The turning of the fall leaves has passed, but the beauty of Asheville, North Carolina remains year-round. Surrounded by beautiful scenery like the Blue Ridge Mountains and chimney rock, Asheville is the largest city in Western North Carolina. Known for its art deco architecture, adventurous dining options and for being home to Biltmore Estates, the largest private residence in North America, the city has something for every visitor.
Nature enthusiasts will love Asheville for the scenery found on a drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway and a hike through the Blue Ridge Mountains. The area’s hiking trails lead to cascading waterfalls and shallow wading pools. In the Pisgah National Forest, you will be surrounded by the sights and the sounds of nature at its best. You can explore one of the many hiking trails on your own or take part in outdoor recreation like whitewater rafting at one of the area’s national parks; adventure and natural beauty are found in either choice.
A visit to Asheville wouldn’t be complete without visiting the historic Biltmore Estates. Built by George Washington Vanderbuilt III, construction on the 250-room mansion was completed in 1895. Guided or self-guided tours of the home’s three floors and basement are available. The grounds of the massive property also include a 250-acre pleasure park, formal and informal gardens, and a winery. The newest addition to the property is Antler Hill Farm, which includes a historic barn and farmyard with family-friendly animals, a tavern, a creamery, playground and kid’s maze, and venues where guests can enjoy live entertainment.
With so much to see and do at Biltmore Estates, a stay on the property will keep you in the middle of it all while experiencing the same hospitality that the original property owner’s guests felt when they stayed the evening in the home. Whether you stay in a guest room or a suite, and whether you have woodland or mountain views, the beautifully appointed rooms at the Inn on Biltmore Estate are romantic and charming, allowing you to feel right at home.
Downtown Asheville has become home to artists of all kinds. Author Thomas Wolfe grew up in the town, using it as a backdrop for his novel, ͞Look Homeward, Angel͟ and other notable writers with links to Asheville include F. Scott Fitzgerald, Carl Sandburg and Charles Frazier among others. Music is a huge hit here too, with genres covering everything from bluegrass presented by street performers to
rock music that fills the Orange Peel Social Aid and Pleasure Club. The Asheville Symphony Orchestra serenades visitors with classical music at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.
Winter time can be quite cold in Asheville, but it’s a great time to visit the city if culinary art is more your style. From January 20 to January 29, Asheville celebrates Restaurant Week, offering prix fixe menus for $15 two-course lunch, $30 three-course dinner, $30 dinner for two, and $20 dinner for two options at many restaurants around town. Fine dining restaurants like The Market Place Restaurant & Lounge meld with down-home mom and pop places like 12 Bones Smokehouse, with dining options ranging from Mediterranean to southern and everything in between. With 250 independent restaurants, 20 regional tailgate markets, and an array of craft breweries, the culinary scene in Asheville celebrates the farm-to-table movement with a commitment to locally sourced ingredients.
Asheville is also a shopper’s paradise, with antique shops, specialty stores and shopping districts dedicated to offering amazing finds to locals and out-of-town shoppers. The city’s streets are lined with eclectic boutiques. Treasures are just waiting to be found from these unique Asheville businesses.
Whether you visit for the breathtaking views of the natural landscape or for the bustle of the city life with its diners, shops and music, a trip to Asheville can be catered to any taste. The feeling left behind after a trip to the city is one that will keep you coming back with loved ones for years to come.