Western North Carolina can get pretty conservative but the small, progressive town of Asheville is an oasis for the gay and lesbian traveler. It packs a lot of punch for a small town. Downtown Asheville sits like a saucer nestled among the slopes of numerous verdant mountains. It’s well preserved, with many great old buildings, cool restaurants, acclaimed crafts galleries, and fun shops. Vibrant by day, the area is steadily becoming livelier at night. It’s easy to find friendly and approachable locals at coffeehouses, bars, or just strolling about. Organic bakeries, co-ops, and politically active cafes proliferate. The city prides itself on being a haven of divergent and eclectic views.