Driving from Washington (follow Interstate 81 south to I-26) takes at least 7 1/2 hours. There are no nonstop flights from Washington to Asheville Regional Airport; there is connecting service from BWI, Reagan National and Dulles on Continental, Delta, U.S. Airways and AirTran, with fares starting at about $270 round-trip. Or fly into Greenville-Spartanburg (S.C.) or Charlotte and drive to Asheville (about 1 1/2 and 2 hours, respectively). Amtrak stops in Greenville and Spartanburg, as does Greyhound.
WHERE TO STAY
Black Walnut, 288 Montford Ave., 800-381-3878, http://www.blackwalnut.com. One of Biltmore's architects, Richard Sharp-Smith, built this seven-room B&B in the historic Montford neighborhood. Rates from $195.
Renaissance Asheville, 31 Woodfin St., 800-359-7951, http://www.marriott.com. Centrally located, with an indoor pool, fitness center and free parking. Rates from $159.
Grand Bohemian Hotel, 11 Boston Way, 877-274-1242, http://www.bohemianhotelasheville.com. This newly opened hotel in the quaint Biltmore Village near the Biltmore entrance has hunting-lodge decor, a spa and an on-site restaurant. Rates from $189.
WHERE TO EAT
Early Girl Eatery, 8 Wall St., 828-259-9292, http://www.earlygirleatery.com. Breakfast all day; try the sausage and sweet potato scramble. Dinner entrees $7 to $13.
Nine Mile, 233 Montford Ave., 828-505-3121, http://www.ninemileasheville.com. In Montford, "Caribbean-inspired" jerk chicken, tofu and fish come heaped over pasta; save room for the Chocolate Spliff Cake. Dinner entrees $5 to $16.
12 Bones Smokehouse, 5 Riverside Dr., 828-253-4499, http://www.12bones.com. This lunch-only barbecue joint in the River Arts District has a long wait, and rightly so; the blueberry-chipotle ribs are unforgettable. Entrees $4 to $18.
WHAT TO DO
Biltmore Estate, 1 Approach Rd., 800-411-3812, http://www.biltmore.com. Tickets start at $47 for adults, $23.50 for ages 10 to 16.
River Arts District, 828-252-9122, http://www.riverdistrictartists.com. West of downtown and east of the river, this neighborhood hosts open studios and galleries. Pick up a studio guide at the visitor center.
Asheville Historic Trolley Tours, 37 Montford Ave., 888-667-3600, http://www.ashevilletrolleytours.com. The hop-on, hop-off trolleys visit nine stops around Asheville, through December. Adults $19.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau, 36 Montford Ave., 828-258-6101, http://www.exploreasheville.com.