The Best Things to Do in Asheville

This week we’re going to Ashveville, a unique art, nature and beer city in the western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Asheville has a little something for everyone. It has gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, tons of great hiking, has historic architecture and a cute downtown filled with galleries and museums, and was even named a craft brew capital of the east. In this episode we share the best things we did on our trip to Asheville and give tips and recommendations for when you visit.

We went to Asheville at the end of a Southern U.S. Road Trip that went to several other cool cities within a short drive. Check out these episodes to take this epic road trip for yourself!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park + Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

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Charleston, SC

Savannah, GA

Things to Do in Asheville – Episode Transcript

3 (58s):
Hey Squadies! Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad Podcast. Today we’re taking you to Asheville North Carolina Jamal and I visited Asheville in May of 2022 as we continued our southern road trip and this was just a very cute, fun city and we’re so excited to share Asheville with you guys because I do think it’s an underrated city. It’s not huge on everyone’s to-do list, but there’s so much to do. There’s like a really good mix of our food brews and my favorite nature,

3 (1m 27s):
You know, if there’s a silver lining that Covid brought, at least to the travel industry here for us as Americans, I would say that it forced us to really travel domestically a lot. Of course cuz we couldn’t go internationally, right? And not that we hadn’t traveled to the east coast before, but up until Covid, a lot of our like East coast adventures were centered around going to Florida for cruises New York, but not a lot of those really center states here where Asheville’s located in North Carolina. And so everybody that I knew beforehand who had been there and to the East coast was always saying, you gotta go to Asheville, you gotta go to Asheville Asheville’s so beautiful. And I was really, really excited to see what it is that they were talking about a lot of times, and we know this, if we go back to Maui, we know how I felt about Maui and I went over hyped up Maui here and I thought to myself, what’s the hype about Maui?

3 (2m 20s):
But this was not the case for Asheville. I absolutely loved it and I’m really, really excited to go back. Very underrated East Coast city that’s starting to get a lot of prominence and rightfully so.

2 (2m 31s):
I remember hearing about Asheville years ago when I used to do some content marketing for Expedia and we would do these ranking lists of like the most beautiful places to see in the fall or the best beer cities and Asheville would be on the list year after year. So I’ve always been curious about it, I’ve always wanted to go there. I really wanted to go on this trip. I was with you all on part of our south of the Mouth road trip and kind of took off a little bit early to make it down to Cabo. But I’m curious to hear about the trip even though it’s been a few months. I actually haven’t heard the details of it. You’ve told me just a little bit, but it’s all going to be new to me and I know I was trying to get out there last fall too and it didn’t quite work out, but I’m really interested to go in the fall to see those beautiful fall colors.

1 (3m 15s):
Yeah, Kim, I really think that you would like Asheville. I, I feel like it really speaks to you. I mean there’s a ton of breweries, it’s really cute, there’s nature you love fall and I think that you would really, like you loved Gatlinburg so much and you had so much fun in the Smokies and it’s like kind of like the Smokies in a way, but a different vibe for sure. Like more hip I would say because I wanna say there’s like a different demographic in that area.

2 (3m 42s):
Brittany, I’m so grateful that you consider me hip.

1 (3m 47s):
Yes, I do think you’re hip. I think you’re, you’re always going for like vibes and creativity and like kind of funky things and there’s, there’s that kind of vibe in Asheville.

3 (3m 57s):
Yeah you know, when we were there I really wasn’t expecting it to kind of have that funky vibes, you know, I don’t wanna equate it to a west coast city that someone might think of like maybe Portland or San Fran and it’s definitely not at that level but it definitely had a little bit of those type of hip younger vibes that you would expect. And I really think it lends itself to that simply because it has a lot of, you know, art district areas. It is a craft brew scene. So it has that but it’s also very unique in the sense that it’s right at the foothill of the Blue Ridge Mountains. So you have that type of nature, the trees, the Mountains, you have that gilded era time architecture from the Biltmore estate that’s there, you know from that time after the civil war like in the 1870s to the 1890s, that type of like architecture and old rich money as there and you see that too.

3 (4m 48s):
So it has this hip and old vibe mixed with nature. I love it. It was great.

2 (4m 53s):
You are selling it Jamal.

3 (4m 55s):
I’m trying to, I love it. I love Asheville. I’m ready to go back. I’m really, really ready to go back and you’ll have to come this time on it or go by yourself and then we go back again because it’s a city worth repeating a visit.

2 (5m 7s):
I will for sure. When you guys went, you drove from great Smoky Mountains Gatlinburg area to Asheville, correct?

1 (5m 15s):
Correct. We did.

