Asheville NC “Any Way You Like It! ” ”

City of Asheville NC
City of Asheville North Carolina
This unique and inspiring city is situated between the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.  Considered the “Paris of the South”, Asheville is a liberal community, overflowing with creativity and a wide variety of activities fitting to any  traveler’s interests.   Home of the University of North Carolina at Asheville, it is the second largest city off the Blue Ridge Parkway.  With an ever-increasing population Buncombe County has over 9,000 businesses, access via Interstate highways I-26 and I-40; they even have their own airport, Asheville Regional.  Downtown Asheville is a popular retreat with museums, bistros, restaurants, clubs and two shopping malls.  There are also many locally owned and operated stores in this memorable town.


History of Asheville NC

The Grove Park Inn
Construction of the Grove Park Inn


History of Asheville North Carolina

A young pioneer named William Davidson founded Asheville, North Carolina in 1784.  The family settled on Christian Creek in the Swannanoa Valley area known as “Eden Land”.  Buncombe County was officially established in 1791, led by John Burton who named the land Morristown.  The area was incorporated in 1797 and renamed Asheville in honor of Governor Samuel Ashe.

Asheville gained popularity when a road parallel to the French Broad River made a path into east Tennessee, forming a gateway from the West in 1828. The “Asheville and Greenville Plank Road” completed in 1851, expanded commerce and allowed the community to continue to grow. Many affluent community members saw Asheville as a health resort. This label attracted the wealthy from all over the South.  The once peaceful mountain city erupted during the Civil War becoming a vital Confederate military base.  Seven of the 10 companies comprising the 60th North Carolina Regiment were Buncombe County men.

In the late 1800’s, Francis Tiernan used the phrase “The Land of the Sky” to describe Asheville. Thousands of people throughout the area began to recognize the phrase and spread Asheville’s name.  During this time the new railroad industry was rapidly growing.  The trains brought money, power and jobs to Western North Carolina.  Most importantly they brought the hope of a new future.

With all these new amenities, lavish hotels and inns were constructed and Asheville’s economic growth exploded.  The “Asheville Board of Trade,” developed by the Chamber of Commerce in 1900, devised national advertising campaigns labeling Asheville one of “the leading convention cities in the country.”

 Religious assemblies, an opera house and a convention auditorium drew urban culture to the area. The Langren Hotel in 1912, Grove Park Inn in 1913, and the Kenilworth Inn in 1918 further expanded the luxury resort industry in Asheville.

In the early 1920’s as the city of Asheville grew, many celebrities and dignitaries flocked to these mountains seeking fresh air and beautiful sceneries.  F. Scott Fitzgerald enjoyed staying at the luxurious Grove Park Inn, along with many presidents and statesmen.  Thomas Wolfe, a major American novelist, was born and raised in Asheville; many of his novels are inspired by the city.  By 1929, Asheville had become a prevalent city in North Carolina with its many shops and buildings.  But all that came to a halt when the Great Depression hit, forcing the Central Bank and Trust Company (a major holder of county funds) to close its doors.  At this time Asheville retained the highest per capita debt of any city in the country; despite the setbacks, the founding fathers vowed to pay back all that the city owed. It took Asheville 47 years to clear its debt and begin to rebuild.  With all the financial devastation, Asheville made plans for two projects that would add to their tourist reputation many years later.  These projects were the construction of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway; these projects provided much-needed employment to the community members of Asheville during the depression era.

Until 1977, the city of Asheville did not have any money to invest in “urban renewal” that was popular during the 50’s and 60’s.  Their commitment to debt repayment saved dozens of Art Deco buildings that had been constructed during the earlier prosperous decades from demolition.  These buildings contribute to the architectural diversity that is seen in downtown Asheville today.  Saving these historical buildings is still a major goal for the city of Asheville.  Today, structures such as City Hall, the Jackson Building, First Baptist Church and the S & W Building help downtown Asheville retain a southeastern Art Deco collection second only to Miami Beach.  The Grove Park Inn is one of the most renowned inns and tourist spots in all of Asheville.  Designed in 1913 by Fred Seely, a man without any architectural experience and his father-in-law Edwin Wiley Grove.  Built with specified granite boulders from Sunset Mountain and red clay tiles from Tennessee the Grove Park Inn is an extravagant hotel with a celebrity hall of famous visitors.  Those guests include: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Burt Reynolds and George Bush.  The Rogues Gallery has photographs of it’s many famous visitors from the early 1900s including Calvin Coolidge, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Will Rogers and many more.

