The neighboring cities of Dunkeld and Birnam are our newest Sister Cities, joining our roster in August of 2017. Just like Asheville, Dunkeld and Birnam are surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills, and the area has a rich history tied to the railroad. Rumor also has it that Beatrix Potter was inspired to write The Tale of Peter Rabbit on one of many visits to the area. Set on opposite banks of the river Tay in the heart of Perthshire’s Big Tree Country, the area is filled with traditional music and a love for the arts as well as scotch distilleries, breathtaking historic castles and unlimited access to nature.
Asheville has been extending a hand of civic friendship to Dunkeld and Birnam since a delegation first visited Highland Perthshire in 2012. According to Asheville Sister Cities representative Rick Lutovsky, “there is a growing interest in developing this sister city relationship, drawing upon our many common characteristics and interests: the considerable Scottish ancestral roots throughout the Southern Appalachians; parallel economic characteristics such as art, music, recreation and tourism; the striking physical beauty of our two settings; education; health affairs including an holistic approach to wellness; a strong sense of community; the Presbyterian (Church of Scotland) heritage; and, an abiding love of nature and commitment to stewardship of the surrounding physical environment.”
At the twinning ceremony in Scotland in August 2017, Fiona Ritchie – the founder, producer, and host of National Public Radio’s The Thistle & Shamrock and Chair of Dunkeld and Birnam Friends of Asheville, NC – said:
“This twinning follows years of planning, and a weekend of intense dedication, from many residents of our community who were excited about the potential of the twinning invitation we’d received from Asheville. We’re looking forward to building all sorts of connections for the benefit of both communities, as we have so much in common.”