Just a few weeks ago – the first week of January – I went on my second annual #girlbossgoesonvacay week of rest and renewal to reset for the New Year. And it was magical. Here’s a recap of my favs + lessons learned + girl boss thoughts from my trip to Asheville.
An Incomplete List in No Particular Order of a Few of My Favs from Asheville
When I was planning our trip to Asheville, I posted on Facebook requesting recommendations – and, wowza, did I get a lot of recommendations. This is just the places we made it to on our trip, but for the full list of recommendations, check it out here.
- Cúrate | Came highly recommended by friends, and lived up to the hype, for sure. Best dishes: blood sausage with goat cheese and the mountain honey + rosemary + fried eggplant (which we ordered as dessert!).
- Limones | Another highly recommended restaurant, and it was fabulous. Incredible atmosphere, and unique dishes. Get the ceviche!
- Gan Shan West | The best last supper there ever was. Came recommended by our waiter at Limones, who told us to go hang out with the “people our age” in West Asheville, and try out this newly opened restaurant. The best ramen I’ve had in a long time.
- Breakfast/Lunch/Everything in between
- Tupelo Honey | EVERYONE told us to go here. It’s an Asheville staple. And it was SO GOOD. They bring you biscuits and jam/honey to start your meal, and I ordered the sweet potato pancakes + fried chicken, and couldn’t move the rest of the afternoon.
- Biscuit Head | We went to the location in West Asheville, and it reminded me SO much of Richmond. From the decor, the concept + food, to the PEOPLE, we could’ve been somewhere in The Fan. Two words: GRAVY FLIGHT.
- Forage/Flora | I died and went to heaven when we found this florist/plant heaven adjoined to a coffee shop space. It was heavenly. And the perfect retreat to rest in between adventures in West Asheville.
- High Five Coffee – LEGIT bagels the size of my whole head.
- French Broad Chocolates | I LOVED this place, and we sat here to thaw out after walking around Downtown Asheville in the bitter cold. Chocolate and coffee is for thawing out.
- Vortex Donuts | I can’t travel and not eat a donut.
- Double D’s | A double decker London, UK bus slinging coffee and treats? Yes, please.
- Shops and Stops
- River Arts District
- The Grove Arcade (right next to the Basilica and Pinball Museum)
- Malaprop’s Bookstore
- Lots of small gift-type shops in Downtown Asheville we stopped in every two minutes, because it was 0 degrees and we needed to thaw out while exploring on foot.
- Sadly, we didn’t find the gems of local boutique shopping like I’d hoped (I found out AFTER the trip where we should have gone off Wall Street), but I did stumble into a secondhand resale shop right across the street from Biscuit Head in West Asheville that was fun, and we popped in a vintage store where I tried on many ridiculous things, the space heaters kept blowing the fuse, and I found an incredible Blues Brothers vintage tee for the win.
It’s hard to explore a new city when it’s a bomb cyclone outside, but, in a way, it was a blessing. The cold forced us into every other doorway for momentary reprieves, to warm up, forcing us to slow down, to linger. Thankful for that.
I realized I took very few pictures on this trip, and even fewer pictures of food or spots we visited. Probably because I was too busy being present, eating, seeing, exploring, resting. So that’s something I’m grateful for. But, I did capture a lot, and there’s a gallery below for your viewing pleasure, captioned with the locations.
What I learned about REST
The Rhythms of Rest
I entered this girl boss vacay going 100mph. From the holiday season at the shop and a non-stop 6 months. And the whole point of this trip was to REST and RESET for the New Year. And here I was with a long to-do list for VACATION, and all the places I wanted to eat, see, explore. And by the hand of a mighty God, I got smacked into rest (basically). On the very first day of travel and our first night in Asheville, I had a horrible contact dermatitis rash breakout on my face – the miserable kind. So, the first full day in Asheville, I spent indoors, by the fire, reading and resting and taking care of myself. We made it out for a very casual dinner that night, and by the 2nd day, I was able to get outside and explore. But it was as if God was telling me to slow down – taking me from 100mph to 0mph in a day, because otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have done that.
We have to find the rhythm of rest, and sync up with its gentleness, its reverence. I admit I don’t live every day that way, and thus the need to RESET to the rhythms of rest, to carry that rhythm back into this busy small business owner life.
The rhythms of rest will look different for everyone – just like self-care looks different for everyone – but I encourage you to rediscover that rhythm in your life. And not just on vacation. In your daily life.
Play Every Day
Rest doesn’t always mean sleeping or going 0mph – at least not for this ENFP. For me, I’m rejuvenated by adventure, by play, by exploring. As much as I need to be still – and be comfortable being still – I need to run wild & free. And that’s what this trip reminded me of — Un-agenda-ed Adventure. Unencumbered Time. Uninhibited PLAY.
It wasn’t easy for me to let go of the constant trip itinerary or the endless must-see’s (cue face rash to reset my perspective on all of that). But in letting go, I found freedom – freedom to adventure, to play, to rest, to connect, to imagine, to be surprised, to be present.
I reclaimed my time. (intentionality)
I reordered by days. (flexibility)
I left space. (freedom)
And that’s a reminder this girl boss is holding onto for 2018.
“The first demand any work of art makes upon us is surrender. Look. Listen. Receive. Get yourself out of the way. (There is no good asking first whether the work before you deserves such a surrender, for until you have surrendered you cannot possibly find out.)” – C.S. Lewis
I read this quote next to a painting in a gallery in the River Arts District on our last day in Asheville. It’s a quote by C.S. Lewis, a beloved author and thinker, that I wasn’t familiar with. And it struck me. Not in regards to the work of art in front of me, but of the work that lie ahead of me when I returned to Charlottesville – of this business and this boss babe life.
Last year I posted a lot about surrender, because I was constantly surrendering control of this business, surrendering expectations, and surrendering dreams. Why? So that I could get myself out of the way. I still have to do this – constantly. Because running a shop, owning a business, and, most importantly, investing in a community (love you, Charlottesville) requires a lot of self sacrifice. And not just of time, money, a social life, but a sacrifice of my own dreams and desires, and an aligning of my purpose, dreams, desires with His. I can’t explain it better than this:
“When you find your purpose, your gift, the reason you’ve come into this human existence. When you are in alignment with your calling. When you have something incredible to give and you step into the truth of who you are… it’s no longer about the hustle. The ones who need your message will show up, and no matter how nervous I am, I know that my gift is needed.” – @hayleymichelleandrews
So here’s to alignment in 2018, darlings. Lay the hustle down. Align.
If you have any questions about Asheville, let me know! Happy to chat more about this trip and all the things!