May is the Ideal Time of Year to Visit Asheville, North Carolina

It certainly was a privilege to be born a Vanderbilt in the latter part of the 19th century. While Cornelius Vanderbilt II erected his mega-mansion, the Italian-style villa The Breakers, in Newport, brother William and his wife Alva were designing the nearby Marble House. Then there was the youngest of Cornelius’s siblings, George Washington Vanderbilt II, who decided to shun the Atlantic coast and build his estate in the therapeutic mountain air of North Carolina. Built in the French chateau style by renowned Manhattan architect, Robert Morris Hunt, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville is still one of the largest private homes in America, close to 180,000 square feet. Each spring, Biltmore celebrates the legacy of American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the mastermind behind the Biltmore gardens. Olmsted’s influence is obvious throughout year, but especially in spring when a progression of blooms spreads like a flowery blanket across the estate. The gardens come to life with the tulip bloom followed by multi-colored azaleas, rhododendrons, and roses in the resplendent rose garden.

If you’re feeling active, horseback ride or bike the grounds of the Biltmore. The Biltmore Outdoor Adventure Center also features Segway tours, stand-up paddleboarding, rafting, and sea kayaking. Another joy in the spring is the 80-mile stretch of roadway between Asheville and Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are numerous opportunities to stretch your legs and stroll to lonely mountain streams and waterfalls. Back in town, check out the Asheville Art Museum and visit one of the many galleries like Woolworth Walk, a gallery in an old Woolworth’s department store. 
Asheville is gaining a reputation as a foodie destination. The tapas at Curate, especially the squid ink paella is worth the wait. Luella’s Bar-B-Que (just north of downtown) serves ribs, pulled pork, smoked chicken wings, even barbecued tempeh. White Duck Taco in the River Arts District is known for their innovative tacos featuring jerk chicken and banh mi fillings. End with an artisanal hot chocolate at French Broad Chocolate or one of the Flemish beers at Thirsty Monk.