2 (5m 16s):
And how far is that drive? So

1 (5m 18s):
We stayed in Gatlinburg and from Gatlinburg to Asheville is only an hour and 40 minute drive. Oh wow,

2 (5m 23s):

1 (5m 24s):
And then from Asheville we actually ended up continuing onto Charlotte North Carolina and the drive to Charlotte is about two, two and a half hours. So I feel like it’s close enough to other major cities and areas that you can absolutely make a road trip out of it if you’re looking to see to see a lot in the area or if you’re looking to localize and make this like an area you wanna explore for a few days, that’s okay too cuz there’s enough to do to make it a few day trip. Like it’s not somewhere that you just wanna stop for one day.

3 (5m 55s):
And I would absolutely say if anybody’s in Gatlinburg going to the great Smoky Mountains for that short distance that it is from the Smokies to Asheville, be sure to add that as part of your itinerary. You definitely won’t regret

2 (6m 8s):
It. So you said about two to three days is good to see Asheville in all its glory and you all went in May. Would you say that would be a good time to go?

1 (6m 18s):
Yeah, that’s a really great segue into the tip section that we wanted to jump into and we were gonna actually talk about when’s the best time to go. We went in May. I felt like that was a really good time. The weather was mild, it was sunny and there was no rain or anything like that so we got the sunshine and everything was really, really green. But I would also like to see it in fall, which is also another really good time to go. So they say anywhere from September to early November is a really good time to see fall colors also good weather cuz in the summer it gets kind of muggy kind of hot and then if you’re going in the springtime march through May is also in another good time to go and if you go closer to March you probably would get a little bit of snow still. So depending on what you’re looking for, you can make this trip happen for you.

1 (7m 1s):

2 (7m 1s):
Other tips do you have for us?

1 (7m 3s):
Yeah, so because the city is surrounded by a ton of nature, don’t forget to bring your hiking shoes If you love getting out into nature, there’s a lot of really good day hikes and you can hike part of the Appalachian trail. So I think that you would be amiss if you didn’t go hiking to see some of Asheville’s beautiful nature. When

2 (7m 23s):
You say hiking, do you mean hikes with tall peaks?

1 (7m 26s):
Well there are some hikes with tall peaks and it depends on how much hiking you wanna do because we did like one famous mountain of of Asheville, which is like Asheville’s iconic peak. The elevation gain wasn’t super crazy but we also went to Mount Mitchell and we’ll get into that a little bit later. But that is the tallest peak east of the Mississippi. So even though there are tall peaks it doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of gain to get to the top to get the benefit and the views and the scenery.

3 (7m 54s):
Yeah, I would agree with Brittany because a lot of times too, and it’s one of those things I guess if you’ve been to the east coast or from the east coast, you know how the Mountains are there that they aren’t really the jagged peaks that we have here in the west coast, they’re more kind of like rolling hills and not to say that there’s not steep points or anything like that but their mountain range is nothing like what it is on the west coast with the jagged cliffs, steep peaks, et cetera. So I would feel like whatever you were to do, not to say that you can’t get good elevation gain on a hike, but it would be a lot more moderate on top of that. One thing that we’re gonna be talking about too is the highlights is that driving the blue Ridge Parkway. So to get to a lot of the trails, you’re already kind of like up in the Mountains pretty much riding along at a high elevation.

3 (8m 39s):
So you’re not really starting at a big base and going up high, you’re already at the midpoint or three quarters of the way to whatever summits it is that they have on these hikes.

2 (8m 47s):
I see. And I’m not asking that because Kim over 30, but I am asking it because honestly I’m starting to miss like Mountain Mountain peaks a little bit out here in Austin

3 (8m 58s):
Kim next time we go on a hike and I hear you complain, I’m gonna be like, do you remember when we recorded after and you said this and then I’m gonna remind you of it. So I’m gonna hold you to that. But another good tip, obviously if you’re gonna be out in nature, download offline maps, we say it all the time, gonna say it again and again. Most importantly too out in nature, it’s one of those things I take for granted in California, let alone in a good climate area like San Diego is that there’s bugs about, and I know you know this now living in Austin Kim, but bring Bugs Spray because bugs were about in the blue Ridge Parkway Mountain areas. All

2 (9m 35s):
Right, well let’s get into it because the blue Ridge Parkway is probably one of the things that I have highest in my mind when it comes to Asheville when I think of North Carolina. So kind of

1 (9m 46s):

2 (9m 46s):
What it is, is it blue or, and like how amazing is it?

1 (9m 50s):
So the Blue Ridge Parkway, I would say if you’re like looking at it at like dawn or dusk, it does have like that blue tinge to it just from like the haze coming up from the Mountains. But the Blue Ridge Parkway is like the mountain range and it’s a 469 mile scenic mountain drive that actually connects Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the great Smoky Mountain National Park as well. So it’s a very long drive and we actually met someone on this trip that they were specifically hitting major cities off of the Blue Ridge Parkway and making that like their road trip for the year. So really cool lot of nature around that.

1 (10m 30s):
And the National Park Service has actually often referred to it as America’s favorite scenic drive.

3 (10m 35s):
You know, I don’t usually disagree with the National Park Service and by the way their Twitter feed is actually getting real wild right now with some sassy stuff and I absolutely love it, but I am, I’ve

2 (10m 47s):
Seeing that too. I, yeah, and they’ve been getting like crazy news coverage for their tweets. They’re hilarious.

