The Omni Grove Park Inn provided our lodging accommodations; all opinions and reviews are my own. This post also contains sponsored links.
Our family just returned from a wonderful weekend in Asheville, NC. We drove from Birmingham, AL to spend two nights and three days in the midst of mountains, waterfalls, and scenic overlooks. My older two girls spent their Spring Break at the beach with friends, so this trip included our younger two children who are 11 and 5. We enjoyed being outside, eating some delicious local fare, and spending time with one another.
I wanted to keep it simple, both with how you spend your time so that it’s not too much packed into a few days, but also to encourage you to make the most of the quality time you spend with your loved one.
We’ve stayed at other places in Asheville in the past, but after this weekend we’ll never stay anywhere else but the The Omni Grove Park Inn. It’s one of the true destination locations in the southeast. This legendary hotel is a dream for adults with its sense of history and first class amenities. But our children FELL IN LOVE with it the moment they walked in the front doors.
It’s almost impossible to list all the thing that made this property so unique for our kids (and for us). They loved the multiple restaurants (more on these in a moment), the antique elevator that is in the side of the grand fireplace (!), the on-site Sport Complex (with access to indoor pool, weight room, racquetball, game room, etc.), fun snack shops and boutiques, and so much more. Our children enjoyed the grounds and the views; there was so much for all of us to explore and enjoy.
One of the great things about Asheville is there are so many things to do, both in the city and in nature. We highly recommend taking a half-day to make the hike to Catabawa Falls. These falls are an easy 25-30 minute drive from Asheville and are well worth it. It is a little over a mile walk/hike to get to the falls (there is a gradual incline but our 5-year-old managed just fine). Along the way there are chances to stop and throw rocks, check out the old dam, or walk across stones on the river. The final ascent to view the falls simply takes your breath away; they soar over 500 feet and are absolutely beautiful. These falls are a hidden gem!
Back in town, we spent a few hours visiting some fun places including the Mast General Store and Tobacco Barn Antiques. Mast General Store is a can’t-miss stop for adults and children; it has a nostalgic feel with large barrels of fill-your-basket candies, vintage toys, modern pottery and candles, as well as outdoor apparel and a fully stocked outdoor shop on the lower level. And the Tobacco Barn Antiques is a farmhouse decor fan’s dream. It is stocked with all kinds of goodies, many of them eccentric pieces you won’t find anywhere else. We enjoyed walking the many aisles of this massive antique store.
There are some great options to eat at the Grove Park Inn as well as downtown Asheville. Let’s start with the amazing variety of restaurants at the Grove Park Inn. We recommend dining at the Blue Ridge for breakfast. The breakfast buffet is a show-stopper. It’s full of artisanal (including homemade donuts) and locally sourced options, and allows you to eat all this delicious food against the backdrop of beautiful mountain views. For a quick bite and ice cream, The Marketplace became a frequent stop for our family. But our favorite dining option at the Inn was the Sunset Terrace.
Both the cuisine and the views are world-class. It leaves you wanting to stay and dine for hours. They have a kids menu too. It is a place that is hard to forget. (They did require a day notice on reservations FYI.)
In town, we discovered White Duck Taco Shop. You have to order the Bangkok shrimp tacos! These tacos are as good as any I’ve ever had. And the atmosphere is pure “Asheville.” Our kids loved their chicken quesadillas too. And, you can’t eat in Asheville without dropping by the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Yes! It’s as good as it sounds. This “lounge,” which is a cute parlor like restaurant, has an absolute plethora of chocolate desserts to choose from. The chocolate cake I had was definitely decadent.
We made memories. We got outside in nature. We swam. We ate. We explored. It was a RICH time we won’t soon forget. I hope this guide gets you headed toward Asheville and the Grove Park Inn. You won’t be disappointed!