Enter as Strangers, Leave as Friends at the Lovely Abbington Green B&B Inn in Asheville
If you haven’t been to Asheville, North Carolina – it needs to be on your bucket list! Without a doubt it is one of my most favorite cities out of all of the places I’ve been in the U.S. A food, beer and wine lover’s delight, Asheville also has great shopping, hiking and outdoor adventure, live music, vibrant arts and culture, historic architecture and breathtaking scenery…what more could you want? I could seriously spend a lot of time in Asheville.
Of all the wonderful places to stay in this lively city, we were lucky enough to get into the Abbington Green Bed and Breakfast Inn in the historic Montford neighborhood. If you get a chance to visit this area which is less than a mile from downtown Asheville, definitely check it out – you’ll find an array of uniquely styled homes and architecture. Designed in 1908 by the Biltmore Estate’s architect, Abbington Green is a colonial revival style B&B.
Enter as strangers, leave as friends…couldn’t be a more fitting plaque to be hung over the front door. I could write pages and pages of accolades for Nick and Steve and their exceptional B&B. First, I will say that the level of professionalism, warm hospitality, care and concern and genuine interest in me as a guest was beyond anything I have ever experienced. I felt like I was staying in my best friend’s home from the minute we walked in the door. Nick’s passion for what he does is electric and it comes across so clear that he takes such pride in the home, gardens, and the delicious breakfasts he makes each morning.
He will be modest and tell you that he doesn’t consider himself a chef, but I will tell you that his cooking is unbelievable! One morning we dined on the Sunshine in a Basket, puff pastry with an organic baked egg and local cherrywood smoked bacon and ginger pear bread. The next morning he offered Orange Pecan French Toast with maple sausage. The local French bread is soaked in custard overnight and baked. Local herbs are grown in the garden as well as lettuce, spinach, radish, and all sorts of berries. They offer 6 fresh and organic juices as well. In the afternoons, you’ll find homemade chocolate chip cookies and you’ll be delighted with Nick’s amazing social hour where he serves local meats and cheeses and specialty wines. Relax on one of the spacious porches or balcony while you enjoy the food and meet new friends.
The interior of the B&B is beautiful with local art on display. We stayed in the St. James’s Park room which was luxurious and the bed was so comfortable, I almost didn’t want to get out of it. But I had to in order to experience the amazing shower! On an ecofriendly note, Nick is doing some wonderful things like using environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, a salt filtration water system, a no pesticide use policy and donating toiletries to the local homeless shelter.
And while you’re there, don’t miss exploring the lovely gardens that Steve has worked so painstakingly hard on, they are simply exquisite. My favorite was the Lower Garden which was designed in 1995, and incorporates a central “wheel” pattern of radiating pea gravel paths lined with over 250 boxwoods with benches at each end point. The resulting “pie slice”-shaped beds are planted each with one primary type of plant. Hundreds of perennials and shrubs are punctuated with dwarf tree varieties. The color scheme is primarily rose and purple, except in full summer when more reds and oranges serve to attract both hummingbirds and butterflies.
Probably the most amazing thing to see is Abbington Green decorated for the holidays. If you have the chance to visit Asheville for Thanksgiving or Christmas, get ready for crisp winter nights, twinkling lights, lovely candles and Nick’s amazing food!
If you can bring yourself to leave this peaceful sanctuary, and you’ll probably have to in order to get some nourishment, head to downtown Asheville for some culinary delights. Coined the name “Foodtopia,” you can be pretty confident that you’ll find some amazing restaurants. One night we dined at Curate which is quite possibly my all-time favorite restaurant in the country. If you’ve never been to Spain, Cúrate will introduce you to the country’s lively tapas bar tradition of small plate dining on foods flavored with a touch of sherry, or perhaps a smoky paprika, and always the choicest olive oil. I love small plate dining because it allows you try so many different things. I learned that Cúrate literally means ‘cure yourself’ in Spanish. The owners believe in the curative effects of sharing good food and wine with family and friends because shared plates create conversation, enhancing memories and unfolding stories.
Do not miss the galician style octopus served warm with sea salt, olive oil, spanish paprika, and yukon gold potato purée; the bocadillo serrano with jamón serrano, tomato fresco, manchego cheese; the gambas al ajillo which I heard was the number one tapa in Asheville with sautéed shrimp and sliced garlic; and the ensalada deveranosummer salad of compressed watermelon, heirloom cherry tomatoes, sheep cheese, and corn nuts with petite lettuces dressed in a honey sherry vinaigrette. Also keep in mind that they do source their menu seasonally, so some of these options may not be on the menu when you go. Visit http://www.curatetapasbar.com.
Other places you’ll definitely want to hit are Rhubarb – a delicious farm-to-table style restaurant, White Duck Taco Shop – for just about any kind of taco you can imagine, Chestnut – another great tapas place, Lex 18 for amazing espresso martinis made with Catdaddy Moonshine – don’t ask…just try it, 5 Walnut Wine bar for great wine in an awesome space with live music, and Lexington Ave Brewery for beer lovers.
Asheville is perfect for a girlfriend getaway, a romantic weekend with your partner or even to visit solo to relax, take in the crisp mountain air and experience amazing food and drink. We will definitely be back and I’ve already recommended Abbington Green to a bunch of my friends and colleagues. Seriously…don’t even think about staying anywhere else! Visit www.abbingtongreen.com.
Submitted by Dr. Diane Hayden.