Located in western North Carolina’s mountain country, Asheville is a gorgeous valley town that has really boomed in recent years. People from all over the world have put Asheville on their map both for vacation purposes and for new home purposes. Most chose it because of its easy access to mountain pursuits as well as its quirky downtown, but there are a lot of great secrets about this town. A lot of great reasons to put it on your own must-visit list. Let’s take a look at just a few of the interesting and exciting facts about Asheville that most non-locals (and even quite a few locals) rarely hear about:
7 Facts About Asheville You Probably Never Heard Of
1. Home to the Unique Comedy Tour Bus
Asheville is known for being a bit wacky, boasting entrepreneurs and artists from all walks of life, including those in the comedy scene. Two such local comic-loving Ashevillians created the unique tour company known as LaZoom. LaZoom is a one-of-a-kind tour bus that focuses on comedy. Started by two Asheville street performers, this comedy group offers several guided tours through Asheville where guests can learn more about the city while also enjoying some hearty laughs and quite a few giggles.
2. Asheville Boasts the Largest Privately-owned Residence
In Europe, sprawling estates and gardens like the Palace of Versailles can be found in just about every corner of the continent. These estates are works of art in their own right with their historic gardens and gorgeous architecture. One can truly say they just don’t make these types of buildings like they used to. And while the United States has plenty of McMansions that were built in the last couple of decades, this country’s relative youth means that you don’t see quite the same pre-20th Century architectural beauty as you can find throughout Europe.
That is unless you go to Asheville.
Asheville is uniquely home to the largest privately-owned residence in the country, a residence that very much exudes that old country beauty. This residence is known as the Biltmore Estate. The Biltmore Estate lies just on the outskirts of downtown Asheville and is arguably the most prominent example of Gilded Age mansions. Completed in 1895 for the wealthy Vanderbilt family, this incredible building and its gardens span 8,000 acres, much of which is open to tours for the general public. When you visit, don’t be surprised if the place looks familiar as it has been a site location for quite a few films and television shows, including Forrest Gump and Patch Adams.
3. Home to All You Can Play Pinball Location
Have children? Want to feel like a child again? Check out the unique Asheville Pinball Museum. This museum hosts one of the best collections of classic games. They currently have 35 pinball machines and 35 other styled vintage games. But this unique collection is only part of what makes the Asheville Pinball Museum one-of-a-kind. What most really find special about this place is it is a pay-once and play all you want. At $15 a person, what better way to enjoy a rainy morning or afternoon in the heart of Asheville’s downtown? Plus, they have a bar with a ton of local beer options.
4. The City is Big on Beer (But it Was Once One of the First to Ban it)
Speaking of local beer options, Asheville has been consistently named Beer City USA. This is especially interesting because Asheville was one of the first places that passed its own prohibition laws doing so in 1907, more than a decade before the National Prohibition Act was passed in 1919.
Today, the greater Asheville area is home to just under 50 — yes five-zero! — craft breweries. That is the second-highest number of breweries per capita in the United States. The only place with more is Portland, the east coast version in Maine. So if you love beers, especially fresh and unique ones, then a craft brewery tour around Asheville is a must.
5. Buncombe County is Also Wine Country
Not a big fan of sudsy brews? Asheville’s Buncombe County is also known as North Carolina’s wine country with a total of 15 wineries within 15 miles of the city’s downtown. Like we said, so much for Prohibition!
6. Every Summer, Asheville Hosts the Oldest-Running Folk Festival
Where better to enjoy the best in folk music and dance than in the heart of folk-country? Every summer, Asheville hosts the incredibly popular Mountain Dance and Folk Festival. This festival was started back in 1928 as a place and time to bring together traditional mountain music and dance, and it remains the largest such festival in the country. In fact, many modern festivals like the National Folk Festival were modeled after this one.
The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival takes place on the first full weekend of August, making it easy for people to pre-plan their vacation around it if they so wish. 2022 will see the 95th rendition of the festival, but we cannot wait until the big centennial bash in 2028!
7. Forget Traditional Zoos, Asheville is Home to a True Local Animal Park
Where traditional zoos showcase foreign animals from far-flung areas, Asheville does things differently (as it often does). This city’s zoological park is a non-profit called the Western North Carolina Nature Center and instead of trucking in animals from around the world, they have chosen to really dedicate themselves to the local flora and fauna of North Carolina. In 2018, they took this dedication to a new level by creating new exhibits to feature animals and fauna (or their closest living relatives) that would have been found in prehistoric Appalachia.
Make Sure to Check Out Our Other Pages for All Things Ashevillian!
Have we sparked your interest in some new parts of Asheville? We hope so! Make sure to check our other pages to learn more about this fantastic mountain town and to see what else the city holds for you.