With so much to do and see on an Asheville vacation, the only problem you'll have is deciding where to start!
The Asheville area has received much notoriety and many accolades over the past few years: named a must-see destination by Frommer's, voted Beer City USA four years in a row, one of the top 10 happiest cities in the USA, source: University of Vermont Computation Story Lab and listed by Good Morning America as America's most beautiful city, not to mention the Obama's choice for a vacation in 2010.
Boasting a thriving arts community, diverse outdoor adventures, a vibrant and inviting downtown, numerous historic and architectural attractions, and unique shopping options, you won't be at a loss for things to do.
The Biltmore Estate is a popular landmark in Asheville. This house was built for George Vanderbilt and is the largest home in America. Consisting of 250 rooms, situated on more than 8,000 acres, the Biltmore House and Gardens are a wonderful place to explore as you discover the history of this remarkable family.
For a different view of Asheville, consider taking a North Carolina motor tour or motorcycle tour where you can explore this charming city as you breathe in the fresh mountain air and enjoy spectacular views. The Blue Ridge Parkway, a 400 plus mile National Park touring road, crosses through Asheville NC and is a popular motor touring scenic byway. Many popular hikes to waterfalls, swimming holes and scenic view points, begin all along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Whether you are here with family, friends, or on a romantic getaway, there is truly something for anyone and any age.
Request a free travel guide: http://www.exploreasheville.com/vguide.aspx
Some of our favorite things to do and people to work with are:
- Eating Asheville Food Tours - we can arrange tour and tickets for you at a discounted price. Enjoy tastes and behiind the scenes guided walking tour of area restaurants in downtown Asheville, a not to miss Asheville experience. Food Tours and Beer Tours available.
- Grayline Trolley Tours (the RED Trolley) - you can get discounted tickets directly from us! Hop-on hop-off at one of the many trolley stops (every half hour), tickets good for two days, wonderful history and overview of Downtown Asheville, Biltmore Village and the River Arts District. Ghost Trolley Tours also available with advance reservations.
- The Biltmore Estate - Get your discounted tickets directly from us! Priced lower than the 1 day ticket at the Estate Ticket Center AND good for two consecutive days of entry. The Biltmore Estate is a not to miss adventure, with self-guided tours of the inside of the estate itself as well as 8,000 acres with gardens, trails, conservatory, winery, wine tasting, grape stomping, Antler Hill Village and farm, craft and other activities, all included in your two day ticket.
- The Omni Grove Park Inn - may be a great place to stay, yet day visits are wonderful as well. Dine in one of the restaurants, stroll through the hallways and enjoy the fascinating history of this historic hotel, view faces of the many famous visitors who have stayed at the Grove Park Inn over the past 100 years; enjoy a beverage and stunning westerly views off the back veranda; sit in a rocker in the huge main lobby, warming up by the massive fireplace. Be sure and take the old elevator up the chimney to the upstairs atrium of the original part of the Hotel. The National Gingerbread House Competition entries are displayed each year from November through mid-January. Many events and conferences are held here. Pamper yourself in the amazing subterranean day spa with twenty water features and ten mineral pools.
- Grovewood Galleries - The Grovewood Galleries are right next door to the Grove Park Inn and easy to miss if you don't know they are there. Stroll through the wind and sculpture garden, take in the antique car museum, visit the artist's studio and museum, shop for fine, beautiful and local crafts. This is the home of the NC Homespun Museum, the Estes-Winn Antique Car Museum and the Grovewood Studios. Admission to the NC Homespun and the Estes-Winn Antique Car Museum is free. The history of the NC Homespun Museum really began through Edith Vanderbilt around the turn of the century (1900), just after the completion of the Biltmore Estate. The Vanderbilt's interest and support of the local crafts has created the strong Arts and Crafts culture that is so much a part of Asheville and Western North Carolina to this day..
