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Published: March 30th 2017
We returned to North Carolina, but this time we stopped in the south western part of the state at Asheville. The mountains surround this quaint town and provide amazing opportunities for enjoying all the beauty that God gave us in this place. I really enjoyed driving a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping many times to take in the views. The parkway is a scenic national parkway of 469 miles that runs from the Shenandoah National Park near Roanoke, Virginia to the boundary between the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and the Cherokee Indian Reservation. It is a beautiful drive with lots of switchbacks that climb up mountains and then go back down into valleys. You have to drive slow for the curves which gives you time to take it all in.
Asheville has a Hop On, Hop Off trolley which was a great way to explore the city. It starts at the visitor center and then takes you through the Montford Historic District where there are wonderful historic homes to see. The driver gives informative narrative for the complete route of the trolley. I got to see the Omni Grove Park Inn where many notable people
have stayed and see the stack stone construction. If something interested you at one of the spots you can get off and then catch another trolley later to complete the loop. I stopped and had a delicious lunch in the Grove Arcade and then walked to the old Woolworth Store to see the original soda fountain. Then I walked to St. Lawrence Basilica to see the historic cathedral which has beautiful stain glass windows and a remarkable dome stone ceiling.
You can’t visit Asheville without visiting Biltmore. It was built by George Vanderbilt and opened on Christmas Eve 1895 after 6 years of construction. It was their family home even though there was just George, his wife Edith and daughter Cornelia. Biltmore is the largest privately owned home in the United States at 178,926 square feet with 250 rooms including 33 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 3 kitchens, along with a bowling alley and swimming pool in the basement.
This is an amazing place to visit but it is now time to head on to Tennessee.
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