At Home in Asheville

Oct. 14, 2016

Alternative Medicine in Asheville

alternative medicine in asheville

In addition to world class traditional medicine, Asheville offer a wide variety of alternative medicine to support your overall health and wellbeing. Alternative medicine in Asheville ranges from acupuncture and massage to salt caves and vortex healing. This wide range of holistic care supports your health and vitality. 

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy, therapeutic human touch, is proven to help heal ailments from arthritis to anxiety. Licensed massage therapists are trained to treat inflammatory conditions, support surgical recovery, help ease the symptoms of cancer treatment, improve circulation, detoxify the body, and even improve digestion.

If you are new to massage, start with a basic full body massage. From there, you can explore deep tissue massage, myofascial release, hot stone massage, Swedish massage, and other types of healing body work. Massage represents just one powerful option for alternative medicine in Asheville.


Cupping was brought to the mainstream attention during the 2016 summer Olympics. Michael Phelps and other professional athletes were seen with red cupping marks all over their bodies. While the procedure leaves painful-looking marks on the body, it provides extraordinary support for muscle recovery.

How does cupping work? The cupping technique uses suction and negative pressure to help loosen muscles, improve blood flow, and calm the nervous system. Cupping can help you find relief from anxiety, stiff muscle, neck and back pain, migraines, anxiety, rheumatism, and so much more. It is even proven to help treat cellulite. 

Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine

Like cupping, acupuncture is part of the Chinese Medicine tradition. Many licensed acupuncturist also offer cupping, bodywork, and Chinese herbology to provide a well-rounded treatment regime. Acupuncture was first used in China over 2,500 years ago and consists of a complete medical protocol focused on correcting imbalances of energy in the body. Specifically, acupuncture addresses the flow of energy, known as chi or qi, in the body. This helps correct imbalances and unblock important pathways.

Use acupuncture with other forms of alternative medicine in Asheville, since acupuncture is known to be especially effective when combined with other treatment. It has also been proven to help mitigate some types of pain. Many patients try acupuncture as a last resort and wonder why they didn’t try it sooner!

Chiropractic Care

A chiropractor helps your body heal naturally by providing the right environment and assistance.  These highly trained practitioners are experts who believe in the body’s ability to heal itself. Since the nervous system controls every other organ and cell in the human body, healing the spine regain proper alignment has a powerful healing effect that resonates throughout the entire body.

Patients report that chiropractic care helps them relieve back pain, ear infections, scoliosis, headaches, high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis, joint pain, and neck pain.  Additionally, chiropractors help support surgical preparation and recovery, organ function, and healthy pregnancy.

Himalayan Salt Caves

Alternative medicine in Asheville also includes therapeutic experiences such as time spent in salt caves. Salt caves are beneficial to your health because the dry salt air and negatively charged ions in salt help to improve our health and mood. The inhalation of salt particles may also reduce inflammation and mucus in the lungs, which in turn improves respiratory conditions such as asthma, allergies, bronchitis, sinus congestion and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

In a world with polluted air and mineral deficiency, time spent in a Himalayan salt cave can restore balance to your body. The air within a salt cave is charged with negative ions, which are known to suppress serotonin in the body for improved mood and higher energy. And finally, time spent in a salt cave is simply relaxing. It offers a chance for you to unwind in a soothing and healthy environment.

Rejuvenating Hot Mineral Springs

Alternative medicine in Asheville extends beyond the practitioner’s office and into our natural landscape. Nearby Hot Springs, NC offers a true hot mineral spring experience. The benefits of bathing in natural hot springs are numerous! Water at higher temperatures contains more dissolved minerals, which are absorbed through the skin.

Minerals found in hot springs include silica, chloride, potassium,zinc, iron, magnesium, sulfur, selenium, calcium, lithium, and radium. These minerals are thought to help improve circulation, metabolism, and chronic disease. Soaking in hot water also helps reduce pain and alleviate joint pain.

Come to Asheville and experience the healing power of holistic medicine. The highly trained alternative medicine practitioners are trained to complement your Western medicine regime and provide support for a healthy mind, body, and soul.


Sept. 30, 2016

Asheville Continuing Education

Asheville is a vibrant mountain town with a lot to offer for individuals and families of all ages. One factor that makes Asheville one of the best cities for retirees is the abundance of continuing education opportunities. Programs for the development of personal, professional, and creative skills abound and there is truly something for everyone. 

