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(4 miles round-trip, strenuous) One of the most popular and rewarding hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains. With an elevation of 4,800 ft., the rare rock summit is one of the park's most recognizable geological structures. It's all uphill with 1,700 ft. in elevation and intimidating rock cliffs at the top, but the reward is the view!
Tsali Mountain Biking
Find mountain biking heaven in the Nantahala National Forest with 40 miles of trails overlooking Fontana Lake. Located near Bryson City, where you can find bike rentals and supplies.
Overmountain Victory Celebration
Explore a living history 1780s militia encampment at the Museum of North Carolina Minerals on Blue Ridge Parkway, telling the story of the Overmountain Men battling British forces. Tour camp on Saturday 9-2. Re-enactment of Battle of King’s Mtn at Orchard at Altapass 2:30 PM. Candlelight Tours 7-9 PM.
Take a trip to St. Lucia. Enjoy authentic Caribbean food with the traditions of English, French and African inspired dishes. Specialties include rotis and West Indian curries. Unwind with Island Craft Cocktails. 18 North Lexington Avenue, downtown.
Midweek Special, Cottages at Springhouse Farm
Stay two nights, Sunday-Thursday, in a secluded log cabin or cottage with a hot tub on a 92-acre natural preserve near Lake Lure and Lake James, and save up to 18% over weekend rates.
L'Ecluse a Bouchon
Above Bouchon, the longtime favorite French restaurant downtown, is a cozy cocktail lounge with comfy seating, small plates and a Sommelier that guides you through their impressive wine selection. Open Monday-Saturday at 4 PM. 62 North Lexington, Asheville
Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival
Held on the Village Green in the middle of Cashiers at peak color time, see the works of 100+ artists while enjoying live music and great food. The free festival is open 10 AM-5 PM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Established as a go-to spot in downtown for good beer, delicious food and a great view overlooking Pack Square Park in a beautifully restored 1900s building. Offering multiple dining spaces: expansive North Bar with 32 taps and big TVs, South Bar with TVs and free live music every weekend, and a romantic outdoor patio. 20 South Spruce Street.
Hook, Line and Drinker Festival
Celebrating the WNC Fly Fishing Trail and local breweries, with craft beer vendors, food trucks, fishing guides and vendors, and live music 12:30-4:30 PM at Bridge Park in downtown Sylva (76 Railroad Avenue). Free admission.
Bridal Veil Falls, Highlands
This is the only waterfall in North Carolina that you can drive behind! It's located near Highlands, about a mile from Dry Falls, along US Highway 64.
Fishing in the Smokies
Discover one of the most diverse fishing habitats in the world with four rivers and dozens of mountain streams throughout the Great Smoky Mountains, and the deep, cold waters of Fontana Lake. You can even fish the Tuck in downtown Bryson City. Greatly enhance your chances of catching trophy fish by hiring a professional fishing guide. Find 26 best fishing spots and guide services.
Upper Creek Falls
This beautiful waterfall setting has multiple cascades and a swimming hole with a rope swing for diving! Located in Pisgah National Forest along NC Highway 181, about 13.5 miles north of Morganton. It's about a half mile hike from the parking area.
Soak in Mountain Views
Where are the best places for spectacular views to celebrate being alive? Hike to a remote mountaintop or see sweeping views from your car. Watch the sunset or picnic on top of the world.
This tiny town of around 800 residents is perhaps best known for its hot mineral springs. Located north of Asheville at the junction of the Appalachian Trail (goes right through downtown) and the French Broad River. Hike from town up to Lover's Leap for a great view of the town.
Escape to the Great Smokies
The Great Smoky Mountains is one of America's most visited national parks. This International Biosphere Reserve is home to rugged mountains (many peaks in excess of 6,000 ft.), historic homesteads and 100,000 different types of plants and animals. Four entrances to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are within 50 miles of downtown Asheville. Free admission!
Graham County Places to Stay
Find great places to stay in Graham County, home to Robbinsville, Lake Santeetlah, Fontana Lake and Stecoah in the Nantahala National Forest. Stay in log cabins, friendly B&Bs, luxury lodges, lakeside campgrounds and small hotels.
