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mountain towns

Asheville, NC

Banner Elk, NC

Black Mountain, NC

Blowing Rock, NC

Boone, NC

Brevard, NC

Bryson City, NC

Cashiers, NC

Hendersonville, NC

Highlands, NC

Lake Keowee, SC

Lake Lure &
Rutherford County, NC


Oconee County, SC

Nantahala, NC

Tryon, NC

Waynesville, NC

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Asheville
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Center for Carolina Living Nothing ordinary about it. With its fresh mountain air and beautiful scenery, Asheville was special from the beginning. Those in ailing health came for the curative air in the 19th century; today, that healing spirit prevails with a tolerant attitude for diverse lifestyles. Did we say how much fun it is?
Photo by Jeff Zimmerman • JeffZimmermanphotography.com

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Center for Carolina Living Life imitating art. Downtown Asheville's Urban Trail takes you through the stages of its history via 30 sculptures. "Appalachian Stage" features five bronze dancers and musicians in front of the Civic Center. 
Photo courtesy
Asheville Chamber of Commerce
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Asheville
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Center for Carolina Living Outdoorsy? You won’t be disappointed in Asheville. Outside magazine continues to give it high marks for its offerings – whitewater and equestrian sports, hiking, mountain biking. Four distinct seasons keep outdoor activities interesting. Center for Carolina Living
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Asheville
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Center for Carolina Living Don’t just read about it. The Biltmore Estate, with its 250-room chateau and bowling alley, commands a personal visit. One of the AIA’s Top 10 Architectural Wonders, Biltmore includes gardens, restaurants, and a winery. Photo courtesy of The Biltmore Company Center for Carolina Living
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Asheville
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Center for Carolina Living North Carolina Arboretum, near Asheville is playful, beautiful, and always satisfying. Special events and exhibits help all ages discover the outdoor world of NC. Every season is worth a visit.
Photo courtesy of N.C. Division of Tourism, Film & Sports Development • www.visitnc.com
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Center for Carolina Living Asheville Pop.:
72,231

Asheville MSA Pop.: 392,831

Buncombe County Pop.: 218,876
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Center for Carolina Living www.ci.asheville.nc.us

www.buncombecounty.org

Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce:
828.258.6101
www.ashevillechamber.org


Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau:
828.258.6101
www.exploreasheville.com

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Mountains
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ASHEVILLE, NC

Penland School of Crafts Auction


TAKE A ROAD TRIP -- Asheville

 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
interesting insights

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magine a pleasant-sized city of about 70,000 nestled mostly within a bowl created by two rivers among a ring of tree-covered, soft, bluish mountains, with scenic views at nearly every turn, a full yet temperate four seasons and easy access to mountain lifestyles in virtually every direction.

In North Carolina, at least, there is no imagination required to conjure up this kind of a mountain paradise. Just go to a map, find Buncombe County and, then, Asheville. It suits the description above quite well.

Asheville sits partway up the Blue Ridge Mountains in the state’s southwest region, higher than the “flatlands” of Charlotte and Winston-Salem but not as far up as resort towns such as Cashiers, Highlands and Waynesville.

The city is crisscrossed by east-to-west Interstate 40 and north-to-south I-26, making it readily accessible to other communities. In addition to attractive mountains, it is also partly ringed by the more leisurely Blue Ridge Parkway.

With its eclectic combination of college students, artistic types and free spirits in search of a laid-back atmosphere, Asheville may be the most “bohemian” city in the Carolinas, without any of the negative attributes sometimes associated with the term.


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Web www.carolinaliving.com
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Free Guides!
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Carriage Park

Gaffney

Sanctuary at Tryon



Boone

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If  there is a consensus among several people who have relocated to Asheville in recent years, it is the importance of the temperate yet distinct four seasons.

Eva and Dan Steward, for instance, moved from Southern California, where Mrs. Steward was born and raised, and Mr. Steward built custom “green” homes for 26 years.

Over time, Mrs. Steward says, the couple began to lose their taste for Southern California. “There was congestion, a high cost of living, a frenetic pace and a level of moral standards that no longer appealed to us,” she says. “In addition to building, my husband was also doing work as a pastor. We wanted more.”

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Center for Carolina Living In 1996, Mrs. Steward visited the Asheville area by herself. “Although I thought I would stay forever in California, I felt a very strong spiritual connection during that visit. It quickly became one of my three favorite areas in the world.”
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It took some convincing, but when Mr. Steward eventually made his own visit, he, too, got caught in the region’s grip. In January 2005, the couple bought a house in Asheville; in June of that year, the move was finalized. Today, he is still building homes and she is a real estate broker and is also studying to take the North Carolina Bar exam.

