Is there any better way to celebrate taking a professional certification exam than to jump in the car and get the hell outta dodge to enjoy some R&R? After finishing my first of four CPA exams (FAR, for those of you scoring at home), my brain needed to be far, far (see what I did there?) away from numbers and thinking so we spent the long Memorial Day weekend in Asheville, NC!
I had been before – like, eight years ago – but only briefly and with a whole lot less planning and way before I had an acquired taste for delicious craft beer. So this time I put my insane cap on and planned out all sorts of things to do because, you know, I didn’t have enough going on studying for FAR. (Vacation planning and future-car-shopping are oddly therapeutic things for me when I’m stressed by work.)
On the list before leaving were: beer, zoo, beer, mountains, beer, and ranch flight (because midwest). You didn’t think I’d go to a craft beer mecca and not imbibe, did you?
Here are some of my favorite takeaways from the weekend:
The Blue Ridge Parkway is absolutely beautiful. There’s just so much of it to explore. We stayed mostly southwest of Asheville, driving around and then exploring Graveyard Fields. If we were more experienced joggers (and by ‘more experienced’ I mean ‘not total amateurs who forget sunblock and also have a bad knee’) we probably could have explored even deeper into the forest, but I really enjoyed what we saw while being inundated with swamp ass. Did I mention we always seem to be traveling on unseasonably hot days?
Our hotel: We ended up staying about fifteen minutes outside the city because with it being a holiday weekend, all the downtown hotels and cool Airbnbs were either sold out or stupid expensive. But it actually worked out really well because our hotel had a shuttle to downtown for $5 per person, round trip, which is cheaper than an Uber. It was seriously so clutch and made getting downtown (and back!) so easy. Plus the hotel had an indoor/outdoor pool and a hot tub. Definite win here. (link to hotel)
Although we were on the brewery circuit in Asheville, we made a stop at Antidote while waiting for a table for dinner. Apparently there’s some silly law that in North Carolina if you serve alcohol but don’t serve food, that you’re a private club which means you have to become a member for the whopping cost of $0.01. We found out later that the place is actually new construction but it absolutely feels like a pre-prohibition bar. It was so cool. We took a break from beer to have gin cocktails. I would absolutely go back. Plus I’m a member now!
We ate and drank so much good stuff in North Carolina. Funny enough, when doing some research before leaving I had seen on Instagram that Asheville Brewing was rolling out a ranch flight. Oh, be still my little midwestern heart. So you know we stopped there for the ranchy-goodness. For the record: regular, pickle ranch, and chipotle ranch. 10/10 would order 458,000 times.
There are seriously too many things to describe them all, but some of my favorites include: White Duck Tacos, where I had the BLT and the fish tacos, Curate where we tried vermouth for the first time, a stop at Turgua Brewing which is literally a brewery in some guy’s back yard that we had to check out after having it recommended, Hillman Beer, a surprise stop at Sierra Nevada which has an insane campus by the airport and offers self-guided tours of the facility, New Belgium where we didn’t do a tour but did enjoy a drink on the riverbank, SkyBar at dusk on Friday (Saturday and Sunday were too crowded). It was a great long weekend trip and much-needed.