These are confusing times. Yesterday, August 1st, I looked out my window to see a vagrant yellow blob, drifting across the lawn. I could scarcely believe it; it was a leaf. In fact, there were multiple. You know leaves: those things that grow and trees and then turn colors then fall off (usually in the fall).
Yet it’s still summer, theoretically. Hence my confusion. On the upside, maybe the trees will change color early this year. Who knows what it’ll look like in two to three weeks. Or then again, maybe not.
Confusing times, and unpredictable. If you’re visiting Asheville this August, I reckon you’re in need of some good old-fashioned local’s lore. Which is where I come in, with five of the best things to do in August in Asheville.
If the weather holds, I say there’s no better way to spend your morning than hiking up an appetite at one of the Blue Ridge's beautiful mountain trails. If you’re a frequent reader here at Asheville Cottages, then you should know one of my favorite hikes is Craggy Gardens, offering three-hundred-and-sixty-degree views of the mountains at its peak.
It's about a forty-minute drive from Asheville, with picnic tables near the Craggy Gardens visitor center, some ways before the actual hike.
As far as provisions are concerned, I suggest picking up one of Biscuit Head’s fried chicken brunch boxes and a mimosa kit. “Brunch in the hills,” we call it. Or, if you find yourself with some time on a Saturday morning, you can visit the ASAP Farmer’s Market on downtown’s North Market Street. They’re chock-full of local produce and products, from quail eggs to jun from Shanti Elixers.
Live in Eternal August: Escape to the wilderness. Develop survival skills. Become the hermit you’ve always dreamed of.
Black Mountains’ one of my favorite small towns near Asheville, about a thirty-minute drive to the east. If you’re in need of an excuse to check out this nifty little mountain town, then you’re in luck. This August—the weekend of the 13th and 14th—Black Mountain's hosting their annual sourwood festival.
Expect live music, bustling art-stalls, fried pastries, and of course, WNC’s famous sourwood honey. Check the calendar on their website to make sure you get there in time for the petting zoo, pony rides, and your favorite musical acts.
While you’re in town I suggest you check out Cousin’s Cuban Café. It’s a relative newcomer to the area, but already my go-to spot for brunch in Black Mountain.
Live in Eternal August: Revitalize bee-populations by becoming an apiarist. It’s a delightful hobby. Fun for the whole family.
If you’ve had enough of the great outdoors and are a-hankering for that sweet, sweet air conditioning, then I suggest you visit the Asheville Art Museum. With a focus on WNC artists, Cherokee art, and the legacy of Black Mountain College—renowned for educating some of the 20th century’s finest makers—I guarantee you’ll come away with a spring in your step and newly-refined sensibilities. Plus, a visit here will land you in downtown, within one minute’s walk of the French Broad Chocolate lounge, a favorite of locals and visitors alike.
Live in Eternal August: Visit the museum’s rooftop café.
If there’s one thing Asheville’s known for, it’s beer. If there’s a second thing Asheville’s known for, its live music. Salvage Station combines both of these Ashevillean treasures at their expansive outdoor venue, skirting the French Broad River.
Make it dinner-and-a-show by sampling the menu at Root Down Kitchen. They’ve got a daily menu luxuriating in the flavors of Southern soul food. As of my writing, that include fried chicken, wings braised in duck fat, and fried brussels sprouts in pepper jelly.
I recognize you may not necessarily visit Asheville the August of my writing. Or even at August at all. But to give you an idea of what kind of acts you can expect here, this August’s line up includes Dirty Logic: A Steely Dan Tribute,” Trevor Hall, and Greensky Bluegrass with The Wood Brothers.
Live in Eternal August: Fall in love with the place? Rent it out for your wedding reception.
Despite sitting just blocks away from my favorite downtown tea room—Dobra, of course—I find a don’t mention Bouchon frequently enough. Here they serve what they call “French comfort food,” with covered outdoor seating that’ll have you feeling like you’re in the Old Country in no time.
Their menu includes all the classics of French haute-cuisine: escargots, pates, steak-frites, quiche de jour, and roast duck with orange and chocolate. For dessert, diners can delight in chocolate mousse, crème brulee, or pain perdu a la mode. It's fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere, and an excellent way to round out your visit to Asheville this August.
Live in Eternal August: Learn the language of love, so that you may more aptly order your café au lait, and the rest of life’s necessities.
Craggy Gardens Visitor Center
364 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Black Mountain, NC 28711
Cuban Cousins Café
108 Broadway Ave, Black Mountain, NC 28711
Asheville Art Museum
2 S Pack Square, Asheville, NC 28801
468 Riverside Dr, Asheville, NC 28801
62 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801