Although America’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, recently saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter, here in Western North Carolina, we are hopeful for an early spring. And whether the weather warms early or we have to keep our coats out a little longer, there are plenty of activities to keep us busy this time of year.
Go on a Hike
Early spring is an excellent time to hike in Western North Carolina. Trails are typically less crowded this time of year, and temperatures are usually in the 40s-50s, so you may not even break a sweat. WNC is filled with scenic overlooks, cascading waterfalls and beautiful forests. Head to a popular spot like Chimney Rock State Park, or explore the miles of nature trails we have onsite at Ardenwoods. It’s a great time to enjoy the outdoors.
Visit the Western North Carolina Farmers Market
Open year-round, the Western North Carolina Farmers Market is a great way to sample much of what our region has to offer. Spend a few hours browsing fresh fruits and vegetables, jams, honey and local craftwork. Then, grab lunch at the deli. Make sure to also stop by neighboring Jesse Israel & Sons Garden and Nursery Center, which offers a variety of trees and flowers, including a greenhouse full of tropical plants and a 40-foot waterfall.
Explore the Blue Ridge Parkway
On those chillier early spring days, sometimes the best way to explore the scenery is by car. The Blue Ridge Parkway is absolutely stunning at any time of the year, but clear early spring days are great for long-range views. Once you’re on the parkway, there are countless scenic overlooks to enjoy along the way. While some may be a bit of a hike, many are right off the road and can even be enjoyed from the car. During inclement weather events, sections of the parkway do sometimes close for safety reasons, so be sure to check the National Park Service’s website and map for closure information.
Visit a Local Winery or Brewery
Whether you’re looking for a rainy day pastime or searching for a relaxing afternoon in the Asheville area, early spring is a great time to visit a local winery or brewery. Asheville is known for its incredible craft beer scene, and there are plenty of terrific wineries just minutes from Asheville and Hendersonville like Burntshirt Vineyards and Pointe Lookout Vineyards.
Tour the Biltmore Estate
There’s always something going on at the Biltmore Estate, and this time of year is no exception. Not only can you enjoy tours of the sprawling, beautiful mansion, but you can also explore the winter garden in its conservatory. Then, beginning in April, Biltmore brings stunning color to its grounds for Biltmore Blooms, a festival celebrating spring with more than 75,000 tulips, orchids, azaleas and elaborate floral displays throughout the property.