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New year, new you! Whether you’ve vowed to exercise more, focus on creative pursuits, or dedicate more time to relaxation, January is the month for resolutions. After the whirlwind of the holiday season, and let’s face it, the emotional (and physical hangover) from all the family gatherings and merriment with friends, you’re likely craving time to yourself to recalibrate for the year ahead. 

Western North Carolina has long been a place for wellness retreats with its clean mountain air and expansive landscapes, and its reputation as a destination for respite is still felt today. If a quiet and stress-free atmosphere is at the top of your list of vacation requirements, January in the mountains presents the perfect setting for a solo retreat or romantic getaway with your partner. In the spirit of self-care and relaxation, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite experiences that can be enjoyed in Asheville and the surrounding areas: 

  • Forest Bathing + Nature Therapy through Asheville Wellness Tours- this 3-hour guided stroll through the forest invites you to relax and fully immerse yourself in the wonders of nature. For an even more unique experience, try their Full Moon Forest Bathing or Blue Ghost Firefly Walk. 

  • Saltwater Floatation at Stillpoint Wellness- their saltwater floatation experience (aka sensory deprivation) allows you to gently hover atop 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt that simultaneously helps you float and soothes sore muscles. 

  • Halotherapy in Asheville Salt Cave- this therapeutic salt cave is filled with 30 tons of pure pink salt designed to improve breathing and encourage relaxation. In the cave, you can opt for a massage, do yoga, enjoy a sound healing concert, and more. While there, check out the self-service Hammam inspired by ancient Turkish and Moroccan bathing traditions. Catering to the body’s largest organ (the skin) Hammam is meant to aid in releasing toxins and increasing circulation. 

  • Reiki and Energy Healing- this Japanese healing technique is used for reducing stress and promoting the body's natural healing ability. In a normal Reiki session, some light touch might occur, and some Reiki practitioners might incorporate chakras and crystals into their treatments. Asheville is home to a Reiki training center, so unsurprisingly, there are many practitioners in and around the Asheville area to choose from (including Asheville Salt Cave mentioned above, Insight Owl Counseling & Wellness, NC Reiki Training Center, and Wellspring Wellness Center).  Asheville even has its own Animal Reiki specialist, Reiki For Today, if you're traveling with a pet. 

  • Thermotherapy + Cryotherapy at Sauna House- this Hot-Cold-Relax treatment involves resting in a traditional cedar and aspen wet sauna or infrared sauna before plunging into a tub of cold water (think 35-50˚F cold). This is followed by a period of resting and rehydrating on stone-cast heated furniture. Saunas are thought to improve cardiovascular health and boost immunity while cold therapy is thought to boost metabolism and improve mental clarity. 

  • Massage Therapy + Aromatherapy at the Spa at Biltmore Village- offering a handful of massage therapy options that include a hot stone massage, Swedish massage, and full-body integrative massage, you can add a custom blend of essential oils as well as a collagen eye treatment to enhance your experience. Traveling with a romantic partner? Greybeard partners with the Spa at Biltmore Village to offer you a wonderful couples massage for $180 per couple. You can add this option onto your reservation or call our Guest Services team to schedule this during your trip. 

  • Hydrotherapy at Hot Springs Resort + Spa- ready to soak your troubles away? Heated deep within the earth, the natural hot mineral waters create crystal clear carbonated pools that are world famous for their mineral content and legendary healing powers. At Hot Springs Resort & Spa, they pipe these magical waters into modern outdoor jetted hot tubs that are drained and sanitized after each use. 

Bonus: IV Hydration Drip at Hydrate Medical- For those interested in a therapy that marches to the beat of its own drum, we recommend checking out Hydrate Medical which offers IV drips for everything from hangovers to jet lag to immunity boosting and more. The drips are designed to give you 100% absorption to decrease your recovery time, renew your energy, and get you back to life faster. 

Top Vegan + Vegetarian Restaurants in Asheville

You’ll need sustenance during your holistic wellness retreat, and luckily there are plenty of options in Asheville (which earned a spot in TripAdvisor’s list of Top 10 of Best Food Destinations in the United States in 2023).

Interestingly enough, you’ll have more of a challenge finding a restaurant that doesn’t offer at least a few veggie or vegan-friendly menu items in our bohemian city. Even if you don’t adhere to a strict vegan or vegetarian diet, our recommendations below offer dishes that will open your eyes to just how delicious plant-based cuisine can be:  

  • Plant
  • Rosetta’s Kitchen
  • Laughing Seed Cafe
  • The Smokin’ Onion
  • Trashy Vegan + Dough House
  • Pulp + Sprout Juice Bar and Vegan Cafe
  • Baba Nahm
  • Gypsy Queen

 Secluded Homes That Are a Breath of Fresh Air: 

During these cold winter months, tap into Asheville’s centuries-old holistic wellness and cozy spa traditions. Rest your weary feet and mind at Wake Foot Sanctuary, energize and balance in the pink glow of the Asheville Salt Cave, enjoy hot tea and acupuncture at Alchemy, or carve out time for a quiet winter hike. No matter which wellness path you choose, you’re sure to feel enlightened in mind, body, and spirit!


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