Ah, Asheville. Nestled among the Blue Ridge Mountains, this big but quaint town is a must-visit. With an eclectic mix of coffee shops, history, mountain views, tourist stops, and craft breweries there’s something for everyone.
As a traveling military spouse that originally hails from Appalachia too, I fell in love with Asheville and its surrounding mountain communities immediately. The mountains, the views, the locals, the culture—I love it all. This place kept me coming back, a rarity for my travel-loving soul.
Many travel guides list the best times to visit in late spring/early summer and fall. I understand the recommendation, but this place is a great trip no matter the time of year. Many others list the Biltmore as a must-visit, but it's not on this list.
1.) Visit the historic Grove Arcade
Originally intended to be the first indoor shopping mall, this historic building offers the best of Asheville. Local artistry shops and eateries live in this architectural beauty.
Inside, be sure to stop by Bebbettes, a New Orleans-style coffeehouse complete with fresh beignets.
2.) Basilica of Saint Lawrence
This was built in 1905 and features the largest freestanding elliptical dome in North America. Constructed in Spanish Baroque style and located in what was once the center of Asheville.
3.) South Slope Brewing District
Asheville has more breweries per capita than any other US city. You find over 100 beers here. Each brewery has great features you must see to believe. My personal favorite is small, quaint Hi-Wire Brewing. If you’re headed to Asheville in the fall, don’t miss the Brewgrass Festival at Salvage Station.
4.) River Arts District
This mile-long stretch sits against the French Broad River. Art studios and galleries occupy many of the older buildings here.
Along with this district, strolling around Asheville will take you tons of local artists ranging from painting and pottery to crafts. Stop by The Chocolate Fetish or the French Broad Chocolate Lounge for a sweet snack.
5.) Blue Ridge Parkway
Take the scenic route across the Blue Ridge Parkway. With stunning mountain scenery and plenty of pull-off spots, you can’t miss this in any season.
Visiting on a long weekend? Don’t miss Hendersonville, the crest of Blue Ridge viticulture. A 35-minute drive across I-26 E, Hendersonville offers wineries, cideries, breweries, scenery, and more. If you really love it (like me), check out St. Paul Mountain Farms for winery tours and Appalachian cidery. You can even stay at their Air BNB, the Wallace House.
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