Asheville is the largest city in Western North Carolina and the county seat of Buncombe County. With a population over 80,000, it is the 11th largest city in North Carolina, in addition to being the principal city of the Asheville Metropolitan Area, which includes four counties. The city is home to the United States National Climatic Data Center, the world’s largest active archive of weather data.
Asheville is home to significant historic properties including America’s largest home, the Biltmore House, George Vanderbilt’s 250-room property. The oldest home in the city is the Smith-McDowell House-Museum, built in 1840. The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is the author’s childhood home and inspiration for the novel Look Homeward, Angel.
Downtown offers museums and attractions: Park Place Education, Arts and Science Center, Asheville Art Museum, Diana Wortham Theatre, YMI Cultural Center, Grove Arcade.
Outdoor recreation features whitewater rafting, mountain biking, hiking and more. The Asheville area includes natural waterslides, mountain bike trails & endless views. Two of the most popular destinations are Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway. The park was chartered by Congress in 1934 and is the most visited national park in the U.S., while Blue Ridge Parkway has been called “America’s Favorite Drive.”
Sports fans can follow athletic teams at UNC Asheville, which competes at the NCAA Division 1 level and is a member of the Big South Conference. In addition, McCormick Field is home to the Asheville Tourists of the South Atlantic League, a Class A minor league baseball team.
Asheville City Schools is comprised of one pre-school, five elementary schools, a middle school and two high schools. Additionally, three Buncombe County schools and two private, residential high schools are in Asheville Higher education includes 10 area institutions, most notably UNC Asheville and Western Carolina University.
Asheville healthcare providers include the Mission Health System, which has been ranked as one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems. Mission is Western North Carolina’s only not-for-profit, independent community hospital system.
Asheville began as a settlement in 1784 and was incorporated and renamed Asheville after North Carolina Governor Samuel Ashe in 1797. The early 1900s were a prosperous time for the city, which at one point was the 3rd largest city in the state.
Asheville is in a humid subtropical climate, but experiences cooler temperatures due to its elevation. The area receives an average of 45.6 inches of precipitation each year.
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