Beach or mountains? Mountains every time, baby.
Every time Lyndsi and I visit Asheville, I tell her we should move here. There’s just something magical about this little city nestled between the highest mountains in the Great Smoky Mountains. Asheville feels big enough, but not too big. In other words, it has just enough cosmopolitan vibe to keep you from being bored or feeling limited. There’s a feeling of escape, coziness, and calmness I get when I’m there. It’s a creative energy that has to be due to the surroundings. I’ve always wanted to live in a city in the mountains.
Two things Asheville is known for are its numerous micro-breweries and its hippy/liberal/artsy scene. I guess I could wear my flannel button-up, grab a craft beer, and blend right in! Asheville also has a few nice hotels. If you’re into spas and historic buildings, the Grove Park Inn is your spot. We had dinner there last fall and frankly, weren’t impressed. Perhaps that was in part due to us being seated in the back room of the restaurant, despite having reservations. The inside of the Grove Park Inn feels like a shopping mall, with numerous restaurants and shops. Didn’t like that vibe.
More to our taste is the Grand Bohemian hotel, located in the Biltmore Village area (numerous shops abound, it’s the best part of Asheville outside of downtown). They have an excellent restaurant and bar.
Of course, Asheville’s biggest landmark is the Biltmore Estate. If you love history and/or architecture, it’s a must. Even if you don’t, it’s a must-see. The Vanderbilt’s mountain estate (the fact that Cornelius Vanderbilt chose Asheville for his estate says a lot about the area) is still the largest private residence in the U.S., though now it’s a museum. It’s a thoroughly fascinating tour, but be ready to feel like a full-fledged tourist.
We visit Asheville several times a year (it’s a 1.5-hour drive from Charlotte) and I’m already salivating at visiting during fall.