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North Carolina Top Attractions: Discover The “Tar Heel” State

By the Reynolds Mansion B&B, your gateway to Asheville, NC and the Biltmore Estate

Explore the monumental beauty of the “Tar Heel” state. From soft sand beaches to gorgeous mountain ranges, cityscapes to country roads, whatever you want, you will find it here in spades.

Of course, with so much to see and do in this unique Southern state, it isn’t difficult to get overwhelmed – so instead of planning to see “everything,” just book a few nights at a selection of North Carolina B&Bs near some of the nation’s top attractions and hit the road!

Not sure what the top attractions are? No problem! According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development, the state’s top have-to see sights include:

1. Historic Ocracoke – Ocracoke, NC. Listed on the Nation’s Register of Historic Places, this little barrier island community features a significant district made from more than 200 homes and buildings, including the Ocracoke Lighthouse, which was built in 1823 and is the oldest continuously operating light on the eastern seaboard.

2. Biltmore Estate – Asheville, NC. After breakfast at your North Carolina hotel, make your way to the shocking 250-room Biltmore House.  Set on 8,000-acres, you can spend the day doing everything from horse riding to rafting, and wine tasting to shopping.

3. Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park – Chimney Rock, NC. Whether you’re up to the challenge of a led rock climbing session or simply searching for a breathtaking place for a relaxed stroll, Chimney Rock State Park’s 75 miles of trails makes it all practical. You can also take a lift built within the mountain twenty-six stories into the sky for a scenic view you will not find any place else.  (Handily located just twenty-five miles southeast of Asheville’s North Carolina hotels, you can easily combine this attraction with a trip to the Biltmore Estate).

4. Old Salem Museums and Gardens – Winston-Salem, NC. Explore the lives of those who lived and worked in the early South at Old Salem Museums amp, Gardens. Made up of 3 museums, including the Significant Town of Salem, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Humanities (MESDA), and the Old Salem Toy Museum, it is a perfect destination for history buffs.

Grandfather Mountain – Linville, NC. As one of the planet’s most environmentally various nature preserves and a United Countries World Ecosphere Reserve, this one-off destination is a delight for out of doors enthusiasts of every age.

5. Hanging Rock State Park – Danbury, NC. This 6,968-acre state park features more than 18 miles of trails, which lead to gorgeous vistas, waterfalls, sparkling streams, and a 12-acre lake where you can spend the day fishing, cruising and swimming.

6. Jordan Lake State Recreation Area – Pittsboro, NC. Fishing, swimming, hiking and boating are all in a day’s fun at this 14,000-acre state recreation area – which is simply a brief drive from many North Carolina hostels in the Raleigh-Durham area.

7. Lake Lure – Lake Lure, NC. Named “one of the most beautiful man-made lakes in the world” by State Geographic, this lovely spot offers everything from sailing and fishing to dinner cruises and days spent basking on the beach. (And for you “Dirty Dancing” fans, you’ll want to take a guided cruise, in which your captain will mention some of the locations featured in the film.)

8. Battleship North Carolina – Wilmington, NC. Learn about the battles fought by this ship’s brave crew during WWII, as you walk the decks and explore the belly of the North Carolina.

9. Carolina Beach State Park – Carolina Beach, NC. With fishing and sailing, and miles of hiking trails (where you may encounter the rare Venus flytrap) and golden beaches, this shocking park is a coastal paradise.

Whether you opt to explore one attraction or one or two, North Carolina has many great B&Bs to select from. And with a knowledgeable concierge staff to help you during your stay, you can make the maximum of your time at every destination.

Visit us at the Reynolds Mansion, #1 ranked Asheville B&B, offering specials and packages for the Biltmore Estate.

What to Do in Asheville, NC: 10 Things You Must Try When You Visit

By the Reynolds Mansion B&B in Asheville NC

Asheville has long been a popular stop for visitors to North Carolina.  Along with its breathtaking natural setting, Asheville is a center of arts and culture.  Located between the streets of downtown you will find the most elegant gourmet restaurants, a vibrant arts scene and eclectic shops not seen anywhere else in the state. One thing is certain, Asheville is sure to make an impression on you.  Here are the 10 things you must do in Asheville, NC when you visit next!

