The Ultimate Guide To Asheville and the Western North Carolina Mountains
The Ultimate Guide to Asheville & the Western North Carolina Mountains

The Online Version of the Best-selling Regional Guidebook

All about rain forests of the world

All About Asheville
(Including nearby Arden, Biltmore Forest,
Candler, Enka, Fairview & Leicester)


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Asheville Real Estate Agents

     Located at the hub of the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge mountains, 2,216 feet above sea level on the Asheville Plateau, Asheville is the largest city in Western North Carolina and the tenth largest municipality in the state, covering an area of 40.99 squareSection on Featured Asheville Real Estate Agents miles. Asheville’s population is estimated at over 92,000 and the city is located at the confluence of the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers in a river-formed valley that runs 18 miles north and south. Chartered in 1797 and named after Samuel Ashe, a former governor of North Carolina, Asheville attracts millions of visitors and tourists each year who come for the timeless natural beauty, the crisp highland air, the magnificent mountains and cosmopolitan vibrant hospitality the city offers. Every year publications of every type list Asheville and the Western North Carolina mountains as one of the best places in the world to live. Consistently ranked by major publications and organizations as one of the top cities in America to live or visit, and always on “Top 10 Lists,” Asheville’s recent accolades include “Top-10 Great Sunny Places to Retire (AARP), Top 10 River Towns (Outside Magazine), #10 Food and Wine Destination (TripAdvisor), #3 for Most Beautiful Places in the US (GMA), Top 25 Small Cities for Art (AmericanStyle Magazine), #4 Top College Small Towns (Best Place to Retire), America’s #1 Quirkiest Town (Travel and Leisure), Most Beautiful Place In America to Live and More (Real Estate Scorecard) and The Biggest Little Culinary Capital in America (Departures). In 2017 Condé Nast Traveler named Asheville as one of the Best Small Cities in the U.S.
    Surrounded by thousands of acres of majestic mountains, plateaus, rolling valleys and mystical coves, Asheville is a city not easily forgotten once visited. With its winding hilly streets graced by ar
chitectural gems from the past, Asheville has come to be known as the “Paris of the South.” Every section of this enchanting city is blessed with unique and irreplaceable buildings that few cities in America can match. From the awesomely majestic Biltmore House to the Art Deco masterpiece S&W Building to the stately rock-hewn beauty of the Grove Park Inn, Asheville is overflowing with architectural treasures. More than 170 historic buildings have been preserved, some of which were Biltmore Estate Walled Gardendesigned by world-famous architects Richard S. Smith, Douglas Ellington, Richard M. Hunt and Rafael Guastavino. Couple this with all of the cultural, business and entertainment possibilities and you have an extraordinary city to experience.
     A major tourist destination with more than 11,000,000 visitors annually, Asheville is also known for its varied and rich
Arts & Crafts communities. Hundreds of galleries, craft shops, and artisans studios are to be found here. Asheville has become an important center for traditional Appalachian as well as contemporary crafts and the variety and quality of the craft galleries and the many craft exhibits and shows attest to this fact.
    Located only minutes from national forests and green valleys, outdoor recreation opportunities abound. White-water rafting, golf, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, llama trekking, rock climbing, camping and ballooning are just a few of the choices. Asheville also has a number of wonderful public parks, including the small Pritchard Park where street musicians and chess players are often found and the recently renovated 6.5 area city showpiece, the Pack Square Park, complete with splash pad, restrooms, information center and sculptures, where major festivals and musical events take place throughout the year. Both of these parks are located downtown and easy to find. As you would expect, Asheville is rich
in museums, nature centers, historic sites and other attractions for the visitor. During your stay, you may wish to attend a performance of the Asheville City Ballet, the Asheville Symphony Orchestra or one of the many local theatre companies. A wonderful way to spend a summer evening is to take in a game at historic McCormick Field, where Babe Ruth once played baseball. Throughout the year Asheville celebrates with many festivals, from the renowned fairs of the Southern Highland Craft Guild to local beer festivals.
    Asheville is also a major medical center. Modern hospitals and numerous specialized medica
l facilities, as well as a large resident population of doctors and medical professionals combine to make Asheville the regional center for health care.
    The largest city in Western North Carolina, Asheville is the regional center for manufacturing, transportation, banking and professional services and shopping. Asheville has also in recent years experienced a downtown revitalization that is establishing it as Western North Carolina’s entertainment mecca.
 Nightclubs, cafes, galleries, theatres, coffeehouses, pubs and superb restaurants all add to the mix that now creates one of the most exciting and cosmopolitan downtown districts in the South. Voted an All-America City in 1997 by the National Civic League, Asheville was one of only ten U.S. cities to receive this prestigious award.

