David’s birthday is next week and like most men, he is quite difficult to shop for. There isn’t a lot of things he wants, but what I can always count on being a hit is an experience. Back before we had kids we always did weekend getaways instead of gifts. Those weekends aren’t as easy to come by anymore, but with a lot of planning and Mema’s loving helping hands, I was able to whisk David away to Asheville for a fun-packed, 24-hour whirlwind.
Oh Asheville NC, I love you. I’ve heard it called the Boulder (CO) of the east, and though I see the similarities, I think it warrants its own reputation. It has an eclectic, artsy, farm-to-fork feel that the entire city embodies. Now where to start…
Asheville is about a 2 hour drive from us, so Saturday morning we kissed the girls, took off and were in the city by 11:00 am. Our first stop was at Green Sage, one of my favorite little coffeehouse cafes. Full of kombucha on tap and freshed-pressed juices, it was a tough call, but ultimately I ended up going with the Buttercup Coffee (a drip coffee blended with extra virgin coconut oil and grass-fed butter).
It was slightly creamy and coconutty and tasty in its own right, so I didn’t need to add a thing. Still, I couldn’t help but squeal in delight at the offerings for condiments.
How many places are coconut milk and sorghum syrup available as add-ins?
We wandered the city, stopping by chocolate shops and admiring local art.
I wanted that cow painting on the right so badly and it was only $50! If I had any place to put it, it would have been mine. I also deeply considered the fancied-up set up for boxed wine.
Eventually our stomachs started growling so we headed for Wicked Weed Brewery, which was slammed starting the moment it opened. It was my first time there and it didn’t take me long to agree with the general sentiment that it is a COOL spot.
They offer a wide variety of their own beers, plus an impressive menu. We grabbed lunch and indulged in an ale and an IPA.
From there we wandered to another nearby brewery- Green Man Brewery before I started to get the itch to take off to our destination for the evening, the Historic Omni Grove Park Inn.
I wouldn’t be surprised if most of you already know of this incredibly beautiful hotel; it’s certainly has a shining reputation of Southern hospitality and rich heritage. I was honored that they offered me a complimentary night’s stay for our visit. David and I have stayed here before, back in December of 2009 when we were fully-fledged into weekend getaways instead of gifts. That time of year they have the most magnificent gingerbread houses on display!
Despite no gingerbread houses in January, David and I spent over an hour exploring and reading its history, which is beautifully displayed throughout the hotel. The list of guests that have stayed here reads like a page right out of a US history book.
We spent time by the grand fireplaces in the lobby, which are literally bigger than I am, and took every window we passed as the opportunity to soak in the mountain view. I am most definitely a mountain girl.
We kept the party going with signature drinks. The American Smash (Tito’s vodka muddles with lemons, basil, strawberries and sugar) for me and bourbon with ginger beer for the gentleman.
We made reservations at the Blue Ridge Buffet on property, then headed to the room to dress for the evening.
Another surprise for David was tickets to the Grove Park’s Big Band Weekend. We were told anything more than business casual would suffice, but the opportunity to dress up rarely presents itself, so we decided to go all out.
Does anyone else take on a different persona when dressed to the nines? Oh I just love it! We took off to dinner feeling quite elegant and I was grateful the dress was loose enough to allow me to fully enjoy the buffet. I left my nice camera behind, but ended up having to pull out the iphone to try and do the food justice because
plates later we finally threw in the towel.
From there we were off to the grand ballroom, not quite knowing what to expect from the evening. We arrived to see a large brass band set up on stage and many ladies and gentlemen dressed in their best. The dance floor was hopping with everything from the foxtrot to the two step. The atmosphere was lively and we wasted no time heading to the dance floor.
We brought the average age down by at least 30 years, but we did our best to keep up with all the movers and shakers tearin’ it up. It was a BALL. My photos didn’t do it justice, but I did snag this clip. Don’t mind my cheesy wink!
We danced until close to 10:00 pm I’d guess before deciding we needed continue the evening at Elaine’s Dueling Piano Bar. You guys, somehow we channeled our inner 20 year old selves because we shut the place down. I can’t even tell you the last time we’ve had such a footloose and fancy-free evening!
