If you listen to top media sources like Good Morning America, Fodorís, and TripAdvisor.com, you will imagine a vacation in Asheville as a portal to paradise. Lush, tree-lined mountain roads and roaring rivers call to the outdoors persons who thrives on hiking, kayaking, mountain biking or fly-fishing. Thousand s of visitors each year are attracted to sophisticated culinary options in and around Asheville as well as many choices in art and cultural venues. Families vacation in Asheville just to visit to Biltmore Estate or the Grove Park Inn, the Thomas Wolfe House, Chimney Rock and other sites.
Why are major media sources gushing about Asheville? The truth is, these news sources are culling the opinions of the masses. In August 2011, Good Morning America (GMA) queried viewers and wanted to know, ĎWhatís the Most Beautiful Place in America?í The morning show received thousands of photos and responses. Asheville was selected #1 as the most gorgeous spot in the U.S. The City was nominated by Alan Ostmann from Candler, who lives on the edge of the Pisgah Forest. The ABC News GMA website describes Asheville as "a small city tucked in the Appalachian Mountains rich with art, architecture and outstanding scenery." Ostmann says he hikes and bikes the area all the time and "am always amazed at the beauty nature can reveal to us."
I have lived in a woodland garden in South Asheville for over 16 years. This four-season garden on the edge of the wilderness is filled with natural surprises, color and animal life year round. Though I have grown used to the experience of being here, I see visitors who rarely get to experience nature in this intimate way and -- they love every minute of it.
TripAdvisor.com recently released their top 15 list for destinations that have seen the most increase in reviews on the website. Asheville is #13 on the popularity list. The TripAdvisor review cites Asheville as "a resort for the wealthy" with a great deal of appeal for the "outdoor enthusiast." Asheville remains a popular choice among the well-heeled and middle-income families in search of a fun, affordable vacation. Couples in search of a romantic setting, the young or hardy in search of a wilderness adventure, nature enthusiasts, musicians, artists and foodies will find something in Asheville to excite and inspire them, too.
The aforementioned media sources represent popular opinion about Asheville as a destination. Also, being reviewed and recommended by Fodorís - a well-established and respected travel publication that has produced guides on major cities for years Ė is a stellar accomplishment. Fodorís editors consider Asheville Ďthe hippest city in the South.í Fodorís describes Asheville as a diverse mix of retirees, aging hippies, and halfbacks from the Northern U.S. who retired to Florida and moved halfway back. The review says that the art and culture scene in Asheville "rivals that of Santa Fe," and is complemented by unique boutiques, restaurants, gift stores, galleries and antique shops in and near the downtown district.
These glowing recommendations from top media sources and websites do not come unearned. At the heart of it all, Asheville truly is a mountain community founded on the ideals and practices of agrarian people. Appalachian Culture remains strong and respected here. George Vanderbilt set down roots in Asheville in the late 19th Century when he built his estate here. The Biltmore Estate drew other wealthy industrialists, architects, artisans, restaurateurs and tourists to the area. Today, the population of 70,000+ is a cosmopolitan, creative and quirky mix of people.