Asheville with Libby Endry

The creative shop owner of The Gardener’s Cottage in Asheville, North Carolina, shares her favorite places to stay, eat, drink, sightsee, and shop in the city she calls home

Libby Endry, owner of the Gardener's Cottage in Asheville, NCLibby Endry may be a Florida native, but Asheville, North Carolina, is most definitely her hometown. Her shop, The Gardener’s Cottage in Historic Biltmore Village, is a destination for locals, tourists, and regional designers including Cindy Smith of Circa Interiors, Margaret Kirkland, and James Farmer.

Next time you visit Asheville, let her be your guide to the best the city has to offer with this list.

Where to Stay in Asheville

The Grove Park Inn is one of Asheville’s most historic hotels. I love it for the great big fireplace in the lobby, the beautiful view on the terrace, and an unbelievable spa that I wish I could visit more often.

Best hotels in Asheville, NC: A view of the stone facade of The Grove Park Inn against a pink sunset. Twinkling tree lights follow the curve of the driveway, leading to the hotel entrance.
The Grove Park Inn (Courtesy of Omni Resorts)

The Foundry is one of our newer hotels right downtown. It houses the popular new restaurant Benne on Eagle, which serves up Appalachian soul food.

Best hotels in Asheville: A room at The Foundry, featuring exposed brick walls and a view looking onto a large stained glass window of a church in downtown Asheville
The Foundry (Courtesy of The Foundry Hotel)

Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville has a cozy lodge feel right in the middle of Historic Biltmore Village. Once again, there’s a great big fireplace in the middle of the lobby alongside a great restaurant/bar called the Red Stag Grill Lounge.

Best hotels in Asheville, NC: The dark, cozy hunting-lodge-esque bar of Grand Bohemian Hotel
Red Stag Grill Lounge at Grand Bohemian (Courtesy of Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville)

I love feeling like a tourist in my own town, and The Inn on Biltmore Estate definitely gives me that feeling of being on vacation. It is especially elegant with gorgeous garden and mountain views of the property and relaxing piano music in the lobby. It’s fun to have a drink on their beautiful terrace.

The Inn on Biltmore Estate (Courtesy of The Biltmore Company)

Where to Sip and Savor in Asheville

“I could go on and on about the food in Asheville. It’s honestly hard to keep up with all of the wonderful new spots constantly popping up. I could eat for a living in this town!” — Libby Endry

Best bars in Asheville, NC: Sovereign Remedies
Sovereign Remedies (Chelsea Lane Photography)

Sovereign Remedies is one of the best spots in town to grab a drink. Fabulous cocktails and bites.

Cultura is a new hotspot in the South Slope area. It has amazing small bites and a great bar for people watching. Try the new potatoes (more exciting than it sounds, I promise).

For drinks with a view, try The Montford Rooftop Bar or Capella on 9. Both have spectacular panoramic mountain views.

best rooftop bars in Asheville, NC
View from The Montford Rooftop Bar decked in tropical-themed holiday decor (via @themontford, Instagram)

Vivian is a small, cozy spot in Asheville’s River Arts District with fantastic food and a cute bar. From 5 to 6 p.m. every evening they offer “Viv Nibs,” which are smaller versions of menu items at about half the price—perfect for a cocktail and appetizer. The mussels are amazing!

Bouchon is a longtime favorite of mine for casual French fare. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, and the Steak au Poivre and Steak Frites Bouchon never disappoint.

Gan Shan Station has one of my favorite dishes in Asheville, the Pork Ramen. It’s located in a converted gas station in North Asheville and has a really cool ambiance.

best ramen in Asheville: Chopsticks lift noodles from a brothy bowl of pork ramen at Gan Shan Station in Asheville
Pork Ramen at Gan Shan Station (Photo by @foodshinobi, Instagram)

The Corner Kitchen always does such a great job. They’re located in one of the Tudor-style cottages in Historic Biltmore Village, so the atmosphere is charming and both locals and tourists love it. I love their Biscuit Bennies for brunch and the fried oyster salad.

Sawhorse is one of our newer local favorites, an all-day neighborhood restaurant with a focus on comfort food and known for their signature pancakes.

Best of Asheville, NC: Pancakes at Sawhorse
Pancakes at Sawhorse (via @sawhorse_avl, Instagram)

The charming Owl Bakery in the heart of West Asheville offers gorgeous breads and pastries and amazing quiche.

Liberty House Coffee and Café is one of my favorite coffee houses. It has a nice garden area, great coffee, and light bites for breakfast or lunch.

