Things To Do

Best Places to Run in Asheville

Coming to Asheville and want to get a run in? You’re in luck because our area offers many outstanding options. Whether it’s road or trail, a gentle jog along the river, or a soul-crushing hill climb, we’ve compiled together some of the best places to run in Asheville.

Mountains-to-Sea Trail Marker

Up for an easy trail run and staying in downtown or Biltmore Village?  There are several popular areas within 15 minutes of these areas. The Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) bisects Asheville from the Southwest to the Northeast and has three access points: by the North Carolina Arboretum, Hwy 25 South of Biltmore Village, and at Hwy 74-A. The Mountains-to-Sea Trail runs mostly parallel to the parkway throughout Asheville and crosses it in multiple locations.  As you drive down the BRP you’ll notice well-worn spots off the road and typically a few cars at these where runners and hikers are hopping on the trail. Go either direction and run as far as you feel. The trail is marked with a white blaze so it’s easy to follow, even when it crosses the BRP, which it does frequently.

Another convenient trail running spot is the Bent Creek Experimental Forest located near the NC Arboretum and Asheville Outlets. Bent Creek has a mix of forest service roads and single-track. As you drive down Bent Creek Gap Rd. you’ll pass an information kiosk and Rice Pinnacle parking. Stay straight and park at the Hardtimes lot, the only one on the left, or continue up the gravel road to the right to access Ledford parking. We recommend these two areas because they have bathrooms and put you closer to the heart of the trails. Both have a trail map which allows you to plan a route. Trail junctions and roads are well-marked, but there are many “poach” trails, which are not. Stay on the main trails and you probably won’t get lost.  A popular loop is to run downhill from the Hardtimes parking lot, turn right at the creek and then take your first left (by the concrete bridge) to go up South Ridge Rd. This is a gravel road, closed to vehicle traffic, that steps its way up the ridge before making a long, sustained descent. At your first major junction, about 1.3 miles from the parking lot, stay right and go around the gate to continue on South Ridge. If you stay on South Ridge for about four miles you will connect back to Bent Creek Gap Rd (FS 479) at a gate. Turn right on FS479 and you are about three miles from the parking lot. Total elevation gain for this 10 mile run is approximately 1,200’.

Be sure to head out with your trail guide.

Whether you are running Bent Creek, or another off-road destination like DuPont State Park or Pisgah National Forest, pick up one of the excellent WNC Trail Guides from Pisgah Map Company. These are sold at any area bike shop or outfitter. Locals are happy to point you in the right direction but venturing into our forests without a map is dangerous.

If a paved run is more your thing there are dozens of interesting routes around, but one of our favorites is the out-and-back which begins at Carrier Park. Run Southwest from the parking lot and you will cross through an RV campground and then hit a nice asphalt greenway which takes you along the French Broad River. Remember, don’t get concerned you are heading in the wrong direction. Yes, you’re going upstream and southwest; the French Broad is one of the few rivers in the world which actually flows north. Follow this flat path to its end a couple of miles up the river and turn around. You’ll pass back through the parking lot and if you want to go longer. On a training plan and need to get in speed work? The most dependable place with markers is the loop road at the Asheville Outlets. If you start at the stop sign between the Waffle House and Tesla charging station and run clockwise around the mall you’ll see markers every 100 meters. They need to be painted again, but it’s easy to make out the 200s, 400s, and 800s. The entire loop around the property is just a tick over one mile. It’s not as flat as a high school track, but around here there’s nothing level.

Enjoy your runs in Asheville and let us know if you need any specific recommendations. We are here for all of your needs, whether it’s real estate, restaurants, or outdoor recreation!

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Spring Events Around Asheville

Check out our guide below to take advantage of all of the eclectic fun and events Asheville has to offer this time of year!

First, here are a few tips to make sure you make the most out of your time. Spring is a beautiful season in the mountains, but remember that the conditions and temperature can be a little unpredictable. To be prepared and stay comfortable be sure to wear layers and plan for rain.

Now, on to the fun stuff!

FESTIVALS

Biltmore Blooms: March 20 – May 24

Countless blooms burst forth in every color imaginable at the Biltmore Estate. You can expect to see orchids of all varieties, multi-colored tulips, and daffodils. As we progress into Spring, you can expect to see irises, roses, and azaleas.