In this post, I briefly cover three continuing education opportunities available for both professionals and retirees in the Asheville area. 

Continuing Education at AB Tech

AB Tech offers a variety of continuing education programs, including certificate programs. The continuing education department seeks to support community members both professionally and personally through the non-credit division of the college.

Their mission statement reads, ““We are committed to improving the quality of life for individuals and the community by offering learning opportunities to promote personal, workforce and economic development.” 

AB Tech’s programs are designed to further their institutional vision of changing lives and strengthening communities. You can see the latest schedule of classes and events on the AB Tech continuing education schedule page.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville was established in 1988 and remains dedicated to promoting lifelong learning, leadership, community service, and research. The program operates under the University of North Carolina at Asheville. 

OLLI at UNC Asheville works to enable their community members to thrive in the second half of their lives. OLLI offers a comprehensive lineup of programs, including courses in the arts and humanities, the natural world, civic engagement, wellness, life transition, retirement relocation planning, intergenerational co-learning, and research on trends in the reinvention of retirement.

Even though most OLLI members are 55 and older, the institute is open to all ages. Many members have relocated to Asheville, which makes OLLI a warm and welcoming community for those who are new to the area.

Adult Continuing Education Art Classes

If you are looking to tap into your creative side, Asheville has a wide array of adult art classes. The Asheville Art Museum has a rotating selection of classes and workshops for adults in their downtown location.

Artists in the River Arts District teach art classes ranging from cloth fiber and glass blowing to photography and pottery. In these classes, you will learn straight from the experts in the heart of Asheville’s artist community.

Additional art related activities include the robust array of fine art classes at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts.

As a professional or retiree in Asheville, there are a myriad of options for your continuing education. Many people who have relocated to Asheville flourish in the welcoming environment of lifelong learning and arts education.


Sept. 15, 2016

Popular Asheville Neighborhoods

asheville nc neighborhoods

Downtown Asheville

Art deco architecture and vibrant nightlife are central to the downtown Asheville neighborhood. If you enjoy walking, dining out, shopping, and exploring art galleries, then downtown could be the neighborhood for you. Living downtown puts you within a short jaunt of top restaurants, twenty plus breweries, the Asheville Art Museum, and endless activities. Your downtown living options include industrial lofts in renovated historic buildings and luxury condos.


River Arts District

The River Arts District (RAD) includes twenty two former industrial and historic buildings, which line about a mile of the French Broad River. The RAD is home to more than two hundred artists, a variety of restaurants, shops, and breweries. New Belgium Brewing opened their second brewery on the French broad in the RAD this year and the entire neighborhood is undergoing a transformation that will provide a greenway and increased parking.


West Asheville

West Asheville is located just across the river from Downtown Asheville and is organized around Haywood Road, the central thoroughfare for the neighborhood. West Asheville offers a multi-generational small town vibe just minutes from bustling Downtown. Haywood Road is lined with fabulous restaurants and shopping, including: Zia Taqueria, Dobra Tea, Biscuit Head, Urban Orchard Cider, Asheville Sandwich Company, and The Admiral. The most desirable homes are tucked away within walking distance to Haywood and bring the best of the big city and the small town to their residents.


Grove Park

The Grove Park neighborhood is a North Asheville flagship that counts the famous Grove Park Inn as its neighbor. Grove Park was developed in the 1920s and the homes are traditionally elegant. Large lots, historical architecture styles, and wide roads characterize this residential neighborhood. E.W. Grove Park sits centrally with a well-manicured grass lawn and park benches for residents to enjoy.


Historic Montford

Historic Montford sits on the north end of Downtown Asheville close to the UNC Asheville campus.  The neighborhood is brimming with stunning Victorian homes and popular bed and breakfasts. Montford has been a preeminent neighborhood in Asheville since the turn of the 20th century. In recent years, homeowners have taken to repairing neglected historic homes to bring back the life and beautify Montford knew in Asheville’s Pre-Depression prime.


Lakeview Park

Lakeview Park is a community of homes that surrounds Beaver Lake and Park. This neighborhood is one of the most desirable in Asheville due to its serene atmosphere, proximity to downtown, and inclusion in the Asheville City School district.



