http://ashevilleescapes.com/things-to-do/activities/

Asheville Escapes

Activities

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Notes from the owner:

“After coming to Asheville over the last twenty years, and having traveled extensively, I find this place to be among the most beautiful places I have ever seen.”

“From time to time I will add a special place or experience here for your consideration.”

OUTDOOR ADVENTURE

  • Rafting, kayaking, canoeing, and tubing is all as close as the French Broad River, which is a class II-III river. As no experience is required, it is a perfect first-time adventure that the whole family can enjoy. There are several outfitters to service your needs, the closest is SOUTHERN WATERWAYS. Various outfitters have age and weight restrictions for young children, so be sure to ask about their policies if you are taking little ones along.
  • ASHEVILLE OUTDOORS is a wonderful website in which they describe and rate various hiking trails, cycling routes, fishing spots, horseback riding, golf courses and ski slopes. Some of the best trails for hiking and camping are off the Blue Ridge Parkway, for a guide to these see: http://www.ncnatural.com/a>.
  • THE NORTH CARLOINA ARBORETUM is a 434 acre public garden located within Bent Creek Experimental Forest of the Pisgah National Forest. As a center for education, research, conservation, economic development, and garden demonstrations it offers a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages. Stop by the Information Desk at the Visitors Education Center (VEC) to pick up a brochure listing current programs, tours and workshops. Open all year, except New Year’s Day & Jan 2nd, Christmas Day & Dec 26, & Thanksgiving Day & the day after. On other holidays the property will be open but the greenhouse will be closed.
  • ROCK ‘N’ WATER offers whitewater rafting and tubing for the whole family, guided trips for fishing, mountain biking, and horse back riding. Mars Hill about a 50 minute drive from the house.
  • Capture the beauty of Western North Carolina from a bird’s eye view with ASHEVILLE HOT AIR BALLONS.

GOLF

There are 4 public golf courses within a 25-35 minute drive of Highwoods:

  • GREAT SMOKIES GOLF RESORT: 1 Holiday Inn Dr, Asheville, 254-3211
  • GROVE PARK INN: 290 Macon Ave, Asheville, 1-800-438-0050
    Award winning course, 18 holes over 6,600 yards, par 70. 17 miles east.
  • ASHEVILLE MUNICIPAL GOLF COURSE: 226 Fairway Dr., Asheville, 289-1867
    18 holes over 6,356 yards, par 72. 19 miles east.
  • LAKE JUNALUSKA GOLF COURSE: 756 Golf Course Rd, Waynesville, 456-5777
    18 holes over 5,744 yards, par 70. 19.5 miles west.

WATERFALLS

If this is your first trip to the area you might want to consider a day trip to take in a few of the many waterfalls in the area. There are three in Buncombe County that are relatively close to one another:

  • GLASSMINE FALLS OVERLOOK on the Blue Ridge Parkway at mile marker 361.2 it is just a short drive north of the FOLK ART CENTER. To get to Walker Falls continue another 6.25 miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and turn left onto FR 63 and continue 6.3 miles to SR 2173 (becomes FR 74) turn right onto 2173 & drive 5.25 miles. The falls will be on the left. Douglas (Carter Creek) Falls is a little further along SR 2173 at the end of the road. All are Handicapped Accessible.
  • For some of the prettiest waterfalls in the area you will want to drive down to Transylvania County. A third of the county is covered by National Parks and boasts of 250 waterfalls. Some are a short or moderate walk, whiles others take several hours to make the round trip hike. See http://www.goasheville.com for a list of some of the best falls in that area.

DOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE

Be sure to spend a little time discovering Asheville. It is has an attractive downtown area, friendly to pedestrian traffic.

  • A good place to start is the GROVE ARCADE PUBLIC MARKET with over 50 locally owned shops and restaurants. The kids will love the activities and shops catering to their interests on Wall Street and adults will find the boutiques along the short walk charming. At http://www.ashevilledowntown.org/downtown.shtml you will find more that will tantalize all your senses in the downtown districts. There are more restaurants, boutiques and several great galleries in the Biltmore Village just outside the entrance to the Biltmore Estate. New Morning Gallery is a personal favorite.
  • See the best of Asheville on board a vintage trolley and enjoy the fully narrated TROLLEY TOUR covering all major points of interest in Asheville including: the Grove Park Inn, Biltmore Village, the Grove Arcade, the Montford Historic District, the downtown shopping and restaurants district, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, the Asheville Museum and Art Gallery district, the Asheville Chamber and Visitors Center and much more!
  • For beer enthusiasts Asheville also hosts several fine local breweries. At ASHEVILLE PIZZA and BREWING COMPANY you can also take in a $2 movie. The FRENCH BROAD BREWING CO. offers live music. Or leave the driving to someone else and join the ASHEVILLE BREWS CRUISE.

