The Asheville Art Museum’s The New Salon: A Contemporary View features an eclectic mix of artists, including Lori Nelson. Credit: Lori Nelson, courtesy of Mortal Machine Gallery 


ASHEVILLE, NC (March 6, 2024) – Asheville draws visitors in this spring and summer to recharge through enriching experiences that merge new and timeless traditions in the Blue Ridge Mountains. As nature springs to life with lush landscapes, creative offerings and cultural events also bloom to inspire inner and outer exploration. In keeping with the “Neo Appalachia” movement trending in Asheville’s creative community, visitors can connect with the region’s deeply-rooted heritage in new, modern and unique ways throughout the year. 

Farm-to-Table Hat Trick: Celebrated chef lands industry accolades, business milestone and book launch, with sustainability and seasonality at the forefront. 

Award-winning, Appalachian restaurateur and sustainable food pioneer, Chef William Dissen’s The Market Place has been named an "Outstanding Restaurant" semi-finalist in the 2024 James Beard Awards. The news coincides with the upcoming release of Dissen’s debut cookbook, Thoughtful Cooking: Recipes Rooted In the New South, on April 2, and The Market Place’s milestone 45th year in business.  

Foodtopia Rising: Additional awards and expansions in Asheville’s culinary scene.  

The James Beard Awards are among the nation’s most prestigious culinary honors. Chef Jason Sellers of Plant – an upscale restaurant described as ‘vegan fare without borders’ – is a semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast. Asheville’s culinary scene, Foodtopia, has a legacy of James Beard Award honors, including Vivian, Curáte, Table and Chai Pani.  

This spring, Chai Pani will relocate to a new South Slope location, tripling the size of its seating capacity. It will transform an iconic 1920s building into a “Bollywood wedding meets Bombay Gymkhana meets Tata truck parking lot” and will feature “MG Mini,” a bar in the mezzanine. Meherwan Irani, co-founder and chef of the Chai Pani Restaurant Group has been named the 2024 MenuMasters Innovator by Nation’s Restaurant News. 

Another James Beard Award finalist, Neng Jr.’s was recently named one of the 47 best restaurants in the country by USA Today. The intimate, 17-seat restaurant centers on Filipinx cuisine, sourced with seasonal ingredients from the Appalachian region.  

New in Brew: Asheville’s community of independent and creative craft brewers continues to flourish with awards and events. 

With approx. 70 breweries and distilleries in the region, two Asheville breweries were finalists in the World Beer Cup’s experimental category – New Belgium Brewing’s Voodoo Ranger Juice Force IPA and Hi-Wire Brewing’s Japanese Rice Lager. Visitors this spring can learn more about the art and science of craft brewing, along with beer tastings, craft beverage dinner pairings, and panel discussions, during the 13th annual Asheville Beer Week, May 16-26. This year’s theme is focused on craft and creativity for the community.  

Fresh Air Breathes Life into Spring Adventures: Running with goats, stadium fireworks and new direct flights make “Dog City, USA” more fun for the whole family. 

Kids love kids (baby goats, that is) and there’s no shortage of ways to interact with furry friends in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Serenity-seekers can practice goat yoga with Kidding Around Asheville, where a baby goat might just stand on a visitor’s back as they find their flow. Cardio lovers can run wild in and around the WNC Nature Center during the Running of the Goats 5K and Nature Walk, as goats Roddy, Swiss, Alpine and Ted cheer runners on. Cheeseheads will go crazy for the creamy goat cheese from Round Mountain Creamery, the first Grade “A” certified goat dairy in North Carolina which offers tours and cheese tastings by appointment. 

New in Local Farm Fare: Warren Wilson College is unique in that students collectively manage a working farm on campus. On Saturdays from 10am-2pm, the General Store at the Warren Wilson College Farm is open to the public to purchase sustainable, pasture-raised beef, pork and lamb – continuing an agricultural tradition since 1894 in the Swannanoa Valley. 

Goats aren’t the only animals beloved in Asheville. Man’s best friend is famously welcomed in “Dog City, USA,” where dogs get their own welcome packet at the Dog City Welcome Center downtown. Guests with pets at The Foundry Hotel, a former brick foundry, can enjoy the Pup-arazzi Adventure Package, including a pet photo session, pet-friendly outdoor excursions, and goodies from the local Patton Avenue Pet Company. Dog lovers at the Hotel Kimpton Arras can join the Pup Meet Up with Pretzel & Gummybear (a pair of adorable shih tzu influencers) on April 18-22. Guests can enjoy chair massages, Brunch with Pups featuring pup and human ice cream, and a private wine cellar dinner. 

Four-legged friends are also welcome at McCormick Field, Asheville’s very own minor league ballpark where the Asheville Tourists play. Families will enjoy theme nights like Hippies Night, Dollar Dog Friday (hotdogs, that is), and fireworks over the stadium on select summer Fridays. 

