When I’m away from Asheville, I remember it as it is in October. The fair weather, the changing leaves. Carving pumpkins and drinking coffee. Halloween, hikes, baking spice-cakes and pies.
October’s a romantic time in Asheville, there’s no doubt about that. Matter of fact, I think it is the most popular time of year for visitors. And as much as the fall leaves play a big role in that, I say you’d be missing out if they were all you saw during your October in Asheville. But you should see them, along with all the other autumnal wonders here in my hometown. If you want to find out just what that I mean , read on.
As the year inches towards its coldest months, it becomes more and more delightful to curl up with a good book. In downtown Asheville, you don’t have to go far to find them.
Malaprop’s Bookstore lies just up the street from semi-subterranean tapas at Zambra, and maybe five minutes away from extensive shopping and dining at the Grove Arcade. An excellent location to be sure. Here you can satisfy your literary yearnings, perhaps—given this month’s holiday—with a ghoulish tale.
Might I also suggest, since you’re here in the most Ashevillean of months, to check out famous author’s of the city’s past, such as Thomas Wolfe and O. Henry. Perhaps even contemporary local authors, like Robert Beatty or Emöke B’Rácz. Nothing impresses one’s well-read friends like saying “Ah yes, I’ve been to the author’s home.”
Embrace the Spirit of The Season: Buy a cookbook. Stay with me here. What’s more terrifying than preparing a dish you haven’t made before?
Coffee’s always a good idea, if you ask me, but especially so with the kind of weather you’ll find in October in Asheville. What’s with these cafes, choosing only now to serve their chai-this and chai-that, and their pumpkin spice and candy corn confections? What do they know that we don’t, about the fall? I seek my answers at the bottom of latte cups and plates of pound cake. I’ll let you know if I find what I’m looking for.
Existentialism aside, good coffee isn’t hard to find in Asheville, especially in downtown. Double D’s comes up frequently in my recommendations, with their festive drink mixtures and signature double-decker bus shopfront.
On the other hand, maybe you’re one of those wild souls that prefers a hot chai. Well, Dobra Tea—with locations downtown and in West Asheville—has some of the finest tea anywhere, and that’s a bon-a-fide guarantee. Nothing like a chai from Dobra.
Embrace the Spirit of the Season: Partake in the profane mixture of coffee-and-tea. Some call it dirty chai. Me, I call it 24-hour energy.
October and horror films get along like popcorn and soda. And you be thinking to yourself, why go all the way to Asheville just to watch some films? I’ll admit in this day and age you can find just about any movie you can think of from the comfort of your couch.
But Asheville’s movie theaters aren’t just theaters alone. No sir. This October twentieth, for instance, the River Arts District's Grail Moviehouse is teaming up with Wedge Brewing for a special outdoor showing of Little Shop of Horrors, complete with a costume contest.
And if you can’t get enough of scary movies, Asheville Pizza and Brewing’s north location moonlights as a movie theater. Not only will you be treated to some of the pizza, wings, and beer in town, but a spitfire schedule, chock-full of classic-fun horror films like Monster House and Shawn of the Dead.
Embrace the Spirit of the Season: Come in costume and stick to character. You are legally entitled to a one-hundred-percent discount on all tickets and concessions, and fifty-percent on beer.
With apple-picking season well underway, it’s a perfect time to sample Asheville’s locally brewed ciders. For a general introduction to Asheville's brew-scene, you’d do well to check out the South Slope, Asheville’s devoted brewing district.
For ciders specifically, I recommend downtown’s Noble Cider taproom. Their fall seasonal is the cranberry-orange “Journeyman” with a hint of habanero. Talk about a warming drink. And if you're in the mood for an extra-special autumn brew, Noble offers mead too. Comes every which way from blueberry-infused to mesquite blossom.
Embrace the Spirit of the Season: Take up brewing yourself, with a barrel full of picked apples, and a basement's worth of aspirations.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. What’s October in Asheville without a little hiking? Indeed, what is Asheville without it’s hikes? Pair the two together, and you’ve got one heck of an encounter with nature.
I’ve written my share on hiking in Asheville, especially in aid of seeing the changing leaves. You can find these musings here. Suffice to say: there’s little in this world so beautiful as the fall leaves in Asheville.
Embrace the Spirit of the Season: Plant your toes in the dirt. Photosynthesize. Don’t simply walk through nature, become the nature.
55 Haywood St, Asheville, NC 28801
Double D's Coffee and Desserts
41 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Dobra Tea (Downtown)
78 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
17 Foundy St, Asheville, NC 28801
Asheville Pizza and Brewing (North)
675 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804
Noble Cider and Mead (Downtown)
49 Rankin Ave, Asheville, NC 28801