Monday, August 6, 2012

Hittin the Road: Asheville, NC

Early Thursday morning we hit the road for a long weekend visit with some of our closest friends who live down in Asheville, North Carolina. You may remember me talking about Emily before here on the blog — she now lives in Asheville with J, her fiance, who also works at Etsy. All 3 of us used to live in NYC but have since moved back down South.
Tim has been to Asheville before, but I hadn't and we were both excited to spend time with our friends while getting a chance to check out the local spots at the same time. We decided to take the scenic route down from Richmond, off the main interstate, so we could take our time, take in the scenery and stop along the way at any antique shops we felt like taking a peek into. Below are some of the highlights from our quick little trip.

There were lots of tobacco fields along the drive:

I had a few packages of jewelry that needed mailing, so we stopped off the road at one point after seeing this tiny post office in Green Bay, VA to send them off on their own little journey:

We planned to take our time on the drive down, hoping to stop at antique shops along the way — and boy, did we ever:

We popped into so many shops and photographed so many finds, we're hoping to detail out those adventures in an upcoming post. We saw lots we wanted, and ended up bringing back 3 different finds we couldn't part with.

Update: Find the full post detailing our NC trip antiquing adventures right here.

Because we wanted to take our time, we decided to break up the trip and booked a hotel in a small town called Hickory in North Carolina. It's only about 1 1/2 hours from Asheville, which is really only about a 6 hour drive from Richmond, but we had booked it in advance and it was a nice way to break up the trip on the way down — plus, Tim had a restaurant in mind he'd been wanting to try in Hickory called Josh's. Yes, when traveling with Tim, it's all about the food, and you bet I'm OK with that!

Before dinner, we walked around downtown Hickory:

And happened upon a little olive oil and vinegar shop called The Crushed Olive...

It was literally a shop that specializes in different infused varieties of olive oil and vinegars — you can just go around a pour the kind you like into jars from the vats along the parameter of the shop. It's a cool concept for gift ideas or just getting specialty oils and vinegars that are hard to find anywhere else.

We asked the manager in the shop what some of her favorite pairings were and Tim ended up picking out a tangerine balsamic vinegar and a chipotle infused extra virgin olive oil that we'd pack up take back home to RVA with us.

Then it was off to Josh's where we got to sit right next to the open kitchen where none other than Josh himself was cooking — fancy that. He ended up chatting a little bit with Tim and just passing what we had ordered across the kitchen to our table. If your find yourself in or passing through Hickory, NC, this is a place we really enjoyed!

For anyone wondering, that's a chicken in that pot in front of Tim and a Creole shrimp dish in front of me.

After our stay in Hickory, we once again hit the road early Friday to finish up our little journey to Asheville. I started to get really excited as we began seeing the first few mountains:

I'm more used to associating North Carolina with the beach, so getting the opportunity to see the more mountainous side of the state was a lot of fun.

It wasn't long after we hit the mountain views that we came up on our Asheville exit:

And this guy:

Before we knew it, we pulled up to Emily and J's place in Asheville — we were so happy to see their faces, get out of the car, and see their house!

They had a little container garden growing on their back deck, along with herbs growing in the front yard beds and even had a beautiful little fruiting pear tree — you can see we weren't the only ones who wanted to taste the pears:

We arrived right around lunchtime and Emily took us straight to 12 Bones, a famous smokehouse in Asheville that is known for only being open on weekdays, only for lunch, and only during certain parts of the year. We just happened to time it right.


When you pull up, the line to get in wraps around the side of the building and there are misters spraying water onto the line from the ceiling. Once inside, the place is busy and moving fast, so you had to kind-of know what you were going to order and be able to do it fast.

All the food comes on these round tins — Emily had told me in advance that the sides at 12 Bones were incredible so I went with the mac n'cheese & cucumber salad while Tim went with coleslaw and jalepeno cheddar grits. He also got the blueberry chipotle ribs and I got their signature BLT (made with fried green tomatoes and sugar bacon — wow).

The rest of Friday we hung out at the house and caught up. Their kitty kept a close watch on us and thanked us for leaving Basil back in RVA:

Tim and J talked tunes while Emily and I talked wedding planning:

And that evening we went into downtown Asheville for a tapas dinner, but not before passing by Checkin Alley:

Emily and J at dinner:

On the way back from dinner we may or may not have stopped and gotten milkshakes...

Saturday morning we got up early to take advantage of some of the most beautiful hiking destinations on the East coast. Tim and J picked out a hike that wouldn't be too long but included some waterfalls. The drive there was winding and beautiful through the Blue Ridge Parkway.

