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It's always fun to go somewhere new, but's it's a hassel when not knowing where you can the necessities in life when you want them! Where to go to get a good steak, a great ice cream cone, or even find a well-stocked grocery store while you're traveling can make things far easier. What places are good, and what we would have wished to have passed on, are good things to know about beforehand. Especially when you're thinking about moving here and making a piece of your favorite Asheville Real Estate your home, it's always handy to quickly know where it's recommended to "get stuff" and become familiar with the best places to shop and eat, and well, generally live within our communities.
So, with that in mind, I've taken the opportunity to share with a few of my favorite things in Asheville that may interest you, especially if you're new in the area and would like a few recommendations as to what are the best Supermarkets, Dry Cleaners, Pizza Places, etc, and what to expect: (The following are unsolicited opinions and represent my own personal feelings alone.)
It's my hope that as your Asheville Real Estate Broker and Realtor, this convenience will make your real estate experience even more pleasant and satisfying, and give you a hand in getting to love Asheville as I do.... Also, check out my Asheville Useful Links page which features a lot of other information about Asheville, such as handy links for getting your automobile and driving license changed, etc, that just makes everything easier.
My Favorite Dry Cleaners: For the best quality cleaning care and consistent customer service, go to Swannanoa's Cleaners: 6 locations around town. They've been here since 1900! Call for your nearest location: 274-7550. Frankly, the others are often not that knowledgeable, consistent, or friendly....
My Favorite Specialty Cheese Market: And if you really like cheese the way I do, try visiting Ferrence Cheese, Inc. on 174-A Weaverville Hwy, call 828-658-3101, (retail and wholesale) who offer the best selection of cheeses in Asheville for over 40 years; offering up to 230 varieties of cheese to select from, including sealed quarter rounds of aged Parmigano Reggiano (the real thing), Pecorino Romano, Locatelli Romano, Asiago, Fontinella, Double and triple cream Brie's, Camembert's, assorted sharp cheddars, good imported canned Virgin and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and fine chocolates. Also, Earth Fare supermarket (see below) on the south side of Asheville on Hendersonville Road has a surprisingly if not tremendous cheese department with offerings from all over the world, especially full rounds of Parmigano Reggiano and some of the sharpest cheddars you'll come across.
My Favorite Ice Cream Parlor-Store: If you like ice cream as much as I do, try visiting The Marble Slab Creamery, located in downtown Asheville at 14 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801; Tel: 828-225-5579, and their newest locale on Hendersonville Road at Gerber Village. It's great to find a place that really does make its own Fresh Ice Cream (a special process that takes 2 days to harden at -20 degrees and then brought back to 0 to 5 degrees for serving), from scratch with all natural ingredients right there on the premises, and then served up in a home-made freshly baked and rolled waffle cone (choose your flavor of cone as well)! Real Super-Premium Homemade Ice Cream made just like when you were a kid, in a host of 44 nostalgic flavors (including Double Dark Chocolate, Vanilla Cinnamon, Butter Pecan, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Mint, Maple, Egg Nog, Banana Rum, Chocolate Amaretto, Apple 'n' Spice, Old Fashioned Strawberry, Coconut, and even Bubblegum to name just a few!). And they go the extra mile with loads of delectable toppings that they then hand blend on a frozen cold marble slab (kept at 28 to 30 degrees) right before your eyes. It just doesn't get better! Unless of course, you're addicted to other desserts as well, including nonfat Soft-Serve Frozen Yogurt, Smoothies, Shakes and Malts, Sundaes, Banana Splits, Ice Cream Cakes and Pies, Homemade Cookies and Brownies, Fresh-Baked Apple Pie and Gourmet Coffees, because they serve all of these as well.... So, you better plan on spending some time there! Also, you must try French Fryz on Hendersonville Road, just a half block south of Long Shoals. A better homemade ice cream milk shake cannot be had in all the world! This is a must for ice cream milk shake hounds! They serve their own charcoaled grilled hamburgers and hotdogs as well, and their French Fries are all hand cut and prepared--never frozen..., tasty, salty and hot!