New direct flights to Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) make it easier than ever for travelers and families to get to Asheville. New nonstop flights out of Orlando International Airport (MCO) will launch in May 2024. AVL offers 27 nonstop locations, including Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta and Newark, plus several others from Florida airports in Sanford, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Key West. 

Celebrate Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage: Local creatives and business-owners feature authentic tradition in new food and beverage offerings. 

As part of Highland Brewing’s 30-year anniversary celebration, the brewery is releasing a new rice lager in honor of its founder, Oscar Wong. Born in China, Wong is celebrated locally as “the Godfather of Asheville Craft Beer,” for opening the first brewery since prohibition, spurring a craft beer movement across the region. The new beer will be tapped on May 16, as part of the brewery’s weekend-long festivities, which include performances and activities for the whole family.   

Laila, a modern, casual restaurant showcasing foodways reflective of the eastern coast of India. Laila’s menu features fresh seafood entrees, like whole tandoori Bronzini grilled to perfection, and fish moilee curry, a creamy Kerala-style curry with white bass, simmered in coconut with ginger, chilies and warming spices.  

Visitors can enjoy Filipino comfort food, just steps away from the French Broad River with Master BBQ’s food truck, now anchored at Zillicoah Beer Co., in Woodfin. Owners Paul and Julia Pike specialize in traditional Filipino dishes, like lumpia, pork skewers and java rice. The recipes are inspired by Pike’s family.   

For more recommendations, check out this local’s guide to Asian-owned restaurants.   

A Destination for Ideation: Asheville Ideas Fest returns, plus dreamy new art exhibits  

Designed to allow attendees to expand their intellect, activate change, and participate in deep listening and respectful discussions, Asheville Ideas Fest (AIF) returns for its third year on June 17-20. The line up of insightful speakers and programming centers on three themes, The Thriving American City, The Edges of the Unknown and House of Cards of Hallowed Halls.  

On view from March 8 to August 19, the Asheville Art Museum debuts a new exhibition, The New Salon: A Contemporary View. The New Salon takes the tradition of the salon in art history as a site of rebellion against the norm, infusing it with the diverse and often fantastical narratives prevalent in New Contemporary figurative art. This exhibition features an eclectic mix of artists working in Pop Surrealism, Street Art, and Graffiti, among others.  

Nurtured by Nature: Celebrate Mother’s Day with nourishing moments in the mountains 

Cradled by some of the world’s most ancient mountains and rivers, Asheville and the surrounding area has long been considered a wellness retreat with a healing history. The wide range of restorative activities coalesce with award-winning dining, arts and entertainment to provide the perfect Mother’s Day experience for mom figures this year. 

  • Guests at the historic Omni Grove Park Inn can create lasting memories with the Mother’s Day Made Easy package, which includes sparkling wine upon arrival and access to the Mother’s Day Tea Party on May 11. Free yoga, dance classes and golf will also be offered that weekend. 

When shopping local, woman-owned products and boutiques offer everything from clean skin care items to gourmet popcorn.  

  • Everyday Oil – Founder Emma Allen created this plant-based body oil for skin of every age and type, even acne-prone. Moms-to-be will appreciate its hydrating properties for healing stretch marks. Available online and at East Fork Pottery’s shop downtown.  

  • Poppy Popcorn – This year marks the 10th anniversary of this beloved Asheville snack. In celebration, Poppy launched three new flavors – Mexican Street Corn, Mediterranean Herb and Caribbean Jerk. Available online and in boutiques, including Dunkin and York and Provisions Mercantile.   

  • French Broad Chocolates – Visitors to French Broad Chocolate’s lounge or factory location can select a customized assortment of bon bons, with creative fillings like blackberry basil and tahini orange.  

  • Arlo Goods – Marissa Cuevas Campos’ eye-catching loungewear – robes, scarves and slips – are works of art. She hand draws each print, featured prominently in bright colors on Arlo Goods’ silky apparel.  

  • Juno Pottery –Jennifer Regan Seifert’s simple, functional pottery looks good on just about any surface. Her line of organic, artful forms include mugs, jewelry dishes and candlesticks in soft, neutral colors. Shoppers can buy directly from Juno’s website or at local retailers, There There and OWL Bakery

Click the links for a galleries of rights-approved spring and summer photos. All images are for editorial use only and should be credited to or partner when specified. 

For more of the most up-to-date insights and happenings, visit  



About Asheville 

Asheville is where unrivaled natural beauty and bold creative expression meet. Tucked away in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, the city is steps away from some of the world’s most biodiverse forests and the tallest peaks in the East. For generations, Asheville has nurtured and inspired a compassionate community that’s deeply rooted and ever evolving – just like the ancient French Broad River that runs through it.