Travel + Leisure “The Top 15 Cities in the United States”
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With the fall season upon us, the weather turns cool and crisp. Fall makes our minds drift and think of beautiful autumn foliage, leaves changing colors, clean mountain air, pumpkins patches, and even bonfires with s’mores.
Fall is the ideal time for a road trip and a scenic ride to visit a travel destination that offers breathtaking views on serene mountain hikes, cascading waterfalls, delicious mouthwatering farm-to-table food, amazing art, a live music scene and the added allure of a breathtaking and historic estate.
Welcome to iconic Asheville, N.C. located in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. Voted one of the best US destinations you need to see in 2018, Asheville is nestled in the middle of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain Range making the Blue Ridge Parkway a must-see on your fall road trip.
Asheville is a vibrant city known for an eclectic downtown atmosphere filled with everything from drum circles to indie art. It’s also home to more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the U.S. Asheville makes the perfect road trip destination for the adventurer, romantic, or foodie in your life.
The Blue Ridge Parkway has been labeled “America’s Favorite Drive,” with a 469-mile scenic road that wanders through the heart of Asheville. The Blue Ridge is home to numerous timeworn trails scattered across the mountain landscape. These trails range from beginner to intermediate and boast some of the most amazing views around!
TRAVELER PRO-TIP: You can use the Asheville Hiking Trail Finder to find the best trail for you and your family. The hike finder will allow you to filter results based on location, trail length, and difficulty level.
In addition to road trails, Blue Ridge also offers several tree-lined bike trails that will challenge even the most experienced mountain bikers. Not a mountain biker? No worries! Asheville has several road biking adventures that will get you moving and allow you to see the sights and sounds of the area from behind the handlebars of your bike.
If rest and relaxation is what you’re craving, try camping or picnicking in Pisgah National Forest. Once owned by George W. Vanderbilt, and considered the birthplace of modern forestry in America, the Pisgah is home to the highest mountain peaks east of the Mississippi. These include Mt. Mitchell, appropriately nicknamed the King of the Blue Ridge because it stands at over 6,000 feet in elevation.
Inside Pisgah, with more than 500,000 acres of hardwood forest, lie hundreds of romantic waterfalls that are easy to access, many just steps from your car. This includes Sliding Rock, an amazing 60-foot, all-natural water slide that is sure to cure what ails you!
TRAVELER PRO TIP: Pisgah National Forest offers many free activities such as hiking, biking, and camping. Some facilities and services do require fees or permits to help maintain, manage and improve the amenities you’ll enjoy. To learn more, please visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/visit/passes-permits/recreation-fees-passes
While exploring the beauty of the Blue Ridge, you may notice an abundance of wildlife in the area. Asheville is home to native wildlife such as foraging bears, free-roaming elk, adorable otters, and hundreds of migratory species of birds. There are also family-friendly ways to experience the not-so-wild wildlife, including baby goats (kids) at Antler Hill Farm at Biltmore and long-wool Cotswold sheep at the educational zoo in the WNC Nature Center.
If you’re tired after a long day of hiking, biking, and exploring, take a break and visit the Folk Art Center. Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 382, the center of which is home to the oldest craft shop in the country, the Allanstand.
Established in 1895, “Allan’s Old Stand” (as it was once known) was originally a Presbyterian mission as well as a resting stop for drovers taking livestock to market. Inside you’ll find daily craft demonstrations of intricately made regional crafts by local artisans. Demos include traditional broom making, wheel-thrown pottery, Appalachian weaving, glass blowing, and basketry.
If your mind longs for educational entertainment, the Southern Highland Craft Guild hosts a variety of complimentary, live demonstrations for Folk Art Center. Bring the kids and interact with the area’s top makers, listen to their stories, and get to know more about the process of their crafts. Be sure to check the calendar of events for locations, dates, and times.
Now that you’ve enjoyed a day of outdoor adventure, it’s time to visit Asheville’s booming downtown district. Downtown Asheville is home to many unique shopping experiences including one of a kind independent book stores such as Malaprops and Captain’s Bookshelf.
Exploring downtown is made super easy thanks to the trolley tours and the big purple bus, LaZoom. The trolley tours are a hop-on, hop-off concept and are guided by local storytellers. LaZoom is a wildly unique way to see the city.
TRAVELER PRO TIP: Adults will find Haunted History & Murder MYstery Tour wildly entertaining. Learn about Asheville’s dark history, ghosts, and hauntings in this 75-minute tour that features the legendary Pink Lady at the Grove Park Inn, Asheville’s 1936 era unsolved murder, children’s spirits at the haunted hospital, and more ghostly fun.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Biltmore Estate, one of the top attractions in North Carolina and the most memorable things to experience in Asheville.
