Ecotourism in Asheville, North Carolina

Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions in

Asheville, North Carolina


With its historic art deco buildings, hip indie sensibilities and thriving restaurant scene, Asheville, North Carolina is a burgeoning progressive Mecca in the traditionally conservative Southeast. With a tiny population of just 84,000, the city has earned comparisons to hipster hotbeds such as Portland (another mountain town famous for its gorgeous natural surroundings, thriving cultural scene, and forward-thinking environmental consciousness). Nicknamed “the Land of the Sky,” this eclectic, colorful community is surrounded by some of America’s most unspoiled natural beauty, which turns truly spectacular as the autumn colors change. Here are five of our favorite Asheville ecotourism attractions, all located within an hour’s drive of the city:


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Bret Love & Mary Gabbett at the Acropolis of Athens

James Ray Love, 1920-1996

Ancestors & Expectations at the

Acropolis of Athens


Nothing is going right. My mind is numb from lack of sleep, unable to process the jarring reality that our tour of the Acropolis of Athens may not even come close to measuring up to my dreams.


It’s barely 8:30AM, but already tour groups stampede up the hill towards the Parthenon. They move in tightly congested packs, pushing, shouting in a variety of languages, stopping abruptly in our path, seemingly oblivious to anything other than their guide, who leads them like a shepherd, holding aloft a sign featuring their bus number instead of a staff.


Mary follows my lead and we veer off-road to our left in order to circle around the flock, quickening our pace and scrambling over rocks, shedding layers of clothes as our body temperature rises. We pass one tour group, then another, moving like lions intent on heading off a herd of buffalo.


Restoration Construction on the Acropolis of Athens

Restoration Construction on the Parthenon


At last we ascend the steep stairs of the Propylaea, the monumental gateway that serves as the entrance to the Acropolis. As we emerge on the other side, I blink at the sight of The Parthenon before me, its entire front side obscured by scaffolding used in the restoration project that’s been going on since 1975.


This is not my dream. Everything is wrong.

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Win A Tropical Island Vacation Worth $10,000!


(The following post was sponsored by Yemaya Island Hideaway and Spa, but our opinions remain our own.)


There is a preconceived perception most people seem to have when we tell them we’re travel writers/bloggers.


They always imagine us relaxing in some blissful tropical hideaway, lazily stretched out on a shady hammock with a piña colada, with the soothing waves of the crystal-clear ocean in front of us and the gentle rustling of the wind through the palm trees behind us, tapping away at our laptops as a legion of cabana boys fan us with palm fronds. “You’re so lucky!” they inevitably respond. If they only knew…




The truth is that we’re typically so ridiculously busy working when we travel, we’ve forgotten what it’s like to take a REAL vacation.


You know, the kind of trip that leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. The kind of trip that nourishes your soul and your spirit (as well as your stomach). The kind of trip where the biggest decision you have to make each day is whether you want to snorkel, hit the spa or simply sleep after lunch.


It’s been YEARS since we’ve had one of those…





Truth be told, we’re more than a little jealous that we can’t enter the Yemaya Island Hideaway and Spa’s Best Vacation Ever Video Contest.  This tranquil boutique resort on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua– which features just 16 eco-luxury cabanas– is a dream come true for anyone who needs a break from the 9 to 5 world. And now they’re offering one lucky winner a 10-day trip for two to visit this remote tropical paradise.


The Grand Prize package includes 10 nights’ stay for two; up to $2,000 USD reimbursement for airfare from winner’s home country (economy class, advance purchase) to Managua; free airfare and boat transport from Managua to Yemaya; all meals and house beer, wine and cocktails; and Wellness “Happy Packs” for 5 days of your stay, which includes yoga, meditation, different physical activities, daily spa treatments and more.





The contest, which runs through November 23, is open to residents of the USA, Canada, UK, Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Nicaragua and Mexico. To enter, follow these simple steps:

  1. Create an original 30-second video that explains why you want to win. Have fun with it and be creative, as Yemaya wants to see the real you and why you think you’re the best candidate for the Best Vacation Ever. Then upload your video to YouTube or another video hosting website.
  2. Fill out their official entry form with all of your pertinent details and the link to your video. Don’t forget your email address, as that’s they’ll notify the winner.
  3. Post your video link to the Yemaya Facebook page, and give them a like while you’re there so you can stay updated on the contest.
  4. Only the videos on the Yemaya Facebook page with the most Likes will be eligible for judging. Make yours one of them by encouraging your friends and family to Like and share your video far and wide.