3 (10m 54s):
I know, but I, I am going to have to disagree with them on that. On America’s favorite Scenic Drive, I mean Highway one but this might be up there top three for sure, but I don’t know about favorite but up there. Yes.

2 (11m 6s):
Oh it’s gonna be another Maui situation.

3 (11m 9s):
No, no not under Maui

1 (11m 10s):
At all at all. But the Blue Ridge Parkway, that drive just has some really great hiking trails and really breathtaking views. Like every time you’re driving on it you’re like whoa, that’s a great view, let’s stop pull over. Like you constantly are just being wowed looking out of the window and I can only imagine how beautiful it would be like driving through with the fall foliage with the red orange yellows and kind of like some areas having that kind of canopy of the trees above you and you kind of feeling like you’re in that like scenic tunnel of of trees and beautiful colors and the roads are windy along the like the mountain path. So it’s just gonna be really beautiful.

1 (11m 51s):
I feel like it’s gonna really step it up a level.

3 (11m 53s):
Yeah so I mean you can do a lot with the Blue Ridge Parkway, like we said 469 miles, I don’t think you’re driving that in one day, but very easily accessible or at least a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville North Carolina. So be sure to check out the highlights around there and some of those highlights along the blue Ridge Parkway is going to be Mount Mitchell and Mount Mitchell is what Brittany said earlier, the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi. And obviously then that makes it the tallest peak of the Appalachian Mountains itself at 6,684 feet. And again, in comparison to what we were talking about earlier about how the Mountains look on the east coast versus west coast, I mean the tallest on the west coast here of the 48 is at 14,000 feet.

3 (12m 39s):
So I mean this tallest one on the east coast isn’t even half that right. So those nice kind of like rolling hill aspects, it makes it really unique, really beautiful.

1 (12m 48s):
And Mount Mitchell, it’s actually a state park and it’s free to visit and at the top you can either hike, which we did not do. So you can actually start like way lower in elevation and hike your way up to the peak if you wanted to. We chose not to, you can actually drive almost all the way to the summit and then once you get into that parking area you can take a nice half mile hike to the observation jet deck. So if you wanna look cute for your pictures, you don’t have to be in hiking gear, you can be dressed up. Cute.

2 (13m 18s):
Is the observation deck a place you would want a picture in a cute outfit? I

1 (13m 23s):
Mean I feel like yeah you’re surrounded with 360 degree views of just beautiful nature and the observation deck it, it’s not like enclosed or anything, it’s this like wooden deck that you can go and enjoy. So I do think like when you’re up there it would look much cuter in a dress skirt, cute outfit than it would in hiking gear.

2 (13m 45s):
Okay, couple of questions for you. You went here, right? Yes

1 (13m 48s):

2 (13m 48s):
Did. And what were you wearing?

1 (13m 50s):
I was wearing a dress.

2 (13m 52s):
Okay, okay. And was it crowded? There

1 (13m 54s):
Were people but it did not feel crowded and I feel like we had enough time at the top of the observation deck alone or almost alone that it didn’t feel overwhelming.

2 (14m 5s):
Okay, that’s

3 (14m 6s):
Good. And a good little tip to know, of course you’re at that high elevation, so whatever the temperature is down in Asheville when you’re in the city starting your day or whatever it says it’s going to be, just estimate that it’s gonna be 15 to 20 degrees cooler at the top and you know, definitely time it check the weather before you actually go if you’re gonna be driving up to it versus hiking it because sometimes the summit is covered in clouds and you would hate to have that disappointing factor of getting all the way up there and it’s a cloudy day or the clouds are there at that point in time. So just do be aware of that.

2 (14m 39s):
You can drive up to it and you can hike up to it. And if you were to hike up to it, how long would it take?

1 (14m 46s):
I think that there’s multiple interconnecting trails, so I think it depends on what trail you would do. But I wanna say I saw one that was around the seven miles that I was kind of considering, but for time sake and other things that we wanted to do, we and how we wanted to look cause we wanted to go to a brewery afterwards, I wanted to look cute so we decided not to do the hike and to go ahead and just do the observation portion of it, which was only the half mile. Not like you, but okay, I know can you believe that? But I also think that this trip came off of great Smokey Mountains where like probably the day before I made Jamal do a 11 mile hike. So I think he was hiked out at that point.

1 (15m 28s):
Okay, fair, very fair.

3 (15m 31s):
Well that, and again the highlight too is driving a lot of the blue Ridge. So it’s one of those things, you know, choose your hike in that area wisely because if you do a hike it’s gonna take a good bit of time and you’re gonna really limit seeing other areas that you can see if you actually do the drive, which is equally as beautiful. So a combination of those factors. But another good place to actually go along the parkway is going to be Mount Pisa. It’s about 40 miles from downtown Asheville and of course on the Blue Ridge Parkway as well. And this is that iconic landmark that Brittany was talking about that Asheville is known for Mount Pisca.

