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Scraps: Notes for a future Asheville, NC trip

This post should probably be an entry in Dog Jaunt’s Facebook page, since it’s just a couple of ideas for a future, more thorough Asheville visit, but Facebook entries scroll away into oblivion, and blog posts don’t. Please (please!) feel free to add your own Asheville notes and ideas in a comment, for other travelers with dogs.

I spent a little time in Asheville, NC last week en route to, and returning from, a session at Penland School of Crafts. I kept the exploring to a minimum, because I want to return to Asheville with my husband and with Chloe (who was not allowed to join me at Penland), and I think it’s more fun to discover stuff together. Even with blinders on, though, I noticed that several restaurants allowed diners to sit on patios with dogs at their feet, and that many stores had water bowls in front.

The most enchanting place I found was the Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar, located in the exquisite Grove Arcade (walk through the arcade, for sure, but the entrance to the book store is outside, at the corner of Battery Park Ave. and O Henry Ave.). This place hits every button I have: It’s full of used books, organized into a series of cozy nooks packed with couches and armchairs, and which you can read while sipping wine and eating tasty nibbles; it has wifi; and dogs are welcome. To get to the bar to buy my out-of-print book on Lithuanian cooking, I had to meet Cooper, an adorable black Labrador:

A truly terrible picture (there was pressure! people were stacked up behind me, waiting to pay for their purchases!) of wonderful Cooper, calmly surveying the Book Exchange from a corner of the bar

Cooper and I shook hands, and when I asked the cashier if pet dogs were indeed as welcome as they appeared to be, she assured me they were — and in fact, they’re allowed on the furniture. Here’s a picture of the interior. We’ll be moving in.

Bar in the foreground, view through a bookshelf to one of many, many cozy nooks

When you think of Asheville, you also think of the Biltmore, “America’s Largest Home” — and here I have some good news and some bad news. Good news: Leashed dogs are welcome in the Biltmore’s extensive grounds (“Experience the grounds of our estate at your own pace with our extensive network of nearly 22 round-trip miles of hiking trails. Enjoy a walk along the French Broad River, through lush green forests, or the open meadows of Deer Park. Take a stroll on the 2.5 miles of mulched paths in our manicured gardens. Stop by the Bike Barn or Outdoor Adventure Center in Antler Hill Village for a detailed trail map and orientation.”). Not-so-good news: An estate admission ticket, required to walk in the Biltmore’s grounds, costs about $50. Click here for pictures, from friends Amy & Rod Burkert, of their Biltmore visit with pups Buster & Ty. Please note that the Biltmore has “a very limited number of outdoor, unattended pet kennels…. They are self-service and available on a first-come, first-served basis.” I have not seen them, so I can’t tell you if they’re clean, shaded, provided with water, and secure — or not. When we return, we’ll check them out and report.

Bad news: Pet dogs are not allowed inside any of the buildings on the Biltmore estate, including the Inn on Biltmore Estate. When we return, we’ll be staying instead at the Biltmore Village Inn, a lovely and highly-rated B&B located five blocks from the main entrance to the estate. “Well-behaved dogs of a moderate size” are allowed in two of the rooms in the Carriage House, for $25 per night/per pet.

Please note that Biltmore Village is a small community located south of downtown Asheville. The two areas are driving distance apart. We might, therefore, decide to stay in a downtown Asheville hotel, and if so, we’ll likely choose between the Hotel Indigo (we’ve had good experiences with a Hotel Indigo in Sarasota, FL) or the Haywood Park Hotel.

One last note: The Grove Park Inn, a gorgeous and historic resort located five miles from Asheville, also welcomes pets.