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 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.
Ask about personalized tours for two to some of our favorite spots - depending on your interests.
Some Community Partners We Support
Video: News Feature - Behind the Scenes at RomanticAsheville.com (Aired December 2016)
Our Region: We now cover 16 WNC counties!
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
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!