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Embark on a whimsical weekend getaway from Charlotte, North Carolina, to the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There, the city of Asheville awaits with its seamless blend of artistic flair and nature’s wonders. The enchanting ambiance of Asheville sets the stage for a memorable exploration, starting with a sweet morning treat at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge and a leisurely stroll through the vibrant River Arts District.

As the journey unfolds, take in the panoramic views along the Blue Ridge Parkway and, if feeling adventurous, soar through the treetops on a family zipline tour. The day culminates with a dinner at The Biltmore Estate’s Stable Café, surrounded by historic grandeur. For those seeking a thrilling twist, a Ghost Tour offers a unique peek into Asheville’s storied past.

As Day 2 dawns, anticipate the natural splendors of the Blue Ridge during a sunrise at Craggy Gardens and a festive lunch at Buxton Hall Barbecue. Traverse the North Carolina Arboretum, indulge in a flavorful dinner at Curate, and cap off the celebration with lighthearted mini-golf under the stars. Navigate the unpredictable mountain climate with layers and rain gear, ensuring a seamless blend of outdoor exploration and culinary delights in this enchanting weekend escapade.

Day 1: Exploring Asheville

a mural of dolly parton in west asheville north carolina(image via Wes McFee)

Start: Embrace the enchanting ambiance of Asheville, a city nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains that blends an artistic spirit with a love for the great outdoors.

Morning: Begin your Asheville experience with a puff of sweetness at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, a cozy spot that’s perfect for a birthday morning treat. Continue with a walking tour of the River Arts District, admiring the vibrant street murals and perhaps selecting a handmade piece as a unique birthday gift.

Lunch Recommendation: Refuel at White Duck Taco Shop, where the eclectic taco menu has something scrumptious for every palate.

Afternoon: Take a picturesque drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping at scenic overlooks for birthday photos that will be treasured for years. If you’re feeling adventurous, consider a family zipline tour with Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventures, offering breathtaking views and exhilarating fun.

Evening: Celebrate the birthday dinner at the Biltmore Estate’s Stable Café, where the historic surroundings and hearty meals will provide a memorable dining experience.

Late night: Depending on your family’s energy, consider a spooky and historical ghost tour of Asheville, which offers a fascinating peek into the city’s past.

Tips: Parking can be tricky in Asheville’s popular areas. Utilize parking garages or on-street spots and wear comfortable walking shoes.

Other Recommended Things to Do: Visit the Asheville Pinball Museum for an interactive retro gaming experience, or consider a stroll through the Botanical Gardens at Asheville, particularly delightful during springtime.

Prep for Tomorrow: Rest up for another exciting day exploring the natural beauty just outside Asheville. Anticipate a roughly 30-minute scenic drive toward the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains.

Day 2: Natural Splendors of Blue Ridge

(image via Clark Wilson)

Start: Witness the sunrise at Craggy Gardens, an area on the Blue Ridge Parkway known for its stunning panoramic views and rhododendron blooms that will leave the birthday girl awestruck.

Morning: After the sunrise, have breakfast at Craggy Pinnacle Picnic Area. Pack special birthday treats and enjoy them amidst the backdrop of mountain vistas.

Lunch Recommendation: Return to Asheville for a festive birthday lunch at 12 Bones Smokehouse, a celebrated eatery honoring the traditions of Carolina barbecue.

Afternoon: Post-lunch, visit the North Carolina Arboretum to explore beautiful gardens and winding trails, making for a tranquil nature retreat that’s perfect for family bonding and leisurely exploration.

Evening: Wrap up your Asheville adventure with dinner at Curate, a top-notch Spanish tapas restaurant that will create a lively and flavorful celebratory meal.

Late night: If the family is up for it, end the night with a round of mini-golf at Tropical Gardens Mini Golf, adding some lighthearted competition to the vacation.

Tips: The climate can be unpredictable in the mountains, so bring layers and rain gear just in case. Also, secure dinner reservations well in advance, especially for popular spots like Curate.

Other Recommended Things to Do: In case of inclement weather, an alternate activity could be to explore the interactive exhibits at the Asheville Museum of Science.

Prep for Tomorrow: As your escapade comes to an end, reflect on the memories made amidst the art and nature of Asheville. The drive back to Charlotte should take about 2 hours, so plan accordingly for a leisurely departure.

Accommodation Recommendations

the exterior of the omni grove park inn in asheville north carolina(image via The Omni Grove Park Inn)

The Omni Grove Park Inn is an iconic resort offering luxury and historic charm, with views over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Hotel Indigo Asheville Downtown is a boutique hotel that captures the eclectic character of the city and is situated close to many attractions.

Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds is a more secluded and close-to-nature experience. These cabins provide comfort nestled in the woodland setting.

Other Dining Suggestions

a tantalizing meal option at plant asheville north carolina(image via Plant)

Sunny Point Café is a must-visit for breakfast lovers. This café serves up a delightful array of comfort food in the West Asheville neighborhood.

Plant is the perfect choice for an upscale dining experience and showcases creative cuisine. Yes, it’s vegan, if that’s something that really makes you pause when choosing a restaurant. However, it’s probably unlike any vegan food you have had (or heard of) in the past!

Twisted Laurel is a Mediterranean-inspired eatery with a casual atmosphere and a diverse menu that will cater to all tastes.

Additional Entertainment & Activity Suggestions

patrons play pinball at the asheville retrocade(image via Asheville Retrocade)

Check out the local performance schedule at the Asheville Community Theatre and catch a performance in the evening.

The Orange Peel is a renowned music venue that might just have a concert that aligns with your visit.

Asheville Retrocade is an adult-friendly arcade bar offering a fun environment and a vast selection of games and libations.


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This itinerary was generated using artificial intelligence (AI) technology as the result of reader-submitted parameters and input. A member of the A Weekend In team has reviewed and edited the output for accuracy, clarity, and readability. However, it is still advisable to cross-reference the information before making definitive travel plans. Readers are encouraged to consider this content as a starting point for modifying and/or creating their own personalized itineraries using our free AI-Powered Travel Planner.

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