- Shoji Spa and Retreats- here's what one of our guests said about the Spa: "Now, a review of the Shoji Spa. Awesome!!!!!! Gail and I could not recommend it more. Gail has had a LOT of massages around the world and she said it was the best experience ever, and I concur. The setting is amazing, the service impeccable, and experience is literally out of this world. The only hard part is leaving. First we showered off in an amazing rock walled shower area, then jumped into our private hot tub located at tree top level. The staff brought our tea service (OMG, brought a big package of that tea home!). We relaxed and watched the birds flitting from tree to tree and smelled the smell of nothing but nature. Then we took the Cold Plunge-not as bad as it sounds. Then back to the hot tub, etc. There's also a sauna if you like. Finally the staff summoned us into the massage area for 80 minutes of customized bliss. In addition to our basic massages, we chose a hot oil scalp massage and facial shiatsu. Then we went back to the shower area, which is completely stocked with organic shampoos, conditioners, soaps, blow dryers, etc. We tried to bring the staff back to Houston but...... Seriously, there are high-end and high-dollar spas here but they can't hold a candle to Shoji." ... Pat and Gail from Houston, TX, September 2013
- Blue Heron Whitewater Guides - for a fabulous day on the river, call the best. For reservations or questions, call 888-H2O-RAFT (888-426-7238)or use the ONLINE RESERVATION system; Verizon cell phones, call 828-450-4663; email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org; mailing address is: Blue Heron Whitewater PO Box 516 Marshall, NC 28753; physical address is 35 Little Pine Rd, Marshall, NC 28753
- Sandy Bottom Trail Rides "Our most popular horseback ride takes you and your fellow riders to the world famous “Little Pine Gem Mine”, located in a remote corner of our ranch. This ride is three hours, and you are free to keep all the gem-quality garnets you can find. It is not hard to see why my great grandfather settled in this location over a hundred years ago! You will never forget your North Carolina horseback riding experience at Sandy Bottom trail rides. Give us a call and come visit us soon!" Sandy Bottom Trail Rides,1459 Caney Fork Road, Marshall, NC 28753, (800) 959-3513, (828) 649-3464, Email: email@example.com
- Hiking trails (click to view) abound in our beautiful mountains - along the Blue Ridge Parkway and throughout Pisgah National Forest. Visit a stunning waterfall, enjoy long range vistas, or a gentle hike along a mountain stream or shaded forest. Or, for those seeking downtown Asheville adventures, take in the 1.7 mile Asheville Urban Trail for a visit through Asheville's history - right in downtown Asheville, NC
- Dupont State Forest - a place where waterfalls are plentiful! Enjoy hikes through this beautiful State Forest to places like Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, Lake Imaging, and more all within relatively easy trail access. Most of the trails are open to Mountain Bikes, Horseback riders, hikers and joggers (closed to all motorized traffic).
- North Carolina Arboretum and Bent Creek Recreational Area - walks, hikes, classes, exhibits, local art work, this state treasure is easy to get to from Asheville, just a few miles from downtown. The North Carolina Arboretum also connects to Bent Creek Recreational Area, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forrest, for extensive trails, quite popular for Mountain Bike enthusiasts, joggers and hikers alike.
- Blue Ridge Parkway - over 400 miles of scenic highway with wonderful vistas, parking areas, hiking, waterfalls, the Blue Ridge Parkway is free to all visitors and is the most visited National Park in the United States. The Blue Ridge Parkway goes right through Asheville NC and the Visitor Center (with award winning film and loads of information) is located on the Parkway in Asheville.
For more information about things to do in Asheville, click the link to AshevilleNC.com
Tips for Parking in Downtown Asheville and other Miscellaneous Transportation Information
Metered Spaces: All meters are for short term parking (two hours or less) at a cost of $1.25 per hour. Currently all meters accept COINS ONLY, so bring your change! The metered spaces are enforced from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Parking is FREE after 6:00 pm, Sundays and City holidays. City holidays include New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Friday after Thanksgiving, and Christmas (3 days). There is no need to "feed the meters" on these days. However, regulations for Handicapped Parking and Loading Zones are still enforced.
Onstreet parking on the fringes of and outside the central part of historic Downtown Asheville is generally free where signage and marked spots indicate acceptable onstreet parking places. This includes the River Arts District, West Asheville and Biltmore Village areas of town where onstreet parking is generally free.
Parking Garages in Historic Downtown Asheville Area
Parking garages are operated for longer-duration parking as well as for monthly parking for downtown residents and employees.
- Civic Center Garage
- Wall Street Garage
- Rankin Avenue Garage
- Biltmore Avenue Garage
- First hour is free, $1.00 each additional hour or fraction thereof. (Daily maximum: $10)
- After hours rate is $2.00 per exit
- Special Events: $7, $5.00 multi events
There are several private parking garages. They are typically more expensive (typically $5.00 to $10 per visit, no matter the length of stay).
Other Miscellaneous Transportation Information
- A Red Cab Company - (828) 232-1112
- Metro Cab - (828) 254-1155
- Yellow Cab Company - (828) 253-3311
- Your Cab - (828) 259-9904
Electric Car Chargers may be found in and around Asheville.
There are now several Car Charging Stations in and around Asheville: There is a station at the Public Works Parking area on 163 Charlotte Street. The station features three electric vehicle chargers that will be free to the public. During the day, the solar array on the roof will generate power that will be fed onto the electric grid. This is a fairly convenient location to park in the evening to “charge up” while you entertain in downtown Asheville. Other stations are also available, but not well advertised yet.
City Transportation (Bus System): ART
Asheville Rapid Transit to me, but it’s actually Asheville Redefines Transit. There’s Asheville for you. Asheville does have a fairly comprehensive public bus system for those adventurers who might be interested in exploring this option.
Cost is $1.00 a ride including transfers, $.50/ride for youth to the age of 19 and seniors over the age of 65. Children 5 and younger are free with an adult.
The main station is located on Coxe Avenue, next to the Post Office (all routes end and begin here). For additional information and schedules, please call 828-253-5691. Look for the ART signs that designate the Bus Stop Locations.
There are two bus stops on Oakland Road a block or less from Oakland Cottage Bed and Breakfast. Look for the Bus "S-4." It stops at 40 after the hour between 7:40 am and 7:40 pm daily, Monday through Saturday and arrives at the Coxe Avenue Downtown Bus Station at 52 after the hour between 7:52 am and 7:52 pm daily, Monday through Saturday. S-4 Leaves the downtown Station at 39 after the hour between 7:29 am and 7:29 pm daily.
Many of the City busses have bike racks.