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A Self-Guided Tour

Discover over a century of the region’s most remarkable cultural treasures. Use our self-guided tour to learn of a unique world of artistic, cultural and musical influences from this uniquely rich region of the USA. The guide reveals the culture, places and events that reflect the best of Asheville and the Appalachian Blue Ridge.

Asheville and the Blue Ridge region of Western North Carolina are celebrated for their vibrant cultural tapestry and artistic flair, making them standout destinations in the Southeast. The area’s rich musical heritage blends influences from Scottish, English, German, Welsh, Cherokee, Scandinavian, and African American traditions, creating the distinctive sound of Appalachian music. This cultural fusion is mirrored in Asheville’s thriving arts scene, renowned for its diverse galleries, studios, and numerous murals that adorn the city’s buildings. Additionally, Asheville’s architectural charm, exemplified by its significant Art Deco buildings and the influence of George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate, underscores its historical and aesthetic allure. The city also boasts a literary legacy that has drawn famous authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe, alongside its reputation for a pioneering food scene rooted in farm-to-table principles and supported by a community of dedicated chefs and enthusiastic diners. These elements combine to make Asheville and the Blue Ridge a dynamic cultural and culinary destination.

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MUSIC

Appalachian ballads, country music, and folk songs are the roots of the folk music of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Dylan, John Prine, Kris Kristofferson, and many more. This tour takes you to the back roads and towns where this important link was played for centuries before it became a significant cultural expression of Americana music, from roots to rock, jazz, bluegrass, and more.

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ARTS

Nestled between the ancient Appalachian and Blue Ridge mountains, Asheville, North Carolina, is a forward-thinking city with a rich history as a haven for artists. As the city continues to expand, its vibrant arts community thrives, offering an ever-increasing array of compelling reasons to explore this Southern epicenter of artistic expression.

Asheville’s world-class art scene has been a fact for over a century.  People are drawn to the region for the world-class artsy vibe. Home to the former Black Mountain College, an active local vibrant art scene and art schools in the region add to the mystique.

ARCHITECTURE

ARCHITECTURE

No other expression of the true spirit of a city is as reflective of it’s culture as the architecture of a city. Asheville has the second-largest collection of art deco buildings in the southeast, making it a charming jewel of the south. The sophisticated deco architecture and craftsmanship were partly due to George Vanderbilt bringing European craftsmen and artisans to Asheville to build the Biltmore Estate and Biltmore Village.   Many of those expert craftsmen, stone carvers, and woodworkers stayed and built other unique buildings in Asheville.

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Writers & Theater

Asheville and WNC’s neo-bohemian vibe is expressed vividly in the local and regional writers and theater scene.

Asheville has a rich literary heritage that has attracted many famous authors throughout the 20th century and into the present day. Among these notable writers are F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, and Carl Sandburg.

This section is a work in progress. Stay tuned.

The high French Broad Valley is where one of the world’s oldest rivers in the world begins just northwest of the Eastern Continental Divide near the northwest border of South Carolina. The headwaters spill from the 50-foot-high Courthouse Falls near Balsam Grove. Then, it flows through the high valley north to merge with the  Clinch, then the Tennessee River around Knoxville. From there, it flows over to the Mississippi, and like the river, the culture of WNC flows out to the world. The European settlers of the region lived a hardscrabble, mostly self-sufficient in the hills and hollers.  The most common of the settlers were from northern Europe, Ireland, Scotland, and England. Music was how they entertained and communicated.  They hunted and eked out a life while constantly living under threat from the harsh elements and Indian confrontations.  This pioneer life gave them almost superhuman abilities, as the British learned in the “Overmountan Men” battle at Kings Mountain in 1780 that turned the Revolutionary War in the Union’s favor and led to the founding of America.  That “grit” is woven into the music and culture of the region.

According to historian Cecil Sharp, who wrote “I found myself for the first time in my life in a community in which singing was as common and almost as universal a practice as speaking.

——Cecil Sharp, 1916

Spirit of Asheville

Use our audio souvenir and escape to Asheville on any device.

Immerse yourself in authentic local culture with WPVM-FM, Asheville’s voice of the community. Our non-commercial, listener-supported radio brings you:

  • Diverse music you won’t hear anywhere else
  • Engaging talk shows and interviews with area artists

Stream live or download your favorite shows – it’s like taking a piece of Asheville with you wherever you go. Escape to the heart of the Blue Ridge, right from your device. Listen live from our website https://www.wpvmfm.org

 Or download our app from iTunes or Google Play