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Asheville - Where Scenic Beauty Attracts Top Artists
True artists find inspiration from a variety of sources; culture, society, emotions and interactions, especially those that invite and incorporate environmental surroundings into a creation of a spectacular masterpiece that can be shared on a blank canvas. One of the most awe striking places to get motivated to create artwork of all kinds can be found in the quaint yet eclectic city of Asheville, North Carolina. Considered the largest city in Western North Carolina, Asheville provides the perfect backdrop for creative works as it is strategically located between the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains. With a progressive attitude and stimulating scenery, artists worldwide are drawn to Asheville to discover a city that is termed “Land of the Sky” by locals.
Asheville was discovered by artisans over a 100 years ago when creative folks were drawn here from Biltmore to Black Mountain because of the inspiration of captivating mountain views and rich history associated with the region. The Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains provide the perfect backdrop for folks to enjoy outdoor living combined with a hip and trendy city filled with fun, food, music and of course fantastic artwork. The city is literally covered in artwork and is filled with galleries that represent a multitude of artistic expression that makes Asheville one of the top destinations in the country to visit and live.
Asheville neighborhoods are filled with color, free expression and exciting cultural events that makes this town one of the most desirable living destinations in Western North Carolina. Asheville has an average elevation of 2,165 feet above sea level but at its highest peak, Mount Mitchell sits at 6,685 feet and is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River providing spectacular views of the surrounding mountain area. About 30 minutes from downtown Asheville, adventurous folks will find Chimney Rock State Park and views of Lake Lure (where “Dirty Dancing” was filmed) and a 75 mile view of the Hickory Nut Gorge which truly captivates the soul and provides the perfect inspiration to be one with nature and create some incredible pieces of art.
In the mid 1980’s, the city began its transformation to become one of the hottest art scenes in the country when forward thinking artists relocated to Asheville and began reviving a former industrial district into what is known today as “one of the most popular” travel destinations in the South, the River Arts District. Located on a one mile stretch of the French Broad River in downtown Asheville, there are 22 historical buildings that host some of the best artists in the world. Lined with art studios of all genres, over 200 artists have decided to make Asheville home and because of their presence this town has become a “must see” location. Painting, pottery, metal, glass, wax and textiles can all be found along this incredible journey of free expression. Add some first class dining, local breweries and the beautiful scenery, and Boomers are discovering this is one of the best places to shop for a home in one of the many gated communities in Asheville.
There are plenty of art classes in Asheville NC and schools that are based here that provide the perfect hobbies for post-retirement years or perhaps a new profession for young folks seeking to embellish their skills in one of the many institutions established here. According to YELP, these are some of the top art schools in Asheville North Carolina:
- North Carolina Glass Center
- Wine & Design
- Roots + Wings School of Art and Design
- Asheville Sketchy Art
- Cloth Fiber Workshop
- Richmond’s Studio The Mountain Metalsmiths School of Jewelry & Lapidary
- Swannanoa Valley Fine Arts League Studio
A few other options are available at Village Potters where folks can create their own works of art with an hour and a half “Create your Own” training session; at Lexington Glassworks a 2 hour course teaches how to create “stem-less” wine glasses or pint classes to sample many of the local breweries found here. Asheville calls itself “Beer City USA” and houses over 22 breweries that create unique hop concoctions that can be enjoyed while strolling through the River Arts District. This is definitely a great place to visit the historical Asheville neighborhoods or visit one of the gated communities in Asheville.
Not only does Asheville offer a great culture for artistic expression, there is a wide variety of fine dining choices, breweries and amazing trails that can be found in this historic mountain retreat. Imagine a cozy dinner after an enriching painting or pottery class, or a cold local brew while shopping the many galleries that abound in this mountain reserve, Asheville neighborhoods provide the ultimate lifestyle in one of the coolest” go-to” places in the country. While there are far too many eating establishments to mention here are a few places to check out:
- Dining on Biltmore Estate provides several venues to choose from here; The Bisto, Cedric’s Tavern, Deerpark Restaurant, Stable Café and the Dining Room offer select menus with a wide variety of food choices to entertain foodies.
- Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack offers good ole southern soul food and hot mouth-watering chicken made with classic American recipes from scratch daily. There are 2 locations in Asheville.
- Tupelo Honey Downtown prepares regional dishes full of character and is known for its new version of Southern favorites including dishes like the famous Sweet Potato Pancakes with Peach Butter. A must stop while visiting downtown. There is also a second location in South Asheville that offers a home style setting with ample drink specials and Southern folk art.
- Omni Grove Park Inn has 4 restaurants to choose from; Sunset Terrace is known for its prime beef and seafood served on an outside veranda; the Blue Ridge Dining Room features farm-to-table food served a la carte or buffet, Edison offers craft ales and focuses on Southern Comfort food; Vue blends European favorites made with an American flair.
- Red Stag Grill found within the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Biltmore Village has European influence with local ingredients. There is a lively bar and a wide array of wine by the glass selections to satisfy even the most discerning palate.
- Salvage Station Restaurant a mile from downtown offers great food in this newly developed riverfront complex on the French Broad River featuring great sandwiches and live music Friday through Sunday while enjoying the great scenes of the city.