Located near Asheville’s bustling downtown, the Biltmore remains privately owned by descendants of the Vanderbilt family. This beautiful, 800-acre estate was once the home of George W. Vanderbilt and boasts 250 remarkable rooms including 35 bedrooms and 43 bathrooms. There are also 65 fireplaces to keep visitors warm and cozy during those long and cold winter nights.
The estate is open to the public and provides a variety of options for tours including self-guided, audio, and private tours. Best of all, admission includes a complimentary wine tasting at the Biltmore Winery along with an introduction to the Biltmore’s numerous award-winning wines and 20 handcrafted vintages.
After your tour, be sure to take a romantic stroll with your loved one through the outdoor gardens that are located around the vast estate. Honoring George Vanderbilt’s legacy of environmental protection, the Biltmore is home to over 20 miles of bike-friendly trails, adorned with a backdrop of majestic seasonal colors. Be sure to walk through our personal favorite, the Rose Garden, that features over 250 varieties of roses.
Ready for a little downtime? Visit the Antler Hill Village for a relaxing and casual experience that draws attention to George Vanderbilt’s farming legacy. Access to Antler Hill Village is included in your admission and offers variety for every age group in your family. This includes numerous shopping and dining options, exhibits, the Farmyard, and much more.
TRAVELER PRO TIP: Kids 9 and younger admitted free. You may want to purchase your tickets in advance as there are high volume days where tours may become sold out. You can purchase your advance tickets here. Reservations are required for all house tours. To make your reservation for your tour please visit the Biltmore’s reservation page.
Welcome to the Pinecrest Bed & Breakfast, located in the Heart of the Historic Montford District in Asheville, NC
A HISTORIC HOUSE BRIMMING WITH ELEGANCE AND CHARM
Every house has its own story but it’s Pinecrest Bed & Breakfast that comes with its own history as this century-old property welcomes guests to Asheville with a house brimming with elegance and charm.
Nestled within Asheville’s historic Montford District, Pinecrest Bed & Breakfast has the privilege of being a stone’s throw away from downtown Asheville and just 3 miles away from the esteemed Biltmore Estate.
Initially built in 1905, prominent local architect Richard Sharp Smith, also famed for his work on the Biltmore Estate, was commissioned to provide symmetry to the house’s final facade. The result is a property in elite company, being chosen in 1977 to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Montford Historic District.
Following in a long line of hospitable innkeepers, Dan and Diane Rogers are Pinecrest’s most recent owners looking to provide the most rewarding experience for their guests. Referred to as “exemplary hosts” by their guests—who often return to this gem of a bed & breakfast for multiple visits—Dan and Diane were lauded for their warm hospitality and their willingness to accommodate their guest’s requests, even as restrictions due to COVID-19 have complicated matters.
Dan & Diane on the sun porch.
“People like to see who their innkeepers will be. This is Dan, my husband of 31 years, and me on the sun porch. This room is glass on all three sides, surrounded by our gardens so it feels like a big treehouse. In the winter when it snows, it’s magical…like being in a giant snow globe.”
With over an acre of garden, this stunning property opens its doors to travelers looking for a cozy and luxurious stay.
Guests have a choice of five elegantly detailed rooms for their stay at Pinecrest, with each room meticulously furnished with details from an era of a time gone by. Elegant decor, comfy beds, and sofas to sink into await guests looking to unwind during a weekend in Asheville.
TRAVELER PRO TIP: Want an intimate stay at Pinecrest? Make sure to reserve the Wible Room. In addition to having its own private entrance that allows for safe social distancing, it’s the ideal place to unwind. Make sure to sit back on the Adirondack chairs just outside the room. It’s a great little place to sit a spell.
But it’s more than Pinecrest’s storied past that brings visitors back to this Asheville inn. “The sumptuous breakfasts never disappoint,” said one traveler.
Signature breakfast entrees are available daily including Sweet potato pancakes with pecans Vermont maple syrup, Quiche Lorraine with crispy hash brown crust, and light as air waffles with mixed berries and maple syrup.
“Light as air” waffles with fresh, locally-sourced mixed berries and maple syrup
If you’re lucky enough to visit on a Thursday, you’ll be treated to Dan and Diane’s “farmer’s market special”, named appropriately after a visit to River Arts District Farmer’s Market.
Produce, like potatoes, onions, and peppers come from Full Sun Farm and are used to make their scrumptious Spanish tortilla. The breakfast sausage is sourced locally, year-round, from Hickory Nut Gap Meats. And their apple cranberry stuffed turnovers are made possible thanks to the family-owned Creasman Farms, providing the freshest, best tasting fruits to locals for over three generations.
Along with tasty baked treats in the afternoon, Pinecrest’s guests always agree that their breakfasts aren’t just creative, more importantly, they’re downright delicious.
“We’d like guests to feel as if Pinecrest is their ‘home away from home’ while visiting Asheville.” — Dan and Diane Rogers
Outstanding hospitality, and a gorgeous home, make it a certainty that this property with a longstanding past also has a bright future ahead of it.
