Asheville — the city has been named ‘The San Francisco of the South’ and for good reason, it’s hip, it’s clean and it has an ever-growing young entrepreneurial population.
The city itself isn’t that big — only around one hundred thousand people call the town home — but it now has a thriving tourism sector due to its incredible craft beer and restaurant scene, coupled with its numerous art festivals all set in a valley surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains.
So, what should you do while visiting this slice of new age Appalachia? Don’t worry, DDW has got you covered.
Downtown Asheville — With A Cheeky Craft Beer Tour
Exploring downtown Asheville on foot is one of the best ways to experience this artsy town. Check out street art across the city or head down to the River Arts District to see how the once-abandoned warehouses and mills have become one of the coolest art scenes in the south.
When you are firmly in the centre of downtown Asheville, pick a direction and head to a brewery. Seriously, there are so many breweries here that it can make your head spin — quite literally.
Some favourites are One World Brewing and Thirsty Monk downtown while Hi-Wire Brewing is on the way to the river. Check out Wedge Brewing Company in the River Arts District. All of these companies have various beers they produce and one of the best ways to enjoy them is to order a flight — or several small tasters of beer lined up on a piece of wood.
Careful, many of these beers are above average alcohol content — Asheville is truly a beer lover’s paradise.
Explore the Blueridge Parkway
Asheville is in the middle of the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains — named for their hazy blue appearance in the morning fog. From Asheville, it’s a short drive and you are on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This highway winds through the mountains and offers one of the most spectacular drives on the eastern seaboard.
From here drive to Mount Pisgah in Pisgah National Forest where you can hike on clearly marked trails through the mountains.
From here continue on to Craggy Garden to see incredible Catawba Rhododendron blooms in the summer, then head on to Mount Mitchell Overlook for views of the highest peak East of the Mississippi. Finally, you could head to Crabtree falls — one of the most stunning waterfalls in the area.
Any of these places will leave you with an incredible sense of wonder, if you are at all into natural beauty or hiking, this short trip from Asheville is for you.
The Biltmore Estate
Head just outside of Asheville for a glimpse into the private estate built in the 1800s by George Vanderbilt. The massive mansion is full of original furniture and artworks and its grandeur is seriously impressive.
Explore the house’s grand dining room and library as well as the kitchens, the indoor pool, bowling alley and more. It’s an incredibly unique home that you will want to see at least once while visiting Asheville.
On the expansive grounds, you’ll find some casual restaurants and a few shops — not to mention the extensive Biltmore gardens.
This quaint town has so much on offer, and it’s no secret anymore. During the Spring through Fall seasons, tourists flock to Asheville in droves. Make sure to stop here on any tour of the American south.