Glimpses of Grandeur

While traveling along the Blue Ridge Parkway, make a scenic stop in Asheville.

Asheville is a dynamic city—although it’s already a popular day trip for area residents, there’s always something else to explore. Brewery expansions, seasonal food offerings, antiquing, and new exhibits at the Biltmore make Asheville a worthwhile pit stop on your drive.

Stay

For your stay in this mountain city, book a night at the Grand Bohemian Asheville in Biltmore Village. The property, part of the Kessler Collection, oozes opulence while taking cues from the nearby Biltmore Estate. On the exterior the boutique hotel mimics the architecture of European lodges, and the interior reflects the eclectic, artsy culture of Asheville.

Wood-paneled walls give way to the open stone fireplace in the center of the lobby, adorned with paintings of wildlife. Plush leather sofas and velvet armchairs create ample seating for conversation and cocktails on a cozy night in. During your stay indulge in a treatment at Poseidon Spa, located on the hotel’s premises. With treatments inspired by the sea, the spa offers a relaxing reprieve from a day full of activities.


Gallery Crawl

Like other Kessler Collection properties, the Grand Bohemian Asheville features its own gallery, Grand Bohemian Gallery. The gallery features works by local, regional, world-renowned, and Kessler Signature artists. The exhibits rotate and feature a variety of mediums including jewelry, paintings, and sculptures.


Dine

For farm-to-table fare in a fun setting, look no further than Red Stag Grill at the Grand Bohemian Asheville. This fine-dining restaurant in the main floor of the hotel features ingredients from nearby farms like the Brasstown strip steak and Hickory Nut Gap pork tenderloin. Don’t skip on the cocktails—the selection also draws from the locavore movement, featuring locally and regionally distilled spirits. After dinner, grab dessert and enjoy live music in the bar.

Downtown drinks reign supreme with the opening of several new rooftop bars. The Montford, located atop the Hyatt Place Asheville Downtown, operates a seasonal menu with cocktails and small plates. The Montford joins Pillar Bar at Hilton Garden Inn Asheville Downtown, which features an outdoor fire pit and live music. In May of this year, Capella on 9 joins the club atop the AC Hotel Asheville downtown. Breweries are offering rooftop venues of their own—Highland Brewing Company recently opened a new rooftop space and bar with 360-degree views of the mountains surrounding downtown.


Parkway’s Past

Get a glimpse at the making of the Blue Ridge Parkway at Burial Beer Co.’s second location, Forestry Camp. The Biltmore Village compound is set in buildings that once housed the young Civilian Conservation Corp workers who built the parkway. Brewing has begun in the new space and a bar and restaurant are slated to open in mid-2017.


Play

Steps away from the Grand Bohemian Asheville is the entrance to the famed Biltmore Estate. From now through July 4, the expansive homestead is the scene of a new exhibit, “Designed for Drama: Fashion from the Classics.” The new collection features more than 40 award-winning costumes from films such as “Finding Neverland,” “Sherlock Holmes,” and “Pride and Prejudice” and is inspired by George Vanderbilt’s love of literature and his favorite books. The original books from his library accompany the costumes, making this the first time the volumes have been displayed to the public.

Stroll the sidewalks of Biltmore Village and explore the shops. With a mix of national brands and local purveyors, some serious retail therapy is in store. The district has increased its art offerings with the opening of London District Studios. The retail gallery and home goods store includes a coffee house with baked goods and is the working studio of both Leslie Rowland, an internationally celebrated contemporary painter, and Wade Oppliger, an acclaimed seating designer.

Images courtesy of vendors.