We feel so lucky to have been able to avoid the devastation caused by Hurricane Irene, and can’t imagine how difficult it is for everyone in the affected areas at the moment. We also feel pretty lucky to have had the opportunity to discover Asheville, North Carolina, a spot in the Blue Ridge Mountains we otherwise would not have ever visited on this New York to New Orleans road trip.
‘Keep Asheville Weird’ is the motto of this small but strong city filled with proud independent shops and a population of creative artist types who fight to keep it that way. Being on the road we pass through countless restaurant and hotel chains, and start to wonder where the individuals have all gone. What a relief it is to find an entire town so focused on keeping things local.
Asheville is also a great base to explore the truly stunning mountains of western North Carolina. Just 30 minutes north is the town of Hot Springs, set smack dab on the Appalachian Trail, which makes its way over 2,100 miles from Georgia to Maine. We hiked just a small portion of the trail, and spent some time in town, where there was an eclectic mix of hardcore mountain hikers resting and refueling, groups pumped up for white water rafting which leaves from Hot Springs, and friendly bikers giving their Harleys a break from day cruising through the endless green mountains.
15 minutes south of Asheville is the charming village of Biltmore, purpose-built in the 1890s at the entrance to the Biltmore Estate, still the largest home in America. The village is packed with shopping and independent restaurants, and for the road-trippers out there, a great aspect of a visit to Biltmore is the free parking throughout the entire town!
Tonight we sleep in Charlotte, NC and are ready to explore here tomorrow morning before heading back to the coast, on to Charleston, South Carolina. We would love some advice on what to see and do in Charleston, our next two-day stop, or the following stop in Savannah, Georgia! Tweet us, leave us a comment on our Facebook page or comment here. We will try to do as many of your suggestions as possible and let you know here that day if we took your suggestion!