Guy and I drove up to Asheville to visit friends and enjoy the beautiful mountain air awhile back. I grew up around mountains in Tennessee, and I love escaping the city for some R&R and communing with nature. While there was much eating and R&R, the Guy forgot to tell me that he had planned a river boarding expedition for us. I have never heard of this sport before, but I would recommend my sporty friends to look into it.
If you are a daredevil, adventurer, and hearty outdoorsy type-of-person then you should try river boarding. So what is it? (Wikipedia) Riverboarding is a boardsport in which the participant lies prone on their board with fins on their feet for propulsion and steering. This sport is also known as hydrospeed in Europe and as riverboarding or white-water sledging in New Zealand, depending on the type of board used. Riverboarding is believed to have originated in the late 1970s. It is claimed to have originated in France, where raft guides stuffed a burlap mail sack with life vests and went down rapids. Soon, riders adapted a personal submarine shell for their molds, and the plastic version of the riverboard was born.
I thought I’d provide the official definition of river boarding. I would describe it as somewhere between floating, swimming on the surface of rivers, going head first into rapids. In retrospect, I didn’t think it was as bad as I had expected after listening to our guide’s numerous safety instructions. However, I was incredibly sore the following day from bashing against rocks and getting knocked around by the rapids. It was also difficult to enjoy the beauty of nature around me as I floated eye-level with the river because I was shaking uncontrollably from being cold. All the other members of my group reported feeling hot, but I had two shirts, a wet suit, socks, flippers, gloves and helmet and still my teeth chattered. My guide was kind enough to give me his shirt to wear halfway down the French Broad River, but it didn’t help much.
After river boarding, I immediately went for a big lunch to help gain some insulation on my body. I would go river boarding again when the water is warmer because it was a pretty cool experience. You really feel like part of the river as you float along and slide through the eddies at face level with the water.
After warming up from river boarding, I headed to Tupelo Honey Cafe for a late lunch. I can rough it pretty well, but I’m a girl at heart and love dressing up and going out. I turned a vintage scarf I picked up in a thrift store in Little Five Points in Atlanta into a shirt by tying into a halter top. I paired it with white H&M shorts, white sandals from Charlotte Russe (old) and Maui Jim Sunnies. And yes, I’m that nerd that stops to take a photo next to a sign that says nerds.
Instead of salads or breadsticks, Tupelo Honey Cafe provides delicious biscuits, jam and Tupelo Honey as an appetizer. I of course slathered all the offerings on top of my biscuit without a second thought about sharing. This was probably the best biscuit I’ve ever eaten! I followed it down with the Tupelo Honey Cafe signature Rosemary Peach lemonade – also amazing!
When I try a new restaurant, I always look for signature dishes on their menus. My logic is that their signature dishes must be good if they are willing to use it as a way to brand their image. The Tupelo Burger was exceptional with the side of my choice – goat cheese grits. However, I will say that it is hard to mess up a burger. Tupelo Honey Cafe made theirs unique with their home-made pimento cheese – delicious!
The Guy ordered Southern Fried Chicken with sweet mashed potatoes and asparagus with a side of mac ‘n cheese. His dish was delicious ( I might have been guilty of eating half of it). The mac ‘n cheese was spicy and, while not the best I’ve eaten, it was adequate.
Our table was right next to wear the food got lined up to be sent out. My mouth was drooling impatiently for my own order. We had a late lunch at 3pm, but the restaurant was packed. Service took a lot longer than I’d liked, but the food was worth the wait!
The menu is reasonably priced, and if you are on a budget, there are definitely items on the menu that are more bang for your buck than others. However, the portion sizes where huge and would easily make two meals (that is if you aren’t hungry from river boarding).
The Tupelo Burger was about half the size of my head and four times the size of my mouth! I would definitely recommend others stopping by the Tupelo Honey Cafe in Asheville (or any of their other locations)!
Tiffany from Tiffany Style sent me a tweet suggesting the sweet potato pancakes! Unfortunately, I had already ordered at that point, but I will definitely stop by here again to try these pancakes and their other menu choices!