1. Biltmore Estate was built in 1895, is the most famous symbol of Asheville, and must be seen!

2. Blue Ridge Parkway winds south of the city and offers panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains.

3. Asheville is prized for its non-chain establishments downtown, as shown by the sign in each window that says Go Local. Support Asheville businesses and buy local products.

4. Take a tour. Visit the Chamber of Commerce.  Segway tours run daily.

5. Grove Park Inn Spa luxury at its best in the historic Grove Park. The spa is considered one of the best 10 in the U.S. The main building, with its stone facade resembles the early 1900 lodges.

6. Stay at a world-class bed and breakfast and be pampered.  At the top of the list is the Reynolds Mansion B&B in Asheville, NC, ranked #1 on TripAdvisor.com.

7. Gallery crawl.  Downtown is full of art galleries, and you can find many artist studios in the River Arts District.

8. Visit some great microbreweries: Highland Brewing, French Broad Brewery, Asheville Pizza and Brewing.

9. Eat! The wide variety of options can overwhelm you, but some sites are remarkable, including Zambra on Walnut St. (Spanish tapas).

10. Biltmore Village is a planned community over 100 years old filled with stores, restaurants and galleries.

For more ideas on what to do in Asheville, NC when you visit, see DowntownAsheville.com.

Looking for a place to stay on your visit?  Book with us at the Reynolds Mansion B&B in Asheville.

Whitewater Rafting in Asheville, NC

The French Broad River is the closest outfitter for whitewater rafting near Asheville, North Carolina, just 22 miles northwest of Asheville near Marshall, NC.

You can select from a variety of white water and float trips on the beautiful and historic French Broad River. Just select a river trip to suit your group and schedule. You can do a half day of whitewater rafting, which is an average of 5 miles of class II-III rapids and amazing scenery. Whitewater rafting half-day morning trips usually include a fresh deli-style lunch. All-day white water rafting on the French Broad River gives you 8 miles to enjoy the rapids and mountain scenery of beautiful North Carolina along with a fresh deli-style lunch and a fun class IV rapid. The minimum age is 8. Families with young children can choose a more serene float, and the minimum age is 4.

When water levels permit, adventurers have the option of paddling inflatable kayaks or your own raft. In the calm pools between rapids, your guide will teach you about the natural and human history of this ancient river corridor. When you book your trip, your outfitter will provide all equipment necessary in connection with the river.

Before your trip, you must sign a waiver, and you can change clothes and do a check for anything you need: companions, cameras, shoes, river, sun cream, sunglasses, etc. You will attend a short talk about gear (helmets, PFDs, paddles, etc.), procedures, and the logistics of the journey on the river itself. When all questions have been answered and your equipment is checked to be a good fit, it’s time to load buses and head to your whitewater or calm water float trip on the beautiful French Broad River, home to some of the best North Carolina whitewater rafting near Asheville.

North Carolina is blessed with a long whitewater rafting season. Here in the southern Appalachians, rafting trips and float trips can be booked from mid-March to early November. And unlike other cold water rivers in western NC, the French Broad River is warmer and inviting. More than just another river trip, whitewater rafting on the North Carolina French Broad River near Asheville offers an excellent combination of White Water Rapids, serene pools, beautiful landscapes, history and wildlife.

You can book your Whitewater Rafting Trip for your visit to Asheville with Blue Heron Whitewater.

And don’t forget where to stay in Asheville— the Reynolds Mansion Bed and Breakfast Inn!

Asheville, NC: Top Twenty Things To Do In The North Carolina Mountains

What are the must-do places to see and experience in a romantic getaway to Asheville? Here are the Top 20 Things worth Doing in Asheville and the encompassing Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

And romantic mountain outings don’t have to be pricey. Many of these are free!

