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  #1  
Old 09-16-2006, 05:41 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Where to hang out in Asheville, NC

I will be traveling to Asheville for a couple of days next month (October 6-7), and I'm hoping for a couple of quick pointers on things to see and do there. Also, I'm trying to get a feel for where I should stay.

I am interested in funky neighborhoods with cool shops, bars and restaurants and bohemian atmosphere. I am also interested in bluegrass.

I am NOT so much interested in the Biltmore, having seen it as a kid. Just looking for a hip part of town to stay and hang out, and any other random suggestions you might have.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 09-16-2006, 08:02 PM
katie1341 katie1341 is offline
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Downtown has some really cool places- there are several good places to eat. There's a restaurant called 1896 that just got an excellence award from Wine Spectator. There is a vegetarian place called The Laughing Seed that is amazing, whether you are a veg or not. There are several bookstores and there's a place- I want to say it's called the Woolworth Walk or something- it's a place downtown that has a bunch of works of local artists. I got all of my Xmas gists there last year.

If oyu don't want to stay downtown, there is a Doubletree on the edge of Biltmore Villiage that is very nice.
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Old 09-16-2006, 08:25 PM
Beaucarnea Beaucarnea is offline
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What are you interests?

Barley's Taproom is just a few doors down from The Fine Arts Theatre . Jack of the Wood also has great beer and live music. Most of the downtown attractions will have patrons hanging around on the sidewalk around the door. Just look for your kind of people and walk in. Every bar, restaurant, and club here are friendly and fun.

If you want to shop, stay at a hotel on Tunnel Road. If you want to walk around and enjoy the nightlife, try to stay on Patton or Hendersonville Road. There is a Days Inn on Patton Avenue that is very inexpensive (not the cleanest) and within walking distance to all the downtown activities if you want to walk instead of drive.
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Old 09-16-2006, 09:05 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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Good suggestions so far. Thanks.

Beaucarnea, my interests are live music (especially bluegrass or indie music), and I would also be interested in a bar or pub with a casual, conversation-friendly atmosphere where I am apt to find locals to chat with. Jack of the Wood looks pretty close to that idea, so thanks for that. Bookstores and folk art would also be on the list (so thanks for those pointers, katie1341), as well as casual restaurants where the locals eat.

Speaking of which, any good Carolina-style barbecue places?
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Old 09-16-2006, 09:25 PM
Beaucarnea Beaucarnea is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Malaprops bookstore is on Haywood St. I am hooked on a BBQ place called Ridgewood that is about and hour and 30 minutes across the mountain in Piney Flats, TN; so I haven't eaten at any of the new BBQ places in Asheville. Here are two: 12 Bones at 5 Riverside Drive and BBQ Inn at 1341 Patton Ave. If you stay out too late and get hungry there is a Friday's restaurant at the Days Inn that is open late.

At the bottom of the hill (Patton will cross Hendersonville Road) near the entrance to the Biltmore you will find several small art galleries. You can drive by or park and walk; either way the windows are full of art for purchase. (glassblowing is big here) The Folk Art Center is at 382 Blue Ridge Parkway.

Remember to get gas and sundries early; markets and convenience stores all close at 10. (With the exception of big box stores) Tunnel Road has a large mall, movie theater, Barnes and Noble and the stores that always flank it; and the usual chain restaurants. Be prepared for big city driving on this road.

Take good walking shoes. All of the local color is downtown around Patton/Hendersonville Road and you will be hiking up and down fairly steep hills. Sidewalks are in great shape. Just take a backpack and start wandering around. If you get lost; just top the hill and look down.

One more tip: if you are in the quaint old part of downtown and want a shortcut to Tunnel and the shopping district: mapquest The Antique Tobacco Barn (awesome place) at 75 Swannanoa River Rd from the hotel you pick. Swannanoa River Rd is the not very well known access road between old downtown and the mall. You can jump from one side of town to the other fairly quickly.
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  #6  
Old 09-16-2006, 09:35 PM
Beaucarnea Beaucarnea is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Bluegrass? Did you know you would be a couple hours away from the Carter Fold in Virginia? This is a converted barn that is still owned by the Carter Family (June Carter-Cash's people). It is famous- if you are interested, e-mail me and I can give you directions.

