When my good friend Christine suggested a girl’s trip to Asheville I was so excited! Our college, Emory and Henry, was planning an alumni trip to the Biltmore and with their Festival of Flowers going on we couldn’t think of a better time to go. It was a great chance to catch up with our alumni director Monica and to meet other graduates. I used to drive home from Emory and pass signs for Asheville all the time but never made the trip. I met up with Christine and Janet at our hotel in Asheville and the fun began. We started with a local Mexican restaurant El Chapala and had yummy food with huge portions. The next day we got up early and headed to the Biltmore. We toured the home and loved peeking into the past. A home with an indoor swimming pool and bowling alley – how fun is that! My favorite part of the day was touring the gardens. The Italian Garden had beautiful ponds with water lilies and statues and reminded me of so many of my favorite Monet paintings with the reflections of water lilies in the ponds. We then walked down toward the Walled Garden and got caught with some rain. So we ran into the Conservatory and fell in love with the orchid room! After we finished our tour of the conservatory we headed for the Azalea Garden and walked toward the Bass Pond. With three art majors and a camera each we took our time enjoying the views. Then we hurried back to our car to head over to the Deerpark Restaurant for a wonderful buffet lunch. It was great to get to know more of the alumni and to hear Dr. Celeste Gaia talk about the study abroad programs at E&H.
After lunch we headed to downtown Asheville and had a great time exploring and shopping. We met up with our good friends Rebekah and Felicia (who came from Johnson City) at the very popular Tupelo Honey Café. I will have to say I am not one to like to wait for food but it was worth the wait! Their biscuits are the best I have ever eaten in my life and they were served with local honey and jam! Their southern scratch cooking included dishes like shrimp and grits, meatloaf and grilled cheese and tomato soup. I had a wonderful burger with yummy sweet potato fries! Everyone at our table enjoyed their dishes. Then we headed over to French Broad Chocolate Lounge for yummy dessert. I had a sampling of their different truffles and took some home with me. As someone who loves chocolate I was very very impressed. My favorites were the fresh raspberry, lavender and honey, white jasmine, Hawaii, and salted honey caramel. I wish I had brought more back with me because they were heavenly.
The final day of our trip we started with brunch at Clingman Café and enjoyed some of the open studios in the River Arts District. It was fun to see the work of many different artists. The smell of oil paints and turpentine brought back a lot of memories from our art classes. My favorite artist there was Jonas Gerard who had so much beautiful work to browse.
We had a wonderful girl’s weekend in Asheville and I am so glad we went! It was nice to catch up, shop, be inspired and dine on some wonderful local food. A special thanks to Monica from Emory and Henry for organizing our trip to the Biltmore and to Christine for making our other plans for the trip! I would love to go back to Asheville any time!