Fun things to do in Asheville

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Asheville

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    The Homespun Museum at Grovewood

    by charlenemixa Written Nov 24, 2014

    The North Carolina Homespun Museum gives a history lesson of this Arts & Crafts enterprise. Supported by George and Edith Vanderbilt, it became the Biltmore Industries that was renowned for wool cloth. We enjoyed strolling through the museum and learning more about how the Vanderbilt's supported its beginning. It was later sold and grew to be internationally known for the wool cloth. A good educational museum adjacent to the Grove Park Inn.

    An original loom at the Homespun Museum The Homespun Museum
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    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Craggy Gardens: Fantastic 360 Degree Views!

    by charlenemixa Updated Nov 3, 2014

    Craggy Gardens is a must do for anyone visiting the Asheville area. The drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway is so very scenic and beautiful. At Craggy Gardens there are 3 areas to visit - a Picnic Area, an area to hike to the Summit - a wonderful .7 mile hike through rhododendron and a visitor center. All are a within a few miles of each other and each offers a special view of the mountains. We opted to stop today at the parking lot with the hike to the summit. From the parking lot we can see Craggy Dome. It is a good .7 mile hike, some steep but not too hard just pace yourself. At the top we first went up to the Summit for fantastic 360 degree views. After taking in this beautiful scenery we hiked down (pretty easy hike) to the lower summit with more exciting vistas. Most of the hiking is in the shade on a well-marked path. It is a rocky path so be sure to wear good walking/hiking shoes. Take a lunch and enjoy it at the top of the summit which has a wonderful stone wall around it and so does the lower summit. Or stop at the Picnic area for lunch.
    Truly a scenic area and there are always some flowers blooming in the area even when the rhododendron aren’t in full bloom. It must be spectacular when they are as the entire area is covered with them.

    Note: We have visited Craggy Gardens on 3 different occasions and each time it is still excited. This most recent visit in the Fall 2014 - clouds continued to roll in making for different scenes. Always fun to visit Craggy!

    Scenic vista at Craggy Gardens A covered rock path to Craggy Gardens Summit Fun walking up the path. clouds roll & cover up mountain views at Craggy
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    • Road Trip
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Get Down on the Farm - Take a Farm Tour!

    by charlenemixa Written Oct 29, 2014

    Take a Tour “Down on the Farm” - Visiting Asheville in late September, we get to visit a working farm. Thanks to the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project affectionately known as ASAP, the gates and barns of 35 farms in Western North Carolina open their gates and barns to the public. It’s a firsthand experience of being “down on the farm.” What a fantastic opportunity to visit local farms and learn their growing strategies, their special crops, new ventures in farming from growing berries to vegetables to raising cattle to rabbits to poultry to cheese making, and more! ASAP connects farmers and supporters to build a stronger local food system and healthier communities. Selecting the Fairview area we still just squeeze in three farms. First stop, Hickory Nut Gap Farm where Amy & Jamie Ager regularly open their farm. Wow, there is something for everyone. Kids swing on tire or rope, wade the creek, and families share a picnic lunches. On a tour with Jamie, we scramble over hills while he shares their strategies in cutting edge sustainable farming. Jamie educates us on changing to natural feeds for cattle and rotational grazing, rather than corn fed cows, resulting in healthier cows that have healthier beef with more omega 3. Intriguing! A lot of effort and energy goes into both sustainable farming and organic farming. Hickory Nut Gap also raises pigs, grows raspberries and apples. We check out their store which has some great beef, jams and more!
    Just down the road we pop into Flying Cloud Farm, where their specialty is flowers and vegetables including eggplants, peppers, fall greens and sweet potatoes. Their self-service roadside stand is fully stocked with produce. U-pick flowers are also available. Personally, we just enjoy strolling the gardens and admiring the blooming flowers showing their fall colors. With the afternoon quickly passing we head for Imladris Farm specializing in berries, eggs, and rabbits. Starting with the Raspberry Patch Tour, we sample these fresh sweet raspberries and learn the best methods for growing raspberries. Wow! Growing raspberries is an art and a science to make the berries healthy for people and good for the soil. There is even an underground feed system for the raspberry bushes. Next we tour areas that breed rabbits, raise chickens and have free range eggs. The Farm Tour really educates us on sustainable agriculture.
    If you are in the area in late September be sure to check out the Farm Tour – fun and educational.

