Here are some of our “picks” for things to do in and around Asheville:
An Asheville vacation offers it all, from the historic Biltmore Estate and winery, to music, art and crafts at every turn. The Blue Ridge Parkway, Chimney Rock, and several National and State parks, arboretums and nature preserves are here to inspire you with awe in every season. Enjoy the flowering Rhododendrons and Dogwoods, the lush forests and spectacular waterfalls. Hike, fish, take in the glorious fall foliage or even take a zipline tour of the forest canopy.
Nestled in all the natural beauty of the mountains is the city of Asheville, often called the “Paris of the South”. Vibrant, culturally rich and eclectic, Asheville is filled to the brim with working artists and craftspeople, musicians, and live theater. Its many outstanding independent restaurants feature an abundance of locally produced food, wines and beer. Countless fine local microbreweries have gained national attention. The nighttime comes alive in Asheville’s music venues, with jazz, celtic, country, rock and everything in between, not to mention our symphony orchestra! Unique shops, antiques and interesting architecture from the Victorian, Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau traditions abound.
There’s something for everyone, and A Bed of Roses is ideally located to help you enjoy it all. We’re just 5 and a half blocks from downtown and a short 10 minute drive to the Biltmore estate and the shops and restaurants of Biltmore Village.
Visit exploreasheville.com for extensive info on things to do in Asheville!
Built by George Vanderbilt in the 1890s, The Biltmore Estate and gardens is a National Historic Landmark that is well worth seeing. The estate includes the Biltmore Winery and Antler Hill Village. Take advantage of our Biltmore Package and get two tickets for two consecutive days. You’ll need both days to take in America’s largest privately owned home, modeled after the chateaux of the French Renaissance with grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture.
Don’t forget to visit Biltmore Village, a planned community at the entrance to the Vanderbilt’s Estate known for it’s unique locally owned shops and restaurants in a quaint historic setting.
Smith-McDowell House Museum- Asheville’s first mansion and oldest surviving dwelling is on the National Register and has been restored as a history museum. A 4 story antebellum mansion, it was built by slave labor twenty years before the Civil War.
The Thomas Wolfe Memorial- Thomas Wolfe, a major American 20th Century novelist, immortalized his childhood home here in Asheville in his autobiographical novel, Look Homeward Angel. House tours are offered daily.
The Grove Park Inn, completed in 1913, not only offers a stunning example of Arts and Crafts Architecture, but a world class golf course, a spa and even an antique auto museum. Built from Granite boulders taken from Sunset Mountain, the Great Hall is a sight to behold. Insider tip: don’t miss the sculpture garden outside the gift shop!
The Riverside Cemetary, located right here in the Montford District of Asheville is on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the National Park Service. Stroll through it’s 87 acres of rolling hills and flowering gardens on a self guided walking tour through ancient oak, poplar, dogwood and ginkgo trees. Visit the burial places of Thomas Wolfe and O. Henry as well as Confederate generals James Martin and Robert B. Vance and many of the city’s most prominent citizens.
Be sure to include a stroll through our neighborhood, the Montford Historic District to view a wide range of antique Victorian and Arts and Crafts homes and hopefully meet some of our friendly and fascinating neighbors!
The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of America’s most scenic drives. 469 miles long, the parkway stretches from Waynesboro Virginia to Cherokee NC through lush National forests and stunning mountains. Some of its most lovely sections are minutes from Asheville and access to the Parkway from Asheville is easy. The Folk Art Center at milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway is a short 20 minute drive from A Bed of Roses and houses the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s Craft Shop as well as galleries, a library and auditorium. Be sure to check the website for activities surrounding the Parkway’s 75th Anniversary.
Experience the adventure the New York Times calls a must do when in the Asheville area at Navitat Canope Adventures. Soar through the treetops on sturdy zip lines, traverse sky bridges and rappel in the mountains only 20 minutes north of Asheville. On the tour, knowledgeable guides teach you about the natural environment and the rich history of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Totally tree based, it is a sculpture in the woods, built with environmental respect for minimal impact. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience; a place where exhilaration meets contemplation. Tours are offered daily and require a reservation. We, at A Bed of Roses, can personally attest that this tour is a blast!
Visit the NC Arboretum for its gardens, trails exhibits and educational programs. With 65 acres of cultivated gardens and 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, the arboretum is located on 434 beautiful acres and includes one of the finest, most unique bonsai collections in the United States. The Arboretum was founded in1986, nearly a century after Frederick Law Olmsted, the ‘Father of American Landscape Architecture’, first envisioned such an institution near Asheville as part of his legacy to the Biltmore Estate.
Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is nestled in Hickory Nut Gorge between the towns of Lake Lure and Bat Cave, just 25 miles southeast of Asheville. The 535-million-year-old monolith for which the Park is named, is considered one of the most iconic sites in North Carolina. From the top you’ll get a breathtaking 75-mile panoramic view. The trails will take you to a 404 foot waterfall, 12 Great Woodland Adventure discovery stations, Exclamation Point, a 2,480 ft mountain peak, as well to the Opera Box and Devil’s Head.
Just around the corner, 3 minutes from A Bed of Roses, you can find the Asheville Botanical Gardens. Over 600 native species of plants, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses are represented. The grounds are open year round from sunrise to sunset and admission is free.
Asheville fly fishing- The 2011 US National Fly Fishing Championship is being held in Cherokee NC, just an hour from Asheville! Fly fishing in the North Carolina mountains is an exceptional trout fishing haven with over 3,000 miles of trout streams open to fishing throughout Western NC.
Fly fishing in NC guide- http://www.flyfishingnc.com
Hunter Banks Fly Fishing http://www.hunterbanks.com
Asheville Anglers- http://www.ashevilleflyfishing.com
Links to more great Asheville area outdoor attractions:
French Broad River Whitewater Rafting http://www.frenchbroadrafting.com
Nantahala Center for rafting, canoeing , kayaking & mountain biking http://www.noc.com
WNC Nature Center- http://www.wildwnc.org
Local Asheville hikes- http://www.localhikes.com/MSA/MSA
Wolf Laurel Stables- http://www.horsebackridingnc.com/asheville.htm
Biltmore Equestrian Center- http://www.biltmore.com/visit/equestrian/events.asp
Baird Cove Trail Rides -http://seeingspotsfarm.tripod.com/bairdcovetrailrides
Sancy Bottom Trail Rides – http://www.sandybottomtrailrides.net
Arts and Culture:
Art Galleries abound in and around Asheville, one of the top arts destinations in the Southeast. There are over 30 galleries in the downtown district alone, with many more in Biltmore Village and Weaverville. Here are links to some partial listings: http://ashevilleartgallery.net
The River Arts District is home to 17 artists’ studios, many of which are open to public during posted hours. This unique artists’ community also sponsors periodic Studio Stroll Events, classes and other special events. The River Arts District is located minutes from downtown Asheville along the French Broad River.
The Montford Park Players perform a 20-week summer season of between five and six outdoor productions at Montford Park, plus an indoor Winter Season at the Asheville Masonic Temple, and entertains more than 10,000 patrons a year, ranking in the top four among outdoor theatres in North Carolina. They are dedicated to making Shakespeare and other classic drama accessible to the public by performing for free in an authentic outdoor setting. In the summer season we offer a special VIP pass to the Montford Park Players’ performances. Be sure to check our Specials page for updates.
The Diana Wortham Theatre is an intimate 500 seat theatre in the Pack Place complex in the heart of downtown Asheville. They offer live music, theatre and dance performances year round by nationally touring artists as well as regional arts groups.
The Asheville Symphony Orchestra celebrated it’s 50th year in 2010. Under the direction of Daniel Meyer, music director, the orchestra presents seven full orchestra concerts a year in the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium at the Asheville Civic Center. Each concert features a guest performance. Related programs include the Asheville Symphony Chorus, Children’s Chorus and a lecture series as well as Music Education in the shools.
For Chamber Music performances in and around Asheville check out the calendar at the Western North Carolina Chamber Music Alliance.
The Fine Arts Theater, located right downtown on Biltmore Avenue, is Asheville’s home for art and independent film. http://www.fineartstheatre.com
The Asheville Area Arts Council is another source for information on Music, Theater, Dance and the Visual Arts.
Dining and Night Life:
There are so many wonderful restaurants in Asheville that we could fill volumes with our recommendations and reviews. Alas, we can only write about a few here, but you will find more information on area restaurants at The Asheville Independent Restaurant Association: http://www.airasheville.org
Our downtown favorites:
Curate – Spanish Tapas artistically and expertly prepared. Executive Chef/Co-owner, Katie Button is an award winning chef that has garnered considerable national acclaim. http://www.curatetapasbar.com. See our blog page for our review- pure indulgence!
