As a college student on a budget the extravagant spring breaks are rarely attainable. I had heard great things about Asheville, NC from friends and family. A reasonable 8 hour drive away from Indiana kept me & my boyfriend's gas costs under $100 round trip. Asheville is considered beer city USA. Home to a bohemian atmposphere with hiking trails, art galleries, live music, local cuisine, and environmentally conscious folks (tree hugging hippies)!
Lodging: We used Airbnb to book our accommodations. You can find amazing spaces and places for any budget! We stayed with Meda & Garret on their farm Old Coggins Place, nestled on 160 acres just 15 minutes outside of Ashville. They have six rooms: some in their home and a few that are more private and secluded. Guests are welcome and encouraged to explore the property-my favorite was the mini bamboo forest. We had wonderful late night conversations, learned how to play new games, cooked yummy food, and got some pets in with their dog, Bastille.
West Asheville: West Asheville is home to many unique spots. Battle Cat coffee has a super cool, inspiring atmosphere and yummy drinks! I loved their quirky colorful decor. Harvest Records is right up the street from Battle Cat. If you're a music junkie this is the place for you. They have a huge array of old and new records, $1 tapes and CD's from your favorite bands. If you're looking for nightlife The Odditorium hosts all ages. Their slogan is, "An oddities bar for the peculiar children of Asheville," pretty much says it all. They have a bar, for those over 21. This venue hosts local bands and events. We went for a short story mash-up, anyone could tell a story the only rule was it had to have a beginning and end. Check out their Twitter for current shows.
Downtown: Asheville folks love staying local people. They have a good sized downtown area full of unique shops, breweries, and restaurants. I fell in love with Royal Peasantry. The employees make 90% of what is in their store from up-cycled fabric, leather, and old garments. Every piece is unique and boho-esque, so of course I splurged on a leather fringe necklace (whoops!). Dobra Tea House is a must see. They have a ginormous menu full of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean teas. If it's your first time visiting don't get your tea to go, the atmosphere is worth the sit down. Towards the back there are platforms with Korean style tables and floor cushions, the employees will take your order from the table and serve you your goodies! Now we all know I'm a sucker for surf & skate clothing. Push Skateshop had the best collection of women's clothing I've seen in a local skate store, ever. All the brands you have ever wanted in multiple sizes, pretty rare!
Outdoors: Asheville is a mountain town. There are places to explore everywhere. A little off the beaten path is, Greybeard mountain. We decided that it was a good idea to do a 10 mile hike on Greybeard Trail (worst decision ever). It was exhausting and took about 5 hours, but was totally worth it when we were done! One place we didn't get around too, but I've heard great things about is the Light Center.
River Arts District: The River Arts District is in West Asheville. There are a few strips filled with back-to-back galleries, studios, and warehouses. You can view artists creating their pieces, glass blowing is a good one to check out. Most of them typically close around 5, so be sure to go early! Hidden in River Arts is a huge rundown space by the railroad tracks. Locals have turned the old buildings into outdoor graffiti works of art. At the end of the spray painting there is a low key skate park. Skateboarders of Asheville built it themselves and are continuously adding on new additions. Both are super cool, unique spaces to check out - very true to asheville, and not touristy.
I love this place. Can't wait to visit again.