Head to Asheville for the day (or weekend) with these must-do’s

You can hike part of the Appalachian Trail during your visit to Asheville.File

Head west, young man — so the saying goes. And when you get to the “Land of the Sky,” here’s a handful of things you can do. Have fun on your day trip  to Asheville.

Biltmore

Asheville
George Vanderbilt began building the Biltmore Estate on the outsksirts of Asheville in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, in 1889, when he was a 27-year-old bachelor. // File photo

 

Channel your inner aristocrat and get bougie at Biltmore. Take it back to the gilded age with a day at American’s largest privately owned home (aka house, winery and 8,000-acre estate with nine gardens, 13 shops, 15 dining ops and over 20 tours and activities). Drool over the architecture and history; tour the gorgeous historic gardens; enjoy wine tastings (pinky up, of course); access Antler Hill Village for shopping, dining and outdoor options; and more. Clearly a day is not enough, and a return trip will be immediately in order. @biltmoreestate

Grove Park Inn

As one of the country’s most historic hotels, the renowned property is worth a pit stop — from the nubby rock facade to the giant lobby fireplaces to the F. Scott Fitzgerald lore to the golf, spa, restos, views (obv) and more.

Asheville Urban Trail

Take a walk into history via the Asheville Urban Trail, a literal walking tour of the city’s rich history. The casz two-hour amble explores 30 sculptural trail stations, each repping a historical moment or achievement in the city’s fabled history (think Vanderbilt, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, to name a select few). Plaque No. 1 is stationed in Asheville’s Pack Square. Get steppin’! Oh, and be sure to veer off-course for grub, brews, shops (think indie, handcrafted, vintage and chic wares to bookstores and wearable art) and buskers galore! @visitasheville

Pisgah National Forest

Asheville
You can explore the bucolic Pisgah National Forest August on your visit to Asheville. // Chuck Liddy

 

This pit stop (or long stop) located off the gorg must-drive 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway (meandering from Virginia through Western NC) at milepost 408.6, roughly 40 miles from downtown, the 500,000-acre wonderland — one of the country’s first national forests — is a breathtaking earthly wonder with hundreds of miles of trails, waterfalls, swimming holes and forest for you to get lost in (not literally, please).

Appalachian Trail

Whether for romance or rugged nature, the AT offers 2,000-plus miles of sun-soaked footpaths along the ridgecrests and valleys of the famed Appalachian Mountains. Any number of day-hike opps will have you wanting to plan a return visit. @ashevilletrails

Beer

As if you need an(other) excuse to belly up, Asheville — with more breweries per capita than any other U.S. locale — is known for its bevvy of must-visit breweries and taverns. We’re looking at you Wicked Weed (@wickedweedbrewing), Thirsty Monk (@monkpub) and, well, any off this awesome “USA Today” 10 list (and others along the dusty trail as well). Oh, and in the spirit (get it?) of, well, spirits, you should totes fetch some Champagne with Fido while book shopping at Battery Park.

Eat

Asheville
Chef Elliott Moss of Buxton Hall Barbecue in Asheville, N.C., tends to pork tenderloin in the smoker. // File/Dhanraj Emanuel

 

I know. Twist your arm. Triangle-ites are familiar with Tupelo Honey these days, but fans may want to stop in the original for a bite (or some honey, obv). Other fare faves run the gamut from low-key taco stops to high-end restos (think Biltmore, Grove Park’s Vue 1913 and more) to top-notch meals by James Beard toques (Rhubarb and The Rhu’s John Fleer and Buxton Hall Barbecue‘s Elliott Moss) to seemingly hole-in-the-wall spots like The Admiral (rated No. 1 by our friends at “USA Today“). Def a lesson in not judging a book by its cover.

Thomas Wolfe’s childhood house

The subject of Wolfe’s famed autobiographical coming-of-age story, “Look Homeward, Angel,” the site serves as a memorial to the American literary giant’s history — and a supercool peek into a Victorian past. House tours are offered Tue.-Sat. at half past each hour between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. @wolfememorial

North Carolina Arboretum

Green thumbs will want to make time for this massive public garden, including azalea and bonsai collections and much more. @thencarboretum

River Arts District

Asheville
Good vibes and cool graffiti in Asheville. You can find more cool art at the River Arts District. // File/Dabney Smith

 

Artists and art lovers alike will want to navigate to this district, comprised of more than 20 former industrial and historical buildings, for a stroll to meet artists and enjoy works from over 200 of them in myriad mediums. @riverartsdistrictasheville

More day trip options

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