Asheville — Mountain Adventures, Eclectic Artists & Incredible Architecture
by Nancy Gross
Famous for the stunning beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the grand Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC, is also known for its edgy, artistic energy and its burgeoning culinary scene.
This thriving mountain city has an irresistible eclectic downtown with more than 30 art galleries, a rich architectural legacy and an abundance of outdoor adventures readily available.
For those who love the outdoors, there are endless natural wonders to explore. Three rivers—French Broad, Nantahala and Nolichucky—offer exhilarating rapids for whitewater rafting enthusiasts. Hiking trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains provide awe-inspiring vistas and lead to cold, clear mountain streams, serene swimming holes and refreshing waterfalls.
In the winter, you’ll enjoy cool, crisp mountain air while skiing the slopes at beautiful nearby resorts such as Wolf Ridge and Beech Mountain.
The city’s incredible architecture is a mix of Art Deco, Beaux Arts and Neo-Classical styles. Asheville is home to the Southeast’s largest collection of Art Deco architecture outside of Miami, including Asheville’s City Hall, an Art Deco masterpiece topped with an ornate octagonal red and green tiled ziggurat roof.
Of course you’ll want to experience the Gilded Age opulence of the magnificent 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate. Built in the late 19th-century by George Washington Vanderbilt II, the 250-room mansion is the largest private residence in the country. The estate features gorgeous manicured gardens, woodlands and an award-winning winery.
- 12 Bones is a much-loved barbeque hot spot serving slow-smoked baby back ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket and savory sauces.
- The Admiral boasts an innovative, daily changing global menu that’s served in a humble cinder-block building.
- Cúrate, a stylish Spanish tapas bar, is home to an open kitchen and was built in a former 1927 bus depot.
- Inn on Biltmore Estate serves seasonal American dishes and wine in a genteel dining room with mountain views at the Biltmore House.
- The Market Place is a world-class favorite featuring seasonal and organic ingredients from area farms and a broad wine list.
Top Things To Do
- Biltmore Estate Completed in 1895, George Vanderbilt’s luxurious 250-room home is a marvel of elegance and charm, featuring magnificent architecture and gardens.
- Chimney Rock Park Climb or take the elevator up to the top of a jutting rock that affords astounding views.
- French Broad Chocolate Factory & Tasting Room A unique bean-to-bar chocolate factory and tasting room offers a variety of chocolates, ice cream and desserts.
- North Carolina Arboretum Explore 60 acres of expertly cultivated gardens, including one of the most extensive bonsai collections in the United States.