Insiders Travel Guide: Asheville, NC

Peppermint Sticks,

It’s been almost three years since I left New York City and moved to “The Paris of the South”, a.k.a. Asheville, North Carolina.  (Note: I don’t think the person who invented that term has ever been to Paris.  But anyway.)

It’s been quite the culture shock to go from Friday nights dancing at The Roxy to Friday night Barn Dances in Fairview! Living here I have gained amazing friends, beautiful adventures, and wonderful lessons in the art of simplicité.

My favorite way to get to know a place is through shopping, cafes, dance/yoga classes and great food, which is why you won’t see anything too touristy on this list (like the Lazoom tour or the Biltmore, though I do recommend checking those out too.)

If you’re ever passing through this charming little gem of a town, here are some of my favorite spots to check out:

Summit Coffee House

Coffee Shops

Liberty House Coffee

Try the Mountain Fog latte: lavender, honey, almond milk and earl gray.  Heaven! And the breakfast tacos.  Delish.

High Five Coffee

A great place to work, snuggle up with a book, people watch, or just relax with a delicious, creative baristas choice.

Trade and Lore

A sweet, romantic little gem right in the heart of the city.

Dobra Tea

Slip off your shoes in their moroccan style lounge and page through a robust menu with over 200 varieties of tea.  The roobois bubble tea is my favorite!

OWL Bakery

Mon Dieu! This sweet, charming patisserie has the best croissants on planet earth. Seriously. I’ve never tasted pastries like the ones they make here. Bring a book, a newspaper, a friend or a journal; relax and luxuriate.

Sovereign Remedies

Drinks

The Times at S&W

Chandeliers, velvet couches and craft cocktails you say? Sign me up!

Sovereign Remedies

The epitome of charm, this atmospheric delight is the perfect spot for a late afternoon bite and bevvie. (it does get quite crowded at night and on the weekends.)

The Bywater

A rustic little wonder right along the river. Grab a cocktail and head down to the riverside to enjoy the view. In the evenings there is usually live music (often bluegrass) under strings of twinkle lights.

Little Jumbo

Delicious cocktails, milk glass pendant lights and friendly service. Who could ask for more?

Battery Park Book Exchange

Oh, the whimsy! Vintage books, red leather couches, a delicious wine and champagne selection, charcuterie for days.  And you can bring your (well behaved) dog! This place is charm on wheels.

Desirant

Shopping

Desirant

Ok y’all. This is not only my favorite store in Asheville, it is one of my favorite stores in the WORLD. Glamour, simplicity, elegance, stunning design – Desirant has it all. A must see!

Minx

Sassy and classy, distinctive clothes and accessories.  A true gem.

Cornerstone Minerals

A beautiful collection of gems and crystals, with a friendly, knowledgeable staff.

The Herbiary

A sweet little treasure that offers handmade tinctures and herbs, as well as a beautiful display of bath and body products.

Gaea

Itching for a new deck of oracle cards and more incense than you can shake a stick at? This new age emporium awaits.

Malaprops

God save the independent bookseller! Malaprops has a dazzling array of thought provoking books, as well as a corner of staff favorites wrapped in brown paper.  The title and author is hidden, and on the wrappings you’ll find adjectives like like “romantic” or “spine tingling.”

Posana

Restaurants

Bull & Beggar

Heavenly food and gorgeous atmosphere. (Needs a reservation.)

Haywood Common

Farm to table YUM!

Plant

All vegan but you’d never know. Chic and delicious for you plant based babes.

Smoky Park Supper Club

This is where I bring all my guests passing through town. The food, atmosphere and service are all a delight!

Posana

Delicious, luxurious, and gluten free! Will not disappoint.

Rhubarb

More farm to table, local loveliness.  One word: burrata.

Cúrate

Tapas that are each works of art. Probably the most popular restaurant in town, if you can get in, you will not regret it!

French Broad Chocolates

Dessert

The French Broad Chocolate Lounge

A long line but worth the wait.  Liquid truffles, amazing gelato, heavenly hot chocolate!

Old Europe

Divine coffee, divine pastries, divine macarons!

WHY DON’T YOU…

Go for a Hike
There are dozens of gorgeous trails in and around Asheville. Check out www.ashevilletrails.com for a full listing.

Go to the Movies
The Grail and Fine Arts Theatre have a dazzling array of independent films every night of the week.

Go see Live Music
Live music abounds in Asheville. The Grey Eagle, 5 Walnut, The Orange Peel and The Isis  are all great places to start.

Go to a Yoga Class
Asheville has some of the best yoga classes I’ve ever experienced. Check out Asheville Yoga Center (Lyndsey Azlynne’s restorative classes, Bhakti with Micheal Johnson, Maeve Hendrix and Joe Taft are my personal faves). Asheville Community Yoga is also world class studio with by donation classes (Lauren and Wendy are my favorite teachers!). Violet Owl Wellness also has an awesome gift shop, and is now offering a weekly Qoya class!

Go to the Spa
Shoji Mountain Lodge is GORGEOUS and a wonderful way to spend a relaxing afternoon in the mountains. With amazing massages and private hot tubs, it’s a true treat!

Take a hip hop fitness class
With the queen of confidence, body love and belly dance herself, Miss Lisa Zahiya!

Get an Astrology Reading
Virginia Rosenberg does readings every Sunday at Earth Magick in town, and she also sees private clients. She is BRILLIANT. Highly recommend.

See beautiful Art
Beautiful art abounds in studio after studio in the delightful River Arts District.

Love,