Catawba Falls

The Mountains Are Calling

In Do, November 2019by Lauren KruchtenLeave a Comment

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Is there anywhere more beautiful than the North Carolina mountains in fall? This month, head to Asheville where cool days are best spent hiking the Blue Ridge trails, dining at nationally acclaimed restaurants and imbibing at some of the best craft breweries in the state. Each of Asheville’s eight districts are home to a distinctly different atmosphere, complete with their own unique eateries and watering holes. Downtown is always brimming with activity; from a host of music venues to South Slope’s brewery hub, there’s plenty to see and do (and drink). West Asheville offers quirky dive bars and hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and in the River Arts District, culture abounds in galleries, studios and locally-owned shops. Venture out to the mountain trails for outdoorsy adventures; day hikes offer stunning views of the surrounding peaks, as well as of waterfalls, wildflowers, curious wild animals and, of course, golden-hued leaves. Hundreds of miles of trails meander through the mountains, ranging from easy to strenuous, but always well worth the effort. And, if for some reason you run out of things to do, there’s always the Biltmore Estate to go tour. Asheville’s easygoing vibe welcomes all.

EAT

Gan Shan Station 

Located in an abandoned gas station, Gan Shan Station delivers some of the best East Asian cuisine in the area. The menus change often, incorporating ingredients sourced from local farmers and seafood markets. Weekly lunch and dinner specials incorporate fresh ideas with seasonal flavors. Popular dishes include fried imperial rolls, drunken noodles and pork ramen. ganshangroup.getbento.com/location/gan-shan-station

Gan Shan Station
Gan Shan Station

12 Bones Smokehouse

Get your North Carolina BBQ fix at 12 Bones Smokehouse, beloved for its scratch-made barbecue and sides comprised of family recipes and new favorites. Stop in the dine-in restaurant for a lunch of pulled pork sandwiches, barbecue plates and home-cooked sides, or grab a beer at 12 Bones Brewing, accompanied with a food truck style menu that rotates with daily specials including a house-brined fried buttermilk chicken sandwich, tender ribs and freshly made desserts. 12bones.com

Benne on Eagle

Benne on Eagle is located on a historically African American block that—once thriving—fell into disrepair in the late 1980s. Chef Ashleigh Shanti and James Beard-nominated Chef John Fleer are revitalizing the area with distinctive breakfast, brunch and dinner menus of Appalachian and West African-inspired flavors. Dishes include ogbono pork ribs with pepper-vinegar barbecue sauce, buttermilk britches and cracked corn spoonbread, onion-braised rabbit and fried catfish and waffles. benneoneagle.com

DRINK

Odds Cafe

If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, Odds Cafe is the place to go. The cozy shop in West Asheville is loved by locals and travelers for its freshly roasted coffee drinks (using beans from NC-based Summit Coffee Co.) and locally baked goods, which are oftentimes accompanied by live music from local bands. The shop’s roll-up doors open on nice days, letting in Asheville’s fresh mountain air. oddscafe.com

Odds Cafe
Odds Cafe

Antidote

A sophisticated, Prohibition era-inspired cocktail lounge in South Slope, Antidote is one of the coolest spots in the city to get a drink. The three-story building offers plenty of seating options for tucking in with a craft cocktail, accompanied by rooftop and front-facing patios. Antidote’s bar offers a variety of gins, whiskeys, rums, amaris and even a special beer brandy made in collaboration with Burial Beer Co. antidote.bar

New Belgium Brewing

Breweries abound in Asheville, but New Belgium is definitely one you need to have on your list. The “liquid center” features kid-friendly tours daily, where you’ll hear the brewery’s story and get a sample of its award-winning brews. A spacious taproom features an outdoor deck overlooking the French Broad River. A range of New Belgium beers are available on tap, from the ever-popular Fat Tire Belgian-style amber ale to the Passionfruit Foeder Saison. newbelgium.com

DO

Catawba Falls

Just 30 minutes outside of downtown Asheville is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in Pisgah National Forest. A mild 1.5-mile hike along the Catawba River brings you to the lower falls, with the sounds of rushing water guiding you along the way. Pause for views of stone fountains, dams, rock gardens and woodlands. A tougher hike takes you to the upper falls—trek at your own risk. romanticasheville.com/catawba_falls.htm

Catawba Falls
Catawba Falls, Sam Dean / visitnc.com

Rooftop Bar Tour

Combine two of Asheville’s most alluring amenities—great bars and stellar views—with a bird’s-eye-view tour of the city’s hottest rooftop bars. You’ll visit three or four award-winning bars, including The Montford, Pillar, Capella on 9 and SkyBAR. Many offer food discounts too so you can enjoy tasty local bites once you’ve sipped your way along Asheville’s skyline. ashevillerooftopbartours.com

Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours
Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours

Asheville Pinball Museum

For a unique experience, duck into the Asheville Pinball Museum where admission gets you unlimited play on more than 80 pinball machines and classic video games. The vintage machines date back to the 1950s, with varieties you’ve likely never seen before. ashevillepinball.com

STAY

Foundry Hotel

The Foundry brings an Old World class to downtown Asheville, with a brick exterior that’s mirrored in each of the modern rooms. The rustic hotel has its own history, too; it was once Asheville’s original steel factory and guests can find artifacts from the factory throughout. Accommodations include a regionally inspired restaurant, workshop lounge, bocce lawn and fire pits with rocking chairs, perfect for enjoying cool fall nights. foundryasheville.com

Omni Grove Park Inn 

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the inn is surrounded by trails. For the outdoors enthusiasts, Omni Grove boasts an 18-hole mountain golf course, three indoor and outdoor tennis courts and a huge sports complex. For those who just want to relax and unwind, a 43,000-square-foot subterranean spa has it all. omnihotels.com/hotels/asheville-grove-park

Princess Anne Hotel

This gem of a B&B located just outside of downtown Asheville delivers Southern hospitality and cozy sleeping quarters, complete with a complimentary, made-to-order breakfast each morning and a wine and hors d’oeuvres hour in the afternoon. The Princess Anne Hotel has been charming Asheville guests since 1924. princessannehotel.com

Princess Anne Hotel
Princess Anne Hotel

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