 

 

Downtown First Fridays Art Walks: April-June (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.)

Discover Asheville’s vibrant art scene as you explore 20 galleries within a half-mile radius of the city center. You can expect to see an array of mediums and practices from fine studio crafts to glass, photography to folk art, and contemporary painting to metalwork.

Donut Festival: April 21st

The Donut Festival in Marion, NC will include all kinds of fun activities – from a half marathon to strolling around the various dessert booths, a donut pageant, and donut eating contest – there will be something for everyone’s sweet tooth!

Weaverville Art SafariApril 28-29 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Explore the art scene in Weaverville! This self-guided tour allows you to go behind-the-scenes with artists at your own pace. Get a sneak peek at the art during the preview party on Friday, April 27 from 6-8 p.m.

Carolina Mountain Cheese FestivalApril 29th (12 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Come prepared to taste delicious cheeses, meet the cheesemakers and local livestock, and participate in some friendly competitions at this day-long celebration at Highland Brewing.

Downtown After 5: May – Sep

Presented by the Asheville Downtown Association, this event occurs every month from May – Sep and includes a free concert, food trucks, and plenty of beer from local breweries. This popular event attracts about 5,000 people per event so be sure to plan for parking and remember no pups are allowed within the festival grounds.

 

Summer of Glass: May – Oct

Dozens of local glass artists, studios and galleries are creating events and exhibits across the Asheville area in conjunction with the Chihuly exhibition at Biltmore. Among other activities, you’ll have the chance to watch demonstrations of glass blowing, glass jewelry making, stained glass, enameling and working with glass beads.

Asheville Herb Festival: May 4-6

Celebrating 29 years as the largest herb festival in the US and Canada, the Asheville Herb Festival is a great opportunity to learn from growers and herbalists, experience various demonstrations, and take advantage of the various soaps, tinctures, and medicinals that will be for sale.

French Broad River FestivalMay 4-6

Festival features regional and national recording artists a river raft race, and mountain bike race. Spend the weekend along the banks of the French Broad River in beautiful Hot Springs just 35 miles north of Asheville.

Asheville Bread FestivalMay 5-6 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Experience the newly-revamped Asheville Bread Festival, which offers you the opportunity to work with professional bakers, improve your baking skills and, of course, enjoy delicious breads! This year’s event has a theme of “A Celebration of Rye.” New Belgium Brewery hosts the bread fair event on Saturday with additional workshops and lectures happening around town. Sunday features a Master Class for professional bakers. A pre-festival tour of the Bread Wheat Trial plots will take place Friday, May 4.

LEAF FestivalMay 10-13 

Join together with thousands of music lovers gathered at beautiful Lake Eden in the nearby town of Black Mountain to experience powerful music, art and culture. This 20-year tradition takes place on the site of the old Historic Black Mountain College. The event is headlined by Ani DiFranco, Snarky Puppy and Rising Appalachia.

Montford Music & Arts FestivalMay 19 (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

With tree-lined streets and historic homes, Montford Avenue provides the perfect stage for some of the best music, arts and crafts and food trucks together in one place for a one-day event. In this 15th year of the neighborhood festival, more than 20 musical acts will perform continuously throughout the day.

 

Mountain Sports Festival: May 25-27

Celebrate the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains with other outdoor sports enthusiasts, gear makers, and adventure companies. In addition to adventurous competitions, this free event also features live music and great food!

Asheville Beer WeekMay 25-June 2

Cheers to this festival, which dedicates nine full days to celebrating all things beer. Taste great local craft brews, pair beers with a smorgasbord of delicious food, and learn about brewing at events around town. More than 40 breweries are on tap to participate. Beer Week closes with the popular Beer City Festival in Pack Square Park (June 2), which celebrates the local brewing industry with taps from dozens of breweries and plenty of live music.

Black Mountain Art by the Tracks: June 2 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

More than 50 fine artists and master crafters join together on Sutton Avenue near the Old Train Depot in historic downtown Black Mountain for this 21st annual juried art show and sale. As you explore the art, you’ll also be able to enjoy live music.

