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French Broad Overview

Basics
Location:
This Byway travels between the Appalachian Scenic Byway Medley and the Blue Ridge Parkway
Length:
17 miles (27 km)
Time:
25 minutes

Description

Just outside the Blue Ridge Parkway, the French Broad Overview is a popular biking route that runs uninterrupted along 17 miles of scenic beauty. The French Broad River runs through the area, spicing up the region with a splash of water adventure. The road passes through several towns and a railroad runs parallel to the route.

The Byway originates in Weaverville and travels along the Route 25/70 bypass. It then takes Route 1727, and veers right onto Route 251. It continues on Route 251 and Route 25/70 Business to Marshall, where it ends at the gateway of the Appalachian Medley Scenic Byway.

In the town of Weaverville, on the south side of the Byway, tourists get a glimpse of the way life was back in the early days of the settlement. Throughout the region, outdoor play is encouraged. Avid bikers take to the Overview to make a sweep of the area, enjoying all the beautiful scenery that this region of the Appalachians has to offer. And, the French Broad River is seldom without activity as it offers excellent conditions for canoeing and white water rafting.

Points of Interest

Points of Interest Along The Way

Asheville (NC)

As a stopping place near many of North Carolina's byways,Asheville is a perfect stop for travelers. With a population of63,700, the city offers all the visitor amenities and many attractions. Yet even with its urban traits, Asheville manages to keep a mountain-town feel.

Beginning as a health resort in 1850, Asheville has always drawn people to its natural location amid the peaks and forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Today, visitors can explore the areas around Asheville for the most delightful of outdoor activities. Within the city, travelers will find places like Biltmore Estate, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, and the Folk Art Center.

Directions

On I-40 south of the byway.

Biltmore Estate (NC)

Biltmore House took six years and 1,000 men to build; it open edits doors on Christmas Eve in 1895. With a 390-foot façade,the House has more than 11 million bricks, 250 rooms, 65fireplaces, 43 bathrooms, 34 bedrooms, and three kitchens, all of which are contained in over four acres of floor space. The massive stone spiral staircase rises four floors and has 102 steps. Through its center hangs an iron chandelier weighing 1,700 pounds and containing 72 electric light bulbs.

At its completion, Biltomore House was one of the most innovative and technologically advanced homes in the world. Imagine indoor hot and cold running water, elevators, indoor heating, afire alarm system, refrigeration, electric light bulbs, and 10 Bell telephones - all unheard-of luxuries at the turn of the century.

While such luxuries are commonplace today, nowhere will you find such a simply elegant and stunning setting as on the Biltmore Estate.

Directions

In Asheville, just south of the byway.

Biltmore Village Historic Museum (NC)

Located across from Biltmore Estate, this historic village in Asheville was formed in the late 1800's and now features architecture and landscaping done by the same men who designed and engineered Biltmore Estate. Now these historic houses hold shops,boutiques, and restaurants for shopping with atmosphere. Visit the Biltmore Village Historic Museum and learn more about the buildings and the time period they came from.

Directions

Asheville, North Carolina

Folk Art Center (NC)

Treat your family and friends while treating yourself with a visit to the Southern Highland Craft Guild's (SHCG) Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Opened in 1980, on the Guild's 50thAnniversary, the center is home to Allanstand Craft Shop, one of Appalachia's oldest and best-known craft shops. Allanstand sells the work of the more than 700 members of the SHCG. Both the finest in traditional mountain crafts of the region as well as the very best in contemporary American crafts are available. The Folk Art Center is the result of a cooperative effort between the Appalachian Regional Commission, the National Park Service and the SHCG. The 30,000 square foot center serves as a base for all SHCG operations from which services are rendered to members in a nine-state region and to the public at large.

The Center's upper level contains the exhibit gallery space as well as the offices of the SHCG and the Center's comprehensive craft library. The changing exhibition schedule showcases the works of SHCG members in addition to specially selected traveling exhibits of interest to the traditions of the Southern Highlands.Live craft demonstrations are offered daily most of the year.Special events include "Clay Day," "Fiber Day," and an annual Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle competition.

Directions

In Asheville just south of the byway.

Marshall (NC)

Madison County seat and the community at the north end of the byway.

Directions

North of Asheville on US 25/70 Business

North Carolina Arboretum (NC)

426-acre public garden in the Pisgah National Forest presenting a natural botanical setting.

Directions

100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way in Asheville, NC

Smith McDowell House Museum (NC)

Visitors can experience the features of the museum with either by themselves or with a guided tour by one of the museum volunteers.

The Smith McDowell Museum preserves the history of Western North Carolina, particularly the city of Asheville during the Victorian era. Older than the Biltmore estate by 40 years, it is the oldest surviving brick structure in Asheville. It is mainly used for teaching history and practices of the with a hands on approach to school ages children.

A few times during the year the museum and its volunteers do 'living history', in which they dress up in historic costumes and tell the history of the times as if they were from that time. The best time to experience this unique event is on Memorial Day Weekend.

The exhibits tend to vary during different times of the year, trying to represent the history of western North Carolina, instead of just the history of the house. The house itself was built by James McConnell Smith (1787-1856) and his wife Mary "Polly" Patton (1794-1853) on land that Smith's father Colonel Daniel Smith (1757-1824) acquired via a land grant for Revolutionary War soldiers.

Directions

Asheville, North Carolina

Thomas Wolfe Memorial (NC)

Boyhood home of author, Thomas Wolfe. A Queen Anne style dwelling that provided the setting for his most famous work.

Directions

Asheville, North Carolina

Weaverville (NC)

In the heart of the Mountains, Weaverville offers a place for visitors to stay and enjoy the small town ambience of the Appalachians. Weaverville is only 10 miles away from attractions like the Blue Ridge Parkway and Asheville.

Directions

North of Ashville off of US 19.

Zebulon Vance Birthplace (NC)

Zebulon B. Vance was North Carolina's Civil War Governer, and his mountain home is now a State Historic Site. The Vance cabin is from the earliest days of settlement in Western North Carolina and includes tours and exhibits for visitors.

Directions

911 Reems Creek Road in Weaverville, North Carolina

Details

Location:
This Byway travels between the Appalachian Scenic Byway Medley and the Blue Ridge Parkway
Length:
17 miles (27 km)
Time:
25 minutes
Main Roads:
N Carolina 251 N

Map + Directions

Customizable Directions


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