Asheville, North Carolina remains a hotspot for tourists and celebrities alike.  It is also now home to the University of North Carolina at Asheville and many other small colleges. With it’s historic back round and beautiful scenery it is one of the most interesting and unique cities to visit in Western North Carolina.


Asheville NC Downtown


Downtown Asheville
Downtown Asheville is an energetic and rare area.  With a seemingly endless amount of activities, there is something for everyone in the heart of this city.  From museums to distinctive coffee shops the experiences are endless.  This area is filled with great architecture, antique shops, art galleries, and a huge assortment of restaurants.  Many artists and street musicians can be found performing all around this area.  There are a variety of nightspots offering live music or dancing.  Downtown Asheville also hosts many different festivals and events including Bele Chere, Shindig on the Green, Downtown After 5 and the weekly Drumming Circle.  To get to the downtown area of Asheville look for these streets that lead to the center of the city: Pack Square, Patton Avenue, Biltmore Avenue, College Street and Haywood Street.  The city also offers parking in the downtown area with a small meter fee.



Biltmore Village
Located at the entrance of George W. Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate, this classic planned community is one of the South’s most unique touring and shopping environments.  Built in the late 1890’s, Vanderbilt transformed the sleepy settlement known as Asheville Junction into a peaceful village for all to enjoy.  Originally, the Biltmore Village served three purposes: to create institutions to serve as a framework for his philanthropic endeavors; to present an aesthetically pleasing introduction to the entrance of his estate; and to create a self-contained and self-sustaining community that would also provide rental income.  Over time the historic Biltmore Village has become a favorite for tourists and residents of Asheville.  With wonderful collections of unique merchandise of true quality and value, the relaxed and enjoyable environment allows visitors to experience the way shopping used to be. The majorities of shops are locally owned and offer top quality merchandise at realistic prices.  Visitors can take a stroll down the picturesque tree lined brick sidewalks or enjoy open air dining at the many exquisite restaurants.  With a backdrop of original historic houses dating back to the 1900’s, the Biltmore Village offers a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.

There is plenty of FREE parking available on the streets of Biltmore Village. Public parking is also located under the retail stores at 10 Brook Street, next to Chico’s.



River Arts District

The River Arts District is a community of artists located along the French Broad River, minutes from downtown Asheville.  The community is dedicated to creating art, supporting local artists and producing successful art events.  The River Arts District is a collection of old vacant warehouses that have been converted into studios and living quarters for up and coming artists.  You can experience the magic behind creating art first hand by visiting this area.  The artists welcome visitors with open arms to tour their studios, see their latest artwork, and watch demonstrations.  There are over 100 artists working and living in this area.  Here you will find an amazing range of art-from cutting edge sculpture and paintings to traditional raku fired pottery, and everything in-between.  In June and November the district holds the event ‘Studio Strolls’.  The Stroll is the first, largest and most walk-able tour of working artists’ studios in the region.  There are artists’ demonstrations, hands-on activities and one-of-a-kind merchandise.

“River Arts District” signs are easy to spot and can be found along the following roads: Clingman, Depot, Haywood, Lyman, Riverside and Roberts.



