza went down very nicely. You can guess what happened after that- bedtime.
We woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to see all that Saturday would offer. We fueled up on mediocre complimentary breakfast at the hotel and enjoyed our soccer mom drop off in our free mini van shuttle to downtown Asheville, where our brewery tour (previously scheduled and planned- thank you to our planner, Jesse) would kick-off. We had a little time to kill prior to our brewery tour so we made our first beer stop at Wicked Weed. We LOVED this place. Some craft brewers are apparently upset with Wicked Weed’s “sell-out” to Anheuser Busch, but hey- if you give us good beer and good vibes- we are buying what you’re selling. We also want to quickly note that we stumbled into the Mast General Store- this place was awesome. They had all the random things you could ever want- clothes, cornbread mixes, candles, taffy, kids books, etc. We made a mental note of all the goodies we wanted and came back later for a shopping spree.
One thing we can’t recommend enough is to go on an actual brewery tour. This means a professional beer lover drives you around all day and takes you to different breweries explaining what makes each one of them unique, while pouring you LOTS of different tastes of beers. We went on the Vintage Brewery Tour through Asheville Brewery Tours. It was magical. Our driver was a short, spunky girl, who loved to give our husband’s hell, which made for a very entertaining afternoon. And honestly, they drove us all over creation- the cost of the tour paid for gas or Uber charges alone, not to mention all the beer we got.
First Stop: Highland Brewing. Asheville’s first brewery (1994). Home of one of the Ginger’s favorite beers: Daycation IPA. The aesthetics of Highland are awesome. A beautiful patio and a funky, colorful inside with lounge areas and a stage for concerts. There is also an awesome outdoor stage for all the warm weather fun. Yes please.
Second Stop: Pisgah Brewing. While this place isn’t as visually appealing as some other breweries we went to, the beer is delightful and as fate would have it, they had a delicious food truck called D.O.G.S, which included one of our favorite foods: HOT DOGS! They had an awesome little outdoor area that was FULL of dogs. Hot dogs, cold beer, and adorable puppies? SOLD.
Third and final stop of the vintage brewery tour: Green Man Brewing. Their original taproom is called Dirty Jack’s, but we had the pleasure of visiting their newest addition: The Greenman Mansion. This place was beautiful and huge (that’s what she said).
After a full day of beer tasting, we decided to head back to the hotel and get ourselves cleaned up for an evening on the town. Our evening on the town looked like this: Our minivan dropped us off at Vinnie’s for dinner where we ate a family style Italian feast of bread and a huge lasagna dish, topped off with cannolis. We piled back in the minivan, all in a food coma and pretended like we wanted to go anywhere except back to the hotel- after all we had only begun to see what Asheville had to offer. We aren’t sure which one of us finally said, “what if we just went back to the hotel”, but THANK HEAVENS. We all waddled back to our room and slept like babies- feeling all fat & sassy. Word of advice: if you have plans to party, don’t carb up on pasta like you’re about to run a marathon then next day.
The next morning we decided to wake up early and get a little more Asheville exploring in. First things first: we needed caffeine so we hit up High Five Coffee. We can’t say enough good things about this place- from the cute, hipster barista’s knowledge on their specialty coffees to the gorgeous drinks they poured. 10 out of 10. We then made our way to get some grub to prepare for our trek back to Charleston. We wanted the full Asheville experience, of course, so we went to a highly ranked brunch joint called Early Girl Eatery. A delicious farm to table place using all local ingredients. It did not disappoint. May we recommend anything and everything with their smoked bacon gravy? YES. Finally, as we headed back to our car to head out of town, we stumbled upon the coolest local: Moonlight Makers. They make all kinds of handmade products like t-shirts, magnets, coozies, kid’s clothing, and hand towels, with tons of hilarious and cute prints. So we definitely bought all the stuff.
So there you have it, folks. Another adventure-filled weekend. Long post short, get yourselves to Asheville.