1 (16m 8s):
Yeah, it can actually be seen from many places throughout the Asheville area and it’s like Asheville’s iconic mountain and you know there’s multiple trails to get to the top of Mount Pisca as well. And again, for whatever reason I was like, all right, we did all of our big hikes early in this trip so we didn’t do like a ton of huge hikes. So the trail that we did was only about two and a half miles round trip. But there are ones that start further down of course, like I was just looking at one today that was like more like four and a half, five miles to the top of Mount Pisca. But again at the top of Mount Pisca there’s an observation platform at the top. We didn’t spend a lot of time up here because this probably was the busiest place that we were at.

1 (16m 49s):
So I could just feel like some of the bugs swarm me and I was like alright, this is good enough. We got the views. It was really pretty though. And what made it so buggy? I just think it’s that area. I think in San Diego we don’t think about all of the bugs that are in other southern states like Texas and North Carolina. So I think it was just spring and buggy and that’s just kind of how it was.

3 (17m 15s):
You know what’s funny, I was thinking about this, rest assured had we actually had more time in Asheville, cuz again this was on the tail end of our South road trip. Again you’ve already departed from the south road trip at this point in time, but if we were spending more times than it was just Asheville, I know we would’ve hiked these ones and the longer ones. But since we had a shorter amount of time, we wanted to see a lot of the other stuff too and experience a lot of the stuff in the downtown area of the city center itself versus just the nature portion too.

1 (17m 47s):
But had you done a longer hike, there was an option to park kind of near the Pisca Inn, which is a hotel, but you can also stop there for a drink or they have a restaurant. So like let’s say you did the longer hike and then on your way down you did hit that and just kind of stopped and enjoyed a drink. That’d be a really nice way to enjoy the scenery as well. So if there’s a lot of different options depending on like what your vibe is and what you wanna do or if you wanna get back in the city. But what’s really nice is like you can do these hikes and iconic hikes at that, but you can kind of choose how much hiking you wanna do and if you’re not willing to commit like three to five hours for a hike, you can go for a shorter one and still get the same views and still get the same benefits of nature and still enjoy Asheville.

1 (18m 29s):
So that makes it kind of fun cuz you can kind of plan your day a little bit differently depending on like what you wanna do, which I think Kim you would love too, especially Kim after 30,

3 (18m 39s):
Well she just said she was ready to get back in to the swing of things is what I heard her say. So we’re holding her to that.

1 (18m 45s):
Well I will believe it when I see it.

2 (18m 46s):
Whether I’m 30 or 20 or 40, I will always enjoy a hike and a nice drink afterwards.

3 (18m 54s):
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1 (22m 0s):
Another highlight off of the blue Ridge Parkway is an area called Craigy Gardens. It’s only about 20 miles from downtown Asheville and it’s about a two mile hike and there’s actually a nice picnic area. There’s plenty of picnic benches so if you wanna have a picnic in that area that’d be really nice. Most people go to see the blooming, Ooh this is a hard flower word. Rhoda dendra, I think that’s how you say it, but they’re these bright pink purple blooming flowers. Unfortunately we didn’t see it because they do bloom I believe in June and we were there in May so we missed it by just a few weeks but it was still a really cool hike and it has really good views and so it was just something really nice to do Also out in nature while we were exploring Asheville,

3 (22m 46s):
I think the gardens are a great place to go. Weather permitting to even go have a picnic, bring some food in there, enjoy the natural gardens. They’re kind of like botanical gardens a little bit, right?

1 (22m 57s):
Botanical, I don’t

3 (22m 58s):
Know I I mean that’s a big word to say botanical gardens, but like if they had botanical gardens they that’s what it kind of would be for there. I mean they have different variety of trees that are local, non-local flowers, et cetera. Of course the ones that Brit mentioned are the main ones that are gonna bloom and June, so I may have oversold it with botanical but definitely it’s still a cool place to go, have a picnic, have lunch, go for a stroll kind of like in a park setting.

1 (23m 23s):
Yeah and there was also like this really like open plain area that had good views and we saw a group doing yoga out to the view which was really nice that people just like sitting in the grass on like blankets. So it was just like a nice place to like get some nature but not being like in the city in a park kind of thing. And we parked kind of lower down and hiked up but there was an also an option to pi to park higher up and then do the same hike but like in reverse and go down. So again, depending on like what you wanna do or what you wanna see, you can decide to go up an elevation first or go down an elevation first and make this hike like what you wanna make of it cuz there’s different access points to the trail.

2 (24m 5s):
Very nice. And was there any cost associated with this one or any of the other naturey things that you did?

