When people ask me where Gardner-Webb is I usually tell them it’s near Charlotte, but really there are many other big cities nearby. Although Boiling Springs isn’t a city that most people know off the top of their heads, it is a place that has tremendous character and many fun things to do just down the road. One of my favorite weekend destinations is Asheville, NC, which just happens to be about an hour away from campus!
Asheville is the largest city in Western North Carolina and the 11th largest city in North Carolina. It’s a cultural center full of local art, music and historical buildings. When you are in Asheville, downtown is the best place to start. There are local shops selling indie wares, cool designs and vintage styles at the boutiques. There are many live street performances from buskers. There are independent bookstores, as well, like Malaprops, Captain’s Bookshelf or Battery Park Book Exchange. There is also a Friday night tradition called the drum circle, in which many locals come together and play songs on their drums for tourists and friends to dance around to. A must see while in Ahseville is the Folk Art Center, which is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway and is full of regional handmade crafts. Some other sights that you can’t miss are:
1. Biltmore Estate
The French Renaissance-style estate of George Vanderbilt considered the largest private home of America. It has 250 rooms with 35 bedrooms. 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces. It is a landmark that defines Asheville.
2. Asheville Urban Trail
It is a 1.7-mile-long trail that walks you through the architectural and cultural history of the city. There are 30 stops in the trail and each stop is marked with a public sculpture that shows an important person or moment of the area’s history.
3. River Arts District
The River Arts District is found along the riverbank of the French Broad. The industrial warehouses are full with working artist studios where you can watch live exhibits, galleries with handcrafted art. While you are there you can stop at Ultra Coffeebar for a fresh cup of Joe or go ot 12 Bones Smokehouse to enjoy some delicious barbecue.
If you like hiking Asheville is the place to be! You can hop on The Appalachian Trail which goes through 14 states or there are many other trails you can choose from depending on your hiking expertise. One of the hikes that is recommended if you want just a small taste of Appalachia starts from Hot Springs, where the trail goes through Bridge Street. From the Silvermine trailhead you can follow the Appalachian Trail until you get to Lover’s Leap Ridge. You can keep going on the trail or follow the orange blazes to finish Lover’s Leap Loop.
Pisgah National Forest is one of the first national forests in the country that offers more than 500,000 acres of land 40 miles northeast of downtown Asheville. It is divided into three ranger districts. If you want to see the waterfalls you should visit Pisgah Ranger District. If you are looking for more challenging hikes you should start off at Grandfather Ranger District. Or, if you are into horseback riding, you find the best trails at the Appalachian District for this activity. There are other activities you could do like rock climbing, biking trails, fishing holes, picnic and campgrounds.
Don’t miss out on Asheville and all its unique places. It is definitely a historical city, with deep, rich culture that you want to visit once in your lifetime. I hope this short summary of Asheville was useful and you soon you will take a trip to explore the beautiful city with your friends or family.
Lili Gabriella Toth. Hungarian. Senior. Public Relations major. Business minor. Swimmer. Resident Advisor. World Traveller. Adventure Seeker.