48 Hours in Asheville, NC

visit Asheville, Double D’s red coffee bus

Ready…GO! 48 hours to See Asheville, NC’s downtown

Growing up two long-legged steps from the Blue Mountains and my pick of wines dotting the landscape of Walla Walla, I was thinking downtown Asheville, NC was going to feel more like a trip home than exploring a new mountain-view city.

Of course, I was wrong.

In this eclectic city, you’ll find the tree-filled Blue Ridge Mountains, delicious restaurants, arts, the Biltmore, and Double D’s.

Tilt your head a bit on the last word? Wonder where I’m going with this travel piece?

More on Double D’s in a bit.

48-hour trip with friends took us to downtown Asheville, NC

  • Do you like to walk and explore the city?
  • How do you feel about a pet-friendly hotel?
  • Outside deck overlooking the downtown streets?
  • Large pool deck to recline, relax, and soak up the summer sun?

All four checked with our downtown Asheville hotel. Easy access to everything…EXXXXCEPT a cup of coffee before 10am. But not to panic, of course there was a coffee maker in the room and in the lobby, but the vacation frou-frou cup had to wait until 10.

On vacation we have to explore at least one local coffee shop to get the full new-city experience. This time it’ll have to be a mid-morning cup.

Typical! I go right for the coffee-talk. I’m getting ahead of myself again.

We land, and take a bit of time to get the rental car {what is it with car rentals and us this year!? Ongoing ‘experience’ with rental cars}

Got the car, and now we’re starving.

First stop, local lunch place!

White Duck Taco Shop

I look forward to any and all street tacos. The creative art of seeing how many ingredients can be stuffed into a small, delicate round disc that bursts with flavor is impressive.

But getting that tiny overflowing circle to your mouth without dropping half back in the basket is hand-to-mouth gymnastics {but so worth it!}

White Duck gets 6/5-stars for their street taco, so there’s no excuse not to try this scrum·did·dly·ump·tious eatery with the big white duck logo. Winner-winner chicken dinner, duck lunch. The Thai peanut chicken wins the blue ribbon!

A-Lofty Hotel

Not famished anymore, so let’s go check-in at the Aloft Hotel. The Aloft is within walking distance of everything in downtown Asheville.

Mural walls and dogs abound from your first step into the downstairs lobby. I got a feeling that I should adopt the pup behind the desk if I wanted to start a conversation with all the other pet-loving guests in the hotel.

All checked in and changed into hot weather clothes — let’s go explore!

Asheville Aloft hotel with the mural walls

River Arts District

The Arts District came up a few times when we asked what to see locally. The Tuesday we visited was a hot one…REAL HOT, but the humidity was low, so the shaded areas gave some heat relief. The beer garden the guys found around the block with two bocce ball game lanes added to the view too.

If you love art in the form of photographs, pottery, paintings, jewelry, glass, and wood, this is your wandering place. These are working studios, so most of the creatives were in each stop working on pieces or sharing how they create their art.

Sitting along the French Broad River, make sure your shoes were made for walkin’ since the buildings are scattered about along that river walk.

AC Rooftop Restaurant at Sunset

Drinks and dinner — all while waiting for sunset on top of Asheville in laid-back Carolina style, mixed with a New York kind of feel. Capella on 9 sits on the top of the Marriott AC Hotel.

In this food edition, how can Capella reinvent the flatbread I just ordered?

They can reinvent it pretty darn well! Drizzled balsamic with roasted cherry tomatoes, and big fresh rounds of mozzarella on top flatbread. Order the white sangria and you get a pretty sweet way to wait for sunset.

Walking Through Asheville, NC’s Downtown

Walking dinner off after dark felt safe, under all the shining lights of the shops and marquees on a warm summer night. Not much foot traffic on a Tuesday night stroll either.

Coffee Stop & Heading to High Ground

Ready for the Double D’s coffee stop story before head out of downtown Asheville into the cool, pine-smelling Blue Ridge Mountains?

It’s coffee time!

Up and out the door at 8:15 to head across the street for my anticipated London red double decker coffee bus. Get it?

Double D’s = Double Decker ;)

Seems we were an hour and 45 minutes early for coffee. This is as Carolina laid-back as it gets. A creative coffee shop view makes us wait for this nostalgic looking movie-sight-night-bus.

{True, the guys could care less where we got coffee, but these picture-loving, Harry Potter, British-pretend-speaking Mama’s were waiting until 10am!}

It’s all-good though, we had a coffee-tizer from the Aloft lobby coffee until 10 ;)

Red coffee bus, Carolina mountains, and a road tunnel drive

MOST IMPORTANT TIP in this electronic world remember to bring cash. Double D’s Coffee Bus is CASH ONLY!

