Question: Why do so many folks that visit the Asheville area on vacation end up moving here? Answer: Once they visit, they love it so much they either stay, or make plans to move to the area in the future. A truly eclectic, comfy, and beautiful mountain city, Asheville is so inviting, you'll want to make it your home town! For those who love the outdoors, this area beckons your soul to explore Mother Nature and all her beauty. Whether you spend the day hiking on the Appalachian Trail or along the
Smothered in a helping of southern charm and nostalgic buildings, downtown Asheville maintains the old and welcomes the new. Art galleries, restaurants, businesses and shops of all types make up the heart of Asheville. The Vance Monument stands proudly at center stage with many great places surrounding it, including
A nice residential area with wonderful restaurants and businesses of all types make up West Asheville. The Famous
Head east and you will discover the town of
The Montford area of old homes is certainly worth a drive-through. Winding your way through this residential area is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Tucked in the North side of Asheville is the magnificent
South Asheville holds a real jewel in the crown of attractions for this area. The
Western North Carolina Area
Small mountain towns surround Asheville, each with its own tourist attraction contribution. You do not have to venture far to see breathtaking beauty.
Everyone can have an inexpensive day out, too. Finding a great place to unpack your picnic basket is never hard to do. Many local parks offer trails, shade and picnic tables. Browsing the local Farmer's Market is also a nice way to spend an afternoon.
Night owls can find fun after dark, as many local pubs, bars and clubs keep Asheville hopping! Live music, dancing, pool and darts are just some of the attractions at many of these locations.
Children will never be bored with such an array of activities to see and do.
Like to shop? Several art and craft galleries await you. Local artists show their wares in these shops located in downtown Asheville,
Lets not forget the bevy of festivals this area offers up. Bele Chere is one of the biggest outdoor events in the Southeast. The entire downtown area of Asheville is blocked off with stages, food vendors, rides and more! This event goes for three solid days, with a hundred or more performances of many music genres on the eight to nine stages positioned throughout the city.
Free concerts can be heard in June and July during the
The beginning of summer is celebrated with “Moonlight Over Downtown,” and “Downtown After Five” directly follows. These events consist of free live concerts, with food and drinks available. Many have called these two events “city block parties.”
It does not matter if you are the outdoors type, the artsy type or somewhere in between, Asheville has something for everyone. With the beauty of the mountains surrounding this city, it will not matter what your plans for the day are, you will find much to do, and a beautiful city to do it in. Hospitality from the heart greets you everywhere you go; expect adventure and the discovery of things new and wonderful. Grab your camera, your kayak, your hiking boots, your shopping bag, your imagination and your zest for life. This city is alive with treasure and mountain fun.
Stuff for Kids
Take in an all-American past time by catching an Asheville Tourists Minor League Baseball Team baseball game. These games are played at the historic McCormick Field April through September. Take the kids mining at Emerald Village. They will love gem mining and taking the underground historic tour. Ghost Town in the Sky is sure to entertain the little ones with rides, gunfights and even bank robberies in an authentic, replicated old west town. If it is sweltering outside, take the kids inside! Inside the caves of Linville Cavern that is! A constant 52 degrees and filled with geological wonders, this will provide intrigue for young and old alike. Be sure to hold your little one tight when they shut off all the lights on your underground tour.
So many diverse water amusements await visitors in this area. The relaxing natural hot mineral springs in Hot Springs are a must for those looking for a way to soak their troubles away and feel rejuvenated. Looking for something more rambunctious? Try some white water rafting. There are several outdoor fitters in the area to set you up. The Nantahala Inn and The French Broad Rafting Company are just two of the many places that can get your rafting or kayaking adventures underway. There are many natural sliding rocks and waterfalls in the area, as well.
Bele Chere has got to be one of the biggest draws to the Asheville area. Every July, this festival brings in people from all over the United States and beyond. Last year alone, brought 365,000 visitors to this 3-day event held in the heart of Asheville. Nine downtown stages fill the days and nights of the festival with several genres of music making up over 100 acts. Once you take part in this festival you will understand why it is one of the largest, most successful free outdoor events in the Southeast. Goombay Festival is held in August and is a multi-cultural event that covers the Afro-Caribbean traditions of crafts, food, music and dance. The Bluff Mountain Music Festival is held north of Asheville in Madison County, and is a great festival for music lovers.
