Asheville: A Weekend in the Land of the Sky


Foodie? Beer Geek? Art Lover? Yogi? Whatever your travel style, we’ve planned an Asheville itinerary to suit for your next long weekend.

Peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains break the horizon about 60 miles out from Asheville on I-26. They rise on the approach, drawing you toward a city that keeps growing and changing with each passing decade.

It is, of course, the craft beer capital of the eastern U.S. — some 60 breweries of all sizes and persuasions dot the region, with the South Slope as its epicenter. This beer tourism is the latest culmination in a long trend — an evolution of Asheville tourism dating back nearly a century. 

Once the railroad was completed, Asheville became a viable tourist destination for a wealthy clientele — who could afford to visit the Grove Park Inn and enjoy the cool mountain air. Then the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of FDR’s many Depression-era workers projects, created a way for the average American to travel to Asheville. 

However, the genesis of Asheville tourism can be found among the fantasy setting of the Biltmore. Having long been the grand palatial home for one of the country’s most established families, the Biltmore solidified Asheville as a location of status and beauty. 

Asheville managed to keep much of its original art deco architecture, generating interest for the city and its unique aesthetic.

Now the craft breweries and art galleries are here to stay, the product of a long journey in Asheville’s history. So greet the city with your windows down, the music up, and the scent of sun-warmed pine perfuming your car — and create the perfect itinerary from this curated list of the best places to eat, stay and play in Asheville.

In creating my own, I met up with my friend, local artist and realtor Matt Tyner, to get an insider’s perspective of Asheville’s hidden, back-alley bars and under-the-radar breweries. The quotes are his.


Lay Your Head…

Like a baron of industry

The Grove Park Inn sits atop Sunset Mountain, a hulking stone behemoth that once housed the likes of Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone and Thomas Edison. Book a room and fancy yourself a Jazz-Age tycoon for a few days.

“This is one of my favorite places to bring people visiting Asheville. Everyone’s heard of the Biltmore, but no one knows about this place.”


Like this writer

Homewood Suites by Hilton Asheville on Tunnel Road was a great home base for my trip. Just east of the city through the Beaucatcher tunnel, the hotel is within walking distance of downtown, and they offer shuttle transport anywhere within the city.


Like a dyed-in-the-flannel hipster

Exposed brick and industrial accents make The Foundry Hotel Ashville a hipster haven in the heart of the ultimate Appalachian hipster city.


Like a modern traveler

The AC Hotel Asheville Downtown is Marriott's take on a European boutique hotel experience. Enjoy mountain views with a side of Spanish tapas at one of the best rooftop lounges in the city. 


Treat Your Taste Buds…

To tomato bread and cured meats

Restaurateur and beverage director Felix Meana met Chef Katie Button when they were working as apprentices under Ferran and Albert Adria at the famed El Bulli in Catalonia, Spain; and they bring that pedigree and those flavors to Cúrate. Stop by the bar for La Hora del Vermut and order the Tomato Bread with a selection of cured meats for a true Catalonian experience in the Appalachians.

“Get the octopus. And they have these awesome Moroccan lamb skewers.”


To something new and local

Palm Beach vibes abound in Noble Cider’s brand-new downtown spot, Noble – The Greenhouse (we caught opening weekend for this article!). The Native 25 dish features a rotating cast of ingredients from within 25 miles of the city.


To rose, cardamom and pistachio liquid truffle

With a dusting of rose petals and crushed pistachios, this cup of pure decadence from French Broad Chocolate Lounge is almost too beautiful to drink. Owners Jael and Dan Rattigan got a crash course in chocolate after buying a cacao plantation in Costa Rica before relocating to Asheville and opening French Broad.


Hang Out with Artists

River Arts District

Street art and public sculpture let you know exactly where you are when you enter the River Arts District along Lyman Street and Depot Street on the banks of the French Broad River. Home to more than 200 working artists, this part of town could play host to a full day of exploring.