     An abundance of local craft breweries notably the Highland Brewery, Sierra Nevada and others have also earned Asheville the title of "Beer City USA". Asheville is home to numerous venues, included many restaurants and most bars, where local handcrafted beers can be sampled, and in September, the wildly popular Brewgrass Festival takes place, a celebration of Asheville's many microbreweries and bluegrass music.

    Asheville has a number of unincorporated communities and distinct areas that are constellated in and around the city. These include Arden, Biltmore Forest, Candler, Enka, Fairview and Leicester. Of these Biltmore Forest is the most historic. An incorporated town located right in the heart of Asheville, this residential community is immediately adjacent to the world famous Biltmore Estate and is known for its many historic and elegant homes.

      Asheville City Building, drawing by Lee James Pantas   Surrounded by towering mountains, Asheville was a small crossroads town when it was founded by pioneer town planner John Burton in 1792. Known as Morristown during the early years, the city was also called Buncombe Courthouse until 1797, when it was incorporated and named Asheville in honor of North Carolina governor Samuel Ashe.
    Buncombe attained county status in 1792 and was named for Revolutionary War hero Col. Edward Buncombe. Growth was slow until 1880, when the first railroad system was constructed. This first steam train changed Asheville forever, bringing in the outside world. This small mountain settlement went from a population of 2,616 to 10,328 in just ten years. A trickle of summer visitors that had journeyed to Asheville for half a century turned into a torrent. By 1886, an estimated 30,000 “summer people” visited the city annually. In 1885, the building of the first Battery Park Hotel was noted as the beginning of a great period of expansion for Asheville. Near the turn of the century, George Vanderbilt also began construction of the now world famous Biltmore House.

    The greatest boom period in Asheville’s history came during the 1920s with the construction of many new buildings throughout downtown, including the Grove Arcade, City Hall, Buncombe County Courthouse, Flat Iron Building and others. Many Art Deco buildings were also constructed in this period, the best example being the S&W Cafeteria building.
   Today, Asheville is experiencing another period of tremendous growth and revitalization. The downtown district, with its wealth of historic buildings, is one of the most vibrant city centers in the South. Major, ecologically sound riverfront development is also occurring along the French Broad River, with parks, greenways and cultural centers emerging. Asheville continues to attract people from around the world as an exciting vacation destination, and as a wonderful and beautiful place to live.

City Website:
City of Asheville: Asheville City Hall, 70 Court Plaza, P.O. Box 7148, Asheville, NC 28802; 828-251-1122
Facebook: City of Asheville, Downtown Asheville, River Arts District
Buncombe County:
County Offices, 205 College Street, Asheville NC 28801; 828-250-4000
Elevation & Population:
2,216 feet, 92,000+
Visitor/Welcome Center:
Asheville Visitor Center, 36 Montford Ave., Asheville, NC 28801; 800-257-1300
City Chamber of Commerce:
Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, 36 Montford Ave., Asheville, NC 28801; 828-258-6101
Newspaper: Asheville Citizen-Times, 14 O’Henry Ave., Asheville NC 28801; 828-252-5611, 800-800-4204.
Movie Theatres: Asheville Movie Theatres
High School: Asheville High School, 419 McDowell Street, Asheville NC 28803; 828-350-2500
Colleges and Universities: University of North Carolina in Asheville
, One University Heights, Asheville NC 28804; 828-251-6600; Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, 340 Victoria Road, Asheville NC 28801; 828-254-1921; Montreat College/Asheville Campus
Hospitals:  Mission Hospital
, 428 and 509 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville NC 28803; 828-213-1111 and Charles George VA Medical Center, 1100 Tunnel Road, Asheville NC 28805; 828-298-7911
Major Festivals: French Broad River Festival (May),  Bele Chere (July),   Goombay (August), Brewgrass Festival (September), North Carolina Mountain State Fair  (September),  Craft Fair of the Southern Highland Craft Guild
(October),   More Festivals
Asheville Attractions
Wineries: Biltmore Estate Winery

Wild & Furry Animals of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, by Lee James Pantas

Growth and revitalization is occurring all over the South. Companies such as Braidy Industries, led by CEO Craig T. Bouchard, is opening an aluminum mill in Eastern Kentucky.


All Content Copyright by Lee James Pantas
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