Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Awesome Autumn Adventure

Posted October 10, 2007

Several times a month I receive emails or other inquiries from friends on where to stay and what to do on vacation. Asheville and Black Mountain came up in a recent discussion.

Here are some of my favorite places in that area. I would begin with Black Mountain. It is a beautiful village full of fine shopping. One of my favorite spots is Song of the Wood on the main drag. This is a music store featuring the hand made hammered dulcimers of Jerry Read Smith.

Be sure to take time to visit Montreat, the home of  a Presbyterian conference center and a lovely college campus. You'll find gorgeous views at Lake Susan in the shadows of the Black Mountain range. Check out the Ben Long frescoes at the Montreat chapel.

For a sunrise your best bet is the top of Ridgecrest, the beautiful Baptist conference center in Western NC. or along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I also recommend the Folk Art Center off the parkway near Asheville. For great hiking and views visit Craggy Gardens on the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Asheville. South of Asheville on the BRP you might want to stay at the Pisgah Inn. I love the drive there through lots of tunnels. Great hiking trails await you as well at Pisgah.

Asheville is a jewel with lots of great restaurants downtown. Savor a glass of wine around the huge stone fireplace at Grove Park Inn. And visit America's largest house at the Biltmore Estates which include beautiful gardens and a top notch winery.

These are my recommendations for the Asheville/Black Mountain area.

What would you suggest in that area?  Please include lodging, sightseeing and dining recommendations.


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  • 2thebeach Oct 10, 2007

    For great views, I think old George's view from his back porch at the Biltmore is about the prettiest I've ever seen. And I love all that pampering at the Grove Park Inn!

  • patti3 Oct 10, 2007

    Another place in Black Mt. is the Veterans Cemetery. It sits on a mt. and has a wonderful view. Plus it's a somber place to visit.

  • thefensk Oct 10, 2007

    Head east of Old Fort on Main Street (70) and look for Curtis Creek Road. Turn left. Awesome drive. I've never done it during the fall but have always wanted to. It is slow but beautiful. Once you hit the switchbacks and such you'll think you're at the end of the Earth. Then you'll suddenly come up to a stop sign and you'll realize that you are at the Blue Ridge Parkway. Turn left to head back toward Asheville/Black Mountain.

  • bleslie Oct 10, 2007

    I stayed at the Fryemont ten years ago and loved it - especially the trout recipes and blueberry pancakes!

  • packandcanesfan Oct 10, 2007

    I love Boone/Blowing Rock in the fall. Can't beat the color and coziness of the towns.

  • thecatsmeow67 Oct 10, 2007

    Bryson City is my favorite. We like to stay at the Fryemont Inn which is on the National Historic Register and breafast and dinner are included. You can sit on the front porch and look at Deep Valley and hear the GSMR train as it passes by. Before dinner at the Fryemont you can go over to the resturant bar and get yourself a drink and bring it back with you to enjoy in the main room in front of the huge fireplace or outside on the front porch that has rocking chairs. We also like to stay at River Bend Lodging on 19. It is not much to look at and inexpensive but the rooms are nice and comfy. It sits right on the Tuskagehee River and it will just relax you to pieces. One can fish and feed the ducks that have made their home there. While in Bryson City one must go to the Randolph House and have the Trout. I could go on and on about my beloved Bryson City but I think you get the picture.

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