My Favorite Supermarkets: The Fresh Market out on 944 Merrimon Avenue (Tel: 252-9098) in Northeast Asheville is clearly the best overall specialty Supermarket in town for the best fresh cut meats featuring fully marbled USDA PRIME AGED BEEF, as well as the more economical USDA Choice Beef (the next USDA grade down), large organic chickens, turkeys, fresh lamb, excellent cuts of NC Pork and slab bacon, all in their old-style butcher section, as well as fresh Fish (Seasonal Ocean and Fresh Water) and great year-round fresh produce (consistently the best in Asheville), fresh baked breads and pastries, fantastic customer service and quick check-out, although a little low on sundry items and their Deli is a little disappointing but sufficient, except for their wine selection, which offers an outstanding selection. For sundry items go to Harris Teeter (so-called upper-end supermarket) on Hendersonville Road right by the Blue Ridge Parkway who also feature fresh baked French and Tuscan Breads, as well as a fairly good wine selection, or try Ingles Supermarkets. Ingles is a large, modern, and very clean NC chain comparable to any chain in the USA with great store-to-store consistency offering most common national brands, and you can conveniently find one all over Asheville. Their newest to open soon is the largest in NC, located directly across from Earth Fare on Hendersonville Road and Mills gap. Go to Earth Fare --- 2 Asheville locations: First, newest and finest on Hendersonville Road right before Mills Gap Road (across the street from Ingles), and the second in the West Gate Shopping Mall for Organic, Natural, and especially Whole Bulk Foods, offering a good selection of Nutritional Supplements, Nutraceuticals, and Homeopathics as well, although you pay full retail. Also stop in at the WNC Farmer's Market right off of I-40 and Brevard Road for good selection of local specialties (local honeys and jams) and Seasonal Produce as well. It's also recommended that you travel to Sam's Club for a variety of bulk foods and household items, with a good meat section and a friendly staff of butchers that offer a broad range of cuts of Choice Beef, Pork, Lamb, and organic Chicken, as well as fully prepared foods such as rotisserie roasted chickens (the best in town!), Koshered Hot Dogs" (Hebrew National---juicy and fantastic on the grill if you're a hotdog lover!), some seafood (fresh shucked Oysters, lump Crab meat, whole slabs of farmed Salmon, frozen King Crab & Shrimp, and an excellent offering of fresh fish every weekend, including fresh caught haddock, swordfish, Clip, Grouper, NC farm fresh Tilapia, Catfish etc.), fresh baked Hoagie Rolls and assorted Muffins, as well as other specials throughout the year, including bulk vegetables (potatoes, onions, etc), Hearts of Romaine, Peppers, Mushrooms, Artichokes, and the standard fruit fare of apples, grapefruits, oranges, etc, and a large frozen foods section including a smorgasbord of hors d'oeuvres & snacks, and a fair selection of cheeses (St. Andre's Triple Cream Brie, Havarti, Cabot Vermont Sharp Cheddar, etc.) at a good price.
My Favorite Hotels: Two Hotels stand above all else in the area: The Inn at Biltmore Estate (1-800-624-1575; $229-$449 per night) and the Grove Park Inn-Resort & Spa (1-800-438-5800; $90-$730 per night). Both are as good, if not better, than Ritz-Carlton's in accommodations and amenities. The Inn at Biltmore Estate, a 4-Star and 4-Diamond Hotel, is actually beautifully situated within the Biltmore Estate itself, and offers all the comforts and fun of a fine Estate over a hundred years ago, with its own winery, extensive gardens, the world famous Biltmore House, and a host of other activities. The Grove Park Inn-Resort & Spa also has a fully functioning Health Spa housed within its facility, its own prestigious 18-hole Golf Course first opened in 1899, and is of international fame for the last 100 years. Quite adequate, if not beautifully appointed rooms, can be found at the Renaissance Asheville (1-828-252-8211; $129-$179 per night) in the heart of the City, and pleasant accommodations are had at the Biltmore Inns (1-866-613-9330; $45-$105 per night) with an adjoining TGIF's for fast and good food fare. Also quite accommodating is the Hampton Inn (1-800-255-9220) on Tunnel Road just outside the City. A comfortable Super Eight Motel-Biltmore East (828-277-1800) also on Tunnel Road allows you to bring your pets into your rooms, if need be: this motel will give you a 10% discount realtor rate when requested. A complete line of Asheville's Hotels can be found also by clicking here. And all of Asheville's Bed & Breakfasts can be found here.
