Asheville is more than just a small Southern city nestled away in the North Carolina mountains. It is an area that is immersed in natural beauty, embraced by the nurturing majesty of two ancient arms of the Appalachian Mountain Range- the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains. Some might even say that Asheville is a state of mind, a place to where people seem magically drawn. If you’re looking to settle in an area known for rugged mountain scenery with unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation, a thriving, cultivated downtown, and a socially and environmentally aware collective conscience, Asheville is your utopia.
Over the years, Asheville has been recognized in numerous top ten lists and feature articles. Recently designated by Frommer’s as one of the world’s top travel destinations for 2007, Asheville is continuously heralded for its countless splendors. Each year, the city receives awards and recognition for outdoor adventure opportunities, local arts, cuisine, architecture, organic and vegetarian food, historical and environmental preservation, and Southern charm. Most importantly, Asheville is lauded again and again as an excellent place to live and retire.
From the New York Times’: 36 Hours in Asheville, N.C. “Whether its culture, the great outdoors or homegrown food and beer, Asheville takes its pleasures seriously.”
Before the arrival of adequate mountain transportation, the Asheville area consisted of Indian trails and crossroads for early frontiersmen. In 1797, Asheville was officially incorporated and named in honor of North Carolina Governor Samuel Ashe.
In 1880, the arrival of the railroads brought new visitors and settlers to these mountains. One such settler was George Vanderbilt, who purchased 120,000 acres in one of the most scenic locations in the valley. There he began construction of what was to be his summer home, with the help of architect Richard Morris Hunt and landscaper Richard Law Olmstead. The Biltmore Estate is, to this day, the largest home in America, and one that is visited daily by thousands of tourists who are awe-struck by the expanse and elegance of this most regal structure.
As the unique beauty of the area became more and more apparent to new arrivals, Asheville became a destination for relaxation and self-discovery. The beautiful mountain scenery created the perfect backdrop for this resort town, which is known as a Mecca for both outdoor enthusiasts and those committed to natural health and wellness.
The Roaring 20s saw a boom era in Asheville history as the development of new residential and commercial areas were underway. New edifices such as the Jackson Building, the City Building, Buncombe Courthouse, and the Grove Arcade were products of the development boom. These buildings, along with the quaint “mom and pop” shops that dotted the town’s landscape, made for a perfect representation of the typical American boomtown.
During the Great Depression, Roosevelt’s New Deal brought two magnificent additions to this area: the Great Smokey Mountain National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. The contributions of visionaries, philanthropists, and other creative minds who have been subject to the power and majesty of the area have helped Asheville bridge its past to its future.
A 250-room French chateau built by George W. Vanderbilt in 1895. The 8000 acre estate, located just south of downtown features America’s largest home, award-winning winery, historic gardens, Four-Star Inn and an array of activities. Ticket office is open 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Year round. Admission is charged. Call 828-225-1200 or 877-BILTMORE.
Since its opening in 1913, The Grove Park Inn Resort ( & Spa) has remained a place dedicated to providing its guests with comfort — and genuine delight!
This scenic roadway winding 470 miles from the Shenandoah to the Great Smokey Mountains National parks intersects Asheville at US 70 and 74. The parkway is a pristine corridor just east of downtown that offers an alternate route to moving through the city on an undisturbed dogwood lined two-lane drive. Open seasonally and or weather permitting. Call 828-298-0398 or visit blueridgeparkway.org.
A 434-acre site nestled in one of the most beautiful natural settings in the United States.
On US 74A and 25 miles southeast of Asheville. This park features a 26-story elevator ride through solid granite to the top of Chimney Rock to see a 75-mile view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Nature trails lead to Hickory Nut Falls. Open daily except holidays. Admission is charged. Call 800-277-9611 or visit chimneyrockpark.com
A 56,000 acre Indian reservation at the NC entrance to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge parkway features attractions celebrating Cherokee history, culture and art. Visit the Oconaluftee Indian Village or the “unto these Hills” recounting of Cherokee history in an outdoor drama performed nightly, except Sundays, June – August. Admission is charged. Call 800-438-1601 or visit cherokee-nc.com.
