A perfect day in Asheville should always include some time spent outdoors, and we don’t think there are many better places to explore than along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, home to the North Carolina Arboretum. The Arboretum is the perfect place to spend a late morning into early afternoon, up close and personal with wildlife of the area and hundreds of native plants.
After experiencing the abundance of nature provided by the North Carolina Arboretum, challenge yourself with an exciting hiking trail along the blue ridge parkway. An easy trail: Craggy Gardens at mile marker 367.6 on the parkway, claimed its name from the twisted, jaggy rocky “crags” that make up its scenic and exceptional views. However its real claim to fame is for the spectacular floral display that rivals any area among the 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The view is incredible, you can see giant rising mountains to small, violet petaled paths, even benches to have an unforgettable picnic at, and offers 360-degree panoramic views during all seasons. If you missed peak season of the blooms, do not despair; there are many other types of Violets, blackberry, May-apple, and Turkscap-lily that vibrate throughout the high-altitude landscape. Breathe in the relaxation that this gorgeous stretch of the blue ridge parkway has to offer! The Craggy Gardens Visitor Center is located at Milepost 364.4 with exhibits and picnic that is ADA accessible, with the spur to Craggy Gardens trails and picnic area at 367.6 Also, nearby is Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi.
On the way back into town, try a local treasure by eating at Posana restaurant, a Contemporary American restaurant in the heart of downtown Asheville which focuses on serving local, seasonal, and sustainable cuisine. They cater to a variety of dietary restrictions and needs. An example, their Kale salad is excellent along with the pan seared tofu. Nestled in the heart of downtown Asheville just off Biltmore Avenue.
A Blue Ridge Parkway getaway is made complete with a stay at The 1889 Whitegate Inn, a romantic Asheville bed and breakfast offering an array of exceptional packages. Book a stay in the luxurious Walt Whitman garden spa suite and indulge in chocolate covered strawberries waiting for you on arrival paired with bubbly champagne, or delight in a picnic basket filled with chicken or meatloaf, fruits, desert, and sparkling beverages. Unwind in the steam shower or a jacuzzi bath by the dual fireplace that you can see from the bedroom to bathroom, or wander the gardens and the Koi pond to see a range of different plant species that have been sown from all over the world.