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Welcome to Foodtopia restaurateurs ensure that eating here is always extraordinary
sheville residents’ passion for delicious, healthconscious, locally produced food is an important thread in the city’s cultural fabric. That’s why Asheville is home to the world’s first Foodtopian Society, an initiative of the Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau that celebrates the city’s thriving food scene.
“Asheville has a truly unique restaurant atmosphere,” says Dwight Butner, owner of Vincenzo’s Ristorante & Bistro. “Those of us in the food industry here see ourselves as colleagues, but at the same time, there’s enough rivalry among us to keep us all producing great quality, creative foods.” To learn about the Foodtopian
bliss Asheville residents and visitors enjoy, curious epicureans may visit the official website at www.foodtopiansociety.com and watch food videos, snag recipes from area restaurants and read suggestions for local food adventures. There are even profiles of local chefs and farmers and an interactive Ask a Farmer feature that lets visitors talk with local producers directly about everything from starting a backyard vegetable garden to the benefits of eating organic foods. Many of the Foodtopian Society’s member restaurants are also part of the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association, or AIR, a flourishing organization of more than 60 restaurants dedicated to fostering a stronger business environment for locally owned and operated restaurants. Vincenzo’s is one such enterprise. “We’re a 20-year-old institution and one of the founding members of AIR, so we’ve been involved with the development of Asheville’s food culture,” Butner says. “We helped pioneer dining in downtown Asheville.”
11,000+ farmers call our mountain region home
250 approximate number of independent restaurants in the area
Regional and seasonal food just tastes better. A blueberry from North Carolina will taste better than a blueberry from Michigan because you cut out all the travel time. And these growers are our neighbors, so we like to support them.â€?
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Explore the Outdoor
Chimney Rock Park encompasses everything you want in a mountain vacation in one place – hiking, rock climbing, picnicking, great views, waterfalls. You name it, you can do it here.”
sheville and its surrounding areas provide many opportunities for outdoor adventurers looking to take advantage of the prime location in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In winter months, skiing is readily available to residents of Asheville, and Cataloochee Ski Area is just half an hour away. The famous Blue Ridge Parkway runs right by Asheville. Stretching 469 miles, "America's Favorite Drive" showcases the stunning beauty of the area and gives easy access to many state parks and recreation areas, some of which cover more than 6,000 acres.
If you don’t already have an appreciation for nature, you will after visiting The North Carolina Arboretum. The 434-acre site includes 65 acres of cultivated gardens, 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, indoor and outdoor exhibits, guided Segway tours, two gift shops, the Savory Thyme Café and one of the finest bonsai collections in the nation. Adventurers looking for something unique can look into the Adventure America Zipline Canopy Tours, a threehour tour that includes 11 ziplines and five sky bridges over 22 areas of scenic vistas reaching up to 80 feet in elevation. Hot-air balloon rides are also a fun and unique way to see the regions natural beauty from a birds-eye view, and tours are provided by Asheville Hot Air Balloons, LLC and the R.O. Franks Aviation.
play swing into scenery Our region offers some of the best and the most beautiful mountain golf around, replete with awe-inspiring views and lush emerald fairways. The area’s plethora of scenic courses includes several designed by legendary Scottish architect Donald Ross, the father of American golf. Golfers of all levels find the game especially enjoyable when it’s part of one of our valuable packages that combine accommodations with an unforgettable golf experience.
It’s in our 1 million + acres of national and state forests surround the Asheville area
measures the distance of the stunning views from atop Chimney Rock
entrances to the Blue Ridge Parkway are located in the area
make a splash One of the most common words around here is wheeeeeeee!!! Our rivers, streams and lakes offer cool mountain water fun. If you’re up for a different thrill, experience a natural water slide – Sliding Rock – where you sit down and let the water sweep you (and your cares) away. For more relaxed aquatic adventures, we have many old-fashioned swimming holes and scenic waterfalls to discover.
Asheville is “the perfect base camp for hiking the East’s highest peaks,” says Randy Johnson, author of Hiking North Carolina, Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway and other books. Here are Johnson’s top picks for hikes in our area, based on skill level: Easy: Craggy Gardens Trail Go just north of Asheville to Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 364.5, and the easy trail rises to a picnic shelter built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Head left there, up to spectacular open mountaintop meadows. Moderate: Graveyard Fields Go south of Asheville to Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 418.8 and take a paved trail on the right side of the overlook down to the river. Go right to awesome Yellowstone Falls. Retrace back along the river to a signed junction. There, you may continue to Upper Falls and back, or go left across the bridge and back to the parking area. Expert: Grandfather Mountain Go north of Asheville to Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 305 for North Carolina’s high-adventure hike. After the Mile-High Swinging Bridge, hike the highest summits – all nearly 6,000 feet – where ladders and cables scale cliffs.
In Store Shopping in Asheville is anything but ordinary
f your drum is a little different, welcome to nirvana. Our community boasts some of the hippest shopping hot spots around. Marvel at your finds at the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville. Mosey on down to the River Arts District to discover studio artistsâ€™ unique expressions, or meander over to West Asheville, where cool retail shops line Haywood Road. Historic Biltmore Village bustles with boutiques, galleries and specialty shops. Venture out and sample the treasures at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Grovewood Gallery near The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa. Youâ€™ll be delighted with your discoveries.
24 primary locations â€“ including galleries, museums and studios â€“ await your exploration in the self-guided Asheville Downtown Gallery Tour
past perfect Some folks swear everything that’s old is new again. That’s certainly true in our neck of the woods. We’ve got antiques that range from fine, centuries-old pieces to retro goodies from the ’50s and ’60s. Visit one of the antiques dealers in and around Historic Biltmore Village to find a 17th-century French armoire or an 18thcentury Italian dining table. Wander along Cherry Street in Black Mountain and be prepared to find just about anything imaginable, from garden gates to kitchen kitsch. And if vintage clothing and jewelry are your passion, we have several purveyors of classic apparel to suit you.
Forget souvenir spoons and refrigerator magnets. Such a memorable time calls for an equally unique souvenir – a oneof-a-kind work of art. Galleries and shops throughout the region offer the opportunity to capture our innovative spirit with items ranging from paintings to pottery, wearable art such as jewelry or handcrafted clothing, and handmade musical instruments such as dulcimers, fiddles and guitars. We are the cradle of American craft, from folk to fine art. Add to the mix scores of funky retailers, and you’re sure to leave with a memento that is original Asheville. Hand-pressed note cards? Cutting-edge clothing from up-and-coming local fashion designers? Organic baby gear? Metal, glass and fiber arts? Hand-crafted furniture? It’s all here. Make it your own.