Design Destinations: North Carolina

The fall High Point Market starts this Saturday, the 14th, which means we’re on our way to North Carolina!  The High Point Market is the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world, where retail home furnishings buyers, interior designers, architects, and others in the home furnishings industry can be found.  Since the market brings more than 75,000 people to High Point every six months we decided to take a look at some other art and design focused attractions people can visit while in North Carolina.


The Biltmore Estate


Constructed for George Vanderbilt, grandson of famed industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt, the Biltmore House is a 250-room French Renaissance chateau that took six years and a community of craftsmen to complete.  The home contains over four acres of floor space, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces.  For fans of historic homes this is a must see.  Through self-guided tours you can really get a feel for what late-19th century luxury was like.  The estate also contains gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted that can be explored.  There are over two miles of paths through the gardens!


Asheville Urban Trail


Often called a museum without walls, the Asheville Urban Trail was started by a group of citizens who wanted to help revitalize downtown.  The trail consists of 30 stations of bronze sculptures around downtown.  The trail is divided into five distinct eras, each of which has a symbol.  The symbols are carved into pink granite blocks placed in the sidewalk along the way for you to follow.  Each station has a plaque illuminating some of the interesting history of the downtown’s development and the various notable people who once lived there.  The 1.7 mile walk takes about two hours to complete.


Lexington Glassworks


Fans of glass and behind the scenes peeks at how crafts are done should make a stop at Lexington Glassworks.  Located in the heart of downtown Asheville you can easily make a day of walking the Asheville Urban Trail and then stopping in here.  The company invites visitors to view the glassblowing process from start to finish in the hopes of growing an appreciation for the relationship between the artists making the glass and the pieces on display in the gallery.  While this is a common practice amongst artists and craftspeople, Lexington Glassworks is unique because they also keep a small selection of Asheville craft beers on top for guests to enjoy while watching the glassblowing process.


North Carolina Museum of Art


With two buildings, an amphitheater, and a large art-filled park the North Carolina Museum of Art is a must visit for art enthusiasts.  Their permanent collection includes European painting from the Renaissance to the 19th century, Egyptian funerary art, sculpture and vase painting from ancient Greece and Rome, American art of the 18th through 20th centuries, and international contemporary art as well as African, ancient American, and Oceanic art, and Jewish ceremonial objects.  The 164-acre Museum Park contains more than a dozen monumental works of art.  With daily tours and numerous events every month there’s plenty to enjoy and get out of a visit to this museum.

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Where to Stay


There are a ton of great places to stay while you’re in North Carolina, but if you’re going for the sake of art and design, we have two recommendations.  Housed in a revitalized former bank, 21c Museum Hotel has an onsite museum dedicated to 21st-century art with rotating exhibits and site-specific works.  The galleries are open every day and have rotating exhibitions.  For lovers of mid-century modern style you’ll want to book a room at The Durham.  Also a former bank, The Durham has colorful mid-century modern interiors and a rooftop lounge.

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And obviously if you’re a fan of furniture and interior design you should make sure to visit High Point.  Even when the Market isn’t going on, there’s a plethora of furniture showrooms you can visit year round to see the latest and best of what’s going on in the world of home furnishings.