With picturesque overlooks, rolling mountain balds and trails leading to calming waterfalls, Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains are picnic country (check out this list of super scenic picnic spots). For those wanting a night in, Asheville businesses are also offering gourmet meal kits and quirky rental options. New to-go options perfect for travelers with safety and flexibility in mind:

  • New venture Asheville Picnic Company creates locally made to-go meals for one to four people and also offers a fully catered picnic option for parties. “The Traditional” option includes a basket filled with artisan treats and a picnic blanket to keep for future outings.
  • The Rhu, bakery and café by the award-winning Chef John Fleer, has expanded its menu of Appalachian-inspired picnic baskets. Basket options range from Brunch (yogurt, fruit and house-made baked goods like the Croixette, the bakery’s croissant/baguette mashup); to the Ploughman (local cheeses, meats, mustards and house-made pickles); and the Farmers Market (seasonal vegetable crudités, local lettuce, pimento cheese and seasonal jam).
  • Ashley Capps, a 2019 James Beard semifinalist for “Outstanding Pastry Chef,” has started New Stock, a weekly, curated box-meal pickup and delivery service, perfect for an extended rental stay. For a quicker pickup, check out Bodega on Broadway, a pandemic-pivot for bar and restaurant owner Charlie Hodge of Sovereign Remedies. Shifting gears on his latest bar venture, Hodge and Sovereign chef Bert Sheffield are offering charcuterie, sandwiches and vegetarian and vegan burritos alongside bodega staples and sundries. The former stage will soon be a Disco Deli with a portion of sales going to a local nonprofit supporting independent businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Well Played Board Game Café is now offering its 600-game inventory to travelers wanting to spend the night in. Game rental is available online, and snacks and beverages (including beer and wine) are also available for pickup. The café is following strict safety guidelines and all games are sanitized using a commercial ozone generator (used by hospitals). May we suggest Asheville-opoly?

Information on the safety actions of local businesses and shared responsibility of visitors can be found via the “Asheville Cares Stay Safe Pledge.”