From a new bakery opening and new hotels to park celebrations and a major exhibit at Biltmore, here is a round-up of what's hot for 2016 in Asheville, North Carolina.
James Beard finalist John Fleer opens a new takeaway food concept this January with The Rhu, a bakery, café and local goods shop. This spring, Fleer begins a schedule of cooking demonstration and classes.
Asheville's independent restaurant scene grows with Local Provisions (rising star chef with a passion for fermenting and preserving), Golden Fleece (Greek fare by a James Beard Best Restaurateur nominee) and Buxton Hall (wood-fired barbecue from two James Beard nominated chefs).
Local brewers Burial Beer Co. will open a second location in a 1920s New Deal building that once housed the young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps who built the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Biltmore Village location will be brewing by May, with new taproom and outdoor space open in November.
Asheville's creative arts community by the French Broad River has an influx of new experiences for travelers.
Openings in the River Arts District include Smoky Park Supper Club (the largest shipping container-constructed restaurant in the U.S.), the Asheville Food Park and Market (part community bazaar, part food truck park with coffee by the river and late night bites) and Smoky Mountain Adventure Center (one-stop destination for indoor climbing and outdoor adventures).
With close proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Chimney Rock State Park, Mount Mitchell State Park and a number of other federal and state recreation areas, Asheville is basecamp for park celebrations.
The newly opened Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate offers guests quick access to restaurants, shopping, entertainment and outdoor adventures on the Vanderbilt estate.
A number of new hotels are also set to open downtown in 2016 including Hyatt Place Asheville Downtown (with rooftop restaurant and bar), AC Hotel (one of the first in the U.S. from the Marriott boutique brand) and the Hilton Garden Inn City Center (steps from Pack Square Park).