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Great American Cities – Asheville Posted by on Nov 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

So far we’ve covered a few east coast cities (New York, Boston, D.C., Philly), a couple of west coast cities (San Fransisco, L.A. and Las Vegas) and one Midwest city, Chicago. Now we’re heading to the southeast, the land of BBQ and biscuits and gravy, to a small mountain town called Asheville in our “Great American Cities” series.

Asheville's down there somewhere.

Asheville’s down there somewhere.

Name: The area was originally named Morristown but after the expansion of the area it was incorporated and renamed Asheville in honor of the Governor, Samuel Ashe.

Location: Asheville is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina where the French Broad River meets the Swannanoa River.

Land of the Sky

Land of the Sky

Nicknames: Asheville’s first and primary nickname is ‘Land of the Sky.’ It has also been called ‘Paris of the South’ and ‘Santa Fe of the East.’

Year Founded: Present-day Asheville was officially incorporated in 1797. This came as a result of John Burton establishing a large settlement from state land grants.

Population: The first census of the area in 1800 counted only 38 people. As of 2013 the population was 87,236, but it has been growing steadily year after year. Its population is predominantly white (87%) with African-Americans making up 6.6% of the population and Hispanics at 6.4%.

Floating in a tube is one way to get around here... slowly.

Floating in a tube is one way to get around here… slowly.

Transportation: The city has one regional airport connecting to select cities throughout the country. There isn’t a train station and Greyhound is the only bus operator for long routes. The city bus is called ART (Asheville Redefines Transit) and has several routes. If you’re visiting Asheville it is best to have your own car.

The Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore Estate

Famous Places: The most notable famous place is the Biltmore Estate which is the largest home in America. The Blue Ridge Parkway is also very well known in the area. It is a 469-mile long road through the Blue Ridge Mountains with amazing views and it runs through Asheville. Another thing Asheville is known for is the large amount of micro-breweries and its food scene. They offer both food and brewery walking tours.

Drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Friday night drum circle.

Friday night drum circle.

Culture: Asheville has a very eclectic culture. It attracts people from all walks of life but in recent years it has had a very ‘hippie’ culture. There is a drum circle at Pritchard Park in downtown every Friday night, which attracts hundreds of people. You’ll also see plenty of musicians playing in the street which is known as ‘busking.’

Busking on the street.

Busking on the street.

Awesome southern food.

Awesome southern food.

Asheville, and North Carolina in general, is known for its BBQ. There are plenty of places where you can try the famous BBQ such as pulled pork, beef brisket and corn bread.

Sports Teams: Asheville isn’t big enough to have professional sports teams, but they do have a few minor league teams. For baseball they have the Asheville Tourists and for football the Asheville Grizzlies.

Take a hike in Asheville.

Take a hike in Asheville.

Although it’s much smaller and less famous than other American cities, Asheville is an up and coming destination that’s becoming more and more popular every year. Everyone goes to New York or Los Angeles when they visit the US, so why not try a different place? Mountains, BBQ, microbrews, and lots of music – what more could you ask for?

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About the Author:sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.