September 9, 2014

Weekend Basics: Roadtripping Our Way To Asheville, NC

We ended up taking off last Thursday and Friday to make an extended weekend trip down to Asheville, NC. Some of our best friends live in Asheville and we've made a bit of a yearly tradition of visiting them in the summer over the past 3 years (read up on our first visit here and last year's here).

Today I wanted to share some of our favorite pics from the weekend along with a few highlights if you'd like to see!

It's about a 6 hour drive from Richmond to Asheville, so we've gotten into the habit of breaking the drive over 2 days so we can take our time driving the back roads and stopping along the way if we see an antique shop, thrift store or roadside stand that catches our eye.

It was a fun chance to just take our time to check out the vintage finds and treasures, seeing what the south had to offer.

Roadside stands were also on the agenda, and this particular one was a goldmine:

It was a country store/farmer's market of sorts that had fresh local produce, canned goods, gardening supplies and lots of different baskets. I about passed out when I saw the $1 price tag on the market baskets pictured above. It took almost everything I had inside to remind myself we didn't need 15 market baskets, so we ended up with 1 of the ones pictured and 2 half size bushel baskets — and a few pounds of these fresh, local peaches:

Inside, there were rows upon rows of canned goods and I think Tim entered into a state of euphoria while approaching this wall:

We brought home jars of 100% pure sorghum, corncob jam and hot chow chow. Tim had to explain what both sorghum and chow chow were to me — sorghum basically being like a sugarly molasses, and chow chow being a combination of vegetables pickled into a relish.

After a long drive, we made it for a late lunch at Keaton's BBQ, an off-the-beaten-path spot Tim had scoped out online before making the trip:

It was one of those family-owned food businesses with homemade hot chicken and southern food. There were handmade signs all over the walls with different instructions for patrons, one of which included not taking any photos of the restaurant staff, ha! We felt pretty stealthy sneaking a couple phone pics of our meal. I was pretty excited to try their mac n'cheese, hot coleslaw and hot signature chicken — this is a real deal southern plate:

This trip we drove to Statesville where we stayed overnight before heading down to meet up with Emily and J for lunch in Asheville on Friday.

We met at 12 Bones, one of our favorite Asheville BBQ spots since Emily and J introduced it to us the first trip we made. They always have something a little "saucy" written on the sign out front and this year didn't disappoint:

After lunch we hit up a few local shops, one of our new favorites included Screen Door. This was such a fun place — over 25,000 square feet filled with antiques, treasures, and unique home and garden finds. We had fun walking around looking at everything, this was definitely a fun spot to check out if you're in the area looking for something to do:

One of the best parts of Screen Door? Making friends with the resident (unfriendly?) tabbies:

Next on the agenda was a little ice cream. Emily took us to The Hop, a local spot known for their salted caramel ice cream:


Needless to say, the ice cream didn't disappoint, but if I'm being completely honest, I can't think of a time when it ever has :)

Friday we hung at home, cooking dinner and catching up. The guys did all the dinner preparations, which Emily and I sat back and enjoyed watching. J even cracked open the 2 jars of infused tequila and vodkas he'd been experimenting with over the past week using fresh local peaches.

While we were sipping and cooking, Miss Frankie Fluff had an agenda of her own:

We caught her investigating Tim's bag, giving it a thorough inspection. She must have smelled Basil on it, but we all laughed since Tim is legitimately allergic to cats — of course she'd pick his bag to cozy up to!

The next morning, Biscuit Head was in order. For those unfamiliar, this is a breakfast spot specializing in what they call "cat head" sized biscuits. Emily and J introduced us to this place last year and we couldn't wait to return.

We met up with 2 close friends of Emily and J that we've actually been following on Instagram for a while now — Rich and Jen Orris. These two are a creative couple living the dream in Asheville on a five-acre homestead with chickens and a large vegetable garden. It was a blast getting the introduction to our virtual friends in person, having the chance to catch up in real time over an incredibly indulgent meal.

