I visited Asheville for the first time last weekend, and fell in love with the heart of this charming little city. Had I known that it was surrounded by mountains, lush greenery and a multitude of waterfalls, I certainly would have headed that way a bit sooner. The moment I got there, it struck me that this was an artists' city: plenty of murals, graffiti, and interesting little buildings all with their own unique shapes and colors. Better yet, everything was super close together and the traffic was never bad even on the weekends. Coming from Atlanta, that was a breath of fresh air!
Day 1: Haywood Drive, River Arts District
I had just gotten off a night shift prior to my trip, so I did not get to the city until 4 in the afternoon on Saturday. My first stop was an outdoorsy mural with geometric lines, which stood out to me (from The Local Adventurer) while researching Asheville.
JILL WEBB MOUNTAIN VALLEY WATER MURAL
299 Haywood Rd
The area is peaceful with plenty of space for shooting when I was there. Be warned, however, they are definitely working on the space in front of the mural. I saw port-a-potties, cranes, and about 5-6 feet out the grass has been cleared and they are digging out the ground, although I'm not sure for what. In a few weeks or months this area may become unsuitable for extensive photography. There may even be a structure immediately opposite the mural!
IAN WILKINSON GOOD VIBES SILO
This area is great for photos with plenty of parking and shooting space. Even on a Saturday afternoon, when I would expect lots of people to be crowding such an iconic landmark in the city, there were only one or two couples at any given time taking pictures.
GAN SHAN WEST
After a long road trip and a few hours (yes, hours) of being super basic in front of murals, I was definitely working up an appetite. I decided to grab dinner close by, and luckily stumbled across this super instagrammable Asian Fusion restaurant practically on top of the Mountain Valley River mural from before. Both exteriors and interiors were on point for a photo op.
|Bright red painted brick made for a perfect color block shot|
|Teal textured ceilings, bring yellow wall, green leaf print? This place was practically begging to be photographed.|
|The food was looking pretty colorful and fun to boot.|
THE OMNI GROVE PARK INN
Last stop of the day was to the famous Omni Grove Park Inn, which used to be designated as a secret Cold War Hideout for the Supreme Court just in case the world went to hell in a handbasket. It was later purchased by Omni hotels and now serves as a swankalicious inn and resort with a spa with man-made hot springs. I went later in the evening just to check out the building and the view. Guests and visitors were out in droves on the patio, drinking and dining in their finest clothing. It felt like I was visiting a playground for the rich.
Just like that, my first "half" day in Asheville was through. All the spots I visited were beautiful and inspiring, and served as a great start to my weekend in Asheville. Check back soon for Part II of my Asheville itinerary, featuring the Biltmore, more places to eat and drink, and some gorgeous waterfall hikes.