1. Blue Ridge Parkway: Ride the non-stop 200-mile Asheville area stretch of one of America’s most picturesque drives and stop at countless overlooks with mountain views and a selection of places to explore on the way. Take a picnic!

2. Hiking: To truly appreciate the natural elegance, explore by foot.

3. Biltmore Estate: This is an absolute must see, even if you have visited before.  Visit America’s biggest house, stroll through amazing gardens, hike across the eight thousand acre estate, sample Biltmore wines, and enjoy many dining and shopping options.For discount Biltmore tickets, order pre-booked tickets on their web site.

4. Downtown: With 2 hundred local stores, lots of art galleries, beautiful design and fifty eateries, downtown Asheville is a wonderful place to explore. For a fun tour, take the LaZoom town tour on the massive purple bus. And don’t miss the Fri. Night drum circle. Close by Hendersonville, Brevard, Black Mountain, Highlands and Waynesville also have interesting downtowns with plenty to see, do and taste.

5. Cabins: Cuddle up in front of the fireplace of an isolated cabin, while being near so much to do. Many mountain cabins have outside hot tubs under the stars.  Some offer lower rates on Sunday-Thursday nights.

6. Waterfalls: This is the Land of Waterfalls. Highest recommended are High Falls and Treble Falls at DuPont State Forest, with Looking Glass Falls, Linville Falls and Rainbow Falls.

7. Food and Lager: Asheville was just named Lager City USA again, so sample some of the 60 local brews.  At the same time, enjoy seasonal bounty at many farm-to-table cafes. Take a farm tour and don’t miss the apple orchards near Hendersonville in late summer.

8. Art: Asheville was just named as top little town for art in the States.  You will find galleries and studios all around. Watch the artists at work, and buy from them in the Brook Humanities District and the Toe Stream area studios near Penland College.

9. Festivals : Street festivals and art fairs abound in the spring, summer and fall.  Most are free to attend, including the giant of all of them, Bele Chere. Ten. Mt. Mitchell : Drive to the pinnacle of the tallest peak east of the Rocky Mountains.

Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you can enjoy 360-views from the observation platform on the summit. 11. Sliding Rock : Ride down this natural waterslide in the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard. It’s fun for all ages.

12. Great Smokies : For an enchanting evening watching elk graze a short distance away, drive to the Cataloochee Valley section of the Great Hazy Mountains Countrywide Park. Hike to Mt. LeConte or the Chimneys. Or drive to New-found Gap from Cherokee.

13. Bed and Breakfasts: Have a romantic getaway in a grand, significant home and awake to a gourmet breakfast. Many B&Bs have great holiday packages that include flowers, turn-down service, Biltmore tickets and more.  See our packages and specials!

14. Zip Lines: Fly across brooks and valleys and thru lush forests on canopy tours. Wildwater Ltd. Offers tours at 2 zip line courses in the Great Hazy Mountains.

15. Music and Theatre: There are several choices for theatre, dance, opera, and music including the stellar Brevard Music Center Festival, Folkmoot and Shindig on the Green.  Plus, hear a huge assortment of bands in numerous live music locales and clubs, including the Orange Peel in Asheville.

16. NC Arboretum: Celebrating its 25th anniversary this summer, this showcase of blooms, plants and trees encompasses a entrancing bonsai tree garden, nature trails and items.

17. Chimney Rock: See impressive perspectives of the Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure from atop this famous rock formation.  Hike to a 400-foot waterfall, a film location for one or two films.

18. Shopping: From antiques store and art galleries to consignment shops, the area is a shopper’s paradise.

19. Whitewater Rafting: Ride down the rapids in a raft or canoe on the Nantahala, Pigeon or French Broad Streams.

20. Get Wed or Reaffirm Your Vows: Celebrate your love and commitment in the stunning and romantic marriage mountain setting. The area is particularly preferred for destination marriages and elopements.

For more information on these and other things worth doing, see our Things to Do in Asheville, NC page.