Here's a shot of Tim's meal — it was the special smoked ham hock brown gravy bowl with blue cheese smashers and biscuit over medium egg:

After breakfast we stopped into a few shops around town, one of which was Asheville Bee Charmer on Amanda's recommendation from Friday's blog post:

It's a "charming" (pun intended) local shop specializing in honey. As we walked in, Tim muttered something along the lines of "if they have locust honey I think I might lose it." Famous last words...

They had locust honey! This is something Tim's been on the hunt for as long as I can remember. He looks and asks everywhere we go if a shop or farm carries locust honey, and we've never come across it before. There were 2 jars of local locust honey in this shop and Tim got one of them. I think he'd have gotten both of them, but he made such a big deal about finding it in front of everyone in there that one of the other shoppers grabbed the other jar and bought it before we could, ha.

After thinking our day couldn't get much better, we stopped into the newly opened Shelter Collective:

Emily and J had been telling us about this newly opened shop their friends Rob and Karie had opened up. The second we stepped inside, I realized it was owned and run by the legendary duo behind Shelter Protects You. I've been longtime fans and followers of these guys on Etsy and Instagram, so it was such a welcome surprise to stop in to say hello. Fun fact — Rob's brother is a cousin of Emily's and actually officiated their wedding ceremony 2 years ago:

It's always a welcome reminder of what a small world it really is. The shop is not only a studio for their work, but serves as a storefront showcasing the work of other independent and local artists — definitely worth a stop if you're in the area or passing through!

After a little more window shopping and spending the day catching up with Emily and J, we closed out the evening with dinner at their favorite local restaurant, Limones.

We hit the road early Sunday, getting back to Richmond in time for Tim to catch the first Steelers game of the season and generally wind down before the week ahead. It's been so much fun making a yearly tradition out of these long weekends in Asheville to Emily and J — one we hope to continue as long as they're there.

Thanks for taking a peek into our latest road trip — How was your weekend?


  1. HOW MUCH FUN! Asheville is one of my favorite little towns. You guys just made me want to go back there.

    1. Thanks Olga! We have a blast every time we go down!

  2. Go here to get on the notification list next time they have locust honey--as you can see, they sold out in one day this year, so you have to be quick!
    (next best thing to finding it locally!)

    1. Thank you so much for that link and I am glad to know someone else has the same trouble I do finding locust honey!

  3. A friend of ours use to play bluegrass occasionally at
    Keaton's. Gosh, I wanna go back now, it's been too long.

    1. Wow Kelly, small world! We absolutely loved the charm of the place and cannot wait to go back! Bluegrass in the dining room would be so fun!

  4. We're actually going down to Asheville, NC this weekend for our anniversary. We're scoping it out as a potential place to relocate. I wanted to get your take on whether we'd be able to easily walk around downtown and eat with our dog, Bella, in tow. We took her with us to Charleston, SC. I brought her with us to the downtown area, but I didn't feel right going into shops with her (she's only about 18 lbs). We were able to dine outside at a bunch of places in Charleston. I was just curious if Asheville would be a place you'd ever take Basil. I know there are a lot of places to hike and whatnot, but is the downtown area dog friendly? We are from the Annapolis, MD area and we often take her there. Annapolis is very dog friendly. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jess, thanks for the question. I just had to call down to our friends and ask as we have not previously taken Basil (they have a cat so that would be a little to much fun for him). They stated that they do see dogs fairly regularly in shops and at some restaurants around Asheville and as laid back as the town seems to be I think most places it would indeed be welcome. There is also a website called that you can plug Asheville in to and see pet friendly places. Enjoy your trip down and I am sure you will have a blast.

      Best, Tim and Mary

    2. That's very helpful! Thank you!

      I've used to find pet friendly B&Bs (there are some great ones out there). Unfortunately our travel is always dependent on the weather because we fly ourselves, and many B&Bs don't allow cancellations at the last minute.

      Anyway, I never thought to check bringfido for stores/restaurants. I'll defintitely do that. Thank you for calling your friends to check. I really appreciate it!


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