Asheville – What Not To Miss!

Sam and I had never been in a small town – not for an extended time, anyway, and arriving at the tiny, bo-dunk airport in Asheville came with a feeling of apprehension. The air was hot and humid and our cab driver was the Han Solo of cab drivers, jutting between traffic and tuning his police scanner to ensure we wouldn’t get pulled over. When we arrived at our little hotel, he smugly suggested a tip, adding, “Well you survived, didn’t you?”

We did survive, and despite the ride we got a pretty good impression of Asheville. Looking out of the window you couldn’t see an end to the green. The trees were healthy and thick and they crowded the mountains like a blanket. Rivers rushed along streets and under bridges and people were inner-tubing or kayaking – not the professional grade kayaking you might be picturing, more like the improvised “your cousin Billy has a slab of plastic that’ll float” type of kayaking.

Our hotel was a bit dingy, but cheap and close to bus stops so it did the trick. Our nightly routine here was getting a coffee at the iHop across the street; then coming back to our room and reading or watching Fresh Prince. If you travel, bring a book. Sometimes Fresh Prince isn’t on.

Downtown Asheville

DSC05169Downtown Asheville was about 5 minutes away from our hotel by bus. This was the only part of the city that actually felt like a city: tall, brick buildings and tons of little shops. Asheville’s community is passionate about preserving independent businesses, and everywhere in town we found signs plastered on the windows urging consumers to “Unchain Asheville”. While we were there, we tried to visit as many of these little establishments as possible. Our favorites? I’m glad you asked.

Best Shops

We love our food and we love our coffee, so top of our list are two cafés and a restaurant.

Wicked Weed Brewing

IMG_9050-1Beer and good food and even better ambience. We ate here twice, once as the sun cast heavy shadows over the narrow streets and we were able to enjoy all of it because of their amazing half indoor/half outdoor bar seating.

Double D’s Coffee

DSC05143The coffee was alright, a bit sweet, but the charm here is the fact that the café has been set up in an old English double decker bus.

The Rhu

DSC05205Again, the coffee wasn’t great but our experience was amplified by the fact that if you sneak upstairs to the third floor, there is an unused events space that was empty. Large windows and wooden chandeliers create an inspiring atmosphere and we spent some time reading here before a barista found us and kicked us out.

In addition to food and coffee, there are plenty of boutiques and knick-knack stores. My favorite shop was called Horse + Hero where we got a couple of shirts with amazing art by Andy Herod.

Best Views

In Asheville you can’t get away from the beautiful green mountains, but for some of the most picturesque moments you have to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains. We rented a uHaul truck to get around for $20 and also used it to visit the Biltmore Mansion, built by the badass George Vanderbilt. Make sure you do the wine tour here and then go pet some farm animals to sober up.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Additionally, in order to get some good panoramas of downtown we climbed a fire escape to get some height. Drones are cheating.

DSC05174

Overall, we were a bit underwhelmed with our visit to Asheville. To be fair, we did minimal research on the town and went in expecting something… grander. More to do, I suppose, for eager urban explorers. This was one of our first “let’s just go”/on the whim trips, and we’ve learned a lot since then. Maybe if we went again now we’d discover the secret charm little towns like Asheville keep tucked beneath layers of two-lane streets and single story homes.

DSC05352

-Zach

Advertisements

Boston – 5 Must Dos!

Top sites to see in Boston! You’ll love them!!

If you ask anyone what’s my favorite place in the US, they will tell you Boston, MA. Boston stole my heart and so far no other place in the US even compares to this city in my eyes. So, with a ton of effort, I came up with my top 5 stops that I think travels should definitely check out in Boston. Parts of the city that made me just fall in love with it more and more!

Public Gardens

DSC06345

This park is in the middle of the city and is where locals go to spend time with their family, or to spend their lunch breaks from work. This park is 24 acres, has a large pond where tons of ducks call home, and also has some monuments that you can walk by and read about.

DSC05971

We ended up purchasing a picnic blanket during our stay just for how many times we wanted to take a nap in the grass.

Quincy Market

Located right behind the Faneuil Hall, is a two story – 27,000 sq. ft. food market filled with different fast food, restaurants, and dessert stands that you can choose from for some delicious lunch/dinner.

DSC06070.JPG

This place is a favorite of mine due to the busyness of the area, being surrounded by happy families, and also due to the awesome outside seating that have chess and checker pieces laid out for anyone to sit down and play while eating!

DSC06494DSC06491

Red Sox Game

We love to show local pride when we visit a place. It allows us to connect with the locals, and to see what they’re proud of. So, we of course had to go to a Red Sox Game!

DSC06395

& it was definitely a blast! Hearing locals boo the Baltimore Orioles & cheer for their retiring Big Papi, David Ortiz!

DSC06406

The ice cream filled baseball cap made it more enjoyable too!

The Lawn on D

This is an adult park filled with lawn chairs, large jenga pieces, cornhole game, ping pong tables, a food & drink bar, and large lit up swings! Such a great place to hang out and enjoy the ambiance of the city!

IMG_9550.JPG

Tea party museum

Now museums are definitely Zach’s thing, but this museum was actually a blast! Filled with roll playing, a mini movie, and a tour of a restored 18th century sailing vessel. This museum is a great way to laugh away an afternoon.

DSC06451

Freedom Trail

Beginning at Boston Common, this trail leads you through 16 major historic landmarks most that also offer on sight tours and souvenior shops.

DSC06140

This trail is 2.5 miles long so if you really wanna take in all the history, we recommend doing it over two days. One of the stops is at the Old South Meeting House and there, you can purchase a Freedom Trail book that goes into detail about each spot, an amazing read!

Near Paul Revere’s house, there are two small shops one of which is Eddie’s and Gill’s Printing Office, this is a must see! John Gill, is a history fanatic who actually tracked down one of the last original printers that were used during the Revolutionary War. John replicated the Declaration of Independence to exactly how it was printed back in 1776 and he sells copies of them at this shop!

DSC06111

If you’re visiting Boston and want to know even more cool hang out spots, read BOSTON: TOP 5 FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS FOR TOURISTS! & if you want even more, post a comment or message us!

-Sam