Leaf colors in Ashville

It’s that time of year again—Starbucks is releasing its pumpkin-flavored lattes while we’re sweating out the remaining heat of summer. Yes, fall is near. Now is the perfect time to start thinking about heading to the North Carolina mountains for leaf-peeping. What better spot than Asheville, home to fantastic food, brews, music and, yes, mountainside arrays of flaming color.

Late October and early November are peak, depending on elevation. Higher up in the mountains, the color pops earlier than the city so do your homework to make sure you don’t miss them. This interactive map and timeline keeps the fall foliage aficionado up to date weekly.

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As if you needed yet another reason to visit this creative city, now you’ll need to set aside extra time for your vacation. Come for the leaves, breweries and food, but stay for the art at the newly expanded Asheville Museum of Art, which is undergoing renovation and expansion to its historic 1926 Pack Library building. You’ll experience a mix of historic and contemporary elements, staying true to the Asheville landmark with the addition of a glass façade to the front entrance.

The add-on will include new exhibition galleries, education spaces and an improved library, as well as a rooftop sculpture terrace and café. Located in the heart of downtown, along the Urban Trail at Pack Square, the new façade will be beautifully lit at night, welcoming all guests to view the installations. Close to restaurants and shops, the museum is a natural stop while taking in all that Asheville has to offer.

Fifty talented Southern Appalachian artists were chosen to be part of the new expansion opening. ‘Appalachia Now! An Interdisciplinary Survey of Contemporary Art in Southern Appalachia’ features photography, glass, performance, painting, music and more. Artists from the Southern Appalachian states of North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina Tennessee and Virginia were invited to apply, which drew more than 400 entrants. An exhibition catalog of all fifty artists is available for order, enabling one to preview the diverse opening.

Other exhibitions include donors’ photography collection; Western North Carolina glass; crafts including wood arts, ceramics, jewelry and folk art; and a combination of Audubon and contemporary art, creating an eclectic collection honoring wildlife.

The Kimpton brand has finally landed in Asheville with their Hotel Arras, opening November 1 at Pack Square. The landmark location façade has been updated and transformed into an Art Deco masterpiece of glass, steel and stone.

The Kimpton’s quirky vibe fits in beautifully with Asheville’s creative atmosphere. Each evening the Wine Hour, for which this brand is known, is accompanied by a tour of the hotel’s commissioned installations by numerous local artists. Dining and shopping are just steps away, not to mention killer mountain views.

Reynolds Mansion, Ashville

Other opportunities for lodging include Asheville’s amazing selection of Bed and Breakfast Inns. The historic architecture provided by these various guesthouses, as well as the unmatched hospitality provided by the proprietors, make for a truly unique experience.

The Reynolds Mansion provides an insight into the famous and infamous lives of previous owners along with delectable breakfasts and repartee among guests. For a truly Victorian B&B experience, try A Bed of Roses, located in the welcoming Montford neighborhood, adjacent to downtown. This lovely home includes an afternoon tea with delectable homemade treats when you need a break from exploring. Each of the ABBA’s Inns provides a unique Asheville ambiance and offers intriguing specials throughout the season.

Bed of Roses Bed & Breakfast - asheville

Of course, a trip to Asheville is not complete without a visit to the Biltmore Estate. With the upcoming movie in mind, ‘Downton Abbey: The Exhibition’ opens November 8, providing an immersive experience connecting us to the characters’ style and historic significance. The home’s architecture is the perfect example of the upstairs-downstairs living arrangements of the time.

Biltmore Estate

More additions to Asheville’s excitement include the new Moogseum, celebrating the life of Bob Moog, inventor of the Moog Synthesizer. Music fans of all ages will enjoy this experience. Ever heard of the Appalachian Mural Trail? Downtown Asheville is home to many mural designs depicting various historical events in the region.

The choices are endless for a Fall visit to North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountain area, providing needed relief from the summer heat. A breath of fresh mountain air combined with arts, entertainment and fabulous cuisine, make for a refreshing and healthy pause during the change of seasons.