Our Lady Bug House in Hendersonville is situated perfectly to enjoy exploring all of western North Carolina. One of the most popular destinations in the area is the charmingly quirky town of Asheville. From hiking and mountain views to local art galleries and a heavenly food scene, Asheville has just what you need for a day trip filled with adventure.
Before you come into Asheville’s downtown, take a detour onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, which offers many points to pull over and appreciate spectacular views. Some of the closest hiking trails to Asheville are also just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you’re looking to get a little exercise in but don’t want to spend the whole day hiking, consider doing the Craven Gap Trail or hike at Craggy Gardens. Craven Gap Trail (4.8 miles, easy) is only 15 minutes from Asheville, takes about 2 hours to hike, and has multiple lookout points, making it worth your while. The Craggy Gardens Pinnacle Trail is only a 1.5 mile loop and offers some of the best mountain views in the area. Hike either of these trails in the morning, then stop in Asheville afterwards to reward yourself with some food and sightseeing!
Once you get downtown, the Asheville Urban Trail is perfect to explore the city in a more structured way. The trail is a 1.7 mile outdoor walk with 30 stops, each with its own sculpture to represent a piece of Asheville’s past. You can download a map online and guide the family on this tour, stopping to learn about the town’s history and possibly browsing some local shops along the way.
Asheville is known for its art scene, which is why it’s easy to stumble upon a local art shop or gallery downtown. To plan for some art viewing ahead of time, stop by Woolworth Walk – a unique gallery with a charming soda fountain and diner inside. If seeing a few galleries won’t be enough for you, drive over to the city’s River Arts District – an area of renovated Industrial buildings that have been converted to galleries that showcase over 200 artists’ work.
Asheville is a paradise for those who appreciate specialized coffees and craft beers. Coffee connoisseurs should try High Five Coffee or Izzy’s Coffee. Both of these places focus on creating coffee that will satisfy your individual needs, with High Five Coffee making the syrups for their drinks in-house and Izzy’s allowing the customer to choose their order down to the beans. For a novel experience, try Double D’s Coffee and Desserts, a double-decker bus that has been transformed into a well-respected coffee shop – this one is sure to impress the kids! If you are on an adults-only outing, consider trying one of Asheville’s many breweries, such as Wedge in the River Arts District or Green Man, downtown Asheville’s first brewery.
With so many well-respected restaurants, Asheville has even been dubbed a “foodtopia” by its tourism website. Early Girl Eatery is a staple of the city known for using locally sourced ingredients, while Laughing Seed is a favorite among those looking for vegetarian options. A few unique and delicious restaurants that won’t break the bank include Carmel’s, Creperie Bouchon, and Buxton Hall Barbeque. The French Broad Chocolate Lounge can satisfy all your dessert cravings, but there are also plenty of other choices around the city. Take your time roaming the streets and checking out menus at the restaurants Asheville has to offer – it won’t disappoint!