1 (24m 12s):
No, none of the nature things that we did. Mount Mitchell Craigy Gardens or Mount Pisca had any fees associated with them so all of that was really free and what we loved doing was like going out into nature for a few hours and then going back into the city of Asheville and like getting something to eat or getting a brew to drink. So that was really nice to have like both super close. Cause sometimes when we go on nature expeditions, like I don’t know, Capitol Reef National Park, once we got back into the city, the city’s like 200 people so like your options are very limited but it was really nice to like go out into nature and not feel like it was super crowded at any of these points and then go into the city and like actually enjoy really good food or really good drinks at the same time.

3 (24m 54s):
So I just want to go back real quick before we move on. What’s so funny is when we were talking about Craigy Gardens, for whatever reason I remember Asheville had botanical gardens and I’m googling it right now as we’re recording this and it does and I remember kind of thinking to myself, oh you know when I saw gardens I was thinking the botanical portion, we went to both of those but now I’m remembering specifically Craigy, right, that has the parking lot. You actually are on a hike amongst trees and then when you get to the summit it’s this big open like grass prairie and that’s where the flowers are actually supposed to be. So the botanical gardens that I said I may have oversold verbally is actually truly of the Asheville botanical gardens of a like a little stroll area for a part

1 (25m 40s):
Which didn’t make our must-do list because we did go to the botanical gardens and we weren’t completely sold on

3 (25m 47s):
Them. Yeah. And so when I saw Craigy Gardens I was thinking that, but now I’m on the same page and I just wanted to reclarify that Craigy Gardens develop

2 (25m 54s):
The botanical gardens that let you down.

1 (25m 57s):
I think online it was hyped up a little bit more and then we got there and there was like one kind of trail area, it was buggy and we saw better views along the blue Ridge Parkway that by the time that we saw the botanical gardens it wasn’t impressive. Like it wasn’t what we were expecting. So I think it’d be nice for like someone who’s looking to stay in the city for like it’s a nice nature, nature stroll for a like a family that doesn’t wanna do a lot of hiking. So there’s like minimal effort but like for the views we saw other things that we were more impressed with.

3 (26m 30s):
And you can mention Asheville without specifically mentioning the Biltmore House. Have you heard of the Biltmore House Kim? Do you know of it in Asheville?

2 (26m 38s):
Not really. I was just gonna google it because it sounds impressive but not familiar. So can

1 (26m 43s):
You enlighten me?

3 (26m 44s):
Of course. So basically the Biltmore House is actually I think the largest privately owned home in the United States. It’s just under 179,000 square feet. I don’t have the statistics of how many rooms or bathrooms, but basically think of this as almost like the east coast version of Hurst Castle that’s along, you know highway one, right? It’s this big gilded age gilded era house, you know that I mentioned earlier, built in that kind of timeframe by George Vanderbilt and maybe that name Vanderbilt is a recognition to you guys out there in our Squad East, that old Money America, one of the richest families in American history, they built this house itself and now of course they allow people to go in on tours.

3 (27m 33s):
It’s on 8,000 acres of property. So you have manicured gardens and beautiful home. So it’s worth going in to just see that house.

1 (27m 44s):
So we actually didn’t do the Biltmore House but we put it on there because it is listed as a must do. And we talked to several people that did do it and they said it’s worth it as well, but you need to dedicate an entire day to the Biltmore house. It cost $89 a person starting rate. And we were just like, well with the time that we had in Asheville and to spend that much money we would want to dedicate a whole day and we just didn’t have the ability to dedicate a full nother day for that. So that’s why we didn’t go. But when we go back Kim maybe with you even, we’re gonna go to the Biltmore house

3 (28m 19s):
And again, that’s why in this tip section we said two to three days because again we’re coming off the tail end of a road trip, didn’t have more time in Asheville like Brittany stated. But if you’re going to Asheville specifically, you need one full day for the Biltmore House day for driving the blue Ridge day for hiking evenings and mornings. You know, kind of explore the downtown food and drink, which we’re gonna get into next. But yeah, Bilt Morehouse, just look at the photos of it when you go to Asheville, if you have the time go to it, it’s really, really impressive from what I’ve seen in front the photos and can’t wait to go back and check it out in person.

1 (28m 52s):
Yeah and you can do different tours. They have like areas, different areas depending on what type of ticket you buy that get you into different areas of the house and the property. So you can go to the gardens, they have a winery on the property as well. Do they do wine tastings? I believe they do. I don’t know if they, I’m not a hundred percent on that but I do think like that’s an option. There’s the Leonardo da Vinci immersive exhibition and then again like it’s America’s largest house. They have lots of like hotels and properties on on this estate as well. So if you wanna be fancy and stay there, like there’s options for that, that’s definitely where we’ll stay next time.

