North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains – Weaverville & Asheville

Published Date Author: , March 20th, 2010
by Dan Ward, Inn on Main, Asheville, North Carolina
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WEAVERVILLE

Weaverville, North CarolinaWeaverville shares Asheville’s reputation as a cosmopolitan hub of the arts, fine dining, spa services and exceptional hospitality. Locals and visitors mix at Blue Mountain Pizza, which features some of the area’s best singer-songwriter and folk acts, plus a fine selection of craft beers, as well as gourmet pizza topped with everything from walnuts to gorgonzola.

Visitors can stay at one of the town’s signature bed and breakfasts and walk or take a short drive to an eclectic assortment of dining, live music, galleries, massage therapists, unique shopping and some of the prettiest scenery in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Weaverville, North CarolinaThe Weaverville Art Safari is the last weekend of April and first weekend of November each year. The self-guided free studio tour features dozens of the best artists and craftspeople in the Southern Highlands.

Art in Autumn is a new Arts & Crafts Festival which debuted in 2007. The festival fills Main Street with art, food, and music each September.

The Christmas Candlelight Stroll features carolers, buggy rides, free snacks and drinks at local shops and a multitude of “Merry Christmas” greetings from those you meet.

Mark your calendar to take time off, to ease your pace, and to savor the kindness and beauty of our community.

ASHEVILLE

Asheville at NightIf you can imagine our valley as a pendant, then Asheville, NC, would be an Art Deco gem held by a setting of blue-green mountains. It’s easy to think of Asheville and Western North Carolina in artistic terms. Arts and crafts have been a way of life here since woodcarvers and quilters used their creativity to supplement farm income.

Asheville and surrounding villages are artwork themselves. Fine craftsmen and architects outdid each other in the days of opulence and speculation at the dawn of the last century. The Great Depression ended the boom, but the buildings lived on, escaping the urban renewal that brought a sameness to America’s other cities. In Asheville, you can walk the 30 stations of the Urban Trail and learn more about the rich history of our city, from drover crossroad to the era of the grand hotels to today’s colorful cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Rafting in the Blue Ridge MountainsThese mountain downtowns offer unique opportunities for shoppers. Fine arts and crafts, antiques and a delicious assortment of restaurants are all clustered in central business districts of Asheville, Biltmore Village and Weaverville.

Indulge your tastebuds. The Asheville area has some gourmet specialties, including mountain trout cooked 47 ways, Southern barbecue and some of the finest microbrew beers in the Southeast. But the gastronomic attraction here is the diversity of dishes to be found, ranging from curry and couscous to Caribbean to aged steaks. Only Italy offers more varieties of Italian cuisine. As in Europe, dining in Asheville is an event where one lingers to enjoy the flavor and texture of life as well as dinner.

Savor the contrasts. Snack on sushi before giving clogging a try at Shindig on the Green. Try on the latest hiking boots before enjoying a performance by any of a dozen excellent theatre or dance companies. Dine at a cool sidewalk table, then burn the calories off dancing at a steamy nightclub. There’s a good reason that both Modern Maturity and Rolling Stone called this the place to be.

Biltmore Estate, AshevilleNo trip to Asheville is complete without a visit to the Biltmore Estate. George Vanderbilt’s 250-room home is a monument to America’s Gilded Age. When it was completed in 1895, the French chateau-styled mansion was an escape for Vanderbilt family and friends.

Today, everyone can enjoy the collection of fine art and antiques, and stroll through gardens designed by America’s father of landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted. Other attractions on the estate include a winery with complimentary wine tasting, a newly renovated conservatory and three restaurants serving dishes prepared from food grown on the estate. Biltmore Estate is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, and offers candlelight Christmas tours in November and December by reservation only.

Your innkeeper offers Biltmore daytime tickets at the gate price. Some B&Bs offer packages that include Biltmore tickets, and can help you arrange candlelight Christmas tours.

Western North Carolina is a mecca for outdoors enthusiasts. As the novelist and Asheville native Thomas Wolfe wrote, around us are the “soaring and lordly ranges that melt away in purple mist.”

Thousands of miles of trophy trout streams wet the wrinkles of the Smokies, the Balsams, the Blacks and the Blue Ridge, joining into rivers where whitewater rafters and kayakers can take in the mountain beauty up close. Where highland valleys meet climbing hills, some of the most beautiful golf courses in the nation challenge all levels.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, one of America’s most stunning highways, carries travelers more than 400 miles along ridgelines unmarred by billboards, trucks or any buildings other than the occasional information center. Take a drive north to Mount Mitchell, highest peak east of the Rockies, and maybe Grandfather Mountain, a tourist attraction featuring a mile-high swinging bridge and small zoo.

Trailheads along the parkway and other mountain roads beckon hikers to waterfalls, balds and escarpments where rock climbers test themselves against the mountain. Steep trails at two county parks challenge mountain bicyclists.

Chimney RockAn hour or so to the west of Asheville by Blue Ridge Parkway or U.S. 74, Great Smoky Mountains National Park contains more plant and animal species than any other park in America, and offers visitors a chance to see bears, elk and other animals in the wild, as well as see how pioneers lived in a re-created mountain community.

DuPont State Forest, North Carolina’s newest, features easy trails to several magnificent waterfalls. Whitewater and calmwater enthusiasts alike find their own degree of thrill and scenery on the French Broad, Nantahala, Pigeon, and other rivers. Other outfitters offer fly-fishing trips, rock-climbing classes, guided nature hikes and even llama treks.

Your bed and breakfast hosts will be glad to put you in touch with just the adventure you seek.

Inn on Main, AshevilleInn on Main Street is a romantic Victorian getaway near Asheville and the Biltmore Estate in quaint, quiet Weaverville, which is an arts mecca in its own right. The inn offers seven rooms, all with private baths, wireless internet and cable TV with DVD or VCR. Some rooms have fireplaces and whirlpool tubs.

The inn is 10 minutes from Asheville by car, but only a two-block stroll to cafes, galleries, spa services and live entertainment. Owners Dan and Nancy Ward have hosted thousands of happy travelers since 1998, and love to share their knowlege of their home in the mountains.

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