Our Week in Western North Carolina

After 36 hours in Nashville we were off to spend a week in Western North Carolina, a few days with my parents in Flat Rock followed by a wedding for some of our DFW based friends in Asheville.

We took an Uber from the Aloft out to the airport just after 1:00p and made our way to the rental car center and our waiting car from Avis. We were initially assigned an old, smelly Jeep Cherokee with over 50k miles on it but I was able to switch in the app to a new 2023 Mazda CX-5 with Leather and AWD, and only 9k miles. It wasn’t until after pickup that I realized this car still had wired Apple Car Play so we had to stop and grab my charger out of my backpack. From there, we were on the road to North Carolina.

people walking in a large airport terminal
people walking in a parking lot
the dashboard of a car
a car driving on a road with trees and a cloudy sky

Traffic was light and after a few hours we were driving through Knoxville and starting to get hungry. Mrs. ATX Jetsetter found a place just off the highway that had a large outdoor patio and sold some delicious nachos so we stopped in for a bite.

a road with cars and a sign
a building with a sign on the front
a patio area with tables and chairs
a plate of nachos with guacamole and jalapeno peppers

All fueled up, we continued heading east and eventually found ourselves on the twisty, windy section of I-40 west of Asheville that was undergoing some road construction. Traffic wasn’t too bad and, aside from a slowdown north of Hendersonville, we made good time all the way to Flat Rock and pulled in just before 8:00p local time. It’s worth noting that we did change time zones so the drive was 5 hours, not 6.

cars on a road with trees in the background
a road with trees and grass

Since we both had to work during the week, our adventures were mostly confined to the evenings. On Monday, our first full day in town, we logged off early and headed to Marked Tree Vineyard located in nearby Dana.

Marked Tree Vineyard Entrance Flat Rock North Carolina

The tasting room was perched up on a hill and was surrounded by grape vines which made for some great views.

a path leading to a building
a field of vines with trees in the background

Inside, the space was rustic and modern and had many large windows and doors which were open to allow the breeze in.

a room with tables and chairs and umbrellas
a room with a table with shelves of wine bottles

There were also some outdoor tables and other seating but the wind was blowing too hard for us to sit out there during our visit.

a patio with tables and chairs and trees in the background
a building with a covered patio and a couple people walking

We ordered some spicy hummus which was served with veggies and pretzels and did a small wine tasting before strolling around the grounds. Afterwards, we headed back over to Flat Rock and had dinner at the house.

Marked Tree Vineyard Tasting Room Hummus Flat Rock North Carolina

Tuesday was another full day of work for us but we did head into nearby Hendersonville for dinner. We made reservations at West First Wood Fired just off Main Street for 6:30p and were seated promptly upon arrival. The focal point of the restaurant is the giant wood-fired pizza oven located at the rear.

a sign on a brick building
a group of people sitting at tables in a restaurant

For starters, we ordered some fresh bread, which came with three different spreads, and some buttery garlic knots which were amazing.

a plate of food on a table
a plate of food with sauce

For my main, I had a delicious chicken parmesan. I originally planned to get one of their pizzas until I saw the chicken parm show up at the table next to us and had to change my order.

West First Wood Fired Hendersonville North Carolina Chicken Parmesan

After dinner, as if we already weren’t stuffed enough, we headed down Main street and over to the nearby Celtic Creamery for some ice cream. From there, it was back up the mountain for the night.

a parking lot with cars and a store front
a hand holding an ice cream cone

On Wednesday, we had a bit more free time and headed down to Flat Rock Bakery to pick up breakfast. Fortunately we were there early enough that they still had all of the pastries and baked goods available!

a display case of pastries
a group of croissants on a shelf

For lunch, we kept things simple and headed down to the clubhouse for a burger at the grill. It was a beautiful day outside and I was wishing I was playing golf instead of having to race back for a meeting.

a plate of food with a glass of wine
a landscape with trees and bushes

For our last night in Flat Rock, we had dinner at Campfire Grill. The restaurant is located near Flat Rock Bakery on the south end of town. It was rustic, but homey and we were hit by a wave of great smells as soon as we stepped inside.

a building with chairs and trees
a group of people sitting at a table

We started with an order of the fried okra, which was light and delicious. So much so that we ordered seconds before ordering our mains. I went with the catfish which was a massive portion, served with a loaded baked potato.

a bowl of fried food on a plate
a plate of food with a lemon wedge and a potato

After dinner we headed back up to the house and went for a stroll around the golf course to try and work off some of the calories we had ingested over the last few days. The weather was cool and crisp and it made for a nice little walk.

a golf course with trees in the background
a stream running through a grassy area

Thursday morning we packed up the car and headed for Asheville around lunch. I first had to pick up my rental suit for the wedding, and then we headed over to the Renaissance for check-in, before going for a stroll around downtown.

a car parked on the side of a street
a street with cars parked on it

I had to run off for the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner out at the venue before we regrouped with the rest of our DFW based friends who had come up for the wedding at the Kimpton Hotel Arras bar.

a group of people sitting at a bar
a group of people in a bar

After a few hours the bar had become overrun with people from our group and there were more than a few of us that wanted to watch the Dallas Stars NHL Playoff game so, at the recommendation of the Kimpton bartender, we headed down the street to The Bier Garden where we watched the game and played some pool.

Friday was the wedding day and I was tied up all day so not much to report there. The couple had a beautiful ceremony at a venue outside of Asheville and the weather could not have been any better. The wind and cold that we had earlier in the trip died down and we got a beautiful Spring day.

a house with a fence and sheep on a hill
a fence in a grassy field with trees in the background

Saturday morning we woke up, grabbed breakfast, and checked out of the hotel. After a short drive down I-26 and a stop for gas, we pulled into the Avis return lot at Asheville Regional Airport and headed for the Delta check-in counters.

a view from a car window of a road with a truck and traffic lights
a group of cars parked in a parking garage

Thanks for exploring part of Western North Carolina with us. We always have a great time visiting family and having the opportunity to celebrate a wedding made it even more fun. We’ll be back soon without a doubt!

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