So you’re thinking of moving to Asheville? Many people come to visit and fall in love with the area. There are so many things to love about it and lots of reasons to move to Asheville or the surrounding area. I’ve been living in or near Asheville for 30+ years – the only other place I’d like as much is the beach! Let’s jump into some facts…then we’ll get to the more interesting things.
Asheville city population: 92,452
Buncombe county population: 261,191
Biggest industries in Asheville: Health Care, Tourism and Manufacturing
Median home sale price in 2019 was $328.5K
Ranked #14 in Forbes “Best Places for Business and Careers” 2019
Local Colleges: UNC- Asheville, A-B Tech, Blue Ridge Community College (Hendersonville area), Haywood Community College (Haywood County), Montreat College, Western Carolina University (Asheville Campus)
Asheville is home to the Asheville Tourists Baseball Team, and has been home to several well known people such as Thomas Wolf and George Vanderbilt. To learn more about Asheville’s unique history, here is a quick read.
Locals divide Asheville into sections: North Asheville, South Asheville, East and West Asheville, and “Downtown”. The established neighborhoods of North Asheville offer beautiful tree-lined streets and a short walk/drive to The Asheville Country Club, Beaver Lake, UNC-A, Grove Park Inn, and the Woodfin YMCA. North Asheville is also home to Asheville Pizza And Brewing – Asheville’s first eat in movie theater!
East Asheville homes are convenient to the VA Hospital, the Asheville Mall, WNC Nature Center, and offer easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Folk Art Center. East Asheville also offers a short drive to Asheville Christian Academy, a private school located in Swannanoa.
Wolf – Image Credit: Andre Bohl
Wolves, otters and mountain lions are a few of the animals you can see at the Nature Center.
West Asheville is a hot market right now, and the place to be if you’re into green living, local food and community co-ops! Lots of people walk the streets with their dogs, and it’s a short walk for a lot of people from home to shopping and dining. It’s a happening little community less than ten minutes to downtown Asheville and less than 15 to the new Asheville Outlet Mall.
South Asheville has seen the most growth over the last few years, with the most recent upscale urban shopping “town square” having opened in 2009. Upscale neighborhoods surround the town square making it very convenient for families living there to go out to eat or to a movie. South Asheville is home to the famous Biltmore Estate, shopping in Biltmore Village and Biltmore Park, and isn’t too far from Mission Health. Along highway 25, also known as Hendersonville Road, you’ll find restaurants galore, fitness centers, shopping centers and another movie theater. South Asheville has it all!
Now that we’ve covered facts and logistics, let’s dive into ten things I personally love about the Asheville area!
1. The Scenery is Beautiful.
There are gorgeous views everywhere! (And if they aren’t gorgeous, they’re interesting.) The city of Asheville was built in a valley surrounded by mountains. From layered mountain views to waterfalls, from riverside vistas to the cityscape, the scenery is awesome! I love to take drives on the parkway and stop at the scenic overlooks, but I also love driving down Kimberly Avenue and looking at the picturesque homes along the tree lined street.
2. Asheville celebrates Art and Local Artists.
Check out Asheville’s River Arts District next time you’re here. I love to watch the glass blowers making beautiful glass sculptures. Another personal favorite of mine is pottery…we have lots of local potters turning out gorgeous pieces. It’s fun to take a tour of the artist’s studios and watch them turn raw materials into beautiful artwork! In addition to visiting the RAD, you can tour the Asheville Art Museum , Wedge studios and the Cotton Mill Studios, among others. You’ll also find some of their work in local shops around town.
3. We have loads of Local Restaurants & U-Pick Farms!
The local food and restaurant movement did not pass us by! We have some of the best locally grown food and locally owned restaurants. (I’m not biased or anything…) Come see for yourself!
One of the locals’ faves is Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack. They have two locations – one in West Asheville and the other in South Asheville. Serving all things chicken from hot ‘n spicy to down home southern – and local beer on tap, their trendy industrial style atmosphere offers a unique experience!
9Mile is another local favorite. Now serving three Asheville locations, their cuisine consists of Caribbean and traditional style pasta and rice dishes, locally made desserts, local brews, kombucha, and more.
One of my personal favorites for southern dishes is Tupelo Honey Cafe. They offer made from scratch breakfast, lunch and dinner – including family style meals. And I have yet to find better tasting Fried Green Tomatoes.
WNC Farmers Market
4. There are lots of really cool Breweries.
From Craft Beers to Hard Ciders, you are sure to find at least one flavor you like. Many of our breweries offer tours, but if you only have time for one, I would recommend touring Sierra Nevada. Or you could turn it into a meal. I love the food there, and it’s worth the 20 min drive from Asheville just to see the gorgeous building. It was built from lumber sourced right from the property! It’s a green built brewery with a family friendly atmosphere, offering games, trails and fire pits out back. Sierra Nevada is a large brewery….if you’re into smaller breweries with more unique twists, check these out – The breweries listed here are all locally owned, with the exception of Wicked Weed.
