The view from Mt. Mitchell, the highest summit east of the Mississippi River. 
There is a large amount of street artwork in the River Arts District, along with good restaurants and breweries. 
The North Carolina Arboretum has seasonal exhibits, so it is always changing. 
The view from Mt. Mitchell, the highest summit east of the Mississippi River. 
There is a large amount of street artwork in the River Arts District, along with good restaurants and breweries. 
The North Carolina Arboretum has seasonal exhibits, so it is always changing. 
Asheville is just about an hour and a half away from Kingsport and it is full of different activities for anyone. It is a mountain town with a little bit of a twist, and worth a day trip.
We are getting up bright and early to make the most out of the day. Eat some oatmeal or dense carb with a little bit of protein powder before you hit Interstate 26 to take you straight to Asheville. But we aren’t going into town just yet. Downtown Asheville is not a morning city, so it’s best to go into the heart of downtown at lunch.
The first stop is Mt. Mitchell State Park. Mt. Mitchell is the highest summit east of the Mississippi River, so there are gorgeous views of the area, and there is even a plaque you can take a picture with. The great thing about this spot is that it is very accessible to all hiking skill levels. To get to the viewing area, you only need to take a short walk up a paved sidewalk. If you wanted to do some more hiking afterwards, there are other trails around.
Now, drive back into downtown Asheville. If you are like me, you are hungry, so it’s lunchtime. There are so many restaurants that are all good, but here are some of my favorites.
If you’re in the mood for pizza, Barley’s is my go-to. The pizza is good, but the thing that keeps me going back is one of the appetizers, called fiddlesticks. They are French fry-shaped, but they are made from the leftover pizza dough, with spicy, yet sweet sauce. You can also dip them in blue cheese or ranch dressing. The kicker is that the restaurant hasn’t been serving these since COVID-19 started, but I think it is time to bring them back.
Other restaurants include Farm Burger (get the sweet potato hushpuppies), 12 Bones, and Biscuit Head. Talk about variety.
Time to take a walk around downtown. Asheville is a city that is obviously bigger than Kingsport, so as you are walking around, please be aware of your surroundings and be wary if a stranger tries to get too close. Just use caution and common sense, and you will be fine.
Downtown Asheville has some very cool shops, my favorite being the Mast General Store. In the back of the store, there are massive barrels of candy. You can grab a basket and fill it up with as much as you want, then pay by weight at the end. If you have kids, they will love this. They also have merchandise like clothing, hiking supplies and house décor.
One thing that is very “Asheville” (using this as an adjective) is going to the River Arts District. There is an insane amount of graffiti, but it is not illegal graffiti; it is made by different artists, and it is some interesting artwork. There are also some delicious restaurants there, like 12 Bones, and quite a few breweries.
Spend some time walking around and visiting the area, then hop in your car and go to the North Carolina Arboretum. This place has all kinds of plants and flowers, and the workers spend lots of time making everything look perfect.
Then for dinner, I suggest making your way to Sierra Nevada Taproom. They serve seasonal dishes and brew their own beer onsite.
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