Summertime in Asheville offers so many ways to enjoy your stay, from Summer Festivals and concerts to Shakespeare under the stars. It also has some wonderful ways to beat the heat! Slip down the chilly mountain waters of Sliding Rock, go whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River or take a picnic to Craggy Gardens on the Blue Ridge Parkway, like we did the other day. A short and scenic drive took us from 89 degrees to 72 degrees with a refreshing breeze. The main picnic area has rolling hills and stone picnic tables, with the mountains just over the trees. But a short hike up the Craggy Pinnacle trail takes you to much more dramatic views.
There you will be treated to a 360 degree view of mountain peaks that seem to go on forever. The visitors center, just past the main picnic area, right on the Blue Ridge Parkway has a panoramic view as well, with the peaks you are looking at labeled on an open guide book just below the window, which I just loved.
Asheville’s elevation is about 2,200 feet but we are surrounded by the mountains of the Blue Ridge as well as the Black Mountain Range. An hour north of Asheville along the Blue Ridge Parkway is Mount Mitchell. At 6,600 feet above sea level it is the highest point east of the Mississippi and can easily be 20 degrees cooler that downtown Asheville. An hour to the south of us is Mount Pisgah at 5,721 feet.
The waterfalls of Dupont State Forest are just 40 miles from downtown Asheville. Four entrances to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are within 60 miles from downtown Asheville. We are surrounded by incredible natural beauty and refreshing mountain streams. At the end of the day you can explore our vibrant restaurant/music and theater scene rejuvenated. But save room for our gourmet breakfast in the morning!