House Sitting Job in North Carolina – Part 2
In Part 2 of our adventures in North Carolina we explored Asheville and a select few of its many breweries.
It was pretty chilly and very windy on our third day of house sitting and ready for a drive into the big city. Country living is great, but it was Saturday and we were ready for some fun.
Downtown Asheville was buzzing on this Saturday afternoon. Couples with children and dogs in tow, lots of school aged kids with their friends, older folks like us, and in general a very diverse crowd of people.
Our first stop was Malaprop’s book store and coffee shop.
The cold wind blowing up and down the side streets practically blew us into this busy little place. Nick forgot to bring a jacket and the warmth, and all the different smells of this place was very enticing. We had a lot of fun browsing the large book collections, drinking coffee latte’s and watching our fellow shoppers.
The downtown Asheville area is really a very fun place to hang out, with street musicians and a ton of activity, too bad it happened to be so cold that day.
Our next stop was the Biltmore Estates.
Biltmore Estate is a large private estate and tourist attraction in Asheville, North Carolina. Biltmore House, the main house on the estate, is a Châteauesque-styled mansion built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895 and is the largest privately owned house in the United States. (Source – Wikipedia)
It was while we were getting groceries earlier that morning that visiting the Biltmore Estates was recommended by the cashier. She described the halls being beautifully decorated for the Holiday season this time of year and that ‘nothing else on earth could put you in the Christmas spirit quite like a trip through the Estate‘.
We made it as far as the welcome center where you could purchase your tickets and plan out your itinerary. The total cost just to get beyond this point was $138.00. Sadly this was a little too steep for our pocket book, especially since we’ll be going to Germany in a few weeks.
The Builtmore Estates can not be seen from the road, but once you made it past the admissions gate with your tickets in hand, you could visit the estate grounds and would have full access to the buildings. There are also shops, a vineyard and restaurants located on the premises. It would have been nothing to have spent an easy $500.00 in a short three to four hour window. We kept our money, took a few snap shots and quietly made our way to the exit. Maybe we’ll come back some other time.
While pulled over in a nearby neighborhood not far from the Biltmore Estate, trying to decide where to go next, a lady picking up sticks in her yard came over to our car and asked if she could help. We had a nice little conversation with her and found out we were only 2 blocks from the historic downtown Biltmore. We walked around for a little while but never even went into any of the high end shops. Neither one of us was in a shopping mood that day.
At this point we were ready to find one of the local breweries Asheville is so famous for.
Beer Stop #1 – The Green Man Brewery
If catching something on a whim had ever been a rule of thumb to finding something really interesting then this was the best laid plan. The Green Man Brewery popped up right away on the Google search and also came recommended by Keith. With point blank directions we pulled up to the brewery in record time.
We received a very warm welcome walking into this older brew building. A handful of customers sat around the bar and the beer maid offered us a sampler board which she would fill with four beers of our choice. The guy sitting next to us chimed right up and suggested the 1914, a dark ale. We also picked a lighter Maerzen beer and two other dark beers. Yum!
The Green Man Brewery has been decorated with green figures from Yoda to Kermit and the Green Lantern. Beyond the bar you could see the inner workings of the brewery itself. Tall stainless steel tanks with copper tubing running from them. We enjoyed our samples, bought a six pack of the Maerzen to take back with us and bid farewell to our new found friend.
Beer Stop #2 – The Wedge Brewery
We had a much harder job finding this brewery. Not that it was located outside the city or in some off the beaten path neighborhood, but we ended up on the wrong side of the building. The address we had led us to a glass blowing outfit, we were just about to give up looking when we turned the corner and voila, we saw the railroad tracks and the error of our ways.
The Wedge was the place to be on a Saturday night! We actually recognized people we saw in the downtown area earlier in the day. They had a food truck in the parking lot and a line of people waiting to get their beers.
We started out with a Scottish Ale which was very good. From there the beers went a little bit down hill, for our taste buds anyway. We tried the Golem a Belgium Pilsner, which had a very high alcohol content and very bitter aftertaste.
The Wedge XII was our third and last beer of the evening. If you’re looking for a very dark brew with a hint of dates and like the taste of Black Licorice then this one will be perfect for you. It’s a very unique beer that has been expertly brewed.
The Wedge Brewery has very nice outdoor seating and a couple of bean bag tossing boards, for year round outdoor fun.
Even though we visited Asheville, NC, on one of the colder days of the year, we still had a ton of fun. Thanks to our house sitting job in North Carolina!
Be sure to visit the links below to read more:
House Sitting Job in North Carolina – Part 1 - Visiting Black Mountain and Montreat, NC
House Sitting Job in North Carolina – Part 3 - A vineyard in SC and the many NC hiking trails to explore