Say Hello To Del Holston, The Voice Behind @VisitAsheville

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Every Thursday, Say Hello To America will be Del Holston Ashevilleshowcasing the voices behind official Twitter accounts of destinations all across the United States and the city they represent. This week, say hello to Del Holston from @VisitAsheville. Del moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains 18 years ago and quickly fell in love with the area. He has worked in tourism for nearly a decade and has served as the Online Relations Manager for the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau for over two years. For Del, being able to share stories about this cool mountain town on the Explore Asheville platform is a dream come true.

1. What time of the year is best to travel to Asheville?

In my personal opinion, spring is the best time for people to visit. The crisp air provides better long-range views, the rhododendrons lining the Blue Ridge Parkway are in full bloom, and you’ll find better hotel deals. The most popular time of year for visitors is during the fall when beautiful foliage blankets the Blue Ridge Mountains. Honestly though, there’s not a bad time to visit.

2. How would you describe the people of Asheville?

The word bohemian comes to mind. Asheville has a funky vibe, especially in the streets of downtown. Here you’ll find a mixed bag of personalities and styles, and for the most part everyone is genuinely friendly. It’s hard to be in a bad mood when you live in the “land of bliss.”

3. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about Asheville?

The natural beauty is definitely my favorite part of living here. Asheville is surrounded by scenic mountain vistas and I’m always finding a new hiking trail or waterfall to explore. My least favorite thing? That’s a tough one. I would enjoy more snow days. We get them from time to time, but our winters are typically mild. When it does snow, the higher elevations usually get the fun accumulation while downtown Asheville remains clear and dry.

4. What is Asheville’s most famous landmark or attraction? Biltmore

Biltmore is definitely the crown jewel of Asheville. When George Vanderbilt moved to town in the late 1880’s, he purchased 125,000 acres and built his winter chateaux (think Downton Abbey). It’s the largest private residence in America with 250 rooms including an indoor swimming pool and bowling alley. George was an avid art collector and the home is full of beautiful works from around the world. Visitors can tour the home, gardens and winery (free samples!), and they offer fun extras like biking trails, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting. The most popular time of year to visit is during the holidays for their Candlelight Christmas Evening tours.

5. Name one “secret” location that a traveler must visit.

There is one place that most visitor’s would probably miss, but it’s definitely worth the time to visit. The Botanical Gardens of Asheville is a 10-acre natural park featuring a 1/2 mile nature trail and a beautiful showcase of the region’s unique botanical diversity with over 600 species native to the Southern Appalachians. There are over 50 species considered uncommon, rare or endangered. The gardens are located adjacent to the UNC Asheville campus, and best of all, admission is free.

6. What is the best/easiest mode of transportation to get around the city?

You’ll definitely want to a car to see everything the town has to offer. You could spend a weekend just walking around downtown Asheville, but if you want to experience cool destinations like the Biltmore and the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll need to have some wheels. If that’s not possible, the city offers bus service and taxis are readily available as well.

Asheville Skyline

7. Is there any festival or event in Asheville that a traveler should specifically plan a trip around?

Throw a dart at a calendar and you will most likely land on a day that has a festival or event taking place. I recommend the Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun Festival that takes place around Labor Day each year. It’s part street festival, part music concert and best of all it embodies that bohemian spirit I mentioned earlier.

8. What are the best family-friendly attractions that Asheville has to offer?

I would recommend the NC Nature Center to get a close up look at Asheville’s wildlife. They have wolves, coyotes and bears – oh my! Biltmore has kid-friendly activities as well with a mini-Landrover experience and a petting zoo. Other than that, I would say the great outdoors is your best bet. There are plenty of waterfall adventures and natural attractions like Chimney Rock Park and Sliding Rock, an all-natural water slide located in the Pisgah National Forest.

9. What is Asheville’s signature food that every visitor has to try?

Asheville isn’t known for any one type of food, but we do have a strong reputation for being a Foodtopian Society. Our locavore food culture supports area farmers, cheese makers, bread bakers, apiaries and chocolatiers, and our 250 independent restaurants are known for using these fresh ingredients for a farm-to-table culture you won’t find in most cities. It really is an all-out way of life here.

I’d say our most popular type of food is New South, with chefs adding fresh twists on southern favorites. Some of our buzz-worthy restaurants are Sunny Point Café, Curate, 12Bones and the Admiral.

10. If I only had one day to explore Asheville, what MUST I see or do? Asheville Mountains

Here is a great one-day itinerary packed with some of Asheville’s best highlights:

9:00 AM – Breakfast at Tupelo Honey Café – try their fried green tomato stack with goat cheese and their signature house-made rosemary-peach lemonade.
10:00 AM – Visit Biltmore Estate to tour the home, gardens and winery.
1:00 PM – Lunch at Corner Kitchen in Biltmore Village – The corn and crab chowder is amazing.
2:00 PM – Visit the River Arts District – Asheville’s edgier neighborhood is home to hundreds of working artist studios.
3:00 PM – Explore Downtown Asheville including a visit to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge and the Battery Park Book Exchange.
5:30 PM – Dinner at The Market Place – Asheville’s first farm-to-table restaurant, which started the city-wide trend.
7:00 PM – Watch the sunset at Skybar.


Asheville Visitor Centers
Asheville Visitor Center – 36 Montford Avenue
Pack Square Park – a downtown satellite visitor pavilion located in Pack Square Park

Connect with Asheville CVB
Website: Explore Asheville
Twitter: @VisitAsheville
Facebook: Visit Asheville