The 1999 National ASHE Conference will be held in the beautiful
mountain setting of western North Carolina.
A few of the many activities that the Asheville area has to offer include:


Biltmore House

The Biltmore House is America's largest private residence. Built by Vanderbilt in the 1890's, this French-Renaissance style castle is surrounded by 7,500 acres and is open for tours year-round. A self-guided tour winds through a portion of the 250-room home, where you'll view an indoor pool, a bowling alley, the family art collection and an immense rare-book library. Admission price includes tours of the surrounding 35 acres of gardens, designed by N.Y. Central Park planner Frederick Olmsted. Also included are tours of the greenhouses and the Biltmore winery. A tour can take all day if it's crowded, so try to arrive early in the morning. For a thorough view of the home and grounds, two days are best. Also visit the quaint Biltmore Village and its fine shops and hotels just outside the entrance gate.

As part of the Conference, ASHE members and their families will enjoy a dinner at the Deerpark Restaurant located on the Biltmore property between the Biltmore House and the Winery. After dinner, we will be given a Candlelight Tour of the world famous Biltmore Estate. For an added bonus, your ticket for dinner and the Candlelight Tour on Friday night will be valid for a return visit on Saturday, May 29, 1999 so you will be able to take your time and explore the home and gardens at your leisure.


Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of America's great "natural" treasures. The Parkway is a man-made construction, built to view the natural wonders of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which have inspired generations of Native Americans, Spanish Conquistadors, frontiersmen, settlers and today's tourists from all countries.

Over 255 of the 469 mile length of the Parkway runs through North Carolina as it follows the southern Appalachian range from Shenanandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in western North Carolina. Two of its highest points are reached on either side of Asheville: At Mt. Pisgah (5,721 ft.) to the west and Mt. Mitchell (6,684 ft) to the east. The Parkway is the best free amusement ride in America!

There are six entrances accessible from the greater Asheville area. Over 11 million visitors a year pass through the Asheville area on the Blue Ridge. A portion of it is used by locals as a commuter highway which runs around the SE end of Asheville. Avid walkers , runners and cyclists are seen using it everyday of the year as part of their fitness regime. It is an important part in the life of this active community.


Pisgah National Forest

Asheville is conveniently located in the midst of the beautiful Pisgah National Forest. Pisgah covers 495,000 acres with miles of roads and multiuse trails that offer many year-round opportunities for recreation, such as camping, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Driving to the northeast on the Blue Ridge Parkway, you'll find Craggy Gardens which display its gorgeous rhododendron blooms mid-to-late June. A little further north is Mt. Mitchell, rising to 6,684 feet, with beautiful views on clear days; it's typically cool up there, so bring a sweater.
To the west is Shining Rock Wilderness, known for its huge, glistening, snow-white quartz rock outcrops that cap Shining Rock Mountain at 6,000 feet elevation. While in the area, visit Looking Glass Falls and the Cradle of Forestry, for hiking and splendid views.
The Appalachian Trail runs through a northern finger of the Pisgah Forest north of Asheville. A nice day trip includes a drive to Hot Springs for a hike on the AT, a soak in the springs and dinner at the local Bridge Street Cafe. Heading west, Pisgah Forest yields to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, for more great hiking and outdoor fun.


Whitewater Rafting

The Asheville area is filled with outdoor activities such as whitewater rafting and canoeing. Experience the untamed rivers of the area that have carved there place in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Breath the fresh mountain air and experience the hidden treasures of peace and beauty the mountains have to offer. Feel the awesome power in thundering rapids and the timeless solitude on drifting shoals in the French Broad and Nantahala Rivers.

A number of rafting companies offer guide and rafting services along the French Broad River in the Asheville area. Blue Ridge Rafting offers trips along the French Broad River and the Nantahala Outdoor Center offers trips on the French Broad and Nantahala Rivers in North Carolina. Either of these trips is sure to give you an experience of a lifetime.


Trout Fishing

If you’re interested in trout fishing, Western North Carolina offers many miles of fishable trout waters. Below are a few of the many web sites with information on trout fishing in the western mountains of North Carolina. Visit these sites as well as their links for more information and locations to trout fish in the area.

