Savannah and Atlanta Railway, 4-6-2, No. 750, Asheville
Asheville Regional Airport has direct flights from some of the largest hubs in the nation, along with a number of flights a day to Charlotte. Flights into Greenville, SC (GSP) are typically cheaper than flying to either Asheville or Charlotte, and the drive from Greenville to Asheville is a good way to get a sense of the topography of the area.
A car is definitely your best bet. Public transportation does exist, but it is intermittent at best. Downtown parking is sufficient (don't believe what some locals tell you, they are simply over accustomed to being able to park directly in front of their destination in the off-season), and the town is very walkable. The roads and highways in and around Asheville are a test-case for how NOT to engage in civic-planning and urban design. Expect to take the wrong exit off of I-240 when trying to get into town but remember that it is very hard to truly get lost in Asheville.
Asheville is close to other mountain towns worth visiting, Brevard, Hendersonville, and Waynesville. Activities abound in the Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Forest, Blue Ridge Parkway, and the not too far away Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Asheville also boasts as being home to the highest peak east of the Mississippi, Mount Mitchell.
Chimney Rock Park is about 30 miles outside Asheville and definitely worth the drive. It's a privately owned park (not part of the US system) with a fairly high admission fee ($14 for adults as of 2005), but the views are incredible and the trails well maintained.
• We won't mention the leaves in October!
• The Biltmore Estate, the largest privately-owned house in the world, is just a few minutes outside the city, and should be on any visitor's itinerary. Basic admission to grounds and self-guided house tour $39/adult and $19.50/youth.
• The Asheville Art Museum is worth a visit and benefits greatly from the fact that Black Mountain College was once near by. There is a tiny museum dedicated to Black Mountain College downtown that is a short but always enlightening trip.
• In the summer, everyone enjoys world-class music at Brevard's Music Festival .
• Dramas, comedies, and musicals are shown at the Flatrock Playhouse April thro' December.
• Annually, on the last weekend of July there is Bele Chere, touted as the largest street festival in the Southeast. Hundreds of artists, artisans, musicians, and performers come from all over the region to take part in the festivities.
• During the last weeks of July is Folkmoot, a festival of song and dance staged by performance groups from around the world. Most of the events for this festival take place in the nearby town of Waynesville.
• Asheville and the surrounding area have some of the most beautiful (and abundant) waterfalls in the country and most of them can be reached via the Blue Ridge Parkway.
• Savoy 641 Merrimon Ave., tel: (828) 253-1077, fax: 828-252-6776. Well-known for high quality Italian food. In fact, they fly fresh fish in every day from Hawaii. Well worth the splurge!
• The Hop serves acclaimed ice cream.
• Marble Slab Creamery Will mix into ice cream your favorite toppings right before your eyes.
• The Sisters McMullen Bakery carries a variety of delectable pastries.
• Sunnypoint Bakery in West Asheville is a great brunch spot.
• Tupelo Honey Cafe Check this out downtown for some delicious New Southern cuisine.
• Lucky Otter in West Asheville is a great choice for your burrito fix.
• Barley's has decent pizza and similar fare.
• Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company has excellent pizza as well as delicious beer.
• Marcos Pizza makes the best pizza outside of NYC.
• Zambras has tapas and similar fare.
There are many excellent restaurants in Asheville and the range is wide if shallow (lots of different kinds of food but hardly the choices one would expect to find in a larger town). There are, for example, several excellent sushi restaurants but only one Indian restaurant to speak of.
Asheville has several bars worth mentioning and several that can be ignored totally. For the bluegrass crowd there is Jack of the Wood which serves its own beers on tab (as well as a limited selection of bottled beers). JotW has a British pub-style atmosphere complete with pub fare. Barley's has a huge selection of beers on tap, including many local and regional choices. Barley's serves pizza and the like, has pool tables (and smoking) upstairs. Asheville Pizza Company has an satellite location downtown with their beers on tap, an outdoor movie screen and piles of board games.
• Chestnut Street Inn, 176 E Chestnut Street, tel: (800) 894-2955, fax: (828) 281-3170. A grand Colonial Revival home that offers a feeling of relaxed sophistication and elegance. A 1/4-mile walk takes you to downtown Asheville for antiquing, sightseeing, and fine dining.
• The Inn on Biltmore Estate and Grove Park Inn are perhaps the nicest hotels in Western North Carolina. There are also many old large homes in the area that have been converted to Bed & Breakfasts.
• Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn, 254 Cumberland Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801, Toll free tel: (888)743-2557, fax: (828)-253-5566. A turn of the century home that is located in historic Asheville. Located just 3 miles from the majestic Biltmore Estate, just 15 minutes to the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and within walking distance to historic downtown Asheville. -- Great amenities and the food is fantastic !
Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License
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