Looking for good live music, maybe a cool drink and some scrumptious grub? You will find that sort of fun in the many nightspots in downtown Asheville. Be Here Now located in the center of downtown hosts live music acts covering jazz, rock, funk and more. Play a game of pool and listen to the live music offered at Stella Blue. Alternative rock lovers and pop music are just two of the types of music that can be heard here. Like your music in the form of jazz? Pop into Tressa's Downtown Jazz & Blues Club. This is THE jazz club in Asheville. Maybe you would like to kick your feet up and do a little dancing? Cinjades in the downtown area has a big dance floor and a full service bar. A favorite dance club of the college crowd is Scandals. A live Disk Jockey, a café and 3 different bars make this a fun and happening hang out. Club Hairspray is another dance club with a live Disk Jockey, 2 bars and a café. It has an exotic feel and serves exotic drinks. Sharkey's in West Asheville has delicious bistro type food, great beer and billiards. They also feature karaoke and have foosball tables available. An outdoor courtyard, coffeehouse with unique flair with a variety of music is to be had at Vincent's Ear, another local favorite.
Hiking, Horseback Riding, and Drives
You cannot come to the mountains here in Asheville without touring the Blue Ridge Parkway. A host of Mother Nature's beauty and wild life await you. Take a drive and breath in the fresh mountain air to rejuvenate your soul. Do not forget your camera for amazing mountain view memories. The Appalachian Trail is a great hiking experience. World famous and tracking through several towns, this is a hiking adventure for the true outdoor type. If you love horses and beautiful scenery, then check out Appalachian Riding Outfitters. They have everything you need to saddle up and take in the beauty of Nantahala Forest.
It is hard to mention all this area holds for those that come to visit. Truly an outdoor wonder of lush mountain greenery and outside splendor you will not forget your visit for years to come. Come to the mountains and enjoy all that you can. Like many folks that have already visited, you might decide to come back, and stay for good!
If the beauty of the mountains was not enough to make you simply sleep under the stars, do not worry—there are lots of different places to stay in the Asheville area. If you like it fancy, we have that. Want a more rustic, laid back approach? Oh yes, we have that too. Quaint, luxurious, comfy and kid-friendly are just a few adjectives to describe accommodations available to folks coming to this city that sits in a valley surrounded by majestic mountains.
If you want to be able walk to fine restaurants for dinner, shop or take part of Asheville's ever-growing nightlife, perhaps staying right smack downtown is perfect. The Haywood Park Hotel, and its historic grandeur will place you in the heart of Asheville. The Renaissance Asheville Hotel, a more modern 12-story hotel near downtown also caters to those looking to be in the city for their visit. Want an awesome view of the city? Stay at The Hill House Bed and Breakfast Inn located just a few minutes from downtown. Sit back and enjoy the view with other guests from the large rocking chair porch.
Just over the Smokey Park Bridge lies West Asheville. Minutes from downtown, this area offers many places to hang your hat as well. The Holiday Inn Great Smokies Sun Spree Resort offers up plenty of outdoor recreation with an 18-hole golf course, four clay tennis courts, and let us not forget the two nice-sized pools. If you are looking for a more charming, away-from-it-all type place, venture no further than The Richmond Hill Inn. Perched on the hill above the west side of the French Broad River, this Inn caters to those that demand the very best. Private baths and air conditioning, an award winning restaurant and gardens to stroll beckon you to this grand 1889 Victorian.
North of Asheville
Small town appeal is what Weaverville has to offer its guests. Like a village of the past, this quaint town is big on hospitality. Weaverville is only 10 minutes from Asheville, so visitors are still close to area attractions. The Dry Ridge Inn offers several packages, including the “Romantic Getaway” package and the Golf package. The Inn on Main Street, a large Victorian built in 1900 is a lovely place to stay, picnic lunches can be made for guests by request. The Secret Garden Bed & Breakfast, an elegant 1904 home, sitting on right Main Street is an oasis hidden from the bustle of the busy thoroughfare outside its walls. Guests can enjoy hors d'oeurves on the sundeck and veranda, while bird watching.
East of Asheville
Another small community with BIG appeal is the Town of Black Mountain. Staying in this area gives the antique and craft lover an area full of treasure to explore. Enjoy your visit even more by staying at The Red Rocker Inn, famous for its huge, down-home southern-style meals. These home-cooked dinners will fill that growling stomach after a day of sightseeing. If you really want to get away from it all, escape to The BodhiTree Guest House. Handmade quilts will cover you with comfy warmth and fresh mountain air will cover your senses.
The Inn on Biltmore Estate is a brand-new hotel, just opened in March of this year. This $31 million 213-room inn offers a library and plenty of spectacular views for its guests to enjoy. This new accommodation provides folks with many of activities from which to choose, including biking, horseback riding, hiking, swimming in the outdoor pool, lounging in the hot tub and working out in the fitness room. The rooms are decorated with English and French manor house flair, but have many modern amenities such as WebTV and data ports. The area around the Biltmore House also gives visitors a variety of hotel choices like The Quality Inn at Biltmore and The Baymont.
Cabins and Camping
Do you want to take a more rustic approach to where you stay? How about a log cabin? The The Log Cabin Motor Court might be your cup of tea. Built in 1930, it could well be the longest continually run place of its kind in all of Western North Carolina. Scenic sites along the French Broad River in which to pitch your tent are available in Hot Springs. There are also primitive campsites, full hook ups for RVs and cabins here as well.
