The 1.7-mile walking Urban Trail Tour through the downtown streets of Asheville takes travelers along the city’s historical sites. With 30 stops along the way, the two-hour tour teaches about the town’s culture through art and public sculpture viewings.
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Hailed as Asheville’s ‘Museum Without Walls,” the walking tour was created by a small group of citizens interested in revitalizing the downtown area. The thirty stations have bronze sculptures created by local artists at each stop along the way with a description of the many historic Asheville patrons and their achievements. Some famous North Carolinians covered in the tour are George Vanderbilt, E.W. Grove, Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Douglas Ellington.
Some of the stations depict the downtown development and progression.A bronzed bench created by Joe Miller pays homage to Asheville resident Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman M.D. in the United States. While a bronzed pocket watch celebrated former resident Sydney Porter, who wrote the short masterpiece, the Gift of the Magi. Stop number seven commemorates the Art Deco architecture of the 1929 S and W Building. The Historic Hilltop station celebrates both the old and new Battery Park Hotel. A fire destroyed the first, but both hotels are known for their eclectic guest lists.
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The Urban Trail begins at Pack Square Park. The Park’s information center provides brochures, maps and scavenger hunts for guests. The Urban Trail then follows along Patton Avenue to the west. Feel free to stop off in the city’s many shops, taverns, and diners.
If you lack the time it takes for this amazingly charming trek, there is also an Urban Trail video and audio tour for each station along the path.