Biltmore Estate
The world famous Biltmore House is a Châteauesque-styled mansion on the outskirts of Asheville, North Carolina. Built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895, it is the largest privately-owned home in the United States.  Vanderbilt, a young aristocrat from New York visited Asheville in the 1880s with his mother, and fell in love with the area calling it ‘the most beautiful place in the world.’  As a result of this visit Vanderbilt decided to build an elaborate home for his family in Asheville that replicated the great estates of Europe.  Hiring renowned landscape architect Frederick Olmsted to design the grounds and gardens and celebrated architect Richard Morris Hunt to help plan the house, Vanderbilt began work on one of the most beautiful houses ever constructed.  It took hundreds of workers five years to complete the 135,000 square feet, 255-room house and gardens.   The Biltmore Estate brought a sense of romance and a distinctive elegance to the city of Asheville, causing Vanderbilt to achieve a celebrity status never seen before in Western North Carolina.  Family members continued to live in the estate until 1956 when it was permanently opened to the public as a house museum.

Today the house is still opened for public tours and offers other enticing activities such as a winery and an Inn located on the grounds.  The grounds also include a beautiful 75-acre garden open to the public.

 

For more information call: (828)884-5713 or (828)877-3130



Asheville Restaurants and Dining
With 12 farmers markets, nearly 250 independent restaurants and a bevy of local breweries food is the centerpiece of daily life in Asheville, North Carolina.  Asheville’s restaurants offer a wide diversity of cuisines for any palate.  In a world dominated by fast food, Asheville is a haven for those who believe meals should be about quality and conversation.  Whether you are looking for southern barbeque or vegan food, Asheville’s food scene is guaranteed to meet your needs as one of the most unique culinary scenes in the Southeast.


Asheville Food Tours

This guided walking tour allows you to experience some of the most memorable food in the South.  The tour allows you to take a taste of the exotic world of local Asheville restaurants, gourmet shops and microbreweries, with artisan cheeses and choice meats from local farms, hand-made chocolates and dynamic wine lists any customer will be satisfied. For more information…


Organic and Vegetarian Cuisine

Asheville is a utopia for lovers of organic and vegetarian food.  With the increasing green-movement in this city, there are a large variety of organic and vegetarian restaurants.  Asheville has been honored by GoVeg.com and Organic Style magazine for the prevalence of these restaurants in the city.  Find out more…


Farm to Table Restaurants

Many of the city’s most popular and renowned restaurants have teamed up with local farmers to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to their restaurants.  Working with the farmers, Asheville’s top chefs have incorporated locally grown food into their exquisite menus.  Find out more: Farm to Table restaurants


Farmer’s Markets and Tailgate Markets



The 36-acre Western North Carolina Farmers Market is filled with farm-fresh produce, homemade jellies and other locally made products.  Visitors can meet the farmers and organic grocers, herbalists and other contributors at this location.  There are also 35 tailgate markets scattered throughout the area offering a diverse collection of products.  Find out more: Farmer’s Markets and Tailgate Markets


Cooking Schools

From cooking demonstrations to hands-on workshops, Asheville offers a cornucopia of activities and classes to learn more about many types of cuisines.  You can also find weeklong cooking schools varying in subject that will enhance any level cooks kitchen creations.  Find out more: Cooking Schools


Taste of Asheville

Every year the members of Asheville Independent Restaurant Association hosts a party for the public called Taste of Asheville.  This event allows attendees to experience their favorite restaurants in a fresh new way with a gala, cookbook author’s lectures, culinary tours and much more. Find out more: Asheville Independent Restaurant Association


Travel Without Consequences



If you’re a health conscious vacationer, Asheville is the opportune place for you.  With this Calorie Burn Itinerary, you can shed pounds while still enjoying locally made food and wine.  Find out more: Culinary Travel Without Consequences


