I first heard of this city on a cross-country train trip that I took in 2009. I met a girl who was moving there in a few weeks, and I was mystified that such a city could exist and I had never heard of it.
A few years went by and the name kept popping up in random occurrences, and finally, after reading about it in Eric Weiner's Geography of Bliss , I decided to put it on the top of my list.
After talking to a co-worker and friend about travel, I mentioned I was planning on visiting Asheville in the near future. It turns out, she also had Asheville on her mind and wanted to visit a friend, and as fate would have it, we had the same days off, so we booked our hostel and signed up for the flights.
I was planning on visiting for a few days - I wanted to see some bands play, get to know the city and just explore. About 5 days prior to our trip, I had something come up that couldn't be rescheduled. After thinking about it for awhile, I decided I was just going to call the trip off and go another time - take the loss of the hostel cancellation and just hope that I'd make it to AVL in the near future. As I was on the phone with my friend explaining this, she got a call from her friend, and told me regardless, she was going to go. I then decided that I'd go too - after all, my obligation wasn't for a few days and I could probably swing a night there.
Just one night. That's all you need in Asheville to make you want more. Do you like beer? This city is for you. Do you like mountains? Live music? Good, local food and businesses? Nice weather? Nicer people? Consider this your next visit.
Not only is getting from AVL (the airport) to downtown easy, it's $1 on the bus. (Check the bus schedules, they only run every hour or so until 6pm. We waited 45 minutes, but that beats a $45 cab ride.) Accommodation is incredible - we stayed at the Asheville Hostel & Guesthouse ($40 for one person/two beds, $50 for two people/two beds) which was incredible. It is clean, quiet, has a full kitchen, and the owner, BJ, was so friendly. He even called us to make sure we weren't lost, and met us halfway from the bus station. The hostel is located downtown, and it's a 5 minute walk from the Orange Peel, Wicked Weed Brewing (a new and really fantastic brewery) and 11 minutes max from everything else.
We had a drink at Thirsty Monk, where I tried their Chile Beer ("The brew is a blend of Asheville Brewing's Escape Artist Ale, with 127 pounds of smoked jalapeno peppers added. Not macho enough to try a pint?! Why not mix a half pint of Fire Escape with your favorite Stout, Porter, or whatever?") and had great conversation. It was here I decided on my 2013 Halloween Costume (stay tuned- also, if anyone has any dvd rewinders let me know, I need one)
All in all, the 12 hour visit I had to AVL was amazing and I can't wait to go back as soon as possible, I need to spend more time in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Plus, I didn't take hardly any photos, and I'd be a terrible blogger if I didn't go back and get some good ones. The things I do for you people!!
If you're trying to find your next weekend trip, I have found it for you. You can thank me in beer, or a home for my foster cats.
At Wicked Weed, they have a pretzel/mustard station. Amazing.