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Asheville North Carolina

Asheville is a city in western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s known for a vibrant arts scene and historic architecture, including the dome-topped Basilica of Saint Lawrence.

I actually lived in Asheville for a hot minute in 1989 and it was very different than it is currently. There was little to nothing to do at that time, but now downtown is filled with galleries, museums, rooftop bars boutiques and new hotels. In the nearby River Arts District, former factory buildings house artists' studios. And can we talk about the restaurants? There are several James Beard chefs who have amazing eateries! Surrounding Asheville are tons of wineries and breweries.

If you are visiting the area, you must go to the Biltmore Estate, a historic house/museum and tourist attraction. The Biltmore House, the main residence, was built for George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895 It is the largest privately owned house in the US and is a mere 178,926 sq ft of floor space (135,280 square feet of living area). Still owned by George Vanderbilt’s descendants ,it remains one of the most prominent examples of the Gilded Age of mansions. After your house tour, stroll through a mile of some of the most spectacular gardens in the South. During your Biltmore visit, don't miss the winery! Access to the winery is included in your admission ticket, and you drive by it on your way out of the estate.

Surrounding the city you have the Pisgah National Forest, Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Chimney Rock State Park and Mount Mitchell State Park. All of these areas have breathtaking views, and wonderful hiking trails. My husband and I start our day with a hike in the morning before we hit the breweries and wineries.

We are fortunate to be a car drive away. We usually stay at the Hilton Garden Inn downtown which is walking distance to everything. They even have a fabulous roof top bar where we will have a night cap before we end our day.

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