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From the constantly evolving, diverse cities and rolling farmland of central Piedmont to the secluded beaches and barrier islands of the coastal region to the leafy trails and roaring rivers of the Appalachian mountain range, North Carolina has enough variety to satisfy everyone’s taste.
Whilst the city of Asheville does well to retain its traditional mountain town roots, it’s also recognised as one of the trendiest small cities in the east, with its homegrown microbreweries, decadent chocolate shops, stylish eateries, and significant artist population.
It offers a perfect mix for those who cannot resist the vibrant buzz of city life but are equally drawn to the beauty and isolation of the mountains.
Photo credit: Blue Ridge Afternoon II by J Andrew Flenniken via Flickr Creative Commons license
Hill House Bed and Breakfast is located under a mile from both downtown Asheville and the scenic access road up to the Blue Ridge Mountains, where you’ll find hiking trails, waterfalls, and Appalachian arts and crafts. With just 10 well-appointed, individually decorated rooms, Hill House has an intimate and friendly atmosphere and charm.
Ruggedly beautiful Boone is a thriving community of just 17,186 inhabitants, located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Winters bring skiing and snowboarding opportunities aplenty, whereas in summer you can go fly-fishing, hiking, mountain and road biking, zip lining, and kayaking – all virtually on your doorstep.
Photo credit: Blowing Rock NC by John Dyer via Flickr Creative Commons license
Photo credit: Blowing Rock Library by Sam Fam via Flickr Creative Commons license
Alternatively, The Inn at Crestwood is a delightfully quiet and picturesque mountain retreat located between Blowing Rock and Boone. Open fires and exposed brick walls give this place real character, and it comes with the added benefits of an on-site spa with sauna and indoor swimming pool and a mountain-facing restaurant that serves up a creative mix of American and European cuisine.
Located in the Piedmont region, Chapel Hill is home to The University of North Carolina, a vibrant arts and music scene, and some of the best food in the state.
If you want to stay somewhere chic, stylish, and spacious in the centre of downtown Chapel Hill and its vast array of galleries, shops, restaurants, and bars, then make sure you book a room at The Franklin Hotel. Suites even include a private balcony with city views.
Located close to the city of Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach features a 4-mile stretch of clean, sandy coastline that – despite its popularity – is rarely overcrowded.
As well as swimming, beach combing, and building sand castles, there are ample opportunities to try your hand at kite-surfing, kayaking, or stand up paddle-boarding. Nature enthusiasts will love the abundance of native birds and aquatic life in the area, and it’s not unusual to spot dolphins playing in the waters offshore.
Photo credit: Sea Grass and Sky by Zagrev via Flickr Creative Commons license
For a spot of coastal tranquility, Blockade Runner Beach Resort is one of the best accommodations in the area. Offering stunning views across the Atlantic Ocean, the hotel can organise deep sea fishing trips, nature cruises, surfing lessons, and rental of kayaks and paddleboards. In the evening, the resident chef will serve up some fresh seafood and organically grown vegetables from the Blockade Runner garden.
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