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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. Whether you choose a "Day" or "Stay Over" Spa experience, their healing services are sure to send you home tranquil and transformed!
Bechtler House & Gold Mint Site
In 1832, Christopher Bechtler minted the America's first one-dollar gold coin in Rutherfordton, 17 years before the U.S. Mint. During the mid-1800s, the Bechtlers minted more than $2.24 million in one dollar gold coins. Two sites in town tell the story in Rutherford County.
Concerts on the Creek, Sylva
Kick off Memorial Day Weekend with free outside live music in downtown Sylva, with Freeway Revival (rock/Americana) 7-9 PM at the Bridge Park, two blocks from Main Street with shops, restaurants and breweries. Family-friendly, bring a chair or blanket.
Linville Falls Winery
Conveniently located on US Highway 221 north of the Blue Ridge Parkway on a 40-acre farm, this winery is perfectly situated for warm days and cool nights, growing Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, blueberries and raspberries. This combination of high elevation (3200 ft.) and micro-climate terra produce wines with complex flavors. Near Linville Falls. 9557 Linville Falls Hwy, Newland, NC. Open daily 12-6 PM.
Housed in a 118-year-old house in charming Biltmore Village, the Corner Kitchen serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Open 7 days a week. Cool, comfortable, with farm-to-table cuisine and cocktails. A favorite since 2004. Great patio! 3 Boston Way.
Susan Marie Designs
Award-winning jewelry designer and goldsmith Susan Marie Phipps works with the finest natural color gemstones, diamonds and pearls. Enjoy seeing Susan’s collection of elegant creations at her gallery/studio. 19 Biltmore Avenue in the heart of downtown Asheville.
All Go West Music Festival
From traditional bluegrass to funk and soul, rock, jazz and hip-hop, enjoy five stages of musical diversity in West Asheville - both outdoors and indoors. Local vendors Shows start each day at noon and continue through 2 AM Saturday and 10 PM on Sunday. Free. 743 Haywood Road.
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.
Experience Biltmore’s historic winery and savor complimentary tastings, relax at the wine bar and enhance your wine knowledge with specialty tastings and tours. Plus, enjoy shopping for all the Biltmore wines and distinctive products to complete your visit. Located in Antler Hill Village, it's open every day and included in your Biltmore Estate admission ticket.
Taste of Asheville
Sample food, wine and beer from 40 of Asheville's best local restaurants, breweries and wineries. This fundraiser is held downtown once a year by the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association.
Town Mtn / Elk Mtn Loop
If you're in downtown Asheville and time is limited for a scenic drive, this is it. Drive up N.C. Highway 694 (Town Mountain Road) from College Street. Wind up the mountain and arrive at the Blue Ridge Parkway in 6.3 miles. Turn left on the Parkway (north) and take the first road on the left (sign for Weaverville). Go a short distance and turn left on Elk Mountain Scenic Highway. Drive down the mountain ridge for 7 miles. Take a right on Beaverdam Road and left on Merrimon Avenue to return. Allow one hour.
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.
Sylva July 4th Concert & Fireworks
Enjoy concerts and fireworks in a picturesque all-American small town! Live music begins at 4 PM with dancing until 9:30 PM at the Bridge Park Pavilion. Stroll Main Street's shops, restaurants and breweries. Fireworks begin at dark. Free.
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.
Banner Elk Restaurants
This small town high in the mountains has become a culinary hot spot. Whether you’re looking for an upscale meal for a special occasion, a hearty sandwich after a day outdoors or a casual steak dinner, check out their locally-owned and innovative restaurants.
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.
It took 34 years to build North Carolina's most expensive highway, winding up and over 5,400-foot mountains for 15 miles, from Robbinsville through the Nantahala National Forest and descending another 21 miles into the Cherokee National Forest of Tennessee. This 36-mile National Scenic Byway shows little evidence of civilization. Stop at many overlooks.
High Hampton Inn Golf Club, Cashiers
Each of the 18 holes on this mountain course is a new scenic experience. Lined by towering pines, hemlocks and mountain laurel and surrounded by mountain peaks, all tees, fairways and greens are as beautiful as they are challenging. Designed by eminent golf course architect, George W. Cobb, ASGCA, the course features bent grass greens and plays at 6,012 yards from the back tees.
Best 40 Museums & Historic Sites
Explore a big variety of very interesting museums and historic places in Asheville and the surrounding mountain small towns, filled with the fascinating history and culture of the Appalachian Mountains. Many are free to visit.
Sleep under the stars in our national parks, forests or a campground. Or stay in a hostel.
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
DuPont State Forest Hidden Lakes
(4 miles, moderate) Discover some hidden lakes on the quieter side of DuPont State Recreational Forest, as well as an airstrip with a great mountain view. Fawn Lake and Lake Julia are great swimming holes, too.
Summer Arts and Crafts Market
More than 40 local artists display and demo their arts and crafts in artsy Dillsboro, 10 AM-4 PM. Plus, live music, food and hands-on activities.
