ICYMI over on the gram, we drove to Asheville, North Carolina from Detroit for a little holiday getaway after canceling our flights to Florida to see my in-laws. We felt a road trip was the safest way to travel for us and could limit our interactions with others. We decided last minute to make the trip and I am so happy we did! We got to explore a ton of nature, see new places we have never seen, spend A LOT of time together (long overdue) and get a few warm(ish) sunny days. It took us about 10 hours to drive from Michigan and we did it all in one day. Plus – most of the spots we wanted to eat at had curbside / carry-out menus so we got to enjoy all the eats too! It was a little less glam – you know in the backseat of the car – but we made it work and actually loved the experience. It will always be our unique road trip and to be honest – a highlight of 2020 for us. I am so grateful we could make this work.
How we approached COVID-19 during this road trip
- Wore k95 Masks at all times when we were near others. This included hikes! We took it off if we felt like there was no one in sight and we put it back on as soon as we saw others.
- Sanitizing before and after all meals since we were carrying out food.
- No indoor dining. No indoor activities. No indoor shopping. We basically limited all indoor experiences to pick up situations only. We did miss out on a few tourist attractions that were indoors, but that was totally fine by us. At this point, we did not feel safe just social distancing and wearing masks indoors.
- Called ahead and asked restaurants if they enforce employee mask-wearing and if they could bring out the carry out to us in the car to avoid going inside when possible. Most were great and flexible!
- We stayed in Airbnbs instead of hotels. Airbnb now has a cleanliness rating and hosts can inform potential guests of their processes and Covid safest precautions. We picked places that met our standards. We had contactless check-ins in bother Airbnbs (NC + SC).
- We kept to ourselves the entire trip.
Where we stayed:
As I mentioned above, we stayed in an Airbnb. We actually picked Black Mountain, NC instead of right in Asheville. This was because we wanted to mountain vibe and wanted to be right next to nature. Black mountain is about 15 minutes from Asheville. It is surrounded by the Montreat mountains and has an adorable village. It was so cute! We loved where we stayed because it had an audible flowing river in the backyard, it was super clean, had all the amenities we needed and we felt safe. Highly recommend!. Linked here again.
We arrived in the evening so we went right to White Duck Tacos (the riverside arts district location)! It was delicious. They had such creative tacos and local beer. We even sat outside because no one was there at they had sprawling picnic tables on the river. This would be a super fun place to come on a warm/sunny day and sit outside for beer and tacos!
Drove to Looking Glass Trail (Pisgah National Forest). We took the Blue Ridge Parkway (a famous mountain range drive in the area) to get there. Highly recommend this drive! It is a famous one. We pulled over to grab some gorgeous photographs of the sun coming through the tall trees. BRP has a ton of hikes as well. Note – it is sometimes closed based on the weather in the cooler months. We were able to go because it was a mild sunny day, but the following day it was closed. You can see on google maps if it is open or closed. See some pics of there here!
Looking Glass Trail is part of the Pisgah National Forest. There are multiple hikes there and beautiful rivers run through it. This hike was long and moderately challenging. SO WORTH IT TO GET TO THE TOP. It was about 2 hours up and 1.5 hours down. It wasn’t super steep, but it is a constant climb. It runs through forests, streams, canopy trees, and then finally an opening with an epic view. I recommend hiking boots and layers for elevation. Bring snacks too! It was not too crowded, we got there around 10:30 am on a Sunday and the weather was gorgeous.
We drove down to downtown Asheville after the hike and picked up a late lunch at Tupelo Honey. It was delish! Great lunch/brunch option for sure. We got chicken sandwiches! It is located in a cute spot to walk around downtown Asheville and explore.
We then went to Wicked Weed Funkatorium to pick up some famous sour beers for the Airbnb.
Explored/walked around the River Arts District. It is a cool area, but we didn’t feel comfortable going into galleries. In non-covid times, we absolutely would!
For dinner, we got Curate Tapas Bar to carry out and enjoyed it in the car! It was a Covid-friendly date night and we actually had so much fun. I was fully just wearing a sweatsuit with no bra! LOL! We LOVED the stuffed goat cheese peppers, lamb skewers, beet salad, and meatballs. It is a tapas place so you can order a bunch to share! Check out this fun video of our in-car date night!
With full tummies, we drove to Chimney Rock State Park from our home base in Black Mountain. We took highway 9 and the drive was breathtaking. We weren’t expecting it so it was just that much better. Narrow windy roads, mountain views, tall trees, rivers, adorable cottages, and more! I would highly recommend this one. We just listened to music and watched the scenery pass.
