The Experience

Asheville & Southern Appalachia

Consider the great places to explore on foot. The Swiss Alps. The streets of Venice. But would you include the rhododendron-shaded trails of Southern Appalachia? Maybe not – at least not yet. Not until you’ve seen the mist settling below the peaks of the Black Mountains. Not until you’ve experienced the otherworldly calm of the Great Smokies and the Blue Ridge on a quiet morning. Not until you’ve ventured amid the rolling hills, rocky crags, and eclectic towns overflowing with Southern charm. No, few besides the locals have heard of Bartram, Panthertown or Whiterock, and few “outsiders” will have considered them among the great hikes. We won’t tell if you won’t. Explore the grounds of opulent Biltmore Estate and luxuriate at the estate’s elegant inn The breathtakingly beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the country’s most beloved byways From Art Deco to abstract expressionism, creativity thrives in eclectic Asheville Stroll the pedestrian-friendly downtown of charming Highlands, filled with galleries, antiques shops and caf├ęs Lose yourself in the pristine beauty of deep gorges, granitic rock domes, peaceful woodland and idyllic waterfalls

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DAY 1 Asheville welcomes you with an appealing blend of Jazz Age sophistication and the bohemian eccentricities of the “hippest art scene in the American South” Meander through the North Carolina Arboretum, which boasts an extraordinary native plant collection Catch your breath at the sight of French-inspired Biltmore Estate, which still reigns as America’s largest privately owned residence, and one of the world’s most opulent properties. DAY 2 The Blue Ridge Parkway, with stretch-forever vistas of valleys, mountains, woodland, waterfalls and historic sites Hike amid luxuriant rhododendron and rocky granite crags for one of the most stunning panoramic views on the Parkway Partake in a private tour of the Biltmore House and Gardens or treat yourself to a tasting at Antler Hill Village and Winery. DAY 3 Discover “Yosemite of the East” in pristine Panthertown Valley Here you’ll experience a wonderful network of hiking trails leading to glorious waterfalls, rare plant communities and lofty overlooks of the valley, sheer cliffs and highland bogs. DAY 4 More breathtaking views await on our hike along the popular Bartram Trail From Jones Gap, stop to admire the endless waves of undulating hills stretching out around you before continuing on to Whiterock Mountain Feel like switching gears this afternoon? A visit to the nearby Bascomb Art Center or a bit of TLC at our hotel’s spa might be hard to resist. DAY 5 Postcard-perfect Dry Falls, set beneath a natural bluff that allows you to venture behind the waterfall Witness impressive geologic formations on the hike to the top of Whiteside Mountain, an icon of the Nantahala National Forest As you walk, keep an eye out for peregrine falcons, which were reintroduced here in the 1980s and can often be seen nesting on the surrounding rock ledges Say goodbye over a picnic lunch back in Highlands.

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The Route

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