Last month, as I realized the year’s end is looming up ahead, I also realized I had to use up the remaining vacation hours that my (very corporate) job had given me. So, I timed those hours with Veteran’s Day, packed up the hubs and the dog, and headed on up to the mountains. We had a beautiful 3 days. The weather was around 70 the whole time, and there was still brightly colored fall foliage on most of the trees.
We stayed at a bed and breakfast in the tiny town of Black Mountain, North Carolina, called the Madison Inn . I have always been hesitant about staying in a B&B. Something about going downstairs in the morning to eat in a small kitchen with a bunch of strangers with morning breath just doesn't appeal to me... But this place was recommended by some friends, so we checked them out online and decided to give it a shot. I am so glad we did. We loved this place.
We arrived at the inn, and walked in to find the front desk was basically the hostess station of a dimly lit restaurant. Actually, at the time, it was a dark restaurant. They are not open for lunch, so only the desk area was lit. We were greeted by a lady that we came to enjoy talking to during the short length of our stay. After checking in, we let Aramis stretch his legs in the dog run, and proceeded up to our room. All of the rooms in the inn are themed. We were staying in the "fine arts room".
It was comfy and quiet. I think there was only one other room occupied while we were there. We really had a good time. That afternoon, after we checked in, we went to downtown Black Mountain to see what there was to see. Downtown is tiny! Like, 4 square blocks. And super quaint. There was an Apple a Day- an all organic cafe where the stuffed avacado was Uh-mazing. And at the homey Veranda cafe, the sweet potato corn soup almost made me cry it was so good. Haha. Ok, maybe I exaggerate, but it was so good. And they had all kinds of cool gifts and knick knacks to look at, which is good, cuz that place filled up quick! There were people milling arround outside waiting to get seated when we left our early lunch on a Thursday afternoon.
We went in the fun general store, the yarn shop, the dog bakery, artisan jewelry stores, and so many more cool places. I don't know how they fit so many neat things in such a small area!
It was on to downtown Asheville the next day. It was just as artsy, if not more so, and much, much, bigger! There was art, and food, and beverages galore. There were a few different places we stopped at to try flights of their craft- beer!
This was at one of our favorites of the trip- LAB (Lexington Avenue Brewery). They had good food (we had frog legs, sweet potato frites, jalepeno hush puppy funnel cake, white meatloaf, curry pastries, and more!) and a great range of beer. Even the types of beer I tend to stay away from, like IPAs, were pretty good. We were both was pleasantly surprised.
Wall street was lined with vibrant gold Ginko trees.
We went into several galleries, ran into a re-plant from Charlotte that my husband knew, and met lots of interesting people. There were dreadheads everywhere. I might have got a case of whiplash from looking at all of them! I bought some beads from a couple of the many bead stores, and strung them in my hair. We wandered through hippy stores and looked at all kinds of quirky things and people. Standing on a streetcorner, some guy in a truck actually called out of his window and thanked me for existing, lol. I guess my fierce beauty made his day. Haha.
mmm beer! Before we left the next day, we went to the Asheville River Arts district. We looked at more artisan crafts, wandered through some very cool galleries, and then took a 5 minute drive to the new and improved Highland Brewing Company taproom and brewhouse. It was awesome. They have a huge, clean space, where they have live shows weekly, and of course we took the free sample filled tour of the brewery. We also got to sample their newest seasonal- one day before it's official release. If you get a chance to try the Cold Mountain, (or any of their beer, actually,) I highly encourage you to do so. Yum!
Before we headed home that night, we ate at the restaurant at the inn. We had great service, a quiet, warm, and comfortable ambiance, and great food. We even left with a cake recipe made from a highland beer- which I made last night. It was so good! Straight from the menu, this is what we ate:
Chicken Piccatta $14.95
Twin boneless breasts… dusted in seasoned flour and pan sautéed to a golden brown..topped with our made from scratch Piccatta sauce, a delicious combination of sweet cream, fresh lemon, garlic and capers
Chicken Madison $15.95
Our signature dish… boneless breast of chicken, stuffed with herbed cream cheese, baby spinach
and diced artichokes… dusted in seasoned flour and pan sautéed in butter to a golden brown…
drizzled with Béarnaise sauce!
We took a pumpkin pound cake home that was scrumptious!
Aaand, then we drove home. We got home late, and worked the next day, but we had a great time. Definitely a good spot for a short trip. We'll be sure to go back again.