3 Recommended Experiences in North Carolina’s Most Interesting City
The thriving art scene and quirky culture of Asheville attract many tourists. Three interesting things to do add upscale fun to a luxury vacation in North Carolina.
Asheville, North Carolina, has been called one of the happiest places in the United States (The Geography of Bliss, 2008), as well as one of the world’s Top 12 must-see destinations (Frommer’s travel guides, 2007) and one of the 50 Most Alive Places to Be (Modern Maturity, 2000). Clearly, Asheville is a fun place for a vacation in the American South. The luxury traveler can find several upscale activities here; these are the recommended best fit for a luxury vacation in Asheville, NC.
The Biltmore Estate
Billed as the largest home in America (and that’s true), the Biltmore Estate is a must-see for a luxury vacation in Asheville. It was built by architects Hunt and Olmsted to the specifications of George Washington Vanderbilt in the late 1800s and is representative of the Gilded Age. The mansion itself is around 175,000 square feet, the estate property sprawls over around eight thousand acres, and the Inn on Biltmore Estate is a AAA 4-diamond hotel. The old dairy is now a winery, and the entire Biltmore Estate is a terrific tourist attraction.
Thomas Wolfe Memorial Home
The author of Look Homeward, Angel and You Can’t Go Home Again (along with many autobiographical books and essays) lived in Asheville, and a tour of his Old Kentucky Home here adds literary culture to a North Carolina trip. The historic Victorian house is a landmark for fans of American literature and is a designated North Carolina State Historic Site. Stop in the Visitors Center right behind Thomas Wolfe’s Old Kentucky Home; the small exhibit hall displays personal effects from here and his New York City apartment.
The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa
This luxury inn is a top choice for lodging. Visitors to Asheville don’t have to stay at the inn to book treatments at its locally famous spa, though. The Spa is ranked #13 worldwide by Travel & Leisure‘s “World’s Best Hotel Spas” (2008) so booking in advance is most strongly recommended. The Spa at Grove Park Inn is modeled to emulate the Blue Ridge Mountains in appearance, with water features and clean, clean scented air. The luxury spa has many treatments including full-body massages, treatments for the hands and feet, body wraps and hydro bath treatments, and the Heaven Series that incorporates fire, rock, water, and light. There is a golf course at the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa as well, making this a terrific choice for luxury lodging in Asheville, North Carolina.
The Urban Trail
Bonus fourth thing to do! Downtown Asheville has many fun shops, ranging from quirky art stores to antique shops. The Urban Trail is an interesting way to get familiar with downtown Asheville’s history and architecture: Look for clues on the sidewalk and storefronts for Urban Trail landmarks and public sculptures. Thirty stops along 1.7 miles can be found individually or via local guides. Maps are available at Pack Place, and it’s recommended; this activity adds depth to the pure fun of shopping downtown.
A vacation in Asheville, NC can be outdoorsy and with a culinary twist as well. These three activities will make a luxury trip there interesting and fun.