In recent years, there has been increased interest and tourism in the South. The charm, aesthetic, and warmth of the region bring visitors by the millions each year, and the tourism industry is only continuing to grow in many southern cities. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, there are plenty of hidden southern towns that deserve a spotlight for their many attractions. Asheville, North Carolina, is one of these towns. Located on the western side of the state, Asheville lies in the valley of the Blue Ridge mountain range of the Great Smoky Mountains. Known for its hip atmosphere, Asheville has become a top travel destination in the South in recent years, drawing crowds from all over who wish to enjoy its mix of funky progressiveness and old southern charm. If you’re interested in the outdoors, delicious southern cuisine, local artisanry, and great beer, Asheville is the place for you. Let’s dive into some of Asheville’s finest attractions to get a better taste for what this city has to offer.
1. The Finest Breweries in the South
If Asheville had to choose one thing to pride itself on, it would probably choose its breweries. Asheville has a total of 27 breweries to date - the most any American city has to offer - and beer lovers are flocking to the southern city in droves. Some of the highest-rated breweries in the city are New Belgium, Highland, Hi-Wire, Wicked Weed, and so many more. A walk through Asheville’s historic downtown will acquaint you with many bars that offer selections of local breweries greatest batches. Sit down, have a pint, and let the beer flow.
2. Bookworm’s Paradise
There is a mellowness to Asheville and its natives that invites visitors to relax and enjoy the slow, southern way of living. It’s no surprise then that Asheville is home to many bookstores, libraries, and literary monuments. If you’re looking to purchase some new reading material, Malaprop’s Bookstore on Haywood Street offers an eclectic atmosphere and a wide selection of genres, including a “blind date with a book” category that allows you to pick a gift-wrapped book based solely on its major characteristics. If you’re looking for a night of elegance, visit the Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar where you can sip on wine and parse through their selection of used books.
3. Get Outside
Asheville is situated in a valley of the Pisgah mountains, meaning that hiking, water sports, and camping adventures are just a short trip away. However, you don’t have to leave the city to enjoy the natural beauty of North Carolina. Take a canoe or kayak trip down Asheville’s French Broad River or go walking through the North Carolina Arboretum to explore some of the city’s best wildlife and natural landscapes. There are countless outdoor recreation companies in Asheville, offering programs and day trips that will guide you to some of Asheville’s greatest hiking and biking trails. Ziplining and treetop obstacle courses are also popular amongst tourists and locals alike.
4. Arts and Ales
Asheville’s River Arts District is situated alongside the French Broad River and hosts more than 200 artists’ works ranging from pottery to painting and sculpting. Take a stroll through the many studios located in the Arts District, grab a glass of wine or a beer, and enjoy some of the South’s best pieces of artwork.
5. The Biltmore
Perhaps the greatest attraction that Asheville has to offer is the (pictured) Biltmore Estate. Erected in the 1890s, this historic home, hotel, and garden draw more than one million guests each year to the small, artsy town of Asheville. Day passes are available to the casual guest, but if you would like to experience complete Vanderbilt hospitality, lodging is offered at the estate. The estate has been open to the public since the 1930s, and many attractions have been updated and added to the property, included vineyards, shopping centers, and restaurants. The Biltmore Estate can keep you and your family busy for just a few hours or for days, making it a great stop for your Asheville travel guide.
If you’ve been thinking of taking a trip down South this summer, give Asheville a shot. It won’t disappoint. With a little something for everyone, this small, southern town will impress you and your friends and leave you longing for the sweetness of the South. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures and videos during your stay - you’ll want to remember the beauty of Asheville! And if you have any print photos, tapes, or film from past vacations, bring them into the digital age with Southtree. We can digitize your analog media quickly and easily with our carefully crafted digitization methods so that you can enjoy your precious vacation memories from decades past for many years to come.