Bouchon – Elegant and exceptional French comfort food, with a sister restaurant Bouchon Street Food for quick and casual eating. http://www.ashevillebouchon.com
The Market Place – Fresh farm-to-table cuisine in an elegant setting. http://www.marketplace-restaurant.com
Early Girl Eatery – Locally Sourced Southern Comfort Food Experience. Great T-shirts too! http://earlygirleatery.com
Chia Pani- Indian Street Food deliciously prepared. Innovative and fun. http://chaipani.net
The Green Sage Coffeehouse and Café – Great tasting food from natural, local and organic ingredients served up with a Green Philosophy. Breakfast all day and lunch. http://thegreensage.net
The Laughing Seed Café – Creative and international vegetarian cuisine that you don’t need to be a vegetarian to love. http://laughingseed.jackofthewood.com
The Lobster Trap – The best seafood restaurant in Western North Carolina. http://thelobstertrap.biz
Mela – Authentic North and South Indian cuisine that is diverse and vibrant. The lunch buffet is a delicious value. http://www.melaasheville.com
Nine Mile – A cozy and friendly local Montford District favorite, Nine Mile offers Spicy Caribbean inspired dishes, delicious daily specials and a wide variety of local and micro brews as well as wine selections. http://ninemileasheville.com
Posana Café – Overlooking historic Pack Square, Posana’s offers made from scratch, beautifully presented meals featuring local ingredients, hormone & antibiotic free meats and eggs as well as seasonal specialties and the region’s largest selection of gluten-free cuisine. http://www.posanacafe.com
Tupelo Honey Café – Asheville’s New South Kitchen. http://www.tupelohoneycafe.com
Vincenzo’s Ristorante & Bistro – Romantic Northern Italian with an elegant dining room upstairs and a fun piano bar and Bistro downstairs. http://www.vincenzos.com
Zambra – Delicious and inventive Tapas served in a romantic atmosphere. http://www.zambratapas.com
Biltmore Village Restaurant Picks:
The Corner Kitchen, in a 110 year old Victorian home, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a homey atmosphere. Ask to see the chair President Obama sat in when he visited the restaurant! http://www.thecornerkitchen.com
Fig Bistro serves up seasonal masterpieces created by French-trained Chef William Klein in a cozy but elegant atmosphere. http://www.figbistro.com
Neo Cantina offers handmade Mexican favorites using fresh locally grown ingredients. Patio dining available. http://www.neocantina.com
Rezaz, named after owner/chef Reza Setayesh is a fine dining restaurant offering Mediterranean cuisine in modern décor. Service is impeccable and special dining is available at Chef’s Tables located in the kitchen to get a behind the scenes look at the magic.
Asheville Nights- nightlife and music venues:
The Orange Peel is a live music club right in downtown Asheville that books national acts from all music genres. Check out their impressive calendar. http://www.theorangepeel.net
Enjoy Old New Orleans style elegance at Tressa’s Downtown Jazz & Blues, with live music Monday – Thursday starting at 9PM and 10PM on weekends. http://www.tressasdowntownjazzandblues.com
Jack of the Wood is a cozy Celtic style pub and home to Green Man Brewing, specializing in hand crafted English ales. Live music with a small cover charge is offered on weekends. During the week find informal Celtic, Old Time Mountain Music and Bluegrass jam sessions. http://www.jackofthewood.com
The Grey Eagle features nationally touring bluegrass, rockabilly, jazz and blues artists. http://www.thegreyeagle.com
The French Broad Brewery serves up live music in it’s tasting room, as well as crafting traditional European style beers.
Eleven on Grove in the Grove House, formerly a YWCA, has three dance floors, four bars, comedy and cabaret shows as well as live music and local DJs. Bounce between Club Eleven, The Boiler Room and Scandals Nightclub. http://www.thegrovehouse.com/clubeleven/index.htm
Barley’s Taproom hosts live music downstairs 3-4 nights per week as well as 24 taps. Upstairs you’ll find 19 taps 4 billiard tables and 5 dart lanes. Don’t miss Dr Brown’s Team Trivia on Wednesday nights! http://www.barleystaproom.com
Asheville Brewing Company on Coxe Avenue downtown as well as just north of downtown on Merrimon Avenue is known for it’s wide selection of craft brewed beers, award winning pizza and the Brew N View $3 movie (at the Merrimon Ave location only)! Check out what’s playing at http://ashevillebrewing.com/2011/index.html.