Often referred to as the “Paris of the South,” Asheville, North Carolina has long been hailed as the cultural epicenter of rural America, and not without good reason. Since the early twentieth century, Asheville has been home to some of America’s best known authors, artists, and aristocrats, the result is a vibrant and exciting city in the heart of Appalachia.


Asheville first gained attention in 1876 with the publication of Christian Reid’s (aka Frances Christine Fisher Tiernan’s) novel The Land of the Sky, which described in great detail the beauty of the mountains surrounding Asheville. Soon after the publication of The Land of the Sky, the famous icons of the United State’s Gilded Age began flocking to Asheville for the supposed healing properties of the air, which was believed to treat everything from depression to tuberculosis. Asheville truly came into its own, however, at the end of the 1800s when George Washington Vanderbilt II, grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, commissioned what would become the third largest house in the entire world: the Biltmore Estate.

Lifestyle/ Area Attractions

Much of the appeal of Asheville comes from its’ glorious landscapes as well as its many famous eateries and restaurants. Pisgah National Forest is one of the most popular places for Asheville residents to get in touch with the natural world as it offers everything from peaceful hikes along scenic trails, to the sixty-foot all natural waterslide, appropriately known as “Sliding Rock.”

Those who are over the age of twenty-one can enjoy Asheville’s lively night scene at the various nightclubs, bars, and breweries located throughout the city. Breweries, such as the Thirsty Monk, offer a wide variety of on-tap beverages including their popular Black Noah Beer, with bittersweet hints of chocolate and black coffee. Other places of note include Scandals Nightclub, Asheville’s oldest nightclub having been established in 1982, and the Montford Rooftop Bar which offers not only a selection of handcrafted cocktails, but also some of the greatest views of the city.

In addition to its many great bars and breweries, Asheville is also known for its food. For those who want the finer things in life; Cúrate is a fine-dining restaurant specializing in cured meats and fine in-house wines, Cúrate offers patrons a taste of the extravagant lifestyle enjoyed by American high society during the city’s early history. For those looking for something a bit simpler, the Sunny Point Cafe specializes in Southern Comfort food with dishes like Biscuits and Gravy being popular staples on their all-day menu.

General Information

Asheville is a large city with an estimated population of about 442,316 residents averaging out to around 30,690 households with about 22% of them having children under the age of eighteen. Given the high population of school children, the Asheville area is home to twenty-two public elementary, middle, and high schools as well as forty-three private schools. A whopping eighteen of Asheville’s High Schools are ranked as some of the best in the country. For the older students, Asheville also has many different options for higher education, including the University of North Carolina: Asheville (UNCA), Mars Hill University, Warren Wilson University, and Asheville-Buncombe County Technical Institute (AB Tech). UNCA is ranked as having one of the top education departments in the country, which should come as no surprise given that Buncombe County Schools is the second largest industry in the city.

In addition to Buncombe County School District, the largest employers in Asheville are the Mission Health System, the sixth largest healthcare system in North Carolina. Not including the two previously listed, Asheville’s economy is largely based around the travel/hospitality industry and retail, with Ingles Market being the city’s third largest employer and the Biltmore hotels being the fourth largest.

Fun Facts

The Biltmore is notable for its many grand features including a bowling alley, indoor swimming pool, and an astounding 23,000 book library. The Biltmore also offers scenic views of the surrounding mountains as well as numerous gorgeously landscaped gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the same man who designed New York’s Central Park and the United States’ Capitol Grounds in Washington, D.C.

The rich history of Asheville, however, extends far beyond just the Vanderbilts. Asheville has long had a vibrant literary scene with its many independent bookstores, such as Malaprops located in the heart of Downtown Asheville, specializing in connecting its patrons to the many local authors that wrote in, and about, the city, including, but not limited to, Thomas Wolfe, O. Henry, Sarah Addison Allen, and even F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, for a time.


School Name Phone Students*
Avery’s Creek Elementary (828)654-1810 595
Barnardsville Elementary (828)626-2290 168
Bell Elementary (828)298-3789 268
Black Mountain Elementary (828)669-5217 208
Black Mountain Primary (828)669-2645 385
Candler Elementary (828)670-5018 414
Cane Creek Middle (828)628-0824 543
Community High School (828)686-7734 122
Early College (828)232-4123 264
Eblen Intermediate (828)255-5757 651
Emma Elementary (828)232-4272 357
Enka High (828)670-5000 1076
Enka Intermediate (828)255-1380 644
Enka Middle (828)670-5010 619
Erwin High (828)232-4251 1197
Erwin Middle (828)232-4264 671
Estes Elementary (828)654-1795 747
Fairview Elementary (828)628-2732 710
Glen Arden Elementary (828)654-1800 550
Haw Creek Elementary (828)298-4022 393
Hominy Valley Elementary (828)665-0619 432
Johnston Elementary (828)232-4291 245
Koontz Intermediate (828)684-1295 711
Leicester Elementary (828)683-2341 389
Middle College (828)232-4123 55
Nesbitt Discovery Academy (828)271-4521 380
North Buncombe Elementary (828)645-6054 570
North Buncombe High (828)645-4221 1047
North Buncombe Middle (828)645-7944 606
North Windy Ridge Intermediate (828)658-1892 552
Oakley Elementary (828)274-7515 458
Owen High (828)686-3852 705
Owen Middle (828)686-7739 511
Pisgah Elementary (828)670-5023 186
Reynolds High (828)298-2500 1207
Reynolds Middle (828)298-7484 563
Roberson High (828)654-1765 1470
Sand Hill-Venable Elem (828)670-5028 561
Valley Springs Middle (828)654-1785 680
Weaverville Elementary (828)645-3127 359
Weaverville Primary (828)645-4275 235
West Buncombe Elementary (828)232-4282 580
Williams Elementary (828)686-3856 456
Woodfin Elementary (828)232-4287 129