Feeling Great in Asheville!
Asheville, North Carolina is nestled near the southeastern border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Oconaluftee, Cataloochee, Big Creek and Balsam Mountain areas are all about an hour’s drive from downtown Asheville. If you’re staying on the Tennessee side of the Smokies, Asheville makes a great day-trip!
Reaching Asheville is convenient and easy. Interstate 40 enters the city from the east and west and Interstate 26 accesses the city from the south and north. The Asheville Regional Airport is nine miles south of downtown on Interstate 26.
Asheville is a vibrant, thriving city with a definately cool vibe. The Huffington Post ranked Asheville as one of the 9 Most Romantic Cities in South and the Hippie Capital of the South. Boasting over fifteen micro-breweries, it’s easy to see why the Conde Nast Traveler named Asheville one of Amercia’s Best Beer Cities.
No trip to Asheville would be complete without a visit to the famous Biltmore Estate. Completed in 1896, Biltmore is the largest privately owned home in the United States. The estate encompasses over 8,000 acres and includes a winery, hotel, historic conservatory and expansive gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. There are hiking trails, kayaking opportunities, biking, picnicking, Segway adventures, and tours of the mansion. Christmas at Biltmore is one of the most popular times to visit when the home is decorated for the holidays. Be sure to take the candlelight tour offered evenings during this special time.
Other fun options around the city include a visit to the famous Grove Park Inn, a tour of the beautiful North Carolina Arboretrum, and perusing the WNC Farmers Market. Dining options are endless from fine dining to mom and pops offering up everything from gourmet pizzas to good ol’ country cooking. You may even want to join in on a drum circle! For more information on restaurants in Asheville, visit Romantic Asheville.
Asheville is surrounded by the Southern Appalachian mountains and is bordered by the Pisgah National Forest. The Blue Ridge Parkway passes through the city limits a few miles south of downtown. A short ride north on the parkway takes hearty adventurers to the highest peak east of the Mississippi river, Mount Mitchell. At 6,684′ the views from Mt. Mitchell are amazing. Traveling south on the Blue Ridge Parkway is a lovely drive any time year and will deliver you to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The history of Asheville is rich and diverse. Once the domain of the Cherokee, Hernando Desoto first explored the region in the 1,500’s. The town had modest beginnings with a log cabin built in the Swannanoa Valley in 1784. The settlers faced opposition to their presence from the Cherokee. Many incidents of violence ensued ultimately ending with the Cherokee’s forced removal on the Trail of Tears. The civil war put its mark on the city but left Asheville intact compared to others decimated by Sherman’s “March to the Sea”. In 1880 the railroad came to town and things were never the same. This sleepy hamlet slowly but steadily grew and evolved into the largest city in Western North Carolina.