October 16 (on a Friday this year!) was my 40th birthday. We went on a camping trip to Asheville, North Carolina to celebrate, and we arrived the day before. Yesterday, I posted about the first two days of my vacation in Nashville and Asheville. And tonight, I'm sharing pictures from my big day!
We woke up just after the sun in our little pull-behind RV at the Asheville East KOA in Swannanoa. I had a few loose plans for how I wanted to spend my day and they included 1) running up a mountain, b) drinking on brewery patios, and 3) eating a fancy vegan dinner at Plant. But first, yoga! I always bring my mat when I travel since I try to practice yoga daily. It was chilly in Asheville, but that first morning wasn't too bad (they got much colder as the weekend went on). I dressed in some warm running clothes and took my mat over to a green space near the creek that ran through our campsite.
I did a short 10-minute vinyasa flow, and then Paul and I hopped in his car and headed for Lookout Trail in Montreat, NC (just outside Asheville). I didn't know anything about this mountain trail, but I used the AllTrails app to find the best views near our campsite. This trail was rated as moderate, so I assumed we'd be able to run parts of it. HA!!! This flatlander didn't run a step up this mountain. It was a straight uphill climb with stairs and some rock-climbing toward the end, so we hiked the whole thing. The climb was tough for us since we're not used to any elevation, but the views were so worth it.
Mountains are so amazing! Memphis, where we live, is only 338 feet above sea level, so we're always so amazed when we see actual mountains. It felt amazing to be on top of one on my birthday.
Eventually, we made the trek down (going down was harder than getting up!) and headed back to our campsite, where I made us some birthday pancakes! I use this Tasty recipe for pancakes every time, and they're always so fluffy and perfect. When we camp, I pack pre-measured mix and soymilk in separate mason jars for easy breakfasts. We also had some Gimme Lean sausage on the side.
We took showers at the campsite and decided to head into Asheville to check out some breweries. Asheville is one of the top US cities with the most breweries per capita! My kind of town! Most of their breweries have reopened but are operating at limited capacity or patio only, so the first place we tried to go — Asheville Brewing Co. — was full with an hour wait. But there's an outdoor bar next door called Rabbit Rabbit that serves only Asheville Brewing beers, so we went over there instead. They had plenty of beautiful outdoor space in the sunshine. I started with a Perfect Haze IPA.
From there, we walked over to Hi-Wire Brewing. They had a wait as well, but it wasn't as long. We stood in a line for about 20 minutes to get a table in their open-air indoor space (with roll-up windows so it felt like an outdoor space). I had another IPA, but I can't remember which.
I could brewery-hop all day, but it was getting late into the afternoon, and we had dinner reservations for Plant — Asheville's fine-dining vegan restaurant! I'm not much on indoor dining in these COVID times, but this was a special occasion. Plant is very small, and they were only seating six tables at a time to allow for plenty of distancing. We left our masks on until our food arrived.
For starters, we ordered the Actually Crispy Potatoes, which were smashed, deep-fried, and served atop salsa verde and shallot butter. These were AMAZING. I could have eaten several more plates of these.
For my entree, I went with the Plant Cheese Plate, which was probably an appetizer, but who doesn't want to eat a whole plate of vegan cheese for dinner? This had three kinds of cashew cheeses (one was truffle-ly, one was a ricotta, and the other was a more solid nut cheese), muscadines, golden beets, pear slices, and bread. Perfect with the glass of red wine I ordered.
Paul ordered the Ravioli, and I tried a bite. It was very good! The portion was a little smaller than he expected, but he was still stuffed by the end.
I really wanted to share a birthday dessert, but after eating all that cheese, I didn't have room for another bite. So we opted to skip dessert in favor of a wine toast at the campsite. We made our way back and found that our cool neighbors, Jamie and Phil, had left me a birthday balloon on my camp chair! Paul opened a bottle of some fancy white wine he'd bought for the occasion, and we drank wine by the fire until bedtime. What a perfect birthday!!