Five Reasons to Visit Western North Carolina, and then Stay.
If you've never visited Western North Carolina, you are missing a trip of a lifetime. If you have visited, you're probably already planning your return, or at least you should be.
From the array of diverse cuisine and local breweries to the abundance of mountain activities and thought-provoking art, there are millions of reasons to love Western North Carolina.
Here are the top five reasons to visit Western North Carolina, and then stay.
1. The Outdoor Activities
Western North Carolina boasts some incredible outdoor activities. If you love waterfalls, swimming holes, river activities, hiking, rock climbing or even visiting small town festivals, there are endless opportunities to get outside and stay active in Western North Carolina.
Go fly fishing on the Cherokee Reservation.
Hike to the top of Chimney Rock and take in the breathtaking views of Lake Lure and the surrounding mountains.
Tackle the world-famous Appalachian Trail.
Put your body and mind to the test while whitewater rafting the French Broad River.
Cliff jump into a waterfall at Skinny Dip Falls.
Bring a picnic basket, and check out the 360-degree views from the top of Max Patch, a 4,600-foot tall bald mountain in Hot Springs.
Last, but certainly not least, you MUST drive the Blue Ridge Parkway during the month of October. The Fall foliage in Western North Carolina is the prettiest you will find in the southern region of the United States, and the Parkway offers many opportunities to stop and park for photos.
There are so many fun things to do, you stay in shape without even meaning to. Who needs a gym when you can take care of your body while feeding your soul with all Western North Carolina outdoors has to offer?
2. The Food
Asheville, North Carolina is known as a foodie-hub, but the entire Western North Carolina region has a wide-range of food offerings sure to delight your pallet.
Treat yourself to unforgettable Indian street food from four time James Beard Award nominated chef Meherwan Irani at Chai Pani in Downtown Asheville.
While you are Downtown, go share some Spanish tapas dishes from James Beard Award nominee, Chef Katie Button at Curate.
Make brunch plans at Biscuit Head in West Asheville (don’t skip the jam bar!).
Grab a burger and watch the game at Juicy Lucy’s on Hendersonville Road.
Try some of the top-rated Asheville barbecue locations including Luella’s Barbecue, Buxton Hall Barbecue, 12 Bones Smokehouse and Little Pigs BBQ, among other crowd favorites.
Want to get out of the city for the day?
Take a trip to Waynesville for a delicious traditional American diner experience at Clyde’s, ride the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad and enjoy local barbecue while taking in the gorgeous views, or go back to the basics with traditional Amish food at Troyer’s Country Amish Blatz in Fairview.
Eating your way through the mountains are calories well-spent.
3. The Brews
Did you know there are more than 300 breweries and brewpubs in Western North Carolina? Craft beer and cider is not only an art form in the Blue Ridge Mountains, it is a way of life.
Asheville boasts some of the best beer and cider in the country. Grab a legendary ale at Greenman Brewery, knock back a pint of Asheville IPA at Highland Brewing Company, mellow out with New Belgium Brewing Company’s hemp beer, The Hemporer, refresh your taste buds with a locally sourced ginger beer at Ginger's Revenge, and enjoy a cider flight at Urban Orchard Cider Co.
You don’t have to stay in the city limits to get a taste of Western North Carolina beers and cider.
Use the handy guides created by the Asheville Ale Trail to map out your path to tasting all the mountains have to offer such as Mills River favorites, Bold Rock Hard Cider and Sierra Nevada Brewery, Waynesville staple Boojum Brewing, and Hendersonville’s Sanctuary Brewing Company.
Your drinking journey of a thousand brews begins with one pint.
4. The Art
Asheville is known for its artists, but art in Western North Carolina isn’t limited to the city. While you will find artists’ hubs all around Asheville, you can also find art throughout most of the surrounding mountain towns.
Spend a day or two visiting artists’ studios for a behind-the-scenes peek in the River Arts District of Asheville. There are over 200 artists housed in 22 studios throughout the old industrial area of town by the French Broad River. Visitors are welcome to tour the studios and explore art ranging from metal, clay and glass works to oil paintings, sketches and photography.
While you are in Asheville, make a trip downtown to Woolworth Walk, which displays art from local creators and houses an old fashion soda fountain and lunch counter.
While enjoying some scenic driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway, stop at the Folk Art Center at Milepost 382. There are three galleries, a library, an auditorium, a bookstore, and the century old Allanstand Craft Shop where you can purchase some of the most cherished Southern Appalachian art work.
Want to take an art class? Travel down to Hendersonville and sign up at the Art Mob.
Interested in exploring the Blue Ridge music scene? Check out the event guide by Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina.
The opportunities to create and experience art in Western North Carolina are endless, so be warned that you may spend your entire trip on a creative high.
5. The Festivals
There are festivals almost every weekend in Asheville, but there are also iconic festivals in the smaller mountain towns throughout Western North Carolina that should not be missed.
Among the long list of festivals to add to your calendar while visiting Asheville are the Fall Leaf Festival, Chow Chow Festival, Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, Asheville Art in the Park, Downtown After Five, HardLox Jewish Food and Heritage Festival, Asheville Yoga Festival and Brewgrass Festival. For more festival fun, check out this full schedule of must-attend festivals created by Amazing Asheville.
You don't have to be in Asheville to enjoy the festival magic though.
Are you a Dirty Dancing fanatic? Carry some watermelons and reenact Baby and Johnny’s famous lift scene in Lake Lure at the Dirty Dancing Festival.
"The greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals." - Siddharth Katragadda
If you want the perfect weekend escape, Western North Carolina has a festival to fit the bill. The only problem with enjoying an amazing vacation to Western North Carolina is having to leave after only a few days of mountain fun.
But it doesn’t have to end that way.
Consider making the move North Carolina!
I am a North Carolina realtor with Town and Mountain Realty in Asheville, North Carolina, and I specialize in working with out-of-state buyers. With my concierge real estate services, you don’t have to live in the mountain to buy in the mountains.
If you are considering relocating to Western North Carolina, I would love to help you find the perfect mountain home.
If you can’t make a permanent move just yet, but you want to invest in a vacation home to rent out to visitors while you are away, I can help you find the perfect getaway.
If you dream of spending your retirement growing old in the mountains, I can help you purchase a low-maintenance home perfect for any age.
Contact me today to get started on the process of making your mountain dreams come true.
Amy Glassman, Realtor
Town and Mountain Realty