City of Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is a city in and the county seat of Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. It is the largest city in Western North Carolina, and the 11th largest city in North Carolina. The city's population was 83,393 according to the 2010 United States census. It is the principal city in the four-county Asheville metropolitan area, with a population of 424,858 in 2010. Asheville is home to the United States National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), the world's largest active archive of weather data. Before the arrival of the Europeans, the land where Asheville now exists lay within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation. In 1540, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto came to the area, bringing the first European visitors along with European diseases, which seriously depleted the native population. The area was used as an open hunting ground until the middle of the 19th century. The history of Asheville, as a town, began in 1784. In that year, Colonel Samuel Davidson and his family settled in the Swannanoa Valley, redeeming a soldier's land grant from the state of North Carolina. Soon after building a log cabin at the bank of Christian Creek, Davidson was lured into the woods by a band of Cherokee hunters and killed. Davidson's wife, child and female slave fled on foot overnight to Davidson's Fort (named after Davidson's father General John Davidson) 16 miles away. In response to the killing, Davidson's twin brother Major William Davidson and brother-in-law Colonel Daniel Smith formed an expedition to retrieve Samuel Davidson's body and avenge his murder. Months after the expedition, Major Davidson and other members of his extended family returned to the area and settled at the mouth of Bee Tree Creek. The United States Census of 1790 counted 1,000 residents of the area, excluding the Cherokee Native Americans. Buncombe County was officially formed in 1792. The county seat, named "Morristown" in 1793, was established on a plateau where two old Indian trails crossed. In 1797, Morristown was incorporated and renamed "Asheville" after North Carolina Governor Samuel Ashe. Asheville pops up on national rankings for a variety of things: "a New Age Mecca" (CBS News' Eye On America, 1996), the "New Freak Capital of the U.S." (Rolling Stone, 2000), one of "The 50 Most Alive Places To Be" (Modern Maturity, 2000), the "Happiest City for Women" (Self, 2002), one of the "Best Places to Reinvent Your Life" (AARP Magazine, 2003), one of the "Best Outside Towns" (Outside Magazine, 2006), one of the "Top Seven Places to Live in the U.S." (Frommer's, 2007), one of the "10 Most Beautiful Places in America" (Good Morning America, 2011), one of the "25 Best Places for Business and Careers" (Forbes, 2012), and one of "20 Great Cities For Writers" (Flavorwire, 2013). Asheville has been listed as one of the "Top 25 Small Cities for Art" in AmericanStyle magazine's annual list from 2000 to 2012 and has reigned the champion "Beer City USA" each year from 2009 to 2012. Dozens of micro breweries dot the downtown and major producers, including New Belgium Brewing Company (opening 2015) are in the process of building in or near the city. In his 2008 book, The Geography of Bliss, author Eric Weiner cited Asheville as one of the happiest places in the United States. Recent national accolades: "The 9 Most Romantic Cities in the South." The Huffington Post, March 2015 "America's Best Beer Cities" Conde Nast Traveler, January 2015 "Best city in America for locavores" The Daily Meal, 2014 "The hippie capital of the South" Huffington Post, 2014 "#1 most popular city for retirement out of 900+ U.S. cities" TopRetirements.com, 2014 "#1 town to live and work in as a movie maker MovieMaker magazine, 2014 One of 6 top "Alternative Travel Destinations for 2014" Men's Journal and Business Insider, 2014 "One of 20 cities you should visit in your 20s" Huffington Post, 2014 "#1 of 12 Dreamy Towns for Vegan Living" VegNews, 2013 "One of 10 Tastiest Towns in the South" Southern Living, 2013 "Hippest City in the South" Fodor's The Carolinas & Georgia, 2013 "One of America's Best River Towns" Outside, 2012 "#1 Beer City USA" Imbibe Magazine online poll, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 "Most Romantic Place in USA and Canada" About.com Readers Choice Poll, 2012 "Top 10 Great Sunny Places to Retire" AARP Magazine, 2012 "10 Fantastically Yoga-Friendly Destinations" Yoga Journal, 2011
Asheville and the surrounding mountains are also popular in the autumn when fall foliage peaks in October. The scenic Blue Ridge Parkway runs through the area and near the Biltmore Estate.