Truth be told, we didn't love Asheville. When we arrived at our hotel (Downtown Inn and Suites), we loved the cheesy pool but were a little sketched out by the hotel itself. While checking in we ended up having a lengthy conversation with the guy at the front desk, who was surprised to learn that we didn't realize it was Beer Fest (we're not really Beer Fest people) and then proceeded to tell us excitedly about every place to get a beer in town (I don't really drink beer). He was also incredibly taken aback by the fact that we don't homebrew ("But... do you brew ANYTHING? Kombucha even?" "Nope.").
We spent our first day in town walking around and seeing the city. Kyle's day went downhill when he backed up while taking a picture and stepped in street vomit. I fell in love with the champagne bar and bookstore downtown--my two favorite things in one place!--and ended up buying a book called "FLOOD" by Robert Penn Warren because the name was apt (the book was good, too). We decided to try out the French Broad chocolate lounge (upon our hotelier's request), and were a little annoyed that there was a line practically out the door and the place looked like something out of an episode of Portlandia (everyone was dressed like a member of Mumford and Sons--or Daughters). There was just something about the overall Asheville vibe that just didn't sit well with us. It seemed to take itself way too seriously or something. We did hear some really great street bluegrass, however, by a New Orleans-based band whose name I can't remember. That night we decided to get takeout from Tupelo Honey, which was so busy we didn't want to brave a sit-down, and it was delicious.
The next morning we ventured out to the Biltmore Estate (our real reason for visiting Asheville in the first place, besides the fact that I'd heard it was a cool place), and that was a really fun day. We spent most of our time exploring the gardens, but did do a self-guided tour of the house itself (we refused to pay the extra $20 for a guided tour when we'd already shelled out $45/ticket). It was insanely beautiful, of course, and when we were finished exploring we headed into Antler Hill Village for our free wine tasting. We ended up buying a reasonably priced bottle to drink back at our hotel with pizza from a place down the road.
Next up: Charleston!