48 Hours in Asheville – Plan a road trip

Morgan and I had a blast on our quick spring break road trip to Asheville. We hiked, we ate, we shopped and relaxed – exactly the sort of DIY wellness getaway we envisioned. Here’s how we spent our 48 hours in Asheville.

Room with a View

After 6 hours in the car, we were ready to drop our bags at the gorgeous Hotel Indigo in Downtown Asheville and grab some lunch. But first we had a Booking-dot-YEAH moment when we saw our cool room with its spacious bathroom, crisp white linens and panoramic view. I’d gotten a great deal on the rate with Booking.com, my go-to site to score amazing accommodations on a budget. Hotel Indigo scored high marks for location (walking distance to pretty much everything), friendly staff (the people at the front desk and valets were so helpful) and a nice gym. Yes, we actually used the gym. But not right away. We have our priorities straight.

Memorable Meals

With only 48 hours in Asheville, we could only reasonably eat 6 meals and a couple snacks in Asheville, barely enough to fit in all the delicious places I wanted to introduce Morgan to. Below are places we made it to, but other recommendations include Limones for Mexican, Curate if you’re feeling fancy or Laughing Seed when you’re craving vegetarian with an international flair.

Tupelo Honey – Do you want honey or homemade blueberry jam on the biscuits they bring you while you’re waiting for your entrée? These are the decisions Morgan and I were born to make. (We opted for both.) She ate a chicken sandwich and I had the fried chicken salad. Both of us enjoyed the fresh Rosemary Lemonade.

Zambra – After our late lunch, farm to table tapas for dinner sounded perfect. We ordered several small plates including the housemade gnocchi, a chicken chimichanga and a bbq pork spring roll. Gotta love getting so many international cuisines at one meal.

12 Bones Smokehouse
We ate a light breakfast at the Hotel Indigo the first day so for our post-hike lunch we were ready for something filling and delicious. Tangy barbecue cooked low and slow was the obvious choice. 12 Bones has a downtown location as well, but we wanted to check out the funky galleries, shops and murals near their new location in the River Arts District. We both had pulled pork plates with sides and corn bread. Fantastic. Pictured: New Belgium Citradelic (With green food coloring for St. Patrick’s Day).

The aesthetician that gave me my facial (see below) recommended this restaurant, and French comfort food sounded perfect. The place is cozy and charming and the Steak Frites reminded us of the ones we loved in Paris.

Chocolate Fetish

We skipped dessert at Bouchon for some artisan chocolate and truffles at Chocolate Fetish. The selection is almost overwhelming but after a lot of analysis paralysis, we took some truffles and salted caramel squares back to our hotel.

Early Girl Eatery
This is a great breakfast option, even if the name doesn’t apply to you. We ate here on our way out of town. Highly recommend the Early Girl Benny, two grit cakes topped with tomato, spinach, poached eggs, tomato gravy and avocado, served with toast or a homemade biscuit. Though I wouldn’t say no to their shrimp and grits. And we need to stick around for sometime for lunch to try the Fried Green Tomato Napoleon.


Since we only had 48 hours in Asheville, we didn’t do a ton of shopping. But the city is so walkable you can fit in several boutiques, bookstores and galleries in a short amount of time. We recommend taking a short ride to the River Arts District, where we took our cool mural pictures. In town, hop on Lexington Avenue and work your way down both sides of the street, hitting up Minx Boutique, Vintage Moon and Virtue, just to name a few. On Haywood, don’t miss Malaprop’s Bookstore and Charmed for accessories.

Working Up a Sweat

As I said, we wanted our 48 hours in Asheville to be kind of a wellness retreat. Yes, all our talk of fried chicken, biscuits and barbecue seems to contradict that, but we did do some yoga in the hotel room the first night and hit the hotel gym in the morning of day two. We did an easy circuit and I introduced Morgan to the wonders of a Swiss ball. Next, we took a 30 minute car ride to the Catawba Falls Trail, a moderate hike that’s three miles round trip. We planned just to see the lower falls, which is a pretty easy walk, but Morgan surprised me – and herself – by wanting to continue on to the upper falls. They were frozen but still beautiful. Definitely worth the extra effort.

Spa Treatments

No wellness retreat would be complete without a few spa treatments. We got some fantastic ones at Sensibilities Day Spa on Haywood Street, within walking distance of Hotel Indigo. Morgan got her first massage (and loved it, obvs) plus a mani and pedi. I got a massage plus a facial with spicy paprika and almonds, mixed up with organic botanicals specifically recommended for my skincare needs. (Dry as the desert wind.) For the first time ever, I thought the facial that was even more indulgent than the massage – and that’s saying something. The staff at Sensibilities took great care of us and made Morgan feel really comfortable with her first spa experience. Highly recommend.

Our 48 hours in Asheville was split up into two half days and one full day but I think we made excellent use of the time. The 6-hour drive from Birmingham through Chattanooga and Knoxville was easy and scenic. If you’re looking for beautiful road trip destination with a good mix of indoor and outdoor adventures, you can’t go wrong in Asheville.

What about you? Love a road trip? Love Asheville? Tell us everything.


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