DINING

There are many great places to eat in Asheville! Please see our DINING PAGE devoted to dining places you must add to your destination list. If you find another that is really special please let us know so that we can share it with others.

STAGE PRODUCTIONS

Jan – Dec

  • NORTH CAROLINA STAGE COMPANY: Asheville’s professional theatre company invites you to live in the moment with their plays. This year’s productions are a wonderful sampling of everything NC Stage does best – poignant drama, hilarious comedy, a twist on an American classic, the best Shakespeare around, and something to make you puzzle and ponder and laugh all at the same time.
  • Usually on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and some Sunday matinees ASHEVILLE COMMUNITY THEATRE offers a wide variety of plays and musicals throughout the year.
  • DIANA WORTHAM THEATRE: provides year round entertainment including OFF BROADWAY SHOWS, THEATRE PRESENTATIONS, SPECIAL ATTRACTIONS, MUSIC AND DANCE PRODUCTIONS and more. Some shows run 2 to 5 nights, while others are just one-night stands, all are terrific.
  • Jazz enthusiasts should check out the WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA JAZZ SOCIETY to see if they are performing during your stay.
  • THE ORANGE PEEL: preformances change often, you might catch a show on Mondays-Saturdays, or you might not, but if you hit it right you won’t be disappointed. Asheville.

Apr – Dec

Jun – Sep

  • THE MONTFORD PARK PLAYERS : NC longest running Shakespeare Festival, in an open-air amphitheater in historic Montford district, admission is free, bring a blanket, a sweater or jacket, bug spray or citronella candles, and a picnic basket (optional), drinks and snacks sold at concession stand. Asheville 7:30pm Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, 828-254-5146.

FESTIVALS & EVENTS

  • Following are some of the more unique things going in the greater Asheville and surrounds. Please check websites for exact dates and times, as they can vary year to year.
  • On Fridays our local newspaper, the Asheville Citizen Times, publishes a special section “Take Five” highlighting events for that weekend and the following week.
  • There is also an on-line calendar where you can check what might be going on a weekly basis: Explore Asheville.

Jan – Dec

  • Craft admirers should keep an eye on what may be going on at the SOUTHERN HIGHLAND CRAFT GUILD.
  • THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTIANS RAILROAD: is truly spectacular with 53 miles of track, two tunnels and 25 bridges. Choose from a variety of round trip excursions departing from depots in Dillsboro and Bryson City. For a unique dining experience enjoy a romantic evening aboard the Gourmet Dinner Train departing every Saturday evening or participate in an entertaining and suspenseful performance aboard the Mystery Theatre Dinner Train departing on select Friday evenings May through Sep with additional departures in Oct and Nov. Throughout the year there are special events that will delight children. Dillsboro is less than an hour west of Highwoods.
  • The Health Adventure: Check website for current traveling exhibits, or just to stop by to enjoy some smart fun with your family, there is always something happening. Open daily, except Sundays; 828-665-2217.
  • RIVER DISTRICT ARTISTS and STUDIO STROLL: Check website for individual artist hours, special exhibits and classes.
  • HAPPENINGS IN HAYWOOD COUNTY.
  • DOWNTOWN WAYNESVILLE EVENTS CALENDAR.
  • MUSIC & ART AT LAKE JUNALUSKA.
  • THINGS GOING ON IN BREVARD, NC .
  • FELMET ANTIQUES AND COLLECTIONS AUCTION: regular auctions of estate & consigned quality merchandise, Waynesville, 828-456-8285.
  • HAND in HAND GALLERY. Flat Rock, NC 828-697-7719

Early Jan – Feb (weather permitting) Saturdays only 11am to 1pm

  • FLY FISHING CASTING CLINICS: Students will learn casting basics along the French Broad River. Located in Rosman, NC, about an hour and 20 minutes from the house. Reservations required 828-877-3106.

Feb, 3nd weekend

  • BLUE GRASS FIRST CLASS: The entire Crown Plaza Resort will become a haven for blue grass music lovers with plenty of live music and jamming; a 3 day event.

Early April – mid May

  • FESTIVAL OF FLOWERS at the Biltmore Estate, the gardens are alive with color as spring arrives. Enjoy special events and the beauty of tulips, azaleas, and countless other flowers as nature awakes from it’s winter rest.

Early Apr – mid Jun, Saturdays only

Apr – Dec, 1st Fri of each month only, 5pm to 8pm

  • ART WALK: Asheville Downtown Gallery Association invites you to visit the downtown galleries to enjoy the fine art and craft that they have to offer.

