Asheville is not for people who wish to live indoors, people who can breathe without balconies or patios, people who don't feel sadness when there is not a tree in sight.
Asheville is for those who wish to escape into nature, embrace it as the sun rises and watch the environment change as the sun sets. The Windsor is in the heart of one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, which means when you visit, you're only steps away from hundreds of different species of flora and fauna.
Let's talk about that flora.
An Asheville spring better than the average spring. From dogwoods to rhododendron, from tulips, daffodils, crocuses and forsythia to trilliums, cherry and apple blossoms, you can see a jeweled palette in every direction between March and May. As you might expect in the South, we insist you slow the pace to stop and smell the flowers.
You can spend an entire weekend in our Appalachian mountains thriving outside. Pack a picnic blanket and some refreshments, bring the sunscreen, and head outdoors. Here are our top three destinations for not-so-secret floral indulgences.
THE BILTMORE ESTATE
For the luxury lovers and romantics
You can spend an entire weekend at the Biltmore Estate, touring its extravagant home, tasting wine and enjoying fine meals in Antler Village. But the gardens and conservatory at spring are not to be missed. In short, they're simply breathtaking. Through formal walkways carving around pruned trees and thousands of flower bulbs and rose bushes, or on the informal dirt paths along field edges and around one of many ponds, the Biltmore Estate was purposely designed to be enjoyed at leisure. Created by America’s foremost landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, the estate features an Italian Garden, acres of managed forest, and a Rose Garden that features over 250 varieties. Almost one-half of the Estate's operating budget is dedicated to keeping and caring for the gardens around the season, and the dedication shows in multiple colors along miles of path to explore on your own. Conclude your floral expedition with a picnic and champagne by the French Broad River.
ASHEVILLE BOTANICAL GARDENS
For the artistic spirits and philosophers
Tucked away next to UNC-Asheville and only a mile from the Windsor is the lush walking paradise of Asheville's Botanical Garden. Over 600 species native to the Southern Appalachians exist within a couple of walking loops. Look for the little signs carefully placed among trees, shrubs, wildflowers, grasses and herbs. The Gardens encourage visitors to enjoy quiet meditation among the flowers and trees, so bring a journal or book to read, or even some headphones to listen to music while you gaze up at the treetops from your picnic blanket. Weaver Creek runs through the Gardens, and yes, you can sun on the rocks and dip your feet into the cold spring pools. It is a place where the mind and body meet for contemplation, reflection and peace. Don't be surprised to see people meditating, live painting, or strumming a guitar.
THE NORTH CAROLINA ARBORETUM
For the hiking enthusiasts and botany lovers
The North Carolina Arboretum consists of 65 gorgeous acres of cultivated gardens that "delight the senses, pay tribute to the region’s rich cultural heritage and reinforce the importance of plants to our world." Grab your tennis shoes or hiking boots and start early in the morning with the locals. This peaceful setting will influence a positive mood for the rest of your day. One of the Arboretum's signature exhibits is its extraordinary bonsai collection...one of the most unique in the world. Did you bring your bike to Asheville? (If not, ask us about local bike rentals!) At the Arboretum, you can you enjoy hiking trails, plus there are miles of easy to moderate bike trails for the sports-minded. While walking around, check out their "Cell Phone" self-guided tour that educates the curious traveler with delightful details at stops on the garden map.