Asheville NC Vacation The Ultimate Vacation Destination
  • May
    1

    Western North Carolina’s  Spring flowering season has just begun in the lower elevations of Asheville and Hendersonville, and with plenty of winter moisture, a spectacular spring it will be!  We toured the Biltmore Estate Azalea Gardens on Thursday, April 29, 2010, and their trees and shrubs were beautiful beyond words.  The foresight of George W. Vanderbilt, who built the Biltmore Estate, Frederick Law Olmsted (the father of American landscape architecture), and Richard Morris Hunt (the architect of the Biltmore House) shows every time we walk the grounds of Americas largest single family home.  The planning, the layouts, the plant placement, the walls, the gardens, the fields, and the water features all were combined to create a magical wonderland.  The family of George Vanderbilt continued the traditions since the house first opened Christmas Eve, 1895, and are still creating more and more joy for themselves and for us.

    Spectacular Azalea Colors at Biltmore Estate's Azalea Garden - photo by Robert Bowles of www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Spectacular Azalea Colors at Biltmore Estate's Azalea Garden - photo by Robert Bowles of www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

     

     

    Ginny adores wandering the acres of pathways of the Biltmore Estate's Azalea Gardens.  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Ginny adores wandering the acres of pathways of the Biltmore Estate's Azalea Gardens. www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    While hiking the Mountain-to-Sea Trail earlier in the week, Stephanie and I noticed some beautiful orange flowering trees, and wondered what they were.  Imagine my delight upon arriving at our Mountain Laurel Lodge to see the exact same flowering tree in our own backyard!  I believe they are Flame Azalea (rhododendron calendulaceum) or Florida Azalea (Rhododendron austrinum).   There are several other shrubs and bushes that have already shown their spring flowers, and we’ve yet to identify them with certainty, although we are pretty certain the following are also in the Rhododendron and Azalea species. Perhaps someone reading this may have an answer.

    While hiking the Mountain-to-Sea Trail earlier in the week, Stephanie and I noticed some beautiful orange flowering trees, and wondered what they were. Imagine my delight upon arriving at our Mountain Laurel Lodge to see the exact same flowering tree in our own backyard! I believe they are Flame Azalea (rhododendron calendulaceum) or Florida Azalea (Rhododendron austrinum). There are several other shrubs and bushes that have already shown their spring flowers, and we’ve yet to identify them with certainty, although we are pretty certain the following are also in the Rhododendron and Azalea species. Perhaps someone reading this may have an answer.

    Our latest vacation rental home acquisition, the Mountain Laurel Lodge, has as its back yard a mountain side rising up to a peak, almost entirely covered in Mountain Laurels, Rhododendrons, Dogwoods, and other trees and shrubs unidentified or perhaps unseen by us so far.  We can’t wait for the surprises in store for us, especially when the huge number of Mountain Laurels and Rhododendrons open up for their private spring decoration show.  There is still time to rent the home for your vacation to witness the show for yourself!  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Our latest vacation rental home acquisition, the Mountain Laurel Lodge, has as its back yard a mountain side rising up to a peak, almost entirely covered in Mountain Laurels, Rhododendrons, Dogwoods, and other trees and shrubs unidentified or perhaps unseen by us so far. We can’t wait for the surprises in store for us, especially when the huge number of Mountain Laurels and Rhododendrons open up for their private spring decoration show. There is still time to rent the home for your vacation to witness the show for yourself! www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Photos and text by Robert A Bowles,  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com, 828-274-9777.  While visiting the Biltmore Estate, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Smoky Mountains, please call us to reserve one of our luxurious vacation rental cottages, chalets and lodges.  You deserve to be spoiled!

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  • Oct
    18

    Asheville & Hendersonville NC is famous for many things, and in the Fall, a main attraction is the “Changing of the Leaves.”  The Blue Ridge Parkway gives “leaf peepers” a show throughout the entire Fall season.  The leaves begin changing to awesome colors at the higher elevations first and then sweep down the mountains as the days and weeks pass.  This year (2009) at the end of September and early October, the colorful leaf pallets began at Mount Mitchell (over 6500 feet) and at Mount Pisgah (over 5500 feet).  The truly spectacular colors have now begun spreading down the mountains towards Asheville & Hendersonville, and as of October 16, 2009, they are just beginning their transformation into breathtaking huge splashes of colors at these lower elevations.  As you can see in the photos, the forests surrounding the Biltmore Estate are just beginning to brighten. 

    Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC as seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway in mid-October 2009.  Fall colors are just beginning to show.  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC as seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway in mid-October 2009. Fall colors are just beginning to show. www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

     

    You still have time to come experience it for yourself.  One of the best ways to really “feel” the changing of the leaves is to hike one of our many trails.  You can witness the changing forests as you walk through the fallen leaves underfoot, see the sun dancing through the leaves above, and see them drop and swirl around you.  It is a simple, heart-felt joy to be here at this time of the year!  You are invited to stay at our luxury vacation rental homes where you will be spoiled with fabulous amenities including hot tubs, massage chairs, king beds, gas log fireplaces, beautiful settings, gorgeous furnishings and so much more!  Purchase your Biltmore Estate tickets from us and enjoy two full days at the Biltmore for the price of a one day admission ticket!  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com  Contact us at 828-274-9777 or email us at joyah@aol.com. 

    Here's a view from the Blue Ridge Parkway taken in mid-October 2009 of downtown Asheville, with the Biltmore Estate Sheep Barn in the foreground. www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Here's a view from the Blue Ridge Parkway taken in mid-October 2009 of downtown Asheville, with the Biltmore Estate Sheep Barn in the foreground. www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

     
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  • Apr
    10

    In the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountain Range, you’ll find MOUNT PISGAH standing at 5,721 feet.  It is easily accessed from the Blue Ridge Parkway (milepost 407) about 15 miles southwest of Asheville NC.  Mt. Pisgah is easily spotted from many miles away by the identifying 339 foot TV tower perched at its peak.  In fact, it is the highest TV antenna east of the Mississippi at 6,023 feet above sea level.

     

    At the site of Mt Pisgah is an Inn, Gift Shop & the fabulous Pisgah Inn Restaurant with floor to ceiling windows offering spectacular long range views and the food served is excellent!  You can hike the 1.6 mile trail up to the peak for awesome views (moderate difficulty and steep toward the top) and we would suggest NOT hiking during a lightning storm!  At the Mt. Pisgah parking area you’ll also find the Buck Spring Trail leading to the historic exhibit of the stone remains of the George Vanderbilt Hunting Lodge which was quite popular with his Biltmore Estate guests. 

     

    We highly recommend taking a leisurely drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville.  Pull off at the various look-outs along the way to enjoy the awesome views and maybe take a stroll along one of the many hiking trails, then head on to the Mt. Pisgah Restaurant to indulge in a delicious meal or dessert.

     

    Reviewed by Stephanie Joy Johnson of Asheville’s luxury vacation cabins, chalets, cottages and homes:  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com  YOU DESERVE TO BE SPOILED and you will be outrageously spoiled at our vacation rental homes by our awesome amenities!!! Buy your discounted BILTMORE HOUSE TICKETS from us…save money, no waiting in line and tickets are good for TWO CONSECUTIVE DAYS instead of just one!  828-274-9777  Email: Joyah@aol.com

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  • Apr
    9

    Awesome panoramic views from Mount Mitchell

    Awesome panoramic views from Mount Mitchell

     

    A beautifully scenic 50 minute drive northeast from Asheville NC on the Blue Ridge Parkway will take you to the 1855 acre MOUNT MITCHELL NC STATE PARK, which at 6684 feet is the highest point east of the Mississippi!  Once there, stroll around the 1385 SF visitor exhibit area full of interesting information on the unique flora and fauna found at this altitude. Take the short hike (1/4 mile) to see breath-taking vistas from the Observation Deck lookout.  Explore the variety of nature paths and hiking trails….the highest hiking trails in North Carolina.

     

    Since you are a bit far from civilization, be reassured that there is a pleasant restaurant on the grounds where you can enjoy a meal while you watch the awesome views from the huge picture windows.  Remember to bring a jacket since even during the summer it can be chilly at this altitude.

     

    Ø  Admission:  is FREE and open year round (except Christmas). 

    Ø  Hours:  Park opens at 8 AM year round and closes at 6 PM Nov – Feb, 7 PM March & October, 8 PM April & September, and 9 PM May – August.  Be aware that with winter snow conditions, the Blue Ridge Parkway is often closed and you’ll need to call the park to check which roads are open.

    Ø  Phone:  828-675-4611.

    Ø  Website:  http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/momi/main.php

    Ø  Email:  mount.mitchell@ncmail.net

     

    Reviewed by Stephanie Joy Johnson of Asheville’s luxury vacation cabins, chalets, cottages and homes:  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com  YOU DESERVE TO BE SPOILED and you will be outrageously spoiled at our vacation rental homes by our awesome amenities!!! Buy your discounted BILTMORE HOUSE TICKETS from us…save money, no waiting in line and tickets are good for TWO CONSECUTIVE DAYS instead of just one!  828-274-9777  Email: Joyah@aol.com

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  • Apr
    2

    Carl Sandburg, known as the Poet of the People,” moved his family to North Carolina in 1945. Today the picturesque Sandburg “Connemara” 264 acre farm estate in Flat Rock, NC is now open year-round to the public with 5 miles of hiking trails (moderate to steep), beautiful gardens and meadows where Mrs. Sandburg raised her championship dairy goats.  It was during his 22 years here that Carl Sandburg wrote and published more than one-third of his works….poetry, biographies, newspaper articles, American fairytales….championing the spirit of the American people….even winning two Pulitzer Prizes.    