Enter the Contest Here!




Valued at nearly $10,000, this Grand Prize sounds downright heavenly to our overworked, under-slept ears. Ten days in an unspoiled eco-friendly haven located miles from the hustle and bustle of civilization, not to mention 5 days of meditation and spa treatments, sounds like precisely what we need after months of nose-to-the-grindstone work.


Like I said, we can’t enter, but you can! Hopefully one of GGT’s readers will be the lucky winner, so they can come back and tell us all about it. And then WE’LL be the ones saying, “You’re so lucky!” –Bret Love; photos provided by Yemaya 


If you enjoyed our post on Yemaya’s Best Vacation Ever Video Contest, you might also like:

Little Corn Island: A Taste of Nicaraguan Nirvana

NICARAGUA: The Corn Islands

PANAMA: Big Game Fishing & Dolphins

PANAMA: Coiba National Park & Sharks 

PANAMA: Our Own Private Island

COSTA RICA: Scuba Diving Caño Island

Dereck and Beverly Joubert with Great Plains Origami Rhino

 Dereck Joubert on Rhinos Without Borders


Africa is in serious trouble. And no, we’re not just talking about ebola (although the outbreak certainly isn’t helping matters), but poaching.


The Asian hunger for wild animal parts purported to work miracles ranging from increasing virility to curing cancer has driven poaching and profits from illegal trafficking to record-shattering levels. Africa is losing an average of 5 Lions per day, 5 Elephants per hour, and a Rhino (whose horn is currently valued at around $65,000 per kg) every 7 hours in South Africa alone. The devastating decline of these key species, which could eliminate the continent’s entire wild population by 2050, threatens both the environment and the economy of myriad African nations.


Ecotourism is an enormous industry in east and south Africa, generating approximately $80 billion in annual revenue. Much of this money comes from wildlife safaris to search for “the Big 5″– Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Rhinos and Buffalo. If these species disappear, it will likely set off a chain reaction in which tourism revenue declines, poverty rises and poaching for bush meat increases… a vicious circle that spells bad news for wildlife and those who treasure it. With growing concerns of ebola fears hurting African tourism to places like Kenya and South Africa, the importance of addressing the poaching problem head-on becomes even more vital.


Dereck and Beverly Joubert in Botswana


Award-winning filmmakers (and National Geographic Explorers-In-ResidenceDereck and Beverly Joubert are among Africa’s most outspoken wildlife conservation advocates. Through their Big Cat Initiative, the Botswana-based couple took the front lines on the battle to protect Africa’s beloved felines by raising awareness and implementing change to the dire situation facing Lions and Leopards. The project has since funded 60 projects in 23 countries.


Now, through their Great Plains Conservation and Great Plains Foundation arms, the Jouberts have launched Rhinos Without Borders, an attempt to save endangered Rhinos by translocating 100 of them from South Africa to Botswana in order to protect them from the tragic rise in poaching. To do this, they’ll need to raise nearly $5 million, as the costs to capture, transport, quarantine and release these animals will average about $45,000 per Rhino.


Our company Green Travel Media will be partnering with the new Travelers Building Change non-profit and 50-100 travel bloggers to help raise funds for Rhinos Without Borders, with the goal of raising enough money to save #JustOneRhino. We recently spoke to Dereck Joubert at great length about his ambitious undertaking, discussing why it’s crucial to focus on Rhinos now, why Botswana is safer from poachers than South Africa, and controversial Rhino conservation methods ranging from poisoning their horns to cutting them off entirely.

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Sunset in Oia, Santorini, photo by Angie Orth

Sunset in Oia, Santorini, photo by Angie Orth

Our 4th Blogaversary & New Staff Writers!


It seems somehow appropriate that last week provided an insane snapshot encapsulating our fourth year of blogging.


In seven days we delivered a standing-room-only session on Branding For Bloggers at TBEX Europe, met with myriad travel brands, got invited to visit two amazing destinations in 2015, hung out and networked with some of our favorite travel bloggers from around the world (including some great new friends), visited 10 Greek islands and an incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site in Turkey, landed two speaking gigs, and were interviewed by Greece’s Alpha TV for a national news segment about TBEX.