More wonderful campsites are available in the Pisgah National Forest. This 500,000-acre forest offers up rockslides, swimming holes, fishing and picnic areas. Pitch your tent, and have fun. Cherokee Indian Reservation is a 56, 000 acre reservation with camping and RV accommodations.
With over 31 bed and breakfasts, more than 20 hotels, several inns, and many, many camp and cabin facilities, Asheville hollers loudly to those looking for peace and quiet, natural beauty and mountain town fun and recreation. Whether you need all the luxuries a fine hotel can offer, or a place to sleep under the stars, this city welcomes you with open arms.
The Asheville area was first home to the Cherokee Indians. The descendants of this tribe of friendly, hard working Indian people still live here today, co-existing with the pioneer descendants that settled here in the 1700s and today's constant flow of newcomers.
Miners and botanists became the area's first explorers. Those seeking a new home and those wanting the health benefits of the higher altitude and mild temperatures soon followed them. Most of these settlers lived peacefully with the Cherokee Indians.
In 1794, John Burton, a pioneer town planner and real estate broker, founded the small crossroads town in a valley, surrounded by mountains. Asheville was known as Morristown during its early years, then Buncombe Courthouse. In 1797 it was incorporated and officially named Asheville in honor of North Carolina Governor Samuel Ashe of New Hanover County.
Where Battery Park Hotel stands today, was the site of Battle Square. At that time it stood more than 100 feet above its present height and was called "River Hill." Named after Revolutionary War hero, Colonel Edward Buncombe, it became Buncombe County in 1792.
At Pack Place in Pack Square you can observe miniature replications of Asheville from the 1700s through the early 1900s. Looking at these miniatures of the downtown Asheville of long ago, really gives a keen sense of how much it has changed, how much has stayed the same—and how much it all has grown. The Vance Monument now stands on the site of county's first courthouse in the heart of downtown Asheville. As retailing boomed, social centers grew around this first courthouse.
The Roaring Twenties
Known as Asheville's Golden Era, the 1920s were truly a time of plenty. Asheville Author Thomas Wolfe described early 20th century Asheville as an “Oz of wonder and a purgatory of materialism.” Douglas Ellington's Art deco City Hall, Edwin Wiley's Arcade and L.B. Jackson's Gothic skyscraper are lasting monuments to this Golden Age. These buildings and their unique beauty have spurned the city on to this day to renovate the downtown area to recapture the past as well as modernize.
Beyond the Crash
The economic crash in 1930 left Asheville deeply in debt and city officials had to structure a repayment plan that would take 40 years to pay off. Though not as extravagant as the Golden era of the 20s, the 30s were known more for its social aspects. The famous Rhododendron Ball and all its glamor were at its peak at this time. Asheville was a bustle of shopping, baseball, golfing and farming.
The Post World War II Era brought growth once again. Subdivisions started to pop up, more industry moved to the area and Asheville prospered. The economic growth continued and today Asheville is a thriving, popular city. Its history and mountain values mingle with the present day fast paced city life.
Many “top places to live” lists include Asheville; the city rarely, if ever, falls out of the top 20. Downtown Asheville has recently enjoyed much renovation, with much more still underway. Its rapid rate of growth means more and more traffic on the main highways and the expressway gets busier every day. Most mountains in the area are spotted with homes. Many of the outlying areas have been bought up and new subdivisions seem to spring up monthly.
Asheville's downtown area never experienced the economic boom of the 60s and 70s, which is a good thing architecturally speaking. At least 170 historic buildings were preserved. These buildings make up the bustling central business district and give the area a retro flair. With over 160 shops and 40 restaurants in this Art Deco style area there is plenty to explore and do. Meander the downtown streets and enjoy the city's historic flavor—one is almost guaranteed to find something to suit one's interests. For instance, the coffee shop Bean Streets, has big comfy couches and big windows for people-watching, not to mention delicious coffee, sandwiches and treats. The Kress Building, which has been beautifully renovated, houses the work of many local artisans and craftsmen. Stroll through the booths packed with a variety of wares for purchase. Pubs like Jack of the Wood offer up home-brewed beverages. The many antique shops that are scattered throughout downtown are waiting for visitors to treat themselves to that special “find.”
The Wall Street/Haywood area will treat you to jewelry, crafts and award winning restaurants. Lexington Avenue is perfect for the antique lover or book lover. The Pack Square area is packed with art and culture: four museums: the Asheville Art Museum, The Health Adventure, YMI Cultural Center and the Colburn Gem and Mineral Museum; several art galleries; and the Diana Wortham Theater.
A city full of history, culture, heritage and life is waiting for you in Asheville, North Carolina. Come discover the outdoor beauty, the southern hospitality and all the entertainment, good food, recreation and fun you could want.