About RomanticAsheville.com

About RomanticAsheville.com & Community Partners

RomanticAsheville.com is locally-owned and operated by me, Mark File. It first went online in 2003 to help couples plan a romantic getaway to Asheville. What started as a hobby has grown into a full-time business (it's still a one man show) with a 800+ page guide that now covers 16 counties in western North Carolina - roughly a 90-mile radius of Asheville. The website received 5.5 million visits in 2018 from 205 countries! You certainly don't have to be a couple to benefit from this guide... many singles, friends and families use it to plan a mountain vacation. 

Each year, RomanticAsheville.com gives back at least 25% of revenue in paid and in-kind sponsorships to 200 non-profits in tourism, arts, heritage and environment. From our annual Giving Calendar fundraiser for land conservancy to special campaigns to restore trails or buy fire equipment to fight wildfires, we appreciate your support!

RomanticAsheville.com is a constant work in progress, updated almost every day and new features added frequently. There's never a shortage of new places to discover. Due to my passion of exploring the mountains, the outdoors section is the biggest on the site with 130+ hiking and waterfall guides. I visit and photograph all that are featured (love those "office" days!). Another favorite is Biltmore Estate. I'm on the estate every month, and RomanticAsheville.com now has 20+ pages about Biltmore. Likewise, I never tire exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway, continuing to add to my "favorite 50 stops." I take most all of the photographs, so please do not copy them without permission.

Suggestions and corrections are appreciated! There is so much happening in the Asheville area, so it's easy for me to miss something. Please contact me.

Mark File
Mark atop Mt Mitchell in 2003

More about Mark
I'm a North Carolina native with many wonderful memories of traveling the Blue Ridge Mountains as a youngster with my trusty Kodak Instamatic 126 Camera. While attending Catawba College in Salisbury, I started my career in tourism at the NC Transportation Museum. After college, I moved to Wilmington to manage a camera store and lab in downtown Wilmington in the early 1990s. Since many of my customers were tourists, I was constantly giving travel advice. Next, I helped to reopen Chinqua-Penn Plantation in Reidsville, a fascinating historic house museum. I started my Asheville adventures as marketing director of Richmond Hill Inn in early 1997. While at the inn, I started RomanticAsheville.com with wonderful support from the Michel family (thanks Jake and Marge!). For many years while operating RomanticAsheville.com as more of a hobby, I directed marketing for a hotel and restaurant group in Greensboro and helped to open the "greenest" built hotel in America (Proximity Hotel). In 2014, I was able to take the leap to work full-time on this very fun "hobby". In 2018, I was honored with the CHARLES KURALT AWARD by the NC Travel Industry Association for bringing exceptional, positive public attention to the State of North Carolina through some form of mass communication.

Recent Special Fundraisers
With the help of our generous readers, here are a few recent projects that we supported:

  • Our Giving Wall Calendar 2019 benefits two land conservancy organizations. Please buy one or ten! Our 2017 & 2018 calendar fundraiser raised $30,000 for the great work on the to the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.
  • In August 2017, we partnered with the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation to raise $12,000 for trail rehabilitation and repairs at Craggy Gardens on the Parkway. Read more.
  • In response to the wildfire in the Lake Lure area in November 2016, we matched a GoFundMe campaign for the Chimney Rock Volunteer Fire Department and raised $5,555 for them to purchase equipment to help battle future forest fires.

VIP Tours
Ask about personalized tours for two to some of our favorite spots - depending on your interests.

Some Community Partners We Support

Blue Ridge National Heritage Area
Blue Ridge National Heritage Area
Designated by Congress and the President in recognition of our region's unique character, culture, and natural beauty, they protect, preserve, interpret, and develop the unique natural, historical, and cultural resources of Western North Carolina. See our 2017 Waterfalls Calendar with 100% of proceeds going to BRNHA.
NC Arboretum
North Carolina Arboretum Community Partner
This 434-acre public garden is an affiliate of the University of North Carolina to cultivate connections between people and plants with gardens, trails and many special events and exhibits. 
The Pisgah Conservancy
The Pisgah Conservancy
This new non-profit group is raising funds and coordinating projects to protect Pisgah National Forest (Ranger District) and help fund some much needed repairs. We are delighted to be a Founding Member!
Conserving Carolina
Conserving Carolina
Since 1994, they have protected 42,000+ acres in more than 150 projects in western North Carolina. They work every day to create a network of protected farm, forest, park and natural lands.
Friends of DuPont Forest
Friends of DuPont Forest
Volunteer service organization working to enhance the public use and enjoyment of the DuPont State Recreational Forest while protecting its natural resources. Funds help with trail building and maintenance, along with building projects.
Blue Ridge Parkway Association
Blue Ridge Parkway Association
The officially designated marketing partner of the Parkway, they are a membership organization that publishes the Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner each year. 
River Arts District Artists
River Arts District Artists
This membership group supports and promotes the vast array of artists and working studios in 22 former industrial and historical buildings along French Broad River in Asheville. 
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy
Since 1974, they have conserved over 70,000 acres of unique plant and animal habitat, clean water, farmland and scenic beauty of the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.
RiverLink Asheville
This regional non-profit spearheads the economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad River and its tributaries as a destination for everyone to live, learn, work and play.
Friends of the Smokies
Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
They assist the National Park Service to preserve and protect the Great Smoky Mountains by raising funds and public awareness, and by providing volunteers for needed projects. Total disbursements to the Park surpass $50 million.

Video: News Feature - Behind the Scenes at RomanticAsheville.com (Aired December 2016)

Our Region: We now cover 16 WNC counties!

NC Map
The coverage area for RomanticAsheville.com now features most of western North Carolina, including Buncombe County (Asheville), Swain County, Graham County, Macon County, Jackson County, Transylvania County, Haywood County, Madison County, Henderson County, Polk County, Rutherford County, McDowell County, Burke County, Yancey County, Mitchell County and Avery County. (Click map for larger version. From NCDOT.)

Recent Features About Us

Television Features
I (Mark) am extremely honored to have been featured as one of "Roy's Folks" three times. This longtime, popular television news feature on FOX8 in Greensboro NC followed me as I photographed waterfalls and fall color. Read more and watch all three segments! 

More Info

Do you have a love of exploration of Western North Carolina and sharing your favorite things to do? Do you love writing about travel to inspire others? RomanticAsheville.com Travel Guide is looking... read more
I am so honored that I've been featured as one of "Roy's Folks" three times on FOX8 News (WGHP) in High Point NC. The popular series has run for 25+ years. The latest feature aired on September 29,... read more