Montford Bed and Breakfast District
Take a trip back in time by visiting the Montford Bed and Breakfast District.  The origin of the name Montford is unknown, but the heritage is rich and well recognized.  Very few neighborhoods have the architectural legacy and livelihood that Asheville’s Montford Historic District holds.  With the presence of a few powerful individuals during the era of remarkable growth in Asheville, Montford grew as a residential neighborhood for the middle-class.  An area of about 300 acres, Montford was just a tiny community north of Asheville consisting of about 50 people, until it was incorporated in 1893.  The well-known neighborhood of today was developed by a group called the Asheville Loan, Construction and Improvement Company, but it wasn’t until a benefactor George Willis Pack took over and rehabilitated the failing business that Montford became a prominent residential development.  Today, Montford has more than 600 buildings that were built between 1890 and 1920.  Victorian, Queen Anne and Arts and Crafts styles combined with Neoclassical, Colonial Revival and castle-like themes contribute to the intricate designs of these buildings.  Supervising architect of the Biltmore House, Richard Sharp Smith, produced numerous residential homes in Montford. Smith’s partiality for pebbledash, shingles, high-pitched roofs and heavy stone foundations contributed to an overall form for the neighborhood.  In 1977 Montford was listed in the National Register of Historic Places and in 1981 the Asheville City Council designated Montford as a local historic district, preserving this old-fashion neighborhood for good.  Many of these extravagant houses have been restored in recent years and transformed into beautiful, unique bed and breakfasts.  The city offers guided historic and architectural tours of the neighborhood.  Every summer the Montford Neighborhood Association has the Montford Music and Arts festival which is a street festival with musical acts and a juried art show accentuating  the artistic strength behind one of Asheville’s oldest neighborhoods.  This event is free to the public.  The district is located near the center of Asheville and is an easy walk or bike ride from downtown.

read more…


The Sounds of Asheville
The music scene in Asheville, North Carolina began many years ago with the Scots-Irish settlers who shook up the little town with the sounds of their reels and folk songs.  Today the musical tradition stands strong all across the city of Asheville and is a crucial part in the cities culture.  Walking through downtown you can hear the many street musicians playing in their own unique styles; echoing in the background is the sound of the weekly drum circle found in Pritchard Park.  Nightly jam sessions are held in bars all across the city and there are multiple venues for all music lovers.   Because of Asheville’s notoriety as a musical epicenter, one can stop by a number of local bars and catch live music from artists of varying genres ranging from local to nationally known acts. Various music festivals are held throughout the year catering to all ages and musical tastes.  The Orange Peel is a popular venue that has developed an international reputation as one of the best live music clubs in the country. The Rolling Stone magazine included it in its list of “Top Five Rock Clubs in the Country.” The small club offers up close views of performing acts and hosts a variety of nationally acclaimed music acts varying in genre.

For more information…


LEAF-Lake Eden Arts Festival
Lake Eden Arts Festival is weekend festival in the spring and the fall where thousands of people from all over the world come to see the arts, crafts, and music from a diverse range of cultures: African, Asian, Latin, Appalachian, Cajun, Celtic, Blues, Bluegrass, French, Texas Sounds and more.  Festival attendees can travel all over the world without moving by visiting the four stages offering variations of music from across the globe.  The festival is held on a scenic location directly next to a lake where you can paddle a canoe, ride the zip line, hang at the jam tent, listen to poetry, experience the kids village, the African drum circle, and much more. There are many vendors at this festival displaying their artwork, selling jewelry and clothing and many other things.  There are a variety of food vendors at certain locations in the festival. The spring LEAF festival is always the second weekend in May and the Fall LEAF festival is always the second weekend as well. This festival always gets sold out so get your tickets well in advance to ensure you will be able to attend and experience this great event.  Connect with fellow festival attendees by camping on location.


Bele Chere Festival
Bele Chere is an annual street festival held in downtown Asheville on the last full weekend of July.  Bele Chere offers an extensive variety of arts, music, food, beverages, events and family friendly activities.  Started in 1979 and consisting of only three blocks of the downtown area, Bele Chere has now grown into the largest free festival in the Southeastern United States.  The festival is made up of six stages spread throughout the streets and attracts over 350,000 people. A variety of art is displayed in a designated area called Arts Park that features several dozen regional artists and their works.  The art consists of many different types of media including painting, photography, pottery and jewelry.  At this three-day festival you can find a large variety of music genres including Blues, Country, Folk, Mountain, Rock and Jazz; local and nationally (United States) known musicians are featured.  Bele Chere roughly translates to “beautiful living” which is exactly what you’ll find at this day and night festival that is overflowing with original music and artwork. Asheville, North Carolina’s Bele Chere Festival is a unique opportunity to experience all the aspects of the music, art, and food cultures of Western North Carolina.

