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Regardless of the time of year (or time of day, for that matter), Asheville is alive.
Asheville: Mountain Getaway Abounds with Spring Flowers
April 25, 2008
Category: Seasonal Suggestions: Near Your Asheville Hotel
By Bryan Sullivan
If you are planning a vacation for the spring, the city of Asheville, North Carolina offers relaxation, natural beauty and culture wrapped into one ideal weekend away – or more. Spring is a perfect time to visit the unique Asheville area. Nestled in the heart of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the city explodes with color this time of year, unearthing a bounty of the prettiest blooms that Western North Carolina has to offer.
Planning a Western North Carolina Vacation to Awaken Your Senses
Spring is nature’s time of renewal and growth, and people tend to view the season that way as well. One day you can just feel the seasonal change in the air – it somehow seems lighter and fresher. We peel off winter layers in favor of lighter fabrics, and leave the windows down in our cars. Why not plan your vacation to coincide with this vibrant time of year? Asheville’s many outdoor offerings make it easy for you to sample a breath of the mountain air and view the region’s exuberant flowers.
Biltmore Estate, the nation’s largest private house, may be the most breathtaking place to view the area’s spring blooms. The gardens were designed by the country’s esteemed landscape architect, designer of New York’s Central Park, Frederick Law Olmstead. There are formal and informal gardens, including the All American Rose Garden which boasts 250 varieties of roses. The estate is committed to preserving Olmstead’s original turn-of-the-century design, making a stroll through these gardens feel like a trip back into an earlier time.
The Biltmore Gardens offer many activities, including guided walks, tours, storytelling, live music in the gardens, lawn games, and hands-on craft workshops. You can’t go wrong at Biltmore any time of year, but spring may be when Biltmore is at its best. The annual Festival of Flowers, running through May 18, includes festivities inspired by Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil’s 1925 birthday party. Thousands of tulips line your way as you stroll through gardens that the estate’s residents traversed a century ago.
Western North Carolina’s Natural Beauty: An Inviting Spring Escape
There are many options for vacationers looking to embrace the spring abundance in Asheville. The North Carolina Arboretum is a 434-acre public garden that is part of the Bent Creek Experimental Forest, putting it truly in a natural garden setting. The garden is a center for education and research, and showcases the botanical diversity of the Southern Appalachians for its visitors. It has an array of trails for both hiking and biking. A highlight of the arboretum is its uniquely Southern Appalachian Bonsai Collection.
The Botanical Gardens at Asheville is another institution that displays plant life native to the Southern Appalachian Mountains. April through mid-May is peak wildflower season, making this a stop you won’t want to miss. The half mile walking trail over bridge-covered streams and meadows has carefully placed picnic areas that beckon you to stop with your picnic basket and bask in the serene quietude of this beautiful garden. This slice of heaven truly is a respite from the frenetic pace of modern life.
The Asheville area is home to several majestic parks that are ideal for spring hiking, or a leisurely stroll. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America’s most visited national park, is home to 1,400 flowering plants. The beauty of ancient mountains and the diverse plant and animal life nestled in the park make it world renowned. Two hundred species of wildflower bloom from March through October.
Chimney Rock Park is another unique Asheville spring experience. With more than 2.5 miles of hiking trails from which to enjoy spring’s wildflowers, this park is home to a vast array of plant life due to its unique exposure to sunlight and moist conditions. This is a great place to connect with nature. You can see 300 year old trees, and enjoy the mist from a 405 foot waterfall. The top of Chimney Rock is 2,280 feet above sea level and offers a stunning 75 mile view of Lake Lure.
James Gibson, Managing Director of The Residences at Biltmore, says that spring is a very popular time to book an Asheville hotel room.
“I am hard pressed to think of a more beautiful place to enjoy what may well be Mother Nature’s most stunning spectacle – springtime – than in Western North Carolina. Asheville just happens to offer visitors the best of nature along with a cosmopolitan urban scene.”