If you can imagine our valley as a pendant, then Asheville would be an Art Deco gem held by a setting of blue-green mountains. It’s easy to think of Asheville and Western North Carolina in artistic terms. Arts and crafts have been a way of life here since woodcarvers and quilters used their creativity to supplement farm income. That tradition lives on in the rich handiwork of area artists for sale at the Folk Art Center and dozens of galleries. It’s greatest manifestation is in the Biltmore Estate, America’s largest home and an icon of the Gilded Age. Manmade creativity blends perfectly with the mountains’ natural outdoor attractions, including Chimney Rock Park.

Asheville and surrounding villages are artwork themselves. Fine craftsmen and architects outdid each other in the days of opulence and speculation at the dawn of the last century. The Great Depression ended the boom, but the buildings lived on, escaping the urban renewal that brought a sameness to America’s other cities. In Asheville, you can walk the Urban Trail and learn more about its rich history, from drover crossroad to the era of the grand hotels to today’s colorful cosmopolitanism.

In the case of Weaverville, the rich assortment of attractions include Mangum and Miya galleries; and fun dining at Blue Mountain PizzaTwisted LaurelStoney Knob CafeWell-Bred Bakery and CafeGlass Onion, the Creperie and Soba. You can learn more about what’s happening in our town at visitweaverville.com.

Indulge your taste buds. Asheville has some gourmet specialties, including mountain trout cooked 47 ways, Southern barbecue and some of the finest microbrew beers in the Southeast. But the gastronomic attraction here is the diversity of dishes to be found, ranging from curry and couscous to Caribbean to aged steaks. As in Europe, dining in Asheville is an event where one lingers to enjoy the flavor and texture of life as well as dinner. For a sampling of the best dining, consider taking the Asheville Food Tours.

Savor the contrasts. Snack on sushi before giving clogging a try at Shindig on the Green. Try on the latest hiking boots before the opera. Dine at a cool sidewalk table, then burn the calories off dancing at a steamy nightclub. There’s a good reason that both Modern Maturity and Rolling Stone called this the place to be.

For a calendar of upcoming events, visit ExploreAsheville.com.