1 (29m 32s):
Yeah, it’s definitely like a whole thing that you, you wanna do. We stayed in Asheville for two days but that’s why I said two to three days cuz if, if you want to include this, you’re gonna want that third day for sure. I

2 (29m 45s):
Have been to the Vanderbilt house in Rhode Island and it was great but it looks like a shack compared to this thing and the way it looks in the pictures, this looks like Buckingham Palace, like Kensington Royalty here,

3 (30m 1s):
Right? So like I was saying, east coast version of Hearst Castle. So anybody who’s ever been to Hearst Castle and knows William Randolph Hurst, one of the richest men in the world at the time built this largest state, this is the equivalent for the east coast, but built by their Vanderbilts. So, or vice versa if you know the Biltmore home but don’t know Hearst Castle now you do. But those are like polar opposite equivalents in terms of geographically in the US and all that money building craziest estates.

1 (30m 29s):
So those are our must-dos like around Asheville, like the big highlights that we did. But of course we love to eat and drink while we’re exploring a city. And one of the places that we checked out was a brewery called Wicked Weed. And this brew club has a full restaurant, it has a downstairs tap room, has a bottle shop, and we did a flight while we were here. I did a flight of sours at this location and the sours were amazing. I loved every flavor that I tried but another drink also caught my eye. So we ended up going back another day after a hike so I could specifically get a drink that they, a brew that they had called Getting Caught in the Rain and it was a peanut colada flavored beer and it was one of the best beers I’ve ever tasted in my life.

3 (31m 16s):
I’m gonna have to agree with Brittany when I tried that, you know, and I usually don’t like flavored beers, I like sours, don’t get me wrong, but like when I saw the description Pina Colada flavored beer, I was just like hmm tried it. Oh my goodness was it absolutely delicious. You know the vibe in Wicked Weed in terms of like the restaurant, the taproom brew scene, it was just really fun. We went at night, that’s where we met those people that Bernie was talking about where their whole trip was stopping at the cities along the blue Ridge Parkway. So you could go there with friends, you could go there to meet people, socialize, really fun atmosphere in Wicked Weed. We loved it a lot. And you know we kind of mentioned earlier they’re known for their beer.

3 (31m 59s):
Funk Auditorium is another great place to go actually. Owned by Wicked Weed. Yes, correct. But Funk Auditorium is the East Coast’s first dedicated taproom of only sours. So if you love Sours and if you know about Bri, Britney, Brittany loves Sours might be her favorite beers we had to go to Funk to.

1 (32m 17s):
Yeah they also serve like food there as well. And what I really loved about these breweries is they have just like those long tables so that like you’re sitting with other people, they don’t have like two person tables, like the tables are the longer benches and tables. So we were literally having conversations with people that were sitting to the left of us and to the right of us. Like the couple that we were talking to on the left of us was from like Oklahoma, Arkansas area and they were talking to us about some of the travelers that they did and they were more like our age. And then the people on the right of us were a little bit older, they were probably in like 50 sixties, their daughter was getting married, they were doing this huge road trip hitting off cities off the blue Ridge Parkway.

1 (33m 0s):
They were telling us about like their adventures in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Fork. They were just telling us different areas that they recommend us to visit. They were from, where was it

3 (33m 10s):
From? They were actually from Maryland. And if you remember Kim, do you remember how, you know you were hyping up Gatlinburg, you loved it Brittany and I loved it but I said it was kind of a little bit too commercialized in a cheesy way, but still with enough class. Like we were trying to say it was like hot springs but I thought it wasn’t like Hot Springs and I was telling them at the table like oh I thought it was basically like a mountain town, ocean city, Maryland, you know, kind of like all towards families having the mini golf kind of like that way. And he was the one who agreed, he looked at his wife and said, see I said the exact same thing about Gallup

1 (33m 46s):
But we had a great time just like socializing, being out, having a beer, talking about other things to do in Asheville. I think one of the couples was saying that they were going to dedicate a full day to the Biltmore State and then another couple was also skipping it because they also were focusing more on the nature aspects of it. But there’s so much to do in Asheville and like depending on what you wanna do, if you want to eat really good, there’s a lot of good restaurant there. The downtown area is really walkable. Every time you walk down a street in the downtown area you pass a brewery consistently. So there’s no shortage of breweries in the area as well. And I know Kim, you had mentioned that it makes a list for like beer cities in the US It definitely has. I think it’s been surpassed by other areas but now I think it’s now been like named the beer capital of the east coast.

1 (34m 32s):
So yeah, that

2 (34m 34s):
Was actually one of our questions of the week was does it live up to its beer reputation? And

1 (34m 40s):
I think when you’re in the downtown area, yes it does for sure. Everyone’s looking to go to a new brewery brewery hop, they have like those fun like bike tours and things like that.

3 (34m 50s):
Yeah, it reminded me almost of San Diego cuz San Diego has the reputation of the west coast like kind of brew capital a little bit. And so you know this Kim, if you’re in certain areas of San Diego you could hop from like brewery to brewery and just kind of like make an evening of it, try beers from all over the place. But you know, San Diego’s a lot larger than Asheville. So what I liked about Asheville is a lot of that was kind of concentrated in the downtown area. So you could make the evening of just parking in one spot and walking all around downtown. Whereas in San Diego you can kind of do that in neighborhoods but you really can’t explore everywhere like you can in that Asheville. So I really liked that aspect about it a lot.

