My Thanksgiving week was absolutely lovely — how was yours? Oh, what’s that you’re saying? It’s December 5th now and we’re moving on to Christmas and I’m horribly out of date posting about Thanksgiving? Well, pshaw. I have photos from my trip and I am going to post them, dammit.
CW and I got out of town for a few days and enjoyed ourselves in Asheville, NC. It’s a lovely town in the mountains, with a Eugene kind of vibe, plenty of good food, good wine, good beer, arts and crafts, and beautiful scenery. You basically can’t go wrong.
The best thing was that our hotel, which wasn’t quite in the downtown area, had a free downtown shuttle so tourists like us could go out to dinner and drinks and not have to worry about driving back at the end of the evening. Safety first!
We really enjoyed every place we went, but here are a few of the highlights:
One of our first stops was the Thirsty Monk, a bar downtown that serves all kinds of microbrews on tap, with a special downstairs area dedicated to Belgian beer. Upstairs I ordered a tasting flight of all the girliest fruit-based beers I could find (Atwater Blueberry Cobbler, Flying Dog Orchard Ale, Catawba Winter Sun Sour Ale, Bell’s Cherry Stout) and downstairs I tried a dark Belgian beer, Enamé Cuvée. It was really fun — I think I should try more tasting flights in the future.
Our first night in town, we at Table, which had a comfortable atmosphere, really good food and good bourbon, and a fun and knowledgeable waiter. Recommended. We found our way to Mayfel’s for breakfast the next day, which turned out to have not only vegetarian Eggs Benedict (mmm, soysage), but also a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar with tons of various pickled vegetables. Pickled okra: DO IT.
We spent some time shopping around and finding a few Christmas presents for (ourselves and) others, and wound up meeting some interesting artists/craftsmen selling their wares AND stumbled upon the greatest place on earth. Are you ready?
The Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar. No, I will not shut up about this place. It was incredible. First of all, even just as a bookstore, it’s already great. Wonderful selection of used books of all kinds. Just miles and miles of books around every corner — little aisles and big shelves stacked high and comfy leather chairs and tables hiding around every corner. The layout encourages wandering and browsing — every time you think you’ve reached the end of a section, you round the corner and there are more mysteries and discoveries waiting for you.
BUT ALSO! It’s a champagne bar serving all sorts of champagnes (and other sparkling wines, and other less great non-sparkling wines (because why would you not want your wine to sparkle!?)). AND ALSO ALSO! They have live music — an old guy playing classical guitar on the night we were there, which was fun. THERE’S STILL MORE! They allow dogs. DOGS. Dogs were all up in that place. Big dogs. Small dogs. Dogs in bags. Dogs following their owners around quietly and loyally as they browsed from shelf to shelf. DOGS!
OH, AND THERE’S THIS. The greatest used book find ever: a 1933 printing of The Savoy Cocktail Book, with fabulous recipes, illustrations, and commentary. For eight dollars.
I would like to move to Asheville so I can go to the Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar every day, please and thank you.
While we were there, we also hit Plant for dinner, where everything is vegan and therefore the menu and all its possibilities are completely open to me (hooray!) and where Oregon Pinot Noir is available to complement the fabulous food. We Went to French Broad Chocolate Lounge and drank something called a “liquid truffle” which is basically just melted ganache in a hot-chocolate form, served in a little cup with a little spoon, and now I can never drink regular hot chocolate again.
We strolled around the cute little streets and enjoyed what was left of the fall leaves and just generally had a wonderfully fun and relaxing time.
[Oh, were you wondering if we went to Biltmore? Everyone keeps asking if we went to Biltmore. We did not. In CW’s words, “We don’t need to see how the rich live.” Heh.]
After we got back home, we spent the rest of Thanksgiving week enjoying the quiet coziness of our house and our fireplace and our pets our lack of scheduled work. It was great. We cooked Thanksgiving dinner together (I made a pumpkin pie with homemade crust all by myself; quite pleased!) and took some time to really appreciate how great our lives are right now and how much we have to be thankful for. There is a lot.