By Kathy M. Newbern and J.S. Fletcher ©2015
As temperatures maintain their August norms and humidity follows suit, turn your steering wheel in the direction of North Carolina’s mountains for a cool respite. We’re heading that way in the spirit of adventure and romance, sampling for the first time two Asheville bed-and-breakfast spots, thanks to the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association, plus a long-awaited return to one of our absolute favorite mountain getaways: Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands.
Full disclosure: We celebrated a special birthday at OEI five years ago and are now returning for, yes, another special birthday celebration. This will be our third visit, dating back to 2008. It’s just that kind of place.
We’ve sung high praises for Old Edwards, OEI we call it, as we’ve traveled worldwide. Easy to do since it is this year’s TripAdvisor #5 Top Hotel in the U.S., US News & World Report #1 Hotel in North Carolina and TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards #6 Hotel for Romance in The United States.
Speaking of romance, our stay will include a cozy birthday dinner for two at the highly acclaimed Madison’s Restaurant. Near sunset, we plan to enjoy the streetside view in the meandering Wine Garden with babbling brook and foot bridge. Yet, before all that comes the indulgence that is the astonishing European style Old Edwards Inn Spa – named #2 Top Hotel Spa in the U.S. in the Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards.
Two Asheville B&Bs
More romance on the agenda: A two-hour Couples Meltdown Treatment (massage and facials) – sounds heavenly – awaits us during our initiation at Asheville’s Asia Bed & Breakfast Spa (828-255-0051).
Later, we’ll be taking a fall preview tour from our second Asheville B&B (and we understand they’ll be packing us a special picnic to take along) at Carolina Bed & Breakfast (828-254-3608).
In between all that pampering, we’ll meet up with our great friends, the Gallaghers, owners of the Asheville Kilwin’s for dinner at one of their (and our) favorite eateries, Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian. (Marcy is a writer for our company YourNovel.com as well; her book set in Rome one of the site’s best sellers.)
Plus we’ll check out the highly rated Rhubarb one night for dinner, which we first read about in Garden and Gun, when they named it one of the South’s exciting new restaurants in 2013. The magazine noted: “As the executive chef at Tennessee luxury resort Blackberry Farm for 14 years, beginning in the early 1990s, (owner) John Fleer was an early leader in the Southern farm-to-table movement. He introduced his fellow chefs to local purveyors such as cure master Allan Benton, now a national celebrity, and the Cruze family, makers of some of the South’s most delicious—and coveted—old-fashioned buttermilk. His so-called ‘foothills cuisine,’ deeply rooted in the traditional foodways of Appalachia, has been one of the most widely imitated culinary philosophies in the country over the past several years.”
Fine Dining in Charlotte
But there’s more! Before we head to the mountains, we have an exciting culinary experience and boutique hotel awaiting us in The Queen City. (Yes, this is a tour, folks).
We’ll overnight at The Dunhill Hotel and sample the tasting menu at The Asbury, an emerging culinary star in the Queen City’s crown, we’re told.
The Dunhill, Charlotte’s only boutique lodging destination Uptown, was recently inducted into TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence Award “Hall of Fame,” an elite recognition for hotels worldwide that have received TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence award for five consecutive years. Only 26 (or 13%) of Charlotte’s lodging destinations achieved “Hall of Fame” status from the 192 lodging choices listed in by the site. The Certificate of Excellence award celebrates superior hospitality service and is awarded to TripAdvisor locations that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on the site. The award is based on the quality, quantity and placement of reviews and opinions submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period, as well as a business’s tenure and ranking on the Popularity Index on the site.
If You’re Going: For more on these properties, specials, fall events and more, visit:
- Old Edwards Inn – September getaway package starts at $410 per night for two nights. You get overnight accommodations, a spa treatment or round of golf for each guest plus dinner one night in Madison’s Restaurant. Call 828-526-8008.
- Reach the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association at 828.250.0200 or visit http://ashevillebba.com/our-inns/; fall color package: http://ashevillebba.com/abba-exclusives/.
- In Charlotte, www.dunhillhotel.com and theasbury.com. Reach the hotel at 704.332.4141 or 800.354.4141; the restaurant tasting menu is at http://theasbury.com/menus/chefs-tasting-menu.pdf.
Be sure to check back here soon for our full reports on these properties, experiences and more.
If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy:
• Other stories by Newbern and Fletcher
• Other Stories by JS Fletcher,
• Stories by Kathy M. Newbern, Luxury Travel Examiner
International and Luxury Travel Examiners J.S. Fletcher and spouse, Kathy M. Newbern, report on luxury destinations, spas and cruising around the globe. They are award-winning members of the Society of American Travel Writers and created YourNovel.com, their personalized romance novel business.