There are many new reasons to visit Asheville, North Carolina, this year. RomanticAsheville.com travel guide created a “top 10” list of what’s new and not to miss:
1. Mt. Mitchell’s new observation deck opened in January after two years of construction. Enjoy 360-degree views from the highest mountain east of the Rockies.
2. Gorges State Park reopens its main parking area this spring, complete with a new connector trail for hikes to the beautiful waterfalls of the Horsepasture River, rugged river gorges, and sheer rock walls.
3. After being closed for more than a year for repairs, the section of the Blue Ridge Parkway at Craggy Gardens will reopen by May. This area of the Parkway features breathtaking vistas from 5,000+ feet in elevation and is a popular route from Asheville to Mt. Mitchell.
4. The Biltmore House will open the Louis XV Suite to the public for the first time on April 4. Having been restored to their original splendor, the suite of rooms has been meticulously restored.
5. The much anticipated opening of Pack Square Park will happen in stages this year. This 6.5-acre park in Asheville’s historic central square downtown has been undergoing a major renovation since 2005.
6. Join in the 75th birthday celebration of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a wide array of activities and events in the park and in neighboring communities.
7. The North Carolina Birding Trail will complete its guide for Western North Carolina in the summer with 105 sites approved for this region of the Trail.
8. Several new hotels are opening, including the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Biltmore Village, Brookstone Lodge, a locally-owned hotel near Biltmore Estate and the LEED-certified “green” Hilton Hotel in Biltmore Park.
9. The Lexington Gateway Mural will be completed on the support piers of the Interstate 240 Bridge over Broadway. It is part of the Asheville Mural Project.
10. A new spot for shopping, dining and movies is Biltmore Park, an urban village quaint “downtown” with national retailers like REI and Barnes and Noble. A new 15-screen movie theatre features the only stadium seating in town.
For more of what’s new in 2009, visit RomanticAsheville.com, a 250-page online travel guide to Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.