The Transylvania County Courthouse in Brevard.
An employee of Malaprop’s (in my opinion one of the finest bookstores in the Blue Ridge) told me about the Asheville Urban Trail – a jaunt of a different kind. Its 1.7-mile length meanders along downtown streets, taking in 30 sites where various pieces of public art interpret the city’s history.
The outing begins at the Asheville Art Museum, where bronze turkeys and pigs evoke the city’s earliest days and I learned that Asheville was originally called Morristown.
Of all the things trail planners could have chosen to commemorate one of Asheville’s most celebrated residents, Thomas Wolfe, they chose bronze replicas of his size-13 shoes to place in front of Old Kentucky Home, the boarding house operated by his mother. A bronze cane, top hat and gloves recall the Grand Opera House of yesteryear; life-sized sculptures celebrate the civic center’s performing arts activities and a young boy on stilts represents Richard Sharp Smith, supervising architect of Biltmore House. Along the way, I couldn’t help but notice the architecture of many of the city’s structures, including the art deco designs of the 1928 City Building and the 1929 S&W Building.
- BREVARD 828-884-3278, brevardnc.org
- Eat: Lunch at Hobnob’s twist on New Orleans; traditional dinners at Docks Restaurant; dessert at Downtown Chocolates
- Stay: Red House Inn
- See: Art at Bluewood Gallery and Muddabbers Pottery
- MURPHY 828-837-2242, cherokeechamber.com
- Eat: ShoeBooties Cafe hosts live music; the Chop House serves steaks
- Stay: Healthy Coffee House (with art gallery)
- See: Celtic shops and bookstores; Cherokee Historical Museum
- WAYNESVILLE 828-456-3517, waynesville.com
- Eat: Nick & Nate’s Pizza; gourmet local foods at Chef’s Table
- Stay: Herren House B&B
- See: Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts; shows at the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre
KEY TRAVEL INFO
- State travel information. 800-VISIT-NC, visitnc.com
- State parks. 919-733-4171, ncparks.gov/Visit/main. php
- State B&B Association. ncbbi.org
- Blue Ridge Mountain Host. 800-807-3391, 828-285-9907, ncblueridge.com
- Blue Ridge Parkway. 828-298-0398, 828-271-4779, nps.gov/blri
- Connemara: Carl Sandburg Home. 828-693-4178, nps.gov/carl
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 865-436-1200, nps.gov/grsm
- High Country Host. 828-264-1299, 800-438-7500, highcountryhost.com
- Smoky Mountain Host. 800-432-HOST, visitsmokies.org
- Nantahala, Pisgah, Croatan and Uwharrie national forests. http://www.gorp.com/parks-guide/travel-ta-croatan-nantahala-pisgah-uwharrie-national-forest-sidwcmdev_066950.html
- Mountain weather. highcountryweather.com