• Photo: jo Crebbin / Shutterstock


This small town in the Pisgah National Forest has a friendly, highly walkable downtown. In summer, more than 400 talented music students from around the country attend the music school at the Brevard Music Center, and the Brevard Music Festival features some 80 classical music concerts, some with such noted visiting artists as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinists Joshua Bell and Midori, and pianists André Watts and Emanuel Ax.

Brevard residents go nuts over the white squirrels, which dart around the town's parks and the campus of Brevard College. These aren't albinos, but a variation of the eastern gray squirrel. About a quarter of the squirrels in town are white. The white squirrels are thought to have come originally from Hawaii by way of Florida; they possibly were released in Brevard by a visitor in the 1950s. Whatever the truth, today Brevard capitalizes on it by holding a White Squirrel Festival in late May.

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