You know that voice in your head?
Earlier this year we received a lot of fall wedding invites from people near and dear to us. Of course, we didn’t want to miss any of them but we had a bit of a scheduling issue with two important ones — Chandler’s best friend from high school was getting married on Saturday evening in Asheville NC and his cousin was getting married the following afternoon in Ohio. It took a 3:30AM wake up and many connecting flights but we did it. We got to see both weddings and spend a few days prior in Asheville.
We’d never been to Asheville before so we definitely wanted to do a mix of “local” things and “touristy” things :) Here is a run down of where we ate, visited, and hiked while we were in Asheville, NC.
We arrived at 7:30am and made our way to our adorable cottage I found on VRBO. We typically find perfect spots on AirBnB but this time had to get creative and check out other platforms. As you can imagine, Asheville is a popular spot to visit in October (hello changing leaves!!)
Regardless, our cottage was perfect for us, a short drive to everything, and brand spanking new. If you’re interested in checking it out I’ll leave a link at the bottom of this post :)
Once we settled in our top priority was coffee (per usual). After a quick Yelp search and a recollection of research I’d already done, I knew Penny Cup coffee was the spot for us. We made our way over to the River Arts District to check it out.
This is a cool part of Asheville thats full of artists, cool shops, galleries, murals, and more. We visited Penny Cup a few times and really liked their vibe. This location isn’t very big but if you “accidentally” go when they are roasting coffee beans you won’t regret it ;)
After coffee comes brunch. Another quick search pointed us to Biscuit Head — a charming and hip biscuit shop? with several location around town. It was delicious and they even had GF options. I got the Pulled Pork Biscuit and Chandler got the Cajun Benedict.
After brunch we went back to the cottage for a bit so I could hop on a client call. After my call we grabbed some tickets online and headed toward Biltmore Estate (it’s apparently a little cheaper to buy tickets online ahead of time?)
The Biltmore is…ummm….breathtaking. Like, every inch of that place is incredible. Instead of describing it all for you, here are some pics <3
After we toured the estate we had a free wine tasting at their winery. Who knew they had a winery?! This was news to me! We got to try all sorts of wines and ended up buying a bottle. The winery was the cherry on top of the visit.
So if you know us, you’ll know we’re taco snobs. We don’t like just any tacos — we like. as we call them, boujee tacos. For reference, Migo in Louisville is the standard we like to uphold (LOL, but seriously!)
We heard a few reco’s for White Duck Taco Shop so we had to see what the hype was. After the Biltmore we went to the White Duck Taco Shop in the river arts district. It’s in an old… shipping container of sorts? I’m not really sure, but you can’t miss it!
Coffee shop #2 was High Five Coffee. We wanted to check out a new area of town while we got some work done and this ended up being a great location (13 Rankin Ave location) to hang for a bit and then walk around and check things out. The only picture I took here was the big high-five hand on the wall... so here you go…
If you’re not sensing a trend… pay attention — next is brunch:
In addition to our taco and coffee standards, we prefer local farm-to-table food above all else. Tupelo Honey fit the bill, and then some. This place was AMAZING!
I got a spinach salad and fried chicken. The chicken mainly so I could dip it in their spicy honey. There were not regrets at all. We also had the crispy brusells sprouts, and they brought us little biscuits to start.
Next up, Nature.
Catawba Falls was one of the top places on my list after doing some research before this trip. It looks gorgeous in photos on the internet so I reallyyyy wanted to see it.
But, it had been raining A LOT, so we got this instead (LOL!)
Still gorgeous, just a lot more water.
It was an easy walk up to the falls and definitely accessible to the leisurely hiker :)
After our nature adventure we hit up Dobra Tea House, which is easily one of the loveliest spots I’ve ever been to. They have 100’s of teas and you get a little bell to ring when you’re ready to order. I didn’t take any pictures here but grabbed one from their website:
And last but not least, after we went home for a bit to relax, we checked out The Funkatorium (Wicked Weed Brewing’s sour beer tap room). They has live music playing and we ordered lots of sour beer and food. BTW - they have sour beer flights, which I was pumped about! To prove it, here is a mediocre pic of my sour flight:
Day three started with Vortex doughnuts and coffee — mainly because doughnuts! I don’t really eat doughnuts at home, but as soon as I land in another city I crave them. Like big, sugary, delicious handcrafted doughnuts, with all of the chocolate. So we decided to fuel ourselves with coffee and doughnuts before going on hike #2.
