The nation’s largest house is right here in Asheville, North Carolina, and it’s one of Western North Carolina’s biggest attractions. Originally built as a bachelor pad by George Vanderbilt in 1895, at its heyday the home hosted hordes prominent guests, like author Edith Wharton, for weeks at a time. You can tour the house alone, or enjoy one of the restaurants on the property, go for a horseback ride, or enjoy one of the Biltmore’s many events, sometimes seasonal.
Hot Springs, North Carolina has been known as a resort destination for over a hundred years, since the wealthy vacationers like the Vanderbilts began coming to the Asheville area to relax and rejuvenate. Its naturally warm, carbonated mineral waters were often used to cure ailments or as a long term sick leave. While you may not have that time to take off from work these days, you can head to the Hot Springs Resort in Spa, only half an hour outside of Asheville, to soak in the Jacuzzi tubs which sit on the banks of Springs Creekand the French Broad River. There are also spa and massage services, and campgrounds across from the resort.
One of the largest parts of Western North Carolina’s history and heritage is Cherokee, the small town and location of the Eastern Band Indian Reservation. Take your family back in time with a visit to the Oconaluftee Indian Village, an authentic replica of what life was like for 18th century Cherokee Indians. Cherokee tribe members today demonstrate their traditions by showing the craftsmanship and culture of their ancestors. Learn more at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, with exhibits on Cherokee Art, famous Cherokee Indians, and the history of what is now the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. You can also head to the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino or the Sequoyah National Golf Club for some rest and relaxation.
Chimney Rock State Park very famous North Carolina hike and also the location where the 1992 Academy Award winning film Last of the Mohicans was filmed. After paying a $15 entrance fee for adults or $7 for kids, ride a spooky industrial elevator to the Chimney Rock formation, as well as a stunning hike where you can see the cliffs and crevices shown in the film. You can eat at the Old Rock Café,or head down to the towns of Lake Lure and Chimney Rock to check out shops and eateries next to the Broad River.