I spent two glorious weeks in Asheville, North Carolina and I can’t think of a city in America I ever fallen in love with harder. It’s a nature lover’s paradise. June was the perfect time to visit because rhododendron, mountain laurel, and azaleas were in bloom and absolutely outrageous. Not to mention the sensational firefly show every night. Temperatures were warm enough for shorts and t-shirts, a dip under a waterfall, but cool enough so that you don’t think of unrelenting southern heat. Swaths of land surrounding Asheville to the north, east, and west are engulfed in Pisgah National Forest.
A ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway takes you through the forest, America’s longest linear park running 469 miles linking Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina all the way up to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Some of the tallest mountains of the eastern United States reside along the parkway – such as Mount Mitchell, highest peak east of the Mississippi River – an hour from Asheville.
There are countless vistas, pull offs, swimming holes, hiking trails, and biking opportunities throughout the land.
+The Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor’s Center [195 Hemphill Knob Rd, Asheville, NC 28803] can supply you with a map, especially because there is limited cell reception in some areas. Plus you can find out any additional information you may need, and a restroom!
+Be prepared with supplies! Have enough fuel in your car, there are no gas stations on the parkway. Come packed with food and water, although there are concessions stands and visitors centers along the way, they are far and few between.
+Mind the speed limit on the curving mountainous roads. If you find cars tailgating you, pull over and enjoy the view at one of the numerous vistas so everyone is more relaxed.
+Respect the wildlife and be up to date on what to do if you encounter bears. Leave no trace.
+Weather can change at the drop of a dime. Bring layers and rain gear no matter how warm or sunny when you leave your accommodations.
+The Folk Art Center [Milepost, 382 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Asheville, NC 28805] is a neat places to grab local crafts and has a very unique gallery.
+R e l a x and enjoy the ride, there is no cost to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway or hike in Pisgah National Forest. No trip to Asheville is complete without a into the mountains and over the next few days I’ll be sharing my favorite spots along the Parkway.