Editor’s Note: For this press trip, I received complimentary stays at the hotels mentioned in this post as well as the products mentioned in the credits at the end of this post. All editorial and opinions are my own.
Entry No. 55: Asheville, North Carolina
You may remember I mentioned back in November that I was headed on a press trip to Asheville, NC, with my blogging friend, Gillian, of Coastal Bride. If you follow me on Instagram (@classic_bride), I shared a few sneak peeks of our fun times but today, I’m excited to share the full re-cap with you including the beautiful hotels that hosted us, the pretty brands that teamed up with us and, of course, all the fun things we found to do and all the wedding inspiration we came across!
Essentials to Bring to Asheville
We visited in early December so my suggestions are intended for a winter visit to North Carolina.
Wellies. The weather was a bit unpredictable while we were in town and it rained more days than not so I was especially glad I packed my monogrammed rain boots from Zoubaby (c/o).
Umbrella or Rain Jacket. See above. 😉
Layers. We found most days to be pretty comfortable (high 50s-60s) during the day but as the sun started to drop, a chill would settle in and we’d be reaching for our jackets and gloves. So make sure to pack sweaters, cardigans, jackets, scarves and hats.
Shoes. I wore wellies, riding boots, tennis shoes and heels. To be honest, I devoted an entire suitcase to just shoes which may sound ridiculous (especially to my husband) but I’m glad I did because between hiking muddy paths, exploring around town, and meeting with wedding coordinators, I kind of needed every single pair I brought. Your travel plans may be less complex so just plan accordingly.
Mix of glam and utilitarian. I made sure to pack a good mix of jeans, dressy pants, sweater dresses and hiking outfits. Asheville has some amazing trails and I knew we would want to get at least one hike in but I also figured we’d want to dress up a bit, too. The jewelry I packed from The Ropes Maine and Margaret Elizabeth was the perfect balance of understated glam. Make sure to check out the current Instagram contest Gillian and I are hosting – you could win a gorgeous bridal bangle set!
Our first night, we stayed at the chic Tudor-style Grand Bohemian Hotel in Asheville. The location was perfect as it is nestled in the charming Biltmore Village and surrounded by great shopping and restaurants galore. It’s also a mere stone’s throw from the entrance to the Biltmore so that was incredibly convenient for us the next morning. The ambiance of the hotel made me feel like I was in the most beautiful and stylish hunting lodge ever to exist. I loved the warm wood tones and the antler chandeliers and all the amazing taxidermy. Gillian and I spent the afternoon chatting away by the cozy fire with hot chocolates.
The Grand Bohemian is home to the Red Stag Grill, a beautifully decorated restaurant complete with a private room perfect for rehearsal dinners, bachelor/bachelorette parties and intimate receptions.
In contrast to the dark colors of the lobby and restaurant, the rooms in The Grand Bohemian were lighter and reminded me of a tranquil spa. I absolutely loved the bathrooms – the spacious walk-in shower was heaven and they also had a stunning bathtub that was beckoning me. The next day, Gillian and I took off to explore The Biltmore. I could have spent hours sitting on this veranda admiring the Blue Ridge Mountains in the near distance:
Best Places to Eat in Asheville
Gan Shan Station. Located in a converted gas station, this is Asian fusion at its best. It was definitely our favorite restaurant of the trip and if we had been spending another day, we probably would have re-visited! / 143 Charlotte St., Asheville, NC
Vortex Doughnuts. This cute little shop is located in the brewery district downtown and I highly recommend the apple streudel donut – yum!! (shown above) / 32 Banks Ave #106, Asheville, NC
The Laughing Seed. This restaurant caters to a vegan crowd and is located downtown among local boutiques and shops. The menu was extensive and we enjoyed everything we ordered. Soups and salads were very good! /40 Wall St, Asheville, NC
After exploring the Biltmore, we headed to our new home for the next two nights: The Omni Grove Park Inn. The enchanting exterior continues to the interior where two large stone fireplaces surrounded by rocking chairs flank the lobby. Upon entering, I felt like I had been transported to a stunning ski lodge – everything was so warm and cozy! And the mountain views were breathtaking – especially at sunset!
