Beautiful Asheville, North Carolina

by Kim on June 26, 2012 · 32 comments

In the past twelve days we have driven from Cleveland, Ohio to Morgantown, West Virginia to Asheville, North Carolina to Savannah, Georgia. We are now in St. Louis, Missouri for a brief stop before heading off to Yellowstone National Park, Grand Tetons National Park, and beyond.

I’d meant to write about each city we have visited along the way: Asheville, Savannah, St. Louis, but I just can’t bring myself to do it, at least not yet. Life is zipping by at an astounding pace and I haven’t had any down time to process what we’ve seen and done.

We are visiting friends in each of the cities we’ve stopped in and my days are spent catching up and doing fun things, I just don’t have much free time. Or, rather, when it comes down to writing a post or staying up late to have a great conversation, I always choose the conversation.  I know you guys would approve.

But I am trying my best to save some mornings to write these posts and I am looking forward to the day when Brian and I are moving at a slower pace and I can leisurely write to my heart’s desire.  We always knew that our U.S. road trip would be a whirlwind but I still find myself shocked by how quickly the days zoom by. 

So in lieu of fully formed thoughts and ideas about the latest city I want to write about, Asheville, here is what I can offer you instead: pictures! brief, choppy half-thoughts about the city!

Beautiful Asheville, North Carolina

Brian and I took the scenic route into Asheville, North Carolina, driving south through Shenandoah National Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The Blue Ridge Parkway has been named “America’s Favorite Drive” and winds 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia all the way down to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.

A scene from the Blue Ridge Parkway

We arrived in Asheville in the late evening, drank a few beers and decompressed.  Our lovely hosts, Jessy and Michele, told us about their plans to show us all that Asheville has to offer.  Our tour would kick off the following day with an electric bike ride around the city.

The tour company we used- highly recommended!

Our lovely host Michele cruising on her electric bike

Electric bikes are so much fun!  The bikes have an electric motor that can be turned on to provide a boost up the hills.  The bike responds to the effort you make so the harder you pedal the more assistance it provides.  Brilliant!

We rode our bikes up to the Grove Park Inn, a grand and historic hotel perched in the mountains above Asheville.  We couldn’t afford to eat there or stay there, but we could afford to drink a beer there.

The Grove Park Inn, Asheville, North Carolina

Later in the afternoon we stopped by a fun bar called The Bywater.  From the outside it looks like a little shack, but in the yard behind the bar are chairs and picnic tables propped on the sandy banks of the French Broad River.  We drank some local Asheville microbrews and watched the tubers float by in the river.

A fun place to have a beer in Asheville

The Bywater doesn’t look like much from the outside

Having a drink at the Bywater on the banks of the French Broad River

The next morning we hiked Looking Glass Rock in the Pisgah National Forest.  The trail ends at a rock bald overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The view above Looking Glass Rock

A group shot at Looking Glass Rock, Asheville

We topped off the day at another local brewery, Wedge Brewing Company, a place which I am certain would become my preferred watering hole if I lived in Asheville myself.  It’s a tiny little bar with an abundance of outdoor seating, long picnic tables linked together in rows.

The bar is surrounded by loading docks and train tracks, but the clientele look like they’ve all just wandered off of the Appalachian Trail, showered, and come to Wedge for a beer.  I loved it.

A great bar in Asheville, NC 

Celebrating another great day on the road at Wedge

Asheville, North Carolina is a city after my own heart.  It’s tucked in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s known for its good beer and funky residents intent on doing things their own way. The weather is good. The food is delicious. The roads are bikeable.

Life in Asheville, at least for the few days when my life was there, is really good.

 Beautiful Asheville, North Carolina

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Carmel June 26, 2012 at 8:50 am

I want to go to that record store featured in the second picture. :)

That actually looks quite nice. We have some friends from North Carolina, but I don’t think I’ve heard this many great things about it. Maybe that’s how most of us feel about the places we grew up.

Hope the car is surviving!

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Kim June 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Yeah, I don’t think Asheville is the “traditional” NC town. They have that whole “keep Asheville weird” motto. It felt to me like a mix of my college town Athens, OH and Austin, TX with a bit of Portland thrown in.

