If you’ve done a decent amount of reading Tour de Cincinnati, you know how much I love my dog and dog-friendly things to do. So when we started brainstorming ideas for a first anniversary trip, somewhere dog friendly topped the musts. We tossed around the idea of Hocking Hills before we decided to look up where Aloft Hotels are located within a reasonable driving distance. (When we stayed in Liverpool, we learned that Aloft Hotels are dog friendly.)
When we saw that Aloft has a location in Asheville, we knew that was the place.
We’d been wanting to return to Asheville since our brief visit in 2014, when we merely passed through to eat lunch and visit the Biltmore on our way to Charlotte. Thus, we got in the car, made the 5+ hour drive with Franklin in tow, stopping occasionally for food and to make sure he got in some walks. (He’d never made a road trip and doesn’t really care to be in the car.) So basically, the five-plus-hour trip ended up taking more like seven.
When we arrived to Asheville, we checked in, a little nervous what to expect—neither of us had brought a dog in a hotel before. Everyone was great, and there was even an adoptable dog in a gated area in the lobby. It was immediately clear how accepted dogs were not only at the Aloft, but just about everywhere in Asheville that followed. There is often drama about dogs being in public places in Cincinnati that I won’t get into, but as a dog owner, it is really nice to be able to bring your four-legged companions with you once in a while without judgment.
We started the trip with a patio visit to Wicked Weed Brewpub, where we enjoyed beers and company with other out-of-towners around the bonfire. Everyone loved Frank and commented on how much they love having dogs around public places. He was terrified of the fire, so he hid under a bench for most of the evening. We also checked out Bhramari Brewing where we had dinner, and stopped by Asheville Wine Market to get some retail beer we can’t easily get in Cincinnati before retiring for the night.
The next day I was up and going early, so I took Franklin on a city walk and to the dog park, plus exploring some of the River Arts District before we set off to have breakfast outside at City Bakery to fuel up to hike Graveyard Fields, a hiking trail just off of Blue Ridge Parkway. (I wanted to see waterfalls, and it was recommended to us the night before.) The weather was almost as beautiful as the trail, and it was a great way to spend a couple of hours. I think Franklin enjoyed it, too. When we headed back to the city we decided to check out more breweries. (Let’s be honest, that was our primary motivation behind going on the trip to begin with.)
We stopped by New Belgium’s Asheville brewery and tasting room (it’s originally based out of Fort Collins, CO), which looked more like Summit Park than a brewing facility. There were food trucks, an expansive outdoor space and green areas, a giant production facility, and a tasting room with outdoor seating that overlooked the French Broad River. We got a flight and a six pack while Franklin chilled out on the patio with a bowl of water—of course while saying hello to neighboring dogs.
After New Belgium, we made our way to Hi-Wire, Ben’s Tune-Up (one of three sake brewers on the east coast), Asheville Brewing Company, and Green Man Brewery, which was celebrating its 20th year while we were there (in 2017).
Aloft’s dog-friendly accommodations and Asheville’s dog-loving city gave us the best opportunity to share a year of marriage with our favorite guy. We were able to make a short road trip for a two-night stay in a wonderful city, hike a beautiful trail, see beautiful sights, eat delicious food, and drink excellent beer in one of the country’s most notoriously good beer cities.
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Featured image: BK and Franklin hiking Graveyard Fields