Every year, Dwight and I try to get away for a few nights. It’s important for us to be intentional about prioritizing our relationship in the midst of raising kids so that when said kids are grown and out of the house, we don’t look up and realize that we’ve neglected not only each other, but also our marriage. Some years it has been just one night away at a local resort and other years we’ve blown it out with a big week long vacation. Last year we went to Northern California/the wine country and you can read about that here. The main thing that matters is that we are together and are able to give each other our undivided attention.
We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to do anything this year due to the major home renovation project we have going on but thankfully. we were able to make it work. We wanted a change of scenery and were both hoping for some mountain views, but couldn’t go out west since it would be such a quick trip so we decided Asheville would be a great place. We have both been there before but had always wanted to stay at the Grove Park Inn so we booked the room, our flights and lined up Dwight’s parents to keep the kids for the weekend (thank goodness for grandparents!)
The Grove Park Inn in perched on the top of a mountainside and looks down upon an expansive tree lined valley with mountain peaks in the distance. It is truly spectacular and even if you aren’t staying there, I recommend having a meal out on the back patio and taking in the incredible view. There are two parts to the hotel, the original (and older) portion and the newer portion that was added on. We stayed in the main lodge in an older room and while it had its timeless charm, it had been renovated to feel up to date. I loved looking out the wood paned windows at the trees and being able to hear the birds chirping.
I will say, I don’t have much to share on the “activities” side of things because between the brevity of our trip and the fact that it rained most of the weekend…we really pretty much did a lot of hanging out around the hotel and…eating! ha! It’s a good thing we were in a place that is known for its incredible food. I would have loved to have gone hiking or even taken a beautiful scenic drive…but the weather just didn’t allow for that. Honestly, we were kind of glad for the rain because it forced us to truly just RELAX and enjoy everything the hotel had to offer. We loved just sitting next to the giant fireplaces throughout the property, taking in the many scenic views from different vantage points and the late night piano bar where we requested songs like September and Proud Mary. Ironically, we had a convertible rental car that we only got to take the top down on the first day we were there. It was fun for the few hours of sunshine to cruise around like two kids in love with no responsibilities ;)
So since I don’t have a ton of details to share about the trip, I thought I’d break it down into two categories: restaurants/coffee shops and the spa.
Tupelo Honey: One of the most popular places to eat, they have expanded into other locations, making it easier to get in quickly. We ate a what I assume is their newest location for lunch and didn’t have to wait at all the food was incredible southern comfort food and we looked like we were waiting on 5 other people to join us with the amount of food we ordered! We loved the brussels sprouts, fried mac-n-cheese bites and fried green tomatoes served over goat cheese grits (I don’t even like goat cheese and I was spooning it into my mouth so fast). I also loved their rosemary peach lemonade…probably my favorite lemonade I’ve ever had.
High Five Coffee: They use Counter Culture beans which is some of our favorite coffee. We both had iced latte’s and they were pretty good.
Corner Kitchen: We had eaten here before and I knew I wanted to go back because I loved the trout so much. I probably should have tried something new but I didn’t…and I wasn’t disappointed. It was just as good as I remembered. The restaurant is an old house so tables are literally in what used to be old bedrooms, dining rooms, etc. We were in a room with 5 other tables and although the charm was nice, you could hear everyone’s conversation around you. Not a bad thing but it just makes you conscious about your own conversations because you know other people can hear you.
Vortex Doughnuts: Ironically this was our favorite coffee we had despite the fact that they are firstly a doughnut shop. We came here two mornings in a row (don’t judge, we were on vacation) and tried the vortex doughnut (cinnamon sugar with chocolate drizzle, the chocolate iced doughnut and the vanilla iced doughnut. We liked the vortex doughnut the best and their espresso drinks were delicious.
Curate: Certainly our most anticipated meal of the weekend…curate didn’t disappoint. It is a Spanish restaurants that focuses on tapas and traditional Spanish dishes like paella. The menu can feel overwhelming and unfamiliar so I suggest doing a little research in advance or asking for recommendations from friends who have eaten there in the past. We started with sangria and the iberico 5J ham with manchego cheese and bread topped with a tomato spread. The water told us the meat would literally melt in our mouth and well…it did. Every bite was so delightful. Next we moved on to gambas al ajillo, which is sautéed shrimp in a garlic sherry sauce. It was also amazing. We were pretty full by that point but were told by friends who had eaten there before that we HAD to get the fried eggplant with rosemary ice cream for dessert. We honestly didn’t think that sounded very appetizing but they assured us we wouldn’t be disappointed. It was one of the most unique flavor combinations I’ve ever experienced and we cleaned the plate! We were sad when the meal was over because it was truly that amazing. This is a must visit and make sure you make a reservation well in advance.
Trade and Lore Coffee: Didn’t love their coffee (it wasn’t bad but just wasn’t our favorite) but had THE most amazing biscuit of our lives from there. Go there for that!
Chestnut: Also owned by the same people that run Corner Kitchen, we had our final meal here and it was pretty good…but nothing too memorable. This is honestly probably due to the fact that we had Curate for lunch that day so anywhere we ate that followed that was going to be somewhat of a letdown! ha! We even ordered a charcuterie board because we were still on a tapas high but it just didn’t compare. The truffle fries were VERY good here though.
The French Broad Chocolate Lounge: We were encouraged by many people to come here and were surprised to find a REALLY long line! We waited over 30 minutes just to get inside the building. We didn’t mind the wait though since we didn’t have anywhere else to be and didn’t have any children to keep occupied! Dwight was boring and ordered a shortbread cookie ( he doesn’t like chocolate) and I had the liquid lavender truffle. It was really good but I could only handle a few sips it was so rich. It was a really cool place though.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company: We didn’t eat here but just did a little self guided tour of the facility. It was HUGE and really neat to see the bottling factory.
Button & Co. Bagels: Owned by Katie Button who is the chef and owner of Curate, we couldn’t not visit her bagel shop! We are fangirls for life! I had the pastrami on rye and Dwight had the ham, egg and cheese on an everything bagel. Both were delicious and a great last meal of the trip.
If I could escape to a place everyday for a moment of serenity…I would come to this spa. I’ve been to many spa’s and this one is in my top 2 favorites (1st place going to the spa at the Grand Wailea in Maui). You aren’t allowed to have your phone in the spa so sadly I don’t have any photos, but click here or here to see some on their website. It feels like you have escaped to an underground cave and they have truly made you feel as if you are outside, inside of the spa. It’s also massive, at almost 40,000 square feet with mineral spas, sauna, and a lap pool that has music under water with stars to gaze at on the ceiling. I literally fell asleep next to the giant waterfall in a dark corner in my lounge chair. It was amazing and I wish we would have spent the entire day there. Dwight had a massage and I had a facial. My skin was so beautiful and glowy after the treatment and I want to get the AHA peeling gel by Dr. Babor my therapist used on me. You can only use the spa on the weekdays if you aren’t a guest at the hotel and even if you are staying at the hotel, you have to purchase a pass to enter the spa if you aren’t getting a treatment. It was worth every penny and don’t pass up on the spa if you stay at the Grove Park Inn.
It was a wonderful trip and I love adventuring alongside my best friend. Can’t wait to see where we go next!
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