- Mike and Mary Damon, Waynesville
West Asheville is one of the most popular in-town Asheville neighborhoods. I like to say that it is everything "Asheville" in a microcosm: artsy, funky, granola, eco-concious, tasty (we like our food in Asheville), historic. This would surpise someone time traveling from even the 1990s, as until the last decade West Asheville was not a "hot spot."
Historically, West Asheville was its own town and was absorbed by Asheville in the 20th century. As a result of once being a "town," it has a "main" street -- Haywood Rd. In the 1950s, I think Haywood Rd was a fairly bustling commercial corridor of furniture stores and other shops. However, in my memory, it was a fairly dilapidated area of run-down store fronts (except for the furniture store, which is still there and has always had a nice appearance). Until very recently, the appliance parts store still had dead refrigerators and such out on the sidewalk in front of the store. Nothing says "classy" like old appliances sitting around in front of a business.
West Asheville was a modest hard-working part of town filled with bungalows from Asheville's boom period in the early 1900s. Many of these small homes had become a bit run-down, and there wasn't much of a sense of pride evident in the community. Then, in the late 1990s, West Asheville was re-discovered as a convenient, affordable option for in-town living. Parts of the area had always remained nice, desirable neighborhoods, such as Malvern Hills, the Vermont Av. corridor, and Windsor Park. Others had become shabby, and people began to purchase the homes at prices that allowed them to be renovated, and the renaissance was on.
Haywood Rd began to transform, too, with the opening of the organic West End Bakery, Sunny Point Cafe, The Lucky Otter and then various other eateries and shops. Now, some of the best organic and local food based restaurants are in West Asheville.
Convenient to I240, Patton Avenue, the River Arts District and Clingman Avenue, West Asheville is a great downtown location to live. The house ranges from old 1920s bungalows in various states of rehabilitation and 1950s homes with compact floor plans, to recently built "eco" homes on small lots. Prices begin in the mid-150s for a very modest home and range up to about $400,000 for the newer eco homes. It can be tricky to find a move-in ready house under $200,000, but there are usually good options in the $200-$300k range.
Here are some recent articles from the Asheville Citizen-Times profiling West Asheville: