If you ever go to Asheville downtown and park your car on higher lever of multistore garage you may see not the best face of the city - its skyline dominated by a few ugly high rise buildings including the tallest BB&T Bank Building with some neglected and messy houses below which mostly don't look charming. But, please, do not judge any place after first look.
I can't say Asheville is a very beautiful place but it looks quite pretty in downtown where there are many beautiful buildings built mostly in the beginning of the 20th century. Futher on Asheville is surrounded by beautiful mountains covered by forests which look fantastic in fall colours. Finally the best of this city are its people, their friendliness, hospitality and artistic creativity.
I've already visited quite many castles in Europe. Usually it's guided or self-guided tour around the interiors plus walk around surrounding gardens. Shortly 2-4 hours was usually enough time. But the Biltmore Estate is much more than the castle and gardens. It's an estate: huge property with a few more attractions at a distance of a few miles one from another. I realized it as soon as I looked at large 3-dimensional model of the estate in the Reception & Ticket Center.
Visit to all attractions of the Biltmore Estate took me most of the day and I had to hurry up as I wanted to add Chimney Rock. Asheville downtown took me half of the second day. So, start your Biltmore adventures as early as you can (check up-to-date opening hours, follow the link below) - most visitors comes about one hour later. Spend the whole day in Biltmore Estate and the second one in downtown Asheville. Take time to smell roses :-)!
This was what it looked like around here the next day. Scary, eh? But don't be discouraged from visiting...this isn't the norm. Alls I'm sayin....this global warming is a real issue and I do believe as it gets more tropical and warm down here, we will be receiving more storms...Asheville is not prepared for this sort of thing in any way. It was sad to hear from and see people who had lost their homes...
Last year when I moved back from San Francisco, two hurricanes basically dissipated right over the southern Appalacians and we were overcome with floods and storms.
Even when I lived in Florida I didn't really experience the kind of flooding from hurricanes that we had this past year.
I drove home from work in my old car and a tree fell in front of me in the road. There was no power in most areas of the city and all I could see were flashing cop car lights in the distance at intersections. I decided to park the car and walk home. By the time I was at the bottom of Montford the water was up to my knees and pushing me forward. I could see in the dark the silhouettes of branches flowing down the street. The rain pounded at my side. It was a complete disaster.
My yard was a pool and I took my clothes off on the porch because my backpack and work clothes not only smelled like the bar that I work at, I now stunk like a river rat. Lightning and thunder raged all night.
In the morning I woke to see trees that had fallen on cars, power lines down...lawns completely flooded...I must admit, it was kind of cool to trudge through the blackened night in a hurricane. It's a good reminder that we are not inseperable from our earth.
Don't take advantage of the FREE WINE at the Bilmore Estate Winery too much or you'll end up stumbling your way out of there!
Just kidding. Who am I kidding? I took full advantage of the free wine. The Biltmore Winery is the most visited winery in America (of course, most people are here for the mansion) and while the tour leaves something to be desired as for as the educational value goes, the wine tasting is great. You get personal attention from a server who will describe the wines, talk about local politics or just take your picture like our server Becky did.