There is much fun to be had in them there hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If the natural beauty of the mountains is not enough to keep you busy with sightseeing, then check out all there is to do at The Cradle of Forestry. There are guided tours, restored historic buildings, exhibits, a gift shop and more. Kids will certainly enjoy seeing the restored locomotive and wandering the forest.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most traveled routes in the US National Park system. The scenic thoroughfare is 470 miles (756 kilometers) long and passes through the mountains of the Shenandoah to the Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina. Some of the more popular stops in the area are Linville Gorge, Craggy Gardens and Graveyard Fields. Pass by undulating meadows and gaze in awe at the majesty of the surrounding mountains, or explore the many attractions dotting the stunning landscape of this region as you glide along the roadway's scenic expanse.
The Basilica of St. Lawrence is a basilica which stands tall in the downtown neighborhood of Ashville. Established in 1906 it is said to have one of the greatest domes in North America. The imposing structure of the basilica is inspired by the Spanish Baroque style of architecture. The interiors of the church are equally mesmerizing. Several statues of saints make the interiors enchanting, thereby giving the basilica an ancient feel. The stained glasses on walls and the serene ambiance of the church make the experience worthwhile. Both self-guided and guided tours of the basilica are available for visitors. The Basilica of St. Lawrence is worth visiting for its sheer grandeur.
One of the crown jewels of Asheville, Biltmore Estate seamlessly chronicles the legendary lineage of the Vanderbilts. Nestled in the sprawling Blue Ridge Mountains, the house was built between 1889 and 1895 by architect Richard Morris Hunt as the summer estate of George Washington Vanderbilt II. At its heart is the Biltmore House, a four-story mansion inspired by the Châteauesque architectural style in France and England. With 250 rooms encompassing 8000 acres (3237 hectares), it is one of the biggest private homes in the country. Replete with furniture, artwork, and antiques that exude grandeur, the house shelters an array of opulent spaces like the enormous Banquet Hall and George Vanderbilt's master bedroom. Complete with carved paneling, gilded ornamentation, and intricate ceiling work, this grandiose house is an epitome of elegance. Fronting the house are the marvelous gardens which have been modeled on Victorian landscaping principles, complete with delightful foliage and blooming colorful flowers. Designated a National Historic Landmark, the house also harbors restaurants, shops, an inn, and a gorgeous winery and a rooftop which affords breathtaking views of its surrounding environs.
At this hip and vibrant art-centric district near Asheville's downtown, up-and-coming local artists are transforming old factories and warehouses along the French Broad River. The Studio Stroll is the perfect opportunity to learn to throw a pot, work with steel, and paint with watercolors. Artists will show you the secrets of their trades.
For more than two centuries, Pack Square has marked the center of downtown. As Asheville has grown from a small country town to a metropolitan area, Vance Monument and the fountain on Pack Square have remained icons of the bustling city. Visit the art museum, sit and enjoy a mocha latte, have dinner at an outdoor café and people-watch as visitors and residents alike are drawn to the sounds of live music drifting from surrounding restaurants and clubs. The city's Renaissance Plan for the square assures a promising future.
Take a guided tour that explores the architecture, people and historical places of Asheville's past. Visit 30 stations downtown that depict local artworks and represent the town's historical significance. Listen as you learn how the Grove Arcade was the first indoor mall in the southeast, where the Thomas Wolfe angel was created, and much more.
The home collection of 20th-century American art is always on display at the Asheville Art Museum. The museum also hosts several guest exhibits in all types, styles and forms. Lose yourself in the rich variety of beauty and talent on display, you will not be disappointed.
Asheville offers splendid outdoors that will blow you off with breathtaking views and a comfy feel. An ideal place to live that relaxed life, this city is a preferred destination for many. The urban feel of the city is clearly evident in the historic monuments and art galleries that define Asheville. The very active and elegant downtown has a range of places to visit including Pack Place, The Fine Arts Theatre and Cafe on the Square. Going further, the city offers elegant and cozy residential areas with most modern amenities.