My Favorite Pizza: I know it's a "chain," but rather surprisingly, Papa John's Pizza is the best by a mile---especially if you tell them not to cut it, and throw it on your own hot pizza stone in your home oven with extra garlic for extra crisping! Fantastic! Best crust by far --- from their own homemade dough that takes 3 days to cure and rise --- "L'ancient" method of rising. Now that's real Italian and hand thrown! Thin and Original Crust (not thick crust: Chicago Style). Fairly good spicy sauce and condiments; offering mild as well as hot Italian sausage. Better consistency than any in town, even better than the so-called specialty pizza places, and they deliver! 3 city-wide locations.
My Favorite Submarine Sandwich:
Founded by Firemen, Firehouse Subs are the best by far.
Everything is oven-steam-baked and oven-broiled (except chicken salad and tuna
salad subs), so the subs are always hot, juicy and the most flavor-filled
around. Lean Smoked Brisket and Pastrami, as are all meats, are always
separately steamed and then oven-baked in the sub. Always tender.
Always juicy. Meatballs/sauce are spicy and hot. Closest thing
to NYC you can get. Steak sub with melted provolone, sautéed onion and
bell peppers is right out of Philadelphia. Generous portions (much
better than Subway), fresh bread/sub rolls have excellent crust to crumb
ratio (nicely proportioned) and room enough in the place to sit down and eat
while on the go. Two city locations: Tunnel Road and Long Shoals Road.
My Favorite Restaurants: Please note: I like good service with good, rich and tasty but simple fare, and I'm not impressed with nouveau-trendiness (as in "vertical" food placement) which seems rampant across the USA. With that in mind I can recommend two places for seafood: The Lobster Trap in downtown Asheville, (828-350-0505) voted #1 in WNC: great for its rustic fresh oyster bar, clam steamers, Maine lobsters--clam-bake style, and other fresh assorted seafood, offering good food in an informal atmosphere. Out on Long Shoals and I-26,in the Biltmore Park Town Square, there are a fine selection of restaurants (clustered around the Movie theatres) that are worth attending to for a night out on the town. One in particular is P.F.Chang's China Bistro, an absolute must for upscale great Chinese Cuisine. Excellent quality, great menu and assortment of authentic Asian bistro and popular Chinese vendor "street-foods" from the grill, steamed and stir-fried. Double fried noodles are fantastic, and their garlic noodles scream as well. Good roomy seating with modern Asian decor. It's one of the consistently best Chinese restaurants there are in the U.S.A.--- most popular in Arizona and California. Carrabba's Italian Grill on 10 Buckstone Place, just off of Tunnel Road (828-281-2300) and a second location out off of Airport Road, just a stones throw from Lowes and Best Buy, is consistently good for Sicilian Italian food, though they serve dinner only. In the heart of downtown Asheville is Da Vincenzo's Restorante & Bistro (828-254-4698) offers a good Northern Italian menu which is a little more formal and upscale with its own adjoining Bistro Bar and nightly live music; serving dinner only; call for dinner reservations to avoid disappointment. At 620 Hendersonville Road is Province 620 (828-277-0355) which offers a delightfully large and varied solid American menu, catering to fresh fish and thick hand-cut steak eaters alike; all large portions uniquely served with music from the 40's. Finally, Frankie Bones further out on Hendersonville road in the Gerber Village Center offers a robust American-Italian upscale menu open for lunch and dinner 7-days a week, and also serving Sunday Brunch---it's best to call for dinner reservations (1-828-274-7111) as it is very popular locally. On the more informal side of things, of course our local TGI Fridays at Biltmore Village and Ruby Tuesdays on the Airport Road (across from Carrabba's) are always good for prime burgers, steaks and salads, as well as Tripp's Restaurant in the center of Downtown. For a good thick hand-cut steak when you're in a hurry (and just stone's throw from TGI Fridays) is the Texas Roadhouse; it is surprisingly good (though there is no prime beef offered) and very, very casual if you don't mind castaway peanut shells on the floor--but the peanuts are good!