Behold! The s’mores doughnut:
After we fueled up on donuts we drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway toward Graveyard Falls (upper falls). This hike was full of surprises, crystal clear water, and the most gorgeous waterfall at the top. Seriously - go all the way up.
Later that night we went to Bar Taco for dinner and then Lexington Ave Brewing for a pre-wedding get-together.
We spent our final morning at Penny Cup Coffee and exploring downtown Asheville. Considering we had a rental car it was a little tricky trying to find a place to park. *We eventually found a parking garage but definitely note that parking was bit of a challenge in busier areas of town.
We had brunch downtown at Chestnut and it honestly wasn’t a great experience. So, unfortunately I don’t recommend Chestnut, but every other place listed above was AMAZING!
That evening we headed to The Omni Grove Park Inn for the wedding we were in town for and danced the night away.
Overall, we loved our time in Asheville and will definitely be going back.
Every time I go somewhere new I take notes and try to share those, so here are some things to keep in mind when traveling to Asheville for the first time (and you know, just traveling in general):
get a rental car so you can cruise along the Blue Ridge Parkway and check out all of the trails near Asheville.
book lodging early. I’m not sure if it was because October is a popular time of the year to visit but I had a rather hard time finding a place last minute that fit our needs. We honestly never book early so I didn't think I’d be a problem, but alas you just never know :) If you’re visiting place during their busy season, book early!
download the app All Trails and research which trails you might want to check out ahead of time. You can make lists and save the ones you like in the app and it makes the whole “finding where to hike” thing a lot easier once you’re there.
Expect to always have cell service (this goes for anywhere when hiking!)
go to Chestnut for brunch (LOL!) Or do, and maybe you’ll have a better experience than us ;)
skip the Biltmore (if you’ve never been) - it’s totally worth it!
What are your favorite things to do in Asheville? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll add them to my list for next time :)
Where we stayed: VRBO Cottage
Coffee, Tea & Doughnuts:
PennyCup Coffee Co. (362 Depot Street River Arts District)
High Five Coffee (13 Rankin Ave.)
Dobrá Tea (707 Haywood Rd)
Breweries we went to:
Where we went:
Hiking & Nature:
One year ago I was sitting in an office bombarded by emails, attending never-on-time meetings, and wondering how I could replace my income to quit my job. This was the burning desire that I was afraid to vocalize because I loved my job. It was everything I ever hoped for and worked for — but something was off.
In college, I decided my major would be Communications and Advertising. It sounded fun, professional, and respectable so I decided that was what my life was going to be.
Only I didn't even consider what life would be like after college. I certainly didn't know the “All-American Dream” was not my dream at all. No one had filled me in on the reality of “being an adult” and the fact that it’s not all smooth sailing and happily ever after from there on out. Maybe I was a bit delusional back them ;)
This confused me because I did all of the things I was supposed to do. I checked all of the boxes as I continued to work my way toward my “dream job” (and life). These were the things that would make me someone in the world.
It wasn’t until I was two months into my 200-hour yoga teacher training in 2016 that I finally looked my life in the face and saw that I wasn't doing what I love. I wasn’t giving back to the world in a meaningful way and something had to change soon.
So, I began asking myself...
"Why am I so unhappy...so unfulfilled?”
"Why am I so tired after all the work and time I put in?”
“Why isn't this what it was supposed to be?”
“What do I need to feel...good?”
I had to throw all of my expectations out the window because I wasn't living my true purpose and I knew it.
First I had to figure out how to leave financially. I couldn't just walk out tomorrow without a tentative plan for how I would earn money. That wasn’t an option. I needed to take time to write it all out on paper to actually see that it could be real.
I sat down on my living room floor with papers and notes scattered everywhere and started doing the hypothetical math of how I could replace my income:
- Teach X amount of yoga classes per week
- Create online products and sell so many a month
- Write my book... and get a book deal
- Land a few freelance marketing clients for stability
I thought, “This is doable. A little ambitious...but definitely doable.”