VeganFest: June 8-10

Celebrate the vegan lifestyle at its best with plenty of delicious, healthy, plant-based foods. On Saturday, nationally-recognized experts will discuss the latest vegan trends. On Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., enjoy an outdoor festival with more than 75 vendors showcasing vegan food, beer and lifestyle products.

XPand Fest: June 9 (12-9 p.m.)

Expand your vision of all art disciplines during this free outdoor street festival in Asheville’s South Slope Brewery District. The festival is put on by XPand Your Vision, an Asheville-based non-profit organization dedicated to the arts.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Apart from the numerous festivals, don’t forget to take in all of the natural beauty our mountain town has to offer! There are countless trails to explore, not to mention that we’re in the perfect place to access many national parks and forests like Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pisgah National Forest and Nantahala National Forest. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail also runs through Asheville and provides lots of opportunities for single or multiday hikes. When hiking, bring sunscreen and/or bug spray – Western North Carolina is a temperate rain forest, which means you’ll likely experience humidity, varying temperatures, and wildlife.

Lover’s Leap Loop Trail

Lover’s Leap Loop is a moderate 1.6 mile trail that steadily ascends Lover’s Leap Ridge in Hot Springs, NC. Panoramic views of the French Broad River and the town of Hot Springs make this a major attraction for hikers and visitors to the area. To access this trail from downtown Hot Springs, follow 25/70 East for .5 miles before turning left onto Silvermine Road. Take the first left to continue following Silvermine Road. Just past the bridge, you’ll see a trailhead for the Silvermine trail. Continue walking down the road, passing the Silvermine Trail, and get on the Appalachian Trail, which is marked with white blazes.  Once on the trail, markers indicating Lover’s Loop will be easy to spot.

Hickory Nut Gorge

This 6.2 mile out and back trail sits at 927 feet and is rated moderate.  Hikers can expect to see beautiful native flora and fauna all along the trail.  To access this trail from Black Mountain, head southeast on Montreat Road toward E State Street. Merge onto NC-9 S and continue on this road for about 15 miles before turning Left onto Shumont Road. The trail head will be located on your right.

Bald Knob Ridge Trail

Bald Knob Ridge Trail is 2.8 miles up a ridge before reaching a summit which offers breathtaking and expansive views of the Black Mountains. Though the switchbacks on this moderate trail provide for a difficult ascent, the sight from the top is well worth the effort. To get to this hike from Downtown Burnsville, follow directions to Briar Bottom Trail. Instead of pulling in to the parking lot on Forest Service Road 472, continue on until you pass the Buncombe Horse Range Trail Sign.  Bald Knob Ridge Trail is marked with a trailhead sign.

Mt. Pisgah

With 360 degree views, this 1.5 mile loop affords great views of downtown Asheville and surrounding peaks. Located in Pisgah National Forest, you can access the trailhead from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Western North Carolina is also home to countless waterfalls so be sure to allot some time to go waterfall hunting. There are a variety that are easily accessible within a short walk from the car. Looking for more of an adventure? Don’t worry, there are also plenty of waterfalls that require a decent hike to get to – the end result is always worth the effort. Dip your toes into the cool waters at the base or on a really hot day go for a swim. Just keep a few things in mind to hike safely: since the rocks surrounding a waterfall are often wet, they’re usually slippery too, so don’t climb, swim or hike on, around or over a waterfall. The best time to visit is usually not after a recent rain: a high-volume waterfall can be dangerous and loses some of its picturesque beauty anyway.

Looking Glass Falls                                                                                

Easy, dog-friendly hike just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Brevard. Sliding Rock, Moore Cove Falls, and Pink Beds are also in the area so if you’re going to be South of Asheville be sure to stop and see these beautiful wonders.

Dry Falls                                                                                                               

At barely a quarter mile, roundtrip, it’s more of a roadside attraction than our conventional definition of a hike. But it’s really, incredibly beautiful. The Dry Falls Trail wraps behind the 65′ waterfall, offering a unique behind-the-falls waterfall view.

Whitewater Falls                                                                                                 

It’s not a long hike. But at just over a half mile, round trip, this hike packs a ton of scenic beauty into a short stretch of trail. Hike to two overlooks on the trail to catch views of Upper Whitewater Falls as it tumbles and cascades more than 400 feet. It’s the highest waterfall in North Carolina, and simply stunning.

