Asheville, North Carolina

Traveling west from Charlotte, foothills give way to the Blue Ridge Mountains, a visual cue to the music heritage you’re seeking. Add a soundtrack any number of ways: Tune your radio to WNCW (88.1 FM) for bluegrass and traditional North Carolina music; in advance, order The Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina guidebook, which comes with a 20-track CD to introduce you to the region’s musicians, past and present. Using the guidebook and/or the interactive map published by The Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, wind your way to jams, stomps and pick-and-grins in Asheville and beyond.

Let’s focus on Asheville: The oldest continuously running folk festival in the U.S., the Mountain Dance & Folk Festival, takes place annually the first weekend in August at the city’s Diana Wortham Theatre. The festival, which dates to 1928, hosts ticketed evening performances of old-time, bluegrass and mountain string bands; ballad singers, cloggers and more. For a freer vibe (and literally, no cost), Shindig on the Green presents more of the same in Asheville’s Pack Square Park (Saturdays from the last weekend in June through the last weekend in August). Bring a blanket or chair and sit amid the locals at these open-air concerts.