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Ladies Weekend at Grove Park

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4 ladies in mid-30s looking for some fun and relaxation headed to GPI for a weekend in May...from all over: Charleston, Alabama, Baltimore, Cincinnati. I'm very excited about the dining scene and am feeling overwhelmed by my CH research! I think with limited meals restaurants will have to provide excellent food and ambiance, preferably walking type neighborhoods (downtown?) Here's my plan... please steer me onto the right course! Friday lunch downtown (outdoor dining? envisioning a cocktail or glass of wine over lots of conversation and then walking around town a bit-- Creperie Bouchon? Tupelo Honey? Salsa's?), then check-in to GPI and go to spa, start the evening with cocktails at the Sunset Terrace, then into town for dinner (Seven Sows? Curate?) Next morning breakfast at Corner Kitchen before Biltmore where we'll grab a quick bite at the Conservatory Cafe, take a horseback ride, then finish Biltmore at the winery for tastings/tour? Then dinner in town again? or at the GPI? Next am, brunch at GPI or elsewhere? Trying to take advantage of beautiful GPI but not miss out on everything else Asheville has to offer! Thanks!!

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  1. My thoughts on your suggestions:
    - Creperie Bouchon: would not be my first choice (although I love the main restaurant, Bouchon, for a fun dinner)
    - TH: I love it, no outdoor dining though
    - Salsa's: have not been in forever b/c we thought it went downhill...but have heard good things about it lately from others
    - I'd look at Sante Wine Bar for lunch - they have a patio, good food and excellent wine. It's on a busy street with lots of shopping, including the Grove Arcade which is worth a stroll through. Or Wicked Weed Brewery's great patio (good food and beer, they'll have wine too)...that's a super-popular spot.

    I'd pick Curate over Seven Sows, and I'd also look at Zambra and Limones for dinner (both have excellent food, awesome cocktails and a fun ambiance).

    For drinks, hanging out...not so much food: Ben's Tune Up has a great patio and is a funky, very "Asheville" kind of place. Twin Leaf Brewing next door is a new hotspot. Storm has excellent cocktails and a patio. MG Road is fun for drinks too.

    I'm not crazy about the food at GPI and would much rather spend my money and time enjoying local spots downtown. The River Arts District is a fun area too: check out Wedge Brewery (always packed!), Bull and Beggar for food and cocktails and White Duck Taco for a fun, casual lunch.

    Definitely make reservations for as many dinners/brunches as you can. Corner Kitchen is fine but I prefer Over Easy, Limones or Posana for brunch. Curate has lunch/brunch as well.

    4 Replies
    1. re: miss piggy

      Tupelo Honey (downtown) has a sidewalk dining area, doesn't it? I know it did every time I've eaten there in the past.

      1. re: carolinadawg

        you're right, they do have a few tables outside...it's so small I forgot about it! :)

      2. re: miss piggy

        At the risk of getting torn to shreds, I'm going to speak out for at least one breakfast at the Grove Park. We spent my 55th birthday there in February and the breakfast buffet was actually a lot of fun. It covers two rooms, there's a chef on hand doing eggs to order and they had a little spread of locally cured meats. They even had hot boiled peanuts, which shall henceforth be my standard for all breakfast buffets. It's just goofy enough to be fun, and if you've spent the day before in the spa (or you're headed there that day), it's a perfectly nice place to have a relaxed morning. (Oooh, the GPI spa! Don't miss the plunge pool. Yes, painful. Yes, worth it.)

        For your walkable neighborhood, you definitely want the downtown section around Grove Arcade/Malaprops/Tupelo. If Tupelo is crowded, go around the corner and try Early Girl. And don't miss Tops for Shoes: You may not get your girl group to leave.

        1. re: kathleen purvis

          I agree that if you want to really "put on the feed bag" as my husband says, you could do worse than that weekend buffet. Also, I had a nice kale salad for lunch there last spring. If Asheville weren't so full of good restaurants, GPI would get a *leetle* less crap about their food.

      3. I wouldn't waste a meal at eitehr Bouchon or Tupelo Honey. Nor would I waste a meal at Grove Park Inn, although spending some quality time with cocktails on the terrace is a GREAT idea. It used to be somewhat difficult to do that, as they wouldn't let you sit on the terrace if you weren't dining there (except in the dead of winter when the rocking chairs were out), but i believe they have built a new seating area for just that.

        I also don't like Corner Kitchen.

        Salsas is a reasonable choice for outdoor dining, although it has gone downhill from its heyday, it's still good. Other spots would be Sunny Point or Biscuit Head (and then you could walk around funky west Asheville) for
        a lunch.

        YOu're missing Admiral for dinner! If you can get a reservation you should.

        I agree that the RAD is interesting, I like the Junction.

        Downtown my choices would include Seven Sows, Zambra, Curate, Wicked Weed (more casual, nice outdoors), Salsa, Over Easy Cafe (fun hippie breakfast).

        9 Replies
        1. re: danna

          I thought if you were staying there it wasnt a big deal to have a drink on the terrace. But that may have changed.

          1. re: LaLa

            If you are a paying guest, I don't think it's an issue.

            1. re: Leepa

              On the contrary, i've been a paying, overnight guest there a number of times and had difficulty finding a place to have a drink outside. They WILL NOT let you sit on the main terrace with just a drink when the tables are set up, no matter if it's 4 oclock in the afternoon and there are 100 empty places. The next level down has a few chairs, but if those are full, you have to scrounge. I have had my $15 glass of crap wine sitting on the steps before.

              Now, as I said, I think within the last year they built a new area on the second level where you can have just a cocktail.

              1. re: danna

                And frequently, that lower level is in the blazing afternoon sun. Not good for this Eskimo.

                And yes, there is a new bar, Edison's (I think?), that now occupies that other covered patio space off the wing. Complete with $8 beer. I haven't been there yet. The space actually looks pleasant, but I'm a little peeved that they took away my good spot for a drink, shade and a rocking chair.

                1. re: Scirocco

                  indeed. while I'm happy to sit in the blazing sun any time, that Yankee I married has REFUSED to sit out there just last summer and made me drink my wine at the very end of the wing near what used to be Horizons, where they have some comfy chairs, a window w/ a view, and air conditioning.

                  1. re: danna

                    haha, your husband sounds like "my people" - and yup, I'm one of those Yankees too. and my husband sounds like yours! He's happiest when it's at least 80. :-)

                2. re: danna

                  Man, that bites. But very useful information.

            2. re: danna

              I'm holding out some hope.We haven't been to the GPI since the Sammons days.We have been to Omni properties a couple times recently, the Omni Shoreham in DC a week ago and we were really impressed, the food was good! We can only hope.

              1. re: mollybelle

                The OP may also enjoy Ambrozia (in N Avl just a short drive away from GPI). Had a phenomenal meal there last night, plus they have a good wine list and great cocktails. A nice spot for brunch too.