I Love This Place: Asheville

Of all the places I've lived, Asheville, North Carolina is home.

It's probably because I was born there, but I think it's more than that.

The Asheville area is where both sets of grandparents decided to dig in roots and raise their families. My parents were born there, met in grade school, became high school sweethearts, got married, and lived there until 1977.

It's home. My husband and I have said it will most likely be the place where we'll "retire."

My parents moved back to Asheville in 2000, and now we visit them every chance we get.

When's the best time to visit?

In my opinion, any time. Yes, it's in the mountains, but the weather in Asheville is pleasant all year.

Yes, even in winter.

Most of the tourists visit during the fall and it is spectacular. The colors of fall take my breath away.

What’s the most obvious must-see place to visit?

The Biltmore House and Estate. Don't miss spending a day here. It's worth the price.

It took six years to build George Vanderbilt's 250-room French chateau "country home." It was finished in 1895.

Our family spent a day at the Biltmore a few years ago and we were in awe the entire day. The house, the architecture, the gardens, just driving through the estate—it's all stunning.

We happened to be visiting during spring, so the tulips were blooming.

Where’s a favorite place of yours to eat out with family or friends?

12 Bones, it's a lunch-only place Tuesday through Saturday. They do have carry-out available for later in the day. Every time we visit my parents in Asheville, one of our meals has to be from 12 Bones. We usually order carry-out from their Arden location because it's close to their house.

Tupelo Honey Cafe

If you spent a morning or afternoon entirely outdoors here, what would you do?

Go for a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

From US 25 in Asheville, drive south on the Parkway for about an hour and have lunch at the Pisgah Inn at mile marker 408.6. The panoramic views are stunning, and the food is good too!

Another option for a day trip would be to drive north on the Parkway to Mount Mitchell at mile marker 355. Mount Mitchell is the highest point east of the Mississippi River. There are several hiking trials you can access there if hiking is your thing. Or you can just enjoy the views from the easily accessible viewing platform.

Make sure to check the weather and the Parkway's website for road closures before you go. It is a two-lane, curvy mountain road and driving on it can be a bit tricky sometimes.

Tell us about a great store here.

My absolute favorite place to go in Asheville is the Antique Tobacco Barn. I guess it's technically not a store, but it's so much fun to roam around for a few hours.

If you love books, stop by Malaprops Bookstore & Cafe and if you love to roam a store filled with fun things visit the Mast General Store.

Share a personal favorite memory of yours that happened in this place.

Just about every memory I have of Asheville includes family.

My parents, grandparents, cousins, and now my own family.

We have all grown up here even though we've lived in different places at times.

My grandparents taught me how to fish here, and my parents taught my kids how to fish. There's a church in a small town a few miles away from Asheville that has an annex named after my paternal grandfather.

I am drawn back to Asheville, and it comes from deep roots and the love of a time when things were simple.


p.s. – Other highlights in our I Love This Place series: Austin, Canmore (near Banff), Bavaria, Encinitas, San Diego, Chattanooga, BeirutLittle RockChicagoNozawa Onsen (Japan), and Louisville.

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12 Comments

  1. Ashley

    I grew up on the other side of the mountain, in Elizabethton, but Asheville is definitely a part of my roots, too, a place where we would just take off and drive with my daddy and my mom whenever they wanted to enjoy a drive over the mountain. And I went to college an hour east of there and often took my own little drives for an afternoon of studying at Malaprops or hiking near the Parkway. I discovered Thomas Wolfe in college and love to visit the historic site of his home when I visit there. Dupont State Forest is a lovely place to hike. I was lucky enough to have a week alone at a friend’s house in West Asheville this summer (a part of town less visited but with loads of good food and fun shops), and rediscovered some of myself in that place. I also found some new places to enjoy. Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar is pretty much the most amazing place in the world, a bar, coffee shop, and used book store all in one….two stories of nooks and crannies and total bliss. Mountain Madre has the most amazing pork belly tacos and specially crafted margaritas ever. And I could just pretty much wander the streets of Asheville all day, enjoying the quirkiness that comes when you mix mountain people, retirees, hippies, and Yankee tourists. Funny story, my brother lived in Asheville when I was in college. I visited him once, and we walked by a large group of hippies outside the courthouse. I asked him if they were protesting something. He said they had been there for several days because an energy vortex or something had opened up in that spot. We walked on downtown to enjoy amazing hand-crafted chocolates and then hear some bluegrass. . Throw in some of the most gorgeous mountain scenery on the planet, and that, in a nutshell, is Asheville.

    Reply
    • Caroline TeSelle

      I love this! Thank you for sharing!

      Reply
  2. Laurel

    When an old friend moved from NYC to Asheville I was baffled. But they love it and their business (Selzer Goods) has thrived there! It’s on the list of places to visit!

    Reply
    • Caroline TeSelle

      Awesome! It is definitely a must-visit town, and area!

      Reply
  3. Bethany

    My husband & I lived in Arden from 2015-2018. As an evangelist kid who grew up traveling with his family for most of his childhood, my husband said Asheville is the 1st place that felt like home. We’ve moved over to Winston Salem to be near family while we raise our son but we will most definitely return to Asheville as our hearts are pulled there constantly. Thanks for sharing a native’s take on such a beautiful city!

    Reply
    • Caroline TeSelle

      My parents live close to Arden off of Sweeten Creek Road. I definitely understand that pull!

      Reply
  4. Guest

    Our family had the great pleasure of spending a week in Hendersonville, NC, not far outside Asheville last March. We rented a cabin and I still consider it one of the most magical weeks of my life. Most would probably say the weather was not good but I loved it. Our cabin was on a hill and overlooked a small white country church with a cemetery that dated back to the Civil War. That was surrounded by apple orchards and mountains. Our daughter would walk through the woods to read the tombstones and I would wash dishes enjoying the simple and utterly mesmerizing view. We spent a day at Biltmore which I had visited on a high school trip and admired the tulips that had just sprung to life and the beautiful conservatories and cello music courtesy of a visiting musician. Such a beautiful, beautiful area.

    Reply
    • Caroline TeSelle

      What a beautiful memory!

      Reply
  5. Courtney Laib

    Asheville is a beautiful place!! Amazing tips Caroline!

    Reply
    • Caroline TeSelle

      Thanks, Court! xo

      Reply
  6. Ronda

    My favorite place ever! My grandmother lived there my whole life so lots of good memories and fun in Asheville. Those are good tips of where to go, my not to miss place to eat is Biscuithead. I go every chance that I can because in my heart Asheville is home.

    Reply
    • Caroline TeSelle

      Oh yes! Bisquithead!

      Reply

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