Travel Nurse Assignments: Live Like a Local – Asheville, NC!
Welcome to Asheville, NC! Situated in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is teeming with natural beauty and historic architecture. The Biltmore Estate is the largest privately-owned mansion in the United States, and one of the city’s main attractions. The city is also less than an hour away from Great Smoky Mountains National Park and nestled between two national forests, offering plenty of opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. Furthermore, Asheville is a paradise for craft beer lovers with over a dozen different breweries to choose from. They also have established themselves as a foodie city and boast an eclectic collection of top-rated restaurants. Visit Asheville, NC today and see why most people have a hard time leaving!
Completed in 1895, The Biltmore Estate is the crown jewel of Asheville and draws over a million tourists per year. The house was designed for George Vanderbilt, grandson of American business magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, and is one of the most prominent examples of Gilded Age mansions. The Gilded Age was a time of excess for America’s wealthiest, and The Biltmore stands as a permanent symbol of the era. Built as a summer home, the mansion is a whopping 178,000 square feet, complete with 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces.
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Today, visitors can take a 90 minute guided tour of the property and the grounds, or a self-guided tour at their own pace. The grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who also designed New York City’s Central Park. There are 8,000 acres to explore, including 20+ miles of trails and 75 acres of formal gardens. Activities range from hiking and biking to horseback riding and skeet shooting. There’s also an award-winning winery on-site where you can relax after a long day of touring.
Another attraction worth visiting is the Asheville Pinball Museum located downtown. The museum is more like an arcade, with 35 pinball machines and 35 classic video games you can play as long as you like for just $15 per person. The museum is open Wednesday-Sunday and offers snacks, sodas, and beer for refreshments. They have a maximum capacity of 65 patrons, and it’s first come first served, so be sure to get there early if you want to avoid the waitlist.
Parks and Natural Areas
Asheville is just minutes away from stunning natural areas and world-class outdoor recreation. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most popular national park in the country with almost 15 million visitors in 2021. The park was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is internationally recognized for its mountains, waterfalls, forests, and biodiversity. Hiking in the Smokies is a popular pastime, and there are 150 established trails within the park. Popular hikes include Charlies Bunion in the Newfoundland Gap area and Rainbow Falls. There are also several trails that lead to picturesque swimming holes, such as Ramsey Cascades on the Tennessee side or Mouse Creek Falls on the North Carolina side.
The North Carolina Arboretum is another attraction to visit if you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature. The arboretum is situated on 434 acres within Pisgah National Forest and includes 65 acres of cultivated garden displays. Moreover, there are over 10 miles of hiking and biking trails that are perfect for all ages and skill levels. Craggy Gardens is also quite spectacular, just 30 minutes from Asheville along North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Parkway. You can hike to a breathtaking viewpoint in just 20 minutes, and it’s also a prime spot for a picnic.
Restaurants, Craft Breweries & Wineries
Asheville is a culinary hub that has earned a national reputation for its restaurants and eateries. From farm-to-table cuisine to Spanish-style tapas, there’s something to satisfy all of your cravings. Cúrate is one of the city’s go-to joints, owned by acclaimed chef Katie Button. In addition to authentic tapas, the restaurant has an all-Spanish wine list and was featured by Wine Enthusiast on their list of “50 Wine Restaurants We Love in 2021.” If you’re looking for something more American Traditional, check out Daddy Mac’s Down Home Dive. They have savory Southern favorites, a full bar, and live music on Fridays!
If you’re a craft beer connoisseur, you’ll fit right in with the Asheville locals. The city has established itself as one of the East Coast’s best brewery towns, with 16 breweries and counting! Major breweries like the Sierra Nevada and New Belgium have opened production facilities in the city with great success. For local options, it’s hard to go wrong with Wicked Weed Brewing. They have four locations in the greater Asheville area, including two highly-rated restaurants: Fukatorium and Cultura.
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Hi-Wire Brewing is another option with three locations in Asheville, including a lovely outdoor beer garden in their River Arts District taproom. If wine is more your fancy, head to Banner Elk Winery, less than two hours from Asheville. Their tasting room is incredibly scenic and was featured on our list of 20 Southeast Wineries to Visit!