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Destination races are a great excuse to travel somewhere new, and have become increasingly popular with both new and seasoned runners.  Lauren Seserko, ambassador for the Asheville Marathon and Half at Biltmore, shares some of her “must do’s” in Asheville!  She writes:

Asheville is an eclectic, artsy town with mountains, beer, and delicious food. It is right between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains offering lots of stunning scenery and options for getting outdoors as whether that is going on a morning hike or spending an afternoon outside at a brewery. My first time running the Asheville Half Marathon happened to be my first visit to Asheville. If you are visiting Asheville to run the half marathon or full marathon (or both!) It’s quirky, charming, and full of fun. here are some of my suggestions for things to eat, drink, and visit for an out-of-towner’s weekend in Asheville! I could list SO many options especially for food and drink so I only included a few options.

EAT

French Broad Chocolate Shop is a chocolate shop that is always packed and has delicious desserts and hand-crafted chocolates

For barbecue check out Buxton Hall for some classic East Carolina barbecue or the casual, lunch-only 12 Bones Smokehouse

Tupelo Honey for southern comfort food from scratch (now with multiple locations)

Biscuit Head is a breakfast and lunch joint where you will see long lines on the weekend but has biscuits literally the size of a cat’s head with a jam bar. They are my favorite biscuits ever!

The Bull & Beggar has New American cuisine for a nice, higher-end dinner.

Taco Billy is a place I have not actually had the opportunity to check out but have heard the tacos are positively delicious!

DRINK

Asheville is a town of breweries and there are so many places to stop in and grab a good beer. It’s called Beer City, America because it has more per capita breweries than any other US city! Some of my favorites include Burial, Wicked Weed and their Funkatorium specializing in sour beers, Green Man, Twin Leaf, and Catawba. All have very different atmospheres, vibes, and beers so I suggest grabbing a beer at a few of them.

For larger brewery experiences Sierra Nevada (near the Asheville airport) and New Belgium both have huge spaces, and events which offer nice experiences.

Sovereign Remedies is a modern and cozy bar with craft cocktails and small plates.

The Thirsty Monk is a unique bar with a beer for everyone with one floor of modern ales and a second floor of Belgian and sour ales. There is even a cocktail bar on the top! 

VISIT

The Biltmore Estate is an obvious addition to the list since the race is on the grounds. I do suggest if you are interested to spend the money to tour the Biltmore Estate (adult tickets start at $55). It is America’s largest private home, built by George W. Vanderbilt and opened in 1895 spanning 4 acres (that’s just the floor space of the house) on 8000 acres of grounds.

If your legs are up to it there is beautiful hiking a bit outside of the city (so you’ll need a car!). You can visit beautiful mountains and forests including Chimney Rock, Dupont. Nanthala, and Pisgah state parks. I usually take the route of driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway and stop at the lookouts to soak up the scenery. The Blue Ridge Parkway spans 469 miles from Virginia to North Carolina. You can also stop off to visit Craggy Gardens for a picture-perfect view. Check out the Explore Asheville website for more information.

Stroll the River Arts District with over 200 active artist studios in this neighborhood along the French Broad River.  Nearby Wedge Brewing right on the river makes a nice spot for a beer, particularly if the weather is nice.

Check out one of Asheville’s shopping districts for stylish boutiques, art, and antiques. West Asheville has lots of hip stores as well as beautiful murals that you can stop by and take a photo with.

Outside of the city the Omni Grove Park Inn is a stunning resort with a fabulous spa. The Sunset Cocktail Terrace is a perfect place to grab a drink with a picturesque view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Written by Lauren Seserko, Breathe Deeply and Smile