“We very much like the ‘feel’ of Asheville, but we also love the four seasons that are still much more temperate and less harsh than elsewhere,” Mrs. Steward says. “We’ve traveled widely but this just seems like home.”
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Center for Carolina Living Nancy Fox, a single real estate agent who spent many years in Florida (in Naples and Fort Lauderdale) arrived in Asheville in late July, 2006 and purchased a home in Biltmore Park.
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She was also seeking four seasons but had no ties except for friends in Florida. “I’m not a fan of flying, so I wanted to be somewhere within decent driving distance for return visits to Florida, and somewhere with a healthy real estate market,” she says. “But other than that, I could have chosen anywhere. It says a lot about Asheville that it drew me here.”
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Center for Carolina Living Ms. Fox also enjoys the accepting attitude of the city. Lifestyles and job types are perhaps more diverse than any other community up and down the Blue Ridge.
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Chad and Amanda Long moved to town in July 2000 from Mississippi. After first renting a house, they are now in their second home at Biltmore Lake in nearby Candler. Mr. Long is a sales representative for Lane Furniture, covering the territory around Asheville.

“We love Asheville,” Mrs. Long reports, “but when we moved here, we didn’t know a single person. We had been married one week when we got here so we joined the very large Biltmore Baptist Church, and many of our friends now are people who also relocated here.
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Center for Carolina Living “We especially like getting to see all four seasons, and enjoy heading to the downtown places to eat and have ice cream, or shop in places like the Mast General Store,” she adds.
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Wayne Wheeler, another new area resident, “sort of retired” to Asheville with his wife Sally. He grew up in Syracuse, N.Y., but spent the last 33 years “in the fog belt” of San Francisco, California.

“For this move, first of all, we wanted summer,” Mr. Wheeler says, “but we also wanted to avoid snow, ice, tornadoes and mugginess.” They narrowed their options to towns in Oregon, California, Virginia and North Carolina. Mr. Wheeler leads lighthouse tours around the world and during a tour, someone from Hendersonville, N.C., suggested Asheville.

“Suddenly, everywhere we turned, we saw articles about and ran into people who now lived in Asheville. In September 2004, we came for a visit, and returned in July 2005 to make sure the summer was acceptable, too,” he notes. They moved later in the year, and loved the summer of 2006. “It was really nice – there was sunshine, and there were no bugs!”
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Center for Carolina Living The Wheelers also found a good farmer’s market and lots of art, theater, music and great restaurants. Mr. Wheeler has been doing some fly-fishing. “By our standards, we have about eight months of really good weather, and even the winter has been okay.”
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In one of the Carolinas’ livelier daytime and nighttime downtowns, the restaurants and clubs are interspersed with a variety of shopping options, from antique and art galleries to men’s and ladies’ clothing stores, custom-made jewelry and even specialty stores dedicated to items such as beer or beads. Like the town, the offerings are diverse, and they are not limited to downtown alone. Biltmore Village to the south, the Grove Park Inn to the north, the mall on Tunnel Road and the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, (to the east) provide interesting alternatives as well.

Whether a resident or a visitor, it’s hard to resist a stop at some of the area’s attractions. From the city’s oldest standing home (Smith-McDowell House, circa 1840) to the nation’s largest private home (Biltmore House, completed in 1895) touring should also include a stop at historic Grove Park Inn (circa early 1900s) and novelist Thomas Wolfe’s boyhood home next to the Renaissance Hotel.

With summertime outdoor concerts (including the spectacular August evenings at Biltmore House) a long list of events at the Diana Wortham Theatre, plus live music, comedy, theater, dance and opera scattered around town, finding entertainment shouldn’t be a problem. For a city of less than 100,000, Asheville has a remarkably lively cultural scene.

Perhaps Nancy Fox comes the closest to identifying the open-minded, free-flowing feeling of community in Asheville.

“Everybody here lives cohesively,” she says. “It’s not a judgmental kind of town – really, it’s pretty unique as a place to live.”
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Enjoy the Blue-Ridged Mountains’ Majesty

Asheville sits halfway up into the Blue Ridge Mountains (at elevation 2,200 feet). From downtown and surrounding areas, views can be found in virtually any direction. From the grounds of Biltmore Estate, The Grove Park Inn, or along the Blue Ridge Parkway, take a deep breath, relax and soak in the hills and valleys that roll on and on. It’s nature’s glorious free show.