For more information…

 


Beer City USA
Welcome to Beer City USA! Asheville, North Carolina has earned the title ‘Beer City’ due to the immense amount of bars, brewpubs, microbreweries and restaurants in the city. You can sample some 50 local brews from nine different brewing companies.  Asheville has one of the highest rates of craft brew consumption in the Southeast! Readers of Examiner.com have voted Asheville as Beer City USA for three consecutive years. Many of the local breweries and retailers are within walking distance of each other in downtown Asheville.
Here is a list of our favorite (for more information click on the links below):

Pack’s Tavern (20 South Spruce St)
Lexington Avenue Brewery (39 N. Lexington Avenue, downtown Asheville)
Jack of the Wood (95 Patton Avenue, downtown Asheville)
Barley’s Taproom (42 Biltmore Avenue, downtown Asheville)
Hannah Flanagan’s (27 Biltmore Avenue, downtown Asheville)
The Bier Garden (46 Haywood St, downtown Asheville)
Craggie Brewing Company (197 Hilliard Avenue, downtown Asheville)
Highland Brewing Co (12 Old Charlotte Highway, Asheville)
Troy and Sons Distillers‎ (12 Old Charlotte Highway, Asheville)
Wedge Brewing Co (125 Roberts Street, Asheville)
Thirsty Monk (50 Commerce Street, corner of Patton and Coxe, downtown Asheville)Bruisin’ Ales (66 Broadway Ave, downtown Asheville)
Asheville Brewing Company (675 Merrimon Ave, about 1.5 miles north of Asheville, & 77 Coxe Avenue, Downtown Asheville)
The Merrimon location (Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company)
Westville Pub (777 Haywood Road, West Asheville)
French Broad Brewing Co (near Biltmore Village, Asheville)

more brewery information…

 



The Grove Arcade, Downtown Asheville Shopping
Featuring dozens of specialty shops, galleries and restaurants the Grove Arcade is a must stop when visiting downtown Asheville. Inside one of the most historic buildings in North Carolina you can find local art, antiques, fine gifts and international cuisine.  Outside you will find dozens of farmers and craftspeople selling various items such as local crafts, honey, handmade soaps and countless other things.  A trendy evening spot, the Grove Arcade has many restaurants with outdoor sidewalk dining all around the block-long building. There are also 42-luxury apartments located on the fourth floor of this elegant building. Parking is free for the first hour.



Old Asheville Architecture

Whether you are walking or driving around Asheville, North Carolina the variations in architecture of obvious to even the untrained eye.  Established as an artisan city in the early 1900s, Asheville or the “Paris of the South” is made up of buildings as diverse as the community itself.  Through history Asheville has developed a unique architectural style that celebrates its past and adds an aesthetically pleasing aspect to the city.  The migration of various individuals from different backgrounds to the mountains of Western North Carolina has had a huge role in developing the style now seen in Asheville.

American Indian hunters set up temporary villages throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains and are known to be the earliest settlers of this area.  By the early 1800s, Colonial farmers began to populate Asheville developing permanent residence by building homes and businesses made exclusively from logs.  The Buncome Turnpike, constructed in 1827, kicked off a new era of development and brought more people to the small mountain community.  These new residents brought with them a different sense of worldliness, style, and fashion that had not been seen before in the hills of Western North Carolina. In the years following the Turnpike’s construction many wealthy vacationers began to flock to the area bringing extravagant tastes and money to the area. Landowners from South Carolina and Georgia began to build vacation homes that followed the Greek Revival and Federal designs popular on southern plantations, beginning the trend of elaborate architecture in Asheville.