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls is 3.6 miles round trip. The falls tumbling down over a towering, 150-foot cliff in a single, dramatic drop. Hike this trail from Gorges State Park near Cashiers, NC to a series of spilling falls on the Horsepasture River and abundant summertime wildflowers.

Bridal Veil Falls                                                                                                  

This outstanding hike at DuPont State Forest visits an enormous cascade deep within the park, scoring some serenity at one of DuPont’s lesser-visited (but ultra-beautiful) waterfalls. Hike across a covered bridge over the towering High Falls, visit the banks of the glassy Lake Julia, and then view the unique drops, veils and tendrils of Bridal Veil Falls from a viewing platform and the blocky outcrops at the base of the falls.

Don’t forget about the many activities Asheville has to offer year-round:

Asheville Urban Trail                                                                                 

Considered to be a ‘museum without walls’ the Asheville Urban Trail is a must-do for art and history lovers alike. This 1.7 mile trail takes you through the streets of downtown Asheville where you’ll experience Asheville’s history as told through 30 stops. Each stop boasts a public sculpture that functions as a landmark on your tour.

Asheville by Foot                                                                                               

This guided tour will take you through downtown Asheville and focus on the diverse architectural history and styles and of area. Experience the impressive array of buildings and experience the city through a historical lens.

Biltmore Estate                                                                                                  

The 8,000 acre Biltmore Estate has an array of activities for the whole family including exploring the largest home in the United States, tasting the estate’s own brand of wine at the winery, enjoying the famous gardens, going horseback riding, and many others!     

Here is a list of resources to keep you up-to-date:

Romantic Asheville

Ashvegas

Mountainxpress.com

Reddit.com/r/asheville/

Explore Asheville

Asheville

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9 Steps to Prepping Your Home to Sell

Your home is your castle, as the saying goes. You spent time and money, goodness knows, to make it just right. And now you’re moving on. What’s the first step?

Pulling up roots and planting a For Sale sign in the yard can challenge even the least sentimental among us. So making a mental and emotional adjustment may be the first step. You look around and see your family everywhere in your house. Even the trees in the yard have become personal!

Plan ahead to help smooth the course of change. Keep your focus on your new and exciting goal. Decide on the terms you want. Selling your house is the end of one journey and the beginning of the next.

Ask yourself: Does your house invite buyers to imagine themselves living in it? Bear in mind, finding a new home is not unlike falling in love. Buyers want to be swept away at first sight. And at some point, one will step through your doorway, take a look around, and hear bells ring.

But first, they will analyze your decor, criticize your wall color, and judge your housecleaning skills. Buyers are discerning, and well they should be. They are about to make the investment of a lifetime. What impression will your house make?

Take these steps to prepping your house to sell:

1. Make it sparkle. Clean and polish everything, inside and out. Go beyond surface cleaning. Deep cleaning has never been so crucial. People will open your closets, peek inside your pantry, and pull out your drawers. They will eye every nook and cranny. Empty everything so the buyer can contemplate what they would put there.

2. De-clutter. Clear surfaces such as countertops, desks, and tables. Scrutinize all storage spaces and donate, recycle, or toss unused items. Clutter is a buzz-kill. Don’t empty your closets only to fill the garage with boxes—buyers will wonder if the house lacks enough storage space. Rent a POD or find temporary storage in friend’s basement for items you want to keep. Sweep the floors in the garage, attic, and basement

3. Make small repairs. Fix bent or torn window screens. Put fresh batteries in smoke detectors. Replace every lightbulb in the house. Buyers turn on lights, and the brighter the better. Call a handyman if needed, to repair plumbing or electrical issues.

4. Paint and clean the exterior. If you don’t plan to paint the whole house, at least give the front door a fresh coat. Choose a bright contrast to the main color. Clean out and repair roof gutters. Pressure wash the driveway and siding. Put out a new welcome mat. 

5. Freshen interior walls. Putty nail holes, sand rough spots on interior walls. Spot-cleaning and touching up is more likely to highlight spots. Paint the entire wall for an even, clean look. Choose grays and milky whites. As much as you enjoy the orange wall in the study, a neutral palette reflects light and will open up the space, giving the appearance of more space.

