Downtown Asheville, known as the “Paris of the South,” is known for its small town friendliness, charm, and vitality. Asheville offers fine restaurants, quaint shops, and cultural diversions such as theaters, dancing, and its own symphony. Accomplished local artists and craftsmen market world-class arts and crafts in galleries throughout town. Asheville’s tier two Internet access generates a favorable business climate for entrepreneurs who flourish in these mountains.

In recent years Asheville has consistently ranked in the top 50 places to live in many different publications, including the 2015 ranking of 12th in Forbes “Best Places for Business and Careers.” Outside Magazine named it 4th “Best Southern Town” for 2015.

The area boasts several universities, including University of North Carolina-Asheville, a terrific college with wonderful community resources such as the Center for Creative Retirement. Asheville is less than three hours’ drive from Atlanta and Charlotte, major metropolitan areas. Asheville’s regional airport offers direct flights to many major cities. To learn more about the city, visit

Neighboring small towns in the Asheville area are home to artists’ colonies. They guarantee many enjoyable hours of arts and crafts shopping and antiquing, amid main streets flanked with local restaurants, bakeries, spas, and friendly people.

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the area surrounding these towns is a wilderness playground. Whitewater rivers offer rafting, kayaking and trout fishing, nearby lakes offer quiet places to walk and fish. The Blue Ridge Parkway is ideal for road bicycling and access to the many mountain bike trails surrounding Asheville. Beaver Lake, a popular north Asheville outdoor recreation area, offers level terrain for quiet walks around the lake. An adjoining bird sanctuary entertains birders year round.

Other outdoor activities include hiking, mountain and road biking, golf, camping, horseback riding, and many other options.