Travel Guide

Bucket List Asheville:

Top 12 Experiences for 2012

According to the Mayan calendar, this is the year when life as we know it comes to a screeching halt. Of course, it’s all speculation this doomsday scenario will surely pass us by with little fanfare. However! In the off-chance that things do go down and we find ourselves struggling to survive the zombie apocalypse then you need to get your bucket list in order right away.

To help, we’ve compiled the top 12 once-in-a-lifetime experiences you have to do this year.

  1. Dine Blind – Sign up for a special dinner where you let the chef control your taste buds’ destiny. Horizons at the Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa has a special Chef’s Table where you watch your meal being prepared with special kitchen side seats. Add a special wine cellar tour while you’re at it. You can also experience one of Asheville’s fun mystery meals with groups such as the Blind Pig and Eating Asheville.

  2. Become an Artist – Channel your inner Van Gogh. Asheville is home to over 250 artist studios and at any given time of the year you can take classes to paint your own masterpiece, turn clay into beautiful pottery or learn how to take landscape photos like a pro.

  3. Conquer the Oldest Mountains in the World – Ditch the main road and take it off-road. Test your skills with the Landrover Experience at Biltmore. Here you’ll navigate incredible off-road obstacles, regardless of your skill level all within steps to America’s largest home.

  4. Take a Leap of Faith – Find yourself flying through the canopy on one of WNC’s high-flying zip-lining courses. You can choose your own adventure by either heading out to the lush Pisgah Forest terrain or stay close to town for an urban thrill.

  5. Witness Nature’s Majesty – Elk used to roam these mountain undeterred until over-hunting nearly wiped them out. In 2001 they were reintroduced in Cataloochee and have thrived ever since. Grab your camera and head out on a mountain safari where you will share the same fields with dozens of herding Elk.

  6. Soar Over The Mountain Tops – How many people do you know that can say they’ve flown through the air in a hot air balloon? Take to the skies and witness a winter sunrise, or view the fall foliage at its peak. The experience puts a whole new meaning to the word breathtaking.

  7. Be an Extreme Spectator – Check out the world’s most elite river runs. The Green River Race is a competition reserved for only the brave of heart (or the crazy – however you see it). Even getting to the course to watch can be an adventure. Extreme adventure is a given in this area – just ask Jennifer Pharr Davis who blew a world record for fastest through hike of the Appalachian Trail out of the water.

  8. Forage for Food – Certainly one of the best ways to survive in a post-apocalyptic future is to know how to find food in the wild, but it’s also a thrilling culinary adventure. Learn from local foragers with an in-the-field woodland excursion. Not only will you scout out your own food, but you’ll also watch as it’s used in your dinner at Zambra, a premier Tapas restaurant in town. Also be sure to check out the survival courses at Chimney Rock Park and Nantahala Outdoor Center to learn other character-building skills. It’s like the scouts, but for adults.

  9. Go VIP – The music scene in Asheville is about as wide a variety as you can get. From the electronic legacy left by music pioneer and Asheville resident, Bob Moog to the mountain melody roots of Doc Watson, you’ll find the chance to attend over 15 major festivals in the area. Do it up right and secure the best seats in the house (or field for that matter).

  10. Track the Elusive Monarchs – Every year you’ll find a grand butterfly migration carving a path that goes straight through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Pack a picnic and hit the Parkway in search of the world’s most beautiful insects.

  11. Make a Toast – Sip and sample your way through Beer City USA with the unique Brews Cruise. Your designated driver’s hit all the brewery hot spots and show you why Asheville dominates the nation in the realm of craft beer. Want to sample beers from the region from one location? Popular festivals include Brewgrass, Beer City fest, and the Winter Warmer.

  12. Stand on Top of the World – Head north of Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. Here you’ll find Mount Mitchell State Park. With an elevation of 6,684 you will see multiple states and miles of beautiful mountain vistas. There are over 1,900 acres of forestland to explore and hike. A true refuge for those wanting to get away from it all.