Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The North Carolina Arboretum, a North Carolina State Treasure in Asheville and Western NC

The North Carolina Arboretum is located in Asheville, NC, and may be reached directly from the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost Marker 393, or via Hwy 191, Brevard Road (not too far from the Biltmore Square Mall).  The North Carolina Arboretum is a wonderful treasure in the mountains of Western North Carolina and worthy of a day trip when you are visiting the Asheville area. There are many ways to take advantage of the Arboretum, from walking, hiking and mountain biking, to educational classes and lectures, to space rental for a wedding or special event.

The Arboretum (click for map) borders the French Broad River (at the "Sandy Bottom" picnic area, just off Brevard Road, Hwy 191), the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Bent Creek Experimental Forest.  Many trails may be linked up for a variety of distances to meet one's time frame and exercise needs - shorter walks through the  65 acres and 10 miles of planned gardens within the Arboretum boundaries, or longer hikes and extensive mountain biking, linking up the myriad of single track and gravel road quality trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Bent Creek Experimental Forest (click here for map).

Current exhibits for the 2013 season include local watercolorist, Ann Vasilik, "A Painter's Journey," and Quilts by Nancy Cook, "Seeds up Close" exhibits, both in the Baker Exhibit Center located in the NC Arboretum.  Guided trail walks, plant shows, natural history activities, educational programs, group programs and more are all available for the Arboretum visitor.

Hours are 8am to 9pm daily, April through October, 8am to 7pm daily, November through March.  Exhibits, Education Center (with bathroom facilities and cafe) are open 9am - 5pm daily and Greenhouse hours are 8am - 2pm daily.  Contact information - phone: 828 665 2492 or email www.ncarboretum.org.  There is a charge for parking of $8 per vehicle and the first Tuesday of each month, parking is free.

Pets are welcome at the Arboretum as long as you keep your pet leashed at all times and clean up any pet waste.

Lodging in nearby Asheville is ideal and Oakland Cottage Bed and Breakfast is convenient to the NC Arboretum and all of what Asheville has to offer, just call the Vacation In Asheville reservation and information offices at 828 992 2627, 9am - 7pm daily, for bed and breakfast accommodations, as well as cabin and vacation rental options.