Thanksgiving spent with family is a truly wonderful thing….especially if much of your family lives in different states and can find time to come together. And if you can explore a new city on top of that, well that’s something to be thankful for!
Several months ago, Mike and I thought Asheville sounded like a perfect city to spend time in with family during Thanksgiving. With his sister, niece, brother-in law in South Carolina and his dad in north Carolina, it was the perfect meeting spot! WE flew into Charlotte a few days before the holiday to spend time with his dad and stepmom. That evening we headed to an eclectic, funky restaurant called Soul Gastrolounge. Sashimi tacos, a diverse cheese plate, spicy tuna roll….it was phenomenal! The vibe, the food, the music, the company really hit the spot, kicking off our holiday!
In the morning, we headed towards Asheville, stopping along the Blueridge Parkway to hike and stretch our legs. The thick forests were blanketed with leaves and we decided mountain biking would be a great idea in these conditions, although we had heard great things about the trails in the area. A reason to come back!
The 4 mile hike left us feeling refreshed (after a night of wine, the fresh air was needed!) so we headed into the heart of Asheville to Wicked Weed Brewing for some libation and nourishment. Boy did that spot hit it! A beautiful veggie spread, including a beer burger with pickled okra & pimento cheese, crispy brussel sprouts and a walnut, Gorgonzola & grape salad, all paired with beautiful brew. I had a Napoleon Complex and it definitely lived up to the hype. What a great intro to Asheville!
Next stop was our Airbnb, a beautiful 3 bedroom house outside of town that had a beautiful kitchen, plenty of space for our party of six (including our red-headed 2-year old niece, Nora!). Luckily, the place was also dog-friendly, so Mike’s sister brought their fur baby, Kali. The ultimate spot that included amenities. We unpacked, napped and awaited the arrival of the Charleston crew, who arrived around 7 with loads of groceries & baby supplies. While the gang settled, plant-based tacos were cooked and we all sat down to catch up. Baby Nora, all smiles and giggles, couldn’t have been more adorable. It was going to be a good week!
The next morning, we awoke early to head to The Biltmore. This was the only officially planned activity, and I was extremely excited! Built by the Vanderbilt’s, it remains the largest privately owned estate in North America. The home took several years to build and was an architectural marvel. Dripping with Christmas trees, lights and decorations the home sparkled. The self-guided tour took us up and down three floors, into the basement (which included an indoor swimming pool and bowling alley!), up into his and her master suites, a two story library and throughout the servants quarters.
Even little Nora loved it, walking up and down the stairs and hallways, pointing at all of the wonders. Spectacular! The grounds were also expansive and even though it was quite windy, we waltzed throughout, heading into the large arboretum, bursting with tropical plants. Mike loved this in particular. The hours spent wandering left us famished, so we headed to Cedric’s Tavern for some wonderful lunch (they even had veggie options!)
The estate had a winery on it’s property, so after lunch, Mike and I mozied over to the winery for a complimentary tasting….the wine was surprisingly delightful and the women who was pouring was extremely knowledgeable. What a wonderful first day!
Happy Thanksgiving! We woke Thursday knowing we would spend the day cooking and relaxing, so Mike and I started it with a 3 mile hike near the French Broad river. Kali (our furry niece) came with us and we all had a grand time before heading back to cook up a frenzy. The gang had brought a turkey, so threw that in, turned the football on and had some holiday beverages while making my fabulous plant-based feast. I made a veggie pot-pie for Mike and I with melting sweet potatoes.
That evening, we all went around to say what we were thankful for, digging in to the meal we had prepared with a grateful heart. A beautiful holiday, spent with family.
Friday came and we all went out to breakfast at The Moose Cafe for a hearty country breakfast. Grits and the best dang homemade biscuits you ever tasted, served with honey. Holy cannoli is was delicious! A breakfast that would propel Mike and I into the Pisgah National Forrest to hike to the John Rock hike.
The plan was to meet the gang after for lunch and a brewery tour, so we were going for the long route. The views from the John Rock were wonderful and the hike was just strenuous enough to work up our appetite. Next stop: Sierra Nevada
The tap room was packed, so we just grabbed a beer (they had so many to choose from!) played a game of corn hole and headed to the next stop: Blue Ghost Brewery. This local brewery was actually a recommendation from someone at breakfast and it did not disappoint. They had a mango IPA that was phenomenal!
They had a food truck as well, so we grabbed some flatbread and enjoyed. Green Man Brewery was the next stop – where Mike had a fabulous sour, I took a break and just had a sip. By this time, baby Nora, Sara & Lynn were ready to call it a night.
Allen, Mike and I thought one more stop was needed, so we headed to Burial Brewery for one more – I had a delightful sour to cap out the night.
Saturday morning we had a leisurely breakfast, then headed into the cute town of Asheville to do some shopping. Allen stayed home with baby Nora to watch the Ohio game and was going to meet us later. The town was bustling, so we visited the cute little galleries and shops. The shopping gave us quite the appetite, so we headed to Curate, a beautiful Spanish tapas restaurant. Wow, what a meal! The best tapas I have had in the states!
We headed back to the house to relax for a bit – then we headed to Sweeten Creek Brewery for a per-dinner drink. Another great brewery! Dinner was at the White Duck Taco shop where delicious tacos were ordered: Banh Mi tofu, Bangkok Shrimp and a Mushroom Potato. Delicious!!! It was the perfect last night all together!
In the morning, we packed up the house, with tearful goodbyes, and Mike and I headed for one last hike. This one was a short one, but was extremely steep with multiple areas that had ropes to help hoist us up.
The hike was a wonderful ending to our Asheville family vacation. Our last night was spent at his dad’s house, where we made homemade cannelloni. How grateful I am that we had this amazing time together in Asheville, North Carolina!