Wednesday, November 20, 2013


For my 29th Birthday Weekend, Jake and I had planned a weekend getaway to Asheville, NC {a short 2-hour drive from Charlotte}.  We had heard a lot about Asheville from Charlotte locals and even friends back in Seattle that said surprisingly that Asheville is a little like the Northwest. Really? All accounts sounded the same - hippies? check. foodies? check. amazing restaurants? check. a little rain? check {it is in the mountains after all}. The list goes on and on. We were a little skeptical but thought that we would see for ourselves and guess what folks?!?!? As usual - they. were. spot. on.  It is the craziest thing ever.

Back and Side of Biltmore
{1} There was a kind of major rain storm {not that bad} as we made the trek over and it hardly rains in Charlotte so that was the first odd thing that reminded us of Seattle. {2} We drove through the little downtown and saw a ton of restaurants, shops, etc and that reminded us a little of Portland - a little smaller city but a super cool vibe. {3} Fast forward to Sunday - several people singing in the streets with makeshift instruments. Where the eff????? OK, I'm getting ahead of myself like I usually do. Let's start where all good stories start.... from the beginning.

We arrived on FRIDAY evening, hungry hangry and tired. I was proud of myself because we made it the whole way without having to stop for a bathroom break or for dinner. We didn't have any plans or reservations for dinner because we thought we would grab something on the way but it turns out that I held out and we were able to have our first meal of the trip actually in Asheville! Since we were starving, we didn't have much time to figure out a place and I decided that we would go to the hotel restaurant. Which, let's face it - is usually a snooze. But, this one was amazing. That's when we knew that we were onto something. We stayed at the Aloft Asheville which is barely 2 years old and ultra modern... are you surprised? We decided that as much as possible we are only going to stay at nicer {read: modern/minimalistic} hotels from now on. It was amazing and totally our style! 

Dinner was around 8:30 pm at Blackbird. We tried the meat and cheese board. Amazing. So fresh. Then we both got the Surf and Turf burger with fries. And we had to try some wine! Overall, a fab meal - quick, easy and delicious! After dinner, we headed back to the hotel cause we were exhausted and we're old like that.       

SATURDAY was the main event - The Biltmore! Do you know about this place? I was reading a book probably a year or so ago and that is where I first read about it. The book is called "At Home" and it is a very fascinating read. I highly recommend it! Anyway, The Biltmore was built in the late 1800's by George Vanderbilt II {he was 32 at the time and had $100 million dollars which was approximately 1/87th of US GDP}. The home remains to this day the largest privately owned home in America. It has 250 rooms and is over 175,000 square feet. When I found out that this was in North Carolina, I got super excited! Since we've been living in Charlotte, we've seen tons of Biltmore commercials on TV. Here is one of the commercials in case you want to bask in the gloriousness for 32 seconds.

View from the Porch
Side View
Can you tell I took this? #selfie
Amazing Architecture
A few Fall Colors 
My Fall Uniform. Chambray, Statement Necklace, f21 Coat… 
One of my favorite shots!
Gardens and Pools
Jake's version of the #selfie
When we arrived it was so foggy… but it did lift!
Anyway, we had to reserve a time since it's really busy on weekends and it's already decorated for Christmas so literally hundreds of people show up and it's just plain craziness. We arrived at our scheduled time {definitely pay the extra $10 for the audioguides} and spent 2.5 hours exploring the house. We didn't get to check out all 250 rooms, but we did get to see about 50 or so.  The bad news is that there are no photos allowed inside so you'll have to google it or go to their website for more real photos. As expected, the house was top notch. They seriously thought of everything. It was just an incredible spectacle and I couldn't even begin to describe it. You must go see it! It's pricey, but totally worth it!

After the tour, we checked out Cedric's Tavern {located on the Biltmore property} which is named after the beloved family Saint Bernard. Isn't that just the coolest thing ever? They had his actual collar on display in the restaurant and it looked ginormous! Even the lunch we had at this random (OK, well Biltmore) tavern was delicious! After lunch, we got ready for dinner and headed out to Curate {spanish tapas restaurant that was recommended to me} and it was the food highlight of our trip. We tried six different dishes from fried eggplant with honey and rosemary to sherry mushrooms and we loved every single one! We had such a good time. And this was "officially" my birthday dinner so it was a huge success! Yay! Sorry, no food photos - I actually stopped taking photos of my food after I read an article titled something like "Why I stopped Instagramming photos of food" and it was actually very poignant. So I will try not to post/write about/blog photos of food unless it's an emergency {say, I'm at Inn-N-Out or something of that nature}.  After dinner, we lounged again. I kind of like this new, I'm-29-thing-and-I-don't-have-to-go-out-clubbing-anymore. Well, technically I didn't actually turn 29 until Sunday…

SUNDAY was my actual birthday and the last day of our trip. We grabbed brunch at Chestnut - I had the special which involved stuffed french toast with cream and topped with apple compote. Trust me - anytime anything comes with a compote, it's good. After brunch, we walked around the town and actually wandered into an old church {Basilica of Saint Lawrence} which was really beautiful. We heard a couple people playing guitars on street corners but the weirdest thing we saw was a makeshift band on a street corner. Like they had homemade instruments. Kind of random and actually super cool. I made my way into Boutique Lp and picked up a lovely bracelet {actually Jake picked it up for me} … gotta love birthday presents! I found out it was handmade by an artist in Asheville which is pretty cool. I'm sure I will instagram a photo of it soon.  On our way out of town, we drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway for about 5 miles because I wanted to see it. The Fall colors were past their peak this year but we will be sure to catch them next year.  I  really loved Asheville so much and hope we go back again soon!


1 comment:

  1. So fun! Looks like an amazing place! So glad you are getting to see so much in NC (although I selfishly miss you too much). :)