21 ways to get hygge with it in Asheville, NC


Photo by @ashleylee.co

Are you familiar with hygge? A Danish word that roughly translates to “warm coziness,” it’s been a design and health + wellness trend in the US for a few years now — and with an emphasis on “enjoying the little things” like comfy clothes, warm socks + blankets, and steamy mugs of tea, it’s easy to see its appeal.

Interest in it has increased since it’s been called a panacea for the pandemic, because it calls for us to do leisurely things that make us relaxed + comfortable, something we can all use more of. And because the Danes are among the happiest people in the world, it’s hard not to think there may be something to hygge. Protip: it’s pronounced “hoo-gah” despite looking like it should be pronounced “higgy” (which is how I always say it in my head). Keeping that in mind, in honor of the new year (and increased happiness), here are 21 ways to get hygge with it in the 828.

1. Enjoy some hot chocolate. We love the maple + smoked salt liquid truffle from French Broad Chocolates (10 S. Pack Sq.) and the Nutella hot chocolate from 10th Muse Comfort Food (1475 Patton Ave.)

2. Hit the road and revel in the lovely sights, because we live in an outrageously gorgeous place.

3. Take a nice hot bath. Make it even better by tossing in a fizzy, therapeutic bath bomb from Franny’s Farmacy.

4. Light a candle. We particularly like the hand-poured, small-batch, soy-based ones from Elder & Co., who donate a portion of their proceeds to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

5. Live out your lavish lifestyle fantasy with a visit to the largest private residence in the country, the luxe Biltmore Estate.

6. Cook something amazing, preferably something indulgent that takes a while to prepare, like soup, stew, or lasagne. Not sure where to start? Consider a cooking class from The Asheville Kitchen, whose classes are now offered in a small “bubble group” format for four to six people.

7. Get outside, breathe in the fresh air, and learn how to identify edible plants in the woods with a foraging tour from No Taste Like Home.

8. Wear comfortable, non-restrictive clothing. We are especially fond of the offerings from Spiritex + Hazel Twenty.

9. Marvel at the majesty of nature when you catch a sunrise or sunset.

10. Take a nap.

11. Snuggle up with a locally-penned book. Need some recs? Check out our list of 2020’s best local books here.

12. Have a picnic. And hey, I know it’s cold, so do what I used to do with my daughter when she was tiny: have a floor picnic. It’s exactly like it sounds — spread a blanket, set out some food + napkins, and enjoy a leisurely meal on the floor. And if you don’t want to prepare it yourself, let the folks at Asheville Picnic Company or the Rhu do the work for you.

13. Boost your health + happiness with a socially distant, physical group outdoor activity like yoga, through Asheville Wellness Tours.

14. Get an art fix. Whether you want to saunter around Blue Spiral 1 + Haen Gallery or take in a virtual exhibit from Asheville Art Museum or Center for Craft, art is a powerful way to experience the slow-paced comfort of hygge.

15. Grab a blanket and stream a movie from Grail Moviehouse. Don’t forget the Poppy’s Popcorn.

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16. Admire our feathered friends at the tranquil Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary.

17. Build a roaring fire.

18. Relax and listen to a local podcast. Check out our favorites here.

19. Recharge at the Asheville Salt Cave.

20. Meander through a used bookstore. Yes, we love our local independent booksellers that traffic in new titles, but there’s a sense of adventure at used bookstores, where you never know what you’ll find. We’re especially fond of Downtown Books & News and Mr. K’s Used Books.

21. Share your love with a furry friend by volunteering at an animal shelter, like Brother Wolf Animal Rescue or the Asheville Humane Society.

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