Last month, SD and I spent 24 hours in Asheville, NC before heading to Lake Junaluska for Music Week. Neither of us had ever been to Asheville for any length of time and were grateful to have an extra day during our trip to explore the city a bit. Here is a little recap: When we got off the plane in Charlotte, it was hot and the air was thick with that familiar Southern humidity. We were a little weary after our early-morning flight, but eager to begin the "road trip" part of our journey from Charlotte to Asheville. Unfortunately, we had a slight fiasco with our first rental car (a worrisome wheel noise as soon as we pulled out of the parking lot), but the second car was fine. Before we knew it, we were on our way up and over the mountains!
We arrived at our destination - the Rankin House Inn - just a few blocks from center-city. The house sits up on a hill, shrouded by lush green trees. We climbed the stone steps up to the wide, welcoming front porch with painted turquoise floor, potted ferns, and of course, a white wooden swing at one end.
The innkeeper, dressed casually in a white T-shirt and khakis, greeted us warmly with that characteristic North Carolina drawl and made us feel right at home. We sat on the porch swing for a while, rocking our cares away and getting lost in the late afternoon breeze as it swept across the front porch. Heaven!
We ventured out on foot a little while later to explore downtown and peruse menus of the local eateries. The city was alive with buskers, street entertainers, and folks out enjoying the evening. Fun!
When we finally decided that yes, we really did want Southern cuisine, we stepped off the street into the Early Girl Eatery, a small but quaint restaurant with the kitchen in the front and dining room in the back. We couldn't resist the Skillet Fried Chicken and Gravy with sides of Collard Greens and Macaroni and Cheese and the Pimiento Grilled Cheese sounded almost too good to be true. Everything was delicious - a perfect first meal. Oh, and if they ask you if you want jam with your biscuit, the answer is yes. Locally made and the best we've ever tasted! We were a little too full for dessert, but we took a slice of Buttermilk Cake to go (because, Buttermilk Cake).
In the morning, over a breakfast of muffins and fruit salad, we asked the innkeeper more about the story behind the old Rankin house. He was happy to share its history and his part in preserving its legacy.
He showed us around the rest of the house, pointing out trim here and floors there. He even pulled out a few old photographs from an old yellowed envelope from when he first bought the place 20 years ago. What a transformation!
We walked downtown around 11:30 a.m. to stroll a bit more and grab a bite to eat before leaving town. We settled on crepes from Twisted Crepe and were not disappointed! Already looking forward to our next visit to this vibrant city!
Have you visited Asheville? What are some of your favorite things to see or do?