This week is National Travel and Tourism Week and the perfect time to highlight a popular travel stop for buses coming from or headed to Nashville, Knoxville, Atlanta and other states.
If you have taken a bus trip that travels through Asheville, chances are you’ve made a pit stop at the Western North Carolina Farmers Market. The market is located between two major interstate highways and is a popular stop for tour buses, church buses and other motor coaches traveling through the area.
The stop allows travelers a chance to stretch their weary legs.
“We are a popular stop,” said Doug Sutton, market manager. “We offer a restroom stop, crafts, specialty foods, produce and an opportunity to eat at the Moose Cafe. Some tour buses will call ahead to the cafe so they know that a big crowd is coming. In our busiest time of year, we have buses come every day with fall being our busiest time of year. Sometimes you can see the buses lined up to get into the market. We offer a great view of the mountains and nearby Biltmore Estate.”
Vendors like the influx of travelers coming into the market, too. “Travelers tend to buy local jams, jellies, cheese, homemade ice cream and wine in our Market Shoppes,” Sutton said. “They also like the mountain crafts.” Apples, strawberries and other local produce are also popular.
“The Market has been a destination for tourists and motor coaches for years and we are glad they choose to stop here,” said Sutton.
The market encourages visitors in other ways, too. During the spring, market staff set up at welcome centers on Interstate 26 and I-40 West from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays to pass out strawberries and market brochures. During the fall, the market has a display at the I-26 East Welcome Center.
The market has been a mainstay in Asheville for more than 40 years. It is one of the top visited attractions in the area and is included in TripAdvisor’s list of top things to do in Asheville. Last year, the market was awarded a $380,000 grant from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority to help pay for renovations to the Market Shops building.
The WNC Farmers Market is one of four regional markets run by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. It is open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. from April through October, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. November through March.