Beech Mountain Hikes
(1 to 20 miles, easy to strenuous) The Town of Beech Mountain, the highest town in eastern America, has 20 miles of maintained trails atop their mountain. A great place to keep cool since their summer temperatures seldom go above 75 degrees!
Jerusalem Garden Cafe
Enjoy authentic made-from-scratch Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes in downtown Asheville, transporting your senses to faraway lands. Weekend international brunch has a Southern twist with baharat biscuits and gravy, egg and lamb gyros, French toast and crepes stuffed with seasonal ingredients. Pair with a mango mimosa or hand-brewed Turkish coffee. 10 AM-3 PM on Saturday and Sunday. See pics & video. 78 Patton Ave.
Blue Ridge Travelers: Small Towns & Outdoors
Explore McDowell County east of Asheville, with the small towns of Marion, Little Switzerland, Old Fort and Linville Falls. Includes Pisgah Forest, with hiking, waterfalls, fishing, Lake James and many things to do. See their Blue Ridge Traveler's guide for details.
Memorial Day Weekend Events
See our favorite things to do and the best events and festivals over Memorial Day Weekend in Asheville and the surrounding mountain towns.
French Broad River Tubing
Drift down the French Broad River through Asheville on a lazy summer day. Find rentals and shuttle just a few minutes from downtown, then begin your 4-mile river tube adventure in the River Arts District.
Perhaps the most famous motorcycle drive in the East, drive 318 curves in 11 miles. Located about 90 miles from Asheville, the Tail of the Dragon crosses Deals Gap at the Tennessee/North Carolina state line on U.S. 129.
South Creek Winery
Visit this boutique winery on a farm near Marion. Taste wines in an Italian Renaissance Farmhouse or on an outdoor deck: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and signature-blend Maestro. Located 4.4 miles off I-40 at exit 90. 2240 S Creek Rd, Nebo, NC (6 miles to Silver Fork, 4 miles to Belle Nicho, 9 miles to Lake James Cellars). Open Wednesday-Saturday 11 AM-5 PM & Sunday 1 PM-5 PM.
Asheville Restaurant Week
Try some new restaurants or revisit favorites and get the lowest prices of the year, with a prix fix menu at $15-$35/person. With many choices, there's something for all appetites! Presented by the Asheville Chamber of Commerce.
Holiday Sip & Shop, Grovewood Village
Shop at the big gallery and save 10% on all art and craft while enjoying free cider, cookies and wine. Also, watch artist demos, take a free factory tour and get free admission to Antique Car Museum. Asheville. 10 AM-5:30 PM
Tour a state-of-the-art wine production facility in Hendersonville. Their impressive Tasting Room features wines from 100% estate-grown fruit. The high altitude, long, sunny days and cool nights in the Blue Ridge Province of the Appalachian Mountains allow them to grow some European varietals like Grüner Veltliner. 2695 Sugarloaf Road, Hendersonville. Open Sunday-Thursday 12-6 PM & Friday-Saturday 12-7 PM, with tours at 2 PM every day.
Smoky Mountain Fly Fishing Festival
Downtown Bryson City welcomes vendors to display and demonstrate all types of fly fishing equipment - rods, fly tying, apparel and accessories, kayaks and more. 9 AM-5 PM. Just a few blocks away is the Delayed Harvest stocked section of the Tuckasegee River.
The Market Place
A world-class favorite located on charming Wall Street. Chef William Dissen's inventive menu features seasonal and organic ingredients from area farms, plus an extensive wine list. Recommended by The Food Network, USA Today, The New York Times, Southern Living and more. Live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the bar and lounge. Reservations recommended. 20 Wall Street.
Chimneys Hike, Linville Gorge
(1.5 miles round-trip, moderate) Hike across and through towering rock formations called the Chimneys atop the rim of the spectacular Linville Gorge, starting at the Table Rock trailhead parking area.
Hot Springs Mineral Soak
Soak in the natural hot mineral springs by the river, used by visitors for centuries seeking the legendary healing powers. Located about an hour's drive north of Asheville on the Appalachian Trail.
South Mountains State Park
(2-40 miles, easy, moderate, strenuous) This state park near Morganton has 40 miles of hiking trails. Our favorite is High Shoals Falls 2.7-mile loop trail to a beautiful 60-foot waterfall. Combine several trails for a much longer hike.
