Blue Ridge Mountains

For those who love the outdoors and landscape views of the mountain peaks, the Blue Ridge Mountains are the place to be. The mountains got their name from the way the peaks appear to always be blanketed by a soft blue haze. Stretching from Georgia to North Carolina and even into Virginia, the Blue Ridge Mountains offer a wide range of opportunities for nature lovers to soak up the beauty and take part in a variety of outdoor activities. Ideally, the best time of year to visit the mountains is during spring or fall when the colors are rich and vibrant.

Asheville, North Carolina, Blue Ridge MountainsWhat to Do in the Blue Ridge Mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains are a real treat for those who enjoy hiking, and there is much to be seen in the way of natural landscapes, waterfalls, fauna, wildlife, gorges and even canyons. Some of the most popular hiking destinations in the Blue Ridge include the Appalachian Trail, Grandfather Mountain, Devil's Courthouse and Tallulah Gorge. There are hundreds upon hundreds of miles of hiking trails that will bring enjoyment to both beginning and advanced hikers. And if you don't feel up to hiking the trails, take a scenic and relaxing drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway and catch a glimpse of the many mountains in the area along the 469-mile stretch of highway.

For those less interested in hiking and more interested in relaxing beneath the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the many wineries and vineyards throughout the Blue Ridge are prime tourist destinations for wine lovers and many offer outdoor wine tastings with panoramic views of the mountains. Popular vineyards and wineries that may interest travelers include: Thistle Meadow Winery – Laurel Springs, North Carolina, Breaux Vineyards – Purcellville, Virginia, The Winery House at Round Peak Vineyards – Mount Airy, North Carolina

Believe it or not, there is much more to be seen when traveling in the Blue Ridge than the mountain peaks themselves. Nestled in the heart of the mountains in Western North Carolina is the city of Asheville, a favorite vacation spot of President Obama and his family. Travelers often visit to tour the Biltmore House and botanical gardens, while others enjoy venturing downtown where the streets are lined with chic little boutiques, restaurants, museums and nightclubs.

In Virginia, Roanoke is a popular destination for travelers seeking to take in the natural beauty of the mountains. While offering plenty of opportunities for camping, swimming, hiking and picnics, Roanoke is also home to the Booker T. Washington National Monument as well as the Vinton Historical Society Museum. Whatever the occasion, the Blue Ridge Mountains offer plenty of memory making opportunities for people of all ages and walks of life.


Ashville, North Carolina

One of the most beautiful destinations in the Appalachian Mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway is the city of Ashville, North Carolina. Filled with family friendly activities, beautiful homes, and classy entertainment, Ashville is known for its distinctive charm and welcoming atmosphere. Filled with charming mom and pop shops, great eateries, and unique events, a visit to Ashville is guaranteed to be enjoyable and unforgettable.

Ashville's history is a rich and varied as the people who have called this fantastic destination home. Once a remote outpost at the crossroads of local American Indian trade routes, the area around Ashville was frequented by the likes of Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, and other well-known frontiersmen who called these North Carolina mountains home. In the late 1800's the railroad came to Ashville and changed the region forever. Bringing visitors from throughout the United States to this majestic mountain getaway, Ashville grew rapidly and became a popular escape for persons of all backgrounds.
Sunlit lake, Ashville, North Carolina
Along with the railroad, wealthy philanthropist George Vanderbilt made his way to Ashville and quickly purchased more than 100,000 acres of beautiful mountain property to build his estate. Six years of hard work and imagination culminated in the completion of the most popular of America's castles. The Vanderbilt estate is one of the top tourist attractions in Ashville drawing thousands of guests each year.

Other notables who called Ashville home include American author Thomas Wolfe. The son of a boardinghouse owner, Thomas Wolfe is responsible for some of the greatest works in American literature. His most famous work, "Look Homeward, Angel", even uses Ashville as its setting. Another popular attraction in Ashville is the historic home of American poet Carl Sandburg. His home is open daily to visitors.

Of course, Ashville is known for more than just its famous philanthropists and authors. With the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding this pristine location, Ashville has many activities for visitors of all ages. The town proper is filled with art galleries, mom and pop shops, and plenty of restaurants. Visitors who enjoy the great outdoors will find solace on one of the many hiking trails and recreation parks. With a variety of terrain for enthusiasts of all ages, the Blue Ridge Mountains provide a great escape from the bustle of city life.

The weather in Ashville changes with the seasons. With summer days struggling to reach the mid-70's, a fall that provides beauty and cooler weather, enjoyable, snow filled winters, and budding springs, Ashville has great weather for all seasons. It is a sure thing that visitors will find no shortage of activities to top off this fantastic vacation.


North Carolina, United States

North Carolina is located on the Eastern coast of the United States and has a little bit of everything. Those who want history can find it in cities like Boone and Kitty Hawk, while the adventurers can visit Cherokee and Charlotte. Others can find relaxation in Asheville and sunbathers can revel in Emerald Isle. There is virtually something for everyone.

Boone, North Carolina will appeal to the historians and the adventurers alike. Visitors can mine for gems at the Foggy Mountain Gem Mine. They will also be able to learn about history of this North Carolina town. If hiking is desired, Boone is located right at the base of the mountains so hikes and tours are frequently available.

Kitty Hawk is the home of the first flight. The Wright Brothers Museum brings in many tourists every year to learn about flight. Depending upon the time of the year, there are also festivals and air shows for the whole family to enjoy. This town isn’t just about flight, however. They have quite a nightlife scene and those who like to shop can do so through the many boutique stores.

One of the largest draws to North Carolina is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is the most visited of all of the state parks. It offers hiking, nature trails and even white water rafting. There are many drivable paths, waterfalls and ranger stations with educational workshops. The Park is nestled right between the borders of Cherokee, North Carolina on one side and Gatlinburg, Tennessee on the other.

Asheville is located deep in the mountains where a university town turns into a prime skiing location in the winter. Many relaxing spas are located here, too, making it a great city for romance or relaxation.

NASCAR fans may already know that there is a racetrack in Charlotte, North Carolina as well. There are several races that take place here every year, drawing in thousands of fans. When there isn’t a race, people can go to the Nascar Hall of Fame, something that has opened over the past few years and is constantly evolving. Other visitors to Charlotte enjoy the Southern charm in fine dining restaurants throughout the impressive downtown area. Others will enjoy the botanical gardens and the Museum of History.

North Carolina features beaches, mountains and everything in between so that it will appeal to any traveler. There are few states that offer so much of everything, which is why North Carolina is host to so many festivals and visitors each and every year.