2 (35m 26s):
When you guys were in Asheville, did you stay in a hotel or an Airbnb that was close enough to walk to the downtown restaurants and breweries? We

1 (35m 35s):
Did not. We actually stayed at a place that was like a timeshare. So our little place was a studio so it had a fireplace, it had a mini kitchen in it and obviously like a bathroom and all of that, but it looked like a small studio timeshare and it was really cute. So we didn’t stay in the downtown area and it was pretty affordable. I wanna say it was like probably around 120 to 140 versus the downtown areas were a lot more expensive. Like what are we talking closer to two to two 50 depending on like how nice you wanna get and like what area you wanna be in.

3 (36m 15s):
So it’s nice for the convenience but my thought is save that a hundred dollars spread and go get yourself some beverages in beer town and also food. And one of our favorite things to do when we travel, especially if you’re in the right region, is try different regional barbecue And we’re in North Carolina, they have barbecue out there so we did want to eat at some barbecue places. So we have a couple recommendations for you. One of them is gonna be called Bears Smokehouses. It’s actually a food truck but behind the food truck they have a little spot where you can go inside and actually eat inside. So on that hot summer day you get some ac, you don’t really have to eat outside but oh my god, we got something called the Super Spud, which is basically like a large baked potato, but it was topped with mac and cheese, mac and cheese, cheese, cheese, sour cream, bacon, red onion, and of course your choice of barbecue meat.

3 (37m 11s):
It was exceptional, I loved it. So if you want like barbecue but not really like barbecue in that sense, get everything on top and piled on that baked potato. Oh man it was heavenly. Was it

1 (37m 24s):
Enough for you two to share? It was enough for the two of us to share. I was looking at pictures online, I was, and I, we went for lunch and I wasn’t super hungry but I was like I wanna try this. And we shared it and it was definitely enough for the both of us and it was so good. Like I would love to recreate that even at home because it was just so delicious. Baked potato, mac and cheese like and topped with meat and sour cream and bacon and everything. It was just so good.

3 (37m 52s):
Side note, kind of on that Kim, we found a place in Rosarito just south of the border here for me and Brittany that makes tacos this way. They take a baked potato and then they top it kind of with your taco meat and all your other stuff. Absolute guacamole, absolutely delicious. So taking a cuisine, putting it on top of a baked potato I am a fan of and they do a real good at Bear smokehouse with that super split.

1 (38m 19s):
So one thing, you know Jamal said we love to try different barbecues in the area. So the Carolina barbecue is actually focused more on pork. So we saw a lot of pulled pork products, things like that. And the pork is usually in the, the barbecue si sauce is a little bit more vinegar compared to Texas barbecue.

2 (38m 39s):
We had that in South Carolina wasn’t a big sand and and so they had that in North Carolina too.

1 (38m 45s):
Yeah, the Carolinas are known for like they’re pork and then they’re vinegar based barbecue sauce. So I mean I am not from that area. Like I’m sure if I grew up in that area and that’s what you knew, like maybe that’s what you love. But of course like in comparison I feel like, like my favorite is Texas barbecue, that’s Texas. Woo. But yeah, so the same thing that we saw and tasted in kind of like the South Carolina region is the same in North Carolina as well. So we did go to another place called Luella’s. So that had really good reviews. We got like a two meat combo tray, we did ribs and a brisket. It was okay, I don’t know if it’s just like we’re so used to Texas barbecue fall off the, the bone rib that’s in, like that’s

2 (39m 29s):
A, that’s a minimum piece of what makes a good quality rib has to fall off the bone

1 (39m 34s):
And the brisket has to have a good amount of like marbling of fat. Like you don’t want dry brisket or lean, who wants lean brisket? Not me. So it was okay, like I would probably give it another chance. I would say the sides were better than like the actual meat that we enjoyed but it is highly rated for the area.

3 (39m 54s):
Yeah shows up as like one of the best places to get barbecue and again it could have just been also on top of that not our style of barbecue as much as we like to try it. Yeah, you know, I remember when we were in Tennessee, which again close right by North Carolina, they do dry ribs, right? They don’t even put any sauce on the ribs whatsoever. It’s just kind of like a crust of the seasoning. So every place is different. So if it’s the style that you like, I’m sure you’ll absolutely love it. But I think that’s why Brittany and I really love that super spud from Bears smokehouse cuz it’s like it was really, really good meat then just like on a smorgasbord of that baked potato. So highly recommend that and definitely give Lou as a tribe because it’s highly rated and of course you never know, you can always go on a bad day and maybe that was the case for Brittany and I at Luella’s.

2 (40m 39s):
Now, before we go into my favorite time of the week, is there anything else you think the audience should know about Asheville? Should they go?

