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Imagine a city where gargoyles keep watch over an Art Deco downtown. Where smoke-blue mountain peaks not only accentuate the skyline--they dominate it. A city where you can drink cappuccino at a sidewalk cafe, browse through antique shops, or join in an impromptu bluegrass jam. Where you can feast your eyes on chocolate truffles and salmon skies. A city small enough to navigate, yet large enough to accommodate. A city as eager to preserve, as it is to progress. A city so special, it's rated as one of the "Top 10 Places to Live" by Outside magazine, listed in Rand McNally's Places Rated Almanac, and referred to by travel writers as the "Paris of the South." This is the city of Asheville, North Carolina.
Here in the cool, green Blue Ridge Mountains, you can raise your standard of living without increasing your work load. All you have to do is pack a picnic and head for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Charter a raft and brave some wicked whitewater. Or put on your hiking boots and climb to the top of Chimney Rock.
If history's an interest, stop by a general store that dates from 1891 for root beer and licorice. Tour a 17th-century Cherokee village. Or plan a day at Biltmore Estate, George Vanderbilt's 250-room Victorian chateau, complete with its own winery, the most-visited in the country. Of course, a visit to the Estate isn't the only way to bring culture into your life. Asheville is home to a thriving arts community, with a host of local galleries, drama companies, music rooms, and a symphony.
Whatever you prefer, you set the pace. Do as much, or as little as you like, just about any time you like. Asheville has a pleasing climate year-round-- mild summers and winters--and a spring and fall that linger to give you every opportunity to enjoy their showy display of color.