My two-year blogiversary is less than a month and I decided to celebrate my blogiversary by meeting up with Kenya Rae of Iamkenyarae as part of my annual series “Exploring your own backyard.” Kenya and I hit the road to explore Asheville, NC because Asheville is the midway point for both us and I have heard Asheville has a culinary scene that will have any Travel Writer or Food Blogger rethinking their life.
Disclosure: I partnered with Asheville, NC Tourism Board on this article and they kindly provided lodging for the review. I am a professional travel and food writer that receives compensation from the companies whose products I review. Affiliates in this article support this site at no cost to you. Go travel and grub out on plenty of food.
Why Meet up with a blogger I have never met in real life?
I hired Kenya last year to assist me in setting up my online store and somehow we ended up connecting and quickly became a two person tribe. There’s nothing quite like having your own blogging tribe that you can use as a resource or inspiration and we help promote each other’s brand on our own social media channels.
After talking every day for the last year we decided it was time to meet in person and work on our 4th Quarter Goals, decide what we would like to accomplish in 2018 and I couldn’t think of a better city to explore, eat great food, and crush goals than Asheville, NC.
Asheville is easy to get to from most major airports; with tons of great food, drinks, shopping, and adventures to be had within walking distance of Downtown Asheville or take a ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Here’s how Kenya and I caught up and had the ultimate weekend in Asheville.
What’s for Dinner?
As we were strolling from store to store Thai Tara caught our attention and there wasn’t even a discussion about if we should keep looking for other restaurants. I love Thai food so I ordered my favorite the Spicy Basil Fried Rice with Shrimp. It’s a bit spicy and it’s herb-y, aromatic, and sweet but still savory. Whenever I order Thai, I have to get this dish.
The Stunning Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway isn’t a National Park, but most people believe it is because it connects two National Parks (Shenandoah and the Great Smoky Mountains). Each year, more people drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway vs. visiting the Grand Canyon.
The Blue Ridge Parkway, called “America’s Favorite Drive,” and winds 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina. It is a long, slow, and beautiful drive! Kenya and I were in absolute awe of the scenery from the rugged mountains, landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands to the stunning views of the sky.
I visit Pigeon Forge quite often so I am familiar with the Great Smokey Mountains but this was my first time exploring Shenandoah National Park and it was absolutely breathtaking!
We really worked up an appetite after a day of sightseeing so we made our way to Carmel’s Kitchen and Bar in Downtown Asheville. I loved Carmel’s because of the outdoor patio allowed us to people watch, discuss what an amazing time we had while listening to the most amazing guy give us an impromptu saxophone concert.
The food was creative and the ambiance is good, but the best part of this experience was just sitting outside and enjoying the breeze while sipping on my sangria. We started off with the fried green tomatoes and both equally delish. My server recommended the pecan crusted trout and it was good but a little under seasoned for my taste but the cocktails and appetizers were amazing. The food came out promptly, and the server continued checking on us often to ensure all of our needs were being met.
What else is there to do?
Also, check out Spanish tapas at Cúrate. Order a pitcher of sangria and be sure the sautéed spinach with apples and raisins is part of your meal. For a more upscale cocktail, walk around the block to Nightbell, which has the same owners.