Wolf Ridge Ski Resort
The closest ski resort to downtown Asheville with 15 runs, terrain park and 4 lifts. Lift ticket specials: Tuesdays are BOGO, on Wednesdays 1/2 off for women and on Thursday nights college students $15. Located in Madison County just 5 miles from I-26, 30 minutes north of Asheville
Sierra Nevada Brewery
(100 Sierra Nevada Way, Mills River) See their impressive east coast brewery in south Asheville - complete with a taproom, big restaurant, free tours, events and live music.
Jingle Bell Trolley Train Ride
Ride the trolley on the Craggy Mountain railroad line, just five miles north of downtown Asheville. Saturdays, 10 AM-6 PM. After the 30-minute ride, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies along with visiting Santa and Mrs Claus. It's fun for all ages.
I-26 Scenic Highway
This is the only interstate section in the state to be selected as a scenic byway. Begins on I-26 at Exit 9 at Mars Hill. As you travel north, there is a scenic overlook offering views of the Blue Ridge Parkway. A second scenic overlook will be on the return route, where the NC Welcome Center is located. The highest point is Sam’s Gap (3,760 feet), where the Appalachian Trail crosses under the highway. Exit at Flag Pond in Tennessee and make a u-turn to return.
Jack of the Wood
Since opening in 1996, this has been one of Asheville’s favorite places to relax, listen to music and enjoy fresh, locally sourced pub fare. The original home of Green Man Brewing, the pub specializes in hand-crafted English ales and weekly traditional jam sessions in a charming old world atmosphere. Open until 1 AM weekdays, 2 AM weekends. 95 Patton Avenue.
Saturday Nights Lights
Watch horse competitions with the best riders in the country at the impressive Tryon International Equestrian Center with an exciting atmosphere featuring entertainment, food, kids' fun and Venetian carousel rides. Activities start at 6 PM. Arena action 8 PM. Free admission.
(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!
Mt. Mitchell Scenic Byway
Firefly Event Company
All you need is love...let Firefly take care of the rest! This boutique event planning company specializes in weddings and custom events. From concept to execution, they offer multiple event packages to fit all your planning needs. Asheville truly is a magical place to tie the knot, and Firefly loves getting to share in the experience!
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.
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.
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.
Upper Whitewater Falls
See the upper section of the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi, plunging 411 ft.! The best part is that you can get a great view with a short walk. The walkway begins at the end of the parking lot and is accessible to wheelchairs. A lower overlook is located at the bottom of 154 wooden steps.
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
Experience the sights, sounds, music, pageantry, colorful costumes, food, art and extraordinary talent of Latin America. Pack Square Park, Downtown Asheville. 12-8 PM. Free admission.
A Swannanoa Solstice
A local's favorite holiday concert - 15th year! Appalachian music showcase with world influences. Many artists playing mandolins, harps, bagpipes, dulcimers and world percussion. 2 & 7 PM at Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville. $45/adult
Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tour
Enjoy a half-mile of airtime with three sky bridges and six transfer bridges, 13 zip line sections and 20 scenic and unspoiled acres of flying area, all within the heavily wooded setting of the Nantahala National Forest. Fly through multiple ecosystems in a deciduous forest packed with native flowering plants. Combine this with a whitewater rafting trip down the river.
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, Thursday, Sunday 12-6 PM & Friday-Saturday, 12-7 PM.
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.
Winter Events & Outings
January, February, March: These months are the most serene time of the year in Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains, so it's the perfect time for a romantic North Carolina mountain getaway - maybe a Valentine's escape. See our Top 12 Asheville winter things to do and the best events.
Best of the Blue Ridge Scenic Loop Drive
See the best mountain views, waterfalls and gardens, along with shopping and sampling of local beers, with this 60-mile loop drive that starts and ends in Asheville. Includes Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Saturday Night Lights
Watch horse jumping with the best riders in the country at the impressive Tryon International Equestrian Center with an exciting atmosphere featuring entertainment, food, kids' activities and Venetian carousel rides. Competitions vary each week. Free admission.
Wolf Laurel Stables
Enjoy a scenic, guided horseback trail or wagon rides on 20 miles of trails with experienced guides and gentle horses. Take in the fabulous 360-degree views of the Cherokee and Pisgah National Forests from the top of Big Bald Mountain at over 5,500 ft. elevation! Or, enjoy a cool horse ride through beautiful mountain forests along Bald Mountain Creek near Mars Hill and Burnsville.
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.
Taste Asheville Food Tour
Take a walking food tour downtown, stopping at farm-to-table restaurants, eclectic cafes and specialty food shops along the way for tastings. Learn about history, architecture and culinary scene and become an expert on Asheville. The 2-3 mile stroll lasts about 3 hours.
Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair
The streets around Burnsville’s town square are filled with 200 juried crafters displaying nearly every kind of handmade craft imaginable. Located 35 miles northeast of Asheville.
