Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Back from Asheville

So my wife Liz and I went to Asheville for a getaway this weekend, with my mother-in-law watching the kids. It was a wonderful time, and I wish that I wasn't back home already!
(even though I did miss our daughters).

Anyway, we drove up on a Sunday, arriving around 2:30ish, which was just in time to check into our hotel, the Haywood Park Hotel. I believe it used to be a department store. All this really signifies is that the rooms are pretty good size, and our room, which was pretty reasonably priced, was huge, with a large sitting area and a bay window overlooking the street.
After we got settled, we decided to go check out Asheville proper. Since we were right in the middle of town, this was easy to do. First we crossed the street to the Woolworth Walk, which is an art market in a converted Woolworth's department store. The website says 150 artists, and I can believe it. I picked up a really cool picture of a dragonfly that's going on my reading room wall, once I get a frame for it. As luck would have it, we also noticed an ad for the "LAAFF" (Lexington Ave Arts and Fun Festival). After walking around downtown a little bit, mainly scouting out locations for dinner (and checking out the Jack of the Wood, which serves Green Man beers, although I didn't get the chance to try one), we headed over to the LAAFF.
It turns out it was a street festival along what I guess you'd describe as a "hipster street". They had juggling, music, arts, jewelry, etc, and a very high "alternative" factor. I joked to Liz that if we ever moved to Asheville, I'd have to get tattooed and she'd have to quit shaving her legs.
It was actually pretty cool, though, and everyone I saw seemed to be having a good time, which is the most important part.

After hanging out for awhile, we were getting parched, so we stopped at the Old Europe Bistro (on Lexington Avenue) to people-watch and enjoy a cold beer. We decided to go local, and get Highland Gaelic Ales (from Highland Brewery, of course). I'm not sure if there's really a Gaelic Ale style or not, but I'd describe it as mildly hopped, and nicely malty. It went down really well.

We then proceeded back to our hotel for a quick regroup, and then headed down to the Biergarden. They boasted Western NC's largest selection of beers, so that clinched it for me, of course. The food was ok, I guess. We had wings to start with, which were very good, and the wing sauce was hot, vinegary, and appeared to be homemade. The burger I had for a main course was kind of "meh", though. We also had several beers. I had a Pisgah Pale Ale, which I really liked. It was quite hoppy, and very smooth. The Pisgah Brewing Company claims to be all-organic. I don't really care about organic beer, but it was pretty good.
I followed with a French Broad Wee Heavy-er, (French Broad Brewery) which was kind of like the Gaelic I had earlier, but heavier (and maltier). I'm not really sure how to describe it.

Of the three beers I had, I'd have to vote for the Pisgah Pale. It was pretty much everything I look for in a beer. Nice and hoppy, smooth, and not super sweet or malty.

Tomorrow, I'll write about our second day, which included a trip to Biltmore, and some other stuff.

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