Nope, not Austin. Portland? No. Asheville- that’s the one.
I’ve spent time in Asheville on multiple occasions but this is my first trip back in a few years. This post is going to be a collection of two days worth of tidbits. I’ll share my experience with one of the many tours Asheville offers, along with cute shops to visit, some purchases made and some delights consumed.
Right after I arrived in North Carolina I headed to Downtown Asheville with my Aunt and Uncle to take a bus tour with a company called, LaZoom. They have a variety of comedy tours-some for kids and others for adults. Upon walking into the shop you’re immediately given a taste of the eclectic humor you’re about to take part in. You’re free to take a seat and have a beer or wine at the bar and wait to load onto the bus.
While we waited for the bus I took some time to explore the shop. Imagine Michael Jackson, Elvis, your weird cousin, and a retired clown all shared a home- this is what it would look like. Seriously, get there early just so you can take in all the decor, you won’t be sorry.
I’m not sure what you envisioned when I said bus but it probably wasn’t anything like this. This bad boy was equipped with mini fans, a bottle opener (for your beer/wine), and a one of a kind gem named Cookie Carter. Cookie is your host, comedian, and tour guide. While the bus driver guides you through the narrow streets of downtown, Cookie tells you all about it’s rich history in a comical, somewhat raunchy, but absolutely hilarious way. She likes to give out nicknames so brace yourself (hopefully you don’t blush easily). To give you an example, she dubbed me Chardonnay. Why you ask? Because “you look like the kinda gal that takes Chardonnay by the shot.” Ouch. Sorry Cookie, but I’m more of a Sauvignon Blanc girl myself.
The tour lasts about two hours and stops midway for ten minutes at a brewery for you to use the restroom and grab a refill. Even if you’ve visited before, I would highly recommend this tour. It was hilarious and gave you a little bit more background about the city. They do kids tours on Saturday and they all fill up fast so try to book in advance. Also, you can book the entire bus for Bachelorette/Bachelor parties!
My next day back was a bit more mellow but quite delicious. My Aunt and I started our day at the Green Sage Cafe. It’s a gluten free haven and gave me an opportunity to do my favorite thing- carbo load. If you know me, you know that bread is my favorite thing, as well as my arch nemesis, so this was a real treat. If you aren’t gluten intolerant, or if you’re vegan, they’ve got options for you too! It was inexpensive, delicious, and a must if you need to grab a quick bite for breakfast or lunch.
After breakfast we wandered through the eleven blocks that make up downtown. There are tons of shops for gifts, local goods, clothing, jewelry, and anything else you can think of. There are also a lot of local street performers set up along the way which can be highly entertaining.
After wandering around for a bit we ducked into one of Asheville’s many bookstores to take a break from the heat and peruse a bit. It seems like there was a book store on every corner. If I wasn’t traveling light and had finished the few books I did bring on my trip, I could have easily spent a few hours picking out some new books.
After the bookstore we wandered into a few more stores as we made our way to Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar located in the Grove Arcade. It’s a two story building that houses over 80,000 books and walls of champagne and wine. It was the perfect afternoon pick-me-up!
While Asheville is known for it’s eccentricities, it should also be known for all of it’s beautiful buildings, rich art community, and kind people. If you have the chance to visit I would highly recommend it. If you live a few hours away it would make the perfect day trip.
By the end of the day I walked away with a few new treasures. I bought a few gifts that I won’t be sharing since those receiving them will likely be reading this, however I can share with you the things I got for myself! At “Virtue” I bought this Panama style hat. The little boutique has a bunch of clothes and accessories and I couldn’t convince myself to leave without this guy. The second thing I bought is going to be a new staple in my wardrobe. These earrings were made by a local artist named Mark Schieferstein or “Skrapmonkey” and were purchased at “Boutique Lp.” I literally wanted to buy every single piece he had. It was all really dainty, minimalist pieces made from different scraps of metal and super affordable. It doesn’t look like his jewelry is for sale on his website but I linked it above just in case. It would be worth shooting him an email if you see something you like.
I hope this gives you a better look at Asheville, and helps you to plan any future trip you may have there! As always, let me know if you have any questions, I’d be happy to elaborate on any of the places I visited. If you enjoy what you’ve read so far, make sure to subscribe so you never miss a post. 🙂 If you’re reading this post on your phone, scroll to the bottom and plug in your email under “never miss a post.” If you’re on a computer that same window will be to the right of the post.
Thanks for reading!