    Hickory Nut Farm offers activities for the family! Beautiful flowers at Flying Cloud Farm Delicious raspberries!
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    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Take a Cooking Class at DOUGH!

    by charlenemixa Written Oct 22, 2014

    As first time attendees to a hands-on cooking class my husband, Richard and I are excited yet, apprehensive. Making pasta from scratch! Sounds pretty demanding! Arriving at DOUGH, a chef-owned market and bakery in Asheville, we don our blue Dough Aprons as Emi Chiappa-Starnes, our instructor starts the class. Tonight our menu is a Potato Gnocchi with a Creamy Walnut sauce, Butternut Squash & Amaretti Ravioli, and Spinach Linguini. Emi amazes us with her family history of growing up in Wales in a close-knit Italian community. Her Italian Grandmother, Nana taught Emi along with her two sisters to cook “Italian!” Even more exciting is Emi and her sisters just published Simply Italian - Cooking At Home with the Chiappa Sisters.

    Making the Gnocchi starts with a dropping an egg into a volcano of a flour mixture and mixing. As the dough becomes a ball, we separate and roll the dough like Playdough, into long cigar-like strands. Cutting at an angle and then carefully rolling each tiny slice on a ribbed board we have a Gnocchi. FUN & EASY! Dropping the Gnocchi into boiling water, they float to the top when done. Emi adds a Creamy Walnut Sauce and fresh parmesan. Our Gnocchi is delicious! Ravioli making begins again flour mixture and egg. As we divide the dough into balls, we then run it through a pasta machine that flattens it. Cutting it to size, we carefully squeeze in the Amaretti filling and seal the edges. While the Ravioli cooks, we start making Linguini. Wow, so simple – mix egg and flour mixture, divide into small balls and then roll through the press. Beware, each piece goes through multiple times and thinner sections of the press before we can switch to the “linguine” cut section of the press. Emi made it SO simple. Sipping a red wine and savoring our Amaretti Ravioli we toast Emi for a fun, entertaining and most enlightening Pasta Cooking Class. Pasta made from scratch is AWESOME. Now to try it at home. A huge hint from Emi is to use only “Napoli, Antimo Caputo, 00 Flour is the 'Chef's Flour' from Italy.”

    Richard makes Gnocchi Emi shows us how to use the pasta press Having fun making pasta from How making pasta starts - flour and egg volcano Running the pasta through the press (many times)
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    • Food and Dining

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    Asheville Food Tour - More Than a TASTE!

    by charlenemixa Written Oct 21, 2014

    Food tours are becoming a wonderful way to see a city and enjoy a culinary experience. On this visit to Ashville, NC we are excited about the new Asheville Food Tour. It truly exceeded our expectations. Meeting at the Grove Arcade, Paddy, our tour guide, took us on a diverse culinary tour of Asheville. Strolling up and down the streets of Asheville we have excellent samplings at a variety of eateries from upscale to sandwich shops and more. Our first stop is an extensive buffet at Mila Indian Cuisine. Control is important as we are free to sample any items on the extensive buffet. Luckily, each dish on the buffet is described. Next stop is the fun and enchanting Vincenzo’s Ristorante & Bistro, where owner Dwight gives us an entertaining history of the restaurant and Market Street of Asheville. Tasting the succulent Lobster Risotto with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, Dwight continues to share tales. A unique stop is the Olive & Kickin’ where we sample some of finest extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars in the world. Amazing how each has a unique quality and flavor. At White Duck Taco’s, seated at outside picnic tables we savor the zesty Bangkok Shrimp tacos with a hearty salsa and chips. Delicious! Still more to come! A couple of blocks and we are warmly welcomed at Chestnuts. Sitting at the bar we learn their marketing and business philosophy of sourcing local foods. The Chef delights us with a fresh smoked ham and a tangy coleslaw. A beautiful presentation and so tasty. Are we up to the challenge? More food awaits! Farm Burger is bustling as we arrive. Juicy hamburger sliders with crispy French fries is a final “sampling” of the tour. The burger sliders are fantastic as are the fries. This is the official final stop but many of us follow Paddy to The Chocolate Fetish and turn in our coupon for a free sample of chocolate for a sweet finale. No one will leave hungry on this tour. Each place gives an “ample sample!” No dinner for us after this tour! The variety of eateries also makes this a unique and special tour.

