Travel diary: Asheville, North Carolina

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Instead of driving straight home from South Carolina, which is a miserable 12-hour trip, we decided to take a different route and make a whole other vacation out of it. This was way more fun than going straight home. Our first stop was Asheville, North Carolina. It was about a five-hour-ish drive from Murrells Inlet, and the last couple of hours were especially gorgeous as we drove up up up through the mountains. We were in Asheville less than 24 hours total, but we had such a great time. I can pretty much sum up the whole thing with two words: FOOD and BEER.

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The first thing we did when we got to town was EAT. It was lunchtime and we decided to stop at 12 Bones, a smokehouse. Wow. I am so very glad we came here. This was one of the better meals ever. Just walking in, it smelled so good and it was completely packed. We knew right away we’d made the right choice of where to eat lunch (and they’re only open for lunch, so keep that in mind if you’re in town!). I had a smoked portobello mushroom sandwich with fried green tomato and it was phenomenal. Andy also let me eat some of his jalapeno grits… again, just wow.

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Later in the day we stopped for ice cream. Because that’s what we do. It was suggested that we go to The Hop, which is supposed to have some of the best vegan “ice cream” anywhere, which I was interested in trying. Unfortunately they were all out when we were there, so I tried the chocolate ice cream made with goat’s milk, for something a little different. We sat outside in their little courtyard and enjoyed finally having some nice weather (though it rained later in the day. Of course.).

Then there was the beer…

Asheville is known as Beer City USA, since there are breweries everywhere, and I mean everywhere. You can take guided tours of all of the breweries and wineries in the area, which I think would be a lot of fun, but we didn’t have enough time and decided to conduct our own.

Let’s just call this tour “pictures of Andy with beer.” I don’t really like beer, just have never developed a taste for it, so I was the lame-o drinking ginger ale most places. I’m so boring. Plus someone needed to drive. But I did have one amazing drink called a “Hemingway daiquiri” that was expertly prepared and so delicious.

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Brewery one: Altamont Brewing Company. This kinda felt like drinking in your neighbor’s oversized garage, with a kayak behind the bar and a couple of dogs hanging out — and that’s not a bad thing. This is where I had the Hemingway daiquiri that was so very good.

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Brewery two: Lexington Avenue Brewery. I don’t know why Andy looks so grumpy, because he said this was his favorite beer of any we had in Asheville.

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Brewery three: Asheville Brewing Company. It was easy to walk between breweries downtown, which was a great way to spend an afternoon.

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Brewery four: Jack of the Wood. We had a great time here listening to the live bluegrass band, and the fish and chips were good too!

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As we were walking downtown towards our second brewery stop, we just happened to walk past a store called Hip Replacements with THE CUTEST DRESSES in the window, and obviously I had to stop. I walked in, the clerk took one look at me (most likely in too many blue and white stripes already) and said, “I have just the dress for you.” She pointed me in the direction of yet another blue and white striped dress, with a flouncy hem and a ton of sass, and it was love at first sight. I ended up with two new dresses, but I seriously could have bought everything in the store. I might always regret not buying a pair of the sparkliest glitteriest gold heels I’ve ever seen. Sigh. But since I don’t like beer… I might as well get some new dresses to keep me happy!

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On our way out of town we stopped for breakfast at the Tupelo Honey Cafe, which is adorable and delicious. The biscuits were the best ever. And mmm, honey.

We had so much fun in Asheville. I could have easily stayed for a couple more days. There were a lot more shops that I wanted to see, and the food we had was so good. It’s a fun little town. But we had to move on. Our next stop was Cincinnati… more tomorrow!

Some things to do if you’re in Asheville:

12 Bones
5 Riverside Drive

Tupelo Honey Cafe
12 College Street

The Hop
721 Haywood Road

Hip Replacements
72 North Lexington Ave.

Altamont Brewing Company
1042 Haywood Road

Lexington Avenue Brewery
39 North Lexington Ave.

Asheville Brewing Company
77 Coxe Avenue

Jack of the Wood
95 Patton Avenue

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