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  • Sean M.

City Escape: Asheville, North Carolina

With summer coming to an end after what seemed to be the longest August ever, I was happy to close it off with a birthday celebration for my friend Austin. Fortunately enough for us two city-lovers, our friend Annie also joined who considers herself an Asheville local.

She was so obviously excited when we finally got into town, sharing stories and fond memories of her time here. After a long drive we were definitely ready for some tasty food which is how we ended up at Foggy Mountain Brew Pub. It was quietly tucked away off the main street with tidy and quick service. First we ordered drinks. Austin and I obviously went for the brightly-colored house margaritas. Annie quickly recommended the burgers; they were ½ lb Brisket/Chuck blend. One smothered in white cheddar and bacon and the other in mushrooms and Swiss. Equally delicious and only $12? A steal compared to any major city menu I’ve seen. On top of that, the fries were perfectly seasoned. The next time I’m in town you’ll find me here without a doubt.

As you can see, Annie was clearly excited for her wings almost as much as we were to get to the cabin. With our bellies full we scurried off into the mountains to start the weekend. 30 minutes later after some very questionable inclines we successfully made it. The property was a classic rustic style, perched up high with all sorts of amenities. For our group of 8 it was the perfect option and obviously an adult playground including: media/game room, outdoor spa, grill, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 3 decks and breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was one of those places where no matter the weather, it was picturesque and ever changing. Appropriately named the “Appalachian House“, it was a dream.

Our next full day was spent celebrating the birthday boy himself. We had mimosas, enjoyed some cinnamon rolls and eventually ventured back into town. There were plenty of unique stores, including a local honey shop which had flavors I really did not expect. Spiced Chai Honey anyone? The passerby’s were friendly, relaxed and wearing masks which truly made me feel welcomed and comfortable. If I’m being honest, I certainly had my reservations about the south and how they’ve been handling the ongoing pandemic. I was pleasantly surprised. Soon later, we stopped in for lunch at White Duck Taco, which in my opinion is a must. Reasonably priced with a wide variety of options, all of which fill you up. The Fried Pork Belly Taco was superb, and pork is normally not my thing. I ended up ordering three and was completely full - it was time to head back to relax.

Later that evening we met up with the rest of the crew at the cabin and officially began enjoying ourselves. Annie and I soaked in the breathtaking views over cocktails while Austin and his longtime friends caught up, and caught up. We cooked and laughed, drank and played games. The next day we headed back into town for shopping as well as checking out some additional spots including: Urban Orchard Cider Co which had an awesome Champagne Ginger Cider, and Summit Coffee for a pick-me-up (plus lot’s of cool graffiti). Our last meal out was spent at this fantastic brunch spot called Biscuit Head - just make sure you get there before they close at 2!

Of course we ate and drank, but we also did our best to get some physical activity and fresh air. A day or so later a few of us hopped in the car, driving about an hour away to Crabtree Falls. It was a Monday morning so luckily for us hardly anyone was there, perfect for social distancing. The landscape was lush and vibrant with plenty of surrounding park space and flower fields. What was the highlight of the hike? Of course the waterfall halfway through. The temperature combined with the humidity was completely different than that of DC. It was clean and crisp and the sound was equal parts roaring yet calming. You can see the scale was insane and just for reference, Austin is 6’6”. The views just never stopped; it was quite literally a breath of fresh air.

Overall it was one of the best trips I’ve taken in a while and I’m fortunate enough to visit many places. It was a longer drive, about 7 hours from DC, however I’m used to the 8 hour drive up north to visit my family. It was the perfect combination of city and seclusion. After all these months pent up in the District it was the “something different” I needed. I hope you all get to visit sometime and if so, I promise I won’t steer you wrong. Until next time, AVL.

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