This colorful North Carolina city is surprisingly gay, with rich literary roots and a tremendous B&B culture. Many inns are gay-owned, including 1889 White Gate Inn and Cottage, Cedar Crest Inn, and Hill House Bed & Breakfast.
At night, stop by O.Henry’s, the oldest gay bar in the state. But don’t confuse age for mustiness—under new ownership, O’Henry’s had a complete renovation last year. Other favorite spots loved by locals and visitors alike are Scandals (for dance parties and drag shows) and woman-owned Tressa’s Jazz & Blues (for the music). During the day, shop at Malaprop’s, an iconic independent bookstore/café with plenty of queer lit, signings, kids books and more. (We even know a lesbian couple that got married in the stacks.)
Be sure to also hit the Asheville Bee Charmer, where you can pull up a stool at the bar for a tasting of honey from around the world.
Missed your local Pride celebration? No worries: The major LGBT event in Asheville, the annual Blue Ridge Pride Festival, isn’t until October.