Here's some info I scooped up...first off, the average temperature and rainfall:
Yeah, I see it's just a teensy bit chilly for the average daytime highs in Jan/Feb/Mar/Nov/Dec. But the lows aren't too awfully bad...certainly April thru October look pretty decent. Here's some info from the beloved Wikipedia:
Asheville is a city in and the county seat of Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. It is the largest city in Western North Carolina, and the 11th largest city in North Carolina. The city's population was 83,393 according to the 2010 United States census. It is the principal city in the four-county Asheville metropolitan area, with a population of 424,858 in 2010. Asheville is home to the United States National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), the world's largest active archive of weather data.
Asheville pops up on national rankings for a variety of things: "a New Age Mecca" (CBS News' Eye On America, 1996), the "New Freak Capital of the U.S." (Rolling Stone, 2000), one of "The 50 Most Alive Places To Be" (Modern Maturity, 2000), the "Happiest City for Women" (Self, 2002), one of the "Best Places to Reinvent Your Life" (AARP Magazine, 2003), one of the "Best Outside Towns" (Outside Magazine, 2006), one of the "Top Seven Places to Live in the U.S." (Frommer's, 2007), one of the “10 Most Beautiful Places in America" (Good Morning America, 2011), one of the "25 Best Places for Business and Careers" (Forbes, 2012), and one of "20 Great Cities For Writers" (Flavorwire, 2013). Asheville has been listed as one of the "Top 25 Small Cities for Art" in AmericanStyle magazine's annual list from 2000 to 2012 and has reigned the champion "Beer City USA" each year from 2009 to 2012.Dozens of micro breweries dot the downtown and major producers, including New Belgium Brewing Company (opening 2015) are in the process of building in or near the city.
In his 2008 book, The Geography of Bliss, author Eric Weiner cited Asheville as one of the happiest places in the United States.
Recent national accolades: "Best city in America for locavores" The Daily Meal, 2014 "The hippie capital of the South" Huffington Post, 2014 "#1 most popular city for retirement out of 900+ U.S. cities" TopRetirements.com, 2014 "#1 town to live and work in as a movie maker MovieMaker magazine, 2014 One of 6 top "Alternative Travel Destinations for 2014" Men's Journal and Business Insider, 2014 "One of 20 cities you should visit in your 20s" Huffington Post, 2014 "#1 of 12 Dreamy Towns for Vegan Living" VegNews, 2013 “One of 10 Tastiest Towns in the South” Southern Living, 2013 “Hippest City in the South” Fodor’s The Carolinas & Georgia, 2013 “One of America’s Best River Towns” Outside, 2012 “#1 Beer City USA” Imbibe Magazine online poll, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 “Most Romantic Place in USA and Canada” About.com Readers Choice Poll, 2012 “Top 10 Great Sunny Places to Retire” AARP Magazine, 2012 “10 Fantastically Yoga-Friendly Destinations” Yoga Journal, 2011
Asheville and the surrounding mountains are also popular in the autumn when fall foliage peaks in October. The scenic Blue Ridge Parkway runs through the area and near the Biltmore Estate.
GeographyAsheville is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains at the confluence of the Swannanoa River and the French Broad River. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 45.3 square miles (117.2 km2), of which 44.9 square miles (116.4 km2) is land and 0.31 square miles (0.8 km2), or 0.66%, is water.
ClimateThe climate of Asheville is a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), resembling the rest of the Piedmont region of the southeastern U.S., but with noticeably cooler temperatures due to the higher altitude; it is part of USDA Hardiness zone 7a. The area's summers in particular, though warm, are not as hot as summers in cities farther east in the state, as the July daily average temperature is 73.8 °F (23.2 °C) and there is an average of only 9.4 days with 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs annually;[a] the last time a calendar year has passed without 90 °F readings is 2009. Moreover, warm nights where the low remains at or above 70 °F (21 °C) are much more uncommon than 90 °F temperatures. Winters are cool, with a January daily average of 37.1 °F (2.8 °C) and highs remaining at or below freezing on 5.5 days.
Official record temperatures range from −16 °F (−27 °C) on January 21, 1985 to 100 °F (38 °C) on August 21, 1983; the record cold daily maximum is 4 °F (−16 °C) on February 4, 1895, while, conversely, the record warm daily minimum is 77 °F (25 °C) on July 17, 1887. Readings as low as 0 °F (−18 °C) or as high as 95 °F (35 °C) rarely occur, the last occurrences being January 7, 2014 and July 1, 2012, respectively. The average window for freezing temperatures is October 17 to April 18, allowing a growing season of 181 days.
Precipitation is relatively well spread, though the summer months are noticeably wetter, and totals 45.6 inches (1,160 mm) annually, but historically ranging from 22.79 in (579 mm) in 1925 to 75.22 in (1,911 mm) in 2013.[b] Snowfall is sporadic, averaging 9.9 inches (25.1 cm) per winter, but actual seasonal accumulation varies considerably from one winter to the next; accumulation has ranged from trace amounts in 2011–12 to 48.2 inches (122.4 cm) in 1968–69. Freezing rain often occurs, accompanied by more significant disruption.
OK...so MAYBE this isn't really THE place to be in the winter...but it would be AWESOME in the summers! (though I wasn't really looking for that....I need a place to ESCAPE most of the winter, where I can ride bikes nearly every day). But you have to admit that up in the "Nationwide Recognition" part from Wikipedia, it sounds pretty nice! This paragraph pretty much sums it up if you ask me:
One of "The 50 Most Alive Places To Be" (Modern Maturity, 2000), the "Happiest City for Women" (Self, 2002), one of the "Best Places to Reinvent Your Life" (AARP Magazine, 2003), one of the "Best Outside Towns" (Outside Magazine, 2006), one of the "Top Seven Places to Live in the U.S." (Frommer's, 2007), one of the “10 Most Beautiful Places in America" (Good Morning America, 2011)
And this is from the Asheville tourism webiste:
What adventure seekers will find in the Asheville area: natural waterslides, rollercoaster-like mountain bike trails, and stunning vistas that will take your breath away faster than a Ferris wheel. Whether you're into extreme sports or soft adventure, the mountains surrounding Asheville offer endless adventures. Outside magazine consistently ranks Asheville among its top destinations for outdoor recreation and adventures.
Sadly, most of this applies during the warmer months...then it seems like a lot of the country, they suffer thru the cold months waiting for spring. Overall, I think I could suffer thru a cooler winter IF I was in a place that cycling was still good (and sadly, I don't think that will really apply to the Richmond area...too flat for my tastes).
Next week I think I'll look at Hot Springs, NC. It seems similar to Ashville but with a slightly warmer winter (and, it's got HOT SPRINGS! What better way to spend ANY winter than sitting in natural hot-springs!)