Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Weekend Trip to Asheville, NC

For our 3rd wedding anniversary, Stephen and I decided to book a last minute trip to Asheville. It's a five and a half hour drive from home, which made it a doable weekend trip. We wanted a change of scenery and a relaxing place to celebrate three years of marriage. I was a little nervous to travel with all that is going on these days, but it was honestly a much needed little getaway and I'm so glad we took the time to get away!

Where We Stayed:

The Omni Grove Park Inn - I've always wanted to stay at the Grove Park Inn and it certainly didn't disappoint! If you are looking for a relaxing weekend, this is a great option. You could honestly check in for the weekend and never leave the grounds! I absolutely love living at the beach but there is just something so incredible about the mountain views. Each evening, we found a spot to take in the sunset and our room also had a great view of the mountains (and the golf course, too). 

Where We Ate:

We received so many wonderful recommendations on restaurants in Asheville! I made a couple of dinner reservations for restaurants in downtown, but ultimately, we decided to stay on the property each night for dinner. While we'd love to try some more of the recommendations on our next trip, eating dinner at the Grove Park was the best fit for what we were looking for. We were able to get ready, grab drinks, watch the sunset on from one of the many locations to take in the views, and then eat a delicious dinner - all without having to go anywhere. 

There were also a few places we wanted to go that were only offering takeout - so be sure to double check before you go!
Wicked Weed Brewpub - This was our first stop once we got to Asheville! We had to wait about 25 minutes but they take your number and text you when your table is ready so we just shopped around while we waited! They were not seating guests inside but the patio was spacious with large umbrellas so we were comfortable outside. We decided to skip full meals and chose a few sides and appetizers and it was perfect! I don't drink beer all that much but they had some great cocktails as well - I had the F-P-3 and it was good and refreshing.
Sunset Terrace at the Grove Park Inn - This was our favorite meal of our trip! We managed to snag a super late reservation (someone had cancelled), so while we didn't watch the sunset during dinner, we watched it from one of the landings on the back deck while waiting for our table and the atmosphere was still perfect. It's the perfect date night spot, for sure. Steve loved his steak and I loved my wedge salad (we got appetizers and sides, too!). 

Isa's Brunch - We just happened upon this little spot while looking for a parking spot on Saturday morning. Our wait was probably 30 minutes (maybe a little more), but again, since it's in downtown, you can wander around while you wait. Stephen ordered the Chicken and French Toast and said it was amazing! My pancakes were great, too. 
Edison at the Grove Park Inn - We decided to go to Edison's last minute. We had reservations at Posana's but after going hiking and being away from the hotel for the day, we just wanted to take relax and hang out there. It was the perfect option as we got drinks and hung out on one of the terraces while we waited for our table (we didn't have a reservation but we only waited about 45 minutes - and when you have views and good drinks, that wait flies by!). Edison has all kinds of menu options but we opted for the cheese board and Stephen got a cheeseburger and I got a bacon grilled cheese and soup. My grilled cheese was good but the cheeseburger was amazing! Would highly recommend. 
Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack - This came recommended to us and we also drove past it on our way into town! We decided right then that we would give it a try on our way back out of town. The restaurant is currently closed to dine-in, so I'd recommend calling ahead or ordering online! While they do have outdoor picnic seating and a covered patio that you can take your to-go order to, we decided to just eat in the car before hitting the road. Our car picnic lunch didn't disappoint! I had the Rocky's Way chicken tender sandwich (mild), while Stephen had the fried chicken plate (Rocky's Hot). And if you don't try anything else, get the fried mac 'n cheese poppers - I didn't say it was healthy! 

Other recommendations:
  • Sierra Nevada Brewery (we wanted to go there for lunch our first day but sadly, they're still closed for dine-in)
  • Curate (the most recommended by far)
  • Hemingway's
  • Posana
  • Corner Kitchen
  • Sunny Point Café (we would have gone there for brunch but they were take-out only)
  • Pack's Tavern
  • Red Stag Grill

What We Did:

  • Shopping in Downtown Asheville
  • Hiking
  • Breweries
  • Golf 
  • Spa

The Highlights:

Hiking at Craggy Gardens - Going into the weekend, I knew I wanted to go for a hike of some sort. Craggy Gardens is the perfect option if you are looking for stunning views but a quick and easy walk. We drove just slightly past the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center and through the next tunnel to a little parking area and from there, we hiked the 1.4 mile (round trip) up to the Craggy Pinnacle, a 360 degree view at 5,640 feet. The hike up (through a tunnel of rhododendron) s a good little workout but a quick walk and the views are incredible. 
The Spa at Grove Park Inn - While I wasn't sure if I would end up getting an appointment at the spa, I was so glad I did! I managed to snag an 8:30am massage appointment on Saturday morning and it was absolutely heavenly. The atmosphere going in was so quiet and relaxing and the amenities offered in the spa are incredible as well. I didn't end up taking advantage of the amenities as much as I would've liked as I was the only one with an appointment and Stephen and I had plans for later in the day, but the next time I visit, I'd love to spend more time in the spa and better utilize the extras. 
Golf at the Grove Park Inn - Our final activity of our time at Grove Park Inn was a round of golf. I don't play but Stephen is an avid golfer and I was happy to ride along with him. We had an early tee time of 7:50, and while it was cool and foggy when he first teed off, the fog burned off nicely to absolutely incredible views. It was so relaxing to drink my coffee and ride along in the cart while watching him play.
From Stephen: The golf course at Grove Park Inn is a nice Donald Ross design. The fairways are not too tight and it's not very intimidating off of the tee but there are humpback greens that make you play your approach shots close to score. The good thing about this course is that even if you don't have a great round, you'll still have a great time and it's enjoyable from start to finish. 


  • How was it traveling during during COVID-19? Traveling in 2020 is very weird. But we also felt very safe throughout our trip. We took necessary precautions, wore our masks in public areas, and social distanced. We ate outside for almost every meal as well. As far as our hotel, we felt safe and clean in our room and there were certain limitations set by the Grove Park Inn to keep everyone social distanced.
  • Was it difficult getting a reservation for dinner? I would definitely recommend making a reservation in advance. We tend to like to explore our options before making reservations but with everything going on, restaurants are operating at a lesser capacity and others are completely closed. I'd definitely recommend making a reservation as soon as you can if you know of somewhere you'd like to try. I ended up refreshing my OpenTable app throughout Friday afternoon and we ended up getting the late-night Sunset Terrace reservation which as perfect. I had previously called and they were booked up for the entire weekend so we were lucky that it opened up!
  • Did you make a spa appointment in advance? I got lucky on this one too! We went by the spa just to check it out on Friday evening and the staff let me know there was a last-minute opening for the following morning. I didn't book it and then kicked myself for not snagging the appointment. They open at 8am on Saturdays so I went down first thing and luckily, it was available! I would try calling throughout the day if you don't get an appointment in advance. I don't think it always works out that way but it's worth a try!
Safe to say we thoroughly enjoyed our trip! I'd love to head back this fall when the leaves are changing colors - the mountains in the fall are always a favorite. 
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