A towering monument to America’s Gilded Age, Biltmore House is a sumptuous 250-room mansion set in 8,000 acres of grounds. It was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II, who fell in love with the scenery and climate of the area and decided to commission a summer house or ‘little mountain escape’ in the style of the great châteaux of France. You can take one of a number of tours here or drop in at the Biltmore Winery, the most visited winery in the United States.
Asheville's eclectic downtown hums with art galleries and street musicians, sidewalk dining, nationally recognised independent bookstores, craft breweries and bakeries for canines. The heart of the city is a living testament to community's mountain-born spirit of independence – independent businesses, independent people, and singular beauty. Yet, for all its unique offerings, Asheville's downtown resonates with the warmth and friendly charm of a walkable Southern town.
The Blue Ridge Parkway
Frequently referred to as ‘America’s Favourite Drive’, the Blue Ridge Parkway extends 469 miles and connects the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina with Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Along this ‘avenue of exploration’, lie snowbound peaks, wetlands, hiking trails and wonderfully abundant flora and fauna.
Art is everywhere in Asheville. Start under Lexington Avenue Bridge where you’ll find a multi-wall mural illustrating the city’s history, then head past the artistic graffiti on N Lexington to Chicken Alley where you can discover a homage to the local poultry and honeybee culture. Wrap up any art tour with a look around the RAD (Riverside Arts District) where local artists have their galleries and free community art is on show around every corner.
Asheville has a long history with music, originating with traditional songs and tunes brought to the region by Scottish and Irish settlers. Over the years, the legends of what was once called "mountain music"--people like Jimmie Rodgers and Bill Monroe, contributed their own work to Asheville's cultural scene. These traditions mean that music is alive and well in Asheville with a toe-tapping busking scene, live music venues and a great calendar of music festivals to suit all tastes.