Our office at the cabin
Asheville is an eco-friendly enclave for the socially conscious and accepting. Coffee shops and kale juices are easy to come by. The Sunday farmers market is an artisanal organic stroll for your body and home.
This mountain town in western North Carolina is full of inviting bookshops, coffeeshops and tasty eateries. On the weekend, live music can be found on many a corner. The Great Smoky Mountains layer the horizon like still blue ocean waves.
More hippie than hipster, what better place to choose our first organic farm to call home for the night. And within about 20 minutes of arrival, we adjusted our plans to make it two nights.
About 20 minutes outside of downtown Asheville, we stayed on Franny’s Farm. Two eco-cabins sit atop a hill with a shared solar powered professional chef’s kitchen. The interior of the sleeping cabins do not have electricity, but with a few lanterns we have for camping and a bright, print blanket offered for our use, it’s an inviting space with lofted ceilings and smells of fresh cedar.
The separate, private showers are impeccably clean and there is warm water. There are also pristine bathrooms and easy access to all these amenities for those who are unsure about cabin life in the Appalachian foothills.
Come in the fall for the Barnaroo live music festival at Franny’s Farm.
SWEET PEAS, SAGE AND WICKED WEED
After a day of perusing the shops College Street – Duncan & York, 16 Patton Gallery – and getting your afternoon coffee fix at Bomba! it’s probably 5 o’clock somewhere.
Standing in front of the Grove Inn, noted for its “Arts and Crafts” style of architecture
Asheville attracts one million visitors annually to The Biltmore Estate – the largest privately-owned home in the United States built by George Washington Vanderbilt in the late 1880s. For a taste of luxury without the crowds, one need only go to the Grove Park Inn. This century old hotel has accommodated 10 U.S. Presidents and a multitude of notable scientists, politicians and authors. Notably, F. Scott Fitzgerald called the Grove Park Inn home for two years whilst his wife was in a nearby insane asylum. The two rooms he occupied – 441 and 443 – are available for guests today (and one of the rooms maintains its 1930s decor).
Flight of Beer: Round One
For slightly different atmosphere, head over to the Wicked Weed Funkatorium. With two menu pages (8″ x 11″) of their own home brews and experimental crafts, patrons can taste an array of unique concoctions at long farmhouse tables with the barrels in view.
They also have a stellar canapés menu for those of us who enjoy a cheeseboard with wine and beer.
The star of the show was Nolte Blueberry Chipotle Stout – a dark stout with a dry finish, and slight spicy and smooth undertones without being sour or fruity.
The outdoors: The surrounding area of Asheville is know for its hot springs and hikes. Locals directed us to Max Patch in the Great Smoky Mountains too feel atop of the world.
The town center: If you are looking to sleep cheap and cheerful in downtown Asheville – while I cannot recount from personal experience – check out the Sweet Peas Hostel. It looked adorable and inviting, and notably the first hostel I’ve seen in the U.S. that does not look incredibly sketchy and to-be-avoided. If you do go, I’d love to hear about it, leave your experience in the comments.
Localism: most garbage bins are labelled “landfill.”