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What To See and Do in Asheville - Blue Ridge Mountains, Biltmore Estate, and Beer Tours

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Tucked between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains sits eclectic Asheville. The city attracts hikers, bicyclists, and paddlers, and keeps them amply refreshed and entertained at its 27 music venues and breweries. Over 30 art galleries and as many al fresco restaurants help create a European feel, earning Asheville the nickname "Paris of the South."

Luxurious Biltmore Estate

 

Built by George Vanderbilt in 1895, the sprawling 250-room French Renaissance-style mansion was designed to be a self-sustaining property. Today, guests can sip wine or beer produced on the estate, and take a self-guided or specialized tour of America’s largest private home. Pick up a souvenir from the shops at Antler Hill Village and dine at a farm-to-table restaurant like Cedric’s Tavern, Bistro, or the Stable Café - a renovated 19th-century stable.

 

  • Biltmore Estate, 1 Lodge St., Asheville 28803; Tel: +1 800 411 3812; Website: Biltmore Estate
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  • Stable Café, 1 Approach Rd., Asheville 28803; Tel: +1 828 225 6370; Website: Stable Café

Downtown tour

 

To get to know Asheville quickly, try the 1.7-mile downtown Urban Walking Trail, starting at Pack Square Park's Visitor Center. This self-guided tour includes 30 stops marked by bronzed statues. Corresponding plaques share the mountain town’s long association with legendary artists and writers, such as author Thomas Wolfe and architect Douglas Ellington. After your history lesson, follow the sound of music coming from a street performer or Asheville’s most famous concert hall, The Orange Peel.

 

  • Asheville Urban Trail, Downtown Asheville 28801; Tel: +1 828 259 8050; Website: Asheville Urban Trail
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  • The Orange Peel, 101 Biltmore Ave., Asheville 28801; Tel: +1 828 398 1837; Website: The Orange Peel

 

Asheville art scene

 

Visitors interested in art will love exploring West Asheville’s River Arts District. Over 200 artists have studios, galleries, and shops in converted industrial buildings, such as Wedge Studios which sits along the French Broad River minutes from downtown. Stop at White Duck Taco or 12 Bones Smokehouse for lunch, and at Wedge Brewing Company for a refreshing pint between browsing. You can join the Downtown Asheville Art Walks on the first Friday of each month (April to September) to visit galleries, museums, and jewelry shops.

 

  • 12 Bones Smokehouse, 5 Riverside Dr., Asheville 28801; Tel: +1 828 253 4499; Website: 12 Bones Smokehouse
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  • Wedge Studios, 111-129 Roberts St., Asheville 28801; Tel: +1 828 552 4723; Website: Wedge Studios

 

Foraging, food, and beer tours

 

For those wishing to sample Asheville's culinary side, the Asheville Food Tours squeeze a weekend’s worth of meals into about 4 hours. For craft-beer lovers, a 3-hour Brews Cruise or LaZoom Band and Beer Bus Tour might be in order. Or consider Wild Food Adventures tours -foragers can even take their finds to several area restaurants for a unique forage-to-table dinner. Guests will learn about Asheville's beautiful surroundings as well as wild plant edibles and mushrooms.

 

  • Asheville Food Tours, 1 Page Ave., Asheville 28801; Tel: +1 828 243 7401; Website: Asheville Food Tours
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  • Wild Food Adventures, 66 Westage Pkwy., Asheville 28806; Tel: +1 828 209 8599; Website: Wild Food Adventures

 

Cruise Blue Ridge Parkway

 

Designated as one of America’s most scenic drives, Blue Ridge Parkway offers sweeping views of mountain ranges and national forests. Pull off at a number of overlooks like Craggy Gardens, tunnels, and parking areas to find winding trails to hike and ample opportunities to spot waterfalls. You can also enjoy the view from the French Broad River via a canoe, kayak, or other floating device of your choice from Asheville Outdoor Center.

 

  • Craggy Gardens, 195 Hemphill Knob Rd., Asheville 28711; Tel: +1 828 298 0398; Website: Craggy Gardens
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  • Asheville Outdoor Center, 521 Amboy Rd., Asheville 28806; Tel: +1 800 849 1970; Website: Asheville Outdoor Center