Just spent a week in the Asheville area. Will try to condense what could be a very long write up!
Visted....Biltmore Estate, Flatrock Theatre, Chimney Rock Park, Lake Lure (boat trip), Dupont Forest (waterfall hike), walked the Urban Trail through Asheville, North Carolina Mountain Fair and visited 4 different retirement communities as well as the towns of Hendersonville, Flat Rock, Brevard and Asheville.
Stayed...Hampton Inn Biltmore Square. Newly updated, central to everything we wanted to do, breakfast included and excellent staff.
Dined....La Paz in Biltmore Village (great margueritas!), 12 Bones in river district of Asheville (lunch only 11-4, huge lines, moves quickly, great bbq reasonably priced, not fancy, infact the dumpiness is part of the charm!) Never Blue and Mezzaluna in Hendersonville, (both very good, Never Blue gets the decorating award for best redone garage space with built in fountain,tiled bar etc.) Larkins on the Lake in Lake Lure (we actually ate in the restaurant on the lower level over looking the beautiful lake. Boats dock to eat here) Apollo Flame Bistro (quick food, it was ok), Moose Cafe (ok...started vacuuming while we were still eating) Stone Ridge Tavern (very good) The last 3 restaurants were near our hotel.
NC Mountain Fair.....Ostrich burgers, corn dogs, jumbo turkey legs, frozen pickles on a stick, frozen cheesecake on a stick, fried Oreos......what more could you want? (we didn't eat the above!) Best fair I've ever seen, alot of rides, entertainment (singing, all kinds of animals, pig races! and much more) First time seeing a man shot out of a cannon.
Tips.... Biltmore tickets can be purchased at AAA on Merrimon Ave in Asheville for $40/person. (covers 2 days if you go late the first day) We went to the estate after 3pm (was told it can now be after 2pm) the first day to see the winery and farm. We returned the next day for the house and gardens. Rented the audio for house tour $10/person. Well worth it. Glad we could split it up because it's alot to take in.
Flatrock Playhouse has 2 for 1 tickets on selected days.....check the website or visit the welcome center in Hendersonville to get info. Must call the day of and bring coupon (or computer print out) of special deal. Tickets were $30/person so this was a good deal.
Throughly enjoyed the hour long pontoon boat tour of Lake Lure $14/person. The guide was funny and the lake is beautiful. Saw the site filmed for Dirty Dancing (Patrick Swayze died the day after our ride) Chimney Rock Park ($14/person) provided a chance to sweat taking the steep climb up to Exclamation Point. There is an elevator available for those who want to take it easy. Also a 400 ft waterfall easier hike. We spent 2-3 hours here and enjoyed it. A LONG windy car ride to get to the parking area.
Dupont Forest waterfall hike is free and beautiful. Kids were swimming near the one of the falls and even able to sit under the fall on a ledge as the water streamed over them. There are several falls here and the hike gets steeper as the falls go up.
Enjoyed this forum for it helped me plan what to do so thanks to the posters!!