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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina: The Foundry Hotel

Asheville in North Carolina is not a conventional destination, and The Foundry Hotel is not a conventional hotel.  Visit Asheville NC for its hip vibe, great weather, unique food and spirits with some recommendations here, and did we mention its newest hotel, literally on "The Block"?


Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel

They lay waste in “The Block” Neighborhood of Asheville, host to rats, marred by graffiti, and even trees that grew through the floors of the formerly vibrant factory. A factory that supplied metal works to the Biltmore or Jackson Building, the first North Carolina skyscraper.

The East Asheville neighborhood known as “The Block” around Eagle and Market Streets, was home to Asheville’s black community and was filled with business owners who thrived in the heavily segregated southern city. The community has been a part of Asheville since its founding - first populated by slaves, who later formed their own community following the Civil War.  It was quite the vibrant community in Asheville overall, especially The Block.




Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel

A big reason why that area was so important to African-Americans is the Young Men’s Institute, or YMI. It was a part of what was known in the late 19th and early 20th century as "racial uplift ideology" which was the philosophy to train young men to be leaders of their homes and their communities.

The YMI operates today as one of the oldest African-American institutions in the U.S. and still operates on the corner of Eagle and Market Streets adjacent to The Foundry Hotel. It’s not surprising that area around the YMI has gentrified, as Asheville has risen as one of the premier food and beer destinations in the US.

The Foundry Hotel


That leads us directly to the story of the Foundry Hotel, Asheville’s newest hotel, the product of developers who are committed to preserving the history and buildings of The Block neighborhood, while allowing the visitor to experience the local vibe.

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel




1. Checkin


Finding the front desk was a little challenging which we later discovered is due to the fact that the main driveway is not complete. We were welcomed as Hilton Honors Gold members, efficiently registered as guests, and provided directions to our room. Champagne was offered for each of us to enjoy and was a perfect welcome gift. General orientation to the hotel or its amenities was not provided, and in retrospect would have been useful.

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel
Checkin included complimentary chamgpagne



2. Rooms


We were given a room in the newly constructed B building.



The Foundry Hotel maintains the vibe of a historic structure into its rooms, but alas with a clean, comfortable and modern approach. Full length windows provide significant light during the day and allow you to see the fabulous weather that Asheville has to offer. Exposed brick walls enhance the turn of the century theme alone, but when you look closely at the art, historical Asheville is even further represented such as the large reproduction of the Asheville Gazette from 1927. The decor is craftsman style, fitting the Foundry theme. The bed was very comfortable and luxury touches such as a knitted throw, reading lights and hand clothes steamer are perfect.



A Nespresso Vertuoline machine and refrigerator stocked with complimentary drinks is a great option anytime. Turn down service was provided with full refresh of the bathroom and treat that included herbal tea in a thermos and sweets was a nice surprise upon our return from our evening out - however the first time housekeeping came for turndown was 530 pm which we thought was a little early for the majority of travelers. Housekeeping did return later as we asked. In addition there was no luggage rack or hotel guide in the room which would have been a nice orientation to the property and its amenities.

Turndown Treats!


We viewed the THE FOUNDRY CORNER KING SUITE, where industrial windows take centerstage in the stately 460-square-foot King Corner Suite, featuring dramatic high ceilings, historic brick walls, and a separate seating area with well-upholstered furniture.

Our Private Tour of The Foundry Corner King Suite

Our Private Tour of The Foundry Corner King Suite

Our Private Tour of The Foundry Corner King Suite

Our Private Tour of The Foundry Corner King Suite


3. Bathrooms


Have we said before that we don’t like shower curtains????? The Foundry Hotel did not disappoint. A large walk-in shower finished in marble wall tiles and Victorian-era floor tiles, was perfect. Towels were plush and toiletries are by...made in New York. The earthy aroma was as expected in Asheville. robes are provided in the wardrobe located in the room in lieu of a closet.







4. Amenities


As we stated an orientation to the amenities would have been helpful. There are some useful things to know about this hotel that we were able to discover when we toured later with staff. But that’s what we are here for too!

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel
Make sure you ask for the house car if you need it!


