If you know me, then you know that I love fashion, makeup and beauty. Another love of mine is traveling. With the current pandemic, most of our travel plans for the year got cancelled, but we were able to squeeze in a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, and it was such a fun trip. Everywhere we went, safety precautions were taken by our group as well as the businesses. So if you’re thinking about making a trip to this Southern City, keep reading for some restaurant, shopping and tourist ideas.
One thing you’ll hear a lot about Asheville is that it’s a very artsy area. Most of downtown is filled with boutique shops, independent restaurants and art galleries. The vibe is very calm and relaxed, but don’t let that fool you. The food and arts scene is very high quality.
We had a group of four and started our day around 11 a.m. with brunch at Sovereign Remedies. The restaurant is very niche and relaxed, offering a chef-curated menu. We started with a round of mimosas, which were divine: the orange juice wasn’t too sweet and the bubbles from the champagne lightly danced in your mouth. Next up were the entrees. I had the Sovereign Hangover Cure, which consisted of house made breakfast sausage, home fries, fried egg and a micro salad. Finishing up, we had another round of cocktails where I opted for the Autumn Spritz.
After leaving the restaurant, we walked around downtown (masks on) to browse around the shops. We stopped at a local chocolate shop, French Broad Chocolate Factory & Cafe. This gave us an opportunity to try different items and, once again, everything was delicious. From the hot chocolate, to the chocolate snickerdoodle cookies, to the peanut butter and milk chocolate brownies, these sweet treats were truly decadent. Imagine the best brownie you’ve ever had, but richer, more dense and just the right amount of sweetness.
There is so much to do at the Biltmore Estate. From touring the 19th century mansion, to dining at the restaurants, wine tastings, shopping, outdoor excursions, the list goes on. I will confess this was my fifth visit to Biltmore, but each visit is different. I continue to learn more about the history of the home and its impact in the community, I am still inspired by the decor and architecture, and I really enjoy strolling through the gardens for a little exercise in nature. The home is simply breathtaking and you must see it for yourself, especially if you love history and museums. I highly recommend going between November and January if it’s your first time. The house will be decked to the nines for Christmas and there’s this ambiance of holiday magic that simply cannot be replicated.
Food and Shopping
After you’ve worked up an appetite touring the home and gardens, head over to Antler Hill Village for food, wine and more. Due to safety precautions, there is limited capacity for the winery tours and tastings. You’ll want to make reservations in-person on the day of your visit. Since the wine tasting is a popular option, I would recommend signing up in person as early as you can to get your name on the list.
Restaurant reservations are a little bit easier to navigate since you can book through the Open Table app. Luckily for us, we opted to dine at Cedric’s Tavern around 5-5:30 p.m. and there was no wait! 🙂 Cedric’s Tavern has a very casual, yet sophisticated atmosphere. The menu features English pub favorites, small plates and of course, a selection of Biltmore wines. We tried the whiskey cured Scottish salmon and the pimento cheese with with house pretzel chips. For my main dish, I had the Carolina bison burger and paired it with Pinot Noir. Every part of this meal was delicious and the customer service was outstanding.
To finish the trip, we browsed through the shops at Antler Hill. My cousin and his wife have this tradition of buying a Christmas ornament at new locations they travel to, which I think is so cool! They picked up an ornament that has the Biltmore house engraved on it. I purchased a dainty gold enamel initial necklace from Traditions. After shopping, it was time to head back home.
Have you ever been to Biltmore Estate or downtown Asheville? Do you have any recommendations for future visitors or first time guests? Leave a comment below!