Asheville makes Huffington Post list of ‘Terribly Overrated Destinations’

Asheville made another top ten list today, but this one’s not going to please the local chamber of commerce.

Huffington Post columnist David Landsel features Asheville in his list of the world’s “10 Terribly Overrated Destinations”. He calls the city a “physically and emotionally fragmented mountain town full of people who seem really annoyed by everything” and “a bottlenecked blot on a lovely landscape, seething with urban stressites searching fruitlessly for somewhere to park their Georgia-plated Hummers.”

Other areas on the list include Austin, TX, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Buenos Aires, and Colorado.

Here’s what he writes about Asheville:

This physically and emotionally fragmented mountain town full of people who seem really annoyed by everything—including your presence here—is no fun anymore. The traffic can be atrocious, the main attraction is the soulless estate of yet another Vanderbilt, those famous hotels are sadly average and overpriced, the food is just fine. The worst bit, though: Asheville today is the furthest thing from relaxing. A Hamptons with no beach, it has become a bottlenecked blot on a lovely landscape, seething with urban stressites searching fruitlessly for somewhere to park their Georgia-plated Hummers. Next.
Instead, try You probably came for the mountains. So go to them. Start with magnificent Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi, running an impressive 6,684 feet above sea level. Next, hop back on the Blue Ridge Parkway =- which runs straight past Asheville—and head down to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the very few places in this country where sitting in a ridiculous traffic jam is worth your time and trouble.

Read the piece in its entirety here.

 

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning writer and reporter who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

13 thoughts on “Asheville makes Huffington Post list of ‘Terribly Overrated Destinations’

  1. Tom

    Well at least they said our good was fine? One persons opinion does not a town make

  2. Ketty

    I respectfully disagree with the author’s take on our great city. Asheville is a Mecca for those who want to “live and let live.” It has a thriving and rich arts community, the desire to live greener and more sustainable lives is ever present here in the people. The food is local, fresh, tasty, and affordable. Families find that they have an array of outdoor and indoor activities for themselves and their children to choose from. No beaches here that’s granted but Lake Lure and Chimney rock are nearby as well as other rivers, lakes, parks and nature trails. I’m proud to be raising my daughter here after living in Nashville, then Knoxville for years. The traffic is the same as any other place of beauty which serves only as a teastament to its appeal. The city enchanted me with its charm and I feel that this article has misrepresented the true spirit of Asheville.

  3. Laura

    I would have to agree in someway with this blog. My job moved me here in AVL and I love the city itself, but the cost of living REALLY sucks. We ended up buying a house in Mars Hill b/c of our budget and quality of the home. I wish I could be one of those job-less people sitting at the bar right now on this beautiful sunny day.

  4. mat catastrophe

    I bet the person here in Charleston, SC that gets paid a ton of cash to get us on every one of the “good” Top Ten lists sabotaged ya’ll.

    /can’t stand it
    /know you planned it

  5. boatrocker

    Uh… We brought that label upon ourselves by collaborating with every single travel mag and kow-towing to the Avett Brothers and similar Pollyanna noveau bottom feeders.

    And you’re pissed off now? If only there were an Asheville version of the Nuremburg Trials.

    Congrats, Asheville. When you tell all your social media “friends” about your favorite fishing hole, well, guess what happens.

    Gentrification.

    xxoo

  6. sharpleycladd

    Houston? If you’re looking for oilfield equipment or long-chain hydrocarbon cracking compounds maybe.

  7. Jeannie

    Asheville counts on tourist dollars and positions itself as a destination city and therefore will be looked at on that basis and on that basis I agree that we fail. I live here. I like a lot about this place. But if I was trying to figure out where to go for fun, joy, an amazing experience, I can think of a lot of places I would go first. Driving and parking downtown is worse than anyplace I’ve lived and worked, and that includes San Diego, LA, Chicago, Minneapolis – and we’re supposed to be a destination city? A huge part of this city is dedicated to the ugliest possible landscape we could figure out (hello, Patton Ave and Tunnel Rd). On the merits of being a great vacation spot, we do indeed suck.

    • hauntedheadnc

      If we suck as a vacation spot, why are we a tourist town? Do people in Atlanta, Charlotte, Florida, Michigan, New York, and DC just have low standards?

      (By the way, I used to work in hotels. Those were the top places people were coming from.)

  8. Dionysis

    I think the criticism is a little harsh, but not without some validity. Yes, the food overall is pretty good, although when compared to other metropolitan areas, it does not rise to the top.

    Prices are too high for pretty much everything, most notably property.

    While there is a vibrant arts scene, which is great, there are also a lot of untalented hacks too. The number of pan-handlers seems to grow by the week, taking the fun out of meandering downtown.

    But in spite of some legitimate negatives, Asheville does have a very unique atmosphere, not found anywhere else. Plus, the generally progressive political sentiment of the City (City Council faux progressives excepted) is a main attraction for many of us.

  9. luther blissett

    Weirdly, Landsel’s own website contains another piece where he recommends a BR Parkway-Smokies road trip, and says: “If you only have a bit of time, head towards the southern end and hit Mt. Mitchell, Craggy Gardens and Asheville, all doable in a day.”

    Anyway, he’s playing contrarian, prefers the mountains to the city, and there are some decent points there. “Physically fragmented” is accurate enough: downtown, Montford, West Asheville and Biltmore Village are disjointed, separated by rivers, interstates, and an ever-expanding hospital complex, with mediocre public transit between them. And “emotionally fragmented” reflects how Asheville is a fine place to live but a tough place to make a living.

  10. Big Al

    The only reason Asheville is “overrated” is that it promotes itself far more loudly than a very small city would be expected to. Expectations are raised far higher for anything short of NYC to meet.

    As for parking and walking downtown, I too was frustrated at firtst, until I learned not to even try for street parking and go straight to the parking decks, which provide cheap, easy access to walkable downtown, which is the biggest asset Asheville has (or at least should). The fat-assed tourists who want to pull up and park at the front door of everything should stay out of Asheville, for their sake and ours.

    Having said that, there are far too many wannabe buskers getting literally underfoot. It is often times hard to tell them from the homeless.

  11. William Robert

    I love watching pedestrians run for lives at street crossings. I might even get a car and join the party.

  12. Irene

    I use to live in Black Mountain,NC for almost 3 years, from Charlotte,NC. The only reason I moved back to Charlotte last December of 2012, was because my elderly dad wanted me closer to help him out. I loved the Mountains, and would go into Asheville alot. Whenever I was down and out, I only need look to the beautiful mountain view, the top of one mountain from my back porch, and that would make me feel better. The small home-town feel, the restaurants which are the best anywhere, and slower pace of life. The traffic in Asheville is nothing, compared to the real traffic jams here in Charlotte.

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