    Managed by the National Park Service to preserve the Sandburg legacy, there is NO park entrance fee and it is FREE to wander the beautiful grounds with lakes & ponds, trails and barn.  There is a small charge for the guided house tour ($5 Adults, $3 Seniors & Children 15 & under are FREE – checks & cash only).

    Open Daily: 9 AM to 5 PM.  Closed Christmas day.    

    Location:  81 Carl Sandburg Lane, Flat Rock NC 28731.  The park is located three miles south of Hendersonville, NC on Little River Road off of the Greenville Highway/Rt. 225 in Flat Rock, NC. 

    Directions:  From Interstate 26 take exit 53:  from I-26 east, turn right onto Upward Road OR from I-26 west, turn left onto Upward Road. At intersection with light (176/Spartanburg Hwy) continue straight. Upward Road turns into Highland Lake Road. At the light past the golf course, turn left onto Hwy 225/Greenville Hwy south. At next light take a right onto Little River Road. Visitor parking on left.

    Visitor Information:  828-693-4179

    Website: www.nps.gov/carl/

    While visiting our Hendersonville and Asheville areas, you are invited to stay at one of our deliciously luxurious vacation rental homes complete with hot tub, massage chairs, king beds with sumptuous bedding, delightful surroundings and so much more!  BILTMORE HOUSE TICKETS:  We are authorized Biltmore Estate ticket distributors.  Buy your DISCOUNTED Biltmore tickets from us to save on gate entry price, avoid waiting in ticket lines, tickets upgradeable to season passes, free wine tasting tickets  and best of all, tickets are good for TWO CONSECUTIVE DAYS instead of just one day at their higher one day price!  Contact us at 828-274-9777 or email us at Joyah@aol.com or see our website at www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com  

     

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  • Mar
    30

    Established during the Great Depression as a conventional zoo with exotic animals such as elephants, monkeys & lions, the 42 acre WNC Nature Center owned by the City of Asheville NC was re-opened in 1977 to exclusively showcase the native Southern Appalachian wildlife and their habitats.  Voted “the Best Place to take Kids in Western North Carolina,” it is a fabulous place for kids (and adults!) to learn in a fun & entertaining environment.  The Nature Center has cougars, bobcats, wolves, foxes, bears, deer, raccoons, snakes, snapping turtles, otters, birds, fish and other many other species native to our Appalachian mountain region.  It’s beautiful to wander the hilly terrain nature paths to see all the animals in their spacious natural habitat enclosures (not cages!).  There is a delightful petting zoo at the farm educational center for the kids as well.  Go often to see the ever changing seasonal special exhibits.

    As stated on their website:  “The WNC Nature Center is a living museum of plants and animals native to the Appalachian region. Our purpose is to increase public awareness and understanding of all aspects of the natural environment of Western North Carolina through hands-on and sensory experiences.  One of our primary objectives here at the WNC Nature Center is to provide both children and adults with the opportunity to interact with and learn more about animals and plants in our environment, thereby increasing their appreciation and understanding of nature.

    Open 7 days a week year-round, except for major holidays, from 10 AM to 5 PM.  There is a nominal admission charge.  Children under the age of 16 must be accompanies by an adult. 

    Location: 75 Gashes Creek Rd, Asheville, NC 28805  (828) 298-5600   DIRECTIONS:
    From Interstate 40, take exit 53B to Interstate 240.  Take exit #8.  At the light take a right.  At the bottom of the hill, take a right onto Swannanoa River Road.  Then right on Gashes Creek Road.  Look for the WNC Nature Center signs along the way.