1 (40m 47s):
Absolutely, they should go. It’s just the perfect combination, so many different things. Nature, which is my favorite thing and what, what I’m drawn to. But then food, which is probably the second thing I’m drawn to along with drinks. So it was like all of that plus acute downtown area when we were in other areas of the south, like you’re very limited to American dining choices and like in this downtown, if you wanted Thai food for example, you can get Thai or Indian food. So there was more diversity in this area. Still quaint enough, but definitely growing as a city in general. And I think it’s definitely worth the visit if you’re in that part of the US or if you’re doing a road trip of the south, it should not be

3 (41m 29s):
Missed. I would say absolutely it has a good mix of everything Brittany just mentioned it’s large but not too large. Small, but not too small has that quaintness has nature mix of everything we do wanna go back and I would definitely fly specifically here from the west coast for a long weekend to go to Asheville, just to be like, yeah, we’re going back to Asheville. So absolutely wholeheartedly Asheville is worth the visit.

2 (41m 55s):
Wow, sounds like it has it all. All right, it’s time for questions of the week. Our first question is coming in from Joe, coming from Delaware. And Joe’s question is, you know, knowing North Carolina and the South can be quite conservative, is Asheville the same or is Asheville true to some of the rumors that are out there that it’s a little bit more of a liberal city? Like, and I’m just gonna add onto this question. When you were there, did you get the vibe of anything? I know sometimes people worry about that depending on either side that they’re on. Is it going to be a very liberal city or a very conservative city?

2 (42m 39s):
What was your vibe when you got there?

1 (42m 41s):
I definitely felt like it was more liberal than some of the other cities that we were visiting in the South for sure. I feel like I saw like the rainbow flags and things like that at some places. So I feel like they were more accepting of different types of people and I think again, like I mentioned with their downtown area, they had more diversity just in the food and inclusion that they had. So I did feel like a more liberal vibe here. I think there’s still parts of it that are conservative, so it’s not like overly in your face San Francisco, but you know, it was, it was a good mix

3 (43m 19s):
Or Portland for that matter. And that’s kind of what I was trying to articulate before. And I love this actual question from Joe. So yeah, I mean it has that mix of both, but I wouldn’t describe it as liberal or conservative. I would say it’s honestly a happy medium. You know, I described it not too big of a city, not too small. It’s right in the middle and it’s a good mishmash of both. And I think anybody, regardless of where you are, is gonna feel comfortable in this

2 (43m 44s):
City. All right, and our second question coming in from Zach out of Fullerton, California. And Zach wants to know what were the typical costs of things? You talk about beer or your meals, we already mentioned the hotel cost. Zach’s curious about how much things are costing so he can budget for his trip and he also said he’ll be bringing a date so he’ll be paying for two.

3 (44m 4s):
Well Zach, very kind of you to be buying the date and wanting to treat. So in terms of cost, I would say any one of the breweries that you go to, you know, typical, you’re gonna be looking at anywhere between seven to $9 for typical pint. If it’s a high alcohol content, one or a porter or a stout, you know, a lot of times they will not even give you a full pint, it’ll be the eight ounces and sometimes those range to $12. So I don’t think you’re gonna find anything inexpensive when you go to the brewery, especially because it is a big draw of people coming to Asheville specifically for that. And in terms of the food cost, I would say it’s average for any anywhere else in the us.

3 (44m 47s):
I wouldn’t say the food was overly expensive. I wouldn’t say it’s inexpensive either. So I would say that you’re just looking at really average costs. I wouldn’t say that it’s gonna be inexpensive or overly expensive.

1 (44m 59s):
Yeah, I would also agree with that. Like for example, the massive baked potato that we got topped with everything, it was about $13. And I wanna say if you’re doing like meat by the pound, depending on the type of meat that you got, like pulled pork was around $16 a pound. But like I wanna say the brisket and Bris were more like 22 to 24, which I feel like is equivalent to Texas.

3 (45m 22s):
Right. But you’re talking barbecue. Barbecue by nature is always more expensive than a lot of other places too. So if you’re eating at a regular restaurant that they have in, they’re like one of those Thai places that you said it’s not gonna be outrageous. The expense of like $20 for a curry, you know, it’s the average prices.

1 (45m 38s):
Yeah, average prices for sure.

2 (45m 39s):
Wow. It really is the most moderate city I’ve ever known.

1 (45m 44s):
And you don’t even know it yet. You’ve just heard of it, you have to go experience it Kim.

3 (45m 48s):
But that’s in a good way too moderate, in a good way, Kim actually in a great way.

2 (45m 52s):
Well, you guys have got me really excited to visit. You know, everything I knew about it before and now knowing your experience and getting your blue check mark approval, I cannot wait to go now. It’s just a matter of finding the time to make it out there. So thank you Squatty so much for tuning into our episode this week. Make sure to keep the adventures going with us on YouTube TikTok Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast, and send us in your questions of the

3 (46m 14s):
Week. If you found the information, this episode would be useful, or if you thought we were just playing funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that you know is gonna enjoy it too. And as always, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes.

1 (46m 29s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode. We have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you.

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