Side Story::As I’m picking up my order at the back of the bus, one of the baristas is announcing to the winding queue of 10am coffee-drinkers that it’s cash only here. Curiosity getting the best of me, I asked her how many times a day she says that.

“Let’s say MORE than a lot.” and then she adds, “And we still get the mad customer telling us we should let them know that ahead of time.” {It’s written on the sign as you enter the gate too — so take it easy on the Barista’s.}

Fresh Pine Air in the Mountains

It’s late June, 90+ degrees, and we’re driving through the winding, tree-lined roads with all our windows down and wind flying through our hair. I feel the tangled knots twisting with each breezy turn, but SO WORTH IT!

Pull-out viewpoints every few miles, leafy-stone-tunnels, curvy roads, fresh pine air, and a walk to the highest point on the mountain top encompass the rest of this day. It’s a fresh mountain air revival.

I’m sure there’s a scientific study about getting out of the hubbub of city life and back into nature somewhere. If not, I’ll start one, because every time we venture out of the city, it’s INSTANT relaxation.

I’ll continue the “{un}scientific research” in other trips just to be thorough for ya ;)

More science-y speak in Newton’s Third Law of Motion:: What goes up must come down. And it’s back down the mountain we go.

Back down again to relax before wine tasting and good Southern comfort food.

Ever had fried pickles?
…Chicken and waffles?
…Fried green tomatoes?

Another night of YUM at Tupelo Honey.

Wine Tasting

Downtown Asheville, North Carolina won’t pop up alongside Sonoma or Walla Walla as wine country, but our one wine tasting stop at the Marked Tree Tasting Room gave us our wine fix for this trip.

We came across it walking back to our hotel. Before dinner, we stopped in a for a glass, plus five. Brian stuck to his go-to glass of red while the rest of us opted for the 5-wine-1-ounce-tasting.

We didn’t add in the truffle-wine tasting combo, which in hind-sight is a travesty to both chocolate AND wine!

For that, I am sincerely sorry {to my tastebuds}. Won’t happen again.

When you think, “wine tasting” Asheville, NC doesn’t pop up as the hot spot right?

Marked Tree had me thinking about bringing home a bottle of Rosé I tasted had we been driving and not flying. {And no, they’re not shipping yet}. Most days my glass has a Pinot Noir and Cabernet filling it.

Surprising myself on the daily, and to the reminder on the top of my home page…I’m finding the “grace and the space in Chapter 50”, and that goes for branching out of the regular wine barrel too.

Explore a new flavor with a wine tasting on your next trip. Might surprise yourself and uncork a new bottle you like. What’s your favorite wine right now?

Marked Tree Guide

Our wine guide at Marked Tree knew her wines and how to help you learn the flavors of the bottles too.

She bounced between all the guests at their different stages of tastings, but makes you feel like you’re the only guest in the room.

She was light, peppy, and happy to be there talking about the wine.

Add that to the modern style, cozy seating, and the bright Southern sunshine coming through floor-to-ceiling windows and it was almost perfect.

The chocolate truffles — that would have been the 10/10. How do I skip chocolate!

Time for Southern Home Cooking

If you have a Southern-born girl {and guy} in the group, you’re in the South, and getting the full local experience, then give Tupelo Honey a taste for dinner::

  • Fried pickles with ranch
  • Homemade bread with honey or blueberry compote
  • Chicken and waffles
  • Fried green tomato sandwich

We were ready for dinner going in, and thankful for elastic waistbands coming out.

Just curious…Have you tried to recreate a meal you’ve had on a trip? I want that fried green tomato sandwich but the farmer’s markets here in the North tilt their head, squinch their nose, and look at me as if it’s snowing in July.

“We don’t pick a tomato when it’s green.”

This recipe just became harder to replicate {I tried a red tomato and it’s not the same}.

Asheville, NC downtown, arts, mountains, wine, and food that get you out of the house and making more memories this summer!

Related travel posts to add to your list with downtown Asheville, NC::

What part of Asheville do you want to visit:: Downtown, Arts, Mountains…?

Wherever you’re traveling I want to help you remember every piece so you’re not running to CVS and wasting vacation time. Grab the Travel Checklist Planner and start relaxing before you even walk out your front door!💖

We ran out of time to tour the Biltmore this trip around. It’s going to be a great reason to head back for another round of Asheville.

Andrea ~ Chapter 50 Blogger
A Glimpse of Good :: You’re 50 & it’s GOOD!

CLICK HERE for the Chapter 50 Digest ~ A Glimpse of Good virtual coffee and wine date each month

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Andrea | A Glimpse of Good

Andrea | A Glimpse of Good

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Writing for the next chapter in travel, 50-n-fabulous style, vacation rental re-do +forever searching for good coffee, great wine, & the next captivating book.