72 Hours in Asheville, North Carolina

I am so excited to bring you my Asheville, North Carolina guide today! My sisters and I headed to AVL for Memorial Day Weekend and had a wonderful trip—it was a great long weekend trip from the DC area, so if you’re looking for somewhere to go later this summer over Labor Day Weekend, I can’t recommend it enough. We drove down first thing Thursday and left first thing Monday morning—so we had about three and a half days to enjoy everything Asheville has to offer, which felt like the right amount of time to spend in town.

I was born in North Carolina and spent the first eight years of my life there, but had never made it to Asheville. A big reason I wanted to visit was to see The Biltmore Estate—I love learning about the Gilded Age, and my interest was particularly heightened after we saw some of the Vanderbilt “summer cottages” in Newport, Rhode Island several summers ago. We ended up spending an entire day at Biltmore, so I’ve separated out a recap of our amazing day spent at George Vanderbilt’s mansion in the mountains into a separate post—you can read it here!

When we took our trip to Asheville, all Covid-related restrictions and mask mandates had been lifted; it was actually my first time going to a restaurant since the pandemic started where servers weren’t wearing masks—talk about a culture shock! Given the pandemic has a lot of restaurant reservation policies and other procedures in flux, if you’re using this post to plan a trip to Asheville, I’d recommend double-checking to make sure this is still the latest and greatest information.

So, without further ado, here’s a girls’ weekend guide to Asheville, North Carolina!

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Our Day at the Biltmore Estate

Over Memorial Day Weekend, I was able to check off a major item from my bucket list—visiting the Biltmore! I’ve wanted to go for as long as I can remember, but definitely had a renewed interest after touring all the Vanderbilt mansions in Newport, Rhode Island a few summers ago. Earlier this year, my sisters and I knew we wanted to plan a MDW trip, but it was still when vaccine rollout was slow—so we decided on Asheville because it was within driving distance, but still a new-to-us place. By the time we visited, we were fully vaccinated and all Covid-related policies at Biltmore (and Asheville generally) had been lifted—but as with all things right now, I am sure policies and procedures could still be in flux. So, if you’re using this post to plan your own trip, I’d recommend checking out the Biltmore website for the latest and greatest—I also had a lot of luck getting intel from recent visitors on Trip Advisor!

Biltmore is the largest private residence in the United States, and was built by George Vanderbilt between 1889 and 1895. George was the youngest son of William Henry Vanderbilt and grandson of “The Commodore,” Cornelius Vanderbilt. (George’s siblings were the ones that built a lot of the most famous “summer cottages” in Newport like The Breakers and Marble House.) George would make regular visits to Asheville with his mother, who was in poor health, under advice from her doctor’s to get fresh mountain air. He ultimately decided to build in Asheville and pieced together land for his estate by buying it from local farmers—they were happy to sell him the land as much of it was in poor condition. George furnished the home from his trips to Europe and it officially opened on Christmas Eve 1895, six years after construction began. Shortly before his death in 1914, George sold some of Biltmore’s land to the US Government to help pay for maintenance of the estate and the new personal income tax. The land he sold to the government became Pisgah National Forest. After his death, his widow, Edith, inherited the house, and it eventually passed to the couple’s only child, Cornelia, and her husband, John Cecil. Descendants of their sons still own the estate today, though it has not been a private residence since 1956.

We pretty much spent from 9am to 5pm at Biltmore, so I wanted to dedicate an entire post to the Estate so I can share all of my tips and tricks for ensuring your visit as successful as ours was. And, you can read my full guide to Asheville here that has a roundup of everything else we did while we were in town!

So, without further ado, let me take you inside our day at Biltmore—

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On My Nightstand: June 2021

Hello + happy belated 4th of July! I hope you all were able to enjoy a nice long weekend with family and friends. I was at the beach all last week which was so nice and then spent a low-key holiday yesterday grilling out with my family. I will be in town all of July, so am excited to work on some new posts for the blog—including a full recap of my trip to Asheville over MDW, which is long overdue. (We took SO many photos, it was a lot to go through and edit!)

I read seven books in June, including four books on my beach trip last week. Getting lost in a great book on the beach is one of my absolute favorite pastimes, and just such an indulgent treat. I read a lot of great books in June that I am excited to share with you today.

As is custom on these posts, I wanted to call out that I’m part of a program where Random House will send me some of their new titles each month. I’m under no obligation to post about any titles I receive, so I really can tell you my own opinion (good or bad!) about them. I’ve starred the books Random House sent me for free below. I’m so lucky to be sent books and that’s not lost on me.

Happy reading! x

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