Looking for a quick weekend getaway, Mr. Bug and I thought Asheville, NC located in the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, would be the perfect spot. We decided to go in October to take advantage of the superb weather and fall foliage. The trip did not disappoint! We lucked out with 70 degrees and clear skies all weekend.
We purchased 2-day tickets to Biltmore from Costco (2-day admission for the price of 1-day admission) and decided that the majority of our time this visit would be at the Biltmore to get the most bang for our buck.
If you can, get to Biltmore early in the morning to enjoy the house tour without being elbow to elbow with complete strangers. Built in 1895, the house is a massive 175,000 sq. ft. with 250 rooms, 65 fireplaces, an indoor pool, and a bowling alley. The self-guided tour (included in the admission ticket price) covers three floors plus the basement.
Another great way to avoid the crowds on a busy weekend is to take in the beautiful scenery on a hike of the 8,000 acre estate grounds. We recommend the Deer Park trail that meanders through the open meadows and down to the Lagoon and French Broad River. Plan ahead and pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the riverbank.
Do not miss a stroll through the luscious and varied gardens, designed by landscape architecture Frederick Law Olmsted (designer of Central Park). The Azalea and Spring Gardens were our favorite. Make sure to stop at the Bass Pond for amazing views.
After working up a thirst hiking and walking the immense property grounds, hop in your car and drive the 5 miles to Antler Hill Village and Winery. The complimentary wine tasting is included in the price of the Biltmore admission. There is no limit on the number of tastings so you can try all of the wines if you’d like. If you want to avoid the lines, go to the wine bar and purchase a premium tasting flight. You get three tastings for $8 that includes wines that are not available at the complimentary tasting. It also gives you a great chance to talk with the servers and learn a bit more about the wines. Make sure to grab a winery tour ticket BEFORE you go to the tasting. We did not realize this so ended up having to wait about 45 minutes. The wine tour is short but informative. You will see where the wines are made and get a brief history on champagne. An important fact to note is that most of the grapes are not grown on site; they are flown in from all over, with the majority coming from California.
After you’ve worked up an appetite, stop by Cedric’s Tavern, located across the terrace from the winery. If you can, sit outside on the patio to enjoy the weather. If you are there on a Friday or Saturday, sing and dance along with the live band at the Alive After 5 event.
Before you head home, make sure to check out the museum which offers lots of information about the history of the Vanderbilt family.
Beer lovers should definitely check out the many microbreweries that Asheville has to offer. We stopped by Wicked Weed brewery where Mr. Bug had two beer flights and was very impressed. Even I found a beer that I liked; a seasonal brew, caramel apple ale. Absolutely delicious beer, which is saying a lot since I am not a beer fan. Go downstairs to the tasting room. The atmosphere is very laid back and there was a live band on Sunday afternoon when we were there.
Downtown Asheville is very quirky and you will experience all types of people from college students, families, hippies, to retirees. Stroll along the streets and stop at the various art galleries, shops, and restaurants.
Just a short walk down the street from Wicked Weed is Curate Tapas Bar. Ranked #1 on Trip Advisor, you do not want to miss this! We weren’t very hungry when we visited so we only got two tapas, the tabla de jamon and the pan con tomate with manchego cheese. The table de jamon is a selection of three cured hams and the pan con tomate is toasted bread with tomato fresco with manchego cheese on top. Mouthwatering good!! We are looking forward to going back to sample more on our next visit.
If you are looking for breathtaking views while enjoying a glass of wine and a casual meal, head over to Edison at Grove Park Inn. Edison is a good choice to enjoy the sweeping mountain views at half the price of the other restaurants at the inn.
We chose to split a grilled cheese sandwich and fries. Let me tell you this is not your standard grilled cheese. This one comes with three cheeses, herbs, and bacon along with a creamy tomato soup dip. Yum!
Breakdown of costs for weekend trip to Asheville, NC:
|Hotel||2 nights, breakfast included||$337.00|
|Biltmore Estate||(2) 2-day admission tickets||$86.00|
|Transportation||1 tank of gas||$30.00|
|Dinner at Cedric’s Tavern||2 entrees, 2 beers, 2 wines, tip||$70.00|
|Wicked Weed Brewery||2 beer flights||$20.00|
|Dinner at Edison||1 entrée, 2 beers, 1 large wine, tip||$50.00|
We could have made the weekend cheaper but we definitely splurged on our dinners plus hotels are at peak season prices in October, but we thought it was worth it to go when the leaves were vibrant colors and the chance was very high for great weather to enjoy the scenery.
Overall, we had an amazing time in Asheville and can’t wait to visit again. What about you, what are your favorite weekend getaway locations? Let us know!