My Favorite Pharmacy, Vitamin & Supplement Store: Fortunately, Asheville has Nature's Pharmacy an excellent on-site Compounding Pharmacy that deals informatively and professionally with their clientele, offering single and combination herbs, Homeopathics, as well as fulfilling prescriptions and compounding them right within their own lab. I also recommend the online shop called the Vitamin Shoppe, which offers great variety (all the brands) as well as good discounts, including 40% off retail of their own Vitamin Shoppe label. They ship nationwide, keep your old order so that it's easy to reorder and are consistently of higher quality than most others according to those in the know! The best place (on or off line) for over-the-counter Free Form (non-configured) Amino Acids is JoMar Laboratories offering pharmaceutical grade amino acids in capsules and in powder form: their "21 Pure Form" formula is an "essential" for me. In case you didn't know, Amino Acids are critically more important and even more necessary and essential than plain vitamins, for keeping us young, healthy and disease free. Lastly, for a great array of astutely formulated Nutraceuticals, go to Life Extension Foundation and become a member to save up to 40%. Life Extension is a global authority on health, wellness and nutrition as well as a respected provider of scientific information on disease prevention. They supply only the highest quality premium grade dietary supplements, minerals, herbs and vitamins.
My Favorite Car Wash: For the best in the South of Asheville for detailing and general cleaning try Chammies Car Wash on Hendersonville Road which includes a Jiffy-Lube bay as well ($10+)! For quick drive-through offering completely automatic bays, try the Blue Ridge Laser Wash on Hendersonville road--nothing touches the vehicle but high pressure water--no brushes or cloths but you get a clean and thorough wash/wax with no-spot rinse and a blow dry ($6-$10)!
My Favorite Banks: Two solid banks in Asheville offer outstanding customer and banking service that go beyond the call of duty. First Citizen's Bank and the Bank of Asheville are both recommended without hesitation for all your banking needs. They are as competitive with all of the bigger national banks (such as Bank of America) but offer a neighborly experience that is outstanding and often unexpected! These are locally owned and economically conservative.
My Favorite Movie Theaters: Carmicke 10 Cinemas: great picture, great sound and acoustics (all theaters feature digital picture and sound: DLP-Digital Projection and full Digital THX, Dolby sound), and great, large, comfortable rocking seats with good viewing; no difficulty in seeing over the person in front of you-- the best in Asheville, but alas, skimpy and poor popcorn! New: Regal's Biltmore Grande Stadium 15: All digital picture and sound in 15 theaters. Good and amply serviced concession stand, decent popcorn. Stadium seating is generally preferred, but the seats in this theater are poorly designed --- very narrow and uncomfortable with little padding --- like sitting in "coach" on an airline. Makes you wonder who designed the seating for these theaters in the first place. UA Beaucatcher 7 Theaters: a little older but still nice (digital sound only-no digital projection), larger seats with lots of leg room --- second best in Asheville with regards to the theater experience, but offers a better concession stand & much better popcorn. Biltmore 6: At the Biltmore Square Mall, offering 6 average theaters. Regal Hollywood Cinemas 14: although offering a lot of theaters, good movie choice, and pretty good popcorn, in my opinion it often offers a poor (out of focused) picture, consistently bad sound (muffled), consistently uncomfortable, often broken seats--especially in the bigger theaters on the aisles--and generally in need of a serious upgrade! For a current listing of all movies currently showing (and their showing-times) in all Asheville movie theaters, Click here.
My Favorite Cell Phone Service: Verizon (Bell) will give you the best coverage all over the hills and valleys of Asheville and throughout North Carolina. US Cellular gives the next best coverage, although SunCom (ATT) is new and will soon give satellite coverage that promises to exceed the coverage of even Verizon..., but that remains to be seen. To my mind, US Sprint offers the worst coverage (most sporadic) in the area.
My Favorite Equestrian Center: Located on the Biltmore Estate, the Biltmore Estate Equestrian Center is the best horseback riding and boarding facility in the area catering to both eastern and western riding styles and their clientele, with unsurpassed riding trails (100+ miles), riding lessons, competitions and showings, and numerous other national events (Show & Endurance). Also offers hourly western trail rides with supervision and skilled trail guides for all your guests and friends.
My Favorite Bicycle Store: Liberty Bicycles on 1376 Hendersonville Road will take care of all your bicycling needs, with quick attention to all mechanical and repair problems with on-hand store mechanics to fit and fix your bike to your personal needs. A wide and beautiful selection of bikes for the bike enthusiast are always in stock, and available for any price point, to the casual weekender to the sports enthusiast for both you and your wheels, as well as a good selection of accessories and safety equipment and bike mounts/carriers for your car. Call them at 828-274-2453.
My Favorite Plant Nursery: For some of the freshest plants and best if not largest selection go to B.B.Barnes out on Sweeten Creek Road! You can find everything that the ardent gardener needs, including high quality hardware and gardening accessories. Not to be forgotten, Home Depot and Lowes off of the ring road, I-240, also have good plants at the right time of the year, and some good sales too! For good bargains, try the Farmers' Market as well, especially in the spring when annuals and perennials are in good stock! Call 828-650-7300.
