Aside from capturing my own heart, the city of Asheville has also been recognized nationally for its splendor. PETA named Asheville the most vegetarian-friendly small city in America, its been named one of the Top 10 Most Beautiful Places in America, it has previously been nationally ranked as one of the Most Alive Places To Be (hear, hear), the Happiest City for Women, one of the Best Places to Reinvent Your Life, and one of the Top Seven Places to Live in the U.S., as well as MANY other titles. As you can see, this city is a boss in every way possible. Hence, why I live for trips to Asheville. I was successful in coaxing my mother into heading down there today and here are some photos of the highlights.
You can't go to Asheville without hitting up a farmer's market!!! Really, you can't. The Ashevillians are ALL about some locally grown food and it would be wise to adopt the "When in Rome" adage otherwise you're missing half the experience.
We found this really cool wall that someone painted complete with a fire breathing dragon, which unfortunately didn't make it into the picture. Also now would be a great time to call your attention to my marvelous red fanny pack..I will revisit this subject at the end.
We stopped at this lovely French restaurant for lunch, called Bouchon, "French Comfort Food." Didn't realize the classiness of it until we stepped out back and I literally thought I was in France.
Can we say café life??
Hi, this is me.
I ordered the French Picnic which consisted of pâté, cheese, a small salad, and chutney. I wasn't crazy about the texture of pâté (which is simply the nature of the beast, literally) but the cheese was delicious. I really appreciate some good cheese.
Buy local! Here is one of the countless stands where you can buy locally grown fruits and vegetables, locally made dairy products, and locally raised meats. You can also find hearty breads, cookies, herbs, cupcakes, cheesecakes, and anything else you can possibly imagine. Super fresh too!
THIS was perhaps the best part of the trip. My boss at work told me about this book store where you could take your dog that she discovered and my mom and I happened upon it ourselves while we were there! If I had to compose a list of the coolest places in Asheville itself, this place would definitely be on it. I'm not exactly sure what the "book exchange" thing is about but if I had to guess I would say that you can trade them books if you have anything worthy enough. The store is filled with bookshelves that line every wall and even serve as their own walls that divide walkways and seating areas. All around the store you can find groups of comfy couches and chairs where you can gather with friends and most importantly, with your favorite fuzzy friend. They have rules for dogs however. Your dog must be sociable (i.e. not barking or growling), well-behaved, and your dog may not sit directly on any furniture, however he or she may sit on your lap if you have that type of relationship. Another cool feature is that the book store also has a champagne bar so you can enjoy books, friends, and your dog with the added bonus of sipping on some classy champagne. I also spotted some cake domes with delicious looking cakes inside on the bar so I'd consider that an extra bonus as well.
Here's one of the many seating areas where you can enjoy the company of friends or dogs. Apparently you can also make reservations there and show up whenever you scheduled and have a seating area reserved just for you. They think of everything.
This would be me again, relaxing on a nice couch. Aside from the calming atmosphere itself, one might also feel energized by the fact that they are practically living the life of a true downtown Ashevillian by merely being in the bookstore and that alone could definitely heighten the experience. It did for me anyway.
We ran into this charming ecclectic band on our way out. This was one of the few organized groups, but most are just a man and a guitar or an accordian.
Here is one of the many café destinations that contribute to the European vibe.
Alas, the moment we've all been waiting for. The revisiting of the fanny pack. I got this fanny pack from Madewell but its actually a product of the Herschel Supply Co. The red is bold, I know, and its especially noticeable because the vast majority of the population doesn't actually realize or appreciate the fact that fanny packs are making a comeback....but they are. Also, I would just like to comment on the incredible functionality of the packs; it was so convenient having everything I needed right there in front and fastened around me so I didn't have to try the two-handed hold-giant-bag-while-awkwardly-fishing-around-inside-for-random-items maneuver. I see why they were popular once, they MAKE SENSE. I'm considering bringing it with me to Mexico when I study there in the fall but that might make me look super touristy and I'm not trying to make that impression. My height will make me noticeable enough.
Here's three places you MUST see if you choose to visit Asheville. I mention these places because they are one-of-a-kind, however, the various shops downtown are something you don't want to miss either.
1. The Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar at 1 Page Ave (828) 252-0020.
2. The Tupelo Honey Cafe at either 12 College Street (828) 255-4863 (downtown location) or 1829 Hendersonville Rd (828) 505-7676 (southside location).
3. The Grove Park Inn at 290 Macon Ave (828) 252-2711.