Turkey Tail Wine Festival
Sample wines from 8 wineries on the grounds of the grand Inn at Glen Alpine near Morganton. Live music, festival food, and arts and crafts. Bring your own blanket or chair! No pets. 12-5 PM. Tickets $20 in advance or $25 at the gate (cash only).
Top 40 Spring Events & Festivals
April & May: See our top picks for Spring events and festivals in the Asheville area of the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains. Many are free!
This quaint mountain village at 3,700 feet elevation has great restaurants, breweries, shops, Wildcat Lake beach, and many events including the Woolly Worm Festival in October. Near Beech Mountain skiing and Grandfather Mountain hiking.
Barns of Madison County
Drive the country roads of Madison County to see many historic barns preserved by the Appalachian Barn Alliance - five scenic routes take you by farms and mountain views.
Located about 60 miles east of Asheville, Morganton's charming downtown centers around the stately historic courthouse. Shop, eat and taste local brews at two breweries: Fonta Flora and Catawba. In September, attend the big Historic Morganton Festival with arts and crafts, festival cuisine, wine garden featuring many nearby wineries.
Lees-McRae Summer Theatre
The college performing arts department combines with the community each summer to produce a top-notch series of theatrical productions on their campus in Banner Elk, ranging from classic Shakespeare to Broadway musicals. The series begins in late June and runs through early August.
Road to Nowhere Hike
(3.2 miles, moderate) This loop hike in the Smokies includes a 1,200-ft. tunnel at the end of Bryson City's Lakeview Drive, known locally as the "Road to Nowhere." Lakeshore Trail starts here too, a 35-mile long trek to Fontana Lake Dam.
Bryson City Lodging: Cabins, B&Bs & Hotels
Find a wide variety of lodging accommodations in Bryson City and the Great Smoky Mountains, including log cabin rentals, hotels, bed and breakfast inns and campgrounds.
The artsy village of Dillsboro welcomes 40 demonstrating artists along Front Street with their colorful creations. Many galleries too. 10 AM-4 PM
Pioneer Day & Mountain Thunder Car Show
Two events in Old Fort: See traditional Appalachian crafts, food, games and storytelling (10-5) at the Mountain Gateway Museum. Then stroll by a big variety of classic cars and trucks on Commerce Street (9-2). Free admission.
Stop Sip Savor Wine Hop
Visit four Catawba Valley Wineries near Morganton (near I-40) and get a commemorative wine glass, and enjoy wine and cheese pairings. 1-5 PM. Advance tickets $25 - usually sells out.
Titanic Movie Costumes at Biltmore
See the fabulous costume exhibition inside Biltmore House, “Glamour on Board: Fashion from Titanic the Movie” with 53 costumes and stories about the Vanderbilt travels and connection to the Titanic.
Round Mountain Creamery Farm
Meet the goats and learn all about the goat-to-cheese process at this dairy farm south of Black Mountain. Tours by appointment, any day of the week. Featured on the Food Network.
Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours
Explore downtown Asheville's best restaurants on a walking food tour. Daytime tasting tours visit six restaurants and food shops for savory and sweet tastings. Learn about downtown along the way. Evening tasting tours feature bites from the city's best chefs, all paired with craft cocktails, wine and beer in some secret, speakeasy spaces.
Bold Rock Hard Cider
(72 School House Road, Mills River) The biggest craft cider maker in the Carolinas has its cidery and tasting room just south of Asheville near the Sierra Nevada Brewery. Food truck and big outdoor picnic area. Open Mon-Thurs 2-9 PM, Fri-Sat 12-10 PM, Sun 12-9 PM.
Mediterranean meets mountains! Wood-fired Greek recipes served in a romantic, old-world setting mixed with modern design in lovely Grovewood Village. Tucked behind Grove Park Inn - just a few miles from downtown Asheville. Lunch and dinner. Closed Monday. Parking, outdoor dining, sculpture garden.
Electro Bike Tours
Discover the highlights of Asheville on a guided, pedal-assisted, electric bike tour. Imagine pedaling a bike uphill with a boost! Wind through downtown and the historic Montford neighborhood. Cruise up hills with a smile and enjoy an unforgettable tour!
