Posted April 9, 2022

Asheville’s Under The Radar Gems


Nestled into the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Asheville captures the hearts of travel aficionados. For years, Forbes, Lonely Planet, Condé Nast Traveler and others have lauded Asheville as a top destination. It’s no wonder considering its artistic vibrancy, culinary and craft beer scenes, and scenic outdoor adventures.

The downtown Asheville skyline at dawn, set against the otherworldly backdrop of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

We couldn’t resist this “Paris of the South.” So this summer, the heart of downtown Asheville will become home to the new Kimpton Hotel Arras. Transforming the former BB&T Bank building into a haven of local culture, creativity and community, the Kimpton Hotel Arras will welcome you with 128 guestrooms, 54 elegant residences, a restaurant, cocktail bar and state-of-the-art fitness center. In other words: the perfect perch for exploring the nuanced intrigues of Asheville.

Artful Asheville

There are more than 30 galleries in downtown alone, and two of our favorites are Lexington Glassworks — look for the gorgeous Appalachian Budvase collection — and dinnerware makers East Fork, co-founded by the great-grandson of Henri Matisse.

Over on the banks of the French Broad River, meander through the bustling River Arts District, and see 200-plus working artists creating their wares before your eyes. The freshly renovated Asheville Art Museum is right across the street from the Kimpton Hotel Arras, showcasing 8,000-plus works of American art including finely crafted objects made by Cherokee Indians.

The Asheville Art Museum is home to many awe-inspiring works, including Raoul Hague’s ‘Rainbow Lake’ carved out of walnut wood. Photo Credit: David Huff Creative.

Even history is artsy in this town. The Asheville Urban Trail is a walking tour of the past by way of public art sculptures. Look for the pocket watch and the comb from the short story The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, who lived in Asheville for a time. Note the Art Deco, Beaux Arts and Neoclassical architectural masterpieces along the way.

Back at the Kimpton Hotel Arras, you’re invited to meet in the lobby each evening for a glass of wine and a tour of the hotel’s commissioned installations by 19 local and renowned artists.

Food and Brews

Creative flair extends to cafes, restaurants and breweries, many of which are into sustainable ingredients from local farms. Here are some of our favorites, moving in the general direction of morning till evening.

  • Trade and Lore Coffee — Matcha, kombucha or oat milk latte, anyone? For your daily fix, you won’t be disappointed.
  • OWL Bakery — European pastries made of local grassfed milk and organic flour.
  • Flora & Forage — Floral shop locale serving botanically infused beverages and bites.
  • Biscuit Heads — Order the obvious, with espresso red eye gravy.
  • Smoky Park Supper Club — Roam the grassy grounds along the river after you dine inside the country’s biggest shipping container restaurant.
  • Chai Pani — Indian street food: hello, fritters in curried chickpea batter.
  • Posana — Posh ambience and nationally recognized gluten-free cuisine drawing inspiration from local ingredients.

Flora + Forage is part floral design studio, part artisan coffee & tea shop, and all experiential.

The explosion of craft beer in Asheville is nothing short of FOMO-inducing. Get oriented in the South Slope, an old warehouse district morphing into a brewery haven. Head to Bhramari Brewery and knock back a flagship glass of The Good Fight on the patio. Over at Burial Beer you’ll find old European beer styles and one-offs like Drop the Guillotine. If you prefer barrel-aged sour and wild ales, don’t skip Hi-Wire Brewing.

The Great Outdoors

All those scrumptious calories are best burned off while pleasantly distracted by Asheville’s natural beauty. Among countless yoga studios, Namaste in Nature combines tree pose with mountain hikes. Speaking of hikes, Catabwa Falls is a 3-mile round-trip past 100-foot cascading waterfalls. If you’re here during spring or summer, explore the Botanical Gardens, a 10-acre wonderland of native North Carolina ecosystems. And while the Biltmore is known for its lavish 35-bedroom mansion, you can also go horseback riding, biking, hiking and fly-fishing on the estate’s 8,000-acre grounds.

Namaste in Nature brings your yoga practice outside—and gives a whole new meaning to “tree” pose.

We can’t wait to see you in Asheville.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *