A thriving music and arts industry, the great outdoors, good food, good people – Asheville is one of the best places on the planet. It sort of has this magnetic pull, once you experience it, you have to go back. If you have been craving for an adventure, North Carolina’s Asheville is the go-to place. There are so many places to visit but here’s our top 10.
- Blue Ridge Parkway
This destination is always the buzz among tourists. Take a drive and soak up the wonderful imagery of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are many ways you can enjoy this scenic view, but here are our tips. First, drive slowly. Absorb what nature has to offer. Stop at the overlooks and have your picture taken. You can take a hike, go on a bicycle trail, go zip lining, have a picnic, check out the Crabtree Falls… I can go on and on. One word you shouldn’t forget: Enjoy!
- Biltmore Estate
1,000 workers, 5 years – that’s how long it took to build America’s largest private home. The house, or should I say mansion, was designed by Richard Morris Hunt – the same guy who designed the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Fifth Avenue. Another big name who was approached by George Vanderbilt, the super rich guy who was commissioning the project, is Frederick Law Olmsted. Frederick Law Olmstead is a mega landscape architect. He was the one who landscaped Central Park in New York! For the Vanderbilt’s he originally landscaped 125,000 acres, but at present the estate only comprises of 8,000 acres. The elegant house is a French Renaissance chateau of 250 rooms. Some Vanderbilt descendants still reside in the mansion, but most of the house is open for the public.
- Altapass Orchard
For a dose of Mother Nature’s fresh air, the Altapass Orchard is a must-visit. It is easily one of the most visited attractions in Asheville because of its majestic serenity. It is an old orchard, spanning over 100 years and located at the heart of North Carolina. The orchard is most famous for growing different kinds of apples, which have been the primary source of income for the residents. The Altapass Orchard is also a place of rich cultural heritage. The residents are deeply in touch with music and handicrafts that uniquely display their cultural sensibilities.
- Downtown Shopping
Downtown Asheville has a lively and colorful atmosphere. You can bask in the ambience of great architecture, art museums, unique restaurants, and over 200 local shops. “Calling all shopaholics!” You will definitely enjoy a long trail of shopping, and you can find anything from antiques to the latest gadgets. Come at the right time and you can even watch some festive traditions like the Drum Circle which is a blast!
- River Arts District
Prepare to be a sponge when you visit the River Arts District, because there is so much creativity to be absorbed. The River Arts District is “Unique. Eclectic. Vibrant.” – it consists of artist studios, galleries, restaurants and all that jazz that entices the arts enthusiasts. 2013 is especially a good year for the River Arts District because more restaurants have opened, there’s even a brewery. The district is home to 150 artists working in warehouses that have been converted into studios and galleries. It would be best to visit on Saturdays because most artists have exhibits and display their work publicly.
- Estes-Winn Antique Mobile Museum
If the attractions seem girly, here is a man-attraction that’ll make men envious: The Estes-Winn Antique Mobile Museum. For antique car-hounds, just ride over to Grovewood complex to see a wonderful collection of antique cars restored to pristine condition. Some of the cars they feature are the: 1913 Ford-Model “T”-Touring, 1922 R.E.O. “Flying Cloud”, 1922 American LaFrance, 1957 Cadillac Eldorado. When you’ve satisfied your manhood, head over to the Homespun Museum located next door.
- Wheels Through Time
We just can’t get enough of antique cars, so we’re giving you another man-attraction. In Maggie Valley, there is another car collection that is electrifying beautiful. “Wheels Through Time” is an articulate visual depiction of how cars and motorcycles have evolved. The collection has been featured in several magazines, and even on the History Channel – if they loved it, you will too.
- La Zoom Tours
If you want to want to laugh your bellies out while enjoying and learning about Asheville, then ride the iconic purple bus of La Zoom Tours. It is the ultimate “city tour with a twist.” I don’t want to say much because I don’t want to spoil the fun. Check out their website and make sure you take of the schedule.
- Abington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn
I’d bet we all dreamed of the perfect house, and staying at this bed and breakfast in Asheville, NC suddenly makes those idealized dream houses come true. The Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn is a multi awarded, magazine featured, TV reviewed inn. This place is a piece of Asheville history that visitors can enjoy intimately. The inn has one of the most beautiful English gardens that will render your urban-stressed mind in a state of calmness.
- Linville Caverns
When you’re done soaking up the fresh air of Asheville, head over to North Carolina’s only caverns. The Linville Caverns is an underground maze of naturally formed limestone stalactites and stalagmites. You may take a 40-minute guided tour, which is for your own safety unless you can navigate the underworld.
Asheville’s been included in the “50 Most Alive Places To Be”, and it doesn’t fall short of that description. It is a vibrant place, flowing with the life force of its residents. Just the diversity of these destinations is enough to get me driving to Asheville.
Author Bio: Paulo Born is a truck driver of a shipping company, loves to write and take photographs during spare time. He goes wherever his feet takes him and lives in a Portable House.