Eating through Asheville
One of our favorite things about living in Charlotte is the close proximity of both the beach and the mountains. With the mountains being a bit closer, we have made many day and weekend trips to Asheville and the surrounding area. Our trips usually involve taking in the beautiful scenery and enjoying some of the major delicious food and drink options that Asheville has to offer.
We took a 24-hour trip west this week to escape the heat. We started with a stop in Saluda, a small town about an hour and half from Charlotte. We found our way to a path along the road just outside of town with the goal of finding Bradley falls. After about 45 minutes of hiking we finally took in the view of the waterfall from the overlook. I was terrified the whole time that my husband and dog would fall over the edge of the cliff while we were trying to see the waterfall. This hike was lovely but the waterfall was harder to find than anticipated! On the way back we waded in the creek to cool off before heading out.
Now on to the food! We were hungry so we stopped for a snack downtown Saluda. Having our dog with us we couldn’t sit inside anywhere so I ran into the Wildflour bakery and grabbed some cheddar and sausage scones for us to munch on. They were fluffy and delicious, and the bakery smelled amazing! They have a weekly pizza night that sounded wonderful too.
Next, we headed north to Sierra Nevada. The brewery is massive and the attention to detail throughout the grounds is really impeccable. We sat on the patio and tried a couple of beers that were only available at the brewery, rather than something that could be purchased anywhere. We enjoyed some chilled pimento cheese with grilled bread from the patio menu. I was disappointed we couldn’t order food from inside since we had our dog with us. The pimento cheese was good but the bread was nothing special, we would have liked a better vehicle to get the cheese into our mouths! The patio at Sierra Nevada is great though, they have a lovely garden, view of a huge stage for live shows, corn hole, and a play area for kids. We had visited only once before when the brewery first opened and the outdoor space wasn’t finished yet so we enjoyed sitting outside and chatting with a couple visiting from Chicago.
Happy and full we headed just a bit further north to the campground at Lake Powhatan near the NC Arboretum. We checked in and headed to our tent site where it rained for much of the evening. We still had fun. Finding time between rain showers to grill hot dogs and corn, to go with our carrots and watermelon. We even ate s’mores quickly with a towel over our heads. We weren’t going to let a little rain ruin our s’mores!
The next morning my husband went fishing with the dog and I decided I needed some (good) coffee so I headed off into town. I ended up at Hole- Hot Doughnuts & Fresh Coffee in West Asheville. They had five different flavors of yeasted doughnuts that they make fresh after you order. I had the sesame almond which was a glazed donut topped with sesame seeds and ground almonds. It was really unique in texture and the flavor was complex. Though I’m more of a cake donut fan I enjoyed this donut a lot! I grabbed a bourbon glazed donut for my husband and took it back to the campground along with some coffee, that was indeed fresh and delicious.
We checked out of our campsite a bit before noon and headed to a dog park in West Asheville along the French Broad river. We enjoyed a walk along the river and then our dog got some energy out (and extremely dirty) playing with other dogs at the park. This place was definitely the best dog park I’ve been to. It was large and open with beautiful surroundings. All that playing, and sitting for us dog-parents, left us hungry again. So we headed to the main drag of West Asheville to have lunch at Asheville Sandwich Company per the recommendation of Chrissie from Off The Eaten Path. We ate huge sub-style sandwiches covered in shoe-string fries. I had the prime rib and dipped it in local Lusty Monk mustard- delicious! My husband had the spicy fried chicken and loved the different flavors and textures. This was definitely an indulgent meal but so worth it. We sat on the dog-friendly patio in the shade and enjoyed every bite of those sandwiches.
Finally, we couldn’t head home without some ice cream on that hot July day. We walked a few blocks to The Hop West, an ice-cream shop that had been on my must-try list for a while. They have tons of unique flavors such as thai iced tea and banana espresso, that rotate daily. They also had about 10 different vegan options, some of which were nut-free, so they really had something for everyone! Dogs are allowed inside on the shop so everyone was happy and I enjoyed a cone of lemon blueberry, my husband had the salted caramel, and our dog went crazy with her cup of “Happy Tails doggie ice cream.” Sadly, it was time to head home after another delicious trip to Asheville and western North Carolina.
Other Asheville favorites
- Tupelo Honey Cafe: anywhere that serves biscuits first must be good
- French Broad Chocolate Lounge: Even with a new, larger location there is almost always a line out the door. It’s worth the wait for their hot chocolate, pastries, and amazing chocolate ice cream.
- Chai Pani : creative Indian street food, get the sliders
- Wicked Weed: one of our favorite spots in town to grab a beer, the food is amazing too
- Biscuit head: huge, crave-able biscuit sandwiches plus a butter and condiment bar
- Sunny Point Cafe: crazy good breakfast, get there early to get a table
- All Souls Pizza: great picnic table seating and polenta (crust) pizza
- Vortex donuts: local-centric donuts with daily vegan options
We also love visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway, The Arboretum, The Grove Park Inn- especially at Christmas time, and of course we’ve enjoyed a few visits to the Biltmore. We look forward to exploring more of Asheville and other western North Carolina towns, and hope you do too!