With the arrival of the railroad, Asheville began to grow as an urban center.  In the three years following the arrival of the first train, Asheville’s population nearly doubled in size.  To keep up with the population growth many houses, factories and buildings of all kinds were constructed at rapid speeds.  By the late 19th century Asheville boomed as a destination for well-off tourists who brought the taste for modern style architecture along with them.  During this time the original Battery Park Hotel and Kenilworth Inn, built in Queen Anne and Victorian vernacular styles, took off in popularity.  The most extravagant of all the buildings constructed during this time is the now world famous Biltmore Estate.  George Washington Vanderbilt came to Asheville to build his retreat-home that consisted of 225-rooms resting on 125,000 acres.  Teaming up with architect Richard Morris Hunt and landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmstead, the French Chateaux inspired mansion was constructed.  Pleased with the two architects, Vanderbilt hired Hunt to construct a variety of buildings in the style of a manorial English village.  These buildings are now known as All Souls Episcopal Church and Parish Hall, the Southern Railway Passenger Depot (Biltmore Depot) and the Biltmore Estate Office.  After Hunt’s death, Vanderbilt hired his supervisor Richard Sharp Smith to continue the construction of the manorial Biltmore Village that now features various restaurants and exquisite retail stores.  These buildings helped develop Smith’s signature style known as the “Biltmore Style” which is easily recognized for having brick, pebbledash (a type of stucco with coarse stone) and heavy timbers.  Many famous architects came to Asheville to work for Vanderbilt; one of the more famous being Raphael Gaustavino, a Spanish-born architect, who built Asheville’s Church of St. Lawrence.  This building has a self-supporting elliptical dome, 58 by 82 feet, possibly the largest in the country.  Richard Smith contributed to Asheville with numerous commercial, civic and religious buildings, including the Young Men’s Institute Building and the African American Masonic Temple. Smith using his own unique twist on the Queen Anne style popular to that time period designed entire blocks and neighborhoods in the city of Asheville that still stand today.
The Arts and Crafts movement that was inspired by nature, local materials and the expression of skill thrived in the heart of Asheville.  Many buildings were made in this style, which was characterized by sloping roofs, big open porches, and an overall horizontal form.  Asheville gained notoriety as a ‘health retreat’ that promoted the development of luxury inns, resorts and associated cottages.  During the 1890’s, William Green Raoul, a leading railroad executive, Bradford Gilbert, a renowned architect and Samuel Parsons, Jr., a popular landscape architect began construction of Albemarle Park, a collection of inns and residence which features the Manor along Charlotte Street.  Many superbly designed residences were built along the corridor of the Park; their styles varying from Neoclassical, Colonial Revival to Queen Anne.  Edwin W. Grove, Asheville’s next large investor, later purchased these buildings.

After visiting a lodge in Yellowstone Park, Edwin W. Grove came to Asheville with the desire to build a grand rustic mountain-lodge, similar to the one he saw while traveling.  He began to develop Grove Park, a neighborhood located at the foot of Sunset Mountain around 1907.  By 1913, he had completed the Grove Park Inn, an extensive inn built of massive boulders reinforced by concrete.  He purchased the surrounding land and later sold it off to more residential developers.  In 1922, Grove announced plans to demolish the existing Battery Park Hotel and build a magnificent tourist center in its place. Grove hired Asheville architect, Charles N. Parker to level the hotel, lower the hill by 70 feet, and construct the Grove Arcade, a commercial shopping center in Neo-Tudor style with Gothic style details. Unfortunately Grove’s death in 1927 paused the construction of a 19-story tower to top the shopping center, what had been completed though was the impressive terra cotta arcade, the first American indoor shopping plaza. A new Battery Park Hotel was built on the leveled site. More than 65 buildings were erected in downtown Asheville during the 1920s, including the Jackson, Kress and Flat Iron buildings.  The contrast between the rural mountain area and Asheville’s growing city became apparent during this period.

The Art Deco movement began to grow in Asheville well into the middle of the century.  The movement is well represented by Douglas Ellington’s Art Deco City Hall and the Neoclassical County Courthouse, both built in 1928.  This design is also seen in the Federal Courthouse, the Wick & Greene building, Asheville High School, First Baptist Church and the S&W Cafeteria.

