Weekend Get-Away; Upstate South Carolina and Western NC

4 Mar

greenville

biltmore

biltmore1

salsas

This weekend I broke loose from Greensboro for a little fun, food and adventure with friends in Greenville, South Carolina and north into the NC Mountains between Asheville and Chimney Rock. Our excuse (which was not needed!) was attending the grand opening for our friend’s new art gallery, Gallery Seventeen, in Downtown Greenville, SC.  Gallery Seventeen is in the heart of the very bustling and charming downtown (which we could learn from in Greensboro) and has a variety of artists including the familiar Brian Hibbard and Scott Harris.  We had a great evening celebrating the new space and getting to know the friendly folks in Greenville. Make sure to stop in the next time you are in the Upstate area. We also enjoyed a sunny day in their downtown – fit with a walk down the river – and delicious lunch at Rick’s Deli & Market .

Instead of shooting right back to Greensboro, we decided to drive an hour north to Asheville for some “power tourism”. My friend, Joel, has perfected speeding through tourist sites across Europe (hilarious) and introduced me to “doctor walking” self-guided tours. We explored the Biltmore Estate, their Winery, Downtown Asheville and Chimney Rock State Park. Imagine hustling through all these places in less than 24 hours (take that Anthony Bourdain –  and your Layover).

All the speed walking through 20 degree wind & snow gave reason for lots of food and drink. It’s incredibly hard to choose where to dine in Asheville but I was craving spicy Mexican/Caribbean food and margaritas while watching show fly by horizontally.  Salsa’s Asheville was the perfect spot – we enjoyed a habanero bean dip, jalapeno poppers with salmon and pineapple salsa and a “Shrimp and Scallop Pom Pom Pom” – which was a culinary creation served in a traditional Puerto Rican Pilòn with layers of kale, beans, pico de gallo, mojo, grilled pineapple, avocado and lots of seafood. The spice was exactly what we needed to sprint through downtown  hideouts for local beers. On our way out of town, we stopped for some incredible gourmet chocolates from French Broad Chocolates. Put these on your lists!

On our way back, we dropped by Chimney Rock State Park and hopped up 470 steps to the top for a quick view. I’m doubtful that the climb burned enough calories for the river view burger.

Needless to say, it was a really nice weekend away. I returned home last night in time to fix a quick meal and catch up with friends by the fireplace. While I’ve been hoping (and whining) for Springtime so much these past days, my mother is right when she says “don’t wish your life away.” A cold and blustery adventure can be just as good as any Springtime tulip.

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