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Getting There

I-40 passes through Asheville from the east and west, I-26 runs southeast (as far as Charleston); U.S. 23/19A runs north and west, and I-240 is a perimeter highway circling the city. For AAA services, contact the Carolina Motor Club, 1000 Merrimon Ave., Ste. B, Asheville, NC 28804 (tel. 800/274-2621 or 828/253-5376; www.aaacarolinas.com).

Asheville Regional Airport (tel. 828/684-2226; www.flyavl.com) is just off I-26. Major airlines serving this airport are Delta ASA and Comair (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com), Continental Express (tel. 800/525-0280; www.continental.com), US Airways (tel. 800/428-4322; www.usairways.com); and Northwest (tel. 800/225-2525; www.nwa.com).

Greyhound (tel. 800/231-2222; www.greyhound.com) offers bus service to Asheville. The bus station is at 2 Tunnel Rd. (tel. 828/253-8451).

Visitor Information

The Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau, 36 Montford Ave. (PO Box 1010), Asheville, NC 28802 (tel. 888/247-9811 or 828/258-6101; www.exploreasheville.com), is open daily 9am to 5pm. You can also request the Asheville Visitor Guide from the Asheville Chamber of Commerce (tel. 888/247-9811 or 828/258-6101; www.ashevillechamber.org).

Special Events

Special happenings at the Biltmore Estate include a spring Festival of Flowers, a September International Exposition, and Christmas at Biltmore -- call ahead for specific dates.

Special events at the Folk Art Center (www.southernhighlandguild.org), include Fiber Day in May, the World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition in August, Celebrate Folk Art in September, and Christmas with the Guild in December.

If you're here the first weekend of August, you can attend the Annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival (tel. 828/258-6101; www.folkheritage.org), held at the Civic Center on Haywood Street. The fiddlers, banjo pickers, ballad singers, dulcimer players, and clog dancers don't call it quits until nobody is interested in one more dance. This is the oldest such festival in the country, and you're encouraged to join in even if you don't know a "do-si-do" from a "swing your partner." Every Saturday night from early July to August (except for the first Sat in Aug), there's a Shindig-on-the-Green (www.folkheritage.org), where you'll find many of the same mountain musicians and dancers having an old-fashioned wingding. It's free and lots of fun. Take along a blanket or chair.

Brevard, 27 miles southwest of Asheville, hosts a music festival from late June through mid-August at the Brevard Music Center (www.brevardmusic.org). Nationally and internationally famous artists perform daily in symphony, chamber-music, band, and choral concerts, as well as musical comedy and opera. Write to PO Box 312, Brevard, NC 28712; or call tel. 888/384-8682 or 888/862-2105 for schedules and reservations. Some events are free; others cost from $12 to $60.

The North Carolina International Folk Festival (Folkmoot), Waynesville, is an annual cultural heritage of folk music and dances held the second and third weeks in July. Participants travel from around the world to join in the event. For information, get in touch with Folkmoot USA, 112 Virginia Ave. in Waynesville (tel. 877/FOLK-USA [365-5872] or 828/452-2997; www.folkmootusa.org).

Billed as "the largest free outdoor street festival in the Southeast," Bele Chere is a great summer festival of food and entertainment in Arts Park in Asheville and is held in July. Feast on such delights as hickory smoked pork, peach and blueberry pie, and corn dogs. "A Taste of Asheville" food booths feature local cuisine along with specialties ranging from Mexican to Chinese. In addition, top regional artisans and craftspeople showcase handmade clothing, pottery, and jewelry. Such big-name artists as Blues Traveler, Shooter Jennings, and John Anderson have played the festival. Contact the Department of Parks and Recreation (tel. 828/259-5800; www.belecherefestival.com) for more information.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.