Head for the hills of Asheville
Are you aching to be outdoors without having to hide from the sun? Are you longing for a mountain hike that ends at a waterfall? Or how about dining alfresco while wrapped in a sweater (instead of sweat)? Asheville is situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains at the confluence of two rivers in western North Carolina and has been luring visitors since the 1800s. It’s known as a vast outdoor playground and a place that attracts artists and craftspeople whose passion projects have blossomed to include all things edible. Mostly, though, people come to Asheville to feel renewed.
Where to stay and play in Asheville
This summer, see the work of the world’s foremost glass artist Dale Chihuly, with large-scale, colorful sculptures displayed throughout the walled garden of George W. Vanderbilt’s iconic, 19th-century Biltmore estate. You can (and should!) tour both the house and garden. Admission and an audio guide are included in a special Chihuly package for guests of the 210-room Inn on Biltmore Estate. We recommend the $25 upgrade for Chihuly Nights, when the glass sculptures are showcased with dramatic lighting. Staying on site gives you round-the-clock access to the 8,000-acre estate and a surprising slate of outdoor activities as varied as fly fishing and horseback riding, or simply bike riding on the miles and miles of well-marked trails. biltmore.com
Hike Asheville and find a resort that calls your name
Forest bathing – simply being in the forest – has become a form of preventative medicine in Japan. It’s easy to do in Asheville since it’s seated within half-a-million acres of the Pisgah National Forest. Asheville Hiking Tours offers a variety of tour options (including private) with scenic payoff (yes, waterfalls!) and lots of learning about wildlife, plants and the rich Appalachian history. Weekend warriors take note: the newly reopened (after almost 10 years) Skyline Trail, starting at Chimney Rock Park, goes straight up. Pounding hearts and aching calves are the price for extraordinary views. ashevillehikingtours.com; chimneyrockpark.com/skyline-trail
Eat and Drink with a view of Asheville’s Blue Ridge Mountains
Head to the 4th floor terrace at the Cambria Hotel downtown for some lechon asado sliders at Hemingway’s Cuba Restaurant & Bar; there’s plenty of outdoor seating, with a wide-open view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Quench your thirst at the hot Montford neighborhood watering spot, Little Jumbo, where the attention to detail is what gives craft cocktails their name. hemingwayscubaasheville.com; littlejumbobar.com
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