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Trip Report pre-Christmas visit to Asheville, NC area

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Inspired by santamonica's current Asheville report, I thought I'd share the highlights of my recent visit there.

My parents have a home about 20 min. SE of Asheville and my daughter and I drove there after she was done with her first semester exams. We live in Charleston, SC. Trip takes about 4.5 hours.

On our first day, we met up with good friends who moved to Asheville this summer. We met at City Bakery on Biltmore Ave. for coffee and bagels. It was bustling in there, with lots of people lined up at the counter buying baked goods.
I had a delicious, and lovely, cappuccino. http://i883.photobucket.com/albums/ac38/urbanhymns/150-2.jpg
http://citybakery.net/

We mostly sat and talked but we also walked around a bit and shopped. It was very cold - in the 30s and windy. We went to Mast General Store, which is always fun. It was very packed. They have clothes (LOTS of clothes), outdoor gear, old-fashioned candy, decorative items, shoes, boots, etc. I found a great jacket there but didn't buy it. Instead, I bought the men's version for my brother and for my husband ♥ The Patagonia Better Sweater. Very attractive and comfy. Fun place to shop. http://www.mastgeneralstore.com/

We went to one of our favorite boutiques - Minx - on Lexington and the teens spent quite a bit of time trying on various dresses. I found some cool jewelry but didn't get anything. My friend bought a great belt. Great store and very festive shopping. http://i883.photobucket.com/albums/ac38/urbanhymns/153-1.jpg
http://minxasheville.com/

Ended up next door at Creperie Bouchon for lunch. Had never been to the creperie, although enjoy Bouchon very much for dinner. Loved walking through the courtyard - must be very fun in warm weather. We had salade nicoise, frites, "Chien Chaud" ;) and something else. Can't remember exactly. But all delicious. Will definitely return. http://ashevillebouchon.com/

I hadn't known there was an Urban Outfitters downtown but there is and we had a successful time in there. Got my daughter a gorgeous Black Swan-like dress and a few other goodies. Very crowded (this was Dec. 17) and Christmassy. The girl at check-out checked me out via an iPhone. No register :)

I believe our last stop was Chocolate Fetish http://www.chocolatefetish.com/, which had expanded since I'd been there. Great addition! I got a beautiful box of chocolate truffles. Love that place...

Said our goodbyes to our friends and drove back to my parents'. Took the dogs for a long walk and then cozied up by the fire. Fun day.

The next day we stayed at the house, baked, listened to Christmas carols, took walks and enjoyed being together in such a beautiful, peaceful place. The mountains are heavenly.

On our final day we drove back into town to shop a bit, have lunch at Luella's (my friend had raved about her waistline's love-hate relationship with it the day before ;) ) and to see "Christmas at Biltmore Estate". We do this (Biltmore at Christmastime) every few years. This year we went during the day to keep the price reasonable. My parents have yearly passes and my daughter got in free with their membership since she is "16 & under", so I paid for a day ticket and got a discount thanks to their membership. Basically, it was $50. Anyway, even on a Monday it was fairly packed. But so beautiful. Beautiful day, too. We parked way up near the statue of Diana http://i883.photobucket.com/albums/ac38/urbanhymns/212.jpg , so walked up to it for the first time and enjoyed the incredible view of the house. I think it took us a couple of hours to get through the house. We got stuck behind some large groups and were sort of happy to get out into the fresh air afterwards. But we enjoyed it and the decorations were fabulous. Next time I go at Christmas, I want to splurge and do an evening visit. I think it was going to be about $290 for the 4 of us to do it this year, which I balked at, but next time I'll go for it. They have musicians and choirs and the lighting is exquisite. It's magical.
You're not allowed to take pics inside, but here are a few I took outside:

http://i883.photobucket.com/albums/ac38/urbanhymns/291-1.jpg
http://i883.photobucket.com/albums/ac38/urbanhymns/230.jpg
http://i883.photobucket.com/albums/ac38/urbanhymns/233.jpg
http://i883.photobucket.com/albums/ac38/urbanhymns/249.jpg
http://i883.photobucket.com/albums/ac38/urbanhymns/236.jpg
http://i883.photobucket.com/albums/ac38/urbanhymns/237.jpg
http://i883.photobucket.com/albums/ac38/urbanhymns/248.jpg

Earlier in the day, we'd shopped at Biltmore Village. Went to a couple of art galleries, then chain stores such as J.Crew and Williams Sonoma. I was on a mission to finish up my Christmas shopping and was pretty successful. On to our BBQ lunch. Luella's was fun and we pigged out ;) on the "Big Boy's Blue Ribbon BBQ Platter" http://i883.photobucket.com/albums/ac38/urbanhymns/210.jpg
It was delicious. I LOVE their cole slaw (finely chopped, no mayo). My dad is in love with their "Lusty Mustard" sauce ♥ We all look forward to returning to Luella's! http://luellasbarbeque.com/index.php?page=home

Drove back to my parents' house (exhausted) and had a lovely evening at home. We headed home the next morning.
Will return in February and again in March. We LOVE Asheville ♥

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