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Fall in Downtown Asheville

A fun "girl's weekend" getaway!

sunny 18 °C

My grad school roommate, Amy, lives in Charlotte. With me in Knoxville, Asheville makes a great halfway point. If you have never made it over to Asheville, NC you are really missing something. The entire area is wonderful, but this weekend was just spent in Asheville's incredibly artsy and vibrant downtown. We stayed at the downtown Sheraton, which put us walking distance to everything. We only had one day, so we barely touched the tip of the iceberg that this great downtown area has to offer.

However, in just 24 hours, we managed lots of walking, shopping, eating, drinking, and sight seeing. Here's a little taste of fall in Asheville.

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Saturday morning was a little gray and overcast, so we decided to start Saturday morning with some shopping. Downtown Asheville is literally TEEMING with unique little shops. Some of the great areas to find shops are along Broadway Ave., Wall Ave., and the Grove Arcade. There is also a great downtown Farmer's Market at the French Broad Coop. We didn't have time to see it all, so we opted for the funky, artsy shops around Lexington.

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What did we find? What DIDN'T we find. There were treasures everywhere. L.O.F.T. was an incredible store, filled with whimsical ornaments, handmade soaps, funky jewelry and shirts, and even gourmet peanut butter. Yeah, they had peanut butter with chocolate chip cookie dough. It's really good if you eat it right out of the jar around midnight. Rags Reborn was a great little store too. It was just a tiny corner shop, but it was filled with handmade wooly scarves, hats, sweaters, and jewelry. What's a girl not to love?

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After a bit of shopping, we stopped at Scully's for lunch. Great food, great drinks, and I had a wonderful view of the street scene outside. The light was flitting through the bright red maple leaves on the other side of the window, bikes were lined up on the street, and people strolled by walking their dogs in bright knit sweaters. It was just great. Okay, I may have just THOUGHT it was great because I had some lunch drinks, but I was on vacation and as such, lunch drinks are perfectly ok. So says I.

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Since the sky had cleared and the sun had come out, Amy wanted to do Biltmore for some outdoor fall photo ops. I had only been to Biltmore once before, in the pouring rain, so I was up for it. It's just a couple of miles from downtown, so we were there in no time. The jury is still out on Biltmore for me. It's $51 to enter (we got lucky and the lady in front of us gave us an extra coupon she had that got us in for $38). In my opinion, it's well worth $20 or so, but when you are paying $51, I expect a roller coaster or some talking monkeys or SOMETHING. So, I do find it a little overrated, however, if you are into gorgeous estates, it might be right up your alley.

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We walked through the gardens and to the Bass Pond. We walked around the house, but opted not to tour inside. We've both been in there before and frankly, if you've seen it, you've seen it. My favorites have to be the Conservatory with the orchid room. I do love orchids. I also love the big koi pond. I simply love the colorfish fish, but I feel bad when they come up to the surface and look at me, waiting for some food that I obviously don't have.

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Since we didn't want to go in the house, we decided to go to the Biltmore Farm, since neither of us had been before. I am a sucker for animals, so she literally had to pry me away from the horses and goats. The two big work horses, Bert & Ernie, were my favorites. There were also two insane little kids that kept running around and butting each other with their horns. Yes, they had horns. GOAT kids, not people kids, silly!

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We were pretty tired from all the walking at that point. And I smelled like a horse. So, we decided to head back to the hotel for a little siesta before dinner.

We went to Mayfel's for dinner, because we both wanted some good country cooking. Don't get me wrong, Mayfel's is still adorable and trendy, but did they ever have some good fried chicken and biscuits! Fantastic. You really can't make a bad restaurant choice in downtown Asheville, I don't think. There are so many places, and each is an independently owned, completely unique place. The only problem is that, being downtown, each restaurant is fairly small, so they get crowded and stay crowded, but hey, good fried chicken is worth a wait! After dinner, we went to Decades for a few drinks since it was very close to the hotel, you know, in case we had to crawl back on our knees. Amy threw back some pretty good pomegranate martinis while I opted for Firefly's Sweet Tea Vodka with lemon. Have you tried that yet? Made in Charleston, SC it is a southern girl's perfect drink. Genious!

We managed to make it back to the hotel without having to crawl, so I considered it a successful night!

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The next morning, we walked over to Early Girl Eatery for breakfast. This place is super crowded on a Sunday morning, so we did a little strolling and shopping in the Wall Street area to kill some time. What great shops! The street was lined with ginko trees that were turning bright yellow. Against the impossibly blue sky, it was simply gorgeous. After buying some dog snacks at the Pet Boutique, it was time to grab our breakfast table.

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We ordered like two women that had just gotten out of prison. I don't know what we were thinking. Pumpkin pancakes, grits, eggs, bacon....and I really wanted a biscuit too but I tried to show a little restraint. It was seriously delicious and we ate every stinking bite. I rationalized it by say that since we were eating at 11:30, it was really two meals. So, I ate the equivalent of two meals. I see nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all.

After "brunch," it was time to say our goodbyes and drive back to the real world. It was fun, let me tell you, but it's always good to be home, isn't it?

Until next time....

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Posted by vicki_h 18:01 Archived in USA

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