Asheville is a beautiful city in the mountains of western North Carolina. It is a town full of art, eclectic shops, and breweries. There are also numerous wineries within 30 minutes of the city center. We were visiting family here in March 2020, when COVID-19 shut down the world. Therefore, we had to quickly get a long term Airbnb and hunker down, while doing some East Coast job-searching. We ended up remaining in the area for several months, unable to return to California. Although many places were not open, we were able to explore some delicious eateries (via take-out) and venture on a few gorgeous mountain hikes. We definitely miss our freedom to travel but are making the most out of this time to explore places close to “home” and spend time with one another.
Where to stay:
- The Omni Grove Park Inn – A beautiful resort near downtown. It is also a great place to visit for lunch or dinner.
- Airbnb – Our first stay was at a cozy cottage within walking distance of downtown and a few nice parks. When walking was all we could do outside of the home, it was wonderful to have so many trails nearby. After a couple months, we stayed in a beautiful mountain home in West Asheville followed by a scenic, more secluded house in Candler.
Where to eat:
We did a lot of in-home cooking during this time, but these are places that we came to enjoy as our treat-night meals.
- Pomodoro’s – A fantastic Italian place where we often ordered take-out from during shelter-in-place.
- Cúrate – This is a great spot for Spanish tapas. They have a nice variety of options on their menu to satisfy your international cravings. We love the tomato bread and manchego!
- Nine Mile – A unique, yet tasty take on Caribbean food. We waited a while for them to reopen, and it was well worth it. This is not a typical Caribbean menu, but the food is awesome. They have many dietary alternative options as well.
- Vinnie’s – Another great Italian restaurant to visit with some excellent pasta dishes.
- All Day Darling – This cafe serves yummy breakfast items throughout the day as well as hearty sandwiches and bowls.
What to do:
- Tour the Biltmore – There are so many options to choose from on Biltmore Estate.
- Explore the scenic outdoor gardens.
- Go Shopping!
- Check out the featured Exhibition during the time of your stay.
- Taste some of the Estate wines in their tasting room.
- Visit the North Carolina Arboretum – Here you can enjoy strolling through the gardens, taking a leisurely (or more advanced) hike through their extensive grounds, biking the trails, or enjoying a meal at the Bent Creek Bistro. If time and energy allow, we recommend hiking to the picturesque Lake Powhatan nearby and back (about 4.5 miles overall).
- Hike Mount Pisgah Trail – This is a 2.6 mile hike to the Mount Pisgah summit where you can get some gorgeous views.
- Hike Moore Cove Falls Trails – A grand waterfall awaits at the midpoint of this 1.2 mile round-trip hike. You can even walk behind it!
- Go tubing down the French Broad River – This is a relaxing 2-3 hour river ride that can get busy, so make reservations in advance. Zen Tubing runs shuttles throughout the day. They even offer a cooler carrier tube for your group!
- Hike Catawba Falls – This 3 mile round trip hike is great for all, including families and dogs. The river flows nearby the trail throughout, and at the top you get a great view of this multilayered falls. For the more advanced hiker, you can travel the extra feet up the rocks to get an even better view (this part is steep and can be slippery).
- Visit the Looking Glass Falls