In 1540, Hernando De Soto, a Spanish explorer, uncovered the area now known as Asheville. The diseases the Europeans brought to the area nearly wiped out the native population.
The anchor of the NC Mountains is much more civilized than its earliest settlers. Asheville is a socially conscientious city lying in the midst of the Appalachian Mountains. Few small cities with this terrain have all the common features of a larger city in terms of transportation (I-26, I-40 and the Asheville Airport, Norfolk Southern Railway), Education (University of North Carolina at Asheville, Brevard, Mars Hill and more) and Culture (The Asheville Symphony, The Biltmore Estate and the annual fall migration of serious leaf hunters!).
Downtown Asheville is eclectic and funky, as you have a very diverse culture that emanates from tourists from all over the world. Street musicians are common as are numerous festivals that bring in thousands of visitors. But what so many love is the excellent climate in the summer. Floridians flock to Asheville by the planeloads from June to September and head out to their summer home getaways.
With the mountains come beautiful vistas, waterfalls, freshwater lakes, camping, fishing, boating, tubing and hiking. If this is of interest to you, then you need to visit before you make a decision on where to spend the rest of your life.
Other cities/towns in the North Carolina Mountains are:
Hendersonville/Brevard – for two decades, this has become one of the most desirable locations to retire to as much of the land is gently rolling and while you are not in the city, you have all the comforts you need close by with Asheville a short ride to the north and Greenville a short ride downhill.
Boone/Banner Elk – besides Appalachian State University and good winter skiing, this area is also home to a plethora of mountain communities, with some being rather expensive.