One of my all time favorite weekend get aways is Asheville, NC. While I definitely didn’t see all of gluten free Asheville in the 3 days I had, we did our best to try as much as possible. (While also hiking, touring historic sites, and taking a ghost tour!)
Nestled near the beautiful Pisgah national forest, Asheville is a haven for music lovers, vegans, and celiacs. In May of 2017, my mom and I hit the blue ridge parkway in celebration of my college graduation, summa cum laude (if I can add in a humble brag.) We picked Asheville for the nature, but the crazy high number of gluten free eats were also a deciding factor!
For my graduation, a family friend gave me a free night at his amazing log cabin resort! We stayed in Cabin 5 aka Midnight Roost. Located just outside of town, it is the perfect place to stay if you want to be able to balance your desire to explore the downtown vibes with your urge to hike.
Day 1: Lets Explore
Our first day in Asheville we headed straight downtown to Double D’s coffeeshop for a little caffeine. Double D’s is an adorable double decker bus turned coffee shop in the middle of the Main Street of downtown Asheville. It was a wonderful first stop and their peanut butter latte was unreal.
Next, we hit up Doc Chey’s for dinner. I had a delicious noodle bowl filled with veggies and while it wasn’t my favorite meal we had, it was a great way to fill up after a long day of driving.
That night we sat at Aloft, one of the downtown hotels, which had live music, but that wasn’t the best part. The best part was that the hotel had animals for adoption and you could bring a puppy to your table! Can you imagine something more heavenly than listening to live music with a glass of wine on a porch with a puppy?!
Day 2: Hiking and a Ghost Tour
The next morning we set out early for Pisgah national forest. We were set on doing Looking Glass Rock trail. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the trail head so we stopped at another hike along the same road and decided to wing it. I couldn’t tell you what hike we ended up on but we hiked about 3 miles before realizing we would need rock climbing supplies to finish the trail. As we did not have anything with us, we turned around and found another trail. We set out for a second hike which was a quick 2 mile loop, nothing special. A little bummed but nearly out of water and gas, we turned the car around a headed back towards town.
A few minutes later I see it, the trail head for Looking Glass Rock. With questionable judgement I look at my mom and say, “should we do it?” Thankfully, she’s as crazy as me and we set out for the 6.5 mile loop. (having already hiked over 5 miles) Though we were incredibly hungry and thirsty by the time we finished, I am so glad we did it. This hike was one of my favourite I have ever done, challenging but well marked, with a beautiful summit. The outlook at the top is the perfect place for a picnic and I highly recommend checking out this trail if you’re in the area.
After our crazy hike, we went back to shower and change before hitting the town for an early dinner. We ate at Chai Pani, a delicious Indian street food joint with a million GF options. That night we had booked tickets to LaZoom for that night which is a comedy tour of Asheville. Exhausted from our day, we climbed aboard the bus with a bottle of cider and we were unprepared for what happened next, literally non stop laughter. It was a great way to see the city and learn a little history in a fun and innovative way.
Day 3: Gluten Free Asheville Galore
The next morning, we had brunch at Sunny Point Cafe. It’s located outside of downtown in a cute area with lots of fun shops. We had a delicious brunch, I had the huevos rancheros with tofu chorizo which was out of this world.
After brunch, we headed to the Biltmore Estate. The Biltmore Estate is America’s largest home, built by the Vanderbilts it has 250 rooms. You can tour the house and the grounds including the garden and the winery. They have displays of vintage clothing, art, and furniture. The self guided tour offers an interesting glimpse into the lives of the Vanderbilts.
After hours of touring around, and my mom paying me dollar to ask Israelis we bumped into where they were from in Hebrew, we made our way back to town. Of course, we first made a pitstop at Biscuit Head for gluten free biscuits and blueberry coffee.
We got to downtown and is is typical of summer afternoons in the Carolinas, it started to rain. So, instead of our planned shopping time we decided to do a little bar crawl. We started at Thirsty Monk before heading to my cousins recommendation, Urban Orchard Cider Brewery. Mom and I split a cider flight which allowed us to taste nearly all of their unique flavours which ranged from lavender to jalapeño! We also split a cheese plate which came with local cheeses as well as fruit and nuts.
Luckily, the rain stopped just in time for us to join the Friday night drum circle which takes place downtown every Friday night. Hundreds of people gather in town square for a wild evening of making music together. It was a great way to start the evening. For dinner we went to visit friends who have a house as high up on the mountain as you can get. We watched the sunset over a bottle of wine and it was a perfect evening.
Day 4: The Gluten Free Brunch of My Dreams
On our last full day we went to Posana, a 100% gluten free restaurant in Downtown Asheville. We had a huge brunch which consisted of chicken and biscuits, quiche, and matcha donut holes. Afterwards we went to explore the downtown area which included a visit to French Broad Co-op. There I bought some locally made Bold Rock Ciders to take home for my brother as well as all kinds of local healthy snacks. We wandered in and out of art galleries and boutiques all day before heading to Laughing Seed Cafe for dinner.
Sadly, the next morning we packed up to head home but no before stopping for lunch at Thai Noi Kichen. Their fresh rolls were some of the best I’ve ever had. My mom and I enjoyed making pitstops at all the fun second hand stores nearby on our way back to SC.
All in all Asheville is a wonderful weekend getaway for anyone who loves art, music, beer, or fun healthy cafes.
Check out my map to find all these delicious gluten free bites.