Asheville has enjoyed its well-deserved reputation as a center of wellness for centuries. Long before white settlers arrived in this part of Western North Carolina, members of the Cherokee Nation honored its hills for their abundance of medicinal plants and its waterways for their healing powers.
With roads came more and more visitors. Asheville soon gained national renown as a place of restfulness and recovery, both physical and psychological. If you’re looking for a getaway to somewhere that nurtures the body and soothes the soul, you can join in on this time-honored tradition and make a self-care pilgrimage yourself.
Ready to plan the weekend getaway or weeks-long sabbatical your heart craves? Here are 10 of our favorite ways to do it:
1. Get Some Spa Time
Shoji Spa & Retreat brings the best of Japanese luxury relaxation to the East Coast. Its services include massage, salt baths, hot tubs, a sauna, and more. You can book a tub for an hour or two, or stay on-site in its array of beautiful rooms overlooking the forests that cover these mountains. Some people like to dip in for a self-care service or two, such as a detoxifying stint in the sauna after a massage, while other people like to make a whole weekend of it. They’ve also got delicious sips on offer, from wine to beer to cocoa, so don’t forget to treat yourself!
2. Take to the Water
Time on the river and a hardcore workout that will leave you feeling refreshed for the rest of the day? That’s what SUP (stand-up paddleboard) yoga can do for you, and Sol Flow Yoga is here to represent Asheville. This time-honored form of mental and physical training gets an update on the river, where you must use balance and concentration to stay upright on your paddleboard. It’s the perfect way to start the morning!
3. Indulge in a Picnic for One
Billing themselves as “a taste of Asheville in a basket,” the Asheville Picnic Company sources their food from local vendors, so their gorgeous lunches really are a little window into what it’s like to be an Ashevillian. With fresh fruit and veggies, crackers and bread, nuts and cheese, and desserts and bevies, you can enjoy a hearty picnic for one … and they’ve got plenty of lunch lookouts to recommend as well.
4. Check Out Mountain Mural Tours
If you’re a fan of urban art and Asheville history, then your two passions will align perfectly with this amazing local tour company. Each tour showcases the best of Asheville’s street art, ferrying you around on a bus or walking tour to take in murals from across the area. Embed yourself in this city’s thriving creative spirit – perhaps with your picnic along for the ride? Be prepared to take a lot of pictures, as Asheville has plenty of beautiful murals on display.
5. Do Some Forest Bathing
Forest bathing started in Japan, but its tenets have permeated much of modern culture. By immersing yourself in the natural shapes and sounds of a forest, your brain has a chance to rest and literally reset. Studies show that walking in forests lowers your blood pressure, improves your immune function, reduces depression, and promotes overall mental and physical wellness. If you are looking for self-care, you can hardly do better than spend time in some of Asheville’s many well-curated hiking options. Pisgah National Forest is a prime choice, for example. If you prefer a more open-air experience, try Mt. Mitchell or Craggy Gardens which combine woods with stunning views.
6. Head To the Salt Cave
You’ve likely heard of salt therapy, but have you heard of a salt cave? The Asheville Salt Cave, surrounded by blocks of salt with a salt floor, uses the healing powers of this mineral to deeply relax your body and revive your spirit. Its music has a rare beauty, with singing crystal bowls and drums, bringing the peace of the Himalayas right to you. Indulge in a session in the salt cave, then a massage afterward, for the perfect day.
7. Pour a Candle
What could be more restful than pouring yourself a beautiful candle? At Hummingbird Candle Co., you can do just that, with a guided experience that will teach you how to make your own luxury wax candles at home. This Black-owned, women-owned business uses sustainable, vegan ingredients free of harsh chemicals. It also pays its workers a good wage and is active in the Asheville and North Carolina activism scene. When you spend an afternoon here, you leave with more than a candle … you have the knowledge that you’ve done something measurable to help the Asheville community.
8. Enjoy Some Live Music
Music fans unite! At Salvage Station, you can see nationally recognized acts as well as up-and-coming bands whose names we might all know in a few years. Enjoy music, food, and other amenities at this charming outdoor venue, which was voted the best place to see live music in the city. If you get inspired, you can tour the property and hunt for junk that remains from when this space was an actual salvage yard, such as the rusty old truck that bears its name. Make sure you’re going to be there at night when the compound’s many strings of lights lend unparalleled charm to the scene.
9. Visit Biltmore Estate and Village
At 175,000 square feet, the Biltmore Estate is the largest privately owned home in the United States by a healthy margin. George Vanderbilt completed it in 1895 after 6 years of construction, inaugurating his new country estate with a Christmas Eve party that year. Now you can tour the home, lounge on the grounds, or soak up some truly memorable beauty in its extensive flower gardens. Don’t forget to check out nearby Biltmore Village for shopping and dining options.
10. Taste a Flight of Tea
The High Climate Tea Company honors the millennia-old tradition of Chinese tea with its hundreds of varieties, selection of teatime tools, and beautiful tea services that allow you to indulge in their finest options. The owners of the company visit China every year to speak with their growers and choose the tea themselves, so it’s always of the finest quality. Enjoy a tasting flight at their bar, then choose your own teas to take home as a reminder of your amazing trip.
Ready to rest and recharge on a deep level? Time to get yourself to Asheville for a self-care trip, so choose some of your favorite options from above and get going!