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Lodging (downtown?), city life for parents & 2 older teens

Ely, Minnesota
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318 posts
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Lodging (downtown?), city life for parents & 2 older teens

We are bringing our oldest son to Wake Forest to start college in August. We are coming down several days early, flying into Asheville, and plan to drive up the Blue Ridge Skyway to see some of the sites.

My 18-year old loves big city life, great food, etc. We don't want to break the bank (he's starting college, after all!) but we also want this trip to be kind of special. Can you suggest a good hotel (downtown, I'm assuming) where we can easily walk to restaurants and just bum around in the evenings?

Also, we won't be spending lots of time out hiking, but what are the absolute "don't miss" beautiful sites as we travel up the skyway?

Asheville, North...
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1. Re: Lodging (downtown?), city life for parents & 2 older teens

Cindy, Asheville is not a big city (probably bigger than Ely) but it has amazing nightlife, food, live music, theater, shopping, art galleries, etc. that is much more affordable and accessible than you will find in a BIG city like New York. Plus its all in an easily walkable 10 block by 10 block area. The new aloft hotel, for example, is across the street from Chestnut and less than 2 blocks from Curate and Limones, 3 of the hottest restaurants in Asheville right now. Likewise, its around the corner from French Broad Chocolate Lounge for amazing truffles, drinking chocolates and desserts. Its in the same block as The Orange Peel, the hottest small venue for live music in the southeast ( check their website and buy tickets in advance online if there is band he wants to see..almost every show sells out well in advance) . I hesitate to recommend specific restaurants, etc because there are so many great ones, both downtown and within a 10 minute drive to Montford, West Asheville, Weaverville, etc. The same things could be said about the Haywood Park Hotel or Hotel Indigo downown...very close to great food, music, etc. Your 18 year old is too young to partake at any of Asheville's micro-breweries/brew -pubs, but he can tag along with his folks.

To truly enjoy the drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville heading north, allow a FULL day, and even then you wont have time to do any real hiking. The highlights are Craggy Gardens, Mount Mitchell, Linn Cove Viaduct, Julian Price and Moses Cone parks. Stop for lunch at either Little Switzerland or continue on to Blowing Rock, which has a greater selection of restaurants. The possibilities are endless, but I would get off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Deep Gap, NC, about 20 miles beyond Blowing Rock, then follow Hwy 421 all the way to Winston Salem. If you're really into al day driving, you could continue to Galax Virgina then get on I-77 to I-73 to Winston -Salem.

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Ely, Minnesota
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318 posts
22 reviews
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2. Re: Lodging (downtown?), city life for parents & 2 older teens

Wow! This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for! We're thinking about spending the first night in Asheville, find a good restaurant and music (love your suggestions!) and then spending the second night in Blowing Rock. From there we'll head on to Winston-Salem. I truly appreciate all these great tips. It seems downtown is a little more expensive, but I think it will be worth it just to be there and be able to walk from our hotel. Plus it will make the trip special. Our son is a total "foody" because he serves tables at a high-end restaurant here in Ely. So he will love your suggestions! I know this isn't the "Blowing Rock" forum, but if you have a restaurant suggestion or two for up there, please let me know. Thanks!

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Blowing Rock
Blowing Rock
North Carolina Mountains, NC
Asheville, North...
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3. Re: Lodging (downtown?), city life for parents & 2 older teens

If your son is seriously into food, i would consider making reservations for dinner at Curate then have lunch the next day at Chestnut. The chefs at both are nationally -recognized for unique combinations and use of fresh local ingredients. Lunch at Chestnut is a guilty splurge for me.

Everybody has an opinion about Blowing Rock restaurants. In general they are less adventurous than Curate or Chestnut, but there is no debating that the restaurant at Gideon Ridge Inn has many who love its small, constantly -changing menu and the best view while dining (looking south and east..toward Winston-Salem) of any restaurant in the area.

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4. Re: Lodging (downtown?), city life for parents & 2 older teens

Aloft hotel downtown is fairly expensive, but you can't beat the location.

Ely, Minnesota
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5. Re: Lodging (downtown?), city life for parents & 2 older teens

Right now we're looking at Aloft (thanks for the suggestion!) or Haywood Park. Also checking out Four Points Sheraton and Renaissance Asheville although their locations don't look as ideal. He looked at the menus online and is really excited about trying Chestnut. Then we're looking for something else for another meal (maybe less pricey?). We were checking out The Lobster Trap, Mayfel's, Thirsty Monk, or Carmel's. Any thoughts? The Thirsty Monk looks like it's known for it's beers (obviously!) but it also has good food reviews. Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks for the wonderful ideas and advice!!!

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6. Re: Lodging (downtown?), city life for parents & 2 older teens

I really like Mela, which is an Indian restaurant. It is not expensive, the food is plentiful, and excellent. The service is terrific, too. If you like Indian cuisine, this is a treat. You can read lots of reviews on TA. Reservations are recommended, as not a seat was left empty the whole time we were there last Saturday.

Edited: 25 June 2013, 17:47
7. Re: Lodging (downtown?), city life for parents & 2 older teens

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