Like much of our past year, it was exhilarating and exhausting, filled with emotional highs (such as recreating my beloved grandfather’s Acropolis photo and seeing our blogging “daughter” Emma Jane Higgins) and lows (traveling 24 hours with no sleep, seeing tourists who were neither respectful or reverent). It was an extremely productive week on both a personal and professional level, full of new connections, strengthening of established bonds and excellent ideas for future growth and expansion.


We’ve never felt more appreciated or respected by our peers for the work that we do, and we’ve never been more humbled by the incredible opportunities for growth that our little labor of love has provided. From our very first planning meeting back in August 2010, Green Global Travel has never been about Mary and I, but about our mission to help “Save the world, one story at a time.”


So we’re delighted that, with the success of Green Travel Media, we now have an opportunity to extend the GGT family, bringing on four Green Global Travel Staff Writers and four Contributing Writers. We received more than 40 applications: Our ultimate decision was based on a combination of the writers’ resumes, abilities, pitches for how they’d fit into GGT’s niche, and of course our personal relationships. It was important that we reward people who had been loyal to our brand over the years: longtime GGT intern Megan Jerrard is among our new Staff Writers, and current intern Sarah Bennett will be a Contributing Writer. Check out the full details below!

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Co-Founded by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel is an ecotourism, nature / wildlife conservation & cultural preservation magazine. More about us.

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Thanks for your support! - Bret & Mary

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Check out our other sites! Green Travel Media
Green Travel Reviews
Proud members of: The International Ecotourism Society

As Seen In:

Destinations We’ve Covered:

Egypt- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Morocco- A Journey into the Atlas Mountains
South Africa- Londolozi Game Reserve Safari
South Africa- Kruger National Park
South Africa- South Africa- Zulu Memories
Tanzania- Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

How To Get To Antarctica w/out Doing the Drake
The Haunting Beauty of Icebergs
Penguins of Antarctica
Taking the Polar Plunge
Top 5 Eco Attractions in Antarctica
Whales of Antarctica
India- Ranthambhore National Park
Laos- The Pastoral Paradise of Muang Ngoi
Malaysia- Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Malaysia- Orangutan Conservation at Sepilok
Nepal- Hiking The Annapurna Circuit
Taiwan- Top 5 Eco Activities in Taipei
Thailand- Top 5 National Parks
Australia- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Australia-Kangaroo Island
New Zealand- Kapiti Island
New Zealand- Tongariro National Park
New Zealand- Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions
Tahiti- First Impressions
Tahiti- Photo Gallery
Tahiti- Moorea 4x4 Safari Tour
Tahiti- Moorea, Tiki Village Theater
Tahiti- Pearl Diving in Bora Bora
Tahiti- Ruahatu Marine Sanctuary, Bora Bora
Tahiti- Swimming With Sharks in Bora Bora
Tonga- Eua Island Eco Activities


Churchill- Into the Wild of Manitoba
Churchill- Polar Bear Fight
Churchill- Polar Bear Photo Gallery
Churchill- Tundra Wildlife

America’s Best Volcanoes
AK- Denali National Park
CA- Hiking The John Muir Trail
FL- Sanibel Island Eco Activities
FL- Crystal River, Swimming with Manatees
GA- Barnsley Gardens
GA- Top 5 Autumn Activities Around Atlanta
GA- Best Christmas Light Displays
GA- Top 20 Atlanta Christmas Events
GA- Jekyll Island Eco Activities
GA- Weekend in North GA Mountains
GA- Top 5 Eco Attractions in North GA
HI- Hawaii’s Big Island
HI- Hawaiian Mythology
HI - Top 5 Kauai Nature Attractions
LA- Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday
MT- Hiking Glacier National Park
NC- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
NC- Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene
NC- Greensboro Travel Guide
NC- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
NC- Outer Banks Wild Horses
NM- Top 5 Eco Attractions
NY- Going Green in NYC
WV- Outdoor Adventures
Yellowstone- Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone- Lamar Valley
Yellowstone- Grand Canyon & Hayden Valley
Yellowstone- Upper Geyser Basin
Yellowstone- Lower Geyser Basin

Cancun- Cancun Underwater Museum
Cancun- Mayan Museum of Archaeology
Cancun- Swimming with Whale Sharks
Riviera Maya- Monkeys, Pyramids & Pottery
Riviera Maya- Rio Secreto
Riviera Maya- Tulum & Coba