ASHEVILLE, N.C. (March 26, 2020) – The world has hit pause on travel (and an ever-growing number of shared human experiences). Like you, Asheville and other destinations are trying to find our way through these strange days in the wake of COVID-19.
In addition to supporting our community, we have curated a virtual escape with restless, homebound souls in mind. From virtual hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains to a much-needed moment of Zen with the white noise of a waterfall, Asheville joins destinations and historic attractions across the globe with innovative ways to virtually leave the living room behind and dream of future adventures.
Here is a roundup of virtual offerings. Stay tuned, as we find new and alternative ways to share the spirit of our mountain home.
- Climb a Mountain | Through a partnership with Google, Explore Asheville has helped to create interactive, virtual tours of more than 20 iconic area hikes and destinations. From Catawba Falls to the top of Mount Mitchell, you can explore iconic Asheville locations from the comfort of your couch.
- Explore Biltmore Virtually in 360 Degrees | Biltmore is a place that can easily take your breath away. From awe-inspiring details inside the home to the beautifully manicured gardens and trails. Be inspired by the Vanderbilt legacy from afar with Biltmore's Virtual Tour YouTube playlists. Look out from the loggia for sweeping Blue Ridge Mountain views, see the Winter Garden previously adorned in Dale Chihuly's glass art, pop into Mrs. Patmore's kitchen from "Downton Abbey: The Exhibition" or hit the trails and grounds via Google Street View and explore iconic locations across Biltmore Estate.
- Go “eTrailblazing” on America’s Favorite Scenic Drive | See this famous 469-mile winding road – which passes right through Asheville – through the eyes of the people who love it and know it best with the interactive guide “Explorers of the Blue Ridge Parkway,” designed to look, move and sound like a real-life journey on the Parkway and offering tales, trails, top hikes and animated vistas of endless mountain ridges.
- Find Peace with Free Online Yoga and Meditation Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains | Find your Zen during this stressful time. Miranda Peterson of Asheville yoga-hike company Namaste in Nature has developed a series of free online videos to help you relax. In the videos, Miranda guides you in front of a backdrop of vistas, waterfalls and forest trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains. From a 10-minute sensory meditation to a gentle, immune-boosting yoga asana practice, these videos are designed to “calm and support your immune system.” The videos are easily accessible on YouTube. Asheville Community Yoga, West Asheville Yoga and Pure Barre Asheville are among local studios livestreaming classes so you can get your workout in from home.
- Solo (or Group) Self-Care | Take part in just-launched virtual yoga and group-tarot readings – and soon-to-come meditation, dance and cooking classes – personalized from afar by the experts at Asheville Wellness Tours. These online experiences allow you to gather your group (virtually, of course) to foster connection, balance and self-care, even while you’re separated.
- Discover Art Through Online Tours | Thanks to an online treasure trove of images, take a virtual tour of the Asheville Art Museum collection. Through its collection, the museum provides "an overview of significant movements and trends in American art of the 20th and 21st centuries and art of significance to the Southeast." The Southern Highland Craft Guild provides a similar online experience with a virtual tour of current exhibitions. Or, read up on academic articles, essays, reviews, poetry and other forms of artistic expression in a digital publication curated by the Black Mountain College Museum + Art Center: The Journal of Black Mountain College Studies.
- Enjoy Family Fun with Science | During its temporary closing, the Asheville Museum of Science wants to help parents and their kids experience science. You can join their email list for a “Daily Dose of Science” so that the "science never stops." Content will include videos, activities, worksheets and other science-related material to enjoy at home.
- Give Yourself a Nature Minute | One of the Asheville area's most beloved outdoor attractions, Grandfather Mountain, is hosting a series called "Nature Minutes." In the videos, park staff will showcase the adorable animals, such as otters, cougars and bears, that call this nature preserve home. You'll also be introduced to the natural wonders of the mountain. You can catch the series on Grandfather Mountain's Facebook page.
- Dance to the Beat of Asheville Symphony Sessions | Find comfort in the sounds of Asheville's Symphony Orchestra. The Asheville Symphony Sessions showcase collaborations between the symphony and Asheville musicians and bands. The music you hear (and watch) is from an album produced by Michael Selverne at Asheville’s Echo Mountain Recording Studios. A number of notable arrangers worked on the project, including Michael Bearden, who works with Lady Gaga and Neil Young and was Michael Jackson’s musical director for the “This Is It” tour. A collaboration between the Asheville Symphony, Asheville-area-based Grammy-winning Steep Canyon Rangers and iconic R&B group Boyz II Men earned international acclaim from the likes of Rolling Stone. Watch a video of the first time the three groups came together on stage to perform the song “Be Still Moses.”
- Watch Quarantine "Restreams" Concert Series | IAMAVL, an Asheville company that provides high-quality video and audio streaming for musicians, wants to brighten your spirits with Asheville music. Each day, IAMAVL is "restreaming" favorite Asheville music performances they have captured on video. You can watch the videos on the IAMAVL Facebook page. And, consider making a donation to the performers through the Musician Relief Fund. A similar Asheville music effort, Keep Music Live Project, is offering free online streaming of music performances by Asheville musicians. Keep Music Live is a partnership by Streamside Concerts, Acoustic Journeys Concert Series, Dream Guitars, Asheville Music School, Deb Cornish Audio and Fretboard Journal. Keep Music Live is also on Facebook.
- Stream Movies Set in Asheville | As you browse for something to watch on your favorite streaming service, keep an eye out for these movies that were filmed here in the Asheville area. From “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” to “The Hunger Games” to “Richie Rich” to “The Last of the Mohicans,” you can easily put together a movie playlist that would make any Asheville enthusiast proud.
Are you an Asheville fan? See how the community is coming together to support the local people and small businesses that make this town so special. Consider checking out www.exploreasheville.com/asheville-cares and the #AshevilleStrong initiative for opportunities to provide an immediate boost from afar through the purchase of gift cards.
Exhilarating outdoor explorations amid the highest mountain peaks east of the Mississippi, profound cultural roots from literary giants to American royalty and inspired locals whose passion projects jump from pop-up kitchens to performance art – Asheville, N.C., has been a point of pilgrimage since the 1800s as a destination for inspiration, wellness, rejuvenation and self-expression. It doesn’t take long to see why George W. Vanderbilt chose this Blue Ridge city for his greatest legacy, Biltmore.