Monday, July 9, 2012

Weekend Trip to Asheville

Last weekend me, my husband Jeff, and our friends Katie and her husband Justin went on a weekend trip to Asheville, North Carolina.  I love being so central to so many new cities – only a 2 hour drive from Knoxville!  It was so fun, I can’t wait to go back - - preferably when it’s not 100+ degrees outside! 

Let me take you on a quick detour and show you around Smile

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Living in Knoxville now, I do get to see the mountains in the distance – but I never get tired of seeing them.

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A trip to Asheville wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Biltmore.  It was so freakin hot but so amazing!

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Due to the sensitive nature of the furnishings, photography is not allowed inside.

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Earlier in the morning, we had taken advantage of the relative cooler temperatures and wandered around downtown.  The first shop that caught our eye was The Spice and Tea Exchange.  They had such a marvelous selection!  Katie loves to host tea parties, so she picked up some exotic blends for her next soiree.

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All types of sugar one could imagine, from Madagascar, Tahiti, Mexico and more.  Several types of salt from around the world were also available.  I wished I could have bought one of everything!

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Hard to find beans and rice varieties here, as well as a wall of custom spice blends.  We ended up with some jars of Jamaican Jerk and Tuscan Herb.

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Peppers on display here, from just a hint of heat to douse-me-with-a-fire-hose-hot!  The pic on the right is especially pleasing, who doesn’t love the start of a good bromance!?  “Here dude, smell this one.”  Ha!

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Now you know we’re about to get into trouble here – a store called The Chocolate Fetish!

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Do your best not to drool on the keyboard!  Check out the confections on the right – you know you’re in the South when you can sample “Sweet Tea” truffles!  I bought one, and by golly it did taste like sweet tea!

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Across the street, we stopped at The Open Door boutique.  Check out that stash of incense…very Asheville-y.

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Lots of neo-hippie attire to be found here.  Enough tie-dye and patchwork to shake a stick at!

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Speaking of dyed items, the store next door Earth Guild, specializes in traditional craft supplies for the modern artist.  On the left are a series of looms, and on the right are dyed wools and felts.

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On the left are reeds and other materials for basket weaving, and on the right are candle making supplies.  The store also carries items for book arts, polymer clay, and several other traditional crafts.

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If beading and jewelry making is more your thing, Beads and Beyond is the store for you.  From crystals to natural gems, this store seemed to have it all.  Definitely worth a look, it’s always nice to order from a local store and be able to check out your merchandise in person.  Most crafts are so visual, so tactile – I hope shops like this stay in business and do well for their local community of customers.

Twisted Crepe

For those who know me, know I’m practically obsessed with crepes.  Anywhere I go I try to find a creperie, and I found one in Asheville – Twisted Crepe.  It was very good, even if I am biased toward my local one in Knoxville – The French Market.  All things considered (location, service, atmosphere, crepe itself), I’d give it a 8.5!

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Even when I travel, my two naughty Boston terriers are always on my mind.  In our wanderings I saw this trio of art prints.  Similar to Knoxville’s dog friendliness, I saw several stores with water bowls to refresh a thirsty pooch.

A weekend really isn’t enough time to explore a city like Asheville, especially if you’re artsy fartsy and/or love the outdoors.  I think we will plan to go in the fall, maybe catch the change in season.  Or maybe Christmas – I just know the Biltmore will be decked out to the nines.

Have you been to Asheville?  What’s your favorite store/restaurant/activity to do there?  I’ll be sure to put it on my list for next time; I can’t wait to go back!