If you’ve never been to Asheville, North Carolina before, or even if you have, taking the Red Trolley Tour is a great way to spend your first couple of days in town.
The fully narrated tour takes you to some of the best of Asheville, a city that’s more full of history than you might expect. The Red Trolley Tour is run by Grey Line, a worldwide leader in city tours. The drivers are very knowledgeable about the area and some of them are very entertaining.
What’s great about this trolley tour is that it’s a hop on/hop off style tour. You can get off at any of the 9 stops and spend as much time there as you’d like. Grab a bite to eat, go shopping, stroll around. Then, just hop back on when the next trolley comes around. With trolleys stopping every 30-60 minutes, you have a chance to explore the stops at your leisure or just stay on the trolley for a one and a half to two hour tour of the city.
The ticket price includes two full days of unlimited riding privileges. You can catch the trolley and buy your ticket at any of the stops, but the best place to catch the trolley is at the Asheville Visitor’s Center where they have free parking and restrooms.
Here are the 9 stops on the Red Trolley Tour:
Stop 1: The Asheville Visitor’s Center. Here you can get all kinds of information about the area-hotels, restaurants, activities. And there’s a gift shop!
Stop 2: The Grove Park Inn. This legendary hotel is a must see, even if you don’t stay there. The views of Asheville and the surrounding areas are beautiful from the Grove Park Inn. You can also visit the Grovewood Gallery and the Estes-Winn Antique Car Museum on the property.
Stop 3: Thomas Wolfe District. Your Red Trolley Tour ticket includes free admission to the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Historic Site. (Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to visit the Thomas Wolfe House, though I had wanted to. We ran out of time!)
Stop 4: Pack Place, Pack Square. This is right in the heart of downtown Asheville. From this stop you’re within walking distance of some great shops and restaurants.
Stop 5: Haywood Park Hotel. This is another stop in downtown Asheville, close to the St. Lawrence Basilica.
Stop 6: Grove Arcade. The Grove Arcade is a lovely shopping area with some great restaurants and shops.
Stop 7: River Arts District. Asheville has a rich art community and the River Arts District is at the heart of it. Painters, potters, jewelers, sculptors, furniture makers, glass-blowers, photographers, all have studios in this area.
Stop 8: Biltmore Village. This historic area outside of the Biltmore Estate is a collection of cottages, galleries, shops and eateries.
Stop 9: Grand Bohemian Hotel. This stop is also inside the Biltmore Village.
And if you’re more daring, why not try the Haunted History & Murder Mystery Ghost Tour? This 75 minute tour takes you through “the dark side” of Asheville where you’ll hear ghostly stories about the Pink Lady of the Grove Park Inn, the mystery of the WhiteGate Inn and the child spirits at the haunted hospital. This tour departs from Pack’s Tavern on the weekends. Check the website for dates, times and prices for all tours.
Dates of Visit: May 2012
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