Get to know the many sides of Asheville with this blog series, which examines Asheville through its unique, colorful, spirited, and incredibly distinct neighborhoods. Next, we’re exploring South Asheville, which includes Biltmore Village, Biltmore Park, Arden, Fletcher, and Biltmore Farms.
While George Vanderbilt’s grand chateau, Biltmore Estate, was being constructed at the turn of the 20th century, so was the idyllic small town at its entrance. Modeled after a small English village of stucco pebbledash cottages and one of the nation’s earliest examples of a planned community, Biltmore Village was designed to house Biltmore Estate’s workers while functioning as an independent, self-sufficient township. Within a few blocks, you could find a general store, grocery, meat, produce markets, drug and hardware stores, a post office, a church, and Asheville’s first railroad department.
Today, Biltmore Village retains its quaint, historic look and feel, but now with a few more polished, upscale establishments included. A shopping and dining destination with more than 40 exclusive boutiques and many restaurants and cafes, Biltmore Village is not a neighborhood to miss on your travels. And one would be remiss not to carve out a day to explore Biltmore itself.
After grabbing a coffee and a pastry from The Well-Bred Bakery & Cafe, explore some of Asheville’s most eclectic artisan retailers. New Morning Gallery is a 12,500-square-foot gallery filled with handcrafted furniture, home accessories, ceramics, glass, jewelry, garden sculpture, and other imaginative gifts. Opened in 1972 by John Cram, an entrepreneur, conservationist, and philanthropist who made the Asheville art scene what it is today, New Morning Gallery is where shoppers can find exquisite “art for living.” Nearby is its sister location, Bellagio Art to Wear, which Cram also established, but more focused on wearable art from all over the world.
With such a wide array of shops, one can acquire everything from fine jewelry at Estate Jewelry, Ltd., timeless holiday trinkets at Olde World Christmas Shoppe, and boutique eyewear at L’optique. Shoppers will find easily recognizable brand names alongside independently owned shops offering one-of-a-kind finds. Step into Bette Boutique, which carries stylish women’s clothing and accessories; Dogwood Darlings Children’s Boutique, which sells precious baby and children’s clothes and novelty toys; or Atelier Maison & Co., which showcases incredible, sustainable home goods. Biltmore Village, home to the Design District of Asheville, has a shopping mix you won’t find elsewhere in the Asheville area!
On Swannanoa River Road, you’ll find a string of excellent antique stores, such as the Antique Tobacco Barn, known for its extensive selection; The Screen Door, which features more upcycled pieces; and Village Antiques and Interiors, which houses English and French imports.
Once you’ve built up an appetite, it’s only a short walk to any of the neighborhood’s outstanding restaurants. The Cantina At Historic Biltmore Village serves Mexican favorites, Corner Kitchen crafts incredible bites in a cozy historic home, Village Wayside Bar & Grille is a casual eatery and local bar located in the original train depot, Fig Bistro serves New American cuisine with French touches, Village Pub is a spacious casual pub with a full bar, and Red Stag Grill is the perfect place for a fancy date-night.
After you’re stuffed, wind down the night at one of the several breweries and bars in Biltmore Village. Hi-Wire Brewing’s original 27,000-square-foot Big Top Taproom is located in the area, along with several great breweries along Sweeten Creek Road, such as Hillman Beer, Catawba Brewing Company, Burial Beer Co’s Forestry Camp, and Sweeten Creek Brewing. The Mule at Devil’s Foot Beverage on Sweeten Creek Road is also a fantastic space to relax after a busy day with a locally-made cocktail (or mocktail!) made with Devil’s Foot craft sodas and house-made tonics.
If you or your travelers are cigar smokers, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to visit Casablanca Cigar Bar. Slip into the leather couches at this traditional bar and cigar lounge while exploring one of North Carolina’s largest humidors. End your day at local spas Poseidon Spa in the Grand Bohemian Hotel and The Spa at Biltmore Village, which both offer massage, facials, and more.
When locals refer to South Asheville, they’re talking about the long chain of businesses and housing developments that spill southward along Hendersonville Road, starting at Biltmore Park and extending to Arden. A true gem of South Asheville, Biltmore Park Town Square is the modern-day interpretation of what Biltmore Village was planned to be. With an upscale urban mix of stylish condos, townhomes, and apartments above offices, independent retailers, restaurants, a health club, entertainment venues, gathering spaces, and more, Biltmore Park is a place you would literally never need to leave.