Chimney Rock State Park is a massive mountain area with a ton of trails. You need to pay to visit ($35 a person), but 100% worth it! The views from the top are magnificent. You also get the drive up the side of a mountain which is super cool. Once you arrive a the base to get the “Chimney Rock” you can either take an elevator or stairs. The top has incredible views of the 360 mountain range and Lake Lure (the town next to Chimney Rock where dirty dancing was filmed). Once you are in the park/mountain area you can also do a bunch of trails. We did the Hickory Nut Waterfall Trail (about 30 minutes) to see a 400 ft waterfall! It was amazingly beautiful – you can check us out here!!
Lake Lure is also super pretty to drive through. Later that night we picked up curbside at Corner Kitchen in Biltmore Village. Biltmore Village was all lit up for the holidays and it was super cute.
Day 4: Travel Day to South Carolina
Grabbed breakfast at Louise’s Kitchen in downtown Black Mountain and then coffee at Double D’s Coffee in Asheville (double-decker bus coffee shop – adorable!). We then made our way south to Charleston. We checked into our Airbnb in Mount Pleasant, SC. Mount Pleasant is right across the bridge from Charleston and a great location to explore the area. It is also close super close to Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms which are coastal areas with beautiful beaches. We picked up dinner at The Obstinate Daughter in Sullivan’s Island and it was unbelievable!
Explored Charleston downtown! Breakfast at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit and before that we grabbed coffee at Second State Coffee in Mount Pleasant. We wanted around the Historic King Street (long street with adorable shops), French Quarter Neighborhood, and City Market, Rainbow Row, and the surrounding area. For lunch, we picked up Basic Kitchen and LOVED it. We just walked endlessly around the town and took in the beautiful buildings and historical sites. For dinner, we picked up 167 Raw. One of our absolute faves. The tuna burger and shrimp po’boy were excellent.
We grabbed coffee and breakfast at The Daily (by Butcher & Bee). We ended up grabbing breakfast here every day for the rest of the trip! We picked up a mid-morning dessert from the famous Carmella’s Dessert Bar. After that, we walked around the historic Battery area on the southern end of the city. It is where all the famous old homes are. After this, we explored Folly Beach (adorable beach town) and grabbed lunch at Lost Dog Cafe. For the rest of the afternoon, we just relaxed in the Airbnb because it was super rainy. For dinner, we picked up Stella’s which was amazing! Greek spot and incredible.
This was the last day of our trip and we finally got a sunny warmish day in Charleston! It was 50 and we decided to go beach hopping! First, we walked around Shem Creek which is a beautiful boardwalk park that goes over a marsh. We walked around Sullivan’s Island and the beach area. It was beautiful. The homes are incredible to see. When we were over there we grabbed ice cream sandwiches at Beard Cat Sweet Shop and coffee at The Co-op (which also had famous frose). We also went to Isle of Palms and explore that beach area. We ended up just relaxing there for a few hours. Highly recommend going there for sunset! It was beautiful! For our last night, we picked up dinner at The Darling Oyster Bar.
On our way back up to Michigan, we went back through the Asheville area and stopped at Vortex Donuts and lunch again at White Duck Tacos. For our two-day trip home we stopped in Kingston, Tennessee for a quick sleep to break up the drive.
Other Recommendations we did not get to go to because of timing and / or COVID.
- Sunny Point Cafe
- The Green Sage
- The Chestnut
- Broad Street Chocolates
- Hole Donuts
- The Wedge
- 12 Bones Smokehouse
- Cucina 24
- Dobra Tea
- Buxton Hall BBQ
- Mellow Mushroom Pizza
- Rockys Hot Chicken Shack
- Early Girl Eatery
- Red Ginger
- Sierra Nevada Brewery
- Burial Brewery
- Omni Grove Inn For drinks / sunset
- Mount Mitchell
- Craggy Gardens Pinnacle
- Rainbow Trail Montreat
- Biltmore Mansion
- Catawaba Falls
- Glazed donuts
- High cotton
- Pearls Oyster Bar
- Hometown BBQ
- Callies Hot Little Biscuit
- The Grocery
- Off Track Ice Cream
- Le Farfalle
- La Patisserie
- The Beech (acai and poke)
- Elis Table
- Grace & Grit (Mount Pleasant
- Kiawah Island
- Hilton Head Island
- Plantation Historic Tours