Like most mountain regions in North Carolina, Asheville was first a Native American crossroads where one trail from the east crossed another path from the north. Cherokees were dominant in the region – a locale that had remained for centuries unspoiled, frightful, and forbidden. It is thought that Asheville owes its birth and early growth to real estate speculators such as John Burton and William Davidson.
Asheville was chartered as a city on March 8, 1883 with a population of 3,500 people. There were probably few places in America of equal size that could boast of such variety of activities as late nineteenth-century Asheville. Here could be seen the fancy painted stagecoaches with four-horse teams; horse-back riders; and stock drovers who were driving sheep, hogs, cattle, and turkeys to market.
Over 2,000 feet above sea level, Asheville is surrounded by the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains. Famed as a health and holiday resort area since the 1880s, its chief lures are its inviting climate and beautiful natural setting. As far back as 1795, the healing properties of clean mountain air have attracted many in search of respite from diseases. Asheville has retained its reputation for being a healing destination and frequently appears in the ranking as one of the top cities in America to live, learn, and grow. Recent honors include:
• Good Morning America selected Asheville as one of the “10 Most Beautiful Places in America”” in 2011
• Fodors.com named Asheville the top destination for 2011
• CBS News’ Eye on America called Asheville “a New Age Mecca”
• Modern Maturity named it one of “The 50 Most Alive Places to Be””
• AmericanStyle magazine called it one of “America’s Top 25 Arts Destinations”
• Self magazine labeled it the “Happiest City for Women”
• Listed as one of AARP Magazine’s “Best Places to Reinvent Your Life”
• TripAdvisor.com named Asheville the number one place to view fall foliage in 2010
• In his 2008 book, The Geography of Bliss, author Eric Weiner cited Asheville as one of the happiest places in the United States
For more information about Asheville, visit: exploreasheville.com