by Stephanie Cavanaugh
When it comes to quality of life, Asheville, North Carolina is now leader of the pack. Ann Skoglund, the number one agent at real estate powerhouse Beverly-Hanks & Associates for 21 years, says it’s trumping even Charleston in popularity.
"There's the natural beauty, with the Blue Ridge Mountains, long springs and falls and mild winters; hiking, camping, tubing and golf,” she describes. “There’s amazing health care, with Mission Hospital Systems, one of the top 15 in the country, the River Arts District, with potters and painters in studios along the river, and the symphony, theater and restaurants."
Asheville is teaming with critically acclaimed restaurants, a fantastic food truck scene and a superb culinary school, making it hard to get a bad meal anywhere. And beer? "Asheville has been crowned Beer City USA two years in a row," Ann reminds us.
Sound more like the west than the east? Californians, Coloradans and Texans have taken note.
Residents can live on a mountaintop, a farm, a ranch, a golf course or downtown; the lifestyle options are myriad.
You can even live on the grounds that were part of the fabled Biltmore Estate, George Vanderbilt’s 250-room chateau that dates to the 1890s. The newest one is the Ramble with miles of hiking and biking trails and parks, a wellness center and a clubhouse, "it's very popular with newcomers," she says.
In coveted Biltmore Forest, Skoglund is featuring a completely remodeled roaring ‘20s vintage home. "It's unusually light and open, with an amazing number of windows and French doors overlooking the fabulous garden," she says. The four bedroom home has formal living rooms, a sun room and a magnificent great room/kitchen with a fireplace.
In the Ramble, custom-built, 5,216 square-foot Tuscan villa built in 2007 has great vaulted spaces, custom woodwork, radiant heated floors and an "amazing kitchen" with a pizza oven and commercial appliances. The second floor library encircles the dining room, offering a bird's eye view of your banquet.