What to do & What to see
Biltmore Estate
There’s no other private house like it. A variety of tour choices, plus gardens, restaurants, a winery, outdoor adventures, special events and concerts and the Inn on Biltmore Estate. 1 Approach Road.
800.624.1575 • www.biltmore.com

Smith-McDowell House
An older historic home closer to downtown represents the Victorian life of the not-quite-so-wealthy. Different rooms interpret dates from 1840 to 1900. 283 Victoria Road
828.253.9231 • www.wnchistory.org

Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site
The boyhood home and setting of Thomas Wolfe’s novel, Look Homeward, Angel. 52 N. Market St.
828.253.8304 • www.wolfememorial.com

Food, Glorious Food
In addition to fine restaurants at the Grove Park Inn and on Biltmore Estate, a very easy-to-walk downtown area sports numerous choices, including:

Corner Kitchen
Cozy tables in a historic house, good for lunch and dinner.
3 Boston Way, Biltmore Village
828.274.2439 • www.thecornerkitchen.com

Rezaz Restaurant & Enoteca
Mediterranean-influenced fare in a contemporary setting.
28 Hendersonville Road, Biltmore Village.
828.277.1510 • www.rezaz.com

Tupelo Honey Café
Southern home cooking with an uptown twist. 12 College St.
828.255.4863 • www.tupelohoneycafe.com

Early Girl Eatery
A more informal atmosphere for the casual diner. 8 Wall Street.
828.259.9292 • www.earlygirleatery.com

Laughing Seed Café
The others may dabble in vegetarian, but the Laughing Seed specializes, admirably, in international vegetarian menu offerings. 40 Wall St.
828.252.3445 • www.laughingseed.com

Vincenzo’s Ristorante & Bistro
If you’re in search of good Northern Italian fare and attentive service, here you go.
10 N. Market St.
828.254.4690 • www.vincenzos.com

Located on the Square:
Several restaurants in the immediate vicinity of Pack Square make the choice of dining destination, even on foot, almost as complex as picking an entrée from a long menu.


Where to Buy Your Bling
Biltmore Park Town Square
Just off I-26, three miles from Asheville airport.
This complex has so many options for dining, shopping and entertainment. Lots of fun and easy to find.

Biltmore Village
Just across from the entrance to Biltmore Estate, 12 square blocks of older homes are now shops, galleries and restaurants worthy of a stroll and perhaps a little spending.

Grove Arcade
One Page Avenue
In the heart of downtown, this lovingly-restored arcade building has a range of offerings, all under one roof, with some food, too.

Asheville Mall
3 S. Tunnel Road
Veteran mall shoppers and others will want to spend a little quality mall time here, not far from downtown.

Folk Art Center
Milepost 382, Blue Ridge Parkway
For a constantly changing but always appealing selection of beautiful handmade crafts gathered from the mountains, stop on the Parkway to take a look.


Get outdoors
Outdoor experiences with Mother Nature are bountiful in the area surrounding Asheville. Just a few of the considerations include:

Skiing
Cataloochee Ski Area, Maggie Valley
800.768.0285 • www.cataloochee.com

Wolf Laurel Slopes, 24 mi. north of Asheville
800.817.4111 • www.skiwolflaurel.com
 


Rafting, floating, etc.
Nantahala Outdoor Center, Bryson City and others
888.662.2199 •  www.noc.com

Wildwater Ltd. Rafting, multiple locations
888.472.3862 • www.wildwaterrafting.com

Huck Finn River Adventures, Hot Springs
 877.520.4658 •  www.huckfinnrafting.com

Asheville French Broad Rafting Expeditions, Marshall
800.570.7238 •  www.frenchbroadrafting.com

Southern Waterways, Asheville
800.849.1970 •  www.paddlewithus.com


Hiking/scenery
Chimney Rock Park, Chimney Rock,
800.277.9611 www.chimneyrockpark.com

North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville,
828.665.2492, www.ncarboretum.org


Gem mining
Old Pressly Sapphire Mine, near Canton
877.903.4754, www.oldpressleymine.com
 

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Bill Cissna lives in Kernersville, N.C., just east of Winston-Salem and west of Greensboro. He relocated to North Carolina in 1986 from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he attended junior and senior high school. A graduate of Allegheny College, he has worked in advertising and public relations positions, as well as freelance writing for 12 years, a career to which he returned in May 2004.

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