Have you ever come back from vacation and immediately felt like you needed another? I’m not talking about that ‘I just can’t go back to work” feeling we all get….I’m talking the “that didn’t feel very relaxing” feeling that only comes after a less-than-satisfying trip.
That’s pretty much how we felt when we got home from Mexico.
I’m deliberately not sharing all the details, but suffice it to say the trip was the polar opposite of what we’d hoped it would be, so when we got home, we felt like we still needed something. Since we’d blown both the budget and our vacation time, we were pretty limited. Camping is awesome, but a lot of work, and we weren’t quite ready for that yet….so Asheville it was.
Asheville Asheville Asheville. Every time I go, I fall just a little more in love. The city is gorgeous, the food (and beer) is delicious, and the people are just genuinely real and friendly and chill. Nobody cares what anyone else is doing, and there’s a real “let’s just hang out and have fun” feeling.
I cashed in some hotel points and got us a room at the Hampton Inn off 1-26. The location was fine, took us less than 10 minutes to drive to Downtown Asheville. There’s an Ingles right around the corner, and an outlet mall. The hotel was fine, though our bed was really awful. These awesome room keys made up for it though.We had two major goals for the weekend – hit as many breweries as possible, and do the Crazy Dash scavenger hunt. I’m proud to say we accomplished both. It’s good to have goals.
Crazy Dash is one of those things that’s a great idea but poorly executed. Basically, it’s a walking tour scavenger hunt. You purchase a “dash” and then at your appointed day and time, you go to the link they send you and follow the clues around the city. There’s no prize, and every so often you’re supposed to do “crazy” tasks and upload pictures to the website. It sounded super fun, so we bought one.
If you’re thinking about doing it, go for it – they’re cheap enough – but a few things to know before hand:
- The website doesn’t tell you how far your dash is, only that it takes between 2 and 3 hours to complete. We did it in under 2, and we stopped at a brewery in the middle. BUT. We walked over 3 miles just in the dash alone. Plan accordingly. Wear decent shoes, don’t carry a heavy purse, bring water, etc.
- The directions are a little difficult to follow, so plan on using your maps app.
- The upload function didn’t work for us, and the tasks were stupid anyway (very little kid oriented) so we just skipped them.
- It’s really easy to spend the entire time looking at your phone, which kinda sucks.
It was a neat idea, and we did enjoy wandering around Downtown Asheville, but honestly we both would have preferred a printed walking tour. That was free.
As for the breweries, Asheville has a million of them, and we hit quite a few. I’m sorry I don’t have more information – I didn’t think about it at the time, but now that I’m writing this I realize I should have taken pictures and given you the whole “here’s an itinerary” thing. I’ll put that on my to-do list. Anyway, this time we sampled at:
- Hi-Wire Brewing
- Twin Leaf
- Green Man
- Lexington Avenue Brewery
- Wicked Weed Funkatorium
- Asheville Brewing Company
- Burial Beer
Our favorites were Green Man and Burial. I wish we’d hit French Broad and Catawba, but we ran out of time, so those are next on our list!
We happened to be there during the LEAF Festival, so we checked that out before our Crazy Dash. It was a big street festival, with lots of little craft stalls and live music and delicious food trucks. We ate lunch at Smash Box Mobile Kitchen, and no kidding, they were some of the best tacos I’ve ever had. I had chicken and Jimmie had fish.
We ate dinner the first night at Foggy Mountain Brewpub, where we both had the Bacon and White Cheddar Burger and an order of fried pickles. If you’re in Asheville, and you like fried pickles, you NEED to go here. They were out of this world, and I don’t even like fried pickles that much.
The burger was also very good, and I was about halfway through it before I realized that it didn’t have any sauce on it – the flavor came completely from the beef itself. They had a good beer selection, including several from out of state, and the service was stellar.
The second night we ate at Jack of the Wood. Jimmie had Shepherd’s Pie (which actually had lamb), and I had the Fried Chicken Sandwich on a biscuit bun. Both were good, though I wouldn’t get the sandwich again just because the biscuit bun was a little weird. We had fried pickles here too, but they couldn’t compare to Foggy Mountain’s. We were there too early for the live music sadly, and will definitely make a stop there on our next trip!
Before we left on Sunday, we made sure to stock up on a bunch of new-to-us beers at this great little beer store called the Tasty Beverage Company. Most of them were good, though we did get a couple duds. Favorites were the Claymore Scotch Ale (YUM) and the Wyld. What can I say….beers brewed out West just taste better. Shrug.