Kenilworth is centrally located just South of downtown Asheville and just North of the Biltmore Village. The neighborhood itself boasts 1920s bungalows and craftsman architecture. Old trees line the rolling streets and one of Asheville’s top health care providers, Mission Hospital, sits close by on Biltmore Avenue.



The East Asheville neighborhood of Oakley offers a quiet neighborhood feel just minutes from Biltmore Village. The smaller brick ranches and cottages offer the opportunity for Do-It-Yourself homeowners to find an affordable home and then allocate their budget towards renovations and custom finishings. The neighborhood is close to the Asheville Mall and other big stores on Tunnel Road. Oakley is an attraction destination for young families, first time home buyers, and retirees alike.


Biltmore Forest

Even though Biltmore Forest is listed as an Asheville neighborhood, it is actually a town in its own right. Biltmore Forest is located between the Biltmore Estate, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the City of Asheville. The neighborhood history is entwined with close by Biltmore Estate. In 1916, after damaging floods around the Estate, the trustees of the George Vanderbilt Estate requested a survey of the property. The report recommended the sale of Biltmore Village and the conversion of roughly 1,500 acres of Biltmore Estate into a residential district with home lots. Current residents enjoy the wooded neighborhood and convenience of the nearby city.


Biltmore Park

Biltmore Park is a planned mixed use neighborhood in South Asheville. Biltmore Park Town Square has a gym, bookstore, coffee shop, restaurants, and living options rolled into one thoughtfully designed development. If you are looking for walkability without the bustle of downtown Asheville, Biltmore Park delivers just that.


Aug. 18, 2016

Top City For Retirees

What Makes Asheville a Top City For Retirees

Our beautiful mountain town of Asheville consistently ranks as a top city for retirees in the US. I personally appreciate the balanced lifestyle that Asheville provides. We have a bustling downtown, fine dining options, an active and diverse art scene, and we are surrounded by the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains. It just doesn’t get much better than this. If you are considering Asheville as a retirement destination, keep reading for my round-up of what makes Asheville a top city for retirees. 




Quality Traditional Medical Care

As we age, we naturally start placing a higher value on quality medical care. In many smaller towns, you typically have to compromise when it comes to the level of care available to you locally. In Asheville, this is absolutely not the case. The Mission Health System and Hospital receives top ratings, offers a range of specialized care for retirees, and is located smack dab in the middle of town, with off shoots around the periphery. Mission is the only hospital in North Carolina to ever receive designation as a Top 15 Health System from by Truven Health Analytics. Mission Heart has been named one of America's Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospitals by Truven Health Analytics in 2016, the tenth time since 2000 that Mission has received this recognition.


Holistic Health Options

In addition to strong traditional healthcare, Asheville is teeming with holistic healthcare providers. Acupuncturists, massage therapists, and naturopathic providers deliver options beyond the hospital to heal and improve your quality of life. When it comes to holistic eating, Asheville has tons of vegan-friendly restaurants- and plenty of healthy options for carnivores too. If you enjoy cooking at home, you can stock your pantry with fresh and colorful foods from your local tailgate markets, which offer a seasonal variety of produce, meats, eggs, herbs, and local goods.


Continuing Education

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute(OLLI) at UNC Asheville provides is an award-winning, internationally-acclaimed learning community dedicated to promoting lifelong learning, leadership, community service, and research. Their mission “is to enable our members to thrive in life’s second half.” OLLI represents just one of the continuing education opportunities in Asheville. AB Techalso offers continuing education and art classes for all ages. If you are looking for even more opportunities to grow as an artist, check outThe Asheville Art Museum in downtown and theOdyssey Center for Ceramic Arts in the River Arts District.


Community Engagement

In Asheville there is an opportunity to engage with your community around every corner. Locals take a vested interest in the wellbeing of their community and provide many opportunities to connect. Nonprofits, clubs, and religious organizations all offer ways for you to meet new friends and engage with Asheville on a deeper level. If you are looking to make friends and get to know your community, I recommend looking into volunteering at RiverLink, Manna Food Bank, and Hands On Asheville.


