Architecture, Art & Craft in Asheville

Architecture, Art & Craft in Asheville



Just as the flanks of the Blue Ridge Mountains burst into autumn majesty, National Trust Tours invites you to join a privileged group of members on a
custom-designed cultural escape in Asheville led by local Asheville author and preservationist Bruce Johnson.

Pricing from
Trip Type
Closer to Home, Group Travel Tour
Departure Dates
Oct 1, 2023 - Oct 5, 2023


The Haywood Park Hotel is a member of the Historic Hotels of America program, and its perfect location in the very heart of Asheville’s thriving downtown makes it an ideal base for our touring. Housed in the original Bon Marché building (1923), this upscale boutique hotel offers only 40 suite-style rooms, grouped around an airy 4-story central atrium. Just steps from the Grove Arcade and many great downtown eateries, the Haywood Park provides comfort and spaciousness, all in the confines of a beautiful historic structure.


Cancellations & Refunds: Cancellation by participant must be made in writing to ISDI and is effective only upon acknowledged receipt by ISDI. There is a non-refundable registration and planning fee of $500 per person regardless of cancellation date. In the case of cancellation, substitutions are not allowed. After the tour has commenced, no refunds will be issued for any reason including, but not limited to, unused portions of tour. If the tour is cancelled by ISDI or National Trust Tours due to low enrollment, active registrants will receive a full refund of all tour payments.


  • day 1

    A Gracious Blue Ridge Welcome

    Upon arrival in Asheville, North Carolina, transfer independently to the gracious Haywood Park Hotel, a 1923 beauty directly in the heart of downtown Asheville. The suite-style accommodations offer ample space and southern comfort.  As an introduction to Asheville’s architectural heritage, we’ll join our Study Leader Bruce Johnson on a leisurely guided stroll through downtown, visiting Art Deco masterpieces like the City Building, the Courthouse, and the eclectic Grove Arcade.  Our stroll ends with sky-high cocktails and drinks at a downtown rooftop with breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Get to know your fellow travelers this evening during our welcome dinner at a top downtown restaurant. (Rec, D)

  • day 2


    Encounter Asheville’s artistic side this morning during a special curatorial tour at the Asheville Art Museum, an intriguing mix of artwork by top 20th-century regional artists, artists of international acclaim who worked at the nearby Black Mountain School, Cherokee artists and artisans of the last 200 years, and numerous local masters of contemporary craft and studio glass.  The museum truly celebrates Western North Carolina’s unique blend of artistic interests.  We then drive through Grove Park, Asheville’s most beautiful early 20th-century neighborhood, admiring old homes before arriving at the Grove Park Inn for a magical lunch at one of Asheville’s true historic gems, opened in 1913. After lunch, we tour Grovewood Village, the historic weaving and woodworking complex of Biltmore Industries, an Arts and Crafts enterprise that played a significant role in the Appalachian Craft Revival during the early 20th century. Today, the complex is home to 8 working artist studios, occupied by 10 local furniture, ceramics, and craft makers. We have the chance to tour some of the studios and see how the region’s crafts are being preserved. Later this afternoon, we are the special guests of leading Asheville preservationists, moving around town to learn about active projects and being invited into two fascinating private historic residences to meet with the owners.  Dinner and the evening are on your own today. (B, L)

  • day 3


    Today is dedicated to the lavish early 20th-century architectural gems that bring special renown to the Asheville area.  We begin in historic Biltmore Village, largely built by George Washington Vanderbilt in the late 1800s.  Our expert guide will uncover the area’s fascinating history, from Richard Morris Hunt’s lovely Cathedral of All Souls to other historic structures. Following a delicious farm to table lunch, we embark on a private tour of George 250-room French Renaissance château, the largest undertaking in residential architecture in the nation. Inside the mansion, we view original works by John Singer Sargent and Renoir, as well as magnificent 16th century tapestries and hundreds of priceless artifacts from George and Edith Vanderbilt’s collection. We continue with a guided stroll the majestic Italian, Shrub, and Walled gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the father of American landscape architecture. (B, L)

  • day 4

    Autumn Colors & Folk Art

    You can choose to enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the hotel or partake in an optional early morning excursion out into the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains dressed in their autumn best for a sunrise hike to Craggy Pinnacle, with the area’s best 360º mountain views.  Later this morning, explore the galleries of the Folk Art Center just outside the city, with the area’s best collection of contemporary craft and studio glass, all housed in a lovely new facility.  Next, visit several examples of important religious architecture in Asheville, including the First Baptist Church, designed by architect Douglas Ellington and built in 1925–1927. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, it is a four-story, domed, polygonal brick building with Art Deco design influences. Return to Asheville in time for a free lunch and independent afternoon before rejoining your fellow travelers for a gourmet farewell dinner at one of the city’s top restaurants. (B, D)

  • day 5

    Farewell to Asheville

    Transfer independently to the Asheville airport for return flights home. (B)

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