Laughing Seed: Asheville, North Carolina

I didn’t just randomly walk into The Laughing Seed in Asheville, North Carolina. I was invited by the bar manager, a friend I grew up with in Marietta, Ohio. I kept that in mind as I searched the winding streets of downtown for the restaurant. This could be a hole in the wall or this could be fine dining—in which case I’m under-dressed… I meandered between these thoughts inside my head and out loud to Ben, who, bless his heart, often has to hear my inner ramblings when they’re haphazardly spoken.

Upon finally arriving at The Laughing Seed, I found it to be an immediate relief. People were parked outside under umbrella tables exorcising their happy hour-fed thoughts and the crowd was just as politely lively inside the restaurant. I took a seat at the bar and, after catching up with my friend, another Ben, began to order what would soon be categorized as one of the most non-obvious vegan meals I have ever had. Crab cakes, a burger, curly fries, an Asian Salad, a vegan cookie, and the best damn Bloody Mary I ever had later, I was thanking my lucky travel-writing stars that out of all of the places Ben II could have worked in Asheville—it was this place. This delicious place with vegan food I swear to G_D you wouldn’t know was vegan if you didn’t hear it from me. And if you didn’t read the website or menu carefully before ordering. Not that there’s anything at all wrong with vegan food that doesn’t convincingly taste like meat, but this is the kind of place you could bring your “Salad is what meat eats” father to and probably get away with it.

By: Elizabeth Seward, Photos By: Ben Britz


Beaufort House: A Gem in Asheville

I’ll start this piece out by just getting to the point: I love Beaufort House. There. I said it. This B&B in Asheville, North Carolina deserves awards.

I pulled up to Beaufort House, a coral-colored Queen Anne Victorian style building shaded on the edges by draping tree limbs and crawling ivy, in the middle of the afternoon. Shown three rooms for the picking, I chose a newer room downstairs, which is an extension on the home’s old food pantry, but not without taking with me an imprint of one of the other rooms I was shown.

The Rose Room not only includes a bathroom bigger than bedrooms I’ve seen in New York City, but Charlton Heston, who used to own and live in Beaufort House with his wife, used to sleep in the Rose Room. Folklore has it that marks from his burning cigar ashes have scarred the wooden floors near the teal tile framed fireplace. It would have been a nice room to stay in, but the room I eventually chose, the Arbor Room, had a jacuzzi bathtub and a private deck. Jaccuzi bathtub and private deck trumped history for me. I was hot and exhausted. You can’t blame me.

The room was great, but the entire inn is really what’s great…the inn in its entirety. Social hour each late afternoon is accompanied by wine-pourings. Too many glasses of red wine later, I retired to my room to just skip dinner and sleep after having chatted for hours with a fun music-loving mom from Nashville. This is how wine socials at inns should be. You should meet new people. You should drink with them. You should trade email addresses with them at breakfast the next morning after you’re served Morning Cake, sweet and delicious Citrus Crepes (topped with orange zest sugar), juice, coffee, and tea.

And Beaufort House is how B&Bs should be. You should feel comfortable in someone else’s home. You should get to know that person who owns that home—you should want to get to know them. You should feel full, clean, welcomed, and liked. And that’s how I felt at Beaufort House. And I’m guessing that’s how you’ll feel too when you stay there during your next Asheville visit.

By: Elizabeth Seward, Photos By: Ben Britz