Exploring the Biltmore Estate
The historical Biltmore Estate is one of the top attractions in Asheville. Known as “America’s Largest Home,” it is an architectural and cultural masterpiece that beautifully depicts life during the United State’s Gilded Age. I could have easily spent all day here admiring the details of the home and the surrounding grounds. As we walked from room to room we could not help being consumed by the details; every space has its purpose and a story to tell. We were able to get discounted tickets from our hotel, but if you enjoy stories, I would highly recommend the audio tour.
Outside, the grounds were bare in the winter climate, but it was still an incredible sight to take in. The Blue Ridge Mountains provided a beautiful backdrop to the still-picturesque gardens. For a hint of color and some warmth we made our way to the conservatory, which houses a variety of trees and flowers year around. The adventure doesn’t stop here. Over the years, the estate has opened more and more of their facilities to the public – winery, farm, and shops included!
Where to Stay – Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville
One of the best places to stay in Asheville, besides a cozy cabin, is the Grand Bohemian Hotel. Centrally located in Biltmore Village, you are walking distance to some great local shopping and dining as well as a short drive from Downtown Asheville. Location isn’t the only reason why this hotel is a top pick. Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville aims to provide a full experience rather than just a comfortable place to spend the night. Once inside, we are immersed in a 19th century luxurious hunting lodge (if that is even a thing) with a grand four-sided fireplace at the heart of the common area where guests and locals gather to take a break from the wintry chill outside. Off to the side is the Grand Bohemian Gallery filled with local art, crafts and jewelry. When we followed the music, we came across Red Stag Grill and Lounge (more on this later). Finally, tucked away on the top floor, a retreat like no other, the Poseidon Spa.
The cozy and luxurious feeling continues in the rooms. Tufted headboards and plush throws make the rooms warm and welcoming. The lodge theme is also continued in the rooms with full attention to detail in the furnishings, light fixtures and artwork. I have to say, one of my favorite features was the soaking tub with the window that opens into the bedroom – it provided a great way to unwind after a long day of exploring the town. Although we knew the hotel would be a great place to stay, we were pleasantly surprised by the unique retreat it provided.
Where to Eat
Dinner at Red Stag Grill
We had dinner at Red Stag Grill as it had been highly recommended by friends. The service, the knowledgeable staff, and the distinctive menu make it all worth the price ($$$). For first time diners, the Chef’s 4-Course Tasting menu is a delicious option and a great deal. We got to taste elk for the first time and the carrot cake was heavenly. Another proud point for the restaurant is that the menu is locally sourced – from the steaks to the produce, they aim to focus on and partner with local farmers and ranchers. *Reservations highly recommended.
Sunday Brunch at Omni Grove Park Inn
If you happen to be in Asheville on Sunday, I highly encourage you to make reservations for the Champagne Brunch at Blue Ridge Buffet located inside the iconic Omni Grove Park Inn. Not only are you greeted with a crisp mimosa upon arrival, but you also get to taste one of the best brunch spreads in the South. The views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from your table is an added bonus. Anything we could think of we were able to find on display which spanned two large rooms – omelets, donuts, crab legs, waffles, charcuterie options and much more. Not to mention there were at least five live action stations with the friendliest of chefs. What I found most impressive (as a person who works in the hospitality industry), is that despite having a full restaurant, at no point in time did we have to wait in long lines to get any particular item, nor did we have to wait for items to be replenished. The team here is definitely running a dynamic and delicious operation.
Asheville was a short but incredible trip. There is still so much more to explore, so we will definitely be returning when the weather is warmer. Stay tuned!