The largest city in the North Carolina mountains, Asheville is 74 miles from Gardner-Webb. The city has grown from a manufacturing center to a vacation and resort destination for travelers from around the world. A strong and vibrant downtown, which includes most of the historical buildings from the past, supports arts, retail, and restaurant culture. Asheville is also home to the Biltmore Estate, a popular tourist destination.
America’s largest private home, built by George Vanderbilt in 1889. The 250-room estate – with 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces – took six years to construct. The gardens, more than 8,000 acres of them, were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who was also responsible for Central Park in NYC. Admission is expensive but no one leaves disappointed.
Just northeast of downtown Asheville, Pisgah is 500,000 acres of spectacular wilderness. Hundreds of miles of trails, numerous waterfalls and swimming holes bring visitors year round. Camping requires a paid permit, but everything else is free.
22 former industrial and historical buildings – including a former tannery and a cotton mill – near the French Broad River, the RAD keeps the art scene alive. More than 200 artists work there in various mediums from textiles to paint, photography and jewelry.
Downtown Asheville has choices! From The Early Girl to Zambra, the food selection is fun and won’t break the bank! Don’t forget live music at The Orange Peel and The Grey Eagle.