Explore the 23 counties of Western North Carolina (also known as WNC), which covers the southern Blue Ridge Mountains located in the far western part of North Carolina.

The most populous cities in these West Carolina mountains are: (1) Asheville in Buncombe County (2) Lenoir in Caldwell County (3) Boone in Watauga County (4) Morganton in Burke County (5) Hendersonville in Henderson County, and (6) Waynesville in Haywood County.

And there are dozens of — approximately 100 — smaller cities, towns and villages worth experiencing in WNC. One might even suit you enough to claim it as your newly adopted hometown or mountain retreat.


Many discover a region that bears witness to many currents running at the same time. That is, WNC is a cacophony of modern excitement with southern mountain charm, a blend of the innovative with the proven. It's citified and hillbilly, fast and slow, big and small, busy and productive, relaxing and retiring — and everything inbetween.

Indubitably, it is for the young and young at heart. It's a special place where one can find the iconoclast sitting next to the staid, the newcomer talking with the old-timer.

And it's all about the heavenly outdoors, as well as the creatively handmade.

One matter is certain: there is something indescribably beautiful about these ancient mountains. Their majesty and magnificence beckon to be appreciated. Whether through quiet contemplation or active enjoyment, visiting and living in WNC is a memorable experience. There is much to uncover that can perfectly match one's lifestyle, rhythm and pace.

Be forewarned: this region is one of the sweetest and greenest spots in America. Bar none. Always, it's a region that remains proudly American and supremely independent, where many support the "think locally, act globally" movement while others concentrate on preserving the ways of their elders.


Above all, Western North Carolina is real. It's a place that can be embraced and treasured. It is something tangible, close-up and approachable. At the same time, it offers an ethereal beauty and a quality some believe to be mystical, even spiritual. It's a place where a person can reinvent himself or herself many times over — "until by turning and turning," so the Shakers said, "we come out right."

In the WNC mountains, two important beliefs hold true: the uniqueness of the individual is honored, while family and friends matter most. Both truths — two strong currents, sometimes flowing in the same direction, sometimes not — remain at the heart of why this Carolina loveliness can stay in one's mind forever. It's a place worth fighting for, and for sharing.

Know this: WNC is an ideal environment to slow down and look around. Natural and man-made wonderment awaits the newcomer. It also reminds the born-and-raised native why WNC remains so special, so wonderful, where time almost seems to stand still — because, maybe, sometimes "back to the future" makes more sense in these Carolina highlands.

Oftentimes, WNC attractions are simply spectacular. Other times life in these mountains is layered complexity: from Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate to Earthaven Ecovillage; from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the North Carolina Arboretum; from the Cherokee Oconaluftee Indian Village to Grandfather Mountain.

And the four (and there are four!) seasons, unexpectedly nuanced, are distinct and cherished by all who reside in its hills and vales. For those who love these mountains, there is really no "best" season; each has its charm and character (kind of like the people here!).

Be assured: in WNC there is a place for everyone. For those who love mother nature and respect community, it's a natural fit: from Lake Lure to Lenoir; from Murphy to Morganton; from Black Mountain to Beech Mountain; from Boone to Brevard to Bryson City; from Waynesville to Hendersonville to Asheville.

Many who are motivated to seek a better life, ultimately find their very own special Carolina place. Perhaps it's a simply a small cottage. Or maybe it's a grand homeplace with a stunning postcard vista that meets every special desire and need.

Whether a person knows what they want and can afford it — or is on a specific budget — that person can be for sure that "a just-right place" in these Carolina mountains awaits all. Always. And it is something pure. Something valuable, and to be valued. Because it is personal and real.

For the wise know, a bold life — tied to a strong home life — is in the living.

And it's a life well lived that's living right. Such a remarkable life, a choice worth seeking, can be had in these wonderful West Carolina mountains, in these still great (and greater!) United States.


Ask anyone who knows: Western North Carolina is a big place with big aspirations, encouraging both individual vision and community well-being to come together and blossum and flourish. Each productive way has its place in WNC.

AdvantageWest, a highly regarded economic development council, knows North Carolina's mountains well. It has the facts and figures. It can explain the variety and scope of opportunities that exist in the region today. Dreaming is allowed (daydreaming is too!).

Truly, it's a region that welcomes new possibilities. For example, Asheville, once dubbed "The Paris of the South," has more recently taken on the mantle of "Beer City USA"; many craft breweries, established and start-ups, large and small, have found the unofficial capital of WNC to be welcoming and supportive. Cheers.

So maybe one (the designated driver!) just needs to drive through these West Carolina mountains one day, or linger a while longer, on business, for pleasure, to consider its possibilities. Maybe that person will find, as many others have before, something so powerful, so magnetic, that he or she won't want to leave. Maybe that's why so many who visit Western North Carolina wind up staying to buy a house, create a business, build a future.

If the region of Western North Carolina is anything, it is multi-faceted. It is a gift, a home, a launchpad, where a person or organization has space to breathe, room to grow, stars to follow.

Dreams do come true in WNC. Promise. 


Now might be the right time for you and your family — or you and your friends — to discover in Western North Carolina something you, something anew: a new place, a new face, a new mountain, a new river, a new forest, a new path.

Perhaps you have a mountain homestead in your mind's eye. Maybe a vacation getaway for family and friends tugs at your heart.

Or maybe you simply have a desire for some land that might someday nestle the home of your dreams — amidst the nests of your feathered friends.

Explore Western North Carolina on your own. And explore it with a REALTOR, too. These WNC highlands are such a wonderful place, especially because you'll meet so many — to borrow from Buncombe County's official slogan — "people to match our mountains."

If you would like to live in some of the finest natural scenery in the lower 48 statres, enjoy colorful characters, friendly folk, great restaurants and a wide variety of cultural and outdoor activity, you will discover all that and more in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Naturally. Perfect. ♦


— "A Dream Home to Hold True" written by Byron Belzak.
Photo Credits - Copyrights Held As Indicated Online:
1-Fall Foliage by City-Data.com
2-Armed Mugs by Americancraftweek.com
3-WNC Boating by Ashevilleguidebook.com
4-Blue Ridge Parkway by Wandrlymagazine.com

5-Summer Foliage by City-Data.com/forum
6 - Downtown Asheville Sunset by Bedbreakfastjournal.com
7 - Heartfelt Kiss by Zen Sutherland


go to interactive map


This great map is no longer available from the U.S. Census Bureau,
apparently because of recent budget cuts.

Our own interactive map is under deveopment - Watch this space



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