Asheville, North Carolina: Our Community
You’ll visit Asheville for its abundant natural beauty, friendly and year-round outdoor recreation, rich culture and history, a lively local arts and music scene. You’ll come back and stay for our tolerant atmosphere, diverse economy, business opportunities, mild climate and quality of life. Asheville has been called the Southeast's most livable city.
With activities from bike riding to rock climbing, golf and snow skiing, Western North Carolina is paradise. For the outdoorsman, recreational potential is unlimited: hiking, biking, camping, fishing, white water rafting, kayaking, gem mining, rock climbing, hot air ballooning, horse back riding, skiing, and hunting, to mention a few.
Adventure possibilities never end in Asheville, with four navigable rivers, winter skiing, curvy roads for motorbiking, miles of off-road trails for mountain bike, and the Blue Ridge Parkway. The area’s reputation continues to grow as an outdoor mecca, with an annual festival devoted strictly to mountain sports and consistent ratings by publications as a top adventure town in the U.S. The Blue Ridge, Great Smoky, and Black Mountains provide the perfect backdrop for spring color and fall leaf viewing and easy hiking and picnic facilities abound off the Parkway.
Entertainment, Arts & Culture:
Historic downtown Asheville is alive with energy and features an active nightlife well after the sun goes down. Year after year, our city rates as one of the nation’s top arts towns. At least one major film studio, seven theatre companies and independent stages and venues lead the way in arts entertainment, while an art house movie theatre, several microbreweries, and down-home mountain music offer unlimited possibilities on every corner. You'll be challenged to find a higher concentration of artists and crafters than we enjoy here in Western North Carolina. Called the Paris of the South, Asheville is known for its excellent restaurants. And you’ll not miss out on any of the creature comfort in these hills: relax, rest, and rejuvenate at one of many spas, like the world renowned Grove Park Inn Spa & Resort. Coupled with enviable weather conditions, and a friendly environment, Asheville is a mecca for the soul and spirit.
While George Vanderbilt’s mansion and America’s largest home, Biltmore Estate, rates as Asheville’s best known attraction, there are railroads, nature preserves, a casino, off-the-beaten-path attractions like the Blue Ridge Corn Maze and other undiscovered treasures to delight and surprise in equal measure. Museum attractions are plentiful, with the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, the home place of one of America’s beloved writers, as well as many other history and cultural centers. And shopping, well Asheville’s funky shopping and arts district is an experience unto itself.
Asheville has plenty of family adventure. A short list would include mini golf, a climbing center, paint-your-own pottery shops, and Fun Depot, two downtown science museums and down to earth experiences at the Cradle of Forestry or Vance Birthplace, splashing in the water at Sliding Rock and stargazing on the Blue Ridge Parkway are possibilities.
Just about every weekend from spring until fall, Asheville hosts all kinds of festivals from Bele Chere, the southeast’s largest outdoor street festival, the Mountain Dance & Folk Festival which celebrates the area’s rich heritage, and the Mountain Sports Festival, highlighting Xtreme sports mountain style. And it doesn’t stop there. Asheville continually sponsors events like the Friday after 5 concert series, nourishing our community and forging foundations in music and good times during the warm summer months.
The mountains have always been sought out for their restorative properties. Cherokee Indians and early settlers drew upon the region’s rich curative herb resources, and a large wave of health-seekers came here to heal from tuberculosis. Many wealthy visitors, such as E.W. Grove (who built the famous Grove Park Inn) and George Vanderbilt, came for the clean mountain air, and liked the area so much that they stayed. Today, Asheville enjoys a thriving traditional health care and hospital industry and is blessed with a full gamut of doctors and specialists, rivaling the amenities of a much larger city. Mission Hospital's cardiology department ranks in the top 10% nationwide again this year. The health care sector is so large that it is the leading provider of jobs in Buncombe County.
Asheville’s reputation as a health mecca continues to expand with the explosion of alternative and complementary practices and providers. The region’s strong health care system remains a leading reason to relocate, and Asheville’s excellent quality of life attracts an unusual array of talented doctors and health care providers.
Asheville is home to the University of North Carolina, Asheville Campus. UNCA is one of the most highly rated public liberal arts universities and features a College for Seniors program. UNC-A is a 2008 top 10 best value public college as rated by the Princeton Review. Renowned for its environmental programs, Warren Wilson College is located in nearby Swannanoa and is rated by Backpacker Magazine as the number one school in the national for whitewater enthusiasts. AB Tech and its Business and Hospitality Program features one of the south’s top ranked culinary schools, is holder of multiple and on-going national recognition, and is a major reason for Asheville’s outstanding dining. And just down the road is Western Carolina University, 2003’s most wired school in the country. In 2006 the College of Education and Allied Professions was the national winner of the Association of Teacher Educators' Distinguished Program in Teacher Education Award and a national finalist for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Christa McAuliffe Award for Exemplary Programs in Teacher Education. WCU is also a national leader in music production technology, housing a Solid State Logic C200, one of only three in the United States at the time it was acquired just a few years ago. Further, its forensic anthropology program houses one of only two body farms in the country, putting the university's research on the cutting edge in this field.