“Investors bought these dilapidated, industrial properties along the French Broad River and selectively sold and rented them to artists. It could have been a Best Buy here instead of artist studios.”


Asheville Art Museum

The museum is undergoing a massive renovation and building project set to be unveiled later in 2019. A sparkling glass atrium and 70 percent more gallery space mean this cultural center will make Asheville even more of an arts destination.



Quench Your Thirst

The Barksdale

Don’t let the cinder block walls and lack of signage mislead you. Or do. This is a true “bar” bar, complete with neon lights, leather stools and hot dogs. But not just any hot dogs. Chef Rachel Kalin has created a menu of creative, gourmet dogs with ingredients like chaat-cucumber raita and banana ketchup. And Chef Elliott Moss of Buxton Hall Barbecue fame adds a rotating special dog each week. Keep in mind: all bars that have less than 30 percent of sales from food technically operate as private clubs due to an arcane piece of legislation. Memberships are usually easily obtained at the door, but calling ahead to check is advised.

“This is the newest bar in Asheville. It’s mostly locals because it’s a bit hard to find and the memberships keep most of the bachelor parties and tourists away.”


Wicked Weed Funkatorium

The Funkatorium elevates beer culture — think stem glasses instead of pints and draught instead of draft. It is separated from Wicked Weed’s main location to avoid contaminating the other brews with the special blends of yeasts that create the sour-style beers served here.

Bhramari Brewing Company

Inspired ingredients like fleur de sel and makrut lime leaves set Bharmari Brewing Company apart in a beer-filled city. This South Slope spot is known for its off-the-wall, experimental styles.



plēb urban winery

Wine culture is growing in Asheville, following in beer’s footsteps. A number of wine bars have opened in recent years to fill a niche for oenophiles. This River Arts District press and tasting room has a brewery feel with a wine focus.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention The Wedge Brewery. It grew out of Wedge Studios and became a community gathering spot for artists in the River Arts District.”


Recharge Your Batteries

High Five Coffee

Sip on a craft brew of a different variety (one that won’t leave you wanting a nap) at High Five Coffee on Rankin Avenue before a day exploring the city. (



With more than three times the square footage of the White House, Biltmore is easily the largest privately-owned home in the United States. Built in 1889 by George Washington Vanderbilt — the son of the famous industrialist and railroad-tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt — the house itself numbers around 180,000 square feet, while the original grounds of the estate were as large as 125,000 acres. Biltmore was modeled after the grand, self-sustaining chateaus of Europe — often surrounded by entire villages producing various agricultural crops and products. Reduced to a more modest 8,000 acres of estate land today, a large portion of the grounds was sold to the federal government to create the Pisgah National Forest.

Nowadays Biltmore is also known for its winery, but they still farm crops and raise livestock on the grounds — primarily for their on-site hotels and restaurants. To this day, Biltmore is owned and operated by the direct descendants of Cornelius Vanderbilt — the great-grandson and great-granddaughter, to be exact — and continues to be a family-run estate. They operate two hotels and a wide variety of dining locations. In addition, the owners of Biltmore are active and heavily involved in the Asheville community.


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Greatest Kids 2019

Nominate your kid this year and tell us why he or she has to be the winner of our South's Greatest Kids contest. Don't be shy — this could be your year!

Greatest Chefs 2019

Behind every good meal is a great chef; they are the invisible artists, working behind the scenes. Nominate your favorite chef for South magazine’s Greatest Chefs contest!
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Events Calendar

  • Eastman Gun Show

    Aug 24, 2019
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Savann Civic Center

    A large selection and competitive prices on all the firearms and accessories with the best dealers from all over Georgia gathered in one location...

  • Forsyth Farmer's Market

    Jun 29, 2019
    9:00 AM - 1:00 PM @ South end of Forsyth Park

    The Forsyth Farmers’ Market vendors offer a variety of local goods including seasonal produce, eggs, honey, pastured meat, bread, cheese,...

