If you have read my previous journals, you will notice some changes to my journals. I have a new relationship with my fiancé, Nick. This was our first trip away since becoming a couple. We have a love of heavy metal music. So this will be the first of many Nick and Suzie’s adventures and many of them will center around of our love of all things metal.
When I saw on Facebook that one of my favorite bands would be playing in Ashville and it would be right around Nick’s birthday, so we decided to go up to Asheville and then to Winston Salem to hit 2 great concerts.
The first leg of our trip took us to Asheville. We stayed at the Best Western of Asheville Biltmore East. We had 2 nights in Asheville and the room was great. The bed was oh so comfy. And the location is great.
The first night we had dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. We initially went there since they were supposed to have had wrestling pay per view, only to get there and find out they were not having the event. Since it was late and we were tired from the drive, we just stayed and ate anyway.
The next day after picking up our concert tickets, we went in search of lunch. Nick is part Italian and part Irish (like me..at least the Irish part) and loves subs and pizza. We head away from downtown towards the Biltmore house and spy Lenny’s Sub Shop and decide to stop in for a few subs.
Later that evening we head out to the Orange Peel, which is considered one of the top 5 concert venues by Rolling Stone Magazine. We were there to see the thrash metal trio of Death Angel/Testament/Anthrax. I am a huge fan of all 3 bands but in particular Testament as I love their lead singer Chuck Billy. We had just seen the band in Charlotte only some months earlier, but couldn’t wait to see them again. One again they put on a great concert for the sold out crowd.
Before heading to the Orange Peel to see Testament, we stopped by one of my favorite restaurants…the Mellow Mushroom. I have been to several other locations and this location was just as great as the others. Their pizzas here are great. And this location was once a gas station and has that same funky vibe going that the other locations have.
The next morning we headed out for our next destination…Winston Salem. We were trying to find a place for Nick to get an old picture enlarged. While riding around we spotted a number of pizza places near each other. Waiting to go somewhere other than a place we could go at home, we decide on Marco’s NY Pizza.
While in Winston Salem we stayed at the Quality Inn Coliseum. It was ok given the fact we were only staying for the night. Beyond that, I don’t think I would even consider it.
After checking in to our hotel and headed to meet my friend Rebecca and her hubby Eric, we were starving. So we all headed to one of their favorite places for more pizza. We headed to Brick Oven Pizza which has a delish pizza buffet.
We rounded out our rock and roll road tour by heading over to Ziggy’s club to see former Skid Row lead singer, Sebastian Bach. Now Sebastian has made a previous appearance in an earlier journal when he magnificently played the lead role in the Broadway show, Jeckyl and Hyde. But tonight he would be returning to his metal roots with a new band and still singing some fan favorites.
As always my first suggestion is go to the visitor’s web site at www.exploreasheville.com. They have an on line visitors guider’s guide or you can order a copy by mail. Granted I use several resources when planning my trips but I still love it when I go to my mailbox and a glossy visitor’s guide greets me. I still love curling up on my couch and looking through the visitors guide to see what I can find. Winston-Salem’s website is www.visitwinstonsalem.com
There are also several other website sites out there devoted to Asheville. www.romanticasheville.com, www.ashevillenc.com, www.westernncattractions.com, and www.visitnc.com are among those ones I use on a regular basis.
On Facebook? So is the Asheville CVB. Just like them for updates and trip planning ideas.
Got a smart phone? The Asheville CVB also has an app for that and it’s free!
Asheville is a year round destination. Winter brings guests to the Biltmore Estate for the candlelight tours as well as nearby skiing. Spring time brings an explosion at the Biltmore Estate with the grand gardens and the Festival of Flowers in April and May. Summer brings a respite from the heat found elsewhere in the Carolinas. Fall abounds with the beauty of the changing leafs that bring visitors by the thousands to this area to do some leaf peeping.
Asheville is also located relatively close to so many major destinations in the NC Mountains. People often include stops in Asheville when traveling to other destinations.
This is one of my favorite destinations. I have written several other journals on this top destination. Just look up my other journals for more ideas on things to do.
It is a good idea to have your hotel room booked in advance. During major festivals and holidays, the place is packed. UNC Asheville is here so certain of the year such as the beginning of the fall semester, homecoming weekend, alumni and parent’s weekend will require advanced planning. Asheville has a number of hotels and beautiful B&B’s. You will find something to fit any budget.
One place that I can suggest that I did not have enough to do a journal on is French Broad Imaging located at 5248 Hendersonville Rd. (828) 575-2170. They are on Facebook and a great place for your photography needs. Nick had a picture taken of him and Sebastian Back taken in 1987. He wanted an enlarged copy to have Sebastian sign it. I remembered seeing it the day prior during our travels and suggested we stop by and see if they could help us. Sure enough they were able to make him an 8 x 10 copy and cleaned it up so it looked better than the original. The staff was helpful and great to work with.
Need a great way to organize your travel plans? One of my favorite is Trip It. You enter your entire information on your plans and if you have your plans emailed to you, Trip it automatically fills in the information for you. Then when you’re ready to go just print it out and be on your way. www.tripit.com and they have an app as well. And it’s free. It is Facebook compatible.
If you have a smart phone..embrace all the travel apps out there. About 90% of my apps are travel related. I have travel logs and travel planners on my Iphone. I also love rating places through Stamped and Google Places. With the exception of a few apps, I only use free apps. So you can get plenty of them for free. Many of them such as Stamped are Facebook compatible.
Ways to Get Around
Once you’re here, unless you are just staying in the downtown area, you will need a car to get around. Asheville does have it’s own airport (www.flyavl.com). Charlotte Douglas (CLT) is about 2 hours away and Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP) is about an hour away. You can pick up a car at the airport.
Like most other major cities, parking downtown can be tricky. There is a parking deck near the Grove Park Arcade and that is your best for parking downtown if you are going to be a while. Very few downtown locations have their own parking lot and parking is generally on the street with meters.
Once you are here, there are tons of fun and exciting ways to get around. Explore Asheville by trolley, Segway, Land Rover, bicycle, or take to the air with a hot air balloon ride.
You are right at the Blue Ridge Parkway. So why not take off one of the most popular parkways in the country and enjoy the sites? If you see lots of people gathered around..well just pull over safely and join them. Lots of people gathered around generally means a wildlife spotting or something really beautiful.
Please note that if you do not have a car and wish to visit the Biltmore Estate, please make sure your hotel offers a shuttle. There are several hotels near the ENTRANCE of the estate. Unfortunately George valued his privacy and it is a 3 mile hike to the actual home.