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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.
Table Rock Mountain
(2.2 miles round-trip, moderate) Hike to the top of one of the most recognized peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This trailhead is just five miles from Hawksbill, so you can double your fun.
DuPont State Recreational Forest
Hike, mountain bike or horseback ride a multitude of trails to see many waterfalls and lakes on 10,000 acres. Plus, picnic on mountaintops and swim at Hooker Falls. Visitor center, free admission.
Tryon Foothills Wine Country
Visit five wineries in the prime isothermal wine growing area in the beautiful foothills near Columbus and Tryon: Parker-Binns Vineyard, Overmountain Vineyards, Russian Chapel Hills Winery, Mountain Brook Vineyard and Green Creek Winery. It's an easy 45-mile drive from Asheville via I-26 East (near SC line).
Winterfest Beer Festival
Sample 50 beers and ciders from North Carolina breweries indoors at the Beech Mountain ski resort Alpine Village, 4-8 PM. Live music and shuttle. Great way to end a day of play on the slopes.
Lake James Cellars
This family winery located near beautiful Lake James and Morganton is solar-powered! Step inside a restored 1915 textile mill building, located in Glen Alpine, to discover a variety of handcrafted wines - created from local fruits, as well as fruits from around the world. Enjoy a dry red wine, a dry white wine or a fruity sweet wine. Take time to stroll through the aisles of Old Mill Antiques, located in the same building. Address: 204 E Main St, Glen Alpine, NC. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10 AM-6 PM & Sunday 1-5 PM.
Hickory Nut Falls
(1.5 miles roundtrip, easy) This 404-foot waterfall at Chimney Rock Park is one of the highest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. The trail takes you to a platform at the bottom of the cascade featured in the movie, The Last of the Mohicans. Especially impressive after a good rain.
Located on a family-owned farm in the foothills, their tasting room is open year-round and features a variety of estate-grown wines, such as the estate premium Epic, a Petit Manseng white wine, and Patriot Red, a Bordeaux Blend. Also, hike a two-mile section of the Overmountain Victory National Trail. 2012 Sandy Plains Rd, Tryon, NC. Open Wednesday-Sunday afternoon.
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.
This team picks the perfect outdoor location for couples that love nature, including waterfalls and mountaintops. A variety of packages include professional photography session with gorgeous scenery, videography and custom ceremony with officiant. Book weekdays (Mon-Thurs) for more private settings at some of the most iconic mountain locations.
Rate: From $1250
Rate: From $1250
Legends on the Lake, Lake Lure
Dine lakeside at Rumbling Bald Resort by their private beach. Arrive by boat or car. Casual dining includes their favorites, hand-made pizzas and house-ground burgers. At the bar, sip craft beers while watching the game or playing billiards. Come early to enjoy the patio views. 40 miles east of Asheville.
(3.2-mile loop, moderate) Hike from downtown Hot Springs via the Appalachian Trail. You will climb to a rock outcropping for beautiful views of the river and town. It's a romantic spot, but don't leap!
Snow Tubing at Beech Mountain
The new state-of-the-art snow tubing park at the Beech Mountain Ski Resort adds to the fun there. Enjoy long runs, then take the magic carpet back to the top. It's adjacent to the ice skating rink.
Wehrloom Honey Bee Farm
Visit this farm for all-natural raw honey products and watch bees at work in their observatory, located in Robbinsville, NC. Self-guided and guided tours available.
Oskar Blues's Burning CAN Beer Festival
The weekend-long lawn jam on their scenic REEB Ranch by DuPont State Forest includes a beer fest with 50+ craft-canning breweries, internationally touring bands, camping, food trucks, and plenty of mountain sports.
This beautiful lake town near the Great Smoky Mountains is home to trails, boat tours, golf, gardens and a big variety of lodging options, including lakefront hotels and cabin rentals for a Methodist church retreat.
Wesser Bald Lookout Tower
Hike to this 30-foot tall tower atop Wesser Bald on the Appalachian Trail for 360-degree mountain views of the Nantahala National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains. Located near the Nantahala River rafting area.
Marry or Renew Vows
What a beautiful and romantic setting to celebrate your love and commitment! Asheville is the hot spot for destination weddings and elopements. Our Wedding Guide has a long list of indoor and outdoor venues and resources to help plan the big day.
Addison Farms Vineyard
This family-owned vineyard and winery is 17 miles northwest of Asheville. Sample wines from their six grape varieties at their Tasting Room with mountain views: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Petit Verdot and Petit Manseng. Open Friday-Sunday afternoon. Also open Thursdays May-Oct. 4005 New Leicester Hwy, Leicester.
Roan Mountain Scenic Drive
Drive Highway 261 to Carver's Gap at Roan Mountain for spectacular views, hikes on the Appalachian Trail, winter snow along the mile high ridge and summer rhododendron blooms. The 12-mile drive starts in Bakersville.
NC Stage Company
Enjoy professional theatre in the heart of downtown Asheville with world-class productions in a very intimate setting (only 127 seats!). They also host concerts and other events, so there's something happening almost every weekend.
