Asheville: Cosmopolitan City Meets Luxury Mountain Getaway
When planning a North Carolina getaway, Asheville is a must see on the travel-destination list. The allure of Western North Carolina’s largest city is becoming widespread and Asheville has been touted as the “Paris of the South.” The New York Times calls it a “surprisingly cosmopolitan city.”
What makes Asheville unique is that the sizzle of the city is within a stone’s throw of great outdoor adventure. Natural Geographic Adventure Magazine ranks Asheville the number one out of ten cities for popular outdoor sports in the region. Charlotte, Raleigh/Durham and Atlanta’s close proximity to Asheville make it a perfect vacation destination when planning either a luxury-style mountain getaway or a family vacation.
Asheville boasts a vast array of accommodations. There is everything from luxury condominium rentals with 24-hour concierge service to more traditional mountain getaways. So, whether you are planning a corporate trip, romantic getaway, golf vacation, or fishing expedition, Asheville has something for everyone. Some accommodations are even pet friendly. Try booking during the weekdays to beat the weekend crowds and receive more discounts.
Asheville, North Carolina: Experience the Best in Mountain Travel
Downtown Asheville is a pedestrian-friendly city. Its unique skyline of art-deco style buildings are surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. The city has a year-round population of 74,000 and is home to America’s largest privately-owned home, the Biltmore Estate, and the historic Grove Park Inn. While accommodations are available at both, most people visit these urban legends and choose to enjoy other Asheville hotels and luxury mountain getaways. “The Biltmore Estate and the Grove Park Inn are great places to visit,” Marge Nusser of New York, NY said, “but I prefer to seek out accommodations that are a bit more intimate, yet still upscale in their services.” Many accommodations offer discounted or complementary tickets to such attractions as the Biltmore Estate.
A fun way to kick start your mountain travel experience is to stroll through the Asheville Urban Trail. This 1.7 mile, self-guided tour stops at over 30 stations throughout the downtown area. “This trail gave me a handle on the downtown sites in less than one hour,” Howard Fortune, an Atlanta resident, explained. “I came here for the great outdoor activities, but quickly learned my way around the city.”
Downtown Asheville is primarily comprised of independent businesses. In today’s age of super-sized malls, the change is refreshing. Eclectic art galleries, micro-breweries and cozy cafes can be found at every turn. Asheville is also a food lover’s paradise and culinary offerings range from traditional southern comfort food to four-star cuisine. Bill Dykeman, a retired chef from Raleigh said, “Asheville has food from around the globe.”
Discover the Outdoors: Plan the Perfect North Carolina Mountain Getaway
When leaving downtown, choices still abound. The mountains that surround Asheville and the four major rivers that encompass the area make this an outdoor enthusiast’s dream mountain getaway.
Take advantage of the travel concierge services at one of Asheville’s luxurious hotels. They can make dinner reservations, arrange for tee times, schedule outdoor events, and more. In summer, whitewater rafting, hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail and fly fishing one of the hundreds of trout streams for native brook trout, rainbow or trophy brown trout are some of the more popular activities. Karl Danielson, a Charlotte native, avid golfer and fly fisherman explains that he can stay at a luxury condominium rental with concierge services that directs him to the some of the best trout streams east of the Mississippi. “And, the next morning I have a tee time at a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course within minutes from my room,” he added.
Nearby excursions include Chimney Rock State Park and Lake Lure to the south. To the west, there is Great Smoky National Park, and to the east, Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Rockies. Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mountain sit to the north and are filled with natural wonders that promise to enhance any romantic mountain getaway or family vacation plan.
Asheville is a year-round playground. The holiday season abounds with light festivals, Inn tours, dazzling sites at the Biltmore House, exceptional shopping and the famous Gingerbread House competition at the Grove Park Inn. Winter brings skiers and snowboarders to the area and spring is a wonderful time to explore the beautiful gardens at the North Carolina Arboretum. So, next time you are planning a weekend mountain getaway or an extended stay, think Asheville where their motto is “altitude affects attitude.”
About the Author
James Gibson is the Managing Director of The Residences at Biltmore, a condo hotel in Asheville, North Carolina with concierge services designed to pamper and delight guests. Mr. Gibson has over twenty years experience in hospitality. He has been Hotel Manager at the Ritz Carlton San Juan Hotel, Spa and Casino, and a General Manager of the Adam’s Mark Columbia in South Carolina. He has also worked in six Hyatt Hotel Corporation properties.