Asheville may be a small city, with a population of just around 83,000, but it’s known nationally as a destination for outdoor adventures and craft beer (there are at least 15 breweries within the city limits). Fall is peak travel time as the leaves change to scarlet, gold, and rust in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Embrace the season with the Fall Farms & Artisans Tour, offered by the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association. Spend two nights at a charming B&B, meet farmers in their fields and makers in their studios, and enjoy discounts on wine, local honey, and grass-fed beef.
Where to eat
Home to a slew of recent James Beard nominees, Asheville is a foodie mecca. If you’re looking for more casual fare, Zambra offers live jazz and Western Carolina–influenced tapas like Springer Mountain chicken mole chimichangas. To cut the mountain chill, line up at bean-to-bar French Broad Chocolates for a hot cup of truffle sipping chocolate. Tangy Eastern North Carolina barbecue is a must; visit Buxton Hall BBQ, where whole hogs are smoked for 18 hours and lightly dressed with tenderizing vinegar barbecue sauce. Save room for banana pudding pie topped with Nilla wafers and fresh bananas.
Where to drink
Try killer IPAs at Wicked Weed’s Biltmore Avenue pub, then stop by their Funkatorium taproom a few blocks down for small-batch sours. Afterward, tap your toes to live Irish music at the cozy Celtic bar Jack of the Wood.
Where to stay
Spend the weekend at one of 16 quaint B&Bs that are part of the tour package (from $147). The circa-1901 Carolina Bed & Breakfast is just a 20-minute stroll from downtown Asheville. Owners Susan and James Murray lived abroad before retiring here and are full of restaurant recommendations, stories, and hiking tips.
What to do
Hitting all of the tour stops in a day is tough. Start at Jones Pottery, where Matt Jones has been sculpting folk ceramics for nearly 20 years. Next, visit Sky Dance Art’s Christine Hield, a painter who spins great stories, and Reeves Home Place Farm, family-run for seven generations. Cap off the day at Addison Farms Vineyard, or keep going to meet broom makers, quilters, and Christmas tree farmers.
George Vanderbilt built the 250-room Biltmore as a private estate in the late 19th century. Still family-owned, the house is open for self-guided tours ($75 at peak times) and is decked for Christmas with more than 100 trees by November 4. Grab a bottle of estate-made wine, such as the spicy Syrah ($16.99).
Grab a decorative folk mug from potter Matt Jones’s studio, $25.
This article originally appeared in our November 2016 issue.