Before beginning our amazing 2010 Road Trip Adventure, my husband and I had decided that our last stop would be Asheville, NC. I had never been. Almost went last year for a conference, but had to cancel last minute. My husband kept telling my about some amazing attraction or another, but honestly, I didn’t really think much of it.
There are travel writers who will say that before you go anywhere, especially if it is somewhere you will write about, that you should research it. I however like going everywhere without researching it at all. I want to come with a completely fresh perspective and even a bit clueless. It’s part of the journey for me. And so when we planned to stay only one day in Asheville, it wasn’t something we had thought would matter. Until I got there. Or rather until I saw it the next day (we arrived so late the night before I saw nothing).
I have always heard that Asheville is beautiful, and it didn’t disappoint. A town surrounded by mountains, it has been called the San Francisco of the South. Artsy, laid back, with a friendly feel, it’s no wonder so many great things are said about it. I spoke briefly to a few people, and it seems everyone is from somewhere else but absolutely love living there.
The downtown area is small and full of cute shops, busy restaurants featuring a variety of cuisine, and bars. You can also enjoy museums, theaters, and art galleries all located nearby.
Our kids had a wonderful time at The Health Adventure, a wonderful health and science center located in Downtown Asheville. The boys spent a long time checking things out, building, playing, learning. The center is interactive and the staff is incredibly friendly, engaging children in the various activities they have and helping them think about the exhibits throughout. Though the center isn’t overwhelmingly huge by any means, it was captivating enough to keep the kids busy on just one section for a long time. So much so, we almost missed checking out The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, one of their newest Summer exhibits.
Another major highlight of our trip to Ahseville was visiting the breathtaking Biltmore Estate. I was very curious about visiting this incredible destination located on 125,000-acre estate which was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who has been referred to as father of American landscape architecture and who is the creator of our very own Central Park here in New York City.
The lavishing grounds and home of the Biltmore Estate require more then just one day to take it all in. Even with walking through 4 acres of floor space and viewing 250 rooms, 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces, you still walk away feeling you didn’t see it all. We walked through the garden, a masterpiece in itself, and the greenhouses, and sat outside to enjoy a small lunch which we brought with us.
The Biltmore sellsyear-long passes, and I can totally understand why. We only saw but a small portion of what guests can enjoy regularly, which was sad, but gives us an additional reason to return to Asheville.
Our stay was short, and we had gotten a Go Ridge Card (which I highly recommend for visitors looking to enjoy the many activities in Asheville and want to save money in the process). We never expected that there was so much to do in Asheville.
On our last afternoon there we decided to walk around Downtown and take in some of the local scene. We walked right into Downtown After 5, a free concert series that happens weekly through September. And it is in situations like these that I am happiest as a traveler, when I get to sit back and watch the locals enjoy all their city has to offer as well as their community. It felt relaxing, fun, and close to what I would want “home” to feel like. We had a really good time, and despite the rain that fell on us for a short moment, no one cared. Friends and family came together, laughing, dancing, and talking as the band Soulglass Rebellion played on.
Maybe it was the beauty of the mountain silhouettes that surrounded us. Maybe it was the gratification of having come to an end of another wonderful family adventure. Maybe it was Asheville being the best it could be. Whatever the case, we ended our 2010 Road trip Adventure on a higher note then we could have ever anticipated, and we thank the people of Asheville for contributing to the many happy memories our family has to share.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. Complimentary accommodations and access to attractions were provided courtesy of Residence Inn Biltmore and the Asheville Visitor Center. The views and opinions expressed here are strictly my own. For more information please refer to the disclosure page.