What are the top things to do in the mountains region of North Carolina?

In the mountains region of North Carolina, you’ll find hip, fun Asheville, a city that has gained a reputation as a charming Blue Ridge Mountains vacation destination. George W. Vanderbilt built his mansion here in the 1890s, and the house and winery attract scores of visitors each year. Check out the Biltmore Estate and visit Carl Sandburg’s home, or enjoy the great outdoors at the nearby Nantahala National Forest or Chimney Rock. Here are the top things to do in the area:

1. You’ll marvel at the Biltmore Estate, an 8,000-acre country estate and 250-room mansion, the largest home ever built in the New World. It includes 75 acres of formal gardens with numerous varieties of azaleas and roses, and 85 rooms open for viewing. In the 1890s, George W. Vanderbilt commissioned Richard Morris Hunt to design the house, which took five years to build, and Vanderbilt employed Gifford Pinchot, later governor of Pennsylvania and famous for forestry and conservation achievements, to manage his forests. Tours of the estate include visits to the gardens, conservatory and winery. And if you enjoy the finer things in life, you can also try out the wine tastings at any of the four restaurants on the estate grounds.

2. The towering granite monolith Chimney Rock affords a 75-mile view. Four hiking trails lead to the 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls, Moonshiner’s Cave, Devil’s Head balancing rock and Nature’s Showerbath. There are lots of opportunities for fun and relaxation, including trails, stairs and catwalks, picnic areas, a playground, a nature center and an observation lounge. Don’t miss the 26-story elevator shaft that rides up and down through granite.

3. Nantahala National Forest features a gorge, scenic drives through the Appalachians, waterfalls and the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness area.

4. Fans of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Carl Sandburg will want to visit his home where he lived until his death in 1967, now a national historic site. You can get bit of culture to go along with all the natural beauty the mountain region offers.

  • On September 28, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best wine bars in Asheville & Highlands?

    There’s plenty to enjoy in Asheville and the Highlands area; weather permitting, you can pop the cork on a bottle and take in views of the lush North Carolina scenery. Here are the places we think you should go for a drink:

    1. Madison’s Restaurant & Wine Garden provides the perfect setting for wine sipping; a lovely alfresco garden with a waterfall and live music in the summer, plus truffle popcorn for munching. The chef uses local ingredients to cook Madison’s contemporary cuisine, serving up Southern food with a twist to locals and visitors for breakfast, dinner or just dessert and drinks.

    2. Rezaz is two restaurants in one: The main dining room has a sleek, modern décor and an upscale Mediterranean menu; wine bar Enoteca, the informal side of the restaurant, has showcases meat, cheeses and decadent desserts in its display cases. The restaurant is in the historic Biltmore Village, opposite the entrance to the Biltmore Estate, and the laidback wine bar specializes in Italian vintages with antipasti and small plates for pairing.
  • On November 11, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best wine bars in Asheville & Highlands?

    There’s plenty to enjoy in Ashevilla and the Highlands area; weather permitting, you can pop the cork on a bottle and take in views of the lush North Carolina scenery. Here are the places we think you should go for a drink:

    1. Madison’s Restaurant & Wine Garden provides the perfect setting for wine sipping; a lovely alfresco garden with a waterfall and live music in the summer, plus truffle popcorn for munching. The chef uses local ingredients to cook Madison’s contemporary cuisine, serving up Southern food with a twist to locals and visitors for breakfast, dinner or just dessert and drinks.

    2. Rezaz is two restaurants in one: The main dining room has a sleek, modern décor and an upscale Mediterranean menu; wine bar Enoteca, the informal side of the restaurant, has showcases meat, cheeses and decadent desserts in its display cases. The restaurant is in the historic Biltmore Village, opposite the entrance to the Biltmore Estate, and the laidback wine bar specializes in Italian vintages with antipasti and small plates for pairing.
  • On November 11, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the top things to do in the mountains region of North Carolina?

    In the mountains region of North Carolina, you’ll find hip, fun Asheville, a city that has gained a reputation as a charming Blue Ridge Mountains vacation destination. George W. Vanderbilt built his mansion here in the 1890s, and the house and winery attract scores of visitors each year. Check out the Biltmore Estate and visit Carl Sandburg’s home, or enjoy the great outdoors at the nearby Nantahala National Forest or Chimney Rock. Here are the top things to do in the area:

    1. You’ll marvel at the Biltmore Estate, an 8,000-acre country estate and 250-room mansion, the largest home ever built in the New World. It includes 75 acres of formal gardens with numerous varieties of azaleas and roses, and 85 rooms open for viewing. In the 1890s, George W. Vanderbilt commissioned Richard Morris Hunt to design the house, which took five years to build, and Vanderbilt employed Gifford Pinchot, later governor of Pennsylvania and famous for forestry and conservation achievements, to manage his forests. Tours of the estate include visits to the gardens, conservatory and winery. And if you enjoy the finer things in life, you can also try out the wine tastings at any of the four restaurants on the estate grounds.

    2. The towering granite monolith Chimney Rock affords a 75-mile view. Four hiking trails lead to the 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls, Moonshiner’s Cave, Devil’s Head balancing rock and Nature’s Showerbath. There are lots of opportunities for fun and relaxation, including trails, stairs and catwalks, picnic areas, a playground, a nature center and an observation lounge. Don’t miss the 26-story elevator shaft that rides up and down through granite.

    3. Nantahala National Forest features a gorge, scenic drives through the Appalachians, waterfalls and the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness area.

    4. Fans of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Carl Sandburg will want to visit his home where he lived until his death in 1967, now a national historic site. You can get bit of culture to go along with all the natural beauty the mountain region offers.
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  • On November 11, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best overall spa in Asheville?

    Tucked into the mountains of the North Carolina Highlands, the Old Edwards Inn and Spa offers luxury rooms, suites and cottages that let you become one with nature, or one with a pedicure. Chilling out is the only task at hand at this 25,000-square-foot spa, which boasts treatments that use native North Carolina herbs and botanicals (some grown in the spa’s own garden) for the signature Carolina Cocoon treatments. Or try one of the rubdowns — go exotic with the Balinese massage or bliss out with hot-spring stone massage —for a knot-kneading experience. For the ultimate in relaxation, just book a Spa Suite and let the royal treatments at the Old Edwards Inn and Spa come to you.
  • On November 11, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best overall hotels in the mountains region of North Carolina?

    Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Inn on Biltmore Estate provides top-of-the-line accommodations that make you feel like you’re staying in a European manor; the hotel even offers carriage rides. The Inn on Biltmore Estate provides world-class accommodations on the grounds of an American landmark, the historic Vanderbilt Biltmore Estate. The room décor has an English and French manor feel, and each room comes with evening turndown service, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, terrycloth bathrobes and slippers and 37-inch, flat-screen televisions. Carriage rides, horseback rides and river float trips are just a few of the unique recreational activities you’ll find at the Inn on Biltmore Estate. The hotel’s distinguished character extends to its dining establishments, too: Bistro, Deerpark, the Dining Room and Stable Café.

    Nestled in the charming mountain town of Highlands, Old Edwards Inn and Spa is on the National Register of Historic Places. Each guest room, suite and cottage is filled with period antiques and modern amenities. Plus, you’ll get 24-hour access to the butler’s pantry, which is stocked with fresh fruit, beverages and Dove bars, in case you need a midnight snack. The luxurious 25,000-square-foot, full-service spa at Old Edwards uses herbs and botanicals from its garden, giving you a local and natural path to feeling fresh and relaxed.