Mid Apr – Sep

  • Check website for event dates in Hot Springs. Hot Springs is due north of Highwoods in Madison County at the junction of the Appalachian Trail and the French Broad River where you can find whitewater rafting, tubing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and fishing. A scenic 35 mile drive from the house.

Mid Apr – Nov

Local Farmers Markets

  • Tue 3:30pm – 6:30pm: 718 Haywood Road in West Asheville.
  • Wed 2pm – 6pm: Downtown Asheville: 70 Biltmore Ave, 828-255-7650
  • Sat 8am – 1pm: Downtown Asheville City Market, 161 South Charlotte St, 828-348-0340
  • Sun 11am – 3pm: Greenlife Sunday Market, 70 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, 828-254-5440.
  • Wed & Sun: N. Main St., Waynesville, 828-456-3517

Late Apr – Oct

Maggie Valley calendar of events.

May 1st weekend

May or Jun

  • GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN TROUT, WILDLIFE & HERITAGE FESTIVAL: not the same old Trout Festival! This environmental and educational event features children’s activities, live entertainment, crafts and a variety of food. A trout dinner is also served during the event. The festival includes a trout race, fly-casting, and numerous environmental programs geared toward youth. More than $1,500 in cash prizes is awarded to the trout race winners, Maggie Valley Festival Grounds, NC, call for details 828-926-0866, ext 113.

May, last weekend

  • BURLESQUE & SIDESHOW FESTIVAL: Boylesque? Burlesque? Aerialists, fire eaters, jugglers and acrobats? The international Vaudeville Revival is in full bloom and gets a big stage at Asheville’s annual Americana Burlesque & Sideshow Festival; a 3 day event.
  • MOUNTAIN SPORTS FESTIVAL; a 3 day sports and music event.

May – Sep

  • DISCOVERY AT DUSK, Saturdays only: slip your canoe into the tranquil waters of the French Broad River in Western NC and ease your way downstream as the days light fades to dusk. Your guided trip covers 8 river miles and ends at sunset, Rosman, NC, about an hour and 20 minutes from the house. Reservations required 828–877-3106.

May – Sep, every 3rd Fri of the month

  • DOWNTOWN AFTER FIVE: free concert series. Features live music, beer, soft drinks & food on Pack Square downtown Asheville.

May – Oct

  • OCONALUFTEE INDIAN VILLAGE: Experience Cherokee village life in the 1750s. Visit the council house, ceremonial grounds, and sweat lodge, where you’ll learn of the Cherokee way of life and the seven-clan society. See traditional potters, basket weavers, blowgun marksmen, mask-makers, bead-workers, arrowhead knappers, and craftsmen making great canoes by ancient methods. A life so peaceful you may not want to return home. Cherokee, NC.

May – Nov, first Fri of each month

  • ART AFTER DARK: more than a dozen fine galleries & studios, offering demonstrations, special showings, refreshments & music 6-9pm, Main Street and Historic Frog Level at downtown Waynesville.

Jun – Aug, 7:30pm nightly except Sun

  • UNTO THESE HILLS: an outdoor drama depicting the tragic and triumphant story of the Cherokee Indians from 1540 to 1883, Cherokee, NC.

Late Jun – early Aug

  • THE BREVARD MUSIC FESTIVAL: seven weeks of a summer music series featuring over eighty concerts presented by young musicians, esteemed faculty and renowned guest artists, Brevard, NC, about an hour from the house.

Jun – Dec

  • OUTDOOR SCULPTURE for the GARDEN EXHIBIT: Grovewood Gallery’s annual invitational, outdoor sculpture exhibition features large-scale, contemporary outdoor sculptures from nationally recognized artists from around the country. Sculptures will range from playful pieces suitable for the home or garden, to works for public spaces and corporate settings. This event is open to the public and free of charge. Located behind the Grove Park Inn.

Jul – Aug, Fridays only

  • For a true taste of Asheville, stop by the DRUMMING CIRCLE on Friday nights in Pritchard Park downtown on Patton Avenue at College Street. Join folks of every age and description. Watch people dance to the thunderous rhythm of the dozens of drums. Or better yet, join in! See the individuality and diversity of Asheville.
  • Locals and visitors alike gather along about sundown for those who wear a watch. Musicians and dancers from across Western North Carolina gather on these Saturday nights to share the region’s stirring Southern Appalachian mountain culture and traditions-with each other and visitors from around the world-at the SHINDIG ON THE GREEN. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and stake out a spot on the “green.” But don’t sit in your chair the entire time. Performers go on stage for just two numbers each, so the real jewel is the clusters of musicians that get together for informal jam sessions under the trees and on the sidewalk. Anyone can join in! Learn some new moves at one of the street dances.