- Buffalo Nickel offers fresh local cuisine while playing a game of pool or foosball. Featuring an array of antique chandeliers, this open beamed brick walled establishment ties together the best of the old with modern day excitement.
- Marketplace recommended by The Food Network, USA Today, The New York Times and Southern Living is considered a world-class restaurant than brings together local organic farm ingredients with culinary sophistication. This hot spot has live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday and is a popular place to enjoy some of Asheville’s best by Chef William Dissen.
- Rhu Picnics is a great choice for taking the perfect picnic lunch and enjoy some of the majestic scenery this area offers. Located downtown, fresh breads and local produce make the perfect escape lunch with meat, cheese and salads. Perfect choice for a mountain retreat.
- Creative Food Tours is an enlightening 2 to 3 hour food journey through some of the finer eateries that can be found in Asheville. Combining Black Mountain history and incredible cuisine signature to the region, this sip and stroll will definitely provide a bit of Zen in this city of art.
In addition to art, food, music and fun, there are a couple other points of interests found here for folks to enjoy. The North Carolina Arboretum can be found 10 miles southwest of downtown with thriving gardens and cascading waterways that adorn the many miles of trails found within this 434 acre retreat. The George Washington Carver Park provides an urban orchard hosting over 40 varieties of fruit and nut trees ranging from figs to paws-paws. Apples, pears, peaches, chestnut and hazelnut trees provide a superb exploration of fresh produce additionally a vegetable and butterfly garden also compliment the boardwalk that winds throughout the property.
The Biltmore Estate is a highly visited spot that boasts a 250 room limestone estate that was built for George Washington Vanderbilt. This French Renaissance inspired structure has over four acres of floor space and is still owned by Vanderbilt heirs and features a 10,000 volume library. This historical estate has been open to the public since 1930. For fitness buffs within an hour of Asheville is Mount Pisgah, Sam Knob and a multitude of picturesque waterfalls flowing that provide the perfect place to exercise, spend time with friends and family and enjoy the” best of the best” in these scenic destinations.
After an incredible journey, many travelers who pay a visit to Asheville decide that this is indeed the perfect place to live, retire and experience some of the best cultural amenities while living in the mountains of western North Carolina. Whether it’s a mountain retreat or a retirement home, Asheville neighborhoods provide some incredible housing options to explore. Here's are a few to consider near downtown:
- THE CLIFFS AT WALNUT COVE is a spectacular private community imbedded in the Blue Ridge Mountains that offers a wide assortment of amenities for its residents. Fine dining, golf and a state-of-the-art wellness center can be found here to keep residents active, happy and healthy. With the Blue Ridge Parkway nearby, outdoor enthusiasts enjoy strolls through lush wildflower fields while enjoying the cascading waterfalls that grace the area. The Cliffs at Walnut Cove is one of seven private communities in the Western Carolinas. One membership gives you access to all seven! The Cliffs’ suite of amenities for members includes seven clubs, seven nationally recognized golf courses, six wellness centers, boating, watersports, marina, beach club, cycling, paddle sports, tennis complexes, equestrian center, hiking trails, wakeboarding, wine clubs, 50 restaurant and private event venues, an organic farm and more than 4,000 year-round programs and social activities to create timeless experiences.
- RAMBLE BILTMORE FOREST is a gated Asheville community that has been strategically created in the Ducker Mountain forest. It borders the infamous Blue Ridge Parkway and offers its residents the perfect balance between mountain living and cultural enrichment. Located only 10 minutes from the downtown art scene, Ramble Biltmore Forest features 1,000 acres of preserved forestry, a natural amphitheater featuring concerts year round, a living well center, walking trails and a fully staffed gatehouse. The Longmeadow Park frames the outdoor theater and is a popular spot for residents to catch up and enjoy this incredible property. Architectural styles reflect a strong European influence,
- BILTMORE LAKES offers 1,000 acres of green space and over 62 acres of the serene Biltmore Lake enhancing this property where 650 homes are planned. This Cedar Rock neighborhood offers tree-lined trails, unique architecture native to the area all built on the philosophy of George W. Vanderbilt who made this place home years ago. The lake community is a perfect blend of history, nature and good old Southern living in a mountain retreat unmatched by others in the area. Amenities include hiking trails, tennis and a lakefront clubhouse.
- SOUTHCLIFF ASHVILLE provides a unique living experience combining nature with exquisite architectural design. This gated mountain community developed amongst preserved regional topography features trails, scenic vantage points, covered pavilions and parks that provide the perfect setting to enjoy the best of both worlds. Located only 7 miles from downtown, it is a wonderful mountain retreat to build a home with beautiful views close to the city.
For life’s next adventure, while not explore the many options that Asheville, North Carolina has to offer. The Land in the Sky has earned its spot as one of the top destinations in the South. Whether it’s a visit to one of the historic Asheville neighborhoods, or one of the gated communities in Asheville or registering for development at one of the many art schools in Asheville NC, this city is by far one of the best finds in the country.
If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our complimentary Asheville relocation information to help you.