During the drive through the mountains we stopped along the roadside to check out this beautiful dam and just take in the scenery:

It was about an hour drive to get to the hiking site — which was called Crabtree Falls and was about a 3 mile hike round-trip.

We literally walked through the clouds at some points:

The views were incredible:

 At one point, Tim told us all to stop and look at him and this photo was the result:

I think it's kind-of hilarious since it looks like a super "posed" shot but was actually about as candid as they get, ha. Then we made it to the falls, which was the halfway point:

We were on a bridge when we reached the falls — Emily took her shoes off and hopped right into the creek:

We also walked up to the falls to get pics and just take a nice break.

Funny note — at one point along the trail we ran into another group with a dog. We all stopped to pet the dog and the woman in the group got all excited saying "Oh my gosh, for a moment there I thought we'd spotted Johnny Depp at Crabtree Falls!" This was hilarious to us since everywhere J goes he gets mistaken for Johnny Depp — it was so funny to actually see it happen in person, the woman was visibly flustered.

The first half of the hike had been pretty much downhill, which was a lot of fun. The second half of the Crabtree Falls loop had a sign that said "strenuous level," so I knew we'd be in for it given that none of us had been hiking in years — boy did that upward climb show us a thing or two about how in shape we really are, haha. Needless to say, we are all still sore from that hike, even today!

 After we got back into Asheville from the hike, we hit up White Duck Taco Shop for a late lunch:

We loaded up on the delicious tacos there since we'd worked up and appetite from the hike, then went back to the house to just chill out before dinner that evening.

Emily and J had made reservations at The Admiral a few months back, knowing it was a place Tim would want to try (he'd already heard and read so much about how amazing this place is).

Tim got the steak and loved the fact of how big a Phillies fan the chef was. They exchanged scores from their phones a few times throughout the evening.

After dinner Saturday we hung out a little more with a group of our mutual friends also living in Asheville before heading in since we knew our trip was coming to a close.

Sunday morning we got up and hit the road back to RVA first thing — it was a straight shoot up the interstate without stopping on the way back. We got back safely late afternoon and had fun going through all the pictures from the trip. We were surprised at how much we were able to squeeze into such a short amount of time, but also love how much more there is left to do and more friends to meet up with the next time we are able to make it down that way. We're already making a mental list of the things we didn't get to that we'd like to next time around.

Have you been to Asheville? Did you have a favorite destination or stop along the way? Maybe you've also taken a long weekend road-trip lately or have a place in mind if you did?


  1. Love Asheville! It was my weekend stomping ground while I went to school at Western Carolina University out in Cullowhee. I miss the mountains of NC so much and just moved up to the DC area from Raleigh last year.

    Looks like you got to see some of the best of it, love your posts!

    1. Thanks Jennifer,

      It was a lot of fun — we hope to go back again at some point and would love to hear any of your favorite spots from your old stomping grounds!

  2. I'm so happy to see this post! Thanks for sharing Mary. My boyfriend and I moved to Asheville from Richmond a little over a month ago. We love it! Isn't White Duck so good?? I really want to give 12 Bones a try now :)

    1. Arlie we forgot you were in Asheville! Just another reason to come back! White Duck was awesome — still thinking about that Thai peanut chicken taco...

  3. I've been wanting to visit Asheville, and this post gives me even more reasons!

    I'm not sure if you guys knew this or not, but an olive oil/vinegar place like the one you visited recently opened in Short Pump. It's called Olive Oil Taproom. We haven't been yet, but plan to soon!

    1. Mollee, we didn't know about the olive oil taproom in Short Pump — sounds like a visit is in order! Let us know what you think if you make it out there first!

  4. I love those metal letter, have a red one for husband's initial and black one for mine.

    I also have a rubber glove mold. Bought it few years back at Fishs's Eddy in New York.

    I love those antiquing road trips, unfortuantely we are running out of space...

    1. Lumo, we LOVE Fish's Eddy — what an eclectic shop. We'd love to find some large metal letters to put in the house somewhere.

  5. Omg, I thought the same thing about J. Especially in your first pic of him...I think its his smile that resembles Johnny D so...

  6. Sue, isn't it funny how much they favor one another — even in the style!

  7. I've been to Asheville twice and LOVED it! Also ate out at the taco place and The Admiral.

    Next time you go, check out Curate and Early Girl. I have a few other recommendations on the blog.

    This is making me hungry ;)

    1. Olga! We must have similar travel habits and tastes! Next time around, Curate and Early Girl will be on the list — thanks for your recommendations!