Since Captain Seahorse and I had a few days off, we decided to stay overnight in Asheville, NC. Our plans were cooking class and Frankie Bones our first day and then ride to Charlotte, NC to the National Whitewater Center for day two. As usual, my plans didn't go that way.
Asheville, North Carolina is located about an hour and 15 minutes north of Greenville, SC. It is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and not too far from the Great Smokies. There are plenty of activities to do in Asheville, such as visiting the Biltmore Estate, the national gingerbread house competition at the Grove Park Inn (November-January), and just about any outdoor activity you can think of (hiking, canoeing, kayaking, etc).
After our dinner at Frankie Bones, we planned to go see a movie at Cinebarr. Cinebarr is Asheville's "dollar theater", showing movies that have left main theaters a few months earlier for about $2. They were running a special of $1 after 9pm. Cinebarr has a full menu and serves adult beverages-hence the "barr" in its name. Needless to say this is still on our to do list. Instead of the movies, we ended up in Downtown Asheville. We walked a few blocks and took in the scenery and I was able to talk him into going to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. I wanted to compare it to Lulu's Chocolate Bar, we visited in Savannah, GA.
French Broad Chocolate Lounge is located on Asheville's Lexington Avenue. It gives you a vibe of a relaxed coffee shop, except everything is chocolate oriented. There are 2 cases beside the register one with chocolate truffles, which you can purchase as singles or by half dozens and dozens. The other has an assortment of cakes, cookies, parfaits and creme brulees (vanilla and chocolate). The drink menu offers a little bit of everything from hot chocolate, to liquid chocolate truffles, coffee, tea and shakes. They do ship orders if you cannot make it in but would like to try this fantasticness.
We both bought a truffle and a drink. Captain Seahorse had the cold sipping chocolate to drink with a salted honey caramel truffle. The drink was extremely rich. I had the maple with smoked salt liquid truffle to drink with the vanilla bourbon caramel truffle. My drink was very rich as well, but quite good. The truffles were AH-MAZING. So good we bought a half a dozen box before we left with a few different flavors.
Now, like I said before day two's plans were to head to Charlotte for a day the Whitewater Center, but seeing that we were planning an outdoor activity the weather was a concern. When we woke up, my handy-dandy weather channel app said it was going to start raining around 1 o'clock. So we decided to just hang out in Asheville for the day, which was a fantastic idea since Captain Seahorse had never done such a thing. He has always just popped in for the Biltmore or Gingerbread contest and popped back out.
We found an interesting restaurant in North Asheville called the Moose Cafe for breakfast. It was quite fantastic. It had beautiful view of the mountains and a very country look to it. They serve drinks in mason jars, which I think is fantastic! The menu has everything from grits to eggs to "moose cakes", which is their version of a big pancake. I had the 1 egg and 1 meat, which came with grits, sausage and a biscuit with sawmill gravy. It was delicious! Captain Seahorse had a moose cake. He said it was really good. The Moose Cafe also gives you homemade biscuits with their housemade applebutter. I am not a fan of applebutter, however Captain Seahorse is. He said it was just ok.
After breakfast, we went to the Botanical Gardens of Asheville. The best part about this place is its free! It is located right beside the UNC-Asheville campus. If you aren't careful, you could walk right onto the campus. I expected more flowers, especially with it being spring. It was interesting reading the different plant names though.
My desire to shop took us to Downtown Asheville, which Captain Seahorse now thinks is one of the best places ever. He said it gives him a vibe of Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco-just on a smaller scale and with more free-spirited people. Art galleries, restaurants and bars, clothing stores and antique stores all line these little hilly streets. While downtown, we saw lot of public art, checked out the The Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar and visited the Basilica of St. Lawrence-a beautiful church (be very quiet while visiting, people are usually inside praying).
Our stomachs took us to a new place in town, called Isa's Bistro, for lunch. It was a fantastic little restaurant with an outside patio-great for people watching. Captain Seahorse had the risotto. He loved it! He is still talking about it. I had the mixed leaf sald with salmon and, of course, a St Germain cocktail. It was all wonderful. Sitting outside people watching with a breeze made this experience so much better.
After lunch we picked up dessert from the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. We both had two truffles and some water. Then we headed to the Asheville Art Museum. It was free from 3-5pm, a special for the 1st Wednesday of the month. The north wing has sculptures and paintings, while the east wing is full of wood sculptures and a children's area. There was a group of teenagers/early college age kids that were quite loud which was quite annoying.
To end our little getaway to Asheville we stumbled upon a farmers market on the way to check out the Asheville Wine Market and a Olive Oil tasting store we found the night before. We had a great time in Asheville and cannot wait to go back and discover more of what this mountain city has to offer. Maybe next time the weather will be fantastic and we can do some hiking, ziplining, or rafting.