From a travel perspective, the best thing about living in Tennessee is the strategic location: We are bordered by seven states and within a half day’s drive from 17. So it’s a great spot from which to take road trips—particularly if your closest pals are scattered around the South.
As a sort of early birthday celebration, we convinced some of our favorite Semester at Sea pals Layne, Brian, Jane, Andrew and Chris to drive down from Charlottesville and my sister to drive up from Charlotte. I’ve been on an Airbnb roll lately, and this time wasn’t different: We scored ourselves an awesome 3,000-square-foot cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains outside of Asheville for just $300 a night.
Though this might be the proper time to add that even though the listing said “entire home,” the owners actually lived beneath this very floor pictured above, and the husband just decided to pop in four times throughout the weekend. So awkward. (Has that ever happened to any of you home renters before? It felt as if he was trying to monitor us and prevent any suspicious behavior.)
But what are you going to do? The cabin was perfect if you discount the semi-creepy couple residing below, and we managed to make some serious headway in some cake (one of which they left us, which was very sweet I admit).
The next day, we set out to explore Asheville. First, we found ourselves at Wicked Weed Brewery, simply because I loved the name and it had cool font. (What can I say—I’m a sucker for aesthetics.) Luckily, the beer selection was delicious, too—not to mention cheap (three pints for $13!).
We made our way down the Ale Trail to Wedge next, then had a very early dinner at Early Girl Eatery and ended the day at Asheville Brewing Company before heading back to our cabin in the woods around 8pm for an all-night card game and a meager attempt to finish the hardest puzzle ever (we failed miserably).
The next day, we headed back into downtown Asheville for one of the best brunches I’ve had in ages at Cúrate, a Mediterranean-style tapas place with a flair for the inventive. When I looked up the chef afterward, it made perfect sense: Katie Button worked at elBulli and then at Jose Andres’ The Bazaar in LA, which is one of my favorite restaurants of all time.
The conclusion of brunch was a sad one, as it meant everyone had to go back to their respective homes to make it to work on Monday, but SVV, Ella and I were meant to stick around one more night and spend the evening at the Grand Bohemian Asheville—”meant to” being the operative words. We hadn’t been there five minutes when the terribly rude and condescending desk attendant caused us to cancel our reservation on the spot. In all the years I’ve traveled and, literally, thousands of hotels I’ve stayed in, this is only ever the second time I’ve checked back out right after checking in (the first being the Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff). Luckily, when I called Expedia and told them the story of what went down, they refunded the $222 I had prepaid for the room.