Model and lifestyle blogger Teresa Moore (check out her blog Teresa Tastes) shows us around Asheville, North Carolina. The small town is famous for its Southern hipster culture and cuisine, the largest home in America (the Biltmore House) and, at this time of the year, the beautiful changing leaves along the majestic Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Park.
Shops in downtown Asheville. (Photo: Teresa Moore)
The first thing I noticed about Asheville is that it is surprisingly small for all the hype it receives.
This Southern mountain town has a long history starting with the Cherokees. It was a battleground during the Civil War; now it is home to the famous estate of George Washington Vanderbilt (grandson of railroad tycoon Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt), who built the 250-room Biltmore House four miles outside of town.
Asheville was hit hard during the depression, causing a slow evolution into an artists community. Today it is a vibrant town that is proud of its history and fosters a creative hipster-hippy culture with Southern influences.
Asheville’s quaint downtown has four main streets packed with bars, restaurants, and shops, which sell antiques and knickknacks.
Where to eat: Some restaurants such as Tupelo Honey Cafe are so popular, there’s a two-hour wait for a table.
Make sure to order the curry taco at White Duck. (Photo: Teresa Moore)
If you don’t want to wait, pop into White Duck Taco Shop for its Asian and Mexican fusion tacos. Options such as duck confit, curried shrimp, and beef bulgogi with kimchi are delicious. They make a great quick snack or a cheap meal.
Fried oysters and asparagus at Corner Kitchen. (Photo: Teresa Moore)
President Barack Obama once visited the Corner Kitchen, a two-story restaurant tucked into a small Colonial home, which features inventive Southern fare. You should stop in and try the chicken stuffed with salami, sage, and provolone or the sweet mustard-glazed three-meat loaf with collards, cheddar grits, and three sauces.
Peeking inside Lex18. (Photo: Teresa Moore)
Where to drink: Take a trip back to the 1920s at Lex18, a moonshine bar featuring live music and cool retro-glam ambiance.
No trip to Asheville would be complete without a stop in Jack of the Wood Brew Pub for one of their local microbrew.
For a relaxed glass of wine, you’ll want to try the F ive Walnut Wine Bar where their eclectic selection of wines range from $5 to $18 a glass.
Grabbing a drink at the Omni. (Photo: Teresa Moore)
Where to stay: The Omni Grove Park Inn is a gigantic “mountain lodge” 10 minutes outside of Asheville. It’s famous for its sunsets, and it has incredible views looking back into the town. Even if you aren’t staying there, you will want to visit for dinner or a drink at sunset or book a service at its world-class spa. We love it in the fall, but during winter the cavernous fireplace with rocking chairs nearby is an ideal place to relax with a book.
You can really judge a mountain lodge by the size of its fireplace. (Photo: Teresa Moore)
What to do: You simply have to visit the Biltmore House, a grand 19th-century mansion designed by Richard Morris Hunt in the French Renaissance style. For a $49 entrance fee, you can view the home and grounds (it takes about 4 to 6 hours to walk through). Comparisons to Downton Abbey pop up when you see the Biltmore’s main living areas and servants quarters, which were outfitted with the latest technology of the time.
It’s almost hard ti believe this is right here in the U.S.A.. (Photo: Teresa Moore)
The dining room offers superb service with its American Tasting Menu. Sit by the fireplace in the elegant dining room, sip some local Antler Hill Vineyard wine, and decide between the seven-course meal for $135 or the three-course for $58. Some of my favorite dishes include veal sweetbreads with pumpkin and oyster stew with Swiss chard and the lamb cassoulet.
These gardens will blow your mind. (Photo: Teresa Moore)
Be sure to see the beautifully curated Biltmore Gardens, which feature seasonal flowers, a rose garden, a winter garden, vast fields, and a lake. The gardens were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the architect of New York City’s Central Park.
This is the view driving into the park. (Photo: Teresa Moore)
Pisgah National Park is only 30 minutes from Asheville, and the drive takes you through large birch and oak forests with beautiful orange and red leaves this time of year.
Enjoy one of the incredible hikes around Sliding Rock. (Photo: Teresa Moore)
Stop by Sliding Rock for a natural water slide among the beautiful scenery and Looking Glass Falls for some sightseeing. You can also go for a hike along the many trails through the woods. Some local trees emit a funky smell, so don’t start pointing fingers at folks in your party. It’s apparently how the Smoky Mountains got its name.
Teresa Moore is a top fashion model, inveterate traveler, blogger and bon vivant. Check out her blog atTeresaTastes.com. You can also follow her on her Official Website, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.