Many guests at Hill House are unfamiliar with Asheville, and are often pleased to learn that the city's geography is fairly standard. Downtown is in the center, and north, south, east, and west Asheville all are distinct areas with their own character.
Hill House and most of Asheville's other bed and breakfasts are in North Asheville. This is generally the favored residential area of the city, and home to the Montford historic district in northwest Asheville, the Grove Park Inn (above in the photo) in northeast, and UNC Asheville, and the Asheville Country Club in the north central.
South Asheville has more of an institutional flavor, being home to the Biltmore Estate, Mission Health, the biggest hospital system in western North Carolina, and A-B Tech, Asheville's well-regarded community college. Biltmore Village and Biltmore Park, the city's two best-known specialty retail centers are here, and many new homes, including the reaidence of actress and model Andie McDowell, have sprouted in far south Asheville in recent years. There are a small handful of bed and breakfasts in near South Asheville, between Mission Hospital and the Biltmore Estate.
East Asheville, along Tunnel Road, is the part of the city that looks like Anywhere Else in America. Here you'll find Asheville Mall and just about all of the Big Box stores and chain restaurants in the city. It's the complete antithesis of downtown, where only a single chain store exists. No B&Bs here, but plenty of motels. An occasional Hill House guest, suffering from downtown sensory overload, will head over to the Applebee's here in East Asheville.
West Asheville historically has been the city's blue-collar neighborhood, but in the last decade has taken on a distinct counterculture and youth ambience. Real estate is cheapest here, and Haywood Street, the main drag, is very bike- and pedestrian-friendly. If you have car problems while in town, check out the Organic Mechanic in West Asheville -- the name says it all about the area. Like downtown, everything in West Asheville is local, but very few tourists make their way over.