    Vincenzo���s Ristorante & Bistro - Lobster Risotto White Duck Taco - Zesty Bangkok Shrimp Chestnuts - delicious appetizer Kickin' Olive - Extra Virgin Olive Oil - choices. Farm Burger - great sliders!
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Food and Dining

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    Relax & Refresh -Asheville Wellness Tour!

    by charlenemixa Written Oct 18, 2014

    Take Asheville’s Wellness Tour! Seeking some out-of-the-norm tours of Asheville, we were thrilled to happen on this newest tour that combines a little yoga with relaxation activities and some history. What’s a SALT CAVE? Who’ the Traveling Yogini? Our Wellness Tour begins at the Asheville Salt Cave where we are welcomed with some hot tea. Entering the Salt Cave we feel the cooler dry air as we enjoy this unique cave totally filled with salt. From huge salt slabs to the floor of crushed salt, the entire cave is SALT. Options for relaxing in the Salt Cave are the wonderful zero-gravity recliners or comfy blankets on the salt covered floor of the cave. Richard opts for the zero-gravity recliner. I start in the recliner and then get on the blanket on the floor to connect physically with the salt. AH! All cares, worries, and stress disappears as we breathe in the salt air with its healing qualities and totally relax. Our 45 minutes passes easily as we hear Cameron, the Traveling Yogini, softly speak to us. Encouraged to touch the salt, we sit up and pick up handfuls of salt letting is slide though our fingers. Cameron takes us on an easy stroll sharing historical areas of Asheville and stops a park in Pack Square. Here she takes us through some gentle yoga stretches – which feels wonderful. Continuing on our brief history tour Cameron also points out special eateries, unique shops, and ideas for things to do in Asheville. Ending at the Grove Arcade, more relaxation awaits us at the Wake Foot Sanctuary & Shop. Huge copper pots of hot water with our special selected herb foot bathe are rolled out. Sinking into the plush comfy chair and sliding our feet into this foot bathe is heavenly. Then a hot neck wrap is place around our shoulders and neck further relieving any stress. Closing our eyes, all our worries and cares truly float away. After our 30 minute foot soak, we are totally relaxed and limp as a noodle. A most unique tour and a wonderful way to see Asheville and get de-stressed.
    Note: Richard had been apprehensive when I told him about this tour, but he loved it! He could have stayed a lot longer in the Salt Cave or Foot Bathe.

    Relax in the Salt Cave Yoga stresses with the Traveling Yogini - Cameron Totally Relaxed with our Foot Bathe at Awaken.
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    • Hiking and Walking
    • Spa and Resort
    • Historical Travel

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    BREW-ed --Taste, Tour & Learn about Beer!

    by charlenemixa Written Oct 7, 2014

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    When did brewing beer start? How did India Pale Ale come about? Why do breweries make more lagers than other beers? At what temperature should you drink beer? Why do some breweries use nitro in their beer? On the BREW-ed Tour, Cliff our guide is the ultimate BEER EXPERT! He answers all these questions and MORE! Actually Cliff is a Certified Cicerone, meaning he is certified and educated as a beer professional and elevates the beer experience for consumers. The BREW-ed Tour definitely lives up in both educating us on beer and offering good of samples of beers at three different breweries. In addition to the beer education and tasting, Cliff shared numerous fascinating tales and stories of the history of Asheville, beer, and more. Our tour started at Hi-Wire Brewing, which is just over a year old and already expanding. As Cliff gives us extensive history on beer and the brewery, we sample the various Hi-Wire beers. Moving on to Twin Leaf Brewery, Cliff shares the concept of this brewery with comfy welcoming picnic tables as we sample more tasty beers. Finishing up at Green Man Brewing with its craft seasonal and specialty brews, we finish our educational beer tour. Cliff excels in providing a most informative, educational, and fun beer tour. Having been on many beer tours, the BREW-ed Tour added a great dimension as Cliff provide so much knowledge and insight into beer making and beer history. The tasting was fun at each brewery and Cliff explained the concept each brewery we visited.

    Green Man Brewing: So Many Beers, So Little Time! Hi-Wire Beer on Tap Twin Leaf Brewery - Welcoming Tasting Room
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    • Beer Tasting
    • Historical Travel

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    Mt. Mitchell Golf Course -Great Views & Great Golf

    by charlenemixa Written Jun 12, 2014

    This is a terrific course to play while in the Western North Carolina area. The course is in the valley of the mountains so most of it is flat as opposed to terrain changes of mountain courses. A must play for golfers visiting the Asheville area. We play it anytime we are in the Asheville area and always enjoy our round. Just be aware it is "cart path only" so there can be a lot of walking. The views of Mt. Mitchell are spectacular from the course.

    Challenging Hole at Mount Mitchell GC A par-3 all downhill! An exciting finishing hole.
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    Reems Creek Golf Course: Enjoyable & Demanding

    by charlenemixa Written Jun 12, 2014

    Wow! This is a fantastic course with spectacular views of the western Carolina Mountains. The course has lots of elevation changes creating a lot of challenge. It is a must to pay attention to the score card for distance and landing area. Often a great shot can be a challenge due to sidehill, downhill, uphill lies. Water comes into play on a few holes.