Then, I pulled up my bank account to see what I was actually making on a monthly basis. I calculated the hypotheticals and the total number equaled exactly what I was making from my salary. No joke.
I sat on my living room floor crying because I just couldn’t believe how real it was. There it is. Income replaced. It won’t be easy, but it’s absolutely possible.
I’ve learned that there’s a huge difference in knowing and acting. We can know something for a long time, but I believe it takes a whole other part of you to actually start acting on that knowledge. It’s kind of like knowing you should move your body or eat whole, real foods and then actually making the choices every day that bring that knowing to life.
Our daily choices shape our lives just as much (or more) than our daily thoughts.
Between the knowing and acting I would ask myself,
What if this doesn’t work… how could I ever go back when I know what I know?
Can I “throw it all away”?
Does leaving mean it’s gone?
Does “quitting” mean I’m a failure?
No. That can’t be true.
I decided I’d tell my boss at the end of summer and finish out the year to get all of my work organized. Well...naturally plans like these are never really in our control. The conversation got bumped up to July and I let it all out. Knowing good and well my boss would probably tell me, “Great, this is your two weeks”. But, he didn't. Instead, he asked, “What do you need to be happy? What do you want to do next?”
Uh. What? I think I was in shock for the next few days trying to decide what was best for me. Turns out I’m the only one who knows that...and I had to decide.
The best way I’ve found for getting answers to my questions is by grabbing my journal and writing the question that I have, over and over. I write the question until finally, I start writing answers. I let my freewriting do the work.
I believe we have the answers to all of our questions inside of us somewhere. The problem is we rarely ask ourselves. Instead, we outsource, to friends and family and strangers, begging for the answers to our problems when only we know the true answer.
I gave my notice to leave and immediately felt lighter. I cried and smiled and cried some more.
On Day One of “being my own boss”, I got a phone call from a friend sending business my way. My first real client on my own. Opportunities were opening up around every corner and it was honestly kind of surreal.
But it wasn’t luck. It was the result of all the work I’d done at the agency. Everything I left did mean something. The time I spent there was time spent building up my reputation in my field of expertise and creating connections that would fuel this next chapter. Turns out, I didn’t “throw it all away” — I simply took the next best step I needed in my life to thrive and my choices got me here.
Leaving doesn’t mean I’m a failure. Leaving doesn’t mean people will hate me or be disappointed in me. Leaving isn’t the end of the world — it’s the beginning.
The truth is, it is possible to create and build whatever you dream of daily. I discovered that I can be the fullest Me I could ever imagine, but I couldn’t stay and have that too.
Something my partner says is, “In what conditions would you thrive?”
I ask myself this question a lot. Mostly because of the beautiful nature of this always-evolving life. I’ve come to see that my happily ever after lies in the here and now. Keeping a fresh perspective on the life in which I would thrive helps me adapt, grow, and continue to learn every day.
I knew I needed freedom from daily tasks and work-place politics. I needed to be in control of my own schedule so that my creativity could flow. I needed space and time to create. And, I wasn’t getting that where I was.
Consider asking yourself this question and see what comes up.
“In what conditions would I thrive?”
Jumping wasn’t easy. It’s actually the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There were days where I cried and questioned if this was going to work out. There were days where more doubt ran through my mind than ideas. Getting here was exhausting and an emotional roller coaster, but being here is the most incredible, “dream world come to life” I could ever imagine.
I don’t believe everyone should quit their job and “jump”, but we likely won’t get our dream life handed to us on a silver platter. I believe we have to do the work necessary to discover what’s true for us. The work that involves asking the hard questions, trusting our gut, and having a little faith.
You know the answers to your questions, so start asking.
In episode 008 of 20 Minute Talks, we get an interesting look at my friendship with Amber and our ability to talk to a 7 year old for 20 minutes while day drinking.
*apologies for yelling into the camera constantly and well… most of this episode - haha!!
You can find Amber over on Instagram @Amber_X_3
About 20 Minute Talks
20 Minute Talks with Hailey Heishman is a video series that highlights interesting people in an unedited, unscripted format.
Are you interesting? Want to be on the show? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org