There’s still so much to discover, even in this changing world. The Carolinas are a fantastic place to find adventure in all shapes and sizes. From food and fun to nature and music, you’ll find something that’s affordable, out of the ordinary, and well worth the trip. Ingles Market’s Chris Bainbridge is going on a mission to bring you all the Carolinas have to offer. The first stop on his list is the North Carolina Arboretum.
The North Carolina Arboretum is located just north of Asheville within the beautiful Pisgah National Forest. If you’re a lover of nature, you’ll enjoy manicured gardens, miles of wooded trails, and interactive exhibits. In 1986, the State General Assembly established the Arboretum as an affiliate of the University of North Carolina. This establishment took place nearly a century after Frederick law Olmstead, the Father of American Landscape Architecture, first envisioned a research arboretum as part of his legacy and planned for George Vanderbilt at the Biltmore Estate. Today, the North Carolina Arboretum is the perfect escape from the everyday hustle and bustle, and it’s just a few minutes from I-26.
So, what exactly can you do at the Arboretum?
Although fall has arrived, there’s still time to enjoy the outdoors. The Arboretum is an excellent spot for a picnic, especially with an Ingles Market just up the street. Bring the family or that special someone and settle into the shade under the beautiful, majestic trees.
Calling all food lovers, the Bent Creek Bistro, located inside the Education Center, serves up delicious food that will drive your taste buds wild. If you’re looking for a sweet treat, their chocolate chip cookies, according to Bainbridge, are the best in town.
Are you looking for something to do with the kiddies? You’re in luck because the Rocky Cove Railroad is fun for all ages. It runs every Saturday and Sunday from noon to four through October. Your kids with love watching these highly detailed model trains come and go on their own.
Some of Chris Bainbridge’s other Can’t-miss spots to check out are the Bonsai Exhibition Garden, the Quilt Garden, and the Plants of Promise Garden. There’s more waiting for you when you venture outside the manicured grounds. You’ll find hiking and biking trails with a unique beauty that you can only explore by walking through the woods.
When you visit the Arboretum, you can purchase a one-day ticket or a 12-month pass. Both options are good for everyone in your vehicle, so it’s a bargain you don’t want to miss if you’re bringing family and friends. Visit the first Tuesdays of every month, and you’ll get half off the price. Don’t miss the Winter Lights at Christmas time. It’s an extra charge, but this spectacular experience is well worth the price.
The North Carolina Arboretum is an absolute gem of the Carolinas. If you’ve never been, you have to go. If you have, it’s probably time for another visit. Remember to wear your mask, keep your distance, and enjoy all the beauty and joy this place has to offer.
To learn more about Ingles Market, visit their website at ingles-markets.com.