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Top Rated Attractions in Asheville

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Blue Ridge Parkway

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.

Pisgah National Forest

Founded in 1916, the Pisgah National Forest is one of the oldest nature preserves in North Carolina. Nestled high up in the Appalachian Mountains that dominate the entire landscape of the state's western boundaries, the park's overall topography is an extremely diverse one. Blessed with the boundless bounties of nature, this lush green progression of primeval forests and breathtaking geological marvels is most notably home to the West Prong Hickey Fork Creek Waterfall, which is known for its majestic cascading flow. Superabundant with interconnecting trails for mountain biking, hiking and climbing, the park's grounds are a paradise for outdoor sports and adventure enthusiasts.

Basilica of St. Lawrence

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.

The North Carolina Arboretum

Painted from nature's palette, the North Carolina Arboretum welcomes visitors into its abode of rare and colorful species of flora. The expansive gardens cover 434 acres (175.6 hectares) and include designated biking and hiking trails that let you explore at leisure. Also noteworthy is the Arboretum's Bonsai Collection, which includes nearly 100 different species. These gardens are a must-visit destination. There is a standard parking fee that allows access to the arboretum as well.

Biltmore Estate

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.

The Botanical Gardens at Asheville

The Botanical Gardens at Ashville feature an independent collection of regional flora. This garden offers free admission to local and visiting horticulture enthusiasts. Spread across 10 acres (four hectares), this University of North Carolina botanical garden is dotted with over 3800 living plants, making it a beautiful and tranquil place to visit.

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