Written by: Jillian Hillard
With Asheville exactly 2 hours to the minute from our home in Charlotte, it’s the ideal get away for many occasions. As the last of my girlfriends sail away to marital bliss, it has been a popular spot for Bachelorette parties. The city’s beautiful mountains, laid back culture, thriving local food and brewery scene, truly provides a great setting for a lady’s last hoorah of singledom. Get ready to check off your #squadgoals, with some musts in Asheville.
Staying in Asheville
Asheville is one of those cities that you can do the traditional hotel stay, but if you aren’t Airbnb or VRBO’ing it in the mountains or historic districts, then you are missing out on the lure of fresh mountain air and nostalgia. Also, what group of girls doesn’t love the opportunity to have an open space to chit chat in their pj’s while sipping mimosas together?
Note to caution, depending where you are just make sure you have good directions for the Uber or call the local cab company. For the smaller of the two bachelorette parties, we stayed in Montford, which was about a 10 min walk into the city, and the area couldn’t have been cuter!
Friday Night Dining
Like any classy bachelorette party, Friday night both times in Asheville started out with a delicious dinner at a top spot. I had the pleasure of eating at both Posana and Rhubarb, each offering their own version of “local” cuisine. They are actually right next to each other in the heart of downtown Asheville. Rhubarb’s craft cocktails and fresh farm roasted chicken sealed my sentiment for their offerings, while Posana’s Carolina Bison and Beet Tartare is unlike any tartare I have had before. I keep dreaming of the next time I can bite into it. It’s also worth mentioning that the last bachelorette party I attended had 17 girls and due to some transportation issues, half the party arrived much later. Posana was extremely accommodating keeping the drinks flowing for the girls there and getting the girls who arrived later quickly lubricated. Both times, a good dinner followed by a few night caps at local watering holes ended the night so we could be ready to take on the next day.
Tip: Make a reservation.
Saturday All-Day Funtivities
It’s the Saturday all day funtivities that deserve the bulk of this article. Keeping up your figure in your 30s is a real struggle. Both bachelorette parties sought to start the day with some physical activity which is readily available surrounding Asheville. A mountain hike or any of the many 5K-10K runs in the city are a great way to energize for the let’s be honest, day drinking to follow. So without further ado, the two day drinking activities I recommend most.
Asheville Brewery Tours
With the tagline, “let the locals drive you,” our driver Lindsay Lee of Asheville Brewery Tours was phenomenal. It felt like a longtime friend fresh with the knowledge of the local brewery scene picked you up. Our particular tour started at noon and took us to three of Asheville’s own Green Man Brewery, Hi-Wire and Catawba. At each we received a tour and background info, multiple tastings and enough time to sit and enjoy the atmosphere before hopping to the next one. It was a well-timed trip ending at 4pm.
A personal favorite was Green Man with its newly opened facility and great décor (and light fixtures I want for my home).
I really enjoyed the English Porter, but I am not much of an IPA gal so sorry for those looking for an IPA review. My fellow ladies who are into IPAs found H-Wire more their jam. While at Hi-Wire we also enjoyed the Foothills Meats food truck with again “local farm-to- table” ingredients. Their Cuban sandwich paired with beer was everything needed for a day of drinking.
In addition to beer, all of the breweries offered some form of live music, outdoor spaces and games from cornhole to Jenga. Asheville in March at 70 degrees is hit or miss, but we hit well not having to worry about transportation and getting a cultured beerucation!
The tour drops you back off in downtown Asheville, close to many other breweries. This led us to tour one more brewery, the popular Wicked Weed, which is also great for non-beer drinkers, and people who love dogs. This brewery does a good job of attracting people and puppies.
Oh, what fun you will have floating down a river for 4-5 hours! I mean it, this is one of the best times I have had at a bachelorette party. It’s simple, you rent your tube and rent a tube for a cooler, and proceed to float down the French Broad River while drinking your own spirits and chomping on snacks with your best friends. It’s for all ages and if you do the Midtown one, it will end you just minutes away from the New Belgium Brewery in case you didn’t bring enough to drink on your float! As you float you pass the majestic nature scene of Asheville, while also meeting and passing other floaters along the way. There are “professional” floaters with “Taj Mahal-like” floats that are sure to initiate a giggle and photo op. We did get caught in a storm but it was part of the fun to be honest, and allowed us to meet some fellow floaters for more cheers along the way.
All successful Southern bachelorette parties generally comes to a close with the traditional Southern brunch (note: NC laws will not allow alcohol before noon, so don’t stumble in before that if you are seeking “hair of the dog” with some of Asheville’s famous Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas). On these two occasions, we experienced Mayfel’s and The Marketplace Restaurant & Lounge. Mayfels, opened by Loretta Woolley in the spring of 2003, brings Louisiana-style cuisine to Asheville’s brunch scene, and for a cute story on the name check out the site. It’s a rather small footprint so plan for a smaller bachelorette party. As an avid eggs benedict bruncher, I had to go with the Mountains to Sea Crab Cakes, and the generous pieces of crab softly bunched together as a patty showcased they know how to do a proper crab cake. The atmosphere here is warm and friendly, and the bright colors will help you feel more energetic after a hard hitting weekend.
For a bit of a more upscale experience, and larger parties, The Market Place hit the spot. The restaurant has been a fixture in downtown Asheville since 1979 and is currently headed up by Chef William Dissen who has a list of accolades to be proud of. Chef’s Dissen’s commitment to the “local” can be seen in the menu choices. My favorite thing is to buddy up with a friend and share two entrees to get a taste of both the savory and sweet side of breakfast rather than decide. On this trip, my girlfriend and I split the Banana Bread French Toast with mascarpone, bourbon macerated raspberries, and maple syrup; and the Spinach & Goat Cheese Omelet with herb roasted potatoes and a jalapeno biscuit. If I had to choose one, the Banana Bread French Toast was just on its own level. I am sitting her salivating as I write this because its hands down one of the best brunch dishes I have ever had, and that is generous considering the food I have experienced in life. It was fresh, it was sweet, it was melt in your mouth delicious.
Asheville has a little bit of everything and I only skimmed the surface with the fun things to do there for a bachelorette or any event really.
Helpful Planning Tips:
- Rent a home through AirBnB or VRBO
- Make a reservation for hot restaurant spots, Curate is another great place
- Do plan an outdoor activity, be it hiking, tubing, etc.
- Brunch is a must because that’s what the South does best on Sundays
- Bring a jacket or sweater at night, it’s the mountains and gets chilly
- If you aren’t beer drinkers, call ahead to breweries to check on their liquor, cider and wine offerings; some do options for everyone
- Go to a brewery, it’s a part of the Asheville scene, I would also recommend coffee shop stops too
- Casual is key, you can still look super cute but this laid-back town isn’t it for sparkly dresses