As innkeepers at Pinecrest Bed & Breakfast, our guests rely on recommendations for what to do and see when they visit Asheville. There are always new things popping up in western North Carolina. We try to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to food, drink, hikes and more. Here are some highlights from 2023 for you to try when visiting us this year.
New Food to Try in West Asheville
In case you haven’t heard, the 2022 James Beard Outstanding Restaurant went to Chai Pani. Their specialty is chaat, traditional street food snacks found all over India. Really these snacks are so much more: craveable, sweet, sour, tangy, spicy and crunchy. Seeing that Chai Pani does not take reservations, getting a table can mean standing in line for a lengthy wait.
Fortunately a quick drive to west Asheville leads to their sister restaurant, Botiwalla. While the menu is slightly different, there are plenty of options to satisfy our cravings for Indian food. In fact, one of our favorites, lamb sliders, is only on the menu at Botiwalla so it’s worth the drive plus they have on site parking. We recommend getting a side of Gobi 65, crispy cauliflower to dip in soy-ginger sauce. If you have time, cross the street for some shopping. Check out Provisions Mercantile, a modern day general store for an assortment of gifts, home, and kitchen goods.
New Drinks to Try in Downtown Asheville
The Restoration Hotel opened in 2023 in downtown Asheville. While The Conservatory is their new rooftop bar, head downstairs to the basement to our favorite spot, The Draftsman. The space is quite large with a well appointed bar, tables and comfy seating areas. Best of all are the free games like pinball, Skee-Ball, shuffleboard, and more video arcade machines. We like the seasonal variations of Old Fashioned and often order the chicken nachos or home-made hot pockets. Our best insider tip: park in the Sears Alley Public Parking Deck and use the back entrance. Voila!
A New Hike to Try in Gerton
Undeniably our location in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains is a top reason people flock to Asheville. An up and coming location for hiking is Hickory Nut Gap Gorge. Conserving Carolina has protected over 48,000 acres in western North Carolina. So far they have completed 38 miles of their one hundred mile plan for the Gorge. Finished in September 2022 but new to us is the Strawberry Gap Trail. Rated moderate to strenuous, this 6 mile out-and back trails climbs the first half through forests. Eventually the trial opens to Blue Ridge Pastures for sweeping views of the valley and distant mountain ranges. If you are looking for more hikes in the same area, check out our hike to Bearwallow Mountain which is less strenuous and a loop trail.
Feel Like A Kid Again
When was the last time you went putt-putt? For us, it was fall of 2023 when Salt Face Mule Brewing Company opened their doors. Yes, this is a brewery but so much more with a full kitchen, indoor seating, and covered patio. But the best part is two 18-hole miniature golf courses. It’s a fun afternoon on the course and we encourage you to keep score for a friendly competition and the loser buys the first round. As part of the Twisted Laurel family of restaurants, they have a full kitchen cooking up bar snacks, salads, sandwiches, entrees and even dessert with an ode to local seasonal Appalachian ingredients.
Festival? Music? Both!
If you want an entire weekend of music, come to AVLFest, a live music showcase spotlighting Asheville’s diverse music scene. This citywide music festival kicked off in 2023 and plans are underway for August 1-4, 2024. Tickets go on sale early in the year, even before musical acts are announced, and then are exchanged for a wrist band. Wristbands are good for entrance to most shows and venues (except for capacity restrictions or headliners.) Some of the venues hosting musical acts were The Gray Eagle, The Orange Peel, Asheville Music Hall, Salvage Station, and The Outpost. Local breweries got in on the act too with musical acts at Highland Brewery and Burial Forestry Camp. Shuttle busses ran from downtown to outlying venues.
Ultimately the inaugural event was a huge success. With their one-price model, we went to new venues, saw new acts and thoroughly enjoyed all four days of music. We can’t wait to get our tickets for 2024.
Try a Stay at a B&B in 2024
Pinecrest Bed & Breakfast is a great place to stay to try new things in the Asheville area. With convenient access to major highways, you will be able to fit in these and other activities. The innkeepers are a great resource and would be happy to help you plan your perfect trip, starting with our fresh hot breakfast every morning. Make 2024 your best year ever!