Jul 3 & 4

  • JUNALUSKA SINGERS: preform their RED, WHITE & BLUE CONCERT, concerts start at 7:30pm in the Stuart Auditorium, Lake Junaluska.

Jul 4th

  • FIREWORKS CELEBRATIONS: will be held at Asheville, Maggie Valley, Waynesville, Lake Junaluska, Canton, Clyde & Cherokee.

Jul, 2nd weekend of the month

Jul mid to late

  • FOLKMOOT USA: 10-day International folk music and dance festival, venues held in various WNC communities including Waynesville, Canton, Clyde, Maggie Valley.

Mid Jul – Sep

  • SUMMER EVENING CONCERTS at the Biltmore Estate. Enjoy star performances on the South Terrace, while savoring breathtaking sunset views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Past performers include Bruce Hornsby, Rick Springfield and The Oak Ridge Boys.

Aug, 1st weekend

  • MOUNTAIN DANCE & FOLK FESTIVAL: the oldest continuing celebration of traditional music and dance in the nation freaturing Southern Appalachian performers, Diane Wortham Theatre, downtown Asheville 7:00 – 10pm

Aug, 3rd weekend of the month

  • LEICESTER STUDIO TOUR: A self-guided tour to the studios located in the Leicester community – paintings, prints, jewelry, pottery, fiber, woodcrafts, metal works and more.

Aug, 3rd weekend of the month

  • GOOMBAY: African-Caribbean style festival featuring a variety of entertainment – drums, dancers, gospel, contemporary – and activities geared for families. Vendors offer everything from tempting ethnic foods to crafts from developing nations, corner of Eagle & Market Sts., Asheville.

Sep, 1st weekend

  • THE LEXINGTON AVE. ARTS AND FUN FESTIVAL: a truly unique all local music and arts event, where the creative strut their stuff and the rest of us revel and gawk, and even inspired, there will be 2 stages, food and beer, arts and craft vendors, kids area, dancing, and more! Lexington Ave., Asheville.

Sep, begins 2nd weekend and runs for 10 days/nights

Sep, last weekend of the month

  • GREEK FESTIVAL: Asheville’s vibrant Greek community brings authentic foods, music and dancers in native costumes, booths with cultural food, music, dance, and much more at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church on Cumberland Ave. in the historic Montford District of Asheville.

Sep, last weekend of the month

  • ASHEVILLE QUIT SHOW: over 200 quilts, vendors, demonstrations, and boutique. Check website for this year’s location.

Late Sep thru early Nov

  • FALL FOLIAGE SHOW: Nature’s grand leaf color show is the biggest event of the year. With the 5,000-foot elevation change within 50 miles of Asheville, our lush Blue Ridge Mountain range puts on one of the longest-running leaf color displays in the country. The Asheville fall foliage color show featuring the North Carolina mountain attracts visitors from around the world. No matter when you plan an autumn visit, you can take a short drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to find the best color. Elevation and weather are the biggest factors in the color show. Leaves begin their color change on the highest peaks and gradually work down to the lowest elevations. An early frost speeds up the show and warm weather prolongs it.

Oct

Oct, 2nd week

  • ANNUAL CHEROKEE INDIAN FAIR: This nearly century-old Oct celebration includes artwork, crafts, agricultural items and traditional food items made by local artisans. Vendors from throughout the region participate in craft sales, and top entertainment complements the visual feast. Cherokee, NC.

Nov, 1st weekend

Nov, 2nd weekend

  • ASHEVILLE FILM FESTIVAL: This festival draws considerable attention from both casual film buffs and film industry professionals. See some of the 100 films, enjoy parties, see interesting exhibits, and attend seminars in downtown Asheville.

Early Nov thru- early Jan

Dec, 1st weekend

  • DICKENS FESTIVAL: Enjoy three days of concerts, refreshments, horsedrawn carriage rides, and strolling vocalists and instrumentalists in costumes of the period, Biltmore Village.

Dec, 2nd weekend

  • JUNALUSKA SINGERS, preform their Appalachian Christmas, concerts start at 7:30pm in the Stuart Auditorium, Lake Junaluska.

Dec 31

  • DOWNTOWN COUNTDOWN: Family magic and fun to countdown the new year on New Year’s Eve, Asheville, 828-259-5800
  • ANNUAL NEW YEAR’S EVE BALL: bring in the New Year with Towne Square! There will be food, music, dancing, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight, at Towne Square in Waynesville.