Most Romantic Things to do in Asheville—A Local’s Perspective
Asheville lies in the most scenic part of North Carolina, nestled in the Blue Ridge and all its stately beauty. It’s little wonder that generations of Carolinians have ventured to this western portion of our state for their romantic getaways, nurturing industries that cater especially to lovebirds. Chocolate shops, for instance. And day spas. Some people count the barbecue joints as well. To each their own.
As it happens, I’m putting my thoughts together on this subject on Valentine’s Day, but the advice you’ll find here should carry you in all manner of amorous getaways, from honeymoons to summer retreats. So, read on and discover some of the most romantic things to do in Asheville.
1: Visit the Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar
There’s nothing better than a good book and some fine wine. Except maybe true love. Or game night with the boys. If I had to choose just one, I wonder which I would choose. And would I come to regret it? Could I live with the consequences, or would it in time tear me apart, reducing me to a mere husk of a man?
Philosophy aside, you can find two of these things at the Battery Park Book Exchange (the books and wine), and in a vast selection, including mimosas, literary-themed cocktails, sampling flights, and bookshelves chock-full of volumes of nearly every genre. On a fair-weathered day, I like to take one of their outside tables, which provide an excellent view of passers-by.
As to the romantic aspect, nothing demonstrates affection better than providing your partner with a book specially selected to their interests and tastes. Given, of course, that they like to read. If not, at least there’s the champagne, and least I forget: a menu of small plates, charcuterie, and dazzling pastries.
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday noon to 8pm. Sundays noon to 6pm.
2: Indulge at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge
You know, Mr. Wonka said it best when he said: “Chocolate, it's so darn romantic it makes me want to kick off my stockings and dance the watusi.” That’s straight from Roald Dahl. You can look it up.
For my money, some of the best chocolate in Asheville can be found in downtown’s French Broad Chocolate Lounge, right smack-dab in the city’s center, on North Pack Square. They’re one of downtown Asheville’s most popular patisseries, which makes them often quite busy. Regardless, I find the Chocolate Lounge makes for a delectable and convenient stop when combined with all manner of important business, from gift-shopping to a visit to the Asheville Art Museum, right next door.
Their pastry-cases offer bonbons for every occasion, including afternoon mochas, hot-weather ice-cream, and decadent cakes suitable for an after-dinner treat. I find, however, that their sipping chocolate steals the show. Rich, creamy, and most of all: it’s chocolate.
Hours: 11am to 10pm, daily.
From the instant I learned what a tapa was, I knew that this was the most romantic way of dining. Consider this: many tapas are meant to be shared. So, you and your beloved both reach for the candied almonds at the same time. Your hands brush. Three steps later and who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself in a Lady and the Tramp situation, sharing a spaghetti noodle under the pale moonlight. It’s something to aspire to, at least.
Zambra Tapas Bar enhances the intrinsic romance of the tapa with Spanish wine, sophisticated platters crafted from local ingredients, and a mood-lit dining room that will have you feeling like you’re spending a night in Iberia.
Reservations are recommended, especially if you plan to visit on Valentine’s Day, or any other holiday suitable for romance in Asheville.
Hours: 5pm to 9:30pm, Sunday through Thursday. 5pm to 10pm Fridays and Saturdays.
4: Catch the Sunset at Craggy Gardens
Craggy Gardens has long been one of my favorite hikes near Asheville, but it was only with recent consideration that I realized how stunning the sunset is from those lofty heights.
Picture it. A picnic basket, full of farmer’s market delights. A cooler of champagne, or local craft beer. You hike to the summit, just in time to catch the sun’s final rays, split into a glorious spectrum of oranges and violets, bathing the blue mountain valleys in a symphony of light.
Who knows, maybe on the way back down you’ll lose your car keys and be forced to endure a survival situation with your sweetheart. It’s the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your mastery of fire-starting and squirrel snares. Impress your lover. Win acclaim. Granted, this scenario might not figure into everyone’s perfect date.
If you don’t time your ascent into the Blue Ridge quite right, not to worry. There’s plenty of vistas to stop at on the way there, many not even requiring a hike. These spots make for an excellent compromise, if you’d like some of the view, without all the sweating.
Hours: Sunset usually ranges between 6pm and 8:30pm, depending on the season.
5: Make Your Stay Romantic at Asheville Cottages
Now that I’ve laid down some of the most romantic things to do in Asheville, there remains but one question: where to sleep. In the forest? Maybe, if you have a tent. By a stream? Inadvisable. It’s a rainy part of the country. Might be flooding, and nothing kills romance faster than the uninvited damp.
In a cabin? Now there’s a splendid idea. Asheville Cottage’s rental cabins lie at a strategic crossroads, with downtown, the Blue Ridge, and the NC Arboretum all just a short drive away. Plus, these aren’t any Lincoln-log affairs, but cabins furnished with the finest modern amenities, making each and every one of them practically a honeymoon suite.
Blue-tooth speakers, flat screens, heated bathroom floors, and your own private hot tub. It doesn’t get much more romantic than a private hot tub, I’ll tell you what. Unless you add a grill. Which Asheville Cottages also provides, of course.
Battery Park Book Exchange
1 Page Ave #101, Asheville, NC 28801
French Broad Chocolate Lounge
10 S Pack Square, Asheville, NC 28801
85 W Walnut St, Asheville, NC 28801
3641 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Barnardsville, NC 28709
29 Asheville Cottage Ln, Asheville, NC 28806