Indoor and Outdoor Activities

Retiring to Asheville means that you will never be bored! There is an abundance of indoor and outdoor activities to delight both you and your visitors (and believe me, there will be visitors!). Many activities are also handicap accessible, from trolley tours to gallery hopping to paved walking trails. Our local favorite, The Biltmore Estate, offers year round programming, from summer bike riding to holiday house and garden tours. If you are looking for something more rugged, The Blue Ridge Parkway runs North and South out of the city. Stop off at an overlook with a picnic, or take a roadside trail up into the mountains for even more spectacular views.

July 29, 2016

Asheville Outdoor Summer Activities

Asheville comes alive in the summer! Take advantage of everything our mountain town has to offer with my top suggestions for the best Asheville summer activities.


Biltmore Estate Home and Garden

The Biltmore Estate attracts over one million visitors every year, making it by far Asheville’s most visited tourist attraction. But don’t let the potential crowds keep you away, the hype is worth it as far as we are concerned. During the summer, the lush gardens are brimming with bright blooms and the house offers a perfectly times respite from the heat. If you can’t make it during the summer, plan a home tour during the Christmas season to see the estate dressed up in holiday finery. No matter when you visit, be sure to make time to explore the 8,000 acres of Blue Ridge Mountain landscape that surrounds the home. Head to Antler Village for sporting clays, bike rentals, the Biltmore Estate winery, restaurants, shops, and outdoor adventures. Our favorite way to enjoy an afternoon at Biltmore is to rent bikes from the Bike Barn and explore the trails. Then, close out your experience with a complimentary wine tasting- you might even find a new favorite wine to take home!


The North Carolina Arboretum

Located just south of Asheville, the arboretum is the perfect place for a wide range of outdoor fun: walking your dog, having a romantic picnic, going for a jog, exploring with your kids (or grandkids), and enjoying the diverse and well-catalogued flora and fauna. If hunger strikes, head over to the onsite cafe for fresh fare. With 64 acres of cultivated gardens and over 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, you can explore for an hour or an entire day! The main gardens, Education Center, and the Baker Exhibit Center are wheelchair accessible. You can pick up a wheelchair from the Education Center at no charge.


Trolley Tours

Gray Line’s nostalgic trolley tours provide a wonderful and relaxing way for you to cover more ground and soak up the history of Asheville. You can decide to complete your tour all at once, or purchase a pass that allows you to hop on and off at each stop (these passes are valid for two days). Either way, you will get to experience downtown, Historic Montford, The Grove Park Inn, the River Arts District, and so much more. This is a great way to maximize your time or introduce your out of town visitors to your city!


Asheville Tourists Game

Our local Minor League Baseball team,a style="text-decoration: none;" href=""> the Asheville Tourists, play at McCormick Field, located on the edge of downtown Asheville. The Tourists are a feeder team for the Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball team. Make a night out of it with the Thirsty Thursday promotion ($1 regular beers, $1 Coke products, $2 craft beers) that runs all summer long. You can start your night on the South Slope, grabbing a beer or a snack, and then walk downhill to the stadium.


Museum & Gallery Hopping

Asheville is known the country over for its vibrant creative scene. In addition to nightly live music, our mountain town holds fine art galleries, museums, and craft fairs. If you are downtown, pay a visit to the Asheville Art MuseumaSHEville Museum, which is tucked away on Wall Street. Both have impressive permanent collections and a rotating roster of exhibits. Outside of museums, our downtown gallery favorites include; Blue Spiral, Haen Gallery, Bender Gallery, and Horse & Hero. If you are looking to make an afternoon (or a day) out of it, head tothe River Arts District. This artistic outcropping is the perfect place to see artists at work in their galleries.  


Blue Ridge Parkway Picnic

Our final favorite Asheville summer activity is to plan a picnic along the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can travel North or South from central Asheville on the Parkway and find an overlook to stop your car and take in the sweeping mountain views. Be prepared for cooler temperatures, as the parkway can be as much as 15 degrees cooler than Asheville itself! Check sunrise and sunset times and plan accordingly to really make the most of your picnic.

July 22, 2016

Best Asheville Restaurants: Upscale Spots

If you are looking for a more upscale dining experience in (and around) downtown Asheville, these are my top picks. From old standbys to up-and-comers, this list touches on our favorite places to toast and celebrate. Most of these restaurants serve lunch and dinner, so be sure to check out their full menus on their websites for a better idea of their offerings!