Best coffee in Asheville: Liberty House Coffee and Cafe; drink with foam in a Christmas tree design sprinkled with crushed peppermint
White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha at Liberty House Coffee and Café (via @libertyhousecafe, Instagram)

French Broad Chocolate Lounge is so widely known now, you’ve probably heard of it. It started out as a tiny little tucked away gem in downtown Asheville and grew to a bigger spot right in Packs Square. The Liquid Truffles (sipping chocolate) are my absolute favorite as well as Quintessential Chocolate Cake. You can even take a tour of their chocolate factory!

Best of Asheville: chocolate cake covered in chocolate curls
Quintessential Chocolate Cake at French Broad Chocolate (via @frenchbroadchocolate, Instagram)

What to Do and See in Asheville

I will never tire of going to see The National Gingerbread House Competition winning creations at the Grove Park Inn at Christmastime. It’s one of my favorite holiday traditions, and I’m always blown away at what even the youngest contestants construct!

what to do in Asheville during the holidays; The National Gingerbread House Competition winner's display
The National Gingerbread House Competition (Courtesy of The Omni Grove Park Inn)

Christmas is a magical time at the Biltmore and the Candlelight Christmas Evenings are especially so. Every time I visit, I feel transported and can’t believe it’s right in our neighborhood.

Best of Asheville: Christmas at The Biltmore
The 34-foot-tall Frasier Fir in the Banquet Hall at Biltmore Estate (Courtesy of The Biltmore Company)

The North Carolina Arboretum is a beautiful spot to visit. Check out the Bonsai Exhibition Garden (open May through November); it’s incredible. At Christmastime, the Winter Lights show is definitely worth seeing.

Nighttime scene with Christmas Lights at the arboretum in Asheville, NC
Winter Lights at The North Carolina Arboretum (Photo by Rob Storrs 2017)

Hike the Blue Ridge Parkway. Asheville is a haven for hiking, biking, and outdoor enthusiasts. There are so many great hikes along the Art Loeb Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway. I like a reward at the end of my hikes, so any trail that ends up near The Hub in Pisgah National Forest for a post-hike beer is good by me!

Get a taste of the food scene of the city in a day by booking a tour with Asheville Food Tours.

Best Shopping in Asheville

Art & Pottery

Best shopping in Asheville, NC: Street scene of a row of funky shops, including The Wedge, in River Arts District
River Arts District (via @riverartsdistrictasheville, Instagram)

I wish I had time to shop more, but when I do I love shopping for local one-of-a-kind pieces. The River Arts District is a great place to do this. There you’ll find The Wedge, with three floors of talented artists such as Bee Sieburg, whose paintings we carry in the shop.

The Odyssey, a pottery studio and gallery, is another favorite spot in the River Arts District. I buy a lot of gifts here.

East Fork‘s gorgeous pottery is handmade here in Asheville. Shop at their beautiful retail store downtown on Lexington Avenue.

Best Shopping in Asheville, NC: A display of smooth glazed pottery plates by East Fork in a variety of muted, solid colors, such as peach, dark deal, gray, and white.
East Fork Pottery (via @eastforkpottery, Instagram)

Home, Garden & Antiques

ScreenDoor: You never know what you’ll find here with a mix of old and new objects and more than 100 vendors, and that’s what I love about this place. Antiquing is one of my favorite things to do, and I pop over here often.

A model wooden hand holds ornate antique fan at a vendor's booth at ScreenDoor in Asheville
ScreenDoor (via @screendoorasheville, Instagram)

Village Antiques: Owners Terry, David, and Zenda have such amazing taste and regularly import antiques from England and France. I like to go in there and daydream about owning any!

Porter and Prince: Lovely displays of beautifully curated home accessories, fine linens, and gift items live here.

The Gardener’s Cottage: (Of course I have to mention my own shop!) Located in Biltmore Village since 1997, we are a home and garden gift shop with an emphasis on flowers, antiques, and locally made gift items. We are known each year for our Holiday Open House, a tradition of 22 years where we go all out on floral displays, greenery, and unveil the new holiday-inspired gifts for the season.

Potted orchids, branches of berries displayed in vintage glass bottles, and evergreen clippings on a mantel beneath a gilt antique mirror
The Gardener’s Cottage (Sunday Grant Photography)

Clothing & Accessories

Bette Boutique: Carefully edited pieces and accessories located in the heart of Biltmore Village.

Scout Boutique: Dema does a great job buying European and American clothing labels and always has fun jewelry.

Scout Boutique's light and bright interior with painted yellow floors, turquoise and neutral oriental rungs, an antique pedestal dining table holding folded cloths, and long free-standing racks of clothes around the perimeter
Photo courtesy of Scout Boutique

Peace and Nice: Owner Suzanne Pignato sells her handmade jewelry alongside the shop’s curated collection of clothing and accessories. She has created such a lively, inviting shopping experience that you will want to linger.

Nest Boutique: A fun spot for on-trend clothing, accessories, and even a community workshop area in the back of their Biltmore Village location. They also have a new location on Lexington Avenue downtown.

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