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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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.’
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.
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?