Asheville: The Top 25

How do we love North Carolina's favorite mountain town? Brad Tuttle counts the ways, in no particular order

Gorgeous Lake Lure, 30 miles to the southeast of Asheville, subbed in for the Catskills in Dirty Dancing. A few miles away from the lake is Chimney Rock, a towering spire with 75-mile views. For The Last of the Mohicans, Daniel Day-Lewis was filmed running through the surrounding park for the dramatic finale. Chimney Rock Park, 800/277-9611,, $14.

24. 100-year-old home base

A Bed of Roses, a B&B built in the late 1800s, sits on a quiet street in the Montford historic district, a 10-minute walk north of downtown. The innkeepers have decorated the five guest rooms with antiques they've been collecting for years. 135 Cumberland Ave., 828/258-8700,, doubles from $119.

25. A pilgrimage to Pretty Place

Five miles off of Highway 276, near the South Carolina border, there's a YMCA camp with a chapel that even nonbelievers can appreciate. The Fred W. Symmes Chapel, an open-air building better known as Pretty Place, sits atop a rock ledge so that the congregation can find divine inspiration in a sweeping panorama of the green valley below, home to Jones Gap State Park. The chapel is sometimes rented out for weddings and other special events, but most weekdays anyone can drive up to admire the astounding view or say a prayer. "All kinds of folks come up here to reflect and enjoy the scenery," says Doug Gregory, associate executive director of the camp. "And every year it seems a couple of people who went to the camp years ago come back and get engaged at sunrise." YMCA Camp Greenville, Cedar Mountain, 864/836-3291,

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