Asheville city is nestled between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina. It serves as the seat of Buncombe County. The town is the largest in Western North Carolina, with approximately 75,000 citizens and a metro population of over 400,000+ as of 2019.
Why Asheville makes a great offbeat travel destination?
The queen of the mystical North Carolina mountains, Asheville is both one of the coolest small cities and a major tourist destination in the South. Cradled in an all-embracing curve of the Blue Ridge Pkwy, it offers comfortable access to free adventures of all kinds. At the same time, downtown’s historic art-deco structures hold chic New Southern restaurants, the homegrown microbreweries that describe the nickname ‘Beer City,’ and decadent chocolate shop.
Despite accelerated gentrification, Asheville remains an overgrown hilly town that holds tight to its traditional origins. It’s also a rare liberal enclave in the conservative countryside, home to a population of hard-core hippies and artists. Alternative Asheville life is primarily lived in regions such as the waterfront River Arts District and around the French Broad River in West Asheville. Remarkably enough, the French Broad River is one of the oldest known rivers globally; its course laid before life on Earth even evolved.
How to reach Asheville?
The Asheville Regional Airport is Western North Carolina’s biggest airport. It offers commuter and jet service on Allegiant, American, United, Delta, and Spirit through its carriers – Comair and Atlantic Southeast Airlines. Asheville has non-stop service to Charlotte, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, Newark, New York City, Ft. Lauderdale, and Orlando. It is situated fifteen miles south of downtown Asheville near the city of Fletcher. Ground transportation and trustworthy rental car companies are accessible at the airport terminal.
However, for adrenaline junkies, a car drive to Asheville shouldn’t be ruled out.
Asheville is situated at the junction of Interstate 40 and Interstate 26, with an I-240 connector that crosses through scenic downtown. Curvy, hilly, and picturesque sections of highway are located along the interstates in all directions while driving into Asheville. Ten we and state highways also serve the Asheville area. The Blue Ridge Parkway has many primary accesses in Asheville at US 70, US 25, US 74A, and NC 191.
Top Places to see in Asheville:
Asheville is renowned for its unusual architecture, notably downtown and around the Biltmore Estate. It is also known for its’ museums and art galleries.
- The City Building: Designed by a talented Art Deco architect Douglas Ellington and built-in 1927, the City Building is built out of Georgia Pink marble, brick, and terra cotta. The steep, octagonal-shaped roof is the logo of Asheville City.
- Grove Park Inn, 290 Macon Ave: Developed in 1913, this historic resort hotel is an actual example of the Arts and Crafts style.
- Jackson Building: Bordered by South Pack Square and South Market Street, completed in 1925. A Neo-Gothic style skyscraper complete with a bell tower and gargoyles.
- Asheville Pinball Museum: An absolute time machine, this downtown treat deports gamers back to the much-lamented pinball arcades of the past. With stock ranging from old cowboy-and-Indian games up to the modern game of Thrones editions, something is sure to flip your flippers.
- Folk Art Center: Part store, part gallery, and completely dedicated to Southern craftsmanship, the elegant Folk Art Center stands directly off the Blue Ridge Pkwy, around six miles east of Asheville’s downtown. Handcrafted Appalachian chairs hovering above its lobby make an extraordinary appetizer for the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s permanent collection, a treasury of baskets, pottery, woodcarvings, and quilts that’s illustrated on the 2nd floor.
Things to do in Asheville
Hiking: You can reach some of the most abundant (and beautiful) waterfalls via Blue Ridge Parkway. Popular spots on this hiking trail include:
- Graveyard Fields (25 miles south on the Parkway).
- Mount Pisgah (15 miles south on the Parkway).
- Mount Mitchell.
- The eastern United States highest mountain.
- Craggy Gardens (24 miles north on the Parkway).
Fishing: You can explore fishing as a hobby at this laid back destination. Numerous resorts and clubs offer guided “backcountry” waded fly fishing, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, and horseback riding in Asheville.
Skateboarding: An outdoor skateboarding park in downtown Asheville is accessible at Food Lion Skate Park.
You can also explore yoga and numerous other spiritual experiences in Asheville.