6. Remove personal items.The family photos in the hall help make your house a home—for you. Now is the time to store them.  Personal items distract. Allow the buyer to imagine her own family living there. How good are you at viewing things objectively? Most of us grow used to our surroundings and blind to what a buyer would see.

7. Banish odors. What odors, you say? Wash the dog’s bedding, and anywhere else she sleeps. Your nose may not detect it anymore, but other noses will. Wash bed clothes, and sprinkle baking soda over carpets and rugs before vacuuming to freshen daily. Freshen the air naturally, by rubbing a few drops of orange, eucalyptus, or juniper essential oil inside the vacuum cleaner.

8. Curb appeal. First impressions count, and for not a lot of money, your entryway can be a pleasing invitation to step inside and see what else the house has to offer. Trim and tidy bushes and trees, and keep the lawn mowed. Look at Pinterest and the cover of home and garden magazines for ideas. Heed the best advice when designing a fresh look: Keep it simple.

9. Interview real estate agents. An agent can give you helpful feedback about your property. Ask questions—we see all sorts of properties and can offer a practical sounding board for your concerns. You might set up a schedule for discussing finances, home repairs, and opening your house to buyers. An agent can help you manage the process of selling in your preferred timeframe.

You have some control over the way buyers perceive your home. Take the buyer’s perspective, and it will be a win-win. The buyer gets their castle, and you stand a good chance of selling on your terms.

Written by Suzanne Arthur, Broker, REALTOR. Connect with Suzanne at suzanne@dixonpacifica.com to see how she can make selling your home easier for you. To keep up with all of Asheville’s local happenings follow @suzannearthur_realtor on Instagram and check out her website suzannearthurrealtor.com.

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Tubing the French Broad River

French Broad River tubing paddle boarding SUP - DixonPacifica

As recently as 10 years ago, you would have been hard pressed to find much recreational activity on the French Broad River in Asheville. City planning had not accounted for best and highest use of river front properties, leaving it less than scenic for river goers who may have wanted to canoe, paddle board, or tube.

Organizations such as River Link and River Keepers, as well as active community members, have worked hard to change that, and one of the results is hundreds of tubers enjoying a leisurely float down the river with the first signs of summer. Now, you can even stop along the way to grab some local beer or snack from a food truck.

There are many options for river “sports,” and I’ll use that term loosely as I’ll be focusing on tubing, which requires limited athletic ability or even energy. Rather, it’s a simple and relaxing way to enjoy a sunny day with family or friends.

Whether you choose a DIY option, go through an outfitter, or something in between, you’ll find you have many options.

There are multiple local outfitters offering a range or services from tube rental, shuttles, changing rooms and more. There are also numerous locations available for putting in and taking out your tube depending on how long you’d like to spend floating and where you’d like to end your trip.

Putting in at Hominy Creek and taking out at Amboy Road River Park typically lasts 2+ hours. For a longer float with a beer or food option, you’ll need to go a bit further to reach Wedge Brewing or The Bywater. Of course, the length of your float depends on the flow of the river at that time. For an accurate read on the current, visit American Whitewater and search for the French Broad. Don’t forget to check the water temperature while you’re there!

Some outfitters you may want to consider are French Broad Outfitters, Asheville Outdoor Center, and Zen Tubing. Prices range from $12 for a half day, walk, and tube to $20 which includes a shuttle and an extra raft for your cooler. For a thrifty but less convenient option, you can grab your own tube and either walk back to your starting point, grab a $5 shuttle, or leave a 2nd car at your final destination.

DixonPacifica - French Broad River - tubing

Some things you’ll want to have handy are river shoes, sun screen, a floating cooler with drinks (no glass), a sun visor or hat, a few bucks for beer or snacks, and towel and change of clothes at your stopping point. If you’re doing it on your own, don’t forget to account for your car key! I always bring a few ziplocks for keys and money and tuck them in a secure pocket.

However you choose to do it, just do it. There are few better ways to spend a hot summer day so get out and #movesmarter!

Written by Bethany Behrmann, Broker, REALTOR. Bethany had her first tubing adventure on the French Broad at age 10 and has logged dozens of trips since with family, friends, neighbors and countless exchange students. Whether you seek more recommendations for enjoying Asheville summers or information on riverfront property, Bethany can be reached by email at bethany@dixonpacifica.com.

 

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