What You Can't Miss in Asheville in 2016
Park celebrations, new hotels, a major exhibit at Biltmore and Grammy winners releasing an Asheville soundtrack—here’s a round-up of what’s hot in Asheville in 2016:
National and North Carolina State Parks Mark 100 Years
With close proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Chimney Rock State Park, Mount Mitchell State Park and a number of other federal and state recreation areas, Asheville is basecamp for park celebrations.
- Coming Soon! National Park Travel Package: “America’s Favorite Drive Package” offers accommodations at historic Omni Grove Park Inn and a Parkway guidebook. A portion of the proceeds from your stay helps protect and preserve the famed scenic highway and park. Available March – November.
- Celebrate on the Highest Peak East of the Mississippi: Mount Mitchell, North Carolina’s first state park, hosts an event August 27-28 with guided hikes, music and the opportunity to learn more about explorer Dr. Elisha Mitchell and his mountain. Learn more about Mitchell and other Blue Ridge Parkway adventurers.
- Beer with a Splash of History: Local brewers Burial Beer Co. will open a second location in a 1920s New Deal building that once housed the young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps who built the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Biltmore Village location will be brewing by May, with new taproom and outdoor space open in November.
Photo (right) courtesy of New Belgium Brewing.
River District News: Big Deal Beer, Belaying & Late Night Bites
Asheville’s creative arts community by the French Broad River has an influx of new experiences for travelers.
- Craft beer powerhouse New Belgium Brewing opens East Coast operations along the French Broad River this spring.
- Other openings in the River Arts District include Smoky Park Supper Club (the largest shipping container-constructed restaurant in the U.S.), the Asheville Food Park and Market (part community bazaar, part food truck park with coffee by the river and late night bites) and Smoky Mountain Adventure Center (one-stop destination for indoor climbing and outdoor adventures).
Photos courtesy of The Biltmore Company.
New Hotels from Downtown to Biltmore
Steps from America’s Most Visited Winery, the new Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate offers guests quick access to restaurants, shopping and outdoor adventures on the Vanderbilt estate. A number of new hotels are also set to open downtown in 2016 including Hyatt Place Asheville Downtown (with rooftop restaurant and bar), AC Hotel (one of the first in the U.S. from the Marriott boutique brand) and the Hilton Garden Inn City Center (steps from Pack Square Park).
- Stay at Biltmore’s Newest Hotel: The “Discover Biltmore Package” includes overnight accommodations at the Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate, daily breakfast, daytime estate admission and a specialty tour or winery seminar.
Major Exhibit: Silver Screen Wedding Fashion at Biltmore
Forty award-winning gowns and costumes from films such as Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice are on display at Biltmore February 12 – July 4. The exhibit “Fashionable Romance: Wedding Gowns in Film,” also focuses on wedding fashion from the Vanderbilt family including the Lee Family Veil, worn by Jackie Kennedy and her cousin, bride of George W. Vanderbilt’s grandson.
Photo by Michael Morel, courtesy of the Asheville Symphony Orchestra.
Hip Symphony: Grammy Award Winners & Asheville Stars Collaborate
The esteemed Asheville Symphony Orchestra and a who’s-who of hot Asheville musicians—including Lizz Wright, Rising Appalachia and Steep Canyon Rangers—have joined forces in the studio for a new album celebrating the diversity of music emanating from the region. A soundtrack for the city, the Asheville Symphony Sessions debuts this spring at The Orange Peel, named one of the nation’s top rock clubs by Rolling Stone.
New Restaurants with James Beard Ties + Beer City Milestone
- Asheville’s independent restaurant scene grows with Local Provisions (rising star chef with a passion for fermenting and preserving), Golden Fleece (Greek fare by a James Beard Best Restaurateur nominee) and Buxton Hall (wood-fired barbecue from two James Beard nominated chefs).
- James Beard finalist John Fleer opens a new takeaway food concept this January with The Rhu, a bakery, café and local goods shop. This spring, Fleer begins a schedule of cooking demonstration and classes.
- The area’s brewery count hits 25—openings include Habitat Brewing Co. and Bhramari Brewhouse. Enthusiasts get schooled in craft beer at the First Annual AVL Beer Expo in February. Asheville Wine & Food Festival launches Craft Cocktail Week in May.
Major Films with Asheville Ties
Two movies with Asheville ties hit the big screen in 2016. Masterminds, filmed on the streets of Asheville, is set to premiere in September. The comedy stars Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig and Owen Wilson. The film Genius is based on the life of literary editor Max Perkins and his relationship with writers such as Thomas Wolfe (played by Jude Law) and F. Scott Fitzgerald (Guy Pearce). In preparation for the 2016 film, Law visited Asheville to walk in Wolfe’s footsteps and tour his mother’s boarding house.
- Take your own tour of Thomas Wolfe’s Asheville and visit a real 20th-century speakeasy, given new life as Lex 18 Moonshine Bar & Restaurant.
Buxton Hall Barbecue photo (top) by Andrew Thomas Lee, courtesy of Buxton Hall.