DAYTRIPPER: A Quick Jaunt to Asheville – Part 1

 I've been bad, so very bad. 
Has anyone else noticed that today is September 12th and that the last time I posted was July 21st???
So much has happened in this last 8 weeks: blueberry picking and the resulting blueberry pie and muffins, Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho from our garden, a going away party for Sarah, a 2-week, strict gluten/sugar free cleanse and the resulting mood swings and forced creativity in the cucina, among other things. I'll tell you about these in due time, but first I wanted to share with you my most recent trip to Asheville (while it is still in focus)!!!
I'll forego any mis-placed desire to self shame and just pick up where I am now...

Buncombe County, North Carolina  
35.5800° N, 82.5558° W
The Paris of the South, a.k.a. Beer City, U.S.A
Motto: "Any way you like it."

Folks, this was a dream in the making. I can't tell you how long I've been wanting to visit Asheville. Friends have been telling me for years that I would love it down there; turns out, they weren't wrong!
Now, let me preface this post (a second time) by saying that this trip was more a day-trip than vacation; we were gone less than 36 hours and our feet touched North Carolina soil for a mere 21 hours, including beauty sleep. Crazy, I know, but let me explain...

(L) Bluegrass busking outside the Old Woolworth's, (R) Detail of the art deco S&B Cafeteria building downtown

My friend, Emily, was heading down for work. To be more exact, she was traveling for a mandatory two-hour meeting on Tuesday (leaving Monday afternoon and returning Tuesday evening), and I just happened to, well, invite myself along, you know, as a car buddy, just to keep her from falling asleep on the long, six-hour trek. (No shame, here.) But really, I just wanted to go to Asheville!!! Triple bonus that it was with a great friend AND it was expense paid.

Stunned by the offer––not because she was disgusted by my outrageous nerve to include myself in her itinerary, but because she was not used to having psuedo-unemployed friends who could drop everything at a moment's notice and take a wild trip like this––she agreed to my request.

Kudos to my free-wheeling, free-lance lifestyle for keeping me open and for my intuition and desire for allowing this deviant behavior, because this trip was just what I needed to refresh!

Nothing like a little day trip or mini-adventure to wake up your senses, open you to new things and refuel your desire for life!

We had dinner once we got into Asheville (at the famed Tupelo Honey Cafe, no less), checked into The Marriott's Renaissance Hotel, slept like rocks, and then awoke early to take in the foggy mountain air on our walk to breakfast at The Early Girl Eatery on Wall Street. Two foodie home runs in a row!

I simply devoured my gluten-free Early Girl Benny (poached eggs and spinach over fried grit cakes, topped with avocado slices and house-made salsa). I usually prefer hollandaise on poached eggs, but this was absolutely delish! I love how gluten-free friendly Asheville is; there are either alternatives everywhere you go, or full-menu devotion. After buying Ron some local hot sauce, we headed back to the hotel to check out.

Next up: Part 2 –– The historic Grove Park Inn, shopping and blissful wandering.

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