Asheville Summer Bucket List
As July ends, days are beginning to grow shorter, stores are starting to stock back-to-school supplies, and swimsuits and other staples of summer are hitting the clearance racks. Although the halcyon days of sunshine and warm temperatures are on the wane, summer is not quite over yet! In fact, some of the best Asheville activities are even better when it’s not so hot outside. Some of our favorite must-do, “bucket list” things to do in the Land of the Sky before summer ends are included here.
Off-Road in a Land Rover
Hidden within the wild, wooded environs of the Biltmore Estate are more than 100 miles of trails specially designed for off-road adventuring. Not accessible by the general public, the trails are restricted to use by the Land Rover Experience and other Biltmore services.
The Land Rover Experience Driving Center at Biltmore is one of only 4 such driving schools in North America. Each Experience includes coaching by an expert instructor who helps you navigate mud, rutted trails, high grass, water crossings, and rock crawls with the assistance of the vehicle’s adaptive systems. More than just a fun driving adventure or extended test drive, the Experience is also a venue for improving your driving skills in difficult terrain. In fact, many current Land Rover owners participate in the Experience to learn how to drive their vehicles better.
You can choose a one- or two-hour Experience, or extend the excursion to a half-day, full-day, or even a two-day Adventure. The Driving Center also offers a full-day advanced class, as well as a full-day winch and recovery techniques Adventure. It can be a great team-building exercise, as well, as the Driving Center can put together scavenger hunts and other challenges for groups.
The cost for each Land Rover Experience is separate from Biltmore Estate admission, and reservations can be made online or by calling 828-225-1541. Guests of The Residences at Biltmore are entitled to an exclusive 10 percent discount on the price of any Experience when you use the code BRHN.
Of course, no visit to Asheville is complete without a visit to the home built for shipping heir George Vanderbilt. It’s not only a historical landmark, but it’s also an architectural marvel, its gardens are a landscaped paradise, and it’s the largest private home in the country. It’s not just the house and gardens that make it so special, though. There is also a winery on the property, as well as the shops and restaurants in Antler Hill Village, plus trails, amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and numerous other opportunities for outdoor recreation.
Asheville is pretty well-known for its quirky personality, and few things show it off quite like the LaZoom Tours. Get to know the city from the comfort of an obnoxious purple bus with equally obnoxious and funny tour guides (plus, a nun on a gigantic bike). There are several tour choices, and beer and wine are welcomed on the tours. Tours fill up fast, so reservations are recommended.
Yet another of Asheville’s eclectic offerings, the Pritchard Park Drum Circle is a free and free-for-all celebration of sound, rhythm, and people. Every Friday night during the warmer months, people from all over the area bring their percussion instruments of choice and congregate in the downtown park. There’s no leader, and no assigned music; it’s truly just an opportunity to dance, play, hula, or move to the beat of your own drummer. The circle usually kicks off around 6 p.m., and can continue as late as 10.
Located in Mills River, a city just to the south of Asheville, Sierra Nevada’s second brewery is a must-see for any craft beer fan. The large independent brewery is a model of sustainability, as the company is invested in environmental stewardship while making great beer. You can tour the brewery to see how the beer is made and watch as bottles are filled and packed for shipping all over the country, or hang out in the Taproom, a restaurant and bar with 23 beers on tap and locally sourced small plates and tapas. There’s a nature trail on the property, as well as the Back Porch, which serves more casual fare and overlooks an enormous firepit, games, and a concert stage.
Asheville City Market
If picking up some locally grown southern produce and hand-made goods are a must for your trip, take some time at the Asheville City Market on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon at 52 N. Market St. downtown. From April through October, the Market has food vendors, local farms, live music, and even activities for kids.
Asheville’s burgeoning arts scene gets most of its fuel from the numerous studio spaces in the River Arts District (RAD). Converted industrial warehouses and historical buildings house galleries, studios, breweries, and restaurants along a 1-mile stretch of road next to the French Broad River. There are more than 200 artists working in the district, in media such as paint, pencil, pottery, metal, fiber, glass, wax, paper and more. Gallery walks featuring demonstrations, workshops, wine tastings, and live music take place every second Saturday of the month, and a free trolley takes passengers around the district.
Call for more information, 1-888-786-3648