Curaté is often hailed as Asheville’s best restaurant. While some locals disagree on the subject, Curaté offers a fun and authentic Spanish dining experience in the heart of downtown. The atmosphere feels celebratory, and the wine and cocktail list backs up this vibe. Don’t miss their signature (and indulgent) dishes: pan con tomaté, jamón Ibérico (try all 3 varieties), croquetas de pollos, and potatas bravas. If you can’t get a reservation, arrive before the dinner rush and grab a spot at the bar.



If you are looking for an upscale brunch, lunch, or dinner experience- Table has you covered. Table uses local and regional meats, cheeses, and produce for their farm-to-table menu. Try the decadent swiss chard and ricotta fritters, hanger steak, or Carolina crudo tuna. If you want to keep the party going, head upstairs after your meal to the Imperial Life cocktail lounge.


Smoky Park Supper Club

Smoky Park is billed as the largest shipping container restaurant in the United States. Nestled along the French Broad river in the River Arts District, Smoky Park serves up seasonal wood-fired food and craft cocktails. Arrive by bicycle, car, or boat… And stay for the live music, riverside ambience, and delicious shareable plates. Menu highlights include comforting dishes like spicy crackerjack popcorn, cast-iron grille cheese, charred and creamed local kale, house sausage, and Apple Brandy Farms sirloin with roasted cauliflower puree and pan-seared mushrooms.



If you are looking for a fresh twist on Southern comfort food, Chef John Fleer of Rhubarb has the answer. Try the flavorful house pickled vegetables, Mongolian barbequed lamb ribs, Heritage pork meatballs, local lettuce salad, wood roasted sunburst trout, or grilled Ashley Farms half-chicken. We recommend grabbing a few of the smaller plates and local cheese board to share at the start of your meal- there are so many gems on the menu, you don’t want to miss them! As chef and owner John Fleer notes, “Sharing food is tranformative.”



Upscale and traditional Mexican cuisine shines atLimonéswhich is tucked away from the hustle and bustle off Biltmore Avenue on Eagle Street. Stop by for a cocktail and snack, weekend brunch, or celebratory dinner out.  Every dish is bursting with bright flavors and pairs well with their extensive selection of margaritas. Local favorites include the ceviche verde, slow braised short rib nachos, seared sea scallops, and tequila lime beef fajitas. Start your weekend brunch with a cup of hot chocolate and churros for the table to share.


Cucina 24

Make an evening out of it and plan to stroll along Wall Street before your dinner at Cucina 24. We recommend ducking into MG Road for a pre-dinner cocktail. The wide range of elevated Italian food will please everyone in your party. Enjoy staples like fresh bread, traditional pasta, and pizza or try innovative dishes like their sunny egg & black truffle, potato, and onion jam small plate. Your only problem will be deciding which dishes to order!

Do you have a favorite Asheville restaurant that isn’t listed? I would love to hear from you. My wife and I love the variety of cuisines and price points available- there is truly an option for every occasion and craving! This is just one quality that makes Asheville a wonderful location for your retirement or second home.

Posted in Asheville Eats
July 14, 2016

Best Asheville Restaurants: Casual Spots


Here is a round-up of some of my favorite casual places to eat in downtown Asheville. Most of the lunch options also serve dinner if you are looking for a casual dinner spot!


Buxton Hall BBQ

Located on the South Slope, next door to Catawba Brewing, Buxton Hall BBQ is shaking up the Asheville restaurant scene. The all-star team serves up Eastern Carolina style BBQ plates and fixin’s in a historic building. Enjoy a classic pulled pork sandwich, St. Louis style ribs (Thurs-Sat), fried chicken, and their unparalleled buttermilk jalapeño hush puppies. Come for the BBQ and stay for a house special liquor slushie



Chef Hector is the mastermind behind Salsa’s, Chorizo, Modesto, AND Bomba. You might think he would be overstretched… but would be wrong. Every restaurant delivers its own unique spin on Latin American cuisine. Bomba is our favorite for a morning coffee (with Bomba roll) and long casual lunches al fresco. In addition to arepas, pupusas, and tacos, enjoy their all-star salad line-up for a fresh and flavorful meal.



In a world of make-your-own burger joints, BurgerWorx is a cut above the rest. Bring your vegetarian friends because for the dynamite veggie burger complete with a wide array of vegetarian topping choices. If you like spicy food, don’t miss the Atomic burger- or at least add some habañero pepper relish to your order.




