The Biltmore Estate looms large over Asheville landmarks and is certainly a must-see attraction by virtue of its pure magnificence. However, the city is far from a Vanderbilt fiefdom, and it offers a host of other possibilities for sightseeing and play. If, for instance, you've marveled at the Biltmore grounds but can't get enough of landscape design, stop by the North Carolina Arboretum and browse 60 acres of additional terrain, along with bonsai specimens and a superb azalea collection. More gardens are on view at the Smith McDowell House Museum, along with the structure that's considered the city's oldest home. The three-story brick residence, now restored, features beautifully crafted woodwork and period furnishings. If you've got kids along, make a point to visit Pack Place, an educational complex with a museum devoted to rocks, gems, and earth science, and another that addresses health and science in a fun, engaging way. How about a little first-hand athleticism? You can't go wrong with ClimbMax Indoor Climbing Center, which lets you test your strength and stamina on a variety of verticals. Don't forget, too, to honor one of Asheville's native sons at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial. The author's restored childhood home provides a glimpse of the man behind the novels and gives credence to the fact that a hometown boy can indeed grow to become a literary giant.
Senior editor Kelly Sigmon is Southern born and Ivy educated. During his tenure with the company, Kelly has prized being a mystery traveler and overseeing the printed 10Best Travel Guides for San Francisco, Miami, and Atlanta.