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Overview

Asheville is downright gorgeous. This doorway to the incredibly scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and stepping stone to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is surrounded by stunning blue skies and the dramatic, beckoning peaks of the Smokies. The town is easy-going — a nice mix of art patrons and artists, hipsters and hippies. The jewel in the middle of all this gushing is the colossal Biltmore Estate. Built for the Vanderbilt family as a summer home, this sprawling luxury retreat has some 250 rooms, several gardens, a winery, an 1890s estate farm, a hotel, shops and restaurants. It would take days to see it all.

Beyond the ...

Asheville is downright gorgeous. This doorway to the incredibly scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and stepping stone to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is surrounded by stunning blue skies and the dramatic, beckoning peaks of the Smokies. The town is easy-going — a nice mix of art patrons and artists, hipsters and hippies. The jewel in the middle of all this gushing is the colossal Biltmore Estate. Built for the Vanderbilt family as a summer home, this sprawling luxury retreat has some 250 rooms, several gardens, a winery, an 1890s estate farm, a hotel, shops and restaurants. It would take days to see it all.

Beyond the Biltmore, there's plenty to do, including hiking, kayaking, rafting, antique shopping, a railway trip through the mountains or simply taking a yoga class and chilling out downtown. Asheville has a lot, with accommodations ranging from extravagant resorts to tent camping in the woods. Soon you'll start making plans to move here permanently.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Debra Landau for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The city of Asheville is nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains in western North Carolina.
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring, summer and fall. Winter is slower, but beautiful — just watch for road closures.