8. Asheville Historic Highlights: Self-Guided Walking Tour
Begin your Asheville adventure by downloading the Action Tour Guide app, your all-in-one personal guide, audio narrator, and map. Once downloaded, your tour begins at the Asheville Visitor Center. Note: This 1.8 miles-long tour covers the essentials of Asheville in 2 - 3 hours. As you stroll along, you’ll learn about the Cherokees’ roots in the region. Find out how they used old bison trails to hunt, travel, and establish trade routes! As you continue, you’ll revisit the founding of the city and beyond. Hear how the Civil War impacted Asheville and the people living here. After that, you’ll see the glorious Basilica of St. Lawrence and discover its architect’s vision. Then you’ll come to the Appalachian Stage, the first of many fascinating sculptures along the walking trail. Unearth the history of Appalachian music and its unique influences, from Irish folk music to African American gospel! Next up is the Shopping Daze Sculpture, which pays tribute to Haywood Street’s history as a shopping destination. As you study this masterpiece, you’ll get the story of locals’ efforts to save the endangered district! The journey continues back to the Gilded Age, when the city became a haven for tuberculosis patients and Asheville changed forever. As you proceed onto Woodfin Street, you’ll get to know author Thomas Wolfe, a native of Asheville. Find out he got his inspiration and why his neighbors simply hated his debut novel, Look Homeward, Angel. Moving along, learn about Asheville’s history of beekeeping and keep your eyes open for some of the city’s many honey-based treats! Up next, you’ll see the Civic Pride Sculpture. Here you’ll get to know Asheville’s namesake, Samuel Ashe, and learn his story, full of orphanhood, struggle, and legacy. After that, get spooked by stories of the boojum, a Sasquatch-like figure with a fondness for women! And you can’t miss the next stop: It’s the Jackson Building, once the tallest skyscraper in North Carolina! Finally, you’ll reach the bustling Grove Arcade, home to all kinds of unique shops and dining options. Your tour concludes here.