Asheville pops up on national rankings for a variety of things: Modern Maturity named it one of "The 50 Most Alive Places To Be,” AmericanStyle magazine called it one of "America's Top 25 Arts Destinations," Self magazine labeled it the "Happiest City for Women," it is one of AARP Magazine's "Best Places to Reinvent Your Life", and was proclaimed the "New Freak Capital of the U.S." by Rolling Stone. Asheville has also been called "a New Age Mecca" by CBS News' Eye On America, In August 2006 Asheville was named one the "Best Outside Towns" by Outside Magazine. In the 2008 book, The Geography of Bliss, by Eric Weiner, Asheville was cited by the author as one of the happiest places in the United States.
Waynesville is located about 30 miles southwest of Asheville between the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 9,232 with an estimate of 10,000 as of early 2007.
Waynesville is located just outside the Pisgah National Forest and is close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Most of the town of Waynesville lies between 2500 and 3000 feet above sea level, and is located in a valley among 6000-foot mountain peaks.