Guided and self-guided optional tours are being promoted to help you fully experience Asheville in the company of your sweetener colleagues. Registration for all guided tours should be directed to the tour operators noted. Optional tours are not official Symposium events. The Omni Grove Park Inn’s concierge team (828-252-2711) can also provide additional information. For a wealth of information on area key attractions and activities, visit:
ASHEVILLE TROLLEY TOUR (Daily, Schedule Varies)
The best way to see “All of Asheville” is with the Grayline Trolley. Explore this unique city at your own pace aboard this fully narrated hop-on-hop-off trolley tour. Learn about Asheville’s rich historic past, and famed residents, its vast collection of art-deco architecture, and its arts and crafts community. Experience the city’s hip hang-outs, its collection of shops and boutiques, and numerous craft brews. You can hop on and off at any of the tour’s 10 stops which includes downtown Asheville, Montford Historic District, The Grove Park Inn, Thomas Wolfe District, Pack Square and Asheville Art Museum, Grove Arcade, River Arts District and the Biltmore Village. Or stay on the trolley and enjoy the narrated tour in one continuous loop (approx. 1.5 hours). You can conveniently purchase tickets at the Omni Grove Park Inn’s concierge desk and then catch the trolley from the hotel’s stop (located off the lobby near the Sammons Wing group entrance). Alternatively, tickets may be purchased at the Asheville Visitor Center or online at https://graylineasheville.com *Note: The trolley offers the second day free.
WALKING FOOD TOUR (Daily, Schedule Varies)
The Eating Asheville Walking Food Tour is the perfect way to enjoy a sampling of this foodie city’s vast culinary delights while experiencing Asheville’s hip downtown and the city’s unique history. Voted a Top 10 Foodie City in the USA, Asheville has become a “Foodtopia” boasting many wonderful restaurants, including several James Beard Foundation Award winners. This walking tour partners with a range of passionate restaurant and brewery owners who open their venues just for this tour. Your tasting menu will include area flavors and crafted specialties including “regional cuisine, cultural fusions, and innovations.” The tours are led by an Eating Asheville full-fledged foodie guide who will share their vast knowledge about Asheville. To make reservations, visit https://eatingasheville.com/tours/.
ASHEVILLE’S BEER SCENE (Daily, Schedule Varies)
With more breweries per capita than any other city, Asheville’s beer scene is a must for craft-brew enthusiasts. The Blue Ridge’s special mountain-filtered water has catapulted the popularity of the area’s ales, stouts and sour beers. The downtown offers plenty of breweries to visit on foot. If you’re looking for a more in-depth tour and/or to visit more remote breweries, a guided tour might be the way to go. Daily tours are offered by Asheville Brews Cruise (https://ashevillebrewscruise.com/) and Asheville Brewery Tours (https://ashevillebrewerytours.com/). For a list of Asheville’s breweries, visit https://www.exploreasheville.com/foodtopia/beer-scene/.
OUTDOOR ADVENTURES WITH NOC (Daily, Schedule Varies)
The Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), the nation’s largest outdoor Recreation company, has a retail location on-site at the Omni Grove Park Inn. The NOC offers a wide variety of activities the whole family can enjoy including guided rafting trips on eight southeastern rivers, guided hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains, zip lining adventures, and canopy tours. For more information, call (828-785-4850) or visit https://noc.com/.
BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY (Daily, At Your Leisure)
Experience “America’s Favorite Highway,” at your own pace. The scenic Blue Ridge Parkway winds from The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, covering 469 miles. Access the Parkway with just a short drive from The Omni Grove Park Inn. Be sure to start with a visit to the Folk Arts Center (https://www.blueridgeparkway.org/poi/folk-art-center/), for a sampling of traditional and contemporary craft of the Southern Appalachians, and possibly a few artisan demonstrations. Then set out to experience some of America’s best natural beauty and rich cultural heritage on this scenic highway. Your stops along the way include a plethora of hiking trails, picnic areas and scenic overlooks, vistas, mountain meadows, old farms, historic attractions, and diverse flora and fauna. For more information on suggested itineraries, hiking options, and more, visit https://www.blueridgeparkway.org/.
BILTMORE ESTATE (Daily, At Your Leisure)
For those not joining the ASA Spouse Tour, be sure to visit the Biltmore Estate. This French Renaissance castle in the heart of Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains is an architectural jewel. In addition to the mansion, the 8,000-acre estate is home to forested trails, beautiful gardens, the country’s most visited winery and several restaurants. The estate also offers outdoor activities including biking, horseback riding, carriage rides, sporting clays, falconry, and fly fishing, and Land Rover experiences. Biltmore Estate also offers concerts and other special events worth checking out. Admission tickets are required to enter the Estate Grounds. For more information, call (800-295-4730) or visit http://biltmore.com.
CHIMNEY ROCK STATE PARK (Daily, At Your Leisure)
Chimney Rock Park is the natural fulfillment of your trip to the mountains. Considered one of the most iconic sites in North Carolina, this 500 million-year old granite rock towers at 315 feet on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers a 75-mile panoramic view. Hiking enthusiasts can reach this mountaintop perch via trails ranging from kid-friendly to moderate-strenuous. Alternatively, visitors can take the elevator up 26 stories inside the mountain to the Sky Lounge gift shop and snack bar. For more information, visit https://www.chimneyrockpark.com/.
GROVE PARK INN SPA (Daily, At Your Leisure)
Voted one of the “Top resort spas in the U.S.” by Condé Nast Traveler, the Grove Park Inn’s expansive, 43,000-squarefoot Subterranean spa boasts 20 water features including eucalyptus steam rooms, therapeutic waterfalls and an oversized, mountain view hot tub. Enjoy two therapeutic waterfall pools, as well as a lap pool blanketed with 6,500 fiber-optic stars and underwater music. The outside fireside lounge overlooks the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains. Due to high demand, please make your spa treatment reservations ASAP by visiting https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/asheville-grovepark/wellness.