Located 70 miles from Asheville on the Blue Ridge parkway at milepost 305. Discover the mile-high swinging bridge and escape into the globally recognized nature preserve with miles of spectacular hiking trails. Open year-round. Call 800-486-7325 or visit grandfathermountain.com
Departs from Bryson city, north of Asheville and Dillsboro. Operates year-round, January through March, weekends only. Call 800-872-4681 or visitgsmr.com.
Our mission is to embrace the unique gifts and challenges of each individual, encouraging personal growth through the horse and human relationship.
Rafting, rock-climbing, camps and more.
On-line hiking guidebook for the Mountain region of North Carolina.
On-line off-road biking guidebook for the Mountain region of North Carolina.
The Hunter Banks Company is a full service fly shop offering professionally guided float and wade trips for trout in Western North Carolina and East Tennessee.
Asheville Bed & Breakfast Guide
Asheville Lodging Guide
The Asheville Art Museum presents exhibitions and programs based on its permanent collection of 20th and 21st century art. Any visit will also include experiences with works of significance to Western North Carolina’s cultural heritage including Studio Craft, Black Mountain College and Cherokee artists.
The Orange Peel Social Aid & Pleasure Club of Asheville, North Carolina is the nation’s premiere Live Music Hall and Concert Venue featuring the very best in live music and cultural arts.
On the Blue Ridge parkway at milepost 382, this museum, crafts art exhibit, demonstration area and craft shop is a perfect respite. Open 9:00 – 5:00 daily, closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Call 828-298-7928 or visit southernhighlandguild.org. No charge.
The Asheville Symphony Orchestra performs and promotes symphonic music for the benefit, enjoyment and education of the people of Western North Carolina.
The Theatre offers live performances of music, theatre and dance throughout the year by nationally touring artists as well as professional and avocational regional arts groups.
The Asheville Downtown Gallery Association has more than thirty downtown galleries listed on their Downtown Gallery Guide with a map.
52 N. Market Street. With his lasting portrayal of his family, Asheville and the Old Kentucky Home boarding house, Thomas Wolfe immortalized his youth in his epic, Look Homeward, Angel. After a fire in 1998, the historic Victorian home was reopened following an extensive renovation.
Three miles south of Hendersonville off Route 255. Sandburg moved to a place called Connemara in Flat Rock when he was 67 years old. One of America’s greatest poets, columnist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Sandburg is gladly claimed by Western North Carolina.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Biltmore Village is one of the Carolinas’ most special shopping experiences. The tree-lined streets, brick sidewalks, original cottages from the 1900’s and unique specialty shops harmonize perfectly with William Sonoma, Talbots and Chico’s. Don’t miss tea at the Chelsea Tea Room or dining at the Corner Kitchen.
WNC Farmer’s Market
Located off Brevard Road, this 36-acre facility, operated by the NC Department of Agriculture has retail and wholesale building, a restaurant and garden center. This farmers market is a colorful and wholesome place to take the whole family. Open 9:00 – 5:00 daily. Call 828-253-1691 or visitncdamarkets.org. No charge.
Newly renovated, this downtown arcade features indoor and outdoor shops, local area artists and fabulous restaurants. Perfect for an afternoon stroll or coffee and tea at one of the sidewalk café’s. Grovearcade.com
Grove Arcade Public Market
Asheville Municipal Golf Course
Reems Creek Golf
Asheville Independent Restaurants
Park Ridge Hospital
Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care
The Official North Carolina tourism site
Asheville Downtown Association
A voice of the downtown community that promotes and supports quality economic, cultural and residential development of downtown Asheville.
Asheville Urban Trail
Historic walking tour makes a 1.7 mile loop of downtown and tells the fascinating story of Asheville interpreted through art. Call 828-259-5800 or visit ashevillearts.com. No charge.
Bele Chere Festival
For three days each year, always the last full weekend in July, the central downtown area is barricaded against vehicular traffic and the largest free street festival in the Southeast holds court in Asheville.