When the stock market crashed in the early 30’s Asheville, North Carolina was hit the hardest out of any city in the United States.  Western North Carolina’s largest bank, the Central Bank Trust Company, collapsed causing the city to go bankrupt.  Rather than filing for bankruptcy, Asheville chose to pay off its debt.  Though it took nearly 50 years to do so, the pay off was well worth it.  By choosing to avoid the ‘urban renewal’ that so many cities followed, Asheville was able to preserve many of its historic buildings.  While the city was paying back it’s debt, the style of architecture moved towards a more Modern theme.  An emphasis on clean lines and simple form soon took over the newly built residential areas.  Buildings began being constructed in styles that involved streamlined curves and geometry as opposed to the heavily ornamented designs of the past.  A major leading building in this Modern movement was Anthony Lord’s Asheville Citizen Times Building, erected in 1939. Asheville’s tallest building, the BB&T Building of 1964, was also constructed during this era.  Other prominent works include the I.M. Pei Building, the Wachovia Bank Building and the First Union Building.

To understand the beauty and history behind these architectural wonders one must visit the city of Asheville, North Carolina.  Many of these Art Deco and Victorian houses are available for public tours or have been turned into restaurants and boutiques.  Asheville reputation as a city of varying architectural style has drawn many visitors and residents over the years, and continues to do so today.  You can experience the variations and learn about the history behind these marvelous buildings by taking Asheville’s Urban Trail, a 1.7-mile walk through the streets of downtown Asheville that has over 30 stops.

For more information on Asheville’s Urban Trail…


Asheville Minor League Baseball
Not to be confused with visiting travelers, the Asheville Tourists are the cities minor league baseball team.  They play in the Class A South League and are a farm team of the Colorado Rockies.  As a South Atlantic League the Tourists have won one league championship; previous teams have won a total of four additional championships.  You can find the Tourists playing at McCormick Field, which has now been equipped with a zipline.  This allows fans to deliver the first official ball at each home game by riding down the 500 feet zipline.   The July 4th Firework show is also a big attraction hosted at McCormick Field directly after a Tourists game. The now historic field was built in 1924 and has been renovated twice since then to accommodate the needs of visitors, or should we say ‘Tourists’.

For more information on scheduling and tickets visit…


Asheville Wildlife
From rivers to wildlife sanctuaries, Asheville, North Carolina has an abundance of wildlife for any type of observer.  The mountains of Western North Carolina provide the perfect habitat for many different animals, varying in species and sizes.  The biodiversity of this region can be seen on the mountaintops, along trails, and even in the urban setting.  The Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains, and the many national forests surrounding Asheville hold a variety of animals from coyotes to bears that thrive in these areas.  So keep your eyes peeled when driving along the wooded roads! Along with all of the critters that call Asheville home, the city is surrounded with wild flowers, giant trees and many other unique plant species.  So whether you want to explore the Blue Ridge Parkway or take a day trip up the mountain to bird watch, Asheville is the place for you! Below are some of the fun and educational activities you can find in Asheville, North Carolina.

The North Carolina Arboretum: The Arboretum is 434 acres of natural beauty that offers engaging outdoor and indoor exhibits for all ages. Here you can connect with nature and learn how plants are important to our world.  Come view the outdoor art installations and take a walk through the 65 acres of cultivated gardens, which include one of most unique and beautiful bonsai collections in the United States.  There is a café on site that offers local, organic, and natural food options. To plan a visit or find out more information… (http://www.ncarboretum.org/)
Western North Carolina Nature Center: Cougars and wolves and bears, oh my! Located just a few miles from I-40 along the Swannanoa River, the WNC Nature Center is a fun, educational, and safe place to interact with local wildlife.  With over 40 acres of habitat, the WNC Nature Center has one of the largest collections of Southern Appalachian animals in the world! This unique center is divided into many exhibit areas, each one reflecting the different habitat of the species occupying it.  Offering tours, summer camps, and other special day events the WNC Nature Center is sure to please visitors of all ages! For more information (wncnaturecenter.com)

Botanical Gardens of Asheville:  Located at the edge of the UNC-Asheville campus, just minutes from downtown Asheville, the Botanical Gardens are a simplistic nature lovers dream! Here you can see beautiful native plants in their natural habitat while walking on a short trail near the city.  (www.ashevillebotanicalgardens.org)

 



Asheville Urban Trail

Often referred to as “a museum without walls”; Asheville’s Urban Trail consists of thirty stations represented by bronze sculptures around downtown.  Local artists helped create these statues that commemorate notable people who once lived at the historic locations.  On this 1.7-mile walk that begins and ends at Pack Place you get a chance to tour Asheville and learn some of the very interesting history of the downtown district.  The tour takes about two hours to complete and is broken up into different time periods.