When the burrito-craving strikes, hop down to Mamacitas for fast and fresh Mexican cuisine. With a wide-array of meat and veggie options, you can please everyone in one stop!  If you are visiting on a (Taco) Tuesday, watch out for the extra long line.


The Rhu

Rhubarb’s little sister, The Rhu is holding their own among Asheville restaurants on Lexington Avenue. Take it to go, or eat-in for breakfast and lunch. Their well-curated wall of local goods is your one-stop-shop for hostess gifts and take-home goodies.  Relive your childhood with their elevated peanut butter and jelly toast, or go-big with the sausage egg and cheese muffin. For lunch, you can’t go wrong with their rotation of fresh salads and sandwiches


Over Easy Cafe

For downtown breakfast and brunch, try Over Easy Cafe. If you are looking for a boozy brunch, they offer mason jar mimosas and spicy Bloody Marys. This is another spot that everyone can enjoy, since they offer a wide array of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options. Expect a line during peak hours.


Rosetta’s Kitchen & the Buchi Bar

Rosetta’s Kitchen is Asheville’s downtown whole foods kitchen, serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday through Saturday! Even meat eaters will enjoy the hearty vegan menu and bold flavors. Want to bring the healthy vibes home with you? Grab a growler of local Buchi to-go!


Bouchon Creperie

Grab a crepe and a mimosa on the relaxing patio at Bouchon Creperie. If you need an afternoon pick-me-up, we recommend the French picnic platter. Their crepes and mussels make delicious full meals. Make sure to try the French fries, they are addictive and should not be missed! Their sister-restaurant, Bouchon, offers fancier French comfort food- you can’t go wrong with either of these Asheville restaurants.


Little Bee Thai

Once only served by food truck, Little Bee Thai can now be enjoyed at their new brick and mortar location. Small bites like spicy wings, noodle dishes, hearty stir fries, and balanced curries are the hallmark of the Little Bee Thai experience. Check them out for lunch, but be ready for a line during peak hours!


Chai Pani

Chai Pani will delight you with their creative and accessible Indian street food. Enjoy small plates, salads, sandwiches, and traditional thali platters (vegetarian and non-vegetarian offerings rotating daily). Order a variety of Chaat (street snacks) to share for the table and cool off with a refreshing Mango Lassi, their housemade chilled yogurt drink with sweet mango pulp & cardamom.


Wicked Weed Brewing

Visit the downtown pub location ofWicked Weed Brewing for a full beer and Asheville dining experience.  The menu features gastro-pub staples like burgers, salads, and creative small bites (boiled peanuts, house made chips, and a local cheese plate to name a few). The pub normally has 16 of their renowned beers on tap. If you are craving more local beer, venture to the Funkatorium, their sour beer outpost on the brewery heavy South Slope.


Biscuit Head

No round-up of Asheville restaurants is complete without breakfast darling, Biscuit Head. Don’t let the line wrapping around the door scare you off, it is worth the wait. You can’t go wrong with any of their biscuits (surprisingly delicious and fluffy GF biscuits available), but we especially recommend the Asheville Benedict, Mimosa Fried Chicken, Pulled Pork, and Fried Green Tomato biscuits.  Grab the bacon of the day and their gravy trio to share if you want the full experience. Insider tip: grab a coffee, mimosa, or bloody mary from the to-go counter to drink while you wait.

Posted in Asheville Eats
July 7, 2016

Best Asheville Day Hikes


Most of my favorite Asheville area day hikes are located along the Blue Ridge Parkway or I-40, both of which are easily accessible from downtown Asheville and the surrounding towns. The hikes vary in difficulty and length, but they all offer spectacular mountain views and fresh air.

Biltmore Estate Trails

If you love the Biltmore House, make your next visit a full day trip and explore the rest of the expansive grounds and nearly 22 miles of hiking trails. You can walk through manicured garden paths, along the French Broad River, or through the fields. Visit the Outdoor Adventure Center in Antler Hill Village for the full lineup of outdoor activities and your detailed trail maps. The nearby Bike Barn also offers cruiser bike rentals for a paved path along the river and mountain bike rentals for the more rugged trails.

