Governor's Western Residence

The Governor's Western Residence in Asheville is hidden away on Town Mountain just a few miles from downtown, so few visitors and many locals don't even know it's there. The estate is only open for public tours one or two days a year - including during the holiday season in early December. The Governor and his family visit occasionally. But most of the year is booked with private events for nonprofits and charitable groups at nominal rental fees.

The 6,000 square foot contemporary home's most striking feature is glass walls that take advantage of the mountain sunset views. The favorite for most guests is the massive outdoor terrace.

The grounds are home to many species of birds and plants, and it is frequented by black bears and white squirrels living in the neighborhood.

Built in 1939 by Tom Briner, the owner of Good Humor Ice Cream, the home was donated to the state in 1964 by the Asheville Chamber of Commerce. It's about 250 miles from the Governor's Mansion in Raleigh, so locals hoped the home would mean more trips to the mountains by elected officials in Raleigh.

The residence, which sits on 18 acres at 3,000 feet elevation, is overseen by the First Lady of North Carolina (photo above: Kristin Cooper getting ready for the summer open house). A nonprofit, 15-member Governor's Western Residence Association raises money for furnishings and decorating. Local art include Cherokee baskets, paintings and ceramics.

Address: 45 Patton Mountain Rd, Asheville, NC 28804. It's about 2.5 miles from downtown Asheville via Town Mountain Road and about 3.5 miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway. For events, the house will hold 50 guests and the Pavilion up to 200. Phone: (828) 225-0122

Watch the video: Official vehicle of Western Province Governors Secretary catch fire

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