The next morning we made one last stop downtown to grab breakfast at The Early Girl Eatery. This famous spot, like so many other Asheville restaurants, focuses heavily on locally sourced food. We split some pumpkin gingerbread before I face-planted into the Early Girl Benny, which is grit cakes topped with tomato, spinach, poached eggs, tomato gravy and avocado. I added ham too because… well why not?!
I think the picture speaks the deliciousness for itself.
We headed home after that to hug to girls and thank David’s mom for being a rock star Mema- the girls had so much fun! I’ll be completely honest, we were total bums yesterday afternoon and it felt so good.
Happy early birthday to my best friend and love of my life! And Thank you, Omni Grove Park Inn, for hosting us in your fabulous accommodations!
Have you ever been to Asheville?
What is your favorite spot?
Jennifer Woodall says
Oh my! Asheville is my most favorite city!! We travel to Waynesville, NC every year which is about 30 miles west of Asheville! We stay at a B&B, Andon Reid Inn! Last year we decided to spend a day in Asheville and it was so much fun! We did the Pubcycle brew tour. That was a lot of fun! Ate lunch at Lexington Avenue Brewery and Tupelo Honey Cafe! I stalked your IG page over the weekend to see where you were at next! I promise I’m not a total creeper! lol! I am a Mountain girl all the way and in another life I would move there in a heartbeat! But for now I’ll keep my place over here in Wilson, NC. We’ve never been to the Grove Park, but it is now on my list of to-do’s. You should check out the Andon-Reid Inn sometime! I can bet you guys would love it! Glad to see you guys had fun! I truly enjoy reading your blog!
Brittany Dixon says
Haha, you made me giggle- not a creeper at all! 🙂 I will definitely look up Andon-Reid, as I love B&Bs. Waynesville is actually one location we considered for our wedding 7 years ago! We ended up in North GA, but still, such a beautiful place.
John J. says
Such a terrific place to have fun celebrating David’s birthday. We loved it there as well, adding on the fabulous Biltmore mansion. Glad you guys had such a fabulous getaway! Elegant definitely described you two!
You guys look lovely together and you give me big motivation to do things together with my hubby. We love to spend our time with our daughter but spending time as a couple is also important.
I was JUST there this past weekend too! I am from MInnesota and my husband and I were on a road trip from Georgia to Minnesota. We decided to head to Asheville vs Charlotte and so glad we did! We went to the Wicked Weed too. Also, Farm Burger, the Country Kitchen and the Biltmore house! All so good and the house was Amazing!
Brittany Dixon says
Too funny what a small world! I actually walked by Farm Burger and told David that next time I really wanted to go there. It looked like such a great little spot! So glad you had a fun time!!
Alyssa @ Renaissancerunnergirl says
This looks like such a wonderful weekend getaway! I know what you mean about men being hard to shop for, but everyone appreciates time away. And I’ve wanted to go to Asheville for awhile, all the history and art in a little Carolina mountain town would be amazing to experience. So glad you did.
Wonderful weekend! but you NEED to provide details on the DRESS!!!! ha! You and your hubby look absolutely stunning.
Brittany Dixon says
Aw well thank you so much!!! It’s actually a bridesmaids dress from my friend Kristin’s wedding! …and people say you never wear them again 😉
Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) says
That looks like an incredibly fun weekend getaway! I didn’t realize you’re only two hours from Asheville! That is so cool! It’s funny because people I know who’ve visited say it’s the East Coast’s SF. haha. My sister-in-law bought me a cookbook from a restaurant there called Tupelo Honey. I’d love to visit someday! Also, you look so beautiful in that dress!!!
Brittany Dixon says
Yes Tupelo Honey is another famous spot that is always packed! They actually just opened another location in Charlotte too. I have yet to make it there but always hear good things 🙂
What a great weekend. Looks like tons of fun. How do you decide where to travel and what to do when away?
I’m always wondering where to go to get away and what fun things to do while there. Breweries are always great.