Catawba Falls

This shady 3 mile Asheville day hike offers an easily walkable trail that culminates with the 100 foot tall Catawba Falls. The hike includes several Catawba River crossings, so dress accordingly. If the water is low, you will not get your feet wet, but the rocks can be slippery either way- so proper outdoor shoes are advised. For more details, read the full trail details!

Max Patch Mountain

Take a picnic and soak up the sweeping views of both Tennessee and North Carolina The Appalachian Trail cuts through Max Patch and if you visit in the spring or early summer, you  might see a thru-hiker or two making their way across the bald. To get to the top, you have two options: a 1.4 mile straight-to-the-top trail and a 2.4 mile loop trail. You can easily combine this hike with a trip to nearby Hot Springs for a soak in a natural mineral hot tub.

Craggy Gardens

The trailhead parking lot is often crowded and you can find families lunching at picnic tables. If you don’t mind the crowds, you are in for one of the best panoramic views in Asheville. Even the drive to Craggy Gardens along the Blue Ridge parkway is beautiful. To experience the rhododendron blossoms at their pink and purple peak, plan your visit for mid June. This 1.5 mile Asheville day hike is just a 20 mile drive from downtown and offers a huge reward for such a mild trail!

Graveyard Fields

The full loop is 4 miles round trip from the Blue Ridge Parkway overlook and features two waterfalls along the way. The valley is brimming with wildflowers and interesting foliage. Look up to take in the 6,000 foot peaks that surround you on all sides. Visit in early October for peak fall colors since this area is one of the first to transition each year.

Sam Knob & Black Balsam Knob

Black Balsam Knob is part of the Art Loeb trail, so you can walk as far as you would like on this Asheville day hike. The first bald is just a half mile up the trail! Since much of the trail is not covered by trees (they don’t grow at the 6,000 ft+ altitude), bring your sunscreen and enjoy the 360 degree views.

Sam Knob is just a hop away and features a moderate loop trail along the edge of the Shining Rock Wilderness. The climb is gradual, but you will gain about 570 feet from the base to the top. The pay-off for your efforts is a colorful Blue Ridge Mountain view at the top. This is another great Asheville day hike that is perfect for a picnic!

Lake Junaluska Walking Trail

(Wheelchair, Scooter, and Walker Accessible)

The lakeside walking trail at Lake Junaluska offers a highly accessible Asheville day “hike” / walk for those using wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, or strollers. As you walk, you will enjoy the historic buildings along the lake! The Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center is affiliated with the Methodist Church, but is open to the public-- all are welcomed.

May 25, 2016

Best Asheville Restaurants: A Hidden Montford Gem

I recently ate dinner at Chiesa, a locals-only gem located in the Montford neighborhood of Asheville. If you are looking for an intimate and low key restaurant, I highly recommend adding Chiesa to your Asheville itinerary.  It's a local style restaurant with home made pasta and they offer some of the best “pasta I’ve had “ANYWHERE”. Great sauces, excellent service & wonderful owners round out the experience. It's a must when visiting Asheville.

Tucked away in an unassuming blue and red house, Chiesa is a true neighborhood joint. The owners, Robert and Melissa Willingham, are seasoned restaurant owners from Baltimore who are in their third year living in Asheville. Of course, I can relate to them as a fellow entrepreneur and transplant!

Robert and Melissa Willingham play with the restaurants name throughout the dining experience. The Italian "chiesa" translates into  "church." I particularly appreciated that the desserts are labeled "Amen" on the menu, the perfect ending to your service at Chiesa.

I highly recommend trying a fresh from scratch pasta paired with a Hickory Nut Gap meat, like the sweet Italian sausage with red pepper. Hickory Nut Gap is located just up the road, between Asheville and Lake Lure, and supplies our best restaurants with fresh farm-to-table meats. The Limoncello Marscapone Cake is a wonderful way to "say amen" and round out your evening. View their menu here to see their complete offerings (excluding daily specials).

If you are planning to dine at Chiesa, you must explore our Montford Historic District, which boasts some of the most beautiful residential streets in Asheville. I recommend parking along a side street and taking a leisurely stroll over to Chiesa to soak up the architecture and laid-back vibe.

Chiesa is located at 152 Montford Avenue, at the corner of Montford and Chestnut Avenues. Make a reservation here

Posted in Asheville Eats