Steadfast in its place as one of the most atmospheric cities in the southeast, the “land of the sky”, the eclectic jewel in the crown of western North Carolina. With its stunning art deco architecture, its vibrant arts scene, its eclectic mix of culture, and its iconic natural setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains, there is a sense of permanence that helps root all who live here. Where else could a mountain hike in the morning, a tour of one of the largest private residences in the US in the afternoon, enjoying a locally crafted brew while you enjoy music at dusk, and then retiring to a 5-star luxury hotel at night seem so perfectly and incredibly expected?
What is it known for?
What seemed like one of the darkest periods in US history has now proved to be one of Asheville’s most fortunate.
No, it wasn’t New York, or Chicago, or St. Louis. The city that suffered most from the economic collapse was Asheville-a municipality so poor for so long that the “ancient” buildings never faced the bulldozers or urban renewal. While many cities chose to default on their Depression-era liabilities and start over with a “clean slate”, the Asheville city fathers chose to pay back every dollar. It was a burden several generations would endure, until 1976 when the last obligation was paid. During those years, the city stayed much as it was before that black day in 1929.
Asheville today is more than a city where architecture stood still. It is distinctive because in the year that time stopped, 1929, Ashevillewas a boom town. A home for the Vanderbilts, a resort for Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and many other historic luminaries, and a Mecca for rising young architects. Those young minds would follow in the footsteps of master architect Richard Morris Hunt, who built the lavish Biltmore House in 1895.
Asheville is now one of the most visited cities in the United States, with tourists thronging the French chateau-inspired Biltmore House, the Art Deco-infused downtown area, the native granite-founded Grove Park Inn, and the winding roads of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
But Asheville is so much more than just the architecture. It’s host to Bele Chere; the largest street festival in the southeast. It was named BeerCity USA 2012. It features numerous 5-star luxury hotels such as The Grove Park Inn, The Grand Bohemian, Hotel Indigo, and the Biltmore Inn. It boasts hundreds of attractions including the Blue Ridge Parkway, hot air balloon rides, historic trolley tours, numerous art galleries including the Kress Emporium and Woolworth Walk. It even has the Asheville Tourists; a minor league baseball team!
Where do you want to live?
Asheville is surrounded by mountains and suburbs are attractive for families looking for homes with more space and greenery. Popular areas include historic Biltmore Forest, and Biltmore Lake.
For those looking to be closer to the urban action, consider The Fitzgerald; luxury condos located on Macon Avenue in the Grove Park area, the historic Montford area, or the Lexington Condominiums in the heart of Downtown.
Biltmore Park embodies both the urban setting with a suburban feel. While 10 minutes from downtown Asheville, this mixed-used community features single family homes, condos, townhomes, and apartments – all within walking distance of lively restaurants and cafes, spa and health clubs, as well as a range of dynamic shops, businesses and entertainment.
As the largest city in Western North Carolina, it’s easy to get to several charming towns such as Hendersonville, Brevard, and Lake Lure. In the winter, many head for the higher elevations for skiing in towns such as Wolf Laurel.
Asheville Regional Airport serves Asheville and the surrounding areas and has direct flights to many major US cities such as Chicago and New York City, which are an hour and and hour and a half flight respectively.
Public transportation comes in the form of the Asheville City Bus System (ART). However, should you wish to go anywhere outside the Downtown area, you will need your own car.
Asheville continues to be a thriving mecca here in the southeast. In 2007, the median sale price of a single family home in Asheville was $232,000. Like most markets, Asheville real estate was not immune to the market downturn. However, the latest reports from June-August of 2012 show a median sale price at $215,000.
Entry-level homes in the eastern suburbs of Asheville start in the high $160′s while luxury homes North and South of downtown Asheville start in the high $900′s and climb to as much as $5,000,000.
Rentals in the downtown area are in demand from students and professionals. A two-bedroom apartment near the city center rents for $1,100 a month.