With the sun setting, casting yellow and orange tints across the Appalachian Mountains that protect Asheville, North Carolina, freshman Connor Witsoe stood with his friend at the peak of the Craggy Pinnacle trail, about 20 miles from the city.

runners up

Second place: Wilmington
Third place: Raleigh

“It was amazing. You could see for miles over all the range of mountains that surround Asheville, and then you could see toward Asheville when it starts to flatten out,” Witsoe said.

The two decided to go to Asheville on a whim in late October. The drive is about three hours, making it the perfect day trip. Witsoe described the drive down the mountainous Blue Ridge Parkway as a pleasant and scenic part of the experience.

As a member of Elon Outdoors, Witsoe visited Asheville once before, but after a second trip, he said he better understands the character of the city. Witsoe said Asheville’s down-to-earth temperament makes a day trip much more enjoyable and manageable. He especially enjoyed the local shops.

“For most of the day, we were just walking around, which was really cool because there is just so many different spots in Asheville that you can go to,” Witsoe said. “I can’t think of a time I was actually bored there.”

Another Fun Fact

Asheville is approximately a three-hour drive from Elon University.

The only thing that Witsoe said he wished he also did was visit the Biltmore Estate, which is a historic mansion on the outskirts of the city. However, if a tourist wants to learn the area on a surface level, one day is sufficient, Witsoe said.

“I kind of wish we could have stayed a little longer, maybe would have explored the area around Asheville, too,” Witsoe said. “You can spend an entire day in the city. But if you want to explore more around Asheville, which there’s a lot around that area, you would probably want two or three days.”

While he wished he could have spent more time in the mountain city, Witsoe said he knows he will find himself back in Asheville during his time at Elon.