  • SS Savannah (1819-2019)

    May 23, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Ships of the Sea Museum

    2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the SS Savannah's groundbreaking trans-Atlantic crossing.  In recognition of this monumental achievement,...

  • "Portrait of the Artist" Exhibition at Telfair Museums

    Aug 03, 2019
    12:00 PM - 12:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    This exhibition brings together several photographic portraits of recognizable creative individuals from Telfair’s permanent collection....

  • Southern Roots Fest

    Aug 24, 2019
    2:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Garden City Town Center

    A festival that celebrates Southern foods, music and traditions, located in the heart of beautiful Garden City, Georgia. The festival takes place...


    Jun 27, 2019
    5:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Deep South Photopoint

    The Arts on the Coast (AOC) is proud to present its 2019 Annual Exhibit hosted by the Photopoint Gallery and Elmgren's Garden Center in...

  • French Moderns: Monet to Matisse, 1850-1950

    Jun 15, 2019
    All Day @ Consumer Museum of Art and Garden

    The biggest names in French art such as, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir will be showcased...

  • "Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable"

    Aug 25, 2019
    7:00 PM - 9:00 AM @ Tybee Post Theater

    For Surf Movie Day, we bring you the untold story of the heart of a champion and her resilience against all odds to become one of the leading...

  • Oak Island Farmers and Artisans' Market

    Jul 15, 2019
    8:00 AM - 1:00 PM @ Middleton Park, Oak Island

    At the Oak Island Farmers and Artisans’ Market,  discover fresh local produce, homemade jams, cakes and diverse homemade goods ranging...

  • Encourage Health Series

    Aug 27, 2019
    11:30 AM - 1:30 PM @ Charles H. Morris Center

    Enmarket Encourage Health Lecture Focuses on Facts and Fictions of CBD Oil The facts and fictions of CBD oil will be the topic when Savannah...

  • Author Visit: R.J. Lee

    Aug 28, 2019
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM @ Islands Library

    R.J. Lee tells the tale of an exclusive Mississippi bridge club whose members are being killed off one by one. With its southern setting, plot...

  • Refinery29’s 29Rooms: Expand Your Reality Experience

    Aug 29, 2019
    10:30 AM - 10:00 PM @ The Works

    Refinery29 is bringing the iconic, immersive art installation 29Rooms: Expand Your Reality to Atlanta for an 11-day pop-up event from Thursday,...

  • Friday Concert Series

    May 03, 2019
    7:00 PM - 12:00 AM @ Historic Courthouse, Downtown Blairsville on the S

    Come enjoy live music every Friday Night from the first Friday of May through the end of October. The Historic Union County Court House will host...

  • Our Salute to Southern Rock

    Aug 30, 2019
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    It’s a Southern Rock tribute to our military vets with the music of the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker and Molly Hatchett,...

  • Annual Oak Island Art Guild Arts & Craft Festival

    Aug 31, 2019
    8:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Middleton Park, Oak Island

    Come explore over 100 artists and craft vendors at the Annual Oak Island Art Guild Arts & Crafts Festival! Handmade treasures like fine art,...

  • WhasSUP Yogis? Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga with Biza Mabry

    Aug 31, 2019
    10:30 AM - 11:45 AM @ Wymberly Dock, Isle of Hope

    Come practice yoga on a stand up paddleboard. This may be the most fun you have had since you were a kid!   No paddle experience is required,...

  • Collin's Barefoot Comedy w/Mike Lester

    Aug 31, 2019
    8:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    National headline comedian Collin Moulton's monthly stand-up comedy show always features his own brand of hilarious and family-friendly comedy,...

  • Beverly Willett Book Launch

    Sep 05, 2019
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ 24e

    Join us at 24E on East Broughton from 6-8pm for the launch of Beverly Willett's memoir, Disassembly Required. Willett will have a reading as...