The Omni Grove Park Inn Golf
Discover the course that Golfweek magazine included in its “America’s Best” listings and Golf Digest named as “one of the ten best courses in the United States that is 100 years old or more.” Designed by the legendary Donald Ross, this is a shot-maker’s course, emphasizing accuracy over power in its 6,720 yard, par 70 layout. The ascent from the somewhat flat, yet undulating front nine to the gentle slopes and sometime steep inclines and descents of the back nine brings with it spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
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!
Compassionate Expressions Mountain Inn & Healing Sanctuary
A 40-acre private Certified Wildlife Retreat near Asheville where a world of magic, serenity, natural beauty and unlimited healing possibilities await you. Renew your body and spirit with exceptional spa services: energy healing, massage, cranial-sacral, past life regression, hot tubs by the creek and sauna. Choose a "day" or "stay over" spa experience.
Located in the foothills in wine and horse country, this tiny town (population 999) has a quaint historic downtown with a park and mountain views, scenic drive, wineries and Tryon Equestrian Center.
Don't miss the most visited Winery in the country! Sample wines in the Tasting Room, included in admission to Biltmore Estate. Enjoy specialty tastings and variety of tours. Shop for all the Biltmore wines and plenty of gift items. Located in Antler Hill Village, it's open late every day.
Rezaz Pan Mediterranean
Innovative cuisine centered on local ingredients with traditions from the Mediterranean coast by Chefs Brian and Laura Smith. Scents of rosemary, cumin and garlic permeate the air. Their Chef's table features a 5-course tasting menu. Longtime local favorite in Biltmore Village. Reservations recommended. 28 Hendersonville Road
Go to Chimney Rock Park to see if Greta the groundhog sees her shadow to predict an early spring or a long winter. Other activities for kids of all ages.
Head to Maggie Valley to celebrate mountain country living with music, crafts, big car show, moonshine and TV celebrities.
Mountain Magnolia Inn Dining
While the setting is elegant and the food exceptional, the atmosphere is relaxed and the dress is casual. Cuisine features herbs grown in the Inn's garden and organic ingredients. Dinner at the historic Victorian Inn makes a perfect evening after a soak at the nearby springs or a hike on the Appalachian Trail. Reservations recommended, walk-ins welcome. 35 miles north of downtown Asheville.
Glass & Metal Day at Folk Art Center
Artists showcase the elements of metal and glass inside the Folk Art Center on Blue Ridge Parkway. Includes blacksmithing, glass blowing, knife making, bezeling, repoussé, copper etching, stained glass, forging and more. 10 AM-4 PM. Free.
Apple Hill Alpaca Farm
Take a guided walking tour of this farm near Banner Elk with the alpacas, llamas, angora goats, guardian donkeys, dogs and other animals. Fiber from the angora goats is made into mohair and sold in the farm store, along with alpaca socks. Open year-round.
Mark Bettis Studio & Gallery
Located in the heart of the River Arts District in Asheville, meet five professional artists at this working studio featuring contemporary art including abstract paintings, glass sculptures, wildlife paintings and more. Mark Bettis works with oils and cold wax, building up multiple thick layers on wood to create fields of texture. Workshops also! 123 Roberts Street
French Broad Adventures
Asheville’s closest whitewater experience. Experience a fun-filled rafting adventure with knowledgeable guides or choose a milder Calm Water Float Trip in the heart of the scenic valley near Hot Springs. And the French Broad River is warmer and less crowded than other area rivers. Half and full day trips.
Fine Art & Master Crafts Festival
This outdoor show in Banner Elk is strictly fine art and master crafts by juried artists. Held on the lawn of the historic Elementary School (185 Azalea Cir SE). Mixed media, jewelry, sculpture, glass, pottery, painting, photography, wood & more. Friday 1-5 PM, Saturday 10 AM-5 PM, Sunday 10 AM-4 PM.
Arts & Crafts Conference
Perfect for the passionate collector or those just interested in the Arts and Crafts period. The three-day agenda includes lectures, small group discussions, special exhibitions, book exhibits, a contemporary crafts show and the finest of the antiques shows devoted to the Arts and Crafts period. Get advance tickets!
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.
DuPont Forest Festival
Celebrate DuPont State Recreational Forest with many special events on National Public Lands Day, such as guided tours, educational lectures, hands-on demonstrations and more. Free admission.
Sweet Retreat, Shoji Spa
3 hours of bliss begins with a one-hour private outdoor salt tub with a box of locally crafted aphrodisiac chocolates and bottle of Champagne. Then, relax with a side-by-side 90 minute couples massage with Japanese Shobu oil, plus your choice of body brushing or foot reflexology.
Rate: $240/single, $470/couple
Rate: $240/single, $470/couple
Top 50 Summer Events & Festivals
June, July, August: From street festivals to outdoor concerts, check out our top summer picks for Asheville and the surrounding NC mountain towns. Most are free.
Solar Eclipse Viewing in Jackson County
See the rare Total Solar Eclipse on Aug 21, 2017, at special viewing locations and enjoy special events all weekend in Jackson County and towns of Sylva, Cashiers and Dillsboro.
