Situated among the highest peaks in the eastern United States, Asheville, North Carolina, offers an ideal location for inspired meetings. It features breathtaking views, a vibrant downtown, top dining options, a buoyant arts scene, a wide array of outdoor adventures, unique tours—and amazing, unique meeting spaces. In fact, it’s sometimes referred to as the “San Francisco of the South.”
“Local arts groups and folks from our award-winning culinary and beer scene, as well as this community’s real connection to the outdoors, have all contributed to the breadth of options for nontraditional meeting spaces,” says Dianna Pierce, vice president of sales for Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The welcoming and innovative energy here allows people to think outside of the box.”
JuneBug Retro Resort, a 50-acre property that is a 12-minute drive from downtown Asheville, is nestled in a private valley alongside a river, and can be reached via a charming wooden bridge that crosses a river. The property is designed to make guests feel that they have been transported back in time; no modern structures are visible. It provides 3,600 sq. ft. of meeting and event space, and several restored 1950s campers can be rented for use during events.
Located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, just south of Asheville, The North Carolina Arboretum boasts acres of cultivated gardens and groomed trails featuring some beautiful, botanically diverse plants of the region. It also has eight indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, totaling 1,300 sq. ft.
Smoky Park Supper Club is a restaurant and event space alongside the French Broad River in the River Arts District. Its main event space is the Boat House, an open-air pavilion with a bar that can accommodate up to 200 people. Groups can enjoy the Boat House either indoors or at its outdoor picnic tables, and can customize meals and entertainment.
Another venue along the French Broad River, Salvage Station, located on a former junkyard, features a riverfront bar and restaurant highlighting eclectic Southern and Appalachian-inspired fare. It also has a concert hall, a special-events venue and large outdoor areas for groups.
Featuring stunning mountain views and rustic elegance, Crest Center & Pavilion is located 4 miles from downtown Asheville. It can accommodate up to 250 people for business meetings and conferences, while the entire grounds can host up to 1,000 people. Groups can arrange for banquet services, a stage and a dance floor.
Likely to become one of the city’s most unique spots, Citizen Vinyl—a vinyl-pressing plant that will also offer food, cocktails and immersive music—is emerging in the same historic building that houses Asheville Citizen Times newspaper. The 10,000-square foot space, which is scheduled to open this summer, will include a space for hosting private events.
Read more about North Carolina’s unique meeting spaces in Dan Johnson’s story, “Breaking the Mold: Nontraditional Meeting Spaces are Trending in the Tar Heel State,” in the March issue of Smart Meetings.