5. The Airport is Handy.
This may go without saying, but the Asheville airport is awesome for those of you who travel a lot! Much smaller than the Atlanta, Greenville or Charlotte airports, it is easy to navigate and offers direct flights to many popular destinations. Note the mural on the side of the new parking garage in the image below!
6. There are several National Parks to Enjoy.
If you are an outdoor enthusiast, moving to Asheville will only strengthen that about you. There are SO MANY outdoor things to do here! I’ll have to tackle that in another post, but let me at least introduce you to some National Parks. DuPont State Forest is known for several water falls, covered bridge, and miles of hiking trails. Pisgah National Forest contains a campground, The Cradle of Forestry, a fish hatchery, many waterfalls and hiking trails, amazing views from multiple pull-offs, tubing, Sliding Rock, and much more. One of my favorite places to take the kids when they were little is Sycamore Flats…we’d picnic there and play in the river. It’s still one of my favorite places to go! The Blue Ridge Parkway is famous for its scenic vistas, various tunnels and hiking trails. If you want to learn more about our area national parks, go here.
Dupont State Forest
7. Biltmore Estate and Grove Park Inn
These two places are famous all over the world and we have them right in our own backyard! If you are not familiar with either of them, click on these links and check them out! They are worth visiting Asheville if for no other reason. The Biltmore Estate is the largest privately owned home in the nation. It’s extensive gardens and landscaping, (originally designed by Frederick Law Olmstead) offer seasonal color throughout the year. The estate offers tours of the home, winery and stables, horseback riding, river rafting, skeet shooting, a land rover driving course, shopping, dining, an on site hotel, and the list goes on. The home itself is an absolute marvel. You should definitely go see it while you’re checking out the area.
Biltmore House – Image Credit: Matthew Turley
The Grove Park Inn is known as one of the country’s finest resorts and offers a golf club membership as well as a day spa. Housing several restaurants, it offers beautiful views of down town Asheville from the terrace. Along one of it’s corridors in the East wing hang pictures taken during the building process. The original building was completed in just over 11 months…an amazing feat considering they utilized carts and mules to haul boulders. You can find more history about the GPI and the Biltmore Estate here. If you’re thinking of moving to Asheville, you might enjoy staying at either of these places while you’re investigating the area!
The Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa
8. We experience all four Seasons.
One of my favorite things about this area is that we experience all four seasons here. The weather is delightful in the summer – usually in the 80’s, while the winter temps average in the 40’s. Winter is cold but offers the occasional beauty of snowfall. Spring boasts the many colors of flowers and blooming trees, and summer offers the lush green grasses, fully leafed trees and shrubs, and summer perennials. The average summer temperature here is 85…not too shabby if you’re from Florida! Perhaps Fall is the season we can really brag about. People come here during “leaf season” to see the breathtaking fall colors. Some years the color is better than others – depends on the rainfall – so watch the predictions before you make the trip!
9. There are plenty of jobs here.
Asheville has lots of major employers including GE Aviation, Mission Health, Eaton Corporation, and many others. You can find more information on major employers here at the Asheville Chamber of Commerce. Asheville is also a big tourist town, so in addition to major companies, there are plenty of restaurants, retail shops, mall shops and tour companies that can always use help.
10. Downtown has amazing shopping, restaurants, and live music!
Having a vibe unto itself, downtown offers a rich and diverse experience. From rooftop bars & museums to locally owned restaurants & art galleries, from trolley tours & breweries to the water fountain & amphitheater, you will not lack for something to do! Many of the restaurants host live music in all kinds of styles. New High rise condos in the old BB&T building offer views to die for, as do some of the older downtown apartments and condos. If you’re moving to Asheville and you want to be downtown, you’ll have several choices of places to live!
Vance Monument Downtown
Not only does downtown Asheville offer some of the coolest retail shops around, local artists and musicians’ studios, and local draft beer, but it also displays beautiful sculptures, monuments, and a couple of parks! Kids can play in the fountain at Pack Square Park while others picnic on the grass. Pritchard Park hosts the famous Drum Circle on Friday nights. Asheville offers lots of types of tours – we have ghost tours, trolley tours, party bus tours, walking tours, bike tours and even rooftop bar tours! Find a list of more tours here!
Final Thoughts on Moving to Asheville
As you can see, Asheville has a unique vibe unto itself, and it’s a great place to live, work and play. You won’t lack for something to do!
If you are seriously thinking about moving to Asheville, or if you have a few more questions before deciding, please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions about the Asheville area. You can also shoot me a text at 828-674-2360. I’ll get back to you asap! If I don’t know the answer to your questions, I can at least point you in the right direction!