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Asheville, North Carolina is the perfect place for a quick family vacation. From upscale accommodation recommendations to the best places to eat, our 72-hour guide has everything you need to know to plan your own trip with kids, teens, and adult children.
In case you are just joining this adventure with us, here are the stops we already made and the complete route we took:
Starting in Newport Beach to the Grand Canyon, driving to Memphis for a couple of days, and then stopping in Knoxville, Tennessee (which we loved)!
The next stop on our cross-country road trip was Asheville, North Carolina.
When we were planning our route, we purposely stopped in Asheville for one reason, and one reason only. We were there to see the famous Biltmore Estate. This was a bucket-list item for me.
As visionary dreams often are, the reality did not match the vision in my mind. And that is totally okay. I’m still super happy that we visited Biltmore Estate and Asheville.
Where we stayed in Asheville on our family vacation.
There are so many hotel and lodging options in Asheville so it can feel overwhelming to decide which one is the best option for your family’s vacation. I think I spent the most time choosing a hotel in Asheville than I did at any other stop on our road trip. I ended up booking 2 other places (Hilton and Marriott properties) before I finally felt good about where we would stay.
A few things went into this decision- and no doubt when you read all the details here you can see that I was majorly overthinking this. But I’m so glad that I did. This turned out to be an excellent decision and really made our stay in Asheville so much more enjoyable.
So where did we stay in Asheville? The Windsor Boutique Hotel.
I chose this location after considering the following: location, food options, laundry facilities, outside air, parking, coffee, walkability, reviews, and level of luxury accommodations. See, I told you I really overthought it.
At first, I was convinced we had to stay on the Biltmore property.
I figured that would enhance the experience and since it felt like a one-and-done visit, I wanted to go all out.
But then I saw that there were limited dining options and that to get off the property, it would be a 15-20+ drive. So that would take up a lot of time just getting to food we could eat with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free eaters.
The next thing I looked at and actually booked was at a Marriott right outside Biltmore Estates. The reviews were all over the place though and it seemed to depend on what part of the hotel you stayed in that would determine how great you thought the hotel was.
Since we needed 2 rooms, I was a bit leary if we would even be as close to each other as we needed to be due to the different room types, and where each type is located throughout the hotel. So I canceled that reservation.
I then booked a Hilton that looked fabulous, but upon further research, their AC didn’t sound great and I have decided AC, or lack thereof, is a deal-breaker for me. So I canceled that one.
I’ve never done this kind of hotel shuffle before and haven’t since.
The reality is that there are a lot of good hotels to choose from in the area and instead of this making it easier to decide, it made it harder. Another aspect that affected my decision-making is that up until this point, I had been at home for over a year. It had been 7 years since we were home for more than a month at a time. So I was a bit itchy to make sure that this was the best darn road trip I could plan.
Once we walked into The Windsor Boutique Hotel, I knew I had decided the perfect place to stay when we were in Asheville.
Here is a little mini-review of the hotel:
The Windsor Boutique Hotel has different suite types. Pete and I stayed in suite 305, a 950 square feet Executive Suite. It felt more like a luxury apartment than a hotel, which is what we needed at this point in our road trip. Some extra room to stretch out and relax. It had a washer and dryer, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, sitting room, and very tall ceilings. It was immaculate and very comfortable.
The lobby had a refreshment table with complimentary packaged snacks and beverages. I’ve grown to really love lounges at hotels simply for the ease of bottles of water and small snacks and this had the same effect.
Related: We have sought out club level ever since we stayed at a club level suite at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn.
Here are some pictures from our suite:
The girls stayed in room 204 which is a Double Queen Suite (over 600 sqft). Their suite was equally nice.
The Windsor Boutique Hotel is located right in downtown Asheville and we were able to walk to a bunch of restaurants. There is also an abundance of shopping right outside the hotel.
In normal times, we would have shopped until we dropped at all the cute shops, but alas we were avoiding inside spaces so we did a lot of window shopping while snacking on all the great food.
We were in Asheville for just 72 hours, so on our full day, we visited Biltmore Estate.
We pre-bought our tickets and chose the “Enhanced” package.
It came with the following: Access to Biltmore House & Gardens, an Audio Guide of Biltmore House including personal Vanderbilt stories & archival details, Access to Antler Hill Village & Winery, and Complimentary parking.
For the five of us, it was close to $400. After seeing the estate, I can totally understand the cost they charge to visit. It is extensive and very well maintained.
Pro tip (haha)- There are no restrooms in the house, so be sure to use the facilities beforehand.
We spent a few hours touring the house and a little of the gardens but didn’t make it up to the winery or other areas- again to stay away from unmasked people. This was back in the summer of 2021 as Delta was just starting to surge. We had decided to up our avoidance game once more once we saw that starting to sweep through, as Emmy was not then eligible for a vaccine.
Here are some pictures from our visit to Biltmore Estate.
You can tell just how opulent the estate is. Definitely a bucket-list-worthy stop!
In true Emmy fashion, she found the ice cream!
They also had light meals and coffee/beverages on the patio area to enjoy after the tour. We really had a great time seeing the Biltmore Estate and I’m so happy we were able to check this off our list.
You could definitely spend the whole day here taking it all in, and I would say a day is just the right amount of time to visit.
If you want to see even more of Biltmore Estate or are looking for a relaxing getaway with less activity, you could even stay overnight in one of their accommodations.
They have a limited amount of Cottages that are more like personal homes in a way that would be great for that. They also have The Inn and Village Hotel where you can stay at different price points.
If you like to have more of a busy vacation though, I would recommend staying off the property so you have access to more things to do quicker and easier.
Speaking of food though, we had a few great meals in Asheville.
Right next to Windsor Boutique Hotel was Mellow Mushroom.
We went here a couple of times because it was so close and because the food is fun and tasty. Get a pizza (they have vegan options!) and the soft pretzels. Trust me on this!
Across the street from the hotel is a high-end Italian restaurant called Stada Italiano.
They too have vegan options, like this vegan lasagne! It is also gluten-free. There are a lot of gluten-free options too. Be sure to make a reservation in advance- as they do book up quickly!
For lunch one day we grabbed some food to go from Whole Foods in Asheville.
Since we both had kitchens in our suites, we were able to get some of our favorites from the deli case there.
One of my favorite things I ate in Asheville was the Heirloom Organic Grit Cake Stack from Early Girl Eatery in Asheville. It was one of the most creative dishes I have had in a while and the flavors all melted together nicely.
We also ate breakfast at Biscuit Head in Asheville.
This is the only picture I have from there. I submit it as proof that we were there and that the food was so good that as soon as we saw it, we ate it. We even went back again and I promised myself I would get a picture of my breakfast and again I ate it before I remembered. They have both gluten-free, vegan, and traditional options so it was perfect for the whole family. I got the gluten-free, vegan biscuit with the Sweet Potato Coconut Gravy.
Last recommendation- get coffee and a pastry at Old Europe in Asheville.
This cute little shop is a block away from the Windsor Boutique Hotel and has amazing desserts and drinks. Maddie and I got their decadent chocolate vegan cupcakes, Emmy got Tiramisu (it was gluten-free too if that is your kinda thing) and Pete got a coffee.
It was the perfect ending to a perfect stay in Asheville!
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