SO MANY PLACES ~ SO LITTLE TIME!!!
Asheville has become a foodie destination with a strong “farm to market/table” philosophy. Chefs are actively seeking out locally grown beef, poultry, procuring organic produce & dairy from local farmers, farmer’s markets, and getting their breads from small local bakeries. The emphasis is on seasonal, sustainable, fresh, and without the use of antibiotics or hormones. Wonderful food is being prepared all around in funky little taco shops, to neighborhood cafes, fine dining destinations and everything in-between!
The area was also named Beer City in 2009 boasting more breweries per capita than any other US city. The Asheville Ale Trail features countless craft breweries and hard cider makers. There are guided van tours available or several self-guided maps for walking, biking or driving!
The area is teeming with family owned apple orchards so making cider & brewing hard ciders makes just good sense! So on Friday we made our way to West Asheville to pay a visit to the Urban Orchard Cider Co to taste flights of the company’s array of hard ciders. We were not disappointed, each of us found a favorite!
It was time for lunch, so we drove a few short blocks to The White Duck Taco Shop. It’s a funky little eatery in The Hatchery, which was originally the site of a mill & feed company, that provided eggs, laying hens, broiler hens & pullets when the food shortages during WWII forced people to substitute beef with chicken.
There is always a line and the aromas wafting as the front door opens, you just know it’s going to be yummy! The interesting and delicious offerings change regularly and always delight. You place your order at the counter and find a seat inside or out on the umbrellaed patio to wait for mouth-watering delights. It was my second visit and I was not disappointed!!!
The Hatchery is part of the Asheville River Arts District on the French Broad River is experiencing a renaissance ~ a place for entrepreneurs, artist workshops, antique shops & restaurants. The attitude is casual and friendly. Grab a beverage of choice and stroll or just sit and soak up the scenery.
Fully sated, we wandered through the artist’s shops and then got back in the car for a tour of downtown Asheville. I have been visiting Asheville on-and-off for the last 10 years and can’t believe the growth. It is wonderfully vibrant, exudes Southern charm and nestled in a “bowl” of breath-taking mountains with fresh mountain air – who could resist!
For dinner (yes there is a eating & drinking theme here, in case you wondered) we headed over to The Biltmore Estate's Antler Hill Village and snagged a table Cedrick’s Tavern ~ serving traditional pub fare, crafted local beers and wines form the Biltmore Estate winery. It’s charmingly decorated with Vanderbilt family memorabilia from life on the estate. You can’t pass up the house made sweet dill pickles ~ crisp & crunchy, a little sweet, a little sour ~ crafted in small batches from all-natural local ingredients. Yes they do sell jars of these bites of deliciousness to take back home. Tavern fare includes the traditional favs - Shepherd’s Pie, Fish & Chips - but they also offer freshly prepared seasonal fish, great salads and of course, scotch eggs! Live music on the weekends makes it a popular spot. The tavern is named after was the Vanderbilt family’s beloved St. Bernard. A bronze statue outside the restaurant depicts George & Edith Vanderbilt’s only child, Cornelia, playing with Cedrick. It's a favourite "photo op" spot for visiting children.
Antler Hill Village, situated within the estate, has a small family-friendly hotel, a central green, darling shops, casual eateries, an ice-creamery, the winery tasting room, a band shell for live music and of course a fountain all surrounded by rolling grass and flower des bursting with seasonal colour . A short stroll and you arrive at the “Farm” – complete with a smokehouse, smithy, woodworker, kitchen gardens and the animal barns. Year round activities abound drawing crowds with plenty to do for the young, the old & every age in-between.
It was time to head home and rest up for tomorrow and another fun day in Asheville!!!