This post is a little late, but I definitely wanted to share some highlights from my trip to North and South Carolina this weekend with Connor. It will probably be super long, so hopefully you hang around until the end! I flew out Friday evening from Chicago to meet up with Connor in Nashville. He was there for a few days after Christmas, so we thought it would be smart for me to meet up there. Connor and his uncle picked me up from the airport and we headed straight to my favorite restaurant there, Two Ten Jack. It is a ramen place with yummy ramen, appetizers, and drinks. We got a few different apps to share: the spicy miso edamame and giant fries with a yummy sauce. I got my usual vegetable ramen with an egg and the boys got tonkatsu ramen. After dinner, I was super full and tired, so I went to sleep so we could get up early and head to South Carolina.
We left for South Carolina around 7am. Our first stop was Congaree National Park, just outside of Columbia. We got there in the afternoon around 2pm and immediately started walking through the park. The nice thing about this park, especially since we got there pretty late in the afternoon, is that it is pretty small and the main trail was actually a board walk that goes above all of the swampy water. There are some other trails, but they were a bit long for our timing. It was also really flooded, so it was nice walking above the water. My favorite part of the park was the reflection of the trees into the water. It was such a nice day out, so we got lucky with that too. We walked around for a couple of hours, then decided to head out. I really enjoyed the park. It reminded me of a mix of Cuyahoga National Park and the Everglades, which are two parks I have been to with Connor in the past.
We checked into our hotel and Connor picked dinner. He decided on a BBQ place called Palmetto Pig. I am not a huge BBQ fan as I am a vegetarian, but usually there are some good sides that I can mix and match. I ordered a side of potato salad (weird because I don’t like potatoes or potato salad lol) and a side of macaroni and cheese (it was so good). I also tried the hush puppies that came with Connor’s BBQ sandwich. They were the best hush puppies I have ever had, and probably the only ones I have ever liked. They reminded me of mini donuts. After dinner, to end off the night, we went to a bar called Bourbon. It was a really nice bar that obviously specialized in whiskey and bourbon drinks, but had other cocktails. I tried two different drinks: “The Doubtfire” and “The Bulleit Sour.” The first was one of my favorite drinks I have ever tried, and I definitely miss it already. I guess I will have to learn how to make it. The second drink had bourbon in it, which I don’t normally like, but I thought it would be good to branch out and try something new. We had a really nice time there, and it was definitely one of my favorite parts of the whole trip.
The next morning we hopped in the car after the hotel breakfast and headed toward Asheville, North Carolina. Before we got to Asheville, we wanted to make a stop at Mount Mitchell. It is the highest peak in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River (6683 feet high), so that was pretty neat. The drive up the mountain was long, but there were a lot of great views and photo opportunities. We drove up all the way to the peak, and met a few people who hiked all the way up. I took a photo of them near a sign with the elevation. They offered to take one of Connor and I, but we didn’t actually hike up the mountain, which I thought was funny for some reason. The top of the mountain was really foggy, so it was hard to see, but the views on our way up, and eventually back down were so pretty!
Once we made it down the mountain, our destination was Asheville. It was about a 45 minute drive from Mount Mitchell. We parked in a parking garage (Asheville had a ton of parking which was great, especially because it was so crowded). We walked around and got a feel for the restaurants, shops, etc. We went into a few shops and tried to decide where to eat. We ultimately decided on White Duck Taco Shop. We each ordered some tacos and drinks. I got the Bahn Mi Tofu Taco and the Korean “Beef” Taco (the beef was jackfruit). Connor got the Thai Peanut Taco, the Fish Taco, and the Jerk Chicken Taco. Overall, we liked our food and I was happy to try out jackfruit as a meat substitution.
We walked around a bit more after dinner, and ended up at one of the places I really wanted to go in Asheville, Double D’s Coffee. It is a double decker bus with a coffee shop inside. Basically, you order downstairs (it is cash only, so make sure you get cash out ahead of time) and can either sit upstairs or outside at a bunch of tables. It was really cute and really yummy. I got a Lavender Honey Latte and Connor got the Creme Brue Latte. After our evening coffee (lol), we decided to call in a night.
The next morning we got up and drove over to Biscuit Head for breakfast. We knew it would get crowded really fast, so we wanted to get there relatively early. There are two locations and we went to the one in West Asheville. I would recommend getting there before 9am, as it got super crowded after we sat down. Biscuit Head is a cool spot because they serve cat head biscuits, which are much bigger than the traditional biscuits that we typically think of. I had the Asheville Benedict, which was a biscuit with chive cream cheese, hollandaise sauce, veggies, and poached eggs. Connor got the Mimosa Fried Chicken Biscuit which was a biscuit with apple butter, fried chicken, and a poached egg. We also got the biscuit donuts to share, mostly because I had never tried a biscuit donut. They are exactly what you would expect, but I liked them because they weren’t too sweet. They came with a lemon curd if you wanted them sweeter! If you decide to go to Biscuit Head, definitely get there early and take advantage of the Jam Bar. Connor and I didn’t notice it until we were leaving, but it is an area with a bunch of different jams to put on the biscuits. There were classic flavors you would expect and more unique flavors!
To end off our trip, we drove through the River Arts District for the second time. I didn’t mention this before because it really wasn’t a huge highlight. There are a bunch of art galleries and a few cute murals. I liked some of the murals and snapped some photos of them, but other than that, I wasn’t super excited about the River Arts District. I think it would be a great place to go if you are a photographer or artist because it would be interesting and provide a backdrop for photos. It might not have seemed as nice because the weather was a bit gloomy. I think it would be more fun to walk around in the summer with the sun shining.
Overall, our short trip was really fun. Connor and I wanted to go to another National Park before the end of the year, so we were happy we were able to go to Congaree and meet that goal. Columbia and Asheville were both cute little cities and fun to explore. Asheville definitely has more to do, but I think I liked Columbia a little bit better. The Christmas lights were still up, which was pretty and everyone there was so kind! I can’t wait to go on our next trip. I have a few places in mind, so we will see where we adventure to next! Do you have any travel plans for the upcoming months/year?