  • Date Night: "Gone With the Wind"

    Sep 05, 2019
    7:00 PM - 10:00 AM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Gather your gal pals and make plans for a long night swooning over the greatest romance ever told.  “Gone with the Wind,”...

  • Abbey Road 50th Anniversary Celebration

    Sep 06, 2019
    8:00 PM - 10:00 AM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Fifty years ago, as Woodstock became the defining moment of the ‘60s generation, the Beatles recorded and released their own crown jewel:...

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Scenes of the South

August Brews for a Cause at Husk

Brews for a Cause at Husk, August 22, was truly an unforgettable night, featuring live music by Thomas Claxton and some fantastic craft beer by Southern Eagle — along with the top-notch cuisine of Chris Hathcock. A variety of incredible auction items benefited the Royce Learning Center and the Chatham Academy, including a pearl necklace from International Diamond and several rounds on the Bacon Park Golf Course!

Leopold's Ice Cream's 100 Year Birthday Block Party

Leopold’s celebrated its 100th anniversary on Saturday, August 17, throwing a birthday block party to commemorate the event.

Savannah Downtown Business Association Luncheon

The Savannah Downtown Business Association held its monthly luncheon on Aug. 14

Bohemian Hotel 10th Anniversary

The Bohemian Hotel celebrated their 10th year in business with an incredible night of cocktails and appetizers. Guests ventured up to the stunning rooftop deck overlooking the Savannah River to celebrate the hotel's decennial anniversary — reveling in the scenery with a glass of champagne.

Stonewall50 - A Legendary Block Party

The Stonewall 50 block party, held on June 28th outside the LGBTQ Center on Bull Street, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Protest — one of the most important moments in LGBTQ history and the catalyst for the gay rights movement.

Pelindaba Lavender Savannah Grand Opening

Pelindaba Lavender Grand Opening was this past Thursday, June 28th! This fun night included ribbon cutting, product sampling, lavender refreshments and special prizes! During this festive evening 10% of sales benefitted the good work of Coastal Pet Rescue. Stop by the store at 112 E Broughton St, Savannah, Ga to see the many products they offer!

Sonja Griffin Evans Gullah Art Exhibit

The Sonja Griffin Evans Gullah Art Event in Hilton Head displayed several paintings featuring the culture and heritage of the African-American Lowcountry. Sonja Griffin Evans paints with bright vibrant colors — while also incorporating materials such as tin and wood — to emphasize the traditional Gullah style, evoking an emotional response by bringing to life historical and cultural events.

JCB MudRun 2019

Participants hit the ground running at this year's JCB Mud Fest, climbing through tough obstacles in either the 5k or the 5 mile run. At the end of the race was a long slide where, upon finishing, contestants found themselves in the Party Pit. Winners from various age groups were presented with trophies, and all the proceeds from the JCB Mud Fest benefited the Lady Bamford Center for Early Childhood Development.

Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum's 200th Anniversary!

This past Wednesday, May 22, we celebrated with Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum for for the 200th anniversary of the SS Savannah's historic trans-Atlantic crossing — the WORLD'S FIRST oceanic voyage under steam! On this year's Maritime Day, Ships of the Sea celebrated the Savannah's 200th anniversary with a commemorative ceremony provided by the PROPELLER CLUB, where Robert Morris unveiled two eight-foot paintings. The evening also included an amazing performance by the Parris Island MARINE BAND, complimentary hors d'oeuvres and celebratory beverages!

Brews For A Cause at Top Deck

This past Tuesday, May 21 we celebrated another successful Brews for a Cause at Top Deck Bar! We joined up with Southern Eagle and a great group of like minded people to benefit Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire in their efforts to provide financial assistance to the surviving families of local law enforcement officers and firefighters who lose their lives in the line of duty. It was another memorable night in the South filled with great people and even greater crafted beer! This month's Featured Craft Beer: Island Coastal Lager Sponsors: Island Coastal Lager, Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire, Southern Eagle, South Magazine