Romance! It's in the air. It permeates the streets of Asheville like a fragrant mist. I can practically see the cupids in the trees. And if you ever find yourself in the Paris of The South at this time of year, you too will hallucinate as vividly as me.
Yes, Asheville is the mountain getaway of your dreams. But to truly enjoy Valentine’s Day in Asheville, I say it takes nothing less than the irreplaceable savvy of a local. That’s where I come in. Put on your seatbelts and grab your lover’s hand because I’m about to take you on a romantic journey of unparalleled splendor. Or at least, suggest how you might take yourself on such a journey.
Nothing broadens the heart more than touring the mansions of 19th century industrialists. Something about the downright grandiosity of this iconic Asheville landmark seems to put things in perspective. You may think to yourself “Wow. We are so small, and this house is so big.” The next thing you know you’re making out in a broom closet. At least that’s how it works for me.
Once you’re done with the house itself, I suggest you walk the grounds. This time of year—cool, sometimes cold, sometime snowy, with the trees still bare—Biltmore's expansive properties are especially romantic. Wrap up your visit with a complimentary wine tasting at the Antler Hill winery, and you’ve got yourself a day to remember.
Romance! Recite a love poem. Everybody likes poetry. Everybody.
Water is romantic. That’s just science. Waterfalls, grottos, mineral springs. All exceedingly seductive. But what if I told you there was a place where you could enjoy all three such water-features, accompanied by all the comforts of civilization?
The place I speak of is the spa at the Grove Park Inn, encompassing more than 43,000 square feet of seclusion, refinement, and of course, water. Currently, spa appointments are only available to overnight guests at the Inn, but that just goes to show you what a popular place this is. Take your partner. Enjoy the “wellness pod” (accentuated by a mind-soothing negative ion field). You won’t regret it.
Romance! Have you ever seen The Shape of Water? It's a pretty good movie. Give it a watch. Imitate the fish man.
I’ve seen some pretty fine sunsets in my time living in Asheville. But the place I’ve always most wanted to watch it from is Black Balsam Knob, way up in the mountains.
You can reach Black Balsam from the Art Loeb Trailhead, about an hour’s drive out from downtown. “An hour?” you might say. “That’s preposterous!” But frankly, dear traveler, the drive there is part of the delight. If you’ve ever driven the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll know what I mean.
Once you’re there, you’ll find an aromatic pine forest. Shadowed, quiet. Possibly—dare I say—romantic. About a half mile further, you’ll reach the first of many vistas, offering three-hundred-sixty-degree views of the surrounding mountains, and a huge cut of the multicolor sky. Black Balsam’s summit is only about 0.2 miles further.
Bring flashlights, of course. Unless you plan on staying the night.
Romance! Stay the night. Camping is allowed on this trail. Watch the sunrise the next morning. Truly experience Valentine’s Day in the mountains.
If I had to rank beverages by love-factor, I’d put tea right up there at the top. Hot water, dried leaves. It just makes sense.
Plus, downtown’s Dobra Tearoom really puts the “Asheville” in Valentine’s Day in Asheville, if you know what I mean. With its soothing décor and shoe-free floor-seating in the back, you’d be hard pressed to find a place quite like it anywhere else in the Southeast.
If you visit on a cold day, I suggest the “Sweet Smell of Jerusalem” or “Memories of Prague.” Both classic black teas. Hard to beat. On a slightly less cold day (warm Valentine’s Days are unlikely in Asheville) you may want to try the “Staroborshov.” Fruity, foamy, delightful.
Romance! Just talk about life. I find there’s something about Dobra that pulls the wisdom out of me. In a good way.
When it comes to dining in Asheville, there’s no shortage of worthy contenders. But, for your Valentine’s Day edification, I’d like to mention a restaurant I don’t believe I’ve mentioned before: Bouchon, French Comfort Food.
Here, one can enjoy such classic French dishes as saumon dijonnaise or bouef bourguignon either inside, or in the comfort of their secluded alley-seating. Desert, of course, is an event unto itself. Crème brulee, pain perdu a la mode, etc. Paired with a bottle of house wine—straight from the Rhone Valley—or some flutes of champagne, I can imagine few meals more romantic or more French.
And its on the same street as Dobra Tea. Convenience is always at the top of my mind.
Romance! Speak the language of love. “M’amour.” “La beaute.” “Trop d’escargots.” Your Valentine’s Day companion will be flattered and amused.
1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803
Grove Park Inn
290 Macon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804
Black Balsam Knob
Art Loeb Trail, Canton, NC 28716
78 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
62 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801