You’d be hard-pressed to find a more walkable, picturesque neighborhood in Asheville than the historic district of Montford. Taking a stroll through this visually vibrant neighborhood is to step back in time, to a period of rich architectural influences reflective of the cosmopolitan character of the city at the turn of the 20th century. Every block brings a brilliant array of Victorian, Queen Anne and Arts and Crafts styles combined with Neoclassical, Colonial Revival and castle-like motifs; in addition, popping up are pockets of new green homes, seamlessly tying the present to the past. Joining them is an eclectic mix of restaurants, including Nine Mile (www.ninemileasheville.com), chiesa (www.chiesaavl.com) and Tod’s Tasties (www.todstasties.com).
Montford’s Rich History
Located off Montford Ave., a quick walk to downtown Asheville, and roughly bordered by I-240, I-26 and Broadway Ave., Montford is a National Register Historic District with more than 600 structures, mostly residences, built between 1890 and 1920. Asheville architect and supervising architect of the Biltmore House Richard Sharp Smith produced a number of homes in Montford. Though largely residential, Montford maintained several boarding houses and sanitaria for tuberculosis, mental disorders and other ailments. The neighborhood is home to Riverside Cemetery, 87 acres of rolling hills where authors Thomas Wolfe and O. Henry, as well as Confederate General Robert B. Vance and N.C. Gov. Zebulon Vance, are buried.
Montford at Play
Today, many residences in Montford have found second lives as bed and breakfasts. Grand manors provide peaceful stays while at the same time allowing visitors to easily explore the walkable neighborhood.
Montford is replete with activities for residents and visitors alike. A stop at the Asheville Visitor’s Center (36 Montford Ave.), at the neighborhood’s edge, can provide you with all the resources and direction necessary for getting the most out of Montford, and Asheville in general. The Montford Recreation Center, in the heart of the neighborhood, features the Montford Climbing Wall, a gym and two multi-purpose rooms. The center is surrounded by the Montford Complex, boasting a playground, tennis court, lighted ball field and the Hazel B. Robinson Amphitheater. The amphitheater is home to the Montford Park Players , N.C.’s longest running Shakespeare festival, which presents free Theatre in the Park under the stars all summer long.
Montford is also home to popular annual festivals and tours:
· Montford Arts and Music Festival – Held in May, this festival is one of the largest one-day free music and arts festivals in Asheville, with more than 100 vendors of art, crafts and food, and two stages of entertainment.
· Greek Festival – Montford’s Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church hosts a fall fest full of traditional dancing, music and, of course, food – fest-goers enjoy a range of Greek specialties – think lamb shank, pastichio, spanakopita and baklava.
· Montford Holiday Tour of Homes – Heralding the holiday season, the Tour of Homes gives attendees a first-hand look at the rich architecture the neighborhood is famed for.
For a personally guided tour of the Montford area, or for more information on real estate here or anywhere in Asheville, please contact Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com or call him anytime at (828) 337-8190.
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