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.
Holmes Educational State Forest
(.5-3.5 miles, easy to strenuous) Hike a variety of trails and learn about the forest in this largely unknown gem near busy DuPont State Forest. Open mid March-mid November, find a tranquil and diverse forest along with picnic tables and exhibits. 10 miles from downtown Hendersonville.
Cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway
Drive one of America's most scenic roads. Enjoy a leisurely excursion filled with nature's beauty through dense forests and atop mountain ridges. You'll find breathtaking overlooks, numerous hiking trails and great spots for picnics. Drive north for panoramic views at Craggy Gardens and Mt. Mitchell. A drive south takes you through a dozen tunnels and the highest section of the Parkway. See our favorite 50 stops.
Tuckasegee River Rafting & Tubing
Ride down the family-friendly rapids of the "Tuck" in a raft, inflatable kayak or tub in Jackson County - near Dillsboro and Sylva. Outfitters offer a variety of guided and self-guided river trips.
Tis the Season Holiday Fair
A festive shopping event with top art, crafts and gifts from 170+ artists and craftsmen from the Southeast. Held at the WNC Ag Center (near Airport). $4/adults. Free parking. $1 off coupon on their website.
Adelaide Spa & Salon
Their tranquil and meditative environment near downtown provides therapeutic massages, facials and body therapies in an elegant and tranquil environment, along with enhancing services for skin, nails and waxing delivered with boutique quality products by leading cosmetologists and estheticians. They can accommodate groups of all sizes with well-deserved pampering and relaxation therapies and customized packages.
This hot spot is well-known for their cat-head biscuits and house-made jam and butter bar. Oh my! Add to that their gravy flights (usually seven to pick from), smoked chevre grits, coconut-stewed collards, and local sausage, bacon and fried chicken. Open Tuesday-Friday at 7 AM-2 PM and Saturday/Sunday 8 AM-3 PM. 733 Haywood Road (West Asheville) & 417 Biltmore Avenue.
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.
Home to an impressive arts community, with galleries and an arts center downtown. Also boasts a big equestrian community, with many horse-related events, including a Steeplechase each spring. The amazing Tryon International Equestrian Center attracts horse lovers and riders from all over the world. Near Saluda.
Smallest Post Office in USA
See the country's smallest post office, located roadside near Cashiers and open every day. Fun photo spot! Also see nearby Zachary-Tolbert House.
Romantic Getaways to a Bed & Breakfast
For a special vacation that will create lifetime memories, get pampered at a bed and breakfast inn. Many are grand historic homes with big porches, gardens, inviting living areas and beautiful furnishings. All include a gourmet breakfast to start your day. Innkeepers love to help with special requests to create a very personalized stay.
Rotary Arts & Crafts Fair, Cashiers
See works from 90 of the finest artisans from the Southeast on the Village Green in Cashiers, 10 AM-5 PM. Find ironwork, woodcraft, textiles, cakes, jams, pottery and more. Free admission, but donations accepted.
Since Asheville is one of the top USA cities for vegan living, find many events all weekend. SpeakerFest at Masonic Temple is Saturday and the big outdoor festival in Pack Square Park is Sunday 11 AM-5 PM. All events are free. Fundraiser for local animal sanctuary.
Catawba Valley Wine Tour
Visit five wineries in the foothills of the Catawba Valley located east of Asheville, between Marion and Morganton. Four of them (Silver Fork, South Creek, Belle Nicho and Lake James Cellars) are along a 15-mile drive near I-40, so very convenient!
Concerts on the Creek, Sylva
Unwind on Fridays with this free outside live music summer series in downtown Sylva. Shows are 7-9 PM at the Bridge Park, two blocks from Main Street with shops, restaurants and breweries (so come early!). Family-friendly with a big variety of music. Bring a chair or blanket.
Summer Lights, 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.
Dog City USA
See our top spots to visit in downtown Asheville on the Dog City USA trail, which includes the Doggie Welcome Center, a restaurant with a dog menu, a bakery and a hotel with rescue pooches.
This premiere craft cocktail bar is a great place eat, drink and be social. Find original cocktails, fine wines, local brews and creative food with local ingredients in a contemporary space that is stylish and intimate. The rooftop patio is just the spot to unwind and elevate your spirit. 29 Broadway.
Catered Picnic in the Great Smoky Mountains
For a catered gourmet outdoors lunch high in the Smokies with spectacular mountain views, check out the Wednesday picnics at The Swag Country Inn.
Nantahala National Forest
The largest national forest in North Carolina (531,286 acres) covers much of the western tip of the state. Find a wealth of outdoor activities, including whitewater on the Nantahala River, waterfalls and plenty of scenic views.
Christmas Tree Farms
Pick the perfect Christmas tree for your home at a "choose and cut" Christmas Tree Farm near Asheville. After you find your tree, they cut it, bale it and tie it on your vehicle. See our favorite farms.