All Gillian and I wanted to do upon checking in at the GPI was to sit by the roaring fire in the lobby! Roasty toasty!
The Grove Park Inn boasts an ahmaaaazing spa facility which would be the perfect place to unwind with your bridesmaids prior to your wedding on the gorgeous premises! The spa was built to echo the stone design of the original inn and if you look closely, you’ll see twinkling “stars” in the rocks above the pool!
Most fun spots to visit in Asheville
The Biltmore. Probably a no-brainer but I can’t leave this gem off the list. From the private drive that winds through the forest next to a charming babbling brook to the grand residence to the extensive gardens and grounds, this is definitely a stop you should make. I kept thinking how much the architecture reminded me of the Loire Valley castles I visited years ago – Chambord, Chenonceau and Blois – and later when I was reading the brochures, I learned that George Vanderbilt loved those three French castles so much that he wanted the Biltmore to be modeled after them! How neat is that? Last note: I highly recommend visiting at Christmas so you can see the estate fully decorated in all its glory. When we visited, the crew was busy decorating the magnificent 40-foot tall Christmas tree in the dining room which was amazing. They had to use scaffolding and giant hooks to hang the ornaments.
Hikes. The surrounding area of Asheville is filled with scenic trails that include many waterfalls and beautiful vistas. We attempted to make the trek to one waterfall but the “stream” that we were supposed to cross was so high that it was more like a rushing river so we had to opt for a simpler route but it was still great to get a little exercise in and breathe in the clean mountain air.
Brewery district. This area is near downtown and if you’re coming with a group, it would be a good time to do some brew-crawls.
The Grove Park Inn. Even if you aren’t staying at the amazing GPI, make sure you include a stop here. The inn is steeped in history and I found it as interesting (if not more) than the Biltmore. Tons of famous people have stayed here and there are lots of stories to be told – one included a scandalous tale detailing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tawdry stay at the Inn almost a century ago (I was fascinated!). And if you visit close to Christmas, the Inn hosts a most fun gingerbread house contest. Entries come in from all over the country and the talent is beyond amazing. And to top it off, there was a life-size gingerbread house in the middle of the lobby selling hot chocolate and other goodies – too cool!
Essential Spots to Stay (and Wed) in Asheville
Now that you’ve seen an overview of where we stayed, let me give you some details. Both hotels were top-notch and I’d highly recommend both for a honeymoon, vacation and as potential spots to wed. If you want to be within walking distance to shopping and restaurants, go downtown and consider the Grand Bohemian but if you’re looking for a more secluded resort feel, The Grove Park Inn is for you.
The Grand Bohemian offers a beautiful ballroom reception space as well as a stunning outdoor draped tent which can be used for ceremonies or receptions.
Address: 11 Boston Way, Asheville, NC 28803
Phone: (828) 505-2949
The Grove Park Inn offers several different locales for weddings including indoor and outdoor locations with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. My personal favorite at the GPI was the covered patio draped in string lights overlooking the scenic vista (just to the left of where this couple is standing).
Address: 290 Macon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804
Phone: (828) 252-2711
I hope these tips help you to plan a visit or wedding in Asheville and if I missed something great, please let me know in the comments! 😉
Credits: J. McLaughlin Sailcloth Duffle (c/o) | Monogrammed Rain Boots by Zoubaby (c/o) | The Ropes Maine rope bracelets (c/0) | Margaret Elizabeth Teardrop bangle in Aqua Chalcedony & Pisa cuff in Moonstone (c/o)
Photo credits: 10-13, 15-17 provided by the Grove Park Inn; the rest of the images taken by Sarah Darcy.