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.
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.
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.
|Avery’s Creek Elementary||(828)654-1810||595|
|Black Mountain Elementary||(828)669-5217||208|
|Black Mountain Primary||(828)669-2645||385|
|Cane Creek Middle||(828)628-0824||543|
|Community High School||(828)686-7734||122|
|Glen Arden Elementary||(828)654-1800||550|
|Haw Creek Elementary||(828)298-4022||393|
|Hominy Valley Elementary||(828)665-0619||432|
|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|
|Sand Hill-Venable Elem||(828)670-5028||561|
|Valley Springs Middle||(828)654-1785||680|
|West Buncombe Elementary||(828)232-4282||580|