Brittany Dixon says
In this situation, I am familiar with Asheville so I had a pretty good idea of what to do/where to go. Otherwise I am all about word of mouth referrals from friends and blogs. I’ve found the coolest spots that way!
Alyssa McQ says
Love Asheville– my in-laws live just south of there, so we make our way up there at least 4-5 times a year and it’s amazing to see how much more is going on downtown than there was when i first went up there 8 years ago! I love the creativity of both the menu and the beers at Wicked Weed but it’s tough to get in there– so crowded! I also really love Barley’s Pizza– they have a ton of local beers and we’ve always had a great time there with our friends. Recently, we’ve really enjoyed the restaurant at the Sierra Nevada brewery– great small plates and beers on tap and the space is just gorgeous. There can be a wait there too for a table, but the community tables are a lot of fun to share too. Sounds like you guys had a great time!
Brittany Dixon says
It was crazy how packed Wicked Weed was from the moment it opened! My inlaws live fairly close to Asheville too and recently did the Sierra Nevada tour. It’s on my list; sounds like so much fun!
what a fun weekend! Asheville is about 3 hours from me so we go there often! Early Girl is one of my favorites!
Erin @ Her Heartland Soul says
What a fun way to celebrate your husband’s birthday! Also I love that picture of you two at the bar!
Liz @ I Heart Vegetables says
What a fun weekend! I’ve never been to Asheville but I have a good friend that lives there so I’m planning a visit! Happy Birthday, David!!
You look amazing in that dress! Sounds like such a fun getaway! Happy b-day to David!
Such a fun weekend! You look gorgeous. Question: do you always keep such fancy dresses in your closet or did you rent one? I’m torn on buying a L game dress for special occasions but hate wearing them over and over
Brittany Dixon says
So full confession: It’s a bridesmaid dress! All credit should go to my friend Kristin who picked them out for us. It’s one of two long dresses I own. I have done rent the runway before and loved it, but this worked out perfectly for this particular event 🙂
Looks like tons of fun! Asheville was where I learned that I too, am a mountains girl! We loved to take weekend trips there but we spent our days hiking and then hitting up the local dog friendly cafes. My all time favorite place to visit in Asheville is Mount Mitchell. Not a place to visit in the winter, but amazing when it’s warmer!!
(PS- I made breakfast burritos and spicy sweet potato chili to throw in the freezer… it was a very HSoL weekend!)
Brittany Dixon says
Yes I love all the dog-friendly spots! So cool. I’ll have to google Mount Mitchell. And YAY! I’m so glad you like the burritos and chili! 🙂
So awesome! I went to Asheville with my parents when I was younger. They visit the grove park inn almost annually. I want to go check it out!!
Stunning—you and David! I too love the mountains. The Biltmore gardens are gorgeous in the summer. We tried to get into the Early Girl Eatery when we were there but we were too hungry for the hour wait. Enjoyed the pictures and comments!
What a fun weekend! Do you know the name of the place with all the cow pics?! I’ve been on a mission to find one with a cow face like that ever since I saw one a few years back that I didn’t get (serious regret).
Asheville is the best! We were most recently there for our anniversary in August. The best thing we did was a food tour…samplings at six or seven different restaurants along with drink pairings. So much fun! You would love it!
We did a quick Biltmore visit when we were staying in the Smoky Mts, but I’d love to do a dedicated Asheville long weekend.
Lauren @ Oh Hey! I Like That! says
I went for the first time last November, and Asheville is now one of my favorite places in the world! We ate at Early Girl and wanted to go to Wicked Weed, but it was closed for a private party. We’re planning to go back again this year, and hopefully it will be in December to see all the great Christmas stuff!
Rosey Rebecca says
Oh man! You were in my city! Let me know the next time you’re here- I LOVE Green Sage and Wicked Weed!! Glad you had fun!
Asheville is the Best! It has the so many great getaway places. Fun post Brittany!
Sounds like you planned an amazing birthday weekend! My husband and I *love* Asheville as well. Early Girl is SO yummy and Grove Park is the best!