Asheville. NC, anyone?

Joined Mar 2, 2002
I just got back from a road trip to Asheville/Blue Ridge Pkwy/Cherokee Nat'l Forest area. I didn't eat out much. There was family to visit, and they covered most of that. Yum! No complaints there. I was impressed, though, by what I saw with the art/music/food/culture-appreciation that seems to be going on in that area. I'm wondering if anyone has insight into what is going on there.



Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
Have only been there once, but thought it looked like a great small city. I know that in the last 8 years or so it has consistently been on the list of America's Most Livable Cities. Other than that, I can't tell you much, other than it is in a beautiful part of the country.
Joined Sep 29, 2003
Hi, Rita,

My old stompin' grounds! Actually Maggie Valley is, but I love Asheville/Hendersonville, too. There's always been a sort of 'artsy' aspect to the area; Brevard Music College, the Biltmore Estate; lots of local mountain crafts. And in the 60's the hippies discovered the area; there are a lot of old communes. The Mother Earth News' mag is located in Hendersonville, along with their huge hands-on farming/housing/solar power exhibits.

An absolutely wonderful part of the country! And a little further west, there's Maggie Valley, a great little almost untouched town just east of teh Cherokee Reservation,home to the Eastern Band of the Cherokees - a la the 'Trail of Tears', when they were all forced out and made the trek to Oklahome thanks to the Feds, where they lost most of their tribes. The Cherokees who hid in the forest and weren't rounded up regrouped to form the present day Cherokee Reservation. An amazing people - the cherokees have the first (and ? only) written language among Native Americans; their tribal rule was/is a democracy, and it was the women who decided if they would go to war!!! Every summer there's a play on the reservation called 'Unto These Hills', which is staged at an outdoor amphitheatre carved into the side of a mountain, and it's a breathtaking summary of the events leading up to the Trail of Tears. All of the parts are played by locals, both Native Americans and white folk. It's something to see!

Over the mountain from Cherokee is Gatlinburg, Tn, which can be quite tourist-trashy , but also is home to the Smokey Mountain Craft College (not the exact name, but close), which was begun around the turn of the century in an attempt to capture the beautiful mountain crafts, and also to provide work for the people in the hills of the Smokies.

Can ya tell I love it?! If any of you get a chance, spend some great time there - it's a wonderful family vacation, and a peaceful, serene place to go to get away from it all!
Joined Mar 2, 2002
Thanks for the responses. I believe the craft school in Gatlinburg is called Arrowmont school of... something or other. I can't remember the whole name. I have been there. I'm not wild about Gatlinburg as a whole, but I liked Arrowmont a lot.

Maggie Valley is definately an area I want to check out. When I was a kid, my cousins lived in NC. Back then, I thought Maggie Valley was just a place where there was an amusement park - I don't remember what it was called. Anyway, it sounds like it's time to re-visit! Thanks for the tip. I will be checking it out soon!

I'm not quite sure why my post was moved. Perhaps this is the best place for it to be. It's no big deal, in any event. The only thing I would mention is this: Cities that tend to be dynamic in a culinary sense also seem to have arts and culture going on as well. When I asked about Asheville (which, unfortunately, is not as well defined in the collective opinion as such cities as New York and Chicago - neither of which need questions like this asked), I was asking, as a professional, about others' opinions/insight into the Asheville scene. I was not asking because I was looking for a bar to go to there. I was asking because I am interested as an individual and also as a professional in learning more about the area because I might want to open a business there - a restaurant business. Food, good food, never exists out of context. That's why I provided the extra info about arts, etc. Also why I appreciate the responses!


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