Road Trips: Asheville, North Carolina
This spring, hit the road for a fun weekend away.
Written By: Stacie Standifer, Erin B. Murray & Jane Taylor
This vibrant mountain town is a constant source of inspiration thanks to the Biltmore Gardens, where the annual Festival of Flowers kicks off late this month. But throw in a stellar downtown shopping and dining scene, hundreds of nearby waterfalls, and the moniker Beer City, USA and it’s a weekend packed with adventure.
Make the easy 4.5 hour drive during the daytime to catch the scenery along winding I-40.
The Grove Park Inn
This stunning, historic hotel is perched on 150 acres near the Biltmore, putting travelers close to the gardens but within a quick drive of the many festivals, restaurants, and shops downtown. 290 Macon Ave. (800) 438-5800; groveparkinn.com
White Duck Taco Shop
This tiny taco shop pumps out big flavors like banh mi tofu and roasted duck with mole. Grab a few (as in, more than two) and head to the picnic tables on the outdoor patio. 1 Roberts St., Suite 101 (828) 258-1660; whiteducktacoshop.com
Run by chef Katie Button (who trained at El Bulli) and her Spanish husband, Felix Meana (a Jose Andres alum), this sophisticated tapas bar has one of the most authentic Spanish menus in the south. Look for butifarra con mongetes (pork sausage with white beans) and bite-sized bocadillos (sandwiches) stuffed with meats like jamon serrano. 11 Biltmore Ave. (828) 239-2946; curatetapasbar.com
Asheville Beer Week
Learn why Asheville is called “Beer City USA” during this weeklong celebration of a great brewing tradition. Can’t make it to this year’s Festival? Hit up Lexington Avenue Brewery or Wedge Brewing Company anytime for a taste of locally brewed beers. May 25-June 1; ashevillebeerweek.com
Located in the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, this expanded retail space opened in February and showcases handcrafted goods from the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Look for studio furniture, sculpture, and fine home accessories. Milepost 382 Blue Ridge Pkwy. (828) 298-7928; southernhighlandguild.com
Western North Carolina’s Farmer’s Market
This huge, year-round market brings local farmers and dealers downtown to sell fresh fruits and vegetables as well as jams, jellies, honey, breads, and cookies. You’ll also find a garden center, a farm-fresh café, and a deli on the thirty-six-acre site that has been in use since 1977. Open daily; 570 Brevard Rd. (828) 253-1691; ncagr.gov
Biltmore Festival of Flowers
Staged on George Vanderbilt’s gorgeous 8,000-acre property, the annual color parade kicks off with the opening of more than 100,000 tulips. Each week sees new blooms, like poppies, pansies, snapdragons, azaleas and the estate’s historic roses, as well as live music, wine tastings, and gardening seminars. April 7-May 20; One Lodge St. (800) 411-3812; Biltmore.com