Last year I rode across I-40 from Asheville, NC to Knoxville, TN. It's heavily traveled by 18-wheelers heading over the mountains. So here is a scenic bypass you can try the next time through. See larger map.
The Appalachian trail and the French Broad River both travel thru Hot Springs. There's accommodations at the Iron Horse Station and Treehouse Cabins, or camping and rustic cabins at Creek Ridge Camping. The Mountain Magnolia Inn is a historic property with restaurant and spa, adjacent to the hot mineral springs.
"Soak in the hot mineral springs at the end of the day’s activities. Heated deep within the earth, the 103-degree crystal-clear carbonated waters are said to have curative qualities that will relax and rejuvenate you." http://hotspringsnc.org/play/relaxation/