Where to eat and sleep for a perfect Asheville experience
You're planning a trip to Asheville. Now what?
For some, the hardest part of traveling is the bulky task of planning and researching. When you don't know a location, it's time intensive to whittle through all the lodging options. It can feel like throwing a dart at a moving board trying locate the best eateries in town. This is why recommendations are key, especially from someone who has been there before.
So, let me help. I teamed up with the Asheville CVB to see and taste my way through their city. They hosted our family so we could pass along ideas for your next Asheville trip.
Where to stay?
I stayed in the Biltmore Village area during my last visit.
I found the location to be central to everything in town. It has easy access to the highway, is close to downtown, and is a walkable area for restaurants and shops. Plus, you get the added benefit of feeling like you escaped to a European village in the mountains, with the hint of North Carolina mountain charm.
Here's what I liked:
Room were clean and spacious, and beds were comfortable.
There was a pool with a hot tub and a gym on site. When you're traveling with kids, a night swim at the end of a long, busy day is always a perk!
The food options were plentiful. They offered room service, served a full breakfast in the morning, and housed a TGIFridays in the lobby.
And cookies. Y'all, the gooey, warm DoubleTree cookies. I can't even write complete sentences when I think about those.
They are pet friendly!
For a small fee, a shuttle is provided for easy transport to downtown, the Biltmore, and other shopping areas.
The hotel is coming out with family travel packages this spring, which will make travel planning so much easier for families.
What I wish was different:
There was only one thing I didn't absolutely love about my DoubleTree experience. The breakfast buffet and omelette bar were extra and not included with the cost of the room.
Where to eat?
If you search the hashtag #AvlEats on Instagram, you will discover foodie pictures that will make you have to cover your keyboard in plastic. #DROOLinducing
Here are some of the highlights from our Asheville Eats experience. You are guaranteed to lick your fingers and have many, many empty plates.
Gan Shan Station
Gan, means sunset, and Shan, means mountain. I'm a sucker for a restaurant with a story, aren't you? This restaurant was converted from an old gas station and serves a mix of Asian styled cuisines. The fact that my kids loved it, too, won this restaurant extra ThoseCrazyNelsons bonus points.
Highlights: It has a dog-friendly patio, dumplings that will literally cause you to shout "Hallelujah" out loud, a table where your kids can watch the folks in the kitchen work their magic, and many gluten-free and vegan options.
Must Try: Som Tam, Korean Fried Chicken, Whipped Tofu Dip, and House Made Dumplings
We made a stop a this quaint and casual cafe for dinner one night. Known for its French-styled crepes, sandwiches and omelettes, it is a family-friendly dining option located among the store-lined streets of downtown Asheville. With things on the menu, like Chien Chaud, literally French for hot dog, it strikes the perfect balance for traveling families: not too fancy, but still refreshingly classy.
Highlights: The art throughout the restaurant, the friendly service, the award-winning pommes frites (no joke, Best Fries in Asheville for 7 years running now), and the all-you-can-eat mussels served Sunday-Thursday, were just some of the things that made the Creperie Bouchon stand out from the rest.
Must Try: Bread Pudding with a scoop of ice cream
All my life I've hated grits. This restaurant made me fall in love with its stone ground grits, and for that, it will always own a piece of my heart. Add to that, it's location, a 100-year old historic house in Biltmore Village, and it's the recipe for the Asheville tourist's perfect breakfast spot.
Highlights: Colorful dishes, local artists on the wall, a cozy fireplace, and stick-to-your-ribs grits all made this restaurant a place to which I will definitely plan a return.
Must Try: Grits, smoke trout on toast, omelette with biscuit and red potatoes
Laughing Seed Cafe
For so many families traveling with dietary restrictions, eating out can be nightmarish. So, places like Laughing Seed Cafe are godsends with their organic, fresh and vegetarian dishes! Around for 20 years, Laughing Seed Cafe is a leader in Asheville's gluten-free and vegan cuisine. I don't typically eat at restaurants like this one, so I was curious to experience what they offered. I didn't love everything I tried, for example, the MakiZushi was a veggie-filled roll, but the rice was served cold.
Highlights: The organic cocktails and various drink enhancements, like immunity boosters, were fun and healthy.
Must Try: Thai Panang Curry, French onion soup