The tour is not strenuous at all (in case you were worried, Asheville is pretty hilly). It moves from the Vance Monument to the Jackson Building, City Hall, and then down College Street to Pritchard Park, up Haywood then Battery Park to the Flat Iron Building, through the Grove Arcade to the Basilica of St. Lawrence where it ends.
There is a little historical background thrown in, especially about the prosperity of the 1920s and the 50 year depression that followed and helped preserve a lot of Asheville’s iconic buildings-
Most of the information is currently relevant for visitors – what to see, where to eat, where to shop. There are a lot of plugs for places that offer discounts with the tour brochure, but then again, it is a free tour –someone’s got to sponsor it!
When I went on a nice warm cloudy Thursday, it was just me and a college student from UNC Asheville. CJ Jones was our tour guide, and he informed us he got the idea to start the tour after traveling the world and being on various free tours overseas. CJ is a travel consultant for Wilcox Travel and Tours in the BB&T building and really knows how to cater the tours to visitors. As a “local” (kind of) I still thought it was great, he pointed out some new places that I had never noticed before, even after spending a lot of time downtown.
The brochure that you get with the tour points you to other attractions, such as the Biltmore, the French Broad, Trolley or Ghost Tours, all with discounts as well.
This is a great way for visitors to start exploring Asheville, and for locals to take an hour walk and see some things they may have previously overlooked.