For more information…



Asheville NC Performing Arts

Any form of art is a huge part of the culture, community and vibe that is found in Asheville, North Carolina.  Theatre, drama and dance are performed regularly all across the city and in the surrounding areas at various locations.  You can watch Shakespeare being performed in Montford Park by local enthusiasts or listen to the Asheville Symphony Orchestra playing at their Haywood Street location. Regardless of your preference in performing arts, Asheville is sure to fit your specific taste! For a list of more performances, ticket prices, and dates click on the link below.


Shopping in Downtown Asheville
Downtown Asheville is a shoppers dream! Farmers markets, galleries, retail shops and antique stores line the streets creating a unique shoppers paradise. Varying from shopping malls to one-of-a-kind retailers every store holds special treasures that can only be found in Asheville.  The Grove Arcade, located in downtown, is a block long shopping center featuring specialty stores and dining destinations.  Another popular shopping adventure is the Biltmore Village, which features elegant stores and interesting boutiques and galleries.


Outdoor Recreation in Asheville
Asheville, North Carolina is not just a city! Surrounded by dense forests and natural wonders, Asheville offers an abundance of outdoor activities for all to enjoy.  With so many outdoor destinations, Asheville is often referred to as the outdoor playground of the Southeast.  Visitors can enjoy whitewater rafting, mountain biking, hiking; it is no wonder why numerous magazines have named Asheville the top outdoor adventure destination.  Whether you’re into extreme sports or simple hikes, the mountains that surround Asheville offer a variety of adventures.  Take a stroll down the French Broad River or zipline across the mountain peaks.  There are multiple rafting tours all around the area that offer professionally guided tours of the rivers.

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Day Trips to Nearby Towns
There are many wonderful towns located just on the outskirts of Asheville.  These little towns are filled with activities that are perfect for a day excursion!  Black Mountain, located only 15 miles from Asheville, offers old time southern hospitality with many eclectic shops, restaurants and even the Swannanoa Valley Museum.  Only 15 miles from Asheville, historic Hendersonville is a unique escape from the city scene! Visit the many city parks and historic districts all located in this quaint town. You can even play a round of mini-golf at Boyd Park! If you have never seen a white squirrel then you must visit Brevard, North Carolina! You can find these critters crawling all over this county! Brevard is about an hour drive from Asheville and is filled with fun activities! They are host to many music festivals and have an abundance of cycling trails and beautiful waterfalls. The newly released movie, the Hunger Games, was even filmed at one of their waterfalls! These are just a few of our favorite day trips.

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Family Fun in Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is the perfect vacation for all members of the family! In this mountain town you can find numerous activities for all to enjoy. Take an educational tour through the heart of the city or visit the weekly drum circle in the center of downtown.  This town offers unique experiences that your family will treasure for a lifetime.  Whether you are here for a day or on a weeklong excursion, there is plenty to do in this exciting community! The summer months are especially filled with adventures for the family! The link below offers ideas, trips and activities for the whole family.

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Hiking Trails
Around Asheville
Asheville is the perfect place for your next hiking adventure! Come experience the beauty of nature while hiking mountains older than the North American continent.  The hiking trails in Asheville are great for hikers of all levels and are equipped with beautiful overlooks and wildlife.  Surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest, Asheville has easy access to an unlimited amount of outdoor hiking experiences and adventures.  Watch critters scurry through the forests, take a dip in the shallow streams and marvel the natural wonders of the many waterfalls scattered throughout these woods.  Follow our maps of the many local hiking trails and experience first hand all that the mountains have to offer!

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