My Favorite Kitchen and Bathroom Counter-Tops: As a realtor, I have learned a lot about kitchen and bathroom counter-top materials. The newest material, and now by far the best in so many ways, is made by CAMBRIA, the only producer of quartz surfaces here in America. This product is 100% natural quartz--having the look and feel of granite with superior performance, being much harder than even granite (which by the way is a stone made from 50-70% quartz and softer minerals). Cambria quartz comes in any color imaginable, never needs resealing (like granite and marble do) and is 100% food safe (granite is not as food juices can penetrate the surface---bet you didn't know that!). Because its virtually non-absorbent, there is no worry of food or bacteria like salmonella or e-coli penetrating CAMBRIA stone. That's why CAMBRIA received NSF certification----National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF) is required for commercial kitchen Splash Zones, and Food Zones---This is the same certification level as stainless steel. Most homeowners don't understand that Granite requires sealing and is not NSF certified. Visit their website to learn more about this wonderful material before you do any remodeling! There are places here in town that carry Cambria Quartz.
My Favorite Water Heater: For some of us, paying to heat water around the clock is intuitively inefficient. Rinnai Continuum Water Heaters move us into the future....without the bulk and limitations of a tank....being 50-80% more efficient than conventional tank water-heaters and providing up to 8 1/2 gallons per minute of hot water on demand. With advanced keypads placed anywhere you want, the temperature of the water can be reset instantly, for immediate hot water without the bulk and trouble of a water-heater. Go to Rinnai to learn more about the future of heating water on demand!
Mr. Rooter Plumbers
here are some local professional plumbers that actually show up at your door
when they promised! And they're available 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, and
no extra charge for the odd hours! And they actually show up at the exact
hour they promise----no "we'll be there between 12-4 pm" kind of thing....
There is no extra charge for nights or weekends, you know the price before they
start, and there's never an overtime charge. These plumbers are clean and
professional: they even come with their own floor mats and place
disposable surgical booties over their shoes before entering your home, and they
get it fixed right the first time. All workmanship and parts are guaranteed.
These are the only reliable plumbers in the area. Believe me!! Call
Mr. Rooter Plumbing today!
My Favorite Appliance Store: Haywood Appliance (1-828-627-0001 and 1-800-849-0235) where you can buy where the builders buy, and at a good discount that generally beats the national chain stores! Located in Clyde, North Carolina, they’re just a short 30 minute drive from Asheville out on I-40 west, and service all counties in Western North Carolina. Aside from having great prices, what sets us apart from the rest is their commitment to 100% customer satisfaction. Please ask for Mr. Steve Adams in sales who will take care of your every desire. Haywood provides prompt and courteous delivery, and maintain their own service and parts department. They are authorized sales and service dealers of all the finest brands on the market including Sub-Zero, Viking, Wolf, Thermador, Gaggenau, Bosch, Maytag, Miele, Monogram, and more. If you can't find it here, they don't make it! They carry all major appliances, and will deliver and setup, as well as haul away the old for you it you want. Check out their website by just clicking on their name above.
Remember: Buying and selling a luxury home or finding that special piece of Asheville Real
Estate with Kathleen Blanchette,
a fully licensed Asheville Real Estate Broker and Realtor, is a comprehensive and thoroughly professional
experience in buying and selling Asheville Real Estate throughout the Blueridge
and Smokey Mountains, where efficiency, personal regard and concierge services are
guaranteed every step of the way. Keeping the Tradition of Integrity...,
and a Reputation for Results!
Whether its a North Carolina luxury homes on your own Private Mountain Estate in one of our uniquely designed plush Golfing Communities, Exclusive Gated Communities, Active Adult Communities, surrounding Lake Communities, or a great Condominium, Loft or Townhome, all of Greater Asheville and Hendersonville Luxury Homes are within reach with Kathleen Blanchette. Feel Free to browse the entire website of all available Greater Asheville Real Estate MLS and Western North Carolina MLS, for all Asheville Real Estate Properties, Land Acreage, Horse farms, Investment Properties, Commercial Real Estate, New Home Plans, as well as handy relocation and moving calculators, tips for buying and selling a house, city and school reports, and more. Just call us when you're ready to move ahead!