Simply said, Western North Carolina holds far too many treasures to only stay for a weekend. An extended stay really is the only way to truly experience how amazing this area is. Though the area is certainly beautiful in all seasons, a place this chockfull of nature and general outdoor activities is best enjoyed in the warm summer air.
Comfort Suites at Biltmore Square Mall offers great rooms at great prices. Rooms include a refrigerator and microwave to make some in-room meals possible as well as to allow for picnic food to be kept on hand. This hotel is located minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway and a mere five miles from downtown Asheville. Be sure to get a room with hot tub in it to ease sore muscles after hiking and such!
Tuesday: Get into town bright and early and you’ll have to find ways to kill some time before your 3 p.m. check-in time. Why not check out the farmer’s market and stock up on some locally grown fruits and veggies for the week? Once you’ve checked that out, head over to the Arboretum to experience 434 acres of trails, beautiful seasonal gardens, plant shows and more. After check-in, head across the street to Apollo Flame Bistro and Pizza for some award winning Mediterranean cuisine before heading back to the hotel to rest up for the days to come.
Wednesday: Head south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Devil’s Courthouse. The 20-minute hike, though seemingly straight up in some places is well worth the effort. At the top, enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by the break taking view that stretches to South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. The next destination is Mount Mitchell State Park for another hike and some dinner at the restaurant on the summit of Mount Mitchell
Thursday: No vacation is complete without a shopping day. Downtown Asheville has tons of local shops and galleries to explore. Spend the day wandering in and out of shops. Grab some lunch at Mellow Mushroom, a psychedelically decorated pizza restaurant. For a taste of the nightlife, be sure to check out the Orange Peel for a great local or national band.
Friday: The Biltmore Estates offer so much to choose from. This 250 room mansion and its 8000 -acre backyard could provide days worth of activities. There are guided tours of the mansion, a winery, gardens to explore and outdoor activities such as horseback riding and biking. The estate holds various dining options as well, so there’s no need to leave the grounds to find food.
Before heading out of town on Friday, be sure to check out Drum Circle in Pritchard Park. It’s held every Friday night during the warm months starting around 6 in the evening. Bring a drum and join in the fun!