I’ve mentioned before that I just barely live in Asheville. My apartment complex is the last complex on Alternate Route 74 before Asheville turns into Fairview, which you can choose to view as a bucolic Asheville suburb that feels properly rural despite being only 15 minutes from the city’s bustling downtown, or where formerly hip, young Asheville professionals go when they’re ready to trade in their city bungalows and late nights for a life of lawncare obsession and mommy blogging—I like to think of it as a nice mix of the two with some “Trump 2024…he’s back!!” folks thrown in there to keep everyone on their toes.
Now, I’m admittedly biased since Fairview’s an easier drive than downtown Asheville for me, but I feel like it’s overlooked and underrated in terms of a destination in its own right. You won’t see any Fairview attractions on any “must-see” Asheville guides, and even most Ashevillians I’m friendly with have only ever ventured out to Fairview at my insistence.
Black Mountain, Brevard, and Marshall are all lauded as great Asheville day trips (and all are great day trips), but Fairview is much closer and much less crowded if you’re cool with hiking, eating, brewery hopping, but leaving all the kitschy little tourist shops that populate those other towns for another day. Without further ado, here are my nouveau-local recommendations for a great little day in Fairview:
1. A Caffeinated Beverage at Daymoon Coffee Bar: I don’t drink coffee, so I can’t speak to the quality, but Daymoon Coffee Bar has a great frozen chai latte and a solid selection of baked goods. Daymoon also doubles as an independent book shop, and I’d love to know who picks their offerings because they seem to have a direct view of my Amazon wishlist (and, therefore, my wallet).
2. Brunch at The Local Joint: This is my one semi-uninformed recommendation. I’ve had bar food, The Joint Next Door, The Local Joint’s sister bar, but never at The Local Joint properly. Now, it gets good reviews, and I have one friend who confirmed The Local Joint has a solid brunch. Also, it’s usually crowded on Sunday mornings whenever I go get gas there (yes, The Local Joint is in a gas station plaza), and I’m 90% sure it’s the only place to get legitimate brunch in Fairview too.
3. Hike Bearwallow Mountain: Bearwallow Mountain is about twenty minutes outside of Fairview on the way to Lake Lure and well worth the drive. It’s an easy hike that won’t take more than two hours roundtrip (and that’s if you’re walking slowly and taking some time to lounge on top) and will make you feel better about all the beer and dairy I’m about to recommend you consume. My favorite part of Bearwallow is that it’s a bald peak due to grazing cattle who may just wander through your scenic photographs.
4. Wine and Cheese at Looking Glass Creamery: I can’t believe it took me so long to find this hidden gem. Looking Glass Creamery is a small dairy that feels like it’s part of a small, working farm (you can pet/feed their cows if you’d like—I guess this is a bovine-heavy blog today). You can stop, sample, and purchase cheese, but I recommend grabbing a cheese board, some wine, beer, or house-made cider and hanging out in their backyard patio. I’m about to sound like the kind of pretentious I claim to hate, but I recommend their honey-covered feta paired with berry jam on a cracker.
5. Beers at Turgua Brewing: Turgua feels like the closest thing to a proper farm brewery in the immediate Asheville area, even though it’s not (nor claims to be) on a farm (although I have been at Turgua when the goats from the farm next store escape and wander the property). Turgua has a great, sprawling backyard area that’s always lively but chill, and they often have bands on weekend afternoons (if you’re into bluegrass and bluegrass adjacent). Turgua typically has a food truck, and their beers are a bit more fruit-forward than many of the Asheville breweries (last time I was there, they had three different types of blueberry beer).
6. More Beers at Whistle Hop Brewing Company: I unabashedly love Whistle Hop. The taproom consists of a covered deck between an old boxcar and a caboose (you can climb and sit in the top of the caboose). They have mini-golf. They have disc golf. They have frisbee connect four, a small soccer field, a slide, firepit, lawn bowling, and many outdoor picnic tables. My favorite Whistle Hop beers are their banana wheat, blackberry lemonade gose, and mango milkshake IPA.
7. Get Ice Cream at Hill Top Ice Cream Shop: Hill Top conveniently shares a parking lot with Whistle Hop, and I recently wrote an entire blog dedicated to them. I love their ice cream—they even made me a mint chocolate chip believer, which I staunchly protested for years.
Bonus Stop #1: The Joint Next Door: I have a personal philosophy that if a gas station has a bar, I must check it out. The Joint Next Door is in a gas station, very reasonably priced, and they occasionally get the kinds of wedding-band style cover bands I cherish but find hard to locate in “real”-music-obsessed Asheville (I, unlike copious men with bad fedoras and forearm-feather tattoos, will NEVER complain about hearing an acoustic version of Brown Eyed Girl. NEVER).
Bonus Stop #2: The Piazza back in technically-Asheville: Go for the chicken piccata.
Bonus Stop #3: Highland Brewing: This Asheville legend isn’t close to downtown Asheville but is near Fairview.
Bonus Stop #4: Hillman Beer: This is a stretch if you have a designated driver and a strong liver—cheers!