There is a Tesla X house car that will take you within a reasonable distance (unfortunately we Uber’d to and from dinner not knowing this. It does not travel as far as the airport or outlet mall. Lunch is not available in the hotel restaurant (only breakfast and dinner) but small plates are available in the hotel lounge which is open all day.

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel
The Lobby Bar


There is no pool but there is an adequately outfitted fitness center. WiFi access is provided but we were not aware of the requirement to add the building letter for login so we used our broadband the entire stay. Some of the interesting facts about the hotel is its history. It would be wonderful to have orientation to the art and artifacts within the hotel because that is where the true interest lies. View the historic photos of the actual Foundry from the early 20th century and if you look closely at the buildings today, you can still see the lettering faintly.

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel
Historic photos are located throughout The Foundry Hotel.  Look below for this image appears now!


Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel
Historic photos are located throughout The Foundry Hotel.  Look above for this image appeared in the early 20th century!


Learn about the African American business women who are immortalized in Benne on Eagle Restaurant. Learn about the original freight elevator that itself is a historic piece. Understand why images of horses are present to reflect that the Foundry once made metal fittings for the Equestrian center of the Biltmore Mansion of the Vanderbilts. This would be extremely interesting to many patrons.

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel
The Original Freight Elevator is a Historic Piece.

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel
Original Specialized Furnace from the Original Foundry On Site


Discounted tickets are available for the Biltmore Estate, Asheville’s number one attraction and the house car can give you a ride there and back if needed.



There is a small pantry near the front desk that is stocked primarily with local items, including drinks, snacks, gifts, hiking gear and more. At first it looks like the pantry at a Homewood suites but upon closer inspection actually is a great representation of Western North Carolina.

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel
Buy Local Products from Asheville at The Foundry Hotel


The large lobby has a great vibe to have drinks, grab some food, have a drink, relax inside or outside. On Thursday and Friday nights there is live music by locals prices such as Russ Wilson on Thursday’s and Queen Bee on Friday’s.

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel
The Lobby of The Foundry Hotel


5. Fitness center


Located on the bottom floor with the same industrial window theme, the gym is well stocked and adequately cooled to enjoy your workout. This is great to have even though outdoor fitness opportunities abound in the Asheville area.

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel


6. Restaurant


Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel
Elevator Shaft Converted into a Wine Refrigerator

Benne on Eagle is operated by award winning restaurateur and prior Blackberry farm chef John Fleer. The theme of the restaurant is inspired by The Block history and is southern and soul food themed. Local flavors and ingredients make for a fabulous menu that won’t disappoint for breakfast or dinner.

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel
Benne on Eagle Breakfast Menu (subject to change)

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel
Locally Inspired Breakfast at Benne on Eagle



Look at the elevator shaft converted into a wine refrigerator outside the hotel entrance to the restaurant and ask the staff to tell you about the images on the wall.

To learn more about the exciting Asheville Food and beer scene, and hear about the structure and some of the images on the walls of Benne on Eagle take a look at our live interview with Nathaniel Felder, Executive Sous at the restaurant!



Keep your eyes peeled as you may see Hanan Shabaz, who with her husband ran a restaurant on The Block for many years: Shabazz Soul Food.

7. Location

It doesn’t get any better for location since the address of The Foundry Hotel is outstanding. At less than 20 minutes from Asheville airport but situated in a thriving hip downtown area close to galleries and restaurants, are features which make this an optimal base for exploring the Downtown Asheville area. It is within easy walking distance to the Asheville Urban Trail, popular restaurants and breweries, the River Arts district and the Center for Craft, but there is so much more to do within driving distance of this hotel that we were fortunate enough to enjoy during some gorgeous Spring weather!

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel
Entrance to the Hotel on Market Street


Note that it is hard to find the hotel with GPS, and we later discovered that construction on the planned entrance has been disrupted by nearby construction. At this time you will see the hotel entrance as you see here, turn the corner and you are located in the valet courtyard. Since no one was manning the valet, signage directing us to the front desk would have been helpful but the hotel is not so large or the staff so few that this could be a big problem.


Things to Do In Asheville, North Carolina


There is something for everyone in Asheville while enjoying the great weather and southern hospitality! Here are some of our favorites things to do:

1. Mount Mitchell. Mount Mitchell's dramatic summit is the highest point east of the Mississippi at 6684 feet above sea level. If you don't want to hike or bike to the top, you can drive and take in the views and take some easy hikes from there!

