I’ve called Asheville home for the last eight years, and since I’ve been here a lot has changed – more restaurants, more breweries, and more people. Through all these changes and growth, I’ve developed favorite places, some old and some new, that I’d love to share with you for a memorable day in Asheville.

First, Coffee and Donuts

First, start out with coffee and donuts at Hole. The yeast donuts are made in front of you while your sipping your delicious coffee, perched on a stool or a sitting at a table. They are old fashioned airy donuts dripping with classic vanilla glaze you won’t want to put down. Want something more substantial? Try Over Easy downtown for a hash bowl, perfectly cooked egg or waffles.

Photo of Black Balsam Know courtesy of Alesha Guard.

Now, Adventure

After the sugar and coffee has kicked in it’s time for an adventure! Start driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway to mile marker 420.2 for a hike to Black Balsam Knob. This hike offers instant gratification from the start. The views on the drive up are spectacular, and once you reach the peak you will be taking in breathtaking, 360 views of the Blue Ridge mountains. The hike is out and back so you can hike for as long as you like and return to the car. If you return in July or August, the blueberries are prolific – so bring a couple of buckets for collecting them.


Black Bean Chicken for Lunch

Now, it’s time to grab some lunch at Gan Shan Station – a gem on Charlotte Street in North Asheville. Gan Shan serves Asian food, inspired by East Asian cultures of Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, China, Japan, and Singapore. The black bean chicken bowl is the best meal in town, but I’ve honestly never had anything that I didn’t like at this restaurant.


Spa Time

For a relaxing afternoon, I recommend spending a few hours at the Grove Park Inn Spa. After getting a massage or another relaxing treatment, you can enjoy the various swimming pools and hot tubs in a cave-like atmosphere. The views of the mountains from the Grove Park Inn are spectacular and the porch is a great place to enjoy a cocktail or meal.



Now it’s time to head downtown for some shopping and more eating. My favorite shops can be found on Lexington Avenue. There’s Minx, a women’s boutique; Old North with both men’s and women’s clothing; and of course Tops for Shoes, the family owned shoe store that sells any type of shoe to finish off your new favorite outfit. Malaprop’s, the best book store ever, is a couple of streets over. Peruse the staff picks for a new book, or the wall of local writers to learn more about the area.


After your shopping spree, head over to Hemingway’s Cuba, a new roof top bar and restaurant that provides yet another spectacular view of the mountains and sunset. The cocktails are refreshing, and the atmosphere is vibrant and festive. It’s a great place to catch the sunset and relax and people watch on the comfy couches.


The Best Tapas

Next, grab some dinner at Curate, my pick for the best restaurant in town. This bustling eatery serves amazing and authentic Spanish tapas paired with a fantastic wine. You need to make reservations two months ahead of time to get in here, so go ahead and make reservations once you finish reading this because you don’t want to miss the croquetas de pollo and albondigas.

After dinner, walk over to Sovereign Remedies for a cocktail and some dessert. If you’re into cocktails though, I can’t keep up with the new places. Check out this blog if you want more options.


I Have Not Forgotten About the Beer

After this amazing day, get some rest for another wonderful day in Asheville. There are so many unique places in this town that you’d need a week here and a very large appetite for food, drinks and adventures. And, yes, I know that I have not even touched on the beer – I love a good hoppy beer and recommend the Iron Rail IPA at the Wedge in their relaxed outdoor atmosphere by the river. But to be honest, I can’t keep up with the growing beer scene, so I am going to direct you to the experts at Asheville Brewery Tours to guide you in that arena.


Enjoy your visit to Asheville, it’s a lovely place!

Written by Mary Frances Kiffmeyer, Marketing Coordinator, McGill Associates