9.15.2018

Instagrammable Itineraries: A Weekend in Asheville Part II

Sorry it took me so long! I'm finally getting around to Part II of my Asheville Weekend, which is the most exciting part. Featuring the Biltmore estate (a modern-day castle), some amazing food & coffee, and even nature as well.





Day II: Non-Stop Food, Basically


VORTEX DOUGHNUTS




What better way to start the day than by getting your sweet tooth attended to? Stopped by this location just as it was opening, so maybe not all the flavors were available yet. Loved the clean, spacious decor and enjoyed the yeast versus cake doughnut options. Opted for the yeast, of course, and definitely dug into and devoured my Blueberry Chocolate doughnut within two minutes. Immediately regretted not getting another one.

TRADE & LORE

Almost immediately after I scarfed down my doughnut, I ravenously searched for my next target: coffee. Had to take advantage of my early start and visit as many possible coffee shops and breakfast options as possible, so I headed onto a coffee shop I had heard good things about. Trade & Lore has beautiful decor with moody lighting and an open, spacious, exposed brick interior. It's that perfect classic "coffee house vibe" and I could totally imagine an indie musician quietly strumming their guitar and playing "chill tunes" to a packed house. The patio outside is next to a set of stairs and that also makes for a great photo spot. I had the cold brew latte, which came pre-chilled, so no wasted space with pretentious ice cubes. It was really smooth.



BILTMORE ESTATE

I'm not going to lie, I went through a lot of feelings when I was driving into the Biltmore Estate. Alternating between "It's beautiful" and "How is this so freaking big?! How is this OK?" almost every second, feeling kind of flabbergasted that any family could ever need or have this much space. But it's truly hard to deny that this place was impressive. The gardens were also featuring Dale Chihuly's glassworks at the time, which accentuated the pre-existing beauty.

The tour through the house is basically entirely directed and you're led via a set of velvet ropes and strategically placed signs through the foyers, the bedrooms, billiard rooms, servant's quarters, massive kitchens, laundry rooms, and pantries, and then some. Everything in the house is pretty cool, but the real high point is definitely the expansive gardens! I found myself comparing my own room size to the servant's room. It was about the same, except I think my room may be a little smaller.







A freaking indoor pool










DOUBLE D's COFFEE AND DOUGHNUTS

After wandering through the gardens during midday, I was certainly ready for some form of refreshment. I had been anticipating visiting this coffee shop operating from a double decker bus, and this was the perfect opportunity. Loved the patio, the drink selection, and the spacious seating available upstairs. You even get a great view of all the tourists milling about downtown. Only issue is cash only, which I unfortunately forgot about before I got there. The good news is there's an ATM right next door. The bad news is... fees. Lame.




Amazing Double Decker Bus filled with pastries, coffee, and other incredible beverages
From there on out, the eating did not stop.

CAPELA ON 9

Next I killed a few hours at this beautiful, relatively new rooftop bar in the AC Hotel. The decor was incredible, and I was actually able to finish a cocktail for like the first time in a year. I celebrated internally.




CURATE TAPAS BAR

Had one of the best meals of my life at Curate Tapas Bar, which I know is super popular in Asheville. I saw it mentioned on every blog I perused and every restaurant list, so naturally I had to try it. I'm pretty sure I absolutely enjoyed every plate I tried.




Day III: Chasing Waterfalls

I just like don't get how TLC expects me to not chase waterfalls because they are literally one of the coolest natural phenomena. I'm not going to stop. Sorry not sorry.

Catawba falls was one of the most beautiful waterfalls I've seen in the United States! Although to be fair I have not explored the Pacific North West yet, but I digress. The hike is an estimated 3.1 round trip but it felt much shorter than that. Based on my subjective experience purely, because I am too lazy to actually look up the trails at this point, there was not much elevation change. This was perfect in the early morning, as there were not too many people and I was able to spend a significant amount of time photographing the falls without anybody in my shot. As I was leaving close to 10 AM, the trailhead parking lot was beginning to fill up with people, so I do recommend getting here early.


Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Falls were a part of Gorges State Park, which is about 30 minutes south of Asheville. It was along my path on the way to Atlanta with an easy to moderate 3.5 mile round trip hike to see multiple beautiful waterfalls, so naturally I hit it up. I found this hike to be much more challenging than the Catawba falls, despite the similar mileage. The elevation changes are steeper, but the views are worth it.

There is a section where you can descend down to the waterfall's edge, but this is strictly at your own risk and not recommended. This waterfall is in a clearing which makes long-exposure shots very difficult unless you have impressive neutral-density equipment.

Loved watching the little kids literally use this waterfall as a slide. However, this waterfall is directly upstream of the huge Rainbow Falls, and apparently 2 people had been swept up in the current and DIED since July 2018, so in the past month. Risky.
All in all, I feel like I really took advantage of my 2 and a half days in Asheville and got a taste of all it has to offer. There's plenty more beautiful waterfalls surrounding the area that I would love to explore, and more nooks and crannies of the city (including multiple murals) that offer artistry and wonder. Asheville is also famous for glass-blowing, which is an art form that I did not even begin to scratch the surface of, and offers plenty of classes and workshops for beginners which is something I would love to explore in the future. Hopefully my weekend offers some insights in what Asheville has to offer and sparks some travel ideas for your own visit. Let me know if there's anything glaring that I missed in the comments!

Thanks for reading.

Love,
Jenn

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