Recommendations from Dan and Diane: No trip to Western North Carolina is complete without a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway which runs through Asheville. Travel north to see Mount Mitchell, to see the tallest peak east of the Mississippi. However, we prefer the drive south with its numerous tunnels and overlooks, too numerous to count while on your way to Mount Pisgah. Ask for our driving tour directions with tips for hikes, picnic spots, or just meandering the day away on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Steve and Karen (known as Mr. and Mrs. Wild) welcome you to their home, the beautiful pink lady of The Lion and the Rose
“One of the best run B&B’s in greater Asheville”
Frommer’s Travel Guide, The Carolinas & Georgia 7th Edition
The beautiful city of Asheville is not only home to grand adventures but is also home to a variety of charming inns. One of the most romantic bed and breakfasts is a Traveler’s Choice award-winner and maintains a stunning 5-circle review on TripAdvisor with over 730 reviews.
Located in the historic Montford District, The Lion and The Rose is one of Asheville’s longest-operating inns. Known to locals as a beautiful pink lady, the home certainly adds a touch of charm to Montford.
Steve and Karen (AKA Mr. and Mrs. Wild) are the Owners and Innkeepers of this Queen Anne/Georgian style bed and breakfast that has been lovingly restored to its original grandeur. Period antiques, original leaded and stained-glass windows, and a golden tiger oak foyer and staircase maintains the inn’s authenticity. Their attention to detail ensures you experience the splendor of a bygone era while enjoying the creature comforts of modern amenities.
For most, however, what makes a stay at The Lion and The Rose so special is the warm hospitality provided by Mr. and Mrs. Wild. From the moment you walk into the inviting front porch, you’ll feel right at home.
“It was like staying with family!”
Karen and Steve, your B&B is beautiful, and we wish you much success. Thank you for a couple of lovely nights.”
Steve and Karen have been home brewers for over five years, which means they brew their own beer. They offer a complimentary welcome pint to kick-off your “beercation” experience. If you are lucky enough to visit over a weekend in October or November, you’re in for a surprise! Not only do they welcome you with a home-brewed complimentary pint of beer, you’ll also be treated to a beermosa with breakfast (when you book direct.)
Complimentary welcome pint of beer (home brewed by the innkeepers)
TRAVELER PRO TIP: Asheville has been nicknamed Beer City and has the 2nd most breweries per capita in the U.S. Beer has become another popular reason for visitors to make a road trip to Asheville. Although it is not recommended as a driving trip, there are many breweries within walking distance in downtown Asheville.
The Lion and The Rose has five beautiful and luxurious guest rooms awaiting you for your next romantic getaway. Each enchanting room provides plenty of privacy and comes complete with high-end features that complement the décor and the inn’s rich history and character. Even the bathrooms are lavish and come with eco-friendly soaps along with warm and silky bathrobes, perfect for wrapping yourself after a long soak in the tub.
If a peaceful and restful night is what you yearn for, you’re in for a treat! The bedding is delightfully plush and the “Comphy” brand sheets all but guarantee a transforming night of sleep. In fact, we think you’ll be left speechless.
As the sun rises, the sweet and savory aroma of coffee right outside your room is sure to put a warm smile on your face. Mixed with undertones of their delicious two-course gourmet breakfast, we think you’ll find it hard to stay in bed!
The Lion and The Rose uses fresh seasonal ingredients in their delicious breakfast offerings. They also offer 24-hour access to water, tea, and soft drinks to wet your whistle. And if you get hungry during your stay, be sure to pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy their famous, fresh, home-baked cookies — yum!
Recommendations from Steve and Karen: Our favorite drive is the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is well traveled, but with good reason. We feel there is never a bad time to go for a drive and it’s a photographer’s paradise. Steve and I are both passionate about photography and hiking, so we take a drive up there any chance we get to see what type of scenic shots we can get and we’re always exploring new trails to share with our guests. We also love nature, so we like to go up there to explore parts of the Mountain to Sea Trail to find the various wildflowers that pop up each season. Some of our other favorite spots in later summer are Black Balsam and Cherry Cove where you can find various species of butterflies including the monarch and interesting critters like the hummingbird moth. In Fall, Graveyard Fields and Black Balsam are two of our favorite spots for seeing the leaf colors. Another interesting spot we like, off the Blue Ridge Parkway is Frying Pan Tower. The hike is not that spectacular since it is up a gravel road but the views from the old fire tower are absolutely amazing. Looking Glass Rock overlook is one of our favorite overlooks on the Parkway. You have a great view of the infamous Looking Glass Rock and that spot makes for a beautiful photo.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this journey through the “Land of the Sky”. Whether you are looking for activities for your next family vacation, or travel tips for that special romantic getaway, Asheville is sure to exceed your expectations.
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This is one in a series of travel articles written by Raul Vega, Co-Founder and Allison Miller, Copywriter at MyFavoriteInn.com®.
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