Earlier this month, Tommy, Ava, and I took a long weekend trip to Asheville, NC with another family – a former work colleague of mine, Kathryn, her husband Matt, and their daughter Addie. Ava and Addie are only 2 weeks apart and are great friends. It was the first time either family had been to Asheville (and with toddlers) so we were excited to see what this great city had to offer, but we managed expectations on all that we would be able to do with toddlers in tow.
Both families arrived in Asheville on Thursday afternoon. (Kathryn, Matt, and Addie flew, while Tommy, Ava and I drove). I’m happy to report that our road trip was a huge success (thanks to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on the iPAD, packed snacks, and Ava being a travel trooper as always). Tommy and I were a little curious to see how a road trip would be with Ava being newly potty-trained, but we only had to make two pit stops and there were no accidents!
We promptly got Addie and Ava into their swim suits because we decided to head downtown to let the girls play in the splash pad in front of City Hall at Pack Square Park for a bit before dinner. Not surprisingly the girls loved this decision and easily spent about 1.5 hours splashing around. We also got a chance to talk to some of the locals about “must-do things” while in town.
After the girls got tired out, we sauntered to dinner at Wicked Weed Brewery – a spot that came highly recommended to all of us – and it didn’t disappoint.
We chose to sit downstairs where there was indoor picnic table seating, but the space also opened out to an outdoor eating and drinking area.
The beer drinkers seemed to really enjoy their drinks as well. It was a successful “first day” in Asheville! Made even more amazing and exhilarating with the Washington Capitals winning the Stanley Cup that night!
The next morning, we ate breakfast at Biscuit Head, a place my friend Sarah heavily recommended. We were prepared for the “not too bad” line we encountered when we got there. Luckily it moved pretty fast.
Everyone enjoyed their meal here – especially me!
Once our bellies were full, we headed to the day’s destination – The Biltmore! For those of you that don’t know, the Biltmore is George Vanderbilt’s 8,000 acre-estate nestled in the mountains of Asheville. It’s huge and positively gorgeous. I will admit, when I was doing pre-trip research I was surprised to find how “kid- friendly” the estate was. In addition to touring the actual home and gardens of the Vanderbilts, there is a small petting zoo, a playground, and a village that kids of all ages would find appealing. We stopped by each of these places immediately upon arriving at the Biltmore.
Then we decided to see how the girls would do walking and touring the home – shockingly they were great! I think the bribe of “ice cream after the tour” played a tremendous role in their behavior. Whatever works right?!
After we were done touring the mansion and had devoured our ice cream cones, we headed outside. The Chihuly exhibit amongst and around the gardens DID NOT disappoint.
After about 45 minutes of touring and running through the gardens, the families decided to split up for a couple of hours. Tommy and I wanted to take a drive to see if Ava would nap for a bit, while Kathryn, Matt, and Addie decided to check out the winery on the property.
We met back up for dinner at New Belgium Brewery. They happened to be having a free concert that night with plenty of food trucks and beer selections!
The girls danced their hearts out on the lawn in front of the stage, played in the dirt for awhile, and basically just had a splendid time.
The next day, Saturday, we began our day by stopping by Double D’s Coffee and Dessert bus!
The girls thought it was pretty cool to eat breakfast in a two-story bus.
Kathryn and Matt thought so too. 🙂
Once we were done with breakfast, we got in our respective cars and made a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens! We had plans to do a short hike and enjoy the outdoors for the rest of the morning.
We decided to take the shortest hike option available as it would accommodate toddlers and a pregnant woman. It was probably about 1.5 miles each way, which isn’t a lot, but it was refreshing to be outside for a bit. It was much cooler (temperature wise) up in the mountains hiking, than back in town, I must say!
After our hike it was time for lunch at 12 Bones – another popular recommendation we got from people before heading on this trip, and with good reason! Tommy went so far to say that it might have been the BEST BBQ he’d ever eaten!
After we were sufficiently stuffed, the families decided to part ways again. Tommy and I again wanted to see if we could get Ava to nap with a drive around and through town, while Kathryn, Matt, and Addie went to another brewery to hang out.
We met back up at our house before heading to the River Arts District to explore a bit before dinner. Unfortunately most of the art shops and galleries had either closed or were about to close when we got there, so we were only able to pop into one art store. It was too bad, as both Kathryn and I were hoping to purchase something “arty” to take back home with us as a memento. We were able to ride the free trolley for a bit (and had it all to ourselves, as it was about to stop running for the day) much to the girls delight!
Pretty soon, we were ready to head to dinner at White Labs, a brewery and eatery, near our Airbnb. After dinner, Kathryn and I stayed home with the girls, while Tommy and Matt checked out Funkatorium, an extension of Wicked Weed Brewery that served only sour beers.
The next morning was spent collecting all of our things and doing last minute-packing and cleaning before we all headed back home via airplane and car. We all made the decision to stop by the closest coffee place in our neighborhood for coffee and snacks, which ended up being Ultra Coffeebar. I got a delicious Honey & Lavender latte and Tommy, Ava, and I devoured several “power balls” that were a mixture of peanut butter, chia seeds, and other nutritious ingredients that I can’t even remember now!
Thanks for a great trip Haskin family! I will say what I have been saying ever since I became a mom, and more specifically a toddler mom. I LOVE taking trips with our families with kids as it is built in entertainment from the get-go. It was such a dream to have Ava and Addie playing together constantly. Not only did they have fun, but it took the “pressure” off the adults to always feel like we had to entertain or keep them busy. They loved eating out together, dancing, exploring, and running around.
Hoping we can do another joint family trip soon!
- Wicked Weed Brewery (while the beer drinks enjoyed all the breweries we went to, it seemed like Wicked Weed had the best brew selections).
- Biscuit Head
- New Belgium Brewery
- Double D’s Coffee & Dessert
- 12 Bones
- White Labs
- Ultra Coffeebar
Activities We Did
- Splash Pad downtown
- The Biltmore
- Hiking at Craggy Mountain
- Walking around the River Arts District