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First time in Asheville

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Ohio
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First time in Asheville

My husband and I are going to be spending our anniversary in Asheville Oct. 18-20. This will be our first visit and we are staying at The Hilton Biltmore Park. We are planning to visit The Biltmore Estate in the spring. I am an amateur photographer and would love some advice on where the best places are for photo ops of the fall foliage. I should throw in that we are not hikers. I would also like some suggestions for a romantic dinner (steak & seafood) and any other must see or do suggestions. Thanks!

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: First time in Asheville

Be warned about the Government Shutdown. Many of the side roads in the National Park will be closed. The good news is the Smoky Mountain Parkway will be opened. Some of the government facilities..(visitor center, campground, etc) maybe closed though.

I would recommend pisgahinn.com/dining_and_banquet_facilities.… You can have dinner and shoot the views from the porch. I would call to make sure they will be open, while they are not government owned, its unclear what effect the shutdown will have own tourism. My instincts are that they will probably busy as the Parkway will become the "leafing" alternative to the National Park closure.

Waterfalls are abundant southwest of Asheville. Dupont State Park is famous for being used to film "Hunger Games" and "Last of Mohicans." Gorges State Park is a little further southwest. Though this may require a bit more walking.

http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/dupont1.htm

Romantic Asheville is a good source of information.

http://www.romanticasheville.com/

Edited: 03 October 2013, 20:21
Asheville, North...
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2. Re: First time in Asheville

The Pisgah Inn was closed on Thursday and as far as I know it has not reopened. My understanding is that the Parkway is open but services such as picnic grounds, bathrooms, and campgrounds are closed. Keep that in mind when planning--it can take quite a while to make it back to "civilization" from up there to get to a bathroom.

Visit the Grove Park Inn as well. They might have that romantic dinner you're looking for. They were charging something like $7-$10 for parking if you're not staying there (unsure if that's changed since they were bought out by Omni) but it's a gorgeous hotel with breathtaking views, especially if you go at sunset. If nothing else, wander around the lobby and have drinks on the terrace.

http://www.groveparkinn.com/

Be sure to walk around the gardens at the Biltmore Estate. As you drive from the house over to Antler Hill Village (all on the estate), stop and get out at the lagoon. You'll have a gorgeous view of the house from there. (This is past the bass pond, which you'll see first). Stop by the winery while you're there as well, if that's something you would enjoy.

If you can, build in some time to wander around downtown Asheville. We have a lot of cool restaurants and shops. I always tell everyone to stop by the French Broad Chocolate Lounge for pastries (Ignore the line. It moves fast and is more than worth the wait, I promise you) and The Chocolate Fetish for truffles. I somehow haven't been up there, but there's a place called The Skybar that looks like it should have great views.

http://frenchbroadchocolates.com/

http://chocolatefetish.com/

The North Carolina Arboretum should be beautiful at this time of year. The Botanical Gardens at Asheville should be as well.

http://www.ncarboretum.org/

http://www.ashevillebotanicalgardens.org/

I don't really eat steak or seafood, but friends say The Lobster Trap and The Admiral are fantastic. You might want to make reservations for either place.

http://thelobstertrap.biz/

http://theadmiralnc.com/our-menu/

Happy anniversary and enjoy your trip to Asheville!

Chapel Hill, North...
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3. Re: First time in Asheville

Blue Ridge Parkway, not Smoky Mountain Parkway. Hwy 441 from Cherokee to Gatlinburg is open for through traffic through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but no overlooks or spur roads are open and the GSMNP is shut down.

I think you can find some great views right at Biltmore. Check out this gorgeous Japanese Maple shot that was in National Geographic a few years ago: …nationalgeographic.com/travel/…

Ohio
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4. Re: First time in Asheville

Thanks so much for taking the time to provide all the information! It's much appreciated.

Atlanta
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5. Re: First time in Asheville

Drive highways 276 and 215 off the BRP. Lots of photo ops there. Take 215 north of the BRP. You will be by yourself and there are tons of photo ops. There is a stone arched bridge under the highway. It was built in the 1930's. There is waterfalls coming down landing in an emerald green pool at the bottom. It is a beautiful place.

Go south on 276 off the BRP. There is a pretty trout stream that follows the road. Great photo ops at Looking Glass Falls. Do a google.

Have fun.

Edited: 07 October 2013, 02:50
Ohio
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6. Re: First time in Asheville

Thanks so much!! Sounds perfect!

United States
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7. Re: First time in Asheville

Currently driving the BRP and indeed, all campgrounds and visitor centers (except for sure one in Virginia north of Roanoke at Explore Park which is apparently county-run and therefore open) are closed, bathrooms locked, campground road gates closed. But all the overlooks and the trails off them are open and accessible and the colors are getting lovely. We drove milepost 120-20 (north) then 120 -230 south and were amazed at the fall colors we saw, as we thought we were a little early. Still lots of green, but plenty of yellow orange and red - just a gorgeous couple of days. Going milepost 230-300 tomorrow. There is no traffic whatsoever, making pull-offs and turn-arounds for photography more reasonable.

We got a BRP flyer in our hotel that listed gas availability in terms of the milemarker at which highways with services cross the highway, which was useful, and there were several clusters of businesses along those cross roads which we used for bathroom, gas, and food breaks, not really a big problem.

North Carolina
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8. Re: First time in Asheville

Best photo ops will be from overlooks and along the Blue Ridge Parkway! Peak color in the higher elevations outside of Asheville when you are here. Biltmore's Walled Garden has a great fall display of mums and other fall plantings.

Atlanta, Georgia
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9. Re: First time in Asheville

Pisgah Inn is back open after an injunction.

10. Re: First time in Asheville

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