Thursday, February 20, 2014

L'hôtel de Lisa

Since last weekend was a long weekend, I took advantage and went to see Lisa in Charlotte. If you read her blog, you know she has been missing her home city of Minneapolis, so we thought a little get together and some girl time would be just the ticket.

You may have read the news last week? Charlotte was having a "bit" of bad weather and the airport was cancelling flights in and out like crazy. However, on Friday morning when I flew out of San Francisco, it was all systems go. Our flight was full and I was one of the last people on the plane, so when they said there would not be room for carry on bags, I dutifully checked mine.

I arrived to Detroit and turned on my phone. "Your flight from Detroit to Charlotte has been cancelled."

Darn it.

I called the Delta hotline, while at the same time checking out the departures board. There was only one other flight to Charlotte and it was overbooked and it was scheduled to leave about 20 minutes ago. There were flights to a couple of cities about 150 miles away from Charlotte, but they were all booked. The only flight left was to Raleigh. I secured the Raleigh ticket and went to the counter of the prior flight to try to see if I could get onto the earlier one by chance. There were so many people there and I waited at the help desk until they were almost all the way boarded, so I never thought I would get on. However, I got to the desk and the lady said my name was already on the list! I asked about my bag and she said there was no way it was going to be on the plane with me. I didn't care; I was on the plane!

Luckily Lisa is the same size as me, because in the next 48 hours, I had to borrow a lot of stuff! It was like being in a hotel; I had a toothbrush and jammies and everything! It was better than staying at the Westin. However, we didn't let a little thing like lost luggage slow us down. On Friday, we had Lentil Enchiladas and a really good corn, bean and avocado salad (which also was a very good chip dipper). They were delicious and thank goodness we both like spicy food, because the jalapenos were a nice addition (and kick) to the dish.

Saturday we had planned on an outdoor run, but due to the recent snow, we were forced to do a treadmill run. I had to borrow Lisa's shoes so we took turns. It was a long treadmill run and I was really glad to be done. Soon after, we headed out to Asheville where our first stop was the Biltmore.

Biltmore

This was home to George Vanderbilt and is the largest home in the USA. It has something like 250 rooms and over 40 bathrooms. It was fun to explore the grounds, even though it was pretty cold and the gardens were not at their best. However, there was a really cool greenhouse full of exotic plants, including hundreds of orchids. We did an audio tour of the inside of the house, which was fascinating and includes a bowling alley and indoor pool, as well as a really interesting servants quarters.

Downtown Asheville

Next stop was downtown Asheville, where our first stop was The Gourmet Chip Company, where we got homemade potato chips with goat cheese, rosemary, thyme and sea salt. They were so good! Next we headed to Tupelo Honey for some down home southern food and some local craft beers! My favorite things there were easily the homemade biscuit and the Green Man IPA.

I recommend the Parisian

And if that wasn't enough, we decided to pop on down to French Broad Chocolates for some dark chocolate ganache hot chocolate and a coconut macaroon chocolate brownie.

source

The next morning while Lisa was at church, I wandered around and took some photos. Asheville is a cute little town, that is nicknamed "the Berkeley of North Carolina". While I am not sure it's exactly like Berkeley, I can see where the name comes from. There are a ton of fun places to eat, lots of local coffee shops and a small town, rustic vibe, along with a plethora of gluten free and vegan options.

Downtown Asheville

After brunch at Cafe 64, which had serve yourself, all you can drink coffee (I am a total fan!) we headed back toward Charlotte, with a quick stop for a hike at Crowder's Mountain. Afterward, she took me to one of her favorite food spots where we got fish tacos and I tried another local brew. We headed home for some Super G on the tube and ended the day with a couple of medals for the USA, and some Dove dark chocolate squares. You can't get much better than that.

Crowders

All too soon, it was time to go home! We had a chilly morning run and then I was back on the plane heading for the West Coast. It seemed like I wasn't even there for very long but we sure packed a lot of fun (and eating!) into the weekend.

Have you ever been to North Carolina? What did you do for the long weekend? What's your favorite Olympic sport? 

Edited to add: You can read Lisa's recap here