Much like this writer, when storm clouds climb up and over the peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, they lose a lot of their steam. One of the great benefits of our mountains is the steadiness of our weather patterns. Yes, the unique topography in Western North Carolina does create the risk for occasional floods. But our position in the South, paired with our elevation, gives us a climate more temperate than the surrounding lowlands and with less risk of severe weather.
That’s why we call our region the unofficial Land of Four Seasons.
In WNC, businesses are built around opportunities present during each rich climatic period. They celebrate the bounty of their season, and they build themselves on its unique opportunities. Here are just a few examples of the many seasonal businesses that thrive in WNC.
Seasonal Summer Businesses in WNC
Summers across WNC are warming with the effects of global climate change. However, they are still more temperate than many you see across the South, even those as close as the NC Piedmont. But rivers and waterfalls stay cool year round, attracting outdoor enthusiasts of all interests, skills, and ages.
Outdoor sports are big business in WNC. The region supports dozens of outdoor gear stores that supply locals and visitors with everything they need for hiking, biking, climbing, camping, and more. Some, like Saluda Outfitters, have become community hotspots for conversation and camaraderie. Others, like SylvanSport in Brevard, are making national names for their brand and their products. And nonprofits like Pisgah Area SORBA endeavor to preserve local lands for recreation for generations to come.
Water sports, from white water rafting on the Nantahala River to tubing lazily down the French Broad, are also very popular. New Belgium Brewery in Asheville’s River Arts District is a popular launching site for river-goers—and doubles as a great spot for an outdoor drink. And fishing is a popular year-round sport, as well. In the summer, it’s common to find bluegill, brim, crappie, and perch throughout our local rivers and streams. Professional fishing guides offer instruction for beginners, along with all necessary gear and equipment.
Seasonal Fall Businesses in WNC
Ah, fall. The season of change, where towns and cities across the region see a frenzy of activity from tree-gazing tourists. Local hotels and B&Bs burst with conversation—and local restaurants, by extension. And vehicles snake along the Blue Ridge Parkway to see our mountains shift from “blue” to vibrants reds, golds, and oranges. That traffic has made the Parkway America’s most visited national park.
In fall, breweries across the region shift their focus from (still ever-present) IPAs to browns, ambers, and the seasonal favorite—pumpkin beers! Oktoberfest has also become one of the most treasured seasonal celebrations around. Local cideries like Flat Rock Cider Company and Noble Cider take advantage of the abundance of apple farms across Henderson County and beyond. And independent farm-to-table restaurants transition their menus to more fully incorporate locally grown autumnal squashes, turnips, carrots, and brussel sprouts.
While many local festivals happen throughout the summer months, fall is a prime time to get outside and enjoy a street fair. The North Carolina Apple Festival in Hendersonville promotes local farms, artisans, and Main Street businesses. The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands holds one of its twice-annual events each October, showcasing hundreds of local artists and craftspeople. And Brevard’s Mountain Song Festival features nationally touring bands, local artists, and nature exhibits—just to name a few.
Seasonal Winter Businesses in WNC
The elevation across WNC varies from just under 800 feet at the confluence of the Green River and Broad River in Polk County to 6,683 feet at the peak of Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi. With a range of nearly 6,000 feet, communities across the region each experience the throes of winter a little differently. But one commonality is that winter sports enthusiasts support businesses throughout. For one, the businesses in the Cataloochee Ski Area take advantage of their elevation and snow potential to offer some of the best ski opportunities in the Southeast.
Those seeking an escape from the cold have great opportunities, too. Located in Madison County, the town of Hot Springs got its name from one of the region’s most extraordinary features: natural mineral springs with temperatures of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The town has long been a resort area, with spas (including the Hot Springs Resort & Spa, established in 1778) and cabins offering services to visitors.
Many local businesses promote their products throughout the winter holidays. And locals are only too happy to #ShopLocal while crossing unique gift items off their holiday shopping lists. The new year also brings many opportunities to show off one’s best self. Local bath and body and cosmetics companies, like Essential Journeys, see a boost at the first of the year.
Seasonal Spring Businesses in WNC
Once the ground thaws and the trees begin their bloom, WNC transforms into a spring wonderland! Tourism is often still in a lull, so it’s up to locals to reinvigorate town centers and jumpstart spring business activities.
This is the season of planting for many across WNC. Homeowners are busy shopping at local garden centers and nurseries to improve their curb appeal with native plants. Local farmers are busy as bees, planting for the summer, collecting CSA subscriptions, preparing farm stands, and planning their farmers market strategies. Yes, even the bees are busy. In 2012, Asheville became the first to accept the title and responsibility of an official Bee City, launching a national movement. Today, homeowners, farmers, businesses, and nonprofits work together to support local pollinators.
Among the many colors on display in the spring are those created by local artists. WNC supports hundreds of artists through dozens of local galleries and studio spaces. Local galleries in Asheville’s River Arts District, downtown Hendersonville, Brevard, Saluda, and other main streets throughout the region have played a direct role in community revitalization over recent years. And nonprofits like Haywood County Arts Council and the Art League of Henderson County bring art to the people.
Find a Home for all Seasons in Western North Carolina!
With a population of 90,000+, Asheville is the largest city in Western North Carolina. Asheville serves as the area’s economic and cultural nerve center in many ways, including as a hub for education, healthcare, local arts and crafts, entertainment, and innovative food and drink. But surrounding counties and communities offer their own unique charms and abundant opportunities. Best of all, the Blue Ridge Mountains run through the region, offering a four-season temperate climate that makes year-round living easy. And the broad range of elevations—and corresponding climates and plant growth—make it one of the most biodiverse regions in the United States and the world.
Does that sound like the perfect lifestyle for you? Begin your WNC home search by using the Beverly-Hanks Community Finder.