My favorite part of the Asheville area was 25 miles SE on Highway 74A
At the entrance to the park you will find about two blocks full of stores & restaurants these are your typical places geared toward tourists. Like a coffee shop where you can also have your picture taken in period costumes.
State Park: fee is $12 adults and $5 for kids. The park has several hiking trails including the famous Chimney which is about a 20 minute walk up wooden staircases to great view at 2280 feet. It’s a fairly easy hike. (There is an elevator that goes to the top but it’s out of service until at least April 2012)
Lake Lure: about 2 miles south of the park has a beach on the lake. Perfect for kids with water slides that dump one into the lake.
We stayed at the Grand Bohemian Hotel: it is right outside the Biltmore Estate gate and about 4 miles from downtown. The hotel is known for its unique decor of art and stuffed animals, not the kind you buy in a toy store! It’s in Biltmore Village where there are many cute shops some that specialize in things like fly fishing, yarn and olive oil.
Walking around Asheville’s city center is a great way to spend the day. There are plenty of stores and clothing boutiques. Tops is a huge shoe store that one can spend hours in or for a trip down memory lane go to the country market for some old fashion candy & vintage games!
Mellow Mushroom has awesome pizza. The French Broad Chocolate Lounge has good dessert, at night you can sip on a glass full of melted chocolate while listening to live music. There is music everywhere in this town including a full strings group that plays on one corner.
Grove Park Inn: A beautiful property with views of the surrounding mountains. Nice place to stop for a late afternoon drink and cheese plate.