This master-planned development has bent toward smart growth—meaning growing up, not out—and green living. Everything is walkable in the town square, plus extensive bike racks and subsidized bus passes for employees all help reduce automobile dependence. Still, it’s a great neighborhood to spend the afternoon walking around, eating, and sipping.
Get dinner and a movie one date night by visiting the Regal Biltmore Grande for the latest flick and then making your 8 p.m. reservation at Leo’s Italian Social, a gathering place for down-home Italian dishes. If you’d instead stop for some great BBQ, Luella’s Bar-B-Que has a great location in Biltmore Park Town Square, and for a dish exploding with flavors, stop into the Nine Mile location on Town Square Boulevard.
An unincorporated community near the Asheville Regional Airport and I-26, Arden is an incredible place to live just for the location alone. This neighborhood exudes a peaceful and laid-back ambiance that attracts residents and visitors seeking a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the larger cities surrounding. The quaint streets are lined with lovely homes, local businesses, and a few shops, creating a sense of community and familiarity among its residents.
Nature lovers will appreciate the surrounding natural beauty, with parks and green spaces providing outdoor recreation and relaxation opportunities. Arden offers a slower pace of life with many fast-paced restaurants and bars to check out. Hendersonville Road is home to several spectacular joints, like 12 Bones Smokehouse, serving sandwiches, platters, and BBQ by the pound; Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack, dishing up Tennessee-style hot chicken; and Sweet Plaintain Grill, selling the best Cuban sandwich in Asheville in a tiny food trailer.
Take a shopping break at any of the many big-box stores you can find in the area, or treat yourself to a unique find at a locally-owned storefront. Asheville Card & Comic Shop is the biggest and best comic and pop culture store in Western North Carolina, Frugal Finds Overstock Home Furnishings is a hidden gem with a fantastic selection of home furniture, and Conjure Craft Chocolate is a small-batch bean-to-bar chocolate shop.
When it hits 5 o’clock, patronize one of Arden’s several bars and breweries. For a pint of ale, 12 Bones Smokehouse also doubles as 12 Bones Brewing, which creates experimental craft beers alongside its world-class BBQ. If you’re looking for a cocktail, 32* ICE BAR & Lounge is a neighborhood nook with ample beers on tap and a frost rail. For a dive bar experience, travel to Midway Tavern, a great place for karaoke and pool.
Initially settled in 1795, Fletcher’s past is intertwined with agriculture and farming, which still echoes in its landscapes today. The appeal of the Fletcher area to early settlers and farmers lies in the scarce presence of limestone, a precious resource for agricultural purposes, with one of the few limestone quarries located east of Knoxville. The town’s historical significance is evident in its well-preserved buildings and landmarks, and the neighborhood perfectly blends small-town charm and modern amenities.
Fletcher has seen massive growth since 1980, as many developers built large subdivisions, homes, and factories in the area due to its prime location near Asheville Regional Airport. When you touch down in Asheville, it’s only a short drive to the neighborhood brewery Blue Ghost Brewing Company. With a great selection of tasty craft beer and an on-site food truck, you’ll be ready to explore everything Fletcher offers.
If you came in on an early flight, make your first stop at Kosta’s Kitchen, one of the best breakfast spots in Fletcher, serving up all your favorites. Fletcher Village Bakery and Cafe is a quick in-and-out stop for a cappuccino and a scone for those with only a few minutes. Blue Sky Cafe is a colorful, funky spot for lunch in the area, where you can get soup, salad, sandwiches, and gluten-free dishes. Blue Agave Mexican Restaurant serves authentic dishes alongside refreshing margaritas. And Surf N Brew is a local seafood restaurant where you can enjoy the coast’s flavors with the mountains’ views.
With a full belly, it’s time to shop. LuLu’s Consignment Boutique is an excellent place for quality shoes, clothes, and accessories; The Garage On 25 is a unique antique mall with tons of treasures and a coffee shop inside; and Fletcher’s Fun Toys is the toy store of your wildest dreams when you were a kid. Marthaler Jewelers, an independent jewelry store featuring fine jewelry and watches, also has a location in Fletcher.
Before you go, check out the events at the WNC Agricultural Center. From the NC State Fair every September to Comic-Con to various vintage and antique markets, the WNC Agricultural Center is a hub of activity year-round.
There’s an incredible list of reasons to explore these South Asheville neighborhoods. Explore more things to do in South Asheville on our A Look at Asheville directory.