Hey there! You know the last time I posted anything on here? May! It was May. The fact that I haven't written in 7 months, when this is one of my favorite places to be, is kinda strange. But that's just a testament to the downright strangeness of this year. So many unfamiliar and surprising things that I think it sorta left me speechless. Now that it's only light approximately 3 hours a day and I'm spending more time snuggled up indoors, I have that familiar itch to write and so I plan to revisit some of life's happenings.
I'm not sure what the logical starting place is, but I'm choosing the trip Matt and I took this summer to Asheville, North Carolina.
Night 1 > Day 1
We first visited in Fall 2011 on our honeymoon and then again in Winter 2014 for a NYE run of Railroad Earth shows. Clearly we needed to check it out during summer months, so we went this July and stayed with friends that have relocated there for work with New Belgium Brewery.
Everything about this trip was perfection. The best way I can explain it is to say we seemed to get everything in the right amounts. We indulged but we didn't over indulge. We adventured, but we didn't run ourselves ragged. It's a rare treat to come home from a vacation feeling as energized as we did.
Driving & Arriving
We made the now-familiar drive from the Quad Cities to Asheville on a Thursday evening. The descent through Tennessee and North Carolina was as stomach-dropping as ever and compounded by the fact we were driving at night with few other cars on the road to light the way. I was so relieved when we finally arrived around 2am that I went from being dead tired to wide awake (and maybe a little giddy). We were greeted with our first of many New Belgium beers and stayed up chatting away on the couch with our friend. When our eyes finally started closing on us, we made our way to bed in the guest room which was thoughtfully set up and crashed. Hard.
Tupelo Honey Cafe, y'all
The next morning we slept good and late and when we got up we had coffee and cartoon time with our friends' kiddos. They are some of the most intelligent and sweet kids we know. And also full of surprises.
Once we were fully awake, we made our way to Tupelo Honey Cafe. A place we daydream about and drool over often! I indulged in a biscuit with honey (duh), but otherwise felt good about my breakfast choice of the Appalachian Bounty Scramble. From the menu: All-natural pasture raised Hickory Nut Hap Farm sausage, blueberries, arugula, kale, and Havarti cheese.
It was good, but honestly, neither of the meals I've had at the South Asheville location have matched the one I had at the Downtown location. It could be that our visit to the Downtown location was our first time and on our honeymoon. Or it could be that I made a better food selection there (the Grateful Dead Black Bean Burger with Cilantro Lime Mayo). I don't know..but next time we're going back downtown and finding out, wait or no wait!
Beer Market & New Belgium Brewery Asheville
Then we made our mecca to Appalachian Vintner - our beer market of choice in Asheville, and spent quite a bit of time there. The staff is always really helpful and next time I vow to come home with wine, too! The selection looks amazing, I just never know where to begin.
Next up: New Belgium Brewery for the grand tour! The place is just beautiful and set in an awesome location on the French Broad River. But what I love most is that New Belgium has a brand vision and a commitment to sustainability that shows in everything they do. It makes me swoon.
As we walked through the brewery, I was blown away by the scale of it, knowing that unlike the major domestic breweries or even small craft breweries, they are operating on a pretty large scale while also imbuing every step of the brewing cycle with integrity to the craft and innovation. It's truly amazing.
We got to tour the production floor and offices. The walls are lined with cool architectural finds from around Asheville. And they rent a crazy, cool church across the street for hosting visitors and employees that are relocating. I may have considered leaving my resume on a desk..
Once we left the production building, we walked across a little bridge to the bar and tasting area. Also super cool and obviously a popular Friday evening spot. We were able to grab some street tacos for dinner from a food truck that was posted up there and then suddenly it was time to go to the show.
String Cheese Incident @ US Cellular Center
We decided Night 1 we would rock some good spots on the floor. It was crowded at first, but we locked into place and were able to get even closer once people bowed out of the hustle. The set list was fun and we had an awesome time! It was my 25th SCI show and exactly 10 years (almost to the day) from the first time I saw them. Naturally, I was feeling nostalgic thinking about my 20's and this band that was woven throughout all it's twists and turns.
When the show ended, the crowd spilled into the streets and trickled into off into one bar or another. We kept walking right down to the end of the line for another favorite place of ours, Wicked Weed Brewpub. One of my absolute favorite things about Asheville is the walkability of the downtown. You can get to at least 100 magical places by foot alone, I think.
We immediately went downstairs to what we thought was the Funkatorium. When we were at the brewery in 2013, there was a sign pointing down the stairs declaring so. But after we got home from the trip we learned that's no longer the case. There is actually a separate location that is now the Funkatorium! (Reason #8,001 we'll just have to go back again.)
Anyway, we drank some stellar beer and then called it a night.
Hello, there! My name is Nikki Jones and this is a place for me to write about my travels, my urban homesteading adventures, and whatever else my little heart desires at a given moment. Like many personal-blog bloggers, there are times I write daily and long streteches I'm not inspired to write at all. And that's ok! At any rate, I'm glad you're here.