Along with all the beer and art, Asheville is an outdoorsy city. You can get a taste of that in the city along the river, but for the full experience, you have to venture out on a day trip. So, if you have an extra day to spare, get in the car and head to the great outdoors — it’ll be worth it.
Head to Over Easy Asheville for a breakfast made with local ingredients. Free-range eggs from Queen Bee Farm, Carolina-sourced meat, and vegetarian and vegan dishes made with local greens are on the menu. It’s a place to sit down and take your time, but if you’re in a rush, grab a breakfast burrito or breakfast sandwich from Sunny Point Cafe.
Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock State Park is the newest park in the state, and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s just under an hour’s drive from the city and filled hiking trails, modern facilities, and scheduled activities. It’s somewhere that you can spend the day without worrying about the next push notification from your news company of choice. If you’re up to it, try rock climbing to reach the top of the chimney rocks rather than hiking.
If you didn’t pack your own lunch, Old Rock Café is a standard American grill near the entrance to the park. The only thing more satisfying than a burger and fries after a climb is Old Rock Café’s Apple Brown Betty dessert with some vanilla ice cream.
Spend the rest of your day relaxing by Lake Lure. It’s attached to Chimney Rock and has both summer and winter activities from zip-lining to kayaking to swimming. The lake’s main claim to fame is that it was one of the filming locations for Dirty Dancing. So go ahead, have the time of your life and practice your lifts. It can get busy in the summer, but it’s a nice place to cool off.
Dinner in Asheville
Take the half-hour-or-so drive back to the city for dinner. You deserve a good meal after a hearty day full of nature. Downtown’s Rhubarb has inventive Southern fare that gives off the vibe of eating at a modernized version of your grandma’s kitchen. Be sure to finish with a dessert of chocolate olive oil torte.
End on a local note
Find a ride to Ole Shakey’s Getaway in the Montford Area Historic District. The dive bar on the river is a spot for unpretentious beer and mixed drinks, along with some late-night karaoke. If you have a chance, the bar has a shuttle that’s pure Instagram bait: a semi-restored ‘90s limo.