When thinking about summer plans, most think about the beach. It’s a natural thought: fun in the sun. However, one untapped spot for fun in the sun without worrying too much about a hurricane ruining your plans is the mountains of North Carolina. There are countless things to do in Western NC. The top endeavors that most people associate with the Blue Ridge area are hiking, the Biltmore Estate and the barbecue & music scenes.
There are numerous trails, paved and unpaved, all throughout Saluda and the surrounding areas that can accommodate everyone from novice to expert trail explorers. This is one way to not only stretch your legs on the best hiking trails near Asheville, but also take in some of the most gorgeous countryside in the Southeast. One recommendation for a short walk is the Deep Creek Loop. It is an easy four-mile jaunt that passes by two waterfalls. A word of caution, though, if you plan on taking your favorite furry friend with you: make sure your trail is pet friendly! All of the trails at the Nantahala National Forest are pet-friendly, and some also follow the Nantahala River.
If you are more the type that likes to sight-see, there are a lot of things to do in Western NC. The most famous is the Biltmore Estate, which prides itself on remarkable service throughout the grounds and can easily be seen by all guests. Besides taking a tour, there is dining and shopping, as well as a few fun outdoor options. One activity that may not naturally be associated with the Biltmore is their river float trips, which is a relaxing way to see the Biltmore and the surrounding areas. Trips are recommended for ages 3 and up and is a fun option for the whole family.
At night is when the music scene comes alive. Nearby in Saluda, every 2nd and 4th Friday from May 9th until September 26th, there is the Top of the Grade Concert Series. The concerts are free to the public and will be held from 7pm to 9pm in McCreery Park.
There may be many things to do in Western NC, but the Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival is definitely one to mark on your calendar. Located in Tryon, NC, this free two-day festival combines the two things that everyone loves about the south: barbecue and music. A couple of the musical acts for this year will be The Whiskey Gentry and The Danberrys. However, the main event for the festival is the barbecue competition. This is a Kansas City Barbecue Society style event and the competition is fierce.
Besides contemplating which things to do in Western NC this summer, or how to try and fit all of them in, the other thing most worry about is where to stay. Located near all of these activities is a quaint bed and breakfast, The Orchard Inn. The owners can point you in the right direction when it comes to how you want to spend your time while visiting the Blue Ridge. Make sure you book one of their luxurious rooms that you can relax in and call home while you visit.
Photo by -ted