Travel - Asheville, NC

This Thanksgiving we traveled to Asheville where I am from to visit my family. Since moving to Charlotte in 2010, Asheville has really grown and there are so many places we have wanted to experience. Some brand new, and some that have always been there but we never got a chance to visit while living there. Here's a look at what we did during this trip!

We booked a room at the new AC downtown and spent the Wednesday before Thanksgiving walking around to the different shops and eateries as long as we could last with the chill outside. We really enjoyed the European inspired design of this Marriot hotel, from the lobby to the rooftop bar. It was conveniently located because we were able to walk everywhere we visited.

Our room was clean and comfortable. I loved the walk-in shower and studio feel to the room with a sofa and coffee table next to the bed. The view was perfect and I was pleasantly surprised to see that we were able to log in to our Netflix account on the room television!

Our first stop Wednesday morning was coffee and breakfast at the Green Sage Cafe. Besides this downtown location, there are 2 others in Asheville, which I did not know until now! Their menu consists of local, organic, all-natural non-GMO and humanely-raised ingredients. During the time I was living in Asheville, I wasn't as conscious about what I was putting into my body, so this eatery never really stood out to me. Now that I've developed more interest in a healthy lifestyle and live with more recently found food allergies, I was very excited to try this cafe. I ordered the Everything Avocado toast that comes with sliced avocado on Simple Kneads gluten-free bread, olive oil and sprinkled with sesame, chia, caraway, chili, dulse, onion flakes, and Celtic sea salt. I added an organic egg to mine and it was delicious! I also ordered a side of gluten-free tempeh soysage and a latte. Megan ordered the Breakfast burrito and still talks about it! Hers came with scrambled organic eggs, organic black beans, organic spinach, root hash, avocado salsa. It comes with cheese but she is dairy-free as well so omitted that and added pork sausage. She absolutely loved it! 

The minute we stepped into this store I knew it would be hard for me to leave without wanting to roll all the racks and displays out with me. After talking with the staff of Old North while trying on sunglasses, we learned they opened in 2012, just two years after we left Asheville. It started as a carefully curated selection of men's clothing and gear, but now offers women's apparel and other lifestyle and apothecary items as well. Too bad they don't sell sleeping bags because I would have rolled one out and started paying rent as long as this could be my closet.

Before heading into another store, we caught a whiff of roasting coffee and couldn't resist grabbing another cup. Izzy's is another place that's been in Asheville for a long time, yet we had never experienced it. They actually have two locations and this was our first time at either! Megan ordered a mimosa and I ordered a Lavender Mocha latte which was awesome. It was a cozy art-filled setting that was overflowing with Asheville vibes. 

We walked around a bit more and through vintage clothing and unique gift shops and then took a break from exploring to go visit with the family at the house for a few hours. After thinking about what we wanted for dinner, we eventually decided on trying yet another new spot to us.   

This restaurant serves up Asian food with a twist using locally sourced ingredients and is located in a building that was formerly a gas station. I love these types of concepts! They also offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, and can alter some dishes upon request. For you gluten lovers out there, the dumplings (wrappers & fillings) are made in-house! The cocktail menu was filled with great options and we very much enjoyed the ones we ordered. Megan had the Gan Shan Gimlet (lemongrass gin, campari, lime, and Szechuan peppercorn) and I had the Gold Lion (cucumber tequila, mezcal, yuzu, and ginger). If I see a drink that has mezcal in it, it's pretty much a guarantee that's what I will be ordering. Megan had the house-made dumplings and I had a marinated beet salad with pears, apple, and a pumpkin seed dressing. The flavors were so good and I would definitely order that again! We also shared the cucumbers which were addicting and finished with the most delicious mango sorbet! I highly recommend this spot and would love to go back on a Tuesday for "Build Your Own Ramen" night! 

The last stop we were able to do on this trip was a last minute decision and one that we are so happy we ended up making. The Times is a new craft cocktail bar located in a part of the historic S & W building downtown. The ambiance and space are gorgeous with a 1920's vibe. You can't help but feel relaxed in this setting with the dim lighting, velvet couch seating, mid-century decor and a great glass of whatever you're having in front of you. We had already eaten dinner, but the tapas menu looked so enticing we had to order the bowl of house marinated warm olives. They offer classic cocktails, specialty (and creatively named) cocktails or honestly whatever you're in the mood for. Just tell them! I had and loved There's Pumpkin About Mary, a seasonal take on a bloody mary with a house-made celery foam and peppered rim. Megan had a Sazerac and an Orange is the New Black, an orange bitters based drink topped with fresh pomegrante seeds. It was like Fall in a glass! This spot is most definitely a must visit for pre-dinner drinks or a nightcap! 

That wraps up this visit, but I will be sure to share our future ones as well! There's still so much to discover. What is your favorite spot in Asheville? 
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