Summer of 79° Golf Package, Beech Mountain
Eastern America's highest town not only promises comfortable playing temperatures, it guarantees them. If the temperature exceeds 79 degrees any day you play, the club refunds all golf fees. Available May 14-Oct 21. Stay in condos, inns, chalets or vacation mountaintop homes.
Rate: Starts at $79/person per night, two-night minimum
Rate: Starts at $79/person per night, two-night minimum
Mountain Heritage Day
Held on the campus of Western Carolina University, this long-running outdoors celebration features the sights, sounds, crafts and flavors of yesteryear. Get a taste of southern Appalachian culture, art and music. 10 AM-5 PM. Free.
This premiere intimate wedding solution offers a wide range of services to include a wedding cake, fresh seasonal flowers, and professional photographer. With weddings starting at $500, they offer many locations. Special requests are always welcome, and they work hard to provide the most romantic day without the stress or cost of a huge event.
Maggie Valley Fall Arts & Crafts Show
Meet 100 artisans and crafters from throughout the Southeast with a big variety of art. Outdoors at the Festival Grounds (3374 Soco Road) in the valley. 9 AM-4 PM each day. Free admission and parking.
North Carolina Ceramic Arts Festival
This one-day shopping and demonstration show features 40 ceramic artists with a diverse array of tilework, sculpture, jewelry and pottery. Watch raku demonstrations and enjoy live music. Food trucks too. Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville, 11 AM-5 PM. Free admission.
Balsam Range Art of Music Festival
A two-day festival at Lake Junaluska featuring top bluegrass and acoustic musicians, with Balsam Range and more. Workshops throughout the day. Single concert tickets and weekend packages.
Summer Lights Concerts, NC Arboretum
Enjoy music under the stars, Broadway to classical, by the Blue Ridge Orchestra with a synchronized projected light show on the woodland forest backdrop in the NC Arboretum Amphitheatre. Also held Aug 3-4.
Rev. Victoria Hutchins, Non-Denominational Minister
Have a personal and unique wedding ceremony that reflect your ideas, beliefs and lifestyle. Ceremonies range from religious to non-religious, traditional to contemporary, simple to complex. Short and sweet ceremonies are perfect for elopements and couples who prefer a small private wedding.
Asheville Outdoor Center
Kayak, paddleboard, raft or tube down the French Broad River in Asheville and through the Biltmore Estate. You can also rent a bike or mine for gems. Just five miles from downtown.
Field Day at Historic Joara Site
450th anniversary of the first European inland settlement in the USA at Fort San Juan (predates Jamestown by 40 years). Open for excavation tours, demos of primitive skills and Cherokee craft. Located at 1700 Henderson Mill Road, Morganton, 10 AM-2 PM, parking $5, admission free.
Shop 'til you drop with a huge variety of stores, galleries and outlets in the Asheville area. Find plenty of local, unique shops with items you won't find anywhere else. See the best areas to hit.
Gran Fondo Bike Race
Join the fun of this cycling event for various levels of experience for a 30, 60 or 100-mile scenic course, starting and ending in the River Arts District in Asheville. It's a fundraiser for Friends of the Smokies.
Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival
Head to Asheville Outlets mall for a big gathering of 25 food trucks. Buy a big variety of food, along with craft ales and beers from 50 breweries. Music, lawn games and artisan market. 12 Noon-5 PM next to Field & Stream. $5/person in advance and $10 day of.
Forest City Hometown Holiday Lights
See the million lights that create a magical Main Street in downtown Forest City with many events throughout, including carriage rides. Lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving Day.
Biltmore Industries Tour
Take a guided tour of historic Biltmore Industries at Grovewood Village and time-warp back to closing day in 1981 as you see untouched rooms with looms loaded with wool. April-November. Also, visit their Homespun Museum and Car Museum.
Carmel's Kitchen and Bar
With a prime corner location in the beautiful Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville, find superior local and organic produce and meats for a bounty of fresh flavors with contemporary style. Lunch features soups, salads, hand-tossed pizzas and burgers. Dinner offerings range from mussels and calamari to locally sourced steaks and pork, along with signature cocktails and local brews. Prime outdoor dining patio. 1 Page Avenue.