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Trip Report Asheville visit-March 2009

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I live in North Carolina and annually visit the Grove Park Inn in Asheville as part of a business conference. This year I was given an historic room in the main inn. These rooms are small, but attractively furnished with Arts and Crafts look furniture. The room I was in was kept very clean and neat.
Pros:
The view of the mountains.
The windows open!
The hotel has gorgeous common rooms and I love the sense of history about the place.
Our hospitality suite was huge and beautifully furnished (although as a Demon Deacon the fact that Roy Williams stayed there was hardly a plus!)
Cons:
The walls are thin and noise carries. I know far too much about the lives of the “active” couple next door.
The pillows are very uncomfortable (apparently this isn't solely a cmcfong complaint. Several of my associates had the same opinion)
Construction going on from 0700 till early evening was very disruptive.
The coffee maker was in the entertainment center and was almost impossible to fill and use. I run on coffee and do not do well if I don’t get it as soon as I am upright so this matters to me.
There are group tours (think sneakers and fanny packs) which visit so the common rooms are often very busy and noisy. This takes away some of the charm of the spaces which are so lovely .

Spa: I have been to the spa at GPI before and it is a great place to see. However unless you are interested in spending a good deal of time in the pools and saunas, the treatments are very expensive. I go to the Secret Garden Spa in Weaverville. It is small and extremely well run. The treatments are vastly cheaper than GPI and every bit as professionally done. I had a Rambling Rose (exfoliation, shea butter massage, facial, reflexology) for under $200. Thank you, leahinsc for this suggestion.

Meals:

Green Sage-vegetarian friendly, gluten free choices, basically a sixties hippie vibe with a modern recycling twist. The food was good, not great. The atmosphere drew a lot of families with young children. Prices are quite inexpensive. Located conveniently near the Civic Center.

Grovewood Café-American menu, food is very good, service is not very polished or prompt. It is walking distance from the GPI and popular with my group as no one has to drive. I had a very good roasted beet salad and an excellent vegetable plate at one meal. Crabcakes at lunch were also very good. Prices are $13-24 for entrees.

Wellbread Café and Bakery-in Weaverville This place is fantastic. I had an excellent Havarti, fresh spinach, and carmelized onion on freshly baked foccaccia. I bought a dozen of the cookies for DH and my brother……and managed somehow not to taste test them on the way home. The macaroons are reportedly incredible.

Three Chopt-casual family style restaurant with pretty good sandwich and salad offerings in Hendersonville. It was recommended to me by a local and was clearly very popular.

Market Place on Wall St. downtown Asheville. The restaurant prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients. It is very, very good. The servings are small and beautifully presented. Highly recommended. Service is knowledgeable but slow. Priced $20 and up for entrees.

Savoy: this remains my favorite restaurant in Asheville. I have been many times and have yet to have anything which isn’t well prepared and excellent tasting. There is no view, it is located in a non descript building on Merrimon, but inside the music is Sinatra and the boys, lights are low and the food is divine. They are offering a three course meal for $30 which was a very good buy. Highly recommended.

Veranda in Black Mountain. Black Mountain is a charming little town, very walkable. The Veranda is wonderful. First rate baked goods which are a huge draw, but the meals are also delicious. They lean towards comfort food well prepared and often with a bit of a twist. Highly recommended. Most meals under $10.

Green Life Grocery: this is a whole foods grocer with many take out choices. Great for hikers and stocking up the hotel room.

Chocolate Fetish: not a restaurant, just a fantastic chocolatier. Buy something, see for yourself what chocolate can be!


Asheville is a wonderful place to visit. I look forward to returning soon.

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