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Krystin June 26, 2012 at 9:39 am

Looks like a great adventure so far! Like reading your updates and following along behind the computer! PS- Love the hair starting to grow out! :)

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Kim June 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Thanks Krystin. I miss our runs! I’ve started clipping my bangs back but I dream of a haircut on a regular basis :)

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Pamela June 26, 2012 at 11:07 am

Hey, I loved this post. Don’t worry one single little bit about posting long versions of your notes. The photos are a HUGE asset and very welcome…at least by me. Enjoy the ride! Thanks for letting all of us come along on your travels.

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Kim June 27, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Thank you Pamela- that makes me feel better! I’m glad you are enjoying the photos and I am VERY HAPPY and honored that you are coming along on our travels.

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Jan Ross June 26, 2012 at 6:26 pm

It’s always interesting to read a blog post about a place we just visited! We spent a couple days in Asheville and loved it. We actually stayed at the Grove Park Inn and it is a beautiful place. We visited the Biltmore Estate and had dinner at the Tupelo Honey Cafe. I recommend both!

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Kim June 27, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Ohhh, did you go to the spa? I will one day go back to the Grove Park Inn and go to the spa- it sounded amazing!

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Wendy June 27, 2012 at 7:58 am

You two look so happy and in love in that picture of both of you. Super jealous of your travels. Can’t wait till you make it back to p-town!

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Kim June 27, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Wendy! I MISS YOU!!! We are honestly having the time of our lives :) Can’t wait to get back to p-town and see you… XO

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Ayngelina June 27, 2012 at 10:33 am

I like the idea of these electric bikes as I always need a boost up hill!

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Kim June 27, 2012 at 8:32 pm

It REALLY helps up the hills. I am now in love with electric bikes. One day, when I own things, I will own one!

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Kate June 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Hi Kim, I am very much enjoying your posts. You are a great writer. I look forward to keeping up with you along the way. P.S. Summer is almost here!!!

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Kim July 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Thank you Kate! I’m so glad you’re following along :)

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Bethany ~ twoOregonians June 29, 2012 at 12:32 am

Yep, you’re making the wise choice :) Conversations with genuine friends beats out typing any day of the week. Enjoy the journey!

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Kim July 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I knew that you guys would approve. You guys seem to be sucking the marrow out of your travels, I love it.

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Ali June 29, 2012 at 6:34 am

It’s always hard to find the right balance between blogging about what you’re doing and actually doing those things. It sounds like you’re having a great time touring the US. I’ve never been to Asheville, but it looks gorgeous!

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Kim July 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm

It is beautiful, I bet you would love it!

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Terry Denton June 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I have never been to Asheville but this definitely makes me want to go there. The Grove Park Inn looks enticing.

I recently began blogging myself. If you have a moment, check out my admittedly quirky travel blog at http://www.travelbyterry.com.

It’s a fun read, or meant to be at least. ;0)

Travel safe!

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Kim July 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Terry, I will check it out and congrats on starting your blog.

Asheville is great, I recommend it!

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Holly June 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Glad you were able to find good beer! You will be missing the Organic Beer Festival this week-end. I’ll drink one for you and you have a nice malty one for me! Enjoying your Posts. Cheers!

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Kim July 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Holly, drink an extra beer for me at the Organic Beer Fest! I’m glad you’ve follow along. Tell the folks at the WB hi.

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Hannah July 1, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I love seeing your photos – it’s so great to see your happy, smiley faces. Even if you just posted a photo essay without words I would still love it, but your words are great as always :)

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Kim July 1, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Thanks Hannah :) I will definitely post a photo essay about Yellowstone- I don’t know what to say about it!

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Ania July 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Just to le you guys know, I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award – great blog!
http://sandstoneandamber.com/2012/07/07/award-time/

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Kim July 7, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Fantastic, thank you Ania!

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Erik July 7, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Asheville certainly gets it’s share of good publicity. I don’t think I’ve ever read about anyone who was disappointed with their visit. I need to add it to my next trip to the South.

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Kim July 7, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Erik, I really do think it is a great city. It reminded me slightly of my hometown of Portland but even more of Austin, TX. It’s a great place!

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Sam March 3, 2013 at 8:05 am

I love following the Blue Ridge down into SC and further – there is something about chasing the end of a mountain chain or tracing a river as far up as you can go. Trails of any sort captivate me. One of the things I want to check out the next time I am on one of the Myrtle Beach vacation packages is the East Coast Greenway. It’s done for about 40 miles around there, and a ride from Myrtle to Wilmington along that trail would be great for photos – it goes right past the Bird Island reserve on the state line, and past a lot of great country! The trail is going to go from Canada to Key West once its done, but the route if already laid out.

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