    Reems Creek GC is Demanding!
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    • Golf

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    Take the Grove Park Inn History Tour

    by charlenemixa Written Jun 2, 2014

    We really enjoyed our guided history tour of the Grove Park Inn. It covered the history of E.W. Grove, the construction and early years of the resort. We learned about their Arts & Crafts style furniture, and some "wild tales" of our most notable guests. Our guide did an excellent job sharing the stories and history of the past as well as what is happening at the Inn today. The tour takes about 45 minutes and is $10 for non-registered guests. We highly recommend it for those staying at the Inn as well as non-guests. You will gain a tremendous amount of insight into the Inn and its rich history. Despite having visited the Inn a few times in the past, we were so glad to take the tour and really learn its history.

    The tour lasts for approximately 45 minutes and consists of periods of walking and long periods of standing. Check the website for more details of the tour.

    Our suggestion for non-guests is to take the tour in the morning and then maybe stay for lunch at one of the restaurants. plus you can stroll through Inn and its shops.

    Grove Park Inn Pool Table - lost for 50 years!
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    • Historical Travel
    • Spa and Resort

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    Calm and Relaxing Botanical Gardens

    by charlenemixa Written Jun 2, 2014

    The Botanical Gardens at Asheville is an independent non-profit organization housing a collection of plants native to the Southern Appalachian Mountains. It is a garden set in a natural setting and is easy to stroll the paths to the different areas. Since these are native plants you do not see the "formal gardens" that can be found in other larger Botanical Gardens. We enjoyed a leisurely afternoon stroll through the gardens on a walking trail forming a half-mile loop. We found bridges, meadows and a variety of wildflowers. There is even an authentic “dog trot” cabin and a spring house. This gave us an idea of the lives of people in the past and their living conditional. It is more like taking a walk in the woods spotting wildflowers, shrubs, and foliage. Enjoyable, scenic, relaxing and free!

    Covered bridge at the gardens An original Blooming plants along the trail
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    • Historical Travel

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    Take a Visit to the River Arts District

    by charlenemixa Written Jun 2, 2014

    We have visited Asheville several times in the past few years. Several years ago we visited the River Arts District. Then it had a few artists buildings but was still very limited on what was available to see and shop. Today, the River Arts District is thriving. There is a microbrew with restaurant, more artist studios of all kinds and it is exciting to visit these. Arts and crafts of all kinds can be found in the River Arts District. The artist are friendly and welcome visitors to watch as they make their craft, look through the studios. Some have extensive shops while others have just a small area of their wares. This is in an old warehouse area and many of the artist have set up shop in the formerly abandoned buildings. It is still in the growth stages but we recommend stopping by, strolling the streets and checking out the arts.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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    Thomas Wolfe Memorial - Excellent Tour!

    by charlenemixa Written Jun 2, 2014

    Take the house tour of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial located near the downtown Asheville area. Our guide gave us and an excellent tour of the well known writer. He grew up in the Asheville area and his first book in 1929 "Look Homeward, Angel" was based on his life growing up in the Asheville area. His family history with his mother running a boarding house - which is where the tour takes place is fascinating. They also have a good museum to learn more about him. He was prolific in his writing and I did read the book "Look Homeward, Angel" after our visit. Initially, to me it was a challenging due to the extensive detail and depth. Once I acclimated to his writing style I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    A very good tour and educational on Wolfe's life.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

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    Great Theatre in Mars Hill

    by charlenemixa Written Jun 2, 2014

    SART (Southern Appalachian Reportory Theatre).

    We thoroughly enjoyed the theater and play by SART. It happened to be "The Death of a Salesman" which is somewhat depressing. The cast was excellent! Also enjoyed walking around the campus of Mars Hill College after the matinee.

    For a change of pace - check their schedule and take the sort drive to Mars Hill to take in a show. Also it is a cute college town, so roam the campus and streets.

    Mars Hill Theatre
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Theater Travel

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    Raft the French Broad River! FUN!

    by charlenemixa Written Jun 2, 2014

    We enjoyed this 9 mile rafting trip which included highlights of jumping off a rock and floating a Class I rapid. Having a hot lunch at a pavilon with Picnic tables was an extra nice touch. The day we rafted the rapids were mainly Class I, Class II and Class III due to the water level. For this reason it was a pretty gentle rafting trip. The location is close to Asheville, easy access to the river and beautiful scenery. Our guide had lots of good information to share during our trip.

    Our bus is ready to unload! Bravery!  Jump off a Cliff! Enjoying our picnic lunch on our raft trip.
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    • Rafting

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