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Asheville-Hendersonvillescenic artists' retreat

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Asheville Basics

Asheville

Whether you are an outdoorsman, epicurean, artist or music lover, Asheville’s free-spirited attitude nurtures the soul. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this one-time frontier town-turned-vacation destination has become a haven for creative types and those looking to take in some fresh mountain air.

Known to many as the location of George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate, the largest private home in the U.S., Asheville is also home to a colorful and down-to-earth crowd. The unique spirit of this Western North Carolina town is immediate when you walk the streets of downtown. Street musicians young and old perform ballads, and galleries abound that showcase the unique perspective of local artists through handmade jewelry, painting, sculpture and more.

And there are wonderful restaurants that range from Himalayan specialties and pizza to dressed-up pub fare. What many of these restaurants have in common, however, is the “eat local” slogan and practice of serving up cuisine prepared with fresh produce from nearby farms. This local and handcrafted movement also applies to drinking. With more breweries per capita than any city in the U.S., Asheville allows beer lovers to “drink local" with many restaurants touting menus that feature only local brews.

After taking a mountain hike, sampling farm-to-table fare and drinking a pint of local brew, music is the next staple of the Asheville scene. Whether it is a brewery, a restaurant or a bar, live music is always on the menu and on any given night it can range from hard rock to reggae or even a guest DJ spinning dance music.

Music also fills the streets. If you stroll past Pritchard Park on a summer evening, you may hear the sound of beating drums from the now-famous drum circle. Listeners, dancers and drummers participate to create a unique experience and tradition that is the perfect metaphor for the spirit of Asheville, a city that truly marches to the beat of its own drum.

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