After a little hiatus from writing about my travels, i’m back! It’s time to put a spotlight on the cities and neighborhoods that have fed us, outfitted us, and warmed our hearts before the pandemic, during, and after. Right now more than ever, we need to support our local and non-local small businesses. A couple weeks back we decided to explore the area of Asheville + Black Mountain, North Carolina, mask on of course. I have been hearing about how amazing these places were and was so excited to try the eats in this mountain region. We also were so excited to explore the Blue Ridge Mountains, a place that seemed perfect for a little vacation in such a crazy time, we also needed to soak in nature and distance ourselves from the city just for a couple days. We made sure to find the perfect, clean, and on budget airbnbs with hosts that have amazing reviews. We ended up driving from Covington, Kentucky to Asheville + Black Mountain , however our first airbnb was located in Black Mountain, which was recently named the most beautiful city in America, and I have to agree. I have to say driving through Asheville to get to this brilliant art town was one of the highlights of the trip. If you can, try and book through the Summer or Fall, the colors of the leaves that nature paints, is more than majestic.
Once we arrived at our airbnb ( Only $99 a night) we wanted to unload the car and then find a bite to eat. We drove through curvy roads filled with gorgeous views. The house was nestled in the woods, in a gorgeous community outside of Black Mountain, and the entire stay just made it feel like we were Black Mountain locals, which is one of the reasons why I love renting airbnbs, its always a better experience. Once we unpacked, we headed in town to grab a bite at a local favorite, My Father’s pizza + pasta. We dined outside surrounded by Italian string lights, we started with the bruschetta and devoured an entire pizza. Black mountain and the entire night made me completely think of a European town in the mountains, yet its in North Carolina. So even though because of the pandemic we cant travel abroad, you can find a bit of charm in these towns and more.
“My Father’s Pizza is A family owned and operated restaurant serving Black Mountain since 1990, offering mouthwatering fresh pizza, pasta, subs, salads, and a choice beer and wine selection. All of their sauces, dough, meatballs, hummus, and special house dressing are prized family recipes and they make them fresh daily in-house. The also offer gluten free options including pizza crusts, pasta, and beer, as well as lactose free vegan cheese. Our goal is to provide excellent quality and friendly service to our friends, neighbors, and visitors to the area. Savour views of the always beautiful Blue Ridge mountains from our patio, or sit inside and enjoy pleasant conversation and great food in our cozy dining room.”
After dinner, we walked around Black Mountain, which was full of shops and art galleries, so of course as art gallery owners, we were rocky mountain high with excitement. The next day we decided to dive into the city of Asheville. We wanted to check out all of the breweries, cheese shops, art galleries and more. Some of my favorite places that we checked out in Asheville and Black Mountain, were Highland Brewery, Burial Brewery, Dirty Jacks, original home of Greenman Brewing ( My favorite brewery of all of the ones we visited), Urban Orchard, and then we wound up going back to Black Mountain to check out the amazing beer and gorgeous mural at the Black Mountain Brewery. After our tour of the breweries, we decided to grab some wine at my favorite cheese shop in North Carolina, South Slope Cheese, owned by married couple Kurt & Emily Burritt.
“We have been in the gourmet food industry for over 30 years from Burritt’s Fresh Markets in Traverse City Michigan to The Artisan Gourmet Market and Coffee Wine Bar in Black Mountain North Carolina. We have always aspired to create an experience our customers would appreciate and are excited to begin another food adventure here in Western North Carolina. The opening of South Slope Cheese Co. in Asheville is the culmination of our desire to focus on the two things that are very complex but also compliment each other…cheese and wine!”
-Kurt + Emily
As soon as we saw the cheese shop when we drove into town, we knew we wanted to circle around to make that our last stop before heading to our second airbnb. We walked in to be delighted with wine and cheese from floor to ceiling. Perfect already packaged, gourmet cheese boxes, with wonderful wine and beautiful champagne selections. We walked out of there with two bottles and six different kinds of cheese. Kurt and Emily, even remembered that we told them we had an art show coming up ( as it is our tradition a week before a show to explore a new town, to regroup and energize) a week after the show, we got a message from them wishing us good luck on the show at VADA GALLERY. We then went west of Asheville to our next Airbnb, the Pisgah Highlands Container Cabin.
To get to the second airbnb ( only $90 a night) we drove up a very steep mountain, (definitely a four wheel drive car or SUV, is suggested when exploring these mountains) to say it was a blast even getting to the container, is an understatement. When we finally arrived to the top of the mountain, we were surprised to find this little gated container community, we went through the gate and found our container. Each container so spread out, that your only neighbor are the animals in the woods. The container was most definitely one of my favorite places we have ever stayed, with an outdoor fireplace overlooking the woods, a record player fit with records, perfect for late nights by the fire, a garage door, we could open all the way, with a screen right by the bed, and an outdoor shower. I will say this place is updated rustic, but that’s why we picked it! We ate cheese and laughed by the fire all night.
We woke up early the next day to explore the blue ridge mountains in the Pigsaw Forest. Once we drove into the forest, we were mesmerized, we finally pulled over and climbed down ( yes, hiking shoes are a must on this trip) to the stream at the base of the mountains, and pulled out our fishing rods, to sit on the rocks and really soak in everything Pigsaw had to offer. What was even more magical, is while we were fishing on the rocks, a little boat made out of wood got stuck in the rocks by us, we had no idea where the boat came from, but it definitely added a bit of a Hobbit and Blair Witch vibe, that we were definitely okay with. We then ventured up to the famous Blue Ridge Mountain overlook, the view was spectacular, even though it was drizzling. If wearing layers – you will be absolutely fine, as the rain let up, the clouds broke through, and I could actually really appreciate the rolling hills of this mountain region.
We are already planning another little vacation back to Black Mountain and Asheville, as there is no way you can take in everything in, in just three days. On our next trip we would like to venture to the Biltmore Estate, and the Biltmore forest, as well as check out a ton of restaurants, especially Tupelo Honey, as we have heard such amazing things about this restaurant. All the places we visited that weekend, practiced social distancing and have taken mask precautions seriously. Let’s keep on helping out our small business owners, because they are the ones building the community, remembering your favorite order, hell, even just remembering your first name. If you want to do something to help your community in the middle of this pandemic, order in from a small restaurant, or venture to a small town (even big), mask on, hand sanitizer in stow, and start supporting local. You can make a difference, even on an adventure after all. So be the Robin hood in your community, explore and help out as much as your budget will allow.
Below are some upcoming travel guides that will be posted soon on the blog, check it out for tips on traveling safely during Covid-19 on VBintheCITY.com ✨🍁:
The Red River Gorge, Kentucky
Cincinnati Ohio + Yellow Springs, Ohio
We will see you soon Black Mountain and Asheville, NC – this gold dust woman is just getting started again.
Peace + Love,
VB in the CITY – Virginia Blair