Our 24 hour trip was nowhere near enough to see much more than Biltmore, but we did get one little taste (derp!) of Asheville before heading back to Charlotte—on our previous nite’s waiter’s recommendation we headed to 12 Bones barbeque in the River Arts Distract for a late lunch. (They close at 4pm, so don’t get there too late, as one guy did and was very sadly left knocking on the locked door.)
The drive from Biltmore in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a one lane road through the industrial warehouse side of Asheville in excruciating sunshine was a mind-numbing 45 minutes (in addition to the 25 minutes it took us to get out of the damn estate). But it was totally worth it.
It might not look like it could possibly be worth that much effort, but as the best things in life usually do, this one came in an unexpected package. An order at the counter and then sit at an indoor/outdoor picnic table sort of place, one of the best things about 12 Bones was the random clientele—everyone from an elderly couple to Asheville’s best-dressed rockabillies and hipsters seemed to be there enjoying the food.
They served fancily-flavored bbq with local ingredients, local beers, and the biodegradable corn type of disposables. I had blueberry-chipotle ribs, various type of pulled pork were tried, and we all (especially my vegetarian friend – one portobello burger for her) gorged on amazing sides like mashed sweet potatoes and cauliflower and cornbread.
They also had several unconventionally flavored ketchups/mustards—between those and their marinades we could probably single-handedly keep an online business going. Just sayin’, if someone at 12 Bones is interested….
I’m definitely bummed that we didn’t get to explore downtown Asheville. I hadn’t expected to feel quite as out of place in NC as I did (though maybe it was just the retiree-heavy Biltmore), but the rest of Asheville seemed like the kind of place we could hang out for a while. I mean, so far as I could tell, their "River Arts District" had galleries in actual warehouses, not post-modernist hipster, but "this is a real warehouse" at $5k for a month’s rent…
I’d really love to go back and see more than just Biltmore. Not too long after we got back to NY did I find out about this awesome-looking shop through my day job (they want to carry Esopus!):
And one last plug for the awesomeness of Asheville–not to be left off the map, they have their own street style blog:
We did take the time to take the scenic route back to Charlotte (and miss my friend’s concert because of it, but that’s another story), and it was also way worth it. You see, I have this habit of looking at a map and saying, "But this way will also get us there and it looks cooler." And you know what, it usually is.
So the trip to 12 Bones was just the beginning of NC-driving-induced-delirium for us, as we were soon winding through the mountains at 30mph not quite sure if we would ever reach a "real road." But there was plenty to see, and plenty to laugh hysterically at. (Hickory Nut Gap, NC anyone?) Luckily our plucky little rental Suburu was up for the challenge. (Pretty sweet for a rental, I know. It took us 2 hours and the manual to figure out it was mistakenly in "sports" mode.)
What North Carolina does for fun…
So a good time was had by all at Biltmore, Asheville, and ultimately Charlotte. (Though please don’t get me started on their fresh-from-the-frat club scene…)