This weekend Mr QQ whisked me away for the weekend to the beautiful, the wonderful AshVegas / AVL / Asheville. I have a confession. I am not a beach girl. Like, at all. I lived in Gulf coast Texas for fourteen years before I escaped and have never enjoyed the searing heat, the sand that gets everywhere, and most especially – the crowds.
I am a mountains girl through and through. Hiking, biking, front porch rocking, cool breezes and fresh air. I love it when it snows, when there is a summer thunderstorm, and most especially when it is peak foliage in the fall! So needless to say, I was quite giddy for a weekend in my favorite NC mtn town, Asheville. For the past few years we have taken the 2 1/2 hour trip to run a 15k road race on the grounds of extravagant Biltmore Estate. Its a stunning course and well organized. The race starts early on Sunday morning so we usually head up the mountain Saturday night, but this year we took an extra day and got there just after lunch on Friday. We rented an apartment at a house just down the street from the Grove Park Inn – what a beautiful neighborhood! Bonus – the apartment was pet friendly so Mr Oliver got to join us on our adventures around Asheville, which is a very pet-friendly town. Saturday night, the neighbor 2 houses down (with a mansion overlooking the golf course) had a huge backyard crawfish boil with live jazz bands and a roaring crowd (very a la Gatsby).
So here’s the short recap and highlights of everything we were able to cram in during our weekend away with some of the instagram pics I snapped along the way:
- Quick pint on the patio at Wicked Weed Brewery – the hottest new brewery in Beer City USA. Totally lived up to its hype!
- After check-in at the apt, we ventured over to Wedge Brewing and enjoyed the river view and anther tasty pint.
- After not-so-much debate, we headed back to Wicked Weed Brewery for dinner. While we waited for a table, we sat in the downstairs tavern and sampled their barreled sours and stouts. Dinner was also amazing. I’m rooting for a 2nd location in Winston-Salem!
- Saturday we headed down the street from the apt to City Bakery where I enjoyed a cheddar scallion biscuit with local sausage, egg, and cheese. Mr QQ snagged a terrific mixed berry granola bar. Yum yums!
- Two doors down from the bakery was a bonafide butcher, The Chop Shop. Mr QQ couldn’t resist snagging some local beef and brats for cooking up at home this week. Oliver also cleaned up with a ham bone and smoked rind. Gah, love a local butcher!
- After dropping the meat in our apt fridge, we packed up Oliver and headed downtown in the rain. Fortunately, I discovered via the interwebs last week that there is a used book store (*squeee!) that is extremely dog-friendly (*double squee!). I’ve always loved used book stores and it seemed like the perfect rainy day activity ta-boot! A magazine was there taking photos for an upcoming article and Oliver was kind enough to pose for them 🙂 Hope he makes the cut! Oh, another reason to love Battery Park Book Exchange? It’s a wine/champagne/espresso bar too! A few hours later, we had sampled wine, coffee, and had a stack of books to go home with. If you’re ever in Asheville, I highly recommend visiting!
- Around the corner from Battery Park Book Exchange, we enjoyed a scrumptious lunch with Oliver on the awning-covered patio at Chorizo. Mr QQ ordered the special (Fried Green Tomato Enchiladas) and I ordered the wild mushroom Cuban crepes. It was seriously amazing and I wish I could have finished it all. Oliver soaked up all of the attention from people walking down the street. Also, a pigeon walked right up to him and I thought my poor bird-dog was going to explode with anticipation.
- After a food-induced coma/nap back at the apt, Mr QQ and I ventured back to town to sample some Belgium sours at Thirsty Monk, an obligatory pub stop when visiting Asheville. Whilst sipping on the front patio, a man dressed as a nun came over and chatted us up. Apparently he is an actor in a comedy bus tour that goes through town on regular intervals. When the bus headed down the street, he jumped up on this railing and shook his groove thang right in my face while everyone on the bus hooted and hollered. If only I had had a dollar bill on me…Then he gave us his beer and took off to act in the next bus drive-by at the bar across the street. Funny dude. Fantastically Asheville.
- Walking around downtown to find a place for dinner, we came across French Broad Chocolate Lounge. It’s a bean to bar chocolatier and both the Pots de Creme (chocolate custard) and chocolate ginger cookie were divine. Dessert should come before dinner. Always. Also, they do chocolate subscriptions. I may have to add that to my monthly fabric and Birchbox subscriptions 🙂
- We settled on takeout from The Noodle Shop and enjoyed a quiet dinner at the apt since race morning required an early rising.
- Rise and shine! Seeing as how we had tried our hardest to eat and drink our way through Asheville, we knew this year wouldn’t brink a PR on the course. So instead, we ran the course together (a rarity) and enjoyed all of the blooming rhodedendron, the ‘baaa’ing sheep, the breathtaking view of the house, the meticulously landscaped walled garden, the bass pond waterfall, the broad vista of the French Broad river, and the mother geese with gooslings in toe near the finish line. Despite having some GI issues throughout the race and the 100% humidity / continuous mist / periodic rain and previous days activities, we ran a solid race and I was even able to give a hard kick the last 1/4 mile. No phone pics from the race due to rain and I’m sure the finish line photo is hideous, but hopefully the race photographer got nice photos of us in front of the house.
- Back to the apt for a quick shower and loaded up the car. Hit up the High Five Coffee Bar for a macchiato and cortado and enjoyed their patio for a bit. The foam art was gorgeous but I didn’t get a pic snapped. They serve Counter Culture coffee out of Durham which is so so good.
- Last stop – a quick bite at Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co and we were back on the road, exhausted from our trip. Five years ago I was at this restaurant/brewery for a girlfriend’s bachelorette weekend (brewery tour). My how times have changed! Now I’m working on her baby boy’s quilt and planning a road trip to Florida for her baby shower. (There – see how I did that and got some quilting into this post? Oh yeah!)
- Mr Oliver passed out in the back seat on the ride home. I woke him up to snap a pic before he promptly fell asleep again. He’s now a very grumpy, tired boy. He was on his best manners all weekend and was very adaptable/flexible for us. In short, he was the perfect GSP ambassador all weekend 🙂 Love that boy!
Whew! How is it that I need a vacation after vacation? Physically exhausted but my soul got a major recharge. Back to the grind (but hey, we get a 3 day weekend next weekend!)…How was your weekend?
Exhausted but fulfilled,