Saturday morning I woke up in a cozy little nook in a twin-sized bed sleeping head to feet with one of my old co-workers.
The sun had just started peeking through clouds over the mountains outside and early risers had already started blasting music over a sound system. Hungover, confused and staring at a ladybug crawling up a wall, I thought, "Where am I? Oh yeah, I remember now. Asheville."
My head was pounding, the nausea was creeping in and all I wanted to do was sleep for the rest of the day. Who would've thought a girl's night in would lead to a worse hangover than a night out?
As an only child and a self-proclaimed extroverted introvert, I'm constantly torn between wanting to curl up in a ball alone and watch Netflix or chat it up with strangers during a night on the town.
A challenging issue, you can imagine, for a writer seeking inspiration from nightlife experiences. Nevertheless, I knew I had to put my anxiety aside when two of my co-workers suggested a girl's trip to Asheville to celebrate their birthdays. And even though I knew I would rehearse every excuse in the book to avoid forced, large-group social interaction, it was clear that between the election and the never-ending routine of having a 9-to-5, I needed to get away from the city for a bit.
My half-day at work flew by and the next thing I knew, another co-worker and I were in her car, chatting each other's heads off and en route to the mountains.
As our distance away from the QC increased, my anxiety decreased and I found myself more excited to spend a weekend away from it all. Or maybe it was the RBV I mixed before we left? Whatever the case may have been, we were ecstatic to be the first to explore our four bedroom, four bath, 2,700 square foot log cabin (and claim our beds, of course).
Even though we decided to stay in Friday, we raged like we would've any other night. Céline Dion, Aminé's "Caroline" and Prince's "Purple Rain," echoed throughout the house and even outside as we utilized the cabin's stereo system.
Did you know that nine girls could finish off three handles of vodka, wine and cases of beer? Well, we did. Three of us made it to 2 a.m. and that's when we thought it would be a good idea to open and a bottle of champagne. But guess who was the only person truly hungover and violently holding it all down in an Uber ride to Burial Beer Co., our first stop of the day? That's right. Yours truly.
After forcing my first beer, however, I was ready to rally. It only took two stops and an epic pic to upload to Instagram for me to realize what all the fuss is about when it comes to Asheville.
The downtown area reminded me of NoDa with all of its murals, hole-in-the-wall bars, breweries and foodie spots. The difference? Asheville can eat NoDa. Beards, manbuns, dogs, babies, Carhartts, hiking boots and sunnies have never looked better.
Did I mention a handcrafted cocktail only cost $5? Tell me, where can you get a craft cocktail in Charlotte for the low low?
Our Saturday itinerary included: Burial Beer Co., French Broad Chocolates, Green Man Brewery, The Funkatorium (the East Coast's first sour taproom), Twin Leaf Brewery, Cúrate (for Spanish tapas), Sovereign Remedies, MG Road Bar & Lounge and Tiger Mountain.
There was one more at the end but come on, give me credit for remembering all that! And before you knew it, we were popping champagne bottles back at the cabin.
You must be wondering how I managed to make it all day Saturday? I only drank one beer at every brewery we went to before dinner and followed each up with a water. I didn't start drinking liquor until dinner and, even then, I kept myself to one drink at each bar.
Though I was still hungover the next morning as we prepared to clean up our mess and head home, I was beyond proud of my accomplishment.
After four chicken nuggets from McDs on the way back to Charlotte, I felt the need to reconnect with my Asheville experience. So a few friends and I decided to head over to NoDa for a few more hipster vibes before the weekend came to an end.
I've already started planning my next Queen City escape. Where do you go when you need to get our Charlotte for a little bit? Share it with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.