Pre-Trip Fun for North Carolina Mountains, North Carolina
"Richie Rich" -- This movie, based on the cartoon and comic of the same name, was filmed in and around the four-acre Biltmore Estate. Take the tour, but don't expect to see the poor little rich boy. (Preschoolers and Up)
"The Adventures of Ociee Nash" -- Get inspired by Ociee's spirited nature, then check out Charlotte Street in Asheville (where the real "Ociee" lived in 1898) and nearby Manor Inn. (School Age and Up)
"Forrest Gump" -- If any of the surrounding mountains or the road approaching Biltmore in Asheville seem familiar, your kids may recognize it from this well-known film. (School Age and Up)
"A Walk to Remember" -- Check the local listings for school plays -- a main plot point in this screen version of Nicholas Sparks' popular teen novel -- while you're in town; the kids will like seeing their peers perform and it's a great way to get a sense of local living. (School Age and Up)
"Thunder Road" -- After seeing the car-chase scene of this Robert Mitchum movie filmed entirely in Asheville, the kids will beg you to go faster on those mountain roads. (Pre-Teens and Up)
"The Last of the Mohicans" -- Give kids a glimpse of the epic scenery that awaits them. James Fenimore Cooper's epic tale (though set in upstate New York) was actually filmed in the Blue Ridge Mountains and various locales in and around Asheville. Once there, head to Looking Glass Falls for rock climbing and waterfall fun. (Pre-Teens and Up)
Pan-Fried Trout -- Your family's biggest decision will be whether to try fly fishing or combine a float and hike for a fishing tour.
Cookie Apple Cobbler -- Visit an orchard or keep your eyes peeled for an apple festival; they, like the state's delicious apples, are in abundance.
"T Is for Tar Heel: A North Carolina Alphabet" by Carol Crane -- Accompanied by beautiful watercolor illustrations, this book will excite kids to see all that North Carolina has to offer, from the Appalachian Mountains to the Vanderbilt-built Biltmore mansion. (Ages 4 to 8)
"When I Was Young in the Mountains" by Cynthia Rylant -- Kids will be ready for life in the mountains after reading this lovely story with illustrations that are just as sweet. (Ages 4 to 8)
"North Carolina (Hello USA)" by Andrea Schulz -- This easy-to-read book filled with maps and photographs is the perfect introduction to North Carolina; have your kids look through it and make a list of places they'd like to visit. (Ages 8 to 12)
"The Jack Tales" by Richard Chase -- Introduce your kids to the oral tradition of storytelling with these tales, handed down from generation to generation in the mountains of North Carolina. Then ask them to recount a highlight of the trip during the car trip home. (Ages 9 to 12)
"The Mystery of the Biltmore House" by Carole Marsh -- Part of the "Real Kids, Real Places" series, this book will hold your kids captive and excite them about seeing the actual house (okay, mansion) with their own eyes. (Ages 9 to 12)
"Ghost Girl: A Blue Ridge Mountain Story" by Delia Ray -- Before your kids go swimming in that stream, give them a better understanding of what it's like to grow up in a small mountain community. (Ages 9 to 12)
"Dovey Coe" by Frances O'Roark Dowell -- Meet Dovey, the 12-year-old narrator, who tells it like it is. It's a great story and your kids will love her mountain drawl and cadence of speech. (Ages 9 to 12)
"Cold Mountain" by Charles Frazier -- Your teen will be glued to this piece of historical fiction, a heartbreaking book about a journey through the mountains of North Carolina. If you see Inman along your travels, give him a ride, would ya? (Ages 13 and Up)
"Fashionable Asheville: Volumes One and Two" by David Coleman Bailey -- Older kids will enjoy exploring this social and architectural history of the Asheville it was before it became the trendy town it is. (Ages 15 and Up)
Slinky Drum -- Your kids will be ready to join in Asheville's Friday night drum circle with this little number.
Paper Quilt Square -- After making one of these, your kids will have a better appreciation for the handmade quilts they'll see.