So, as revealed in Part 1 of my Asheville blog, a second visit to Asheville did happen. I was accompanied by seven others this time around. The trip consisted of a whirlwind combination of hanging out in town, hiking up Chimney Rock, visiting the Biltmore, boating in Lake Lure and zip lining. The group stayed at Cabin Creek Lodge,located just outside of downtown Asheville. It was a rustic cabin that can sleep 8-10 people. Although very basic, it met the needs for the long weekend given most of the time was spent roaming around Asheville and its vicinity.
Starting with the outdoor activities, a good addition would be to visit Chimney Rock where you can enjoy some of the views that NC offers. The hike to the top is fairly short but a great way to take some lovely photos of the area. Near the top they have a cafeteria for snacky food and drinks. As it was a cold November day, the hot drinks were certainly welcomed by the group.
Chimney Rock is a half day excursion at best so it’s best to combine it with Lake Lure. It is located by a town with the same name. As the group took a boat ride to Lake Lure where reportedly you’ll get to see an area where a scene from the movie, Dirty Dancing, was shot, I opted to stay around the town and browse through the various crafts and outdoor stores in town. It was a bit of a cold day so I also indulged in some nice espresso drink to warm up while waiting for the gang. Next to the main street was a creek where people could sit or lay next to it and enjoy some quiet time. I got to do that as well. In the summer, I can only imagine how chaotic this town could get. Even in November, there was a good number of people on the streets.
Again, the Asheville experience for me would not be complete without walking on the streets of downtown and just perusing through the various local stores. While the others went to see Biltmore, a few of us stayed behind in downtown Asheville. Encounters with strangers included meeting a monk who was staying in a temple near the town. This particular monk was passing free booklets on the practice of yoga. Shortly after having such conversation, we spotted the famous guy in a nun outfit on a unicycle passing by. Attempts to take photos of him certainly failed but just to witness this unusual sighting was good enough. Apparently, he randomly pops up on the downtown streets of Asheville. Check out a video of him here.
For food, the group one night indulged in some great latin fare at Chorizo, which has become one of my favorite food spots in Asheville. I have gone there every time I visited the town so far. The prior occasion was for brunch and that was totally a great surprise since their menu offers more of a fusion themed latin fare that rendered me skeptical at first; but that turned out to be excellent. As expected, most of the food items in Asheville are organic which explains why they taste good. Check out the great reviews on Chorizo via TripAdvisor here. The website lists hundreds of positively reviewed eateries in Asheville that it would be hard to go wrong with any of the food choices, really.
The following night some of us became curious about Asheville’s nightlife and so we went to see a band at Lab Brewery which appears to be a regular venue for indie bands. The indie rock band we saw was better than expected and the atmosphere was akin to a smaller version of Black Cat shows in D.C. The venue is indeed small but perfectly intimate for enjoying an indie band performance. Heck, we paid a minimal fee of $5. A healthy dose of music for that price is, well, priceless.
On this trip, I had to visit Sky Bar one more time and lounge at their comfy living room while the group engaged in a cozy chat. I sold the idea enough to the group that we ended up there at some point during the night. It was a cold night indeed but the outdoor fire on the balcony certainly kept some of us outside longer to admire the mini-skyline of Asheville.
Altogether, the trip was as superb as the first visit. Asheville has won my vote for a great weekend getaway, both for arts & music which I love, but also, equally, it is the ideal place to base yourself for outdoor activities including my much beloved hiking, among other activities that the area offers. Of course, to top it, there’s the food factor. Yum! In fact, I can’t wait to eat, drink (coffee!) and play more in Asheville. Who says being weird is “weird”? Personally, I can get used to this but I hope THAT never makes me “normal” EVER.
Photo credit: A. Haynes (aka Super Tony)