Trout, NC, Guide to NC’s Public Mountain Trout Waters

Western North Carolina Trout Fishing, Information of Trout Fishing in Western North Carolina

Davidson River Outfitters, Fly Fishing in Western North Carolina


Great Smoky Mountains Railway

ALL ABOARD! Take a ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railway that dates back to the 1840s when the railroad created passage through the scenic mountain of North Carolina. All excursions take you through the forested foothills of the Smoky Mountains with views of country sides, rivers and small towns. You can ride in comfortable, fully reconditioned coaches, crown coaches, club cars, dining cars, and open cars, which are ideal for viewing and taking pictures. Located west of Asheville in the historic Village of Dillsboro, North Carolina.


Chimney Rock Park

Chimney Rock Park is a privately-owned Natural Heritage Site located 25 miles southeast of Asheville, near the intersection of US 64 and US 74-A. Chimney Rock Park consists of 1,000 acres of scenic land which includes a giant granite monolith towering over Hickory Nut Gorge. It provides hiking along numerous breathtaking trails including the spectacular Hickory Nut Falls. You can hike or take an elevator (26 stories inside the mountain) to the top of the Chimney. Plan on spending a few hours hiking and enjoy a picnic lunch on you visit.


Tweetsie Railroad

Visit North Carolina’s first theme park and take a trip back in time. Back to the days of the old west, Tweetsie Railroad will provide plenty of old-fashioned excitement for the whole family. Hop aboard Number 12 for an unforgettable journey through the mountains – but watch out for outlaws and Indians! Walk down Main Street, and mingle with the cowboys and the Marshal. Visit old-time shops, or pan for gold on Miner’s Mountain. Visit the friendly critters in the Deer Park. And enjoy live music and entertainment at every turn. Plan on spending the day. Located on Hwy 321 between Blowing Rock and Boone, North Carolina.


The North Carolina Arboretum

The North Carolina Arboretum is located just 10 miles south of downtown Asheville in the Bent Creek Research and Demonstration Forest of the Pisgah National Forest. The Arboretum is not to be missed, with beautiful gardens, hiking trails, a state-of-the-art greenhouse facility and an educational building. Monthly educational programs are offered for individuals and families and groups tours can be arranged with the arboretum staff. For more information, call 665-2492.


Harrah’s Cherokee Casino

Discover the thrills of non-stop casino action at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino located in Cherokee, North Carolina, west of Asheville. Try your luck at video re-spin games and including video poker, video craps and video blackjack.


Black Mountain, NC

Black Mountain is known as "The Front Porch of Western North Carolina". It is located just 15 miles east of Asheville and surrounded by mountains and gorgeous views. The town is full of antique shops, art and craft galleries, artist studios, specialty shops, bookstores and furniture stores, where you can find that perfect gift for someone back home.


WNC Nature Center

The Western North Carolina Nature Center is the first place where area children meet the animals they have read about. Deer, bears, cougars, wolves, raccoons, birds and even farm animals are there for all to learn about. Exhibits on area poisonous snakes are worth absorbing. An aviary, self-guided nature trail and petting zoo make this a great place for the family. Small admission fee.


Folk Art Center

The Folk Art Center is right on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 382, east of Asheville. Quality mountain crafts in ceramic, glass, fabric and wood are on exhibit. A super craft shop with all sorts of hand crafted items will tempt you. Free admission. Call (828) 298-7928 for more information.


The Asheville Tourists

Not the Tourists you're thinking about. This is Asheville's baseball team, a farm team of the Colorado Rockies. A summer evening spent with the Tourists never fails to entertain. We'd rather have the Tourists than the Major League guys! McCormick Field is the place to go, especially since it has been renovated.


Downtown Asheville

You won't find anything like it anywhere else! You absolutely must check out Wall Street and Lexington Avenue in Asheville. Take a break from the usual mall type of merchandising. Lexington has some of the best antique shops around. These are the type of stores where there's so much to see that total immersion in the inventory can pay off. Wall Street has some very unusual shops for gifts and area crafts. You can park in one spot and walk both of them in a couple of hours or less. To complete your adventure, be sure to take a refreshment or lunch at one of the many small cafes along the way. Check out the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce web site for more area attractions and information about the Asheville area.