Travel - Ashville, N.C.

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If Savannah is a sweet, sultry Southern Belle, Asheville, North Carolina, just five hours northwest of here, is a sprightly mountain belle with a slight, Southern accent.

A small city with a population of less than 70,000, Asheville is famous as the home of one of the souths most legendary authors, Thomas Wolfe, and somewhat infamous as the home of the 1947 hospital fire in which Zelda Fitzgerald died.

For those of us in the Deep South, Asheville can provide a welcome change from the blazing heat and humidity of summer. Here, temperatures are mild and humidity inconsequential. Once the sun sets, even in the height of summer, youll no doubt want a light jacket or sweater.

Asheville, like Savannah, is an art lovers nirvana. Galleries proliferate downtown, where you can stroll the Urban Trail, a walking tour of 30 sculptures depicting bits of local history, and in Biltmore Village, or you can drive to many artist studios tucked in the valleys and small communities nearby. And Asheville, like Savannah, boasts a bounty of beautiful gardens, including the Botantical Gardens of Asheville (free) and for a small per car fee, the North Carolina Arboretum.

You won't want to miss the Grove Arcade Public Market. After a very long restoration, Asheville's public market recently reopened with 50 specialty shops (all locally owned), restaurants, and sidewalk vending with fresh food and crafts. This block-long building has an interior "mall" and shops around the entire exterior. Located downtown on Battery Park and O. Henry Avenue


Among the lures of Asheville are the vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

You can also take a pleasant day's side trip to the Biltmore Estate and Winery.

George W. Vanderbilt's romantic 8000-acre Biltmore Estate features a century-old French Renaissance chateau, the 250-room Biltmore House, 75 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, and the nation's most visited winery.

Biltmore House, is largest privately owned home in America, with a priceless collection of arts and antiques original to the Vanderbilt home. Since the house is a self-guided tour, you may want pay the little extra for the audio companion tour as soon as you enter the house. Excellent guided tours may be purchased to go "behind the scenes." After touring more than 60 rooms in the house, stop at the Stable Courtyard for refreshments or a visit to several quaint shops (and one large souvenir shop). The Stable Cafi is great for sandwiches, burgers, and salads. Allow at least two hours for a house tour.

The spectacular gardens were designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, best known for designing Central Park in New York City. The lush and beautiful reflecting ponds of the Italian Gardens are a fitting entry into a stunning world of garden paths. A short walk takes you to the four-acre Walled Garden and adjacent Conservatory. For a longer walk, follow signs to the Bass Pond to find a more secluded (and romantic) area.

Don't forget a stop at the Biltmore Estate Winery where you can enjoy a self-guided tour and sample Biltmore Estate wines in the Tasting Room.Try the Bistro Restaurant for dinner, with its welcoming European atmosphere.

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Asheville, NC Dining and Lodging Guide

Asheville Restaurants
Gabrielle's at Richmond Hill Inn
87 Richmond Hill Dr.
Asheville, NC 28806
Fine food inside an 1889 Mansion
Entrees: $26 - $32
Dinner only: 6 pm - 9:30 pm

Savoy Cucina Italiana
1 Merrimon Ave.
Asheville, NC 28804
Exceptional Italian
Dinner Entrees: $16 - $30
Full Bar
Dinner: 5:30 pm until the last patron leaves

Bistro 1896
7 Park Square SW
Asheville, NC 28801
Dinner Entrees: $14.95 - $19.95
Full Bar
Dinner: 5 pm - 10 pm

Doc Chey's Noodle House
37 Biltmore Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801
Lots of good food; friendly service
Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai and Chinese food
Sake, beer, and wine
Dinner Entrees: $5 - $8

The Grape Escape Wine Bar & Grill
1 North Pack Square
Asheville, NC 28801
Large selection of wines & food
Dinner Entrees: $9.95 - $19.95
Full Bar
Dinner: 3 pm - 10 pm weekdays; 3 pm - midnight weekends

Asheville Lodging
The Inn on Biltmore Estate
1 Antler Hill Road
Asheville, NC 28803
Price Range: $149 - $449

Double Tree Biltmore Hotel
115 Henderson Rd
Asheville, NC 28803
Price Range: $129 - $199

Haywood Park Hotel
1 Battery Park Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
Price Range: $150 - $345

The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa
290 Macon Ave
Asheville, NC 28804
Price Range: $179 - $1199

Comfort Inn
800 Fairview Rd.
Asheville, NC 28803
Price Range: $59 - $179

Hampton Inns of Asheville
1 Rocky Ridge Rd.
Asheville, NC 28806
Price Range: $79 - $159

Quality Inn, Asheville
1 Skyland Inn Dr.
Arden, NC 28704


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