Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I'd probably have to label fall as my favorite season for several reasons: brisk temperatures, beautiful leaves, the resurrection of football season, a parade of pumpkin-inspired baked goods, that tinkling that the holidays are just around the corner...and oh yes, we must not forget the glorious collegiate invention of fall break. Sure it's only an extra two days off from classes...and sure the vacation always seems to fall right smack in the middle of mid-terms, but sometimes just a short leave is all you need, and a nice long weekend as such certainly lends itself to the opportunity for one of my all-time favorite activities: the weekend trip.

I live in a fairly fortunate location, surrounded by many an interesting city, all less than three hours away. Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta...I enjoy them all, and I only wish I had the time and money to visit each of them more often. This fall break the fam, the Benjamin, and I finally made it to one of my favorite mountain towns, Asheville. I'm not really a fan of the intense hippie scene frolicking through the streets of the city, but the mountains, the shopping, and oh yes, the food provide plenty of reason enough to wander across the North Carolina border every couple of years.

We departed on our journey with only a few goals: take in some mountain scenery with a leisurely hike, stroll through downtown Asheville and its many local shops, and let's not forget the Beal family's continuous commitment to stuffing ourselves silly with delicious delicacies whenever we travel. Despite the dreary, drizzly drive on Friday and the sudden onset of frigid temperatures come Saturday, I'd say our little outing was quite successful...especially in the eating department...I may never need to do it again.

We somehow stumbled upon an absolutely perfect hike for Friday, suitable for all parties involved. It was a triple-waterfall-wonder in Dupont State Forest...and it was only about 3 miles roundtrip...which was good for my mom and my own ADD when it comes to endless mountain treks.

There's somewhat dinky waterfall number one...Hooker Falls I believe? We saw better, no worries, but I also enjoyed the struggling "Hey Ben, let me on your back" picture, so I thought I'd share.

That's more like it, eh? Triple Falls, it's called, and I was so not expecting such a was huge! Even my poor little outdated and so not-up-to-par camera got a postcard-worthy shot. I was thrilled...

And last but not least came the big daddy of the three: appropriately named, High Falls. You can't really tell from the picture but it was giant. We trekked down to the bottom of the falls and had to put our hoods up because there was so much mist. Not gonna lie...kinda felt like I was at Niagara...

So yeah...hiking is great and gorgeous and the rest, but let's get to the real deal: the food. I am a die-hard travel foodie. I choose cities for the restaurants and spend countless hours perusing menus in the weeks leading up to departure. My devout devotion to and love of Disney World has firm foundations in the Dining Plan option and all the delicious food the parks have to offer. Asheville definitely did not disappoint when it came to the dining department. Here's a look into where we ate...I highly recommend all of them:

Corner Kitchen...So homey, so cute, so good! Tucked away into a sweet old house in Biltmore Village, I thought this place was so authentic. The dinner menu changes weekly, so there's bound to be a new tasty option every time you go. We sat at a big table right across from the open kitchen, and it just felt like I was at home with a gourmet chef cooking for me. I had wahoo (fish) with a macadamia nut pesto and grilled pineapple salsa. Then for dessert the Benjamin and I split some white chocolate bread pudding...all of it was delish!

Tupelo Honey Cafe...We had lunch here Saturday, and needless to say I stuffed my face. This place is located in the heart of downtown Asheville, and it is quite popular, so expect a wait. We started with fried green tomatoes and fried cheese grit cakes...Southern cooking at its best. I ordered a grilled cheese with tomato soup...classic flavors but super good. No dessert this time...we found a yummy cookie shop instead.

Rezaz...Ok. Y'all. This place is to die for. I mean probably one of the best meals I've ever had. First we had a round of bread and olive oil that totally reminded me of Greece. Then I had a trio of dips as an appetizer: hummus, babaganoush, and muhamara (a red pepper dip with walnut and pomegranate juice). Sounds weird, but soo good. Next up it was sweet potato gnocchi with a parmesan cream sauce and balsamic reduction. And finally, a dark chocolate torte with vanilla ice cream. It was all amazing. I wanna go back. Tomorrow.

Sorry this post is an eternal one. Just had a lot I wanted to share! It was a wonderful weekend and I was not excited about starting back up to school this week...but I got through it somehow. The plan for this weekend? Catch up on sleep! It's a necessity folks...

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