A 30-minute drive from our bed and breakfast is downtown Asheville, a beautiful, bustling downtown with more that 200 locally-owned shops, 30+ art galleries and more than 50 restaurants. The city's rich architectural legacy with its mix of Art Deco, Beaux Arts and Neoclassical styles is the perfect retro-urban backdrop to the edgy energy that emanates from the galleries, distinctive restaurants and exciting entertainment venues. Known as an art colony, a healing resort and a home to notable luminaries, statesmen and bohemians, Asheville is one of the most welcoming, vibrant cities in America.
While many cities underwent major overhauls in past decades, Asheville's historic and architecturally diverse downtown remains beautifully preserved. Downtown Asheville is a rare place. Artists and street musicians converge with tourists and locals for a vibrancy rarely found in a city of this size. There is always something happening downtown. People sip cups of Joe at one of several locally-owned coffee shops, listen to live music at a local club. They go on art walks, winding their way through downtown's galleries. Shoppers inspect unique boutique finds, or people simply enjoy fine cuisine and people-watching.
The city is pedestrian friendly, with wrought-iron benches throughout downtown, and many eateries have open-air dining sections that allow visitors to enjoy the city’s mild weather. In downtown Asheville, it is a pleasure - not a stress - to go shopping.
Downtown Shopping and Galleries
Grove Arcade - One of the most interesting and inviting spots for downtown shopping is the Grove Arcade. This renovated historic building is worth a visit to admire the architecture alone, but it's also a wonderful place to wander, shop or visit galleries. The dining options range from Chicago-style hot dogs to frozen custard, wine bars to coffee shops, upscale restaurants to sidewalk cafes. The area nearby the Grove Arcade is also lined with several shops and restaurants.
Asheville Downtown Gallery Association - There's a reason Asheville's arts scene is heralded again and again. In downtown Asheville, there are 30 galleries belonging to this organization alone. The group offers maps and self-guided tours, as well as City Center art walks. You can also find the works of 150 artists at Woolworth Walk in the heart of downtown Asheville.
Wall Street - This picturesque side street in downtown Asheville features a mix of unique shops Broadway to Biltmore - This corridor, with Broadway to one side of Patton Avenue and Biltmore to the other, is lined with several popular downtown Asheville shops and true local institutions like Mast General Store.
Lexington Avenue - This funky and eclectic neighborhood is the place to shop for the delightfully unexpected, from political bumper stickers to punk tee-shirts to new age books.
The most fascinating tour downtown is also the best value. For just a buck, tour the Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site, the novelist's boyhood home and setting for his 1929 novel "Look Homeward, Angel." In the nearby Montford Historic District, you can visit Riverside Cemetery, the final resting place for Wolfe and O. Henry.
The River Arts District, filled with dozens of working art studios, is one of the Asheville area's unique arts neighborhoods. Just minutes away, the River Arts District located along the French Broad River is home to an eclectic mix of contemporary and traditional artists. Studio strolls are offered twice a year, but visitors are welcome year-round to the funky, distinctive collection of studios housed in renovated warehouses. The Folk Art Center, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, showcases their work along with ongoing exhibits and demonstrations.
Biltmore Estate is just a couple of miles from downtown Asheville. After a day of touring Asheville, return to peace and solitude at our bed and breakfast in Waynesville.
If you really want a unique way to see Asheville, consider Moving Sidewalk Tours for a guided,
Segway tour. Dina and I recently went on a 2-hour tour with our guide, Wes, leading the way. First of all, the Segways are really cool to use. They are alot easier to manuever than they look and give you a distinctive perspective of Asheville. The best part is, you can go just about anywhere on them. Secondly, they are whisper quiet and allow you to converse together just as if you are walking side-by-side. Lastly, they allow you to cover more of Asheville without making you feel worn out from all that walking. All you have to do is stand in one place, shift your body weight in the direction you want to go and the Segway does all the work! If you can maintain your balance on an escalator or "moving sidewalk" belt (like in large airports), you can definitely ride a Segway. We had a great time and we know you will, too!
Just mention Brookside Mountain Mist Inn when making your reservation and get $10 off per tour! When your Asheville adventure is over, come back home to a warm fire, a cozy room and a peaceful night's sleep at our Waynesville bed and breakfast, Brookside Mountain Mist Inn. Come for the scenery, stay for the adventure!
Just as our experience of nature is intimate, visitors to The North Carolina Arboretum connect with plants in personal ways that are as diverse and rich as the land itself.
Whether you enjoy strolling through gardens, exploring exhibits, enriching your mind or hiking and biking, the Arboretum offers activities for all ages, including:
- A 434-acre natural treasure with 65 acres of cultivated gardens and 10 miles of hiking and biking trails
- Engaging indoor and outdoor exhibits that cultivate connections between people and plants
- One of the finest, most unique bonsai collections in the United States at the Bonsai Exhibition Garden
- Activities such as Discovery Day Packs and special events that delight the senses for all ages
- Regional offerings and unique items at the gift shop
- Enriching adult and youth education programs
What is now the Friends of the WNC Nature Center, a 501c3 non-profit charity, was formed as the “Western North Carolina Zoological Society” in October 1974, and with the Center staff, developed the mission statement: to educate the public about the natural history, flora and fauna of the Southern Appalachians and to develop public responsibility for its conservation. The Center is now home to over sixty species of wild and domestic animals and hundreds of species of plants, all representative of this unique bio-region, the Southern Appalachians. The Center is currently operated by the City of Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department.
This market is conveniently near downtown Asheville, N. C., and between two major Interstate Highways. We are on a thirty-six-acre site with a beautiful panoramic view of the mountains, and the Biltmore Estate. The market was first opened in 1977, and is now open all year round, and seven days a week. The public is invited to come here and enjoy the atmosphere and character of the mountains. Admission is FREE.
Our retail area features displays of high quality fruits and vegetables, mountain crafts, jams, jellies, preserves, sourwood honey, fresh baked breads, cookies and dozens of other farm fresh items. Inside you will also find a deli that offers sandwiches and ice cream. These buildings are open daily 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., April-October; 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., November-March.