travel:: Asheville, NC

Asheville, NC has been on our travel bucket list for years now. We finally had the excuse to visit last weekend for my college friend’s wedding, and we had a great time! It’s only a 3.5 hour drive from Atlanta, so it makes for an easy weekend getaway. Here were some of our favorite spots around town!

Tupelo Honey Cafe:: This was my favorite meal during our trip. Because we were invited to wedding festivities both nights, we didn’t have the opportunity to eat dinner in Asheville, but we thoroughly enjoyed our other meals. We had a brief wait for lunch at Tupelo on Friday, and we had a celebrity sighting within 5 minutes of being there. Jennifer Carpenter (Deb) from the TV show Dexter was also waiting for a table with a couple ladies – and she had the cutest baby belly!

Anyway, the food was worth a wait. We sat the bar and had great service, even though they were busy. I tried their homemade rosemary peach lemonade, and we started with the Pecan-Crusted Goat Cheese appetizer. Also – they brought out hot biscuits with blueberry jam, and I was sort of wishing I could just have a plate of those as my meal. But I’m glad I didn’t, because I would have missed out on this (below) – the Southern Fried Chicken BLT. So big, so crispy, and so delicious. And that mac n cheese… I’d like some right now. Craig also couldn’t get enough of their fried okra — he said it was some of the best he’s ever had.
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Downtown Asheville::
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Biscuit Head:: One of the best breakfasts we’ve had! The biscuits are literally almost the size of your head, and they don’t mess around with the number and variety of toppings for said biscuits. I ordered the Gravy Flight and got to choose 3 — I picked the Sausage, Fried Chicken, and Chicken Cheddar Chili gravies. We also hit up what I’d call the “jam bar” for honey, jams, spreads, and more. Craig got the Pulled Pork Biscuit Sandwich, and he ate every single bite. I’m not sure how he walked out of there. We’d both highly recommend visiting if you’re in the area — but be warned that the line gets long as the morning goes on. 🙂
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French Broad Chocolate Lounge:: I had my eye on this place for an afternoon chocolate fix since I couldn’t partake in any of the beer tastings around town. We waited in a short line and ordered hot sipping chocolate and a milkshake made with Costa Rican chocolate and coconut milk to take with us as we walked through downtown. We also picked up a few treats to take home to Atlanta — a couple of ooey, gooey, dense chocolate and coconut macaroon brownies and the Chocolate Snickerdoodle, which we deemed one of the best cookies we’ve ever had. 
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Basilica of St. Lawrence
:: This is where our friends Anna and Joe had their wedding ceremony, and I found out that it’s rated one of the top attractions in Asheville. I had no idea that there were so few Basilicas in the U.S., so it was pretty neat to not only visit one, but attend a beautiful wedding ceremony and mass there. The tile work inside the building is so impressive, and the stained glass is equally as beautiful.  
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The Biltmore Estate & Gardens:: It was a rainy, dreary morning when we visited on our way out of town, but it was so worth it! We bought tickets to tour the home and I’m so glad we decided to pay for the guided audio tour. Otherwise, we’d have been wandering around not knowing what we were looking at. The tour was really thorough and included so much interesting information about not only the estate, but the Vanderbilt family through the years. It’s incredible to think that they had the technology to create a call system throughout the house to “ring” the driver or wait staff by the press of a button. And they had a huge indoor pool — complete with underwater lighting! The furniture, fixtures, and even the flooring are so ornate and grand. It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like to live there so many decades ago!

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The gardens were also incredibly beautiful, even in the rain. We only had time to explore the Walled Garden and Conservatory areas, but just the walk over to them was stunning. The grounds were designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park, so you can imagine the grandeur. Pops of pink, red, and purple were everywhere among the large expanse of green lawns. I wish we’d had more time to explore! 
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The grounds are so massive that on the way out, they make you drive through all of what seemed to be the “public” areas, which led us on a 20+ minute drive over to Antler Hill Village. I see what they did there, wanting us to spend more time onsite time eating and shopping, but we didn’t succumb to their tricky ways. I did enjoy the beautiful, wooded scenery on our way out, though. The Biltmore is a must-see if you’re in the Asheville area!

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