I officially love Asheville, NC. As far as “A” cities are concerned, it is on top and Atlanta has fallen so far off the list, one has to wonder why we even drive through it on the way to Florida.
Considering the heat-wave we’ve experienced this summer, we were pleasantly surprise how driving only 2 hours away produced such a varying degree in the weather. We left Knoxville with stifling sun in the early to mid 90’s, we arrived to breezy mid to high 70’s. I began to wonder, is this what late spring (June 15th) is supposed to feel like?
Where to stay in Asheville is actually important if you are on a budget. The question you need to ask is “What’s my priority?” Consider these possibilities:
- Desire to stay downtown, experience the nightlife
- Visiting area attractions (i.e. Biltmore, Blue Ridge Parkway, arts areas, etc)
If you don’t plan on leaving the downtown area and are on a budget, a hotel is probably best. There are several Quality Inn type hotels in that area, as well in the Tunnel Road area. Otherwise, if you don’t mind the price, there are many lofts for rent in the heart of downtown that provide access to the nightlife of Asheville.
Visiting the Biltmore Estate is a popular reason to see Asheville. Travelers can stay relatively nearby in the few less-expensive hotels or they can enter the lap of luxury on the estate itself in the Inn at Biltmore or the Grand Bohemian in the Biltmore Village.
However, if you want to visit these areas but want to stay in nature, there are many cabins for rent within 10-30 (and more) of the city.
Lastly, keep in mind the closer to the attractions, the more it will cost. Proximity=$. If you truly want to save and don’t mind a little driving, plenty of hotels are located on the perimeter of the city in all directions.
My experience: We happened to stay 10 minutes from town/Biltmore off of I-26 in the Biltmore Square Mall area. Do not be deceived, there is no mall–not functioning anyway. But there is a Holiday Inn, a Hampton Inn, a Quality Inn, and a Fairfield Inn & Suites. There are a few fast-food restaurants and a couple of nice places to eat. There is a CVS and a KMart. It’s about 10 minutes from downtown/Biltmore.
Places to See & FYIs (Click on each link for more info and pictures)
While GPS is so vogue these days, I’m still a map-girl. The reason to at least get a physical map when you are in Asheville is two-fold. 1) They are changing the name of major highways. Hwy 33 is going to become I-26 N, so unless your GPS is updated or you don’t want to end up in VA, I would consider a map a good back up. 2) Like my hometown, I have found some cities in NC have a tendency to multi-name the same street. Broadway turns into something else when it crosses this street–that’s a great way to get lost. GPS also isn’t always sensitive to these differences.
Traffic: If you are travelling from the west to Asheville, please consider checking out the TDOT or NCDOT before you leave. Rockslides are a common occurrence in the mountains between Tennessee and North Carolina, sometimes blocking the I-40 completely. We discovered this was still a problem this summer when we traveled there, not having any problems ourselves, but certainly concerned at the miles of traffic backed up heading west. We took a scenic route on the way home.
While I didn’t visit all I preferred, I found the two hour getaway very refreshing. I would definitely like to know your opinion on places to see, places to AVOID, and any other ideas you may have.
Thanks so much!