Hiking & Nature
We highly recommend you take the Blue Ridge Parkway and north to Craggy Gardens (about 30 minutes from Sparklebark) where you can walk to a meadow with sweeping views or drive to the pinnacle and take a short hike up to an overlook with 360 views. A little further north is Mount Mitchell (1 hr) which is the highest point east of the Mississippi at 6,683 feet. Another great outing is the hike to Bear Wallow falls (about 40 minutes from Sparklebark). This is a lower elevation hike and will take you in and back through extremely lush forest to a breathtaking rock outcrop with waterfall. It's fairly short with a great reward at the end, a mile each way, but you'll get a nice workout as it's all up hill on the way in!
breakfast & coffee
For breakfast there is a great bakery in Downtown Weaverville (about 5 minutes away from Sparklebark) called Well Bred with nice a la a carte options or there are a couple of great spots in west asheville: Biscuit Head which is amazing biscuits with tons of savory or sweet topping options. We also love the Sunny Point cafe which is classic hardy American breakfast with lots of delicious eggs, potatoes, meats and veg! OWL bakery in West Asheville is also a really good artisanal bakery with great pastries, bread etc. For straight up coffee shops, High Five in North Asheville is great, Izzy's right downtown is a local favorite, or you could check out Battle Cat in West Asheville.
lunch & dinner
For lunch or dinner I must plug our favorite restaurant which is All Souls Pizza in the River Arts District, they have fabulous wood-fired pizza and a lot more! The sandwiches are made on their incredible sourdough breads. We love the Greens Leeks and Goat Cheese Pizza, or the Garlic Sausage and Greens, but just the straight Margherita Pizza is amazing too! The sandwiches are also great. We love Chai Pani which is Indian Street food and informal and fun. Or if you want something fancier Curaté, Limones, The Admiral, and The Bull and Beggar are all great options (but tables can be hard to come by).
For some awesome desert try the French Broad Chocolate Lounge for everything chocolate, from truffles to liquid chocolate, DELISH! We also highly recommend our two divine local Ice Cream companies, both of whom have multiple locations, The Hop and Ultimate Ice Cream. There is even an Ultimate Ice cream counter inside of Weaverville’s downtown pharmacy!
Our favorite brewery, The Wedge has a location just around the corner from All-Souls Pizza, and is a great outdoor spot to people watch and drink some delicious beer. At this point there are SO MANY breweries in town, and honestly the beer is great at all of them. If you want to visit a few you can visit the South Slope neighborhood and walk between a few. We like Burial Beer Co and if you like sour beers than the Wicked Weed Funkatorium is a really cool spot. Really, you cant go wrong with any of these choices in terms of having a nice time and drinking some great quality beer!
The River Arts district is full of artists studios and shops with locally made ceramics, glass, etc. I suggest starting a walk at the Phil Mechanic building and down to the wedge brewery. In downtown we really like the Blue Spiral Gallery! The Center for Craft, Creativity and Design can also have some cool exhibitions.