Recently my wife and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. Instead of trying to pick out the perfect gifts, we decided it would be much better to take a weekend trip. So we did the usual and started asking friends some of their favorite weekend places, and Asheville kept coming up. After hearing over and over how fun this city is, we started planning our Asheville weekend getaway. This post contains affiliate links.
Amazing Asheville Weekend Getaway
Planning this trip was kind of difficult because there is such a wide variety of great activities in Asheville, but we pared down our list of must-dos and started hunting for the perfect place to stay. We went back and forth between a hotel downtown, a cabin in the mountains, or a short term rental convenient to everything. We ultimately went with an AirBNB that we absolutely loved. Located just a few minutes from downtown, lots of restaurants, and gorgeous scenic drives this Mid-Century home was perfect for us. It was quiet, clean, and spacious, and had all of the amenities that we needed. Short Term Rentals aren’t for everyone though, and if you are looking for a great hotel to stay in, be sure to book it though Expedia so you get the best price!
We set out early on Friday so we could take our time driving through the mountains and really set the pace for this relaxing weekend. Unfortunately we went a little too slow and ended up missing out on one of the events we wanted to see. Every Friday night, there is a Drum Circle downtown at Pritchard Park that looked like a lot of fun. Since we were running a little behind, we opted to skip the drum circle and just have dinner at Copper Crown, which was great, and turn in early-ish. We didn’t want to sleep late because the next day was going to be a blast!
Chihuly at The Biltmore
The next morning brought the highlight of our trip. Visiting the Biltmore Estate and seeing the Chihuly exhibit that is there temporarily was our primary goal for this trip. Dale Chihuly is a world renown glass artist. I had seen his work at Cheekwood in Nashville, and was excited to share the experience with my wife while we were in Asheville.
We started the day by grabbing something to eat at the cafe by the Biltmore house. We both had chicken salad croissants and a fabulous sangria! After we ate we decided to walk around the front of the house, and to the gardens to get a daytime look at the Chihuly Exhibit. According to the guide, he designs his work to be viewed at three times of day: daytime, twilight, and night. Seeing it in the daylight was incredible and built up my excitement for sunset!
Another great part of our trip was the opportunity to participate in a wonderful moment for a young couple. As we were walking around and taking pictures a couple asked us if we would take a picture for them with their phone. Of course we would! As soon as I stepped back and got both of them in the frame, they young man went down on one knee and proposed!!! It was so romantic! After the applause died down and congratulations were given, we strolled through the gardens some more and down to the conservatory and rose gardens. Wow! I was stunned by how perfect these gardens were. Not a weed in sight, and the flowers were planted in perfect arrangement. I can not imagine the amount of work it takes to keep them looking so amazing.
You know what they say, time flies while you are having fun. Before we knew it, it was time for our house tour. We opted for a self guided tour without any of the audio add-ons, because we wanted to move through fairly quickly (we had a winery to visit!).
The house itself is a work of art. With 250 rooms, its size alone is overwhelming. The interior is gorgeous and full of amazing furniture, books, and art. I wish we would have had more time to spend learning about the history of the house. My favorite areas of the house were the pool, the Halloween Room, and the library. I would love to sit down and go through some of the amazing books on the shelves!
Winery Tour and Tasting
After the incredible house tour, we hopped on a shuttle back to our parking lot so we could drive up to the winery. In what seemed like no time at all we had arrived at Biltmore Winery, and were walking to the tasting room. During the walk there are displays on the walls that explain the history of the winery and its conversion from a dairy barn in 1985. We also learned that Biltmore Winery is the most visited winery in the United States with over 400,000 visitors per year.
For our complimentary tasting we sampled 5 wines each. I will tell you I am no wine connoisseur, so I can’t give you fancy descriptions of the flavors and scents. However, I can tell you that every wine I tasted was great. My favorites were Century Sweet White and Cardinal’s Crest, while my wife preferred the Limited Release Rosé of Cabernet Franc and the Merlot. We ended buying a few bottles of each.
After the complimentary tasting, we had scheduled a Red Wine and Chocolate tasting. If you visit the winery, I highly recommend doing this. I learned a lot from our tasting guide about both the history of the winery, how it made, and how to “taste” wine. The tasting had a great format, it started with an short lesson about the winery and then moved on to the actual tasting in 3 parts. The first part, the guide explained the details of each wine and we sampled them alone. The second part, the guide explained each chocolate and we sampled them alone. The third part was the paired tasting, where the guide recommended which chocolate to taste with which wine and we sampled them together. The tasting was very interactive, and I got to try some wines I probably wouldn’t have taken a chance on otherwise. My favorite wine from this tasting was a red wine called “The Hunt”. Bonus: all of the chocolate was artisan chocolate from French Broad Chocolate and Chocolate Gems; it was excellent!
After the winery, we had reservations to eat at one of the restaurants on the Estate. We walked to the Village Social from the winery and were seated immediately. The atmosphere inside Village Social was great. It felt very nice without being pretentious. The service was amazing, and the food was even better. We started with the Cheddar Biscuits, they were served with a house made blueberry jam and cultured butter. It was SO GOOOD!!!! For my entree, I had the Carolina Shrimp and Grits, and my wife had Blue Crab cakes with micro greens. This meal was one of the highlights of our Asheville Weekend Getaway. I wish Village Social was closer to Middle Tennessee, I would eat there on a regular basis!
Bellies full, and sunset fast approaching, we drove back to the house to explore the gardens some more. I did manage to get lost somehow between the Winery and the entrance to the house, but we’ll just attribute that to excitement for seeing Chihuly’s work at sunset. Once we made it back to the House and Gardens, we were not disappointed. Most of the crowd had gone, and we had the gardens pretty much to ourselves! As the sun went down, the glass came to life! If you ever get a chance to see Chihuly’s work in person, do not miss it. My favorite pieces at the Biltmore were the boats, but everything on display there looked as if it were made just for that setting.
We spent the afternoon of our last day in Asheville exploring downtown. With so many awesome shops, we could have used an extra day. Some of my favorite shops were Ten Thousand Villages, Purl’s Yarn Emporium, and Patton Ave Pet Company. We also spent some time walking around inside of the Grove Arcade, which had an outdoor artist’s market and housed even more awesome shops like: Enter the Earth, a mineral and geology shop, Mountain Made, a gallery featuring western North Carolina artists, and Woodrow Instrument Company, a stringed instrument maker. We could have spent a lot more time (and money) in downtown Asheville, but it was time to get something to eat and start wrapping this awesome trip up.
Food and Drinks
There are so many amazing places to eat or grab a drink in downtown Asheville, it can be frustrating picking something. Our choice for the afternoon was Sante’ Wine Bar and Taproom. We were just looking for a small snack and the menu looked just right. We ended up sharing a Smoked Rainbow Trout Tray that was served with a baguette, dried cherries, olives, almonds, and an assortment of crackers. We also had Mint Julep Wine cocktails; they were so tasty and refreshing. I enjoyed the smoked trout so much I actually ordered some when we got home from the trout farm that Sante sources it from: Sunburst Trout Farm.
Asheville is a vibrant city, overflowing with fun people and activities. From the food and wine to the historic and scenic sites, it will leave you wishing for more time there. I couldn’t believe how quick our Asheville weekend getaway came to an end. There is so much I want to go back and do! The River Arts District, West Asheville, Craft Beer Tours, and the Orange Peel Theater are all the list for our next visit. Have you ever been to Asheville? What was your favorite thing? Tell us in the comments