• Complete Guide to Chimney Rock State Park
    Surrounding Areas,  The Great Outdoors

    A Guide to Chimney Rock State Park

    On the website for Chimney Rock State Park, they mention that this destination is “part living classroom, park outdoor gym,” and that really sums up well the opportunities when you visit this park.  Chimney Rock features such interesting cliff faces and rock formations that many people come here for beginner to strenuous hiking as well as rock climbing. At the same time, the history of the park and its flora and fauna bring families who want to learn about nature during park programming or through observation.  This combination draws big crowds during the warm summer months and temperate springs and autumns in North Carolina. Here are some tips for making…

  • Guide to the Best Live Music Venues in Asheville, NC
    Surrounding Areas,  Community

    A Guide to Live Music Venues in Asheville, NC

    For a city of less than 100,000 year-round residents, Asheville is truly a destination when it comes to musical talent. As a tourist destination and a well-known hub for arts and culture, musical acts who would otherwise gravitate to Greenville, Charlotte, or Knoxville often find room in their schedules to stop by one of the many music venues in Asheville, NC.  I have fond memories of all kinds of music in Asheville, particularly at venues that are no longer with me – the carrying tunes by the river at the Bywater and the dapper elegance of Isis Music Hall in West Asheville. However, I keep finding new music experiences in…

  • Best Arts and Crafts Markets and Fairs in Asheville, NC
    Attractions,  Surrounding Areas

    Getting Crafty: Best Arts and Crafts Markets in Asheville, NC

    Asheville and the neighboring towns and cities around Western North Carolina are known for being a mecca for all kinds of artists, from the Campbell Folk School and Penland School of Craft to the Black Mountain College history in this area and the many individual artisans who make WNC home.  The beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains has been a draw for inspiration and enjoyment to all who see them for many decades now, and the iconoclastic and self-determined nature of those who live in these mountains encourages a bit of avante garde spirit as well. The people of this area are well-versed in making do with what they have…

  • The Best Lakes in North Carolina
    Attractions,  Surrounding Areas,  The Great Outdoors

    15 Lakes in North Carolina Perfect for Your Next Getaway

    Asheville visitors and locals alike get to revel in a pretty great combination. We’ve got a downtown full of cultural and foodie destinations, surrounding neighborhoods and towns with all the conveniences of suburban life, and we’ve got a breathtaking backdrop of mountains whenever we want to get out into nature.  However, one thing that isn’t very common in Asheville proper are bodies of water of major size. While there are smaller lakes – including Lake Julian, Lake Louise, and Beaver Lake in Asheville and its nearby towns – many people long for a lake big enough to participate in water sports, have a dock to fish off, and even find…

  • Asheville, NC: Neighborhood Guide
    Surrounding Areas

    A Neighborhood Guide to Asheville, North Carolina

    While Asheville has a few common characteristics throughout the city, the particular neighborhood you choose may be a little distinctive, a little special. For instance, Asheville, in general, has a bit of a hippie flair as well as a foodie destination appeal, but in some parts of town, you’ll find lots of vegan and vegetarian eats, and in other parts, you’ll find tons of high-quality food from other countries.  The truth, though, is that every neighborhood brings something unique to the table: a history of connected roots for working-class families, stately mansions with tons of charm, and everything in between.  In Asheville, there aren’t a set number of neighborhoods that…

  • Best Small Towns Around Asheville, NC
    Surrounding Areas,  Attractions

    The Best Small Towns to Check Out Around Asheville, NC

    Asheville itself is firmly in the small-city status, especially during the summer when its population of 94,000 swells to much more due to the presence of many tourist visitors (it’s even in the name of our baseball team!). The nice thing, though, is that within an hour’s drive, there are more than a dozen charming small towns giving you a lot of options.  While the cities close to Asheville are more the metropolises like Charlotte, Greenville, and Knoxville, there are more than enough small mountain towns close to Asheville, NC, to give you a taste of the country life without being too far from the amenities of the city.  The…

  • Guide to Bryson City, North Carolina
    Attractions,  Family Friendly,  Surrounding Areas

    A Complete Guide to Bryson City: Activities, Restaurants, Bars, and Shops

    Bryson City is a charming little town right in the middle of much of what makes the Western North Carolina mountains so incredible. From the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which holds some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the area, to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ Qualla Boundary and all that Cherokee, NC, showcases for tourists, you’ll have plenty to see and do.  There are train outings, fresh air, tasty food, and watersport options on both Fontana Lake and the nearby Nantahala River. What’s even better is that you may feel like you’re far from it all, but you’re only three hours from Atlanta and…

  • The Best Places to see the Leaves Change in Asheville, North Carolina
    The Great Outdoors,  Surrounding Areas

    The Best Places to see the Leaves Change in Asheville in the Fall

    I’ve always loved autumn anywhere in the world, but after I moved to Asheville, my love for that time of the year deepened. In some other places, fall is just a spark before a long winter. But Asheville’s fall colors – which include leaves but also flowers – last a long time, gifting us with a five or six-week-long festival of color! This gives us plenty of time to witness the magical process of trees shedding their leaves. As Hermann Hesse put it, “That is the way leaves fall around a tree in autumn, a tree unaware of the rain running down its sides, of the sun or the frost,…

  • The Best Restaurants in Brevard, North Carolina
    Surrounding Areas,  Wining & Dining

    The 18 Best Restaurants in Brevard, NC

    You might be a long-time resident of the Brevard area, or you might be coming for your first trip to the “Land of Waterfalls” – no matter which description fits you, you’re going to need some grub! Dining in Brevard runs the gamut, with a lot of options for a small town. You’ll be able to find everything from a tasty and humble hot dog at Corky’s Dawg House to classy dining in Brevard at Square Root or The Falls Landing Restaurant.  The restaurants in Brevard offer plenty of options for dietary restrictions, from allergy-friendly options to vegan and vegetarian dishes. When you’re exploring the boisterous and pleasant downtown area,…

  • The Best Scenic Drives in Asheville, North Carolina
    The Great Outdoors,  Surrounding Areas

    14 Incredible Scenic Drives Near Asheville, NC

    One of the best and easiest things to do in Asheville is to pack or grab a picnic lunch and go for a drive to enjoy the beautiful, relaxing vistas the Asheville area is so famous for. The Blue Ridge Parkway is “America’s Favorite Drive” and one of the most beloved scenic drives near Asheville. But with so many scenic drives in the area, it’s not the only one!  The Blue Ridge Parkway follows the ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it’s beautiful all year round. It offers all kinds of experiences and adventures, from watching the sunrise or sunset from an overlook or after a hike to spectacular…