Waterfall Byway: US Highway 64
Drive 98 miles through the Blue Ridge Mountains, through charming towns and by plenty of beautiful waterfalls. Begin in Chimney Rock and travel west on U.S. Highway 64 by Lake Toxaway and through Cashiers and Highlands. Stop at roadside waterfalls Dry Falls and Bridal Veil as you enter the Cullasaja River Gorge. The last section is also called Mountain Waters Scenic Byway.
(4.5 miles round-trip, strenuous) Located near Lake James, a beauty of a hike to the top of a plateau summit with spectacular views of Linville Gorge.
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.
Mt. Mitchell Scenic Byway
Romance Package, Haywood Park Hotel
Book a romantic getaway in the heart of downtown Asheville at this boutique hotel. Oversized suites, luxurious baths, red roses, handmade chocolates, early check-in and late check-out.
Rate: From $730 for 2 nights/2 people
Rate: From $730 for 2 nights/2 people
Military Discount, Wildberry Lodge B&B
Active military receives 15% discount on any room and suite rates at this luxury, log-constructed mountain lodge, offering private balconies and breathtaking views of the valley, just 12 miles from downtown Asheville.
Rate: From $169/night
Rate: From $169/night
French Broad River Outfitters
Kayak, canoe, tube or paddleboard down the river through Asheville. Start your trip near downtown at the area's largest paddle shop - with shuttle service, rentals, camping gear, disc golf supplies and more. Three locations along the French Broad River.
This historic town in Madison County is nestled between rocky cliffs and French Broad River. This "one street wide and a mile long" town of 889 residents has a Main Street with artists’ studios, galleries, music venues, restaurants, Zuma Coffee and shops. Walk across the river to Blannahassett Island and the Marshall High Studios with many events.
Hear and feel the beat at the weekly drum circle every Friday night in Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville. Dance the night away!
Lake Junaluska Walking Trail
(2.3 or 3.8 miles, easy) Our top accessible, paved hiking trail near Asheville, with a walk around a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains and historic buildings. Located at a Methodist Church retreat that welcomes all to enjoy this trail. Wheelchair, scooter and stroller friendly!
Sapphire Valley Ski Resort
Located near Cashiers, this small ski area is great for beginners and families, with a 1,600-ft. main run and a beginner slope. It's home to the Outhouse Races in February. Also, find a tube park, restaurant and zip lines. It's part of a larger resort with condo rentals and other amenities.
(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 gain.
Located about 60 miles east of Asheville, Morganton's charming downtown centers around the stately historic courthouse. Shop, eat and taste local brews at three breweries. Just outside of town is Lake James, Catawba Valley wineries and Linville Gorge. In September, don't miss the big Morganton Festival.
Located near Highlands, this 50-ft. waterfall cascades into an idyllic pool perfect for wading and swimming. It's a short hike in Nantahala National Forest.
Bryson City Outdoors
This well-equipped outdoor store in downtown Bryson City has everything for your adventure. Services include kayak, paddleboard and gear rentals, a hiker shuttle, and guided tours! Their craft beer taproom & bottle shop has 10 rotating brews on tap with an additional 200+ bottles and cans to go.
Extended Stay Discount, The Windover Inn B&B
Spend three nights or more at this historic inn in Waynesville and take advantage of $10 off/night for a room and $15 off/night for a suite.
Rate: From $110
Rate: From $110
Bennett Classics Antique Auto Museum
Named “Best Museum in the Nation” by the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), see a big variety of 70 vehicles representing decades of history. Located in Forest City and Rutherford County.
Labor Day Weekend Events & Things to Do
See our special list of top events, festivals and things to do during Labor Day Weekend in Asheville and the surrounding towns and mountains.
Top 30 Hotels & Resorts
Find the best hotels in Asheville and western North Carolina, including luxury resorts, limited service hotels and full-service country inns. Stay downtown, near Biltmore and the Blue Ridge Parkway, or in one of the cool small towns throughout the mountains.
This rare twin waterfall is located roadside near Maggie Valley and Cherokee. You can easily miss it since there are few signs! The observation deck is a short walk from a small parking area. You can also hike down to the base of both falls.
Mardi Gras Parade
Everyone is invited to participate in, or simply spectate this family-friendly spectacle. This fun parade in downtown Asheville is led by this year's King and Queen, with dancers, roller skaters, drummers and krewes of colorful characters. 3 PM
Waynesville & Maggie Valley Visitors Guide
Order the 56-page free "Visit NC Smokies" guide to Haywood County, home to small towns of Maggie Valley, Waynesville, Lake Junaluska, Canton and Clyde - in the Great Smokies, Pisgah National Forest and along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
First Peak Visitors Guide
Get your free guide to the "First Peak of the Blue Ridge Mountains," including the cool small towns of Tryon, Saluda and Columbus, as well as the Green River Gorge with tubing and zip lines.
Find Foodie Favorites
Check out our very diverse and passionate food and drink scene. Be a little adventurous and try something new. Or, enjoy time-honored classics. In downtown, walk to 60+ locally-owned innovative restaurants, many with outdoor dining. From crafted cocktails to local brews, there's plenty to drink. Forage for food, visit a farm or tour a vineyard.
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.
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.