Get ready for your hike with a pair of Farm to Feet lightweight hiking crew socks made in Western North Carolina!  This lightweight sock’s topographical design is inspired by the Elkin Valley section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Over the course of six miles the trail drops more than 2,000 feet in elevation as it transitions from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Piedmont. The Elkin Valley features specialized foot construction and is packed with performance features like targeted cushioning zones and a seamless toe closure for all day trail comfort.  Click the photo below to learn more and buy at Amazon!




2. Chimney Rock. This is a 535-million-year-old monolith for which the Park is named, that is considered one of the most iconic sites in North Carolina. From its top, you'll soak in the 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge. Chimney Rock State Park is one of the few places in the world with an elevator inside a mountain!

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel


3. Biltmore Estate is America's largest home, built by George Vanderbilt. Explore the 8000-acre beautiful and grand estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville. Don't forget to Buy your discounted tickets at The Foundry Hotel and ask for a ride from the house car, a Tesla model X.

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel

4. Sierra Nevada Brewery.  The East coast center of brewing for this innovative company is nearby in Mills River. In 2017 it earned LEED Platinum Certification—the first production brewery in the U.S. to receive this honor. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the top green-building rating system in rating system in the world.

5.Blue Ghost Brewing. a day of music, food trucks and of course beer. This is close to Sierra Nevada brewery and can make a great stop for food.

6. Grove Park Inn. The Omni Grove Park Inn is a historic resort hotel on the western-facing slope of Sunset Mountain within the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Asheville. A Historic Hotel of America which opened in 1913, it has been visited by many Presidents of the United States and many other notable persons. It is worth a visit to explore, have a meal but our favorite is to have a drink on the terrace and enjoy the sunset!

7. River Arts District.  See and buy amazing art in the River Arts District (RAD) in Asheville, with 185 artist with working studios and art galleries in 25 buildings along the French Broad River in a transformed historic industrial neighborhood.

8. Asheville Urban Trail. Use the interactive map to explore 1.7 miles and 30 stations, each with a piece of art and a bronze plaque that commemorates the city’s significant cultural, educational, social and architectural stories.

9. Hunger Games mountain filming sites. Use an interactive map to go behind the scenes and explore the beautiful mountain locations filmed for the The Hunger Games.

Restaurants in Asheville, North Carolina


1. As we discussed already, The Foundry Hotel has the lobby with small plate fare available all day and Benne on Eagle open for breakfast and dinner.

Almost Lost to Time But Now a Real Find for the Traveler to Asheville, North Carolina:  The Foundry Hotel
You Can Still See Historic Foundry Lettering on the Entrance to Benne on Eagle

2. Another John Fleer restaurant open for dinner is Rhubarb within walking distance from the hotel. this is a contemporary spot for farm to table fare and check out the weekly family style dinner.

3.White Duck Taco is a great place to pop in for a unique lunch. Vegetarian options are available and get there early before the lunch crowd!

White Duck Taco


4. Asheville staple, Rezaz is a great Mediterranean option about 2 miles away (take the house car!). Powerful artwork, windows showcasing the bustle of the Historic Biltmore Village and upbeat, curated music set the stage for a great culinary experience.

5.Wicked Weed Brewing is open for lunch and dinner. This is one of the original Asheville breweries that found its home in a former hardware store. They have good service, great atmosphere indoor and outdoors and great beer. We prefer going here for lunch and eating outside. Take in a tour of the brewery if you have time.

6. Curate. Owned by hip Asheville and chef Katie Button and her Spaniard husband Felix, this convivial downtown hang out celebrates a simple charms and sensual flavors of Spanish tapas, while occasionally infusing a Southern twist. Check out the great list of Spanish wines.

7. over easy cafe. Get there early for breakfast or lunch because the lines are long but you won't regret waiting to enjoy the fare at this local hang out.

8. All Souls Pizza. All Souls Pizza delivers exquisite flavor from locally-sourced ingredients. Prepare for innovative recipes, featuring flour or polenta milled on site, and locally crafted beers. Enjoy dinner most nights or lunch on the weekends.

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