Asheville is the perfect base from which to explore on your holiday to the Carolinas. Drive just a few miles outside of town and enter into America’s greatest gift to motoring – the spectacular Blue Ridge Parkway. Take in mile after mile of some of the most dramatic views in the United States. Striking scenery unfolds in varied panoramas as you travel along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Superb mountain scenery and a pleasant climate are the Parkway’s major appeals. Its timeless popularity makes it a ‘must see’. The Parkway traverses the highlands of Virginia and North Carolina at an average elevation of 3,000 feet and extends from Shenandoah, Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. Azaleas, rhododendrons and mountain laurel flower in spring. Autumn bursts brilliantly with reds of sumac, gum and maples with sassafras, tulip trees and hickory contributing their bright yellows to nature’s canvas. Rhododendrons are ablaze on the Parkway when it is spring time in the mountains.
Reach the top of a mountain near Asheville in about 30 seconds! That is the time it takes to ride the 26-storey lift built inside 500 million year old Chimney Rock. But that’s only the beginning. You’ll find the best of what the mountains have to offer in one incredible place: a spectacular 75-mile view, trails to a 404-foot waterfall, native wildlife, rare plants and unique rock formations that otherwise would take days to find.
Blitmore House is America’s largest private residence. It continues in its second century with all the grace and elegance it has enjoyed since its grand opening in 1895. This regal French Chateau, tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville is a National Historic Landmark. Blitmore House has 250 rooms, four acres of interior floor space, and is filled with the immense collection of art and furnishings of its original owner, George Vanderbilt. The beauty of this grand home extends out of doors to its gardens and managed woodland. In all the Blitmore Estate encompasses 8,000 acres of land!
Blitmore Village is one of the Carolina’s most fascinating, unique and enjoyable shopping environments. Tree-lined streets… brick side walks… open air dining… all combined with amazing collections of one-of-a-kind merchandise. Village shops are housed in the original homes built in the early 1900s.
The best way to see The Great Smoky Mountain is to take The Great Smoky Mountain Railway. This takes you through river gorges, fertile valleys, and tunnels cut out of mountains. A choice of trips include: The Tuckasegee river trip, a 3½ hour journey which passes the wreck site of the movie ‘The Fugitive’ and travels through Cowee Tunnel, hand dug by convicts and the Nantahala Gorge trip which crosses Fontana Lake to the Nantahala Gorge white-water rafting area.
All in all there is lots to discover on your holiday to the Carolinas!