The Carter family is considered bluegrass royalty and every bluegrass icon plays there. Ralph Stanley (O Death) is there fairly often as his homeplace is 30 miles away. It is a chance to immerse yourself in the bluegrass culture and the landscape is unbelievable. You will find toothless old men with flasks and reverent young pierced and tattooed types who are there to worship at the alter of Cash. May be worth your while- I saw Johnny Cash's last performance before he died there.
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Old 09-16-2006, 09:55 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beaucarnea
Bluegrass? Did you know you would be a couple hours away from the Carter Fold in Virginia? This is a converted barn that is still owned by the Carter Family (June Carter-Cash's people). It is famous- if you are interested, e-mail me and I can give you directions.
Great suggestion, and I'll bear it in mind for a future excursion, but we'll be passing through Asheville on the way from Chattanooga to points in South Carolina, and a Virginia side-trip probably wouldn't work given the time constraints of this trip.
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  #8  
Old 09-17-2006, 12:19 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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Join Date: May 1999
Jack of the Wood is great for music. Here's their music page.

Joli Rouge is a pretty funky bar owned by a friend of mine. It's members-only, but you can probably get someone to sign you in if you go during a slow time and are nice; it's a goth/punk/intellectual hangout place. The upstairs has cool little nooks and a bookshelf full of everything from comic books to Carl Jung's writings to travel guides in Asia to classic novels.

The Orange Peel is the area's most respected music club; it's a great space, and it's worth catching a show there if anyone's playing that you like.

Some good restaurants:
-Heiwa Shokudo is very good sushi, if a bit limited in the selection.
-Sorrento's, out on Tunnel Road, looks like the world's tackiest Italian restaurant on the outside, but inside it's utterly charming, and the food is delicious. It's one of the few Italian restaurants that I and my wife go to.
-Sunny Point Cafe has the best breakfast in town.
-Tupelo Honey has the best breakfast downtown.

Neighborhoodwise, check out West Asheville, along Haywood Road (NOT Haywood Street); and Lexington Avenue downtown. Most of downtown Asheville is great for walking around in, though.

If you can, make sure you're downtown on Friday evening. There's almost always something fun going on down there. A couple weeks ago we were downtown and came across an impromptu vaudeville performance, complete with music from our hometown gypsy punk band Hellblinki Sextet.

Finally, it'd be a crime to make it to Asheville and not enjoy the outdoors, especially in October's leaf season. The Blue Ridge Parkway is minutes away from town and has tons of great places for a stroll along it; if you're willing to drive 45 minutes, find your way to Graveyard Fields for a scene straight out of Sweden.

Daniel
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  #9  
Old 09-17-2006, 12:22 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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Oh, and as a vegetarian my word should be taken with a grain of salt, but BBQ aficionados tell me that there's no decent BBQ in the western part of the state. On the other hand, my wife loves Ed Boudreaux's, downtown.

Which reminds me of another place you might check out: The Grey Eagle is another great music venue that does a fair amount of bluegrass, and there's this tiny weird excellent Cajun restaurant in the venue called Twin Cousins, with scrumptious crawfish etouffee (okay, so I'm not really vegetarian).

Daniel
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  #10  
Old 09-17-2006, 12:29 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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Join Date: May 1999
As for places to stay, if you can afford a B&B in Montford (no suggestions, just google Montford Bed and Breakfast), that's a beautiful old neighborhood within walking distance of downtown. There's also Bon Paul and Sharky's Hostel in West Asheville; I've never stayed there and know nothing about the place except that it looks pretty fun, and it'd put you within walking distance of the Haywood Road stuff. Haywood Road isn't as exciting for tourists as downtown (although it's an excellent neighborhood to live in, since there are so many amenities within walking distance), but it's better than Tunnel Road by far, which is really just chain store central.

One more very unusual restaurant to consider: Spirits on the River, specializing in Native American cuisine. Honestly, it's not my favorite restaurant, but that's because the menu is not pseudovegetarian friendly.

Daniel
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  #11  
Old 09-17-2006, 04:03 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Thanks for the additional tips, Lefty.
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