    WNC Nature Center’s Website:  www.wildwnc.org/   

    Reviewed by Stephanie Joy Johnson of Asheville’s luxury vacation cabins, chalets, cottages and homes:  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com  YOU DESERVE TO BE SPOILED and you will be outrageously spoiled at our vacation rental homes by our awesome amenities!!! Buy your discounted BILTMORE HOUSE TICKETS from us…save money, no waiting in line and tickets are good for TWO CONSECUTIVE DAYS instead of just one!  828-274-9777  Email: Joyah@aol.com

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  • Mar
    23

    Western North Carolina is famous for its outdoor activities including fishing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, rafting, mountain hiking, mountain bike riding, golfing and much more!  FISHING in our numerous stocked mountain streams is a year-round activity.  The PISGAH FOREST FISH HATCHERY, open to the public, is both informative and experiential.  It’s fascinating to walk beside the numerous open waterways and view the fish at various stages of development.   The N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission this year will stock more than 818,000 rainbow, brook and brown trout from March through August.  All will be above 10” in length, with about 4% exceeding 14 inches.  For more information, go to http://www.ncwildlife.org/.

    Just off the Pisgah Forest Fish Hatchery parking lot are numerous hiking trails…one of our favorites is Cat’s Gap Loop.  At the top of the trail is a huge rock face where you can rest and enjoy the awesome views including Looking Glass Rock.  At the far end of the parking lot, look for the bulletin board with trail information.  As you might guess, just down the road is the trail head for Looking Glass Rock and Looking Glass Waterfalls.  To see the Pisgah National Forest attractions, including the falls and the hatchery, go to http://ncnatural.com/NCUSFS/Pisgah/lkglass.html.

    The Pisgah Chapter of Trout Unlimited offers fly-fishing schools from time to time, and has more information regarding trout fishing in the area.  Email Mark.Coffin@bellsouth.net  for more information.  Google “Fly Fishing Asheville” for a list of the numerous fly fishing guide outfitters in Asheville.

    We hope you have a chance to enjoy fishing in our area and would love for you to stay at one of our nearby vacation rental cabins, cottages and chalets.  We promise you’ll be outrageously spoiled by all our wonderful amenities!   We are an authorized Biltmore Estate ticket distributor and can sell you discounted tickets good for 2 consecutive days instead of just 1 day at the higher gate price.  See our website for more details: www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com or call us at 828-274-9777 or email us at joyah@aol.com 

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  • Mar
    16

    For astonishing 75 mile gorgeous views in the Hickory Nut Gorge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a 404 foot waterfall and outstanding hiking trails, be sure to visit North Carolina’s 4000 acre CHIMNEY ROCK STATE PARK in Lake Lure, just 25 miles from Asheville and 20 miles from Hendersonville NC.  Privately owned for 105 years, Chimney Rock is now state-owned but privately managed to maintain the original integrity and vision of the founding Morse family. 

    • Hike a challenging trail to the top or….go through the almost 200 foot tunnel and up the amazing 26-story elevator ride through solid granite to the spectacular vistas, snack bar and gift shop at the top.  From there it is just a short walk to the famous “Chimney” rock jetting out from the cliff face.  Whether you want to hike to the 404’ Hickory Nut Falls, explore the various trails (easy to challenging) around the mountain, or just relax at the snack bar to feast on the views, there is something for everyone to enjoy! 
    • Chimney Rock Park has been the setting for such movies as “Firestarter,” “A Breed Apart” and “The Last of the Mohicans” with Daniel Day-Lewis – the famous fight scene end of the movie was filmed at the Hickory Nut Falls.  “Dirty Dancing” was filmed just down the road at Lake Lure.
    • The park is open 7 days a week and only closed for a few holidays. Go early to avoid the crowds during the summer months, wear comfortable hiking shoes and remember to carry water with you. 
    • For complete details on the Park, rules, ticket prices, hours and more go to their website at:  http://www.chimneyrockpark.com   
    • Lodging is available at www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com 

     

    Stephanie & Robert - we love to wander the various trails and waterfalls at Chimney Rock State Park near Lake Lure NC

    Stephanie & Robert - we love to wander the various trails and waterfalls at Chimney Rock State Park near Lake Lure NC

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  • Mar
    13

    Open year-round in the heart of historic Hendersonville, North Carolina is the public PATTON PARK offering 19 acres of recreational activities including an OLYMPIC-SIZE SWIMMING POOL with a kids pool (open from Memorial Day through Labor Day), tennis courts, basketball courts, racquetball courts, baseball fields, picnic areas, restrooms, kids’ playground and nature trails.  In 2008, the city of Hendersonville spent $300,000 in refurbishing the pool & surrounding area, the showers and restrooms.

     

    At the cost of $360,000, the latest addition to Patton Park due to open in April 2009 is a 20,000 SF SKATE PARK PLAZA.  It is styled to look like a downtown plaza with landscaping, trees, planter boxes, but with curbs, stairs and rails made for skateboarding and in-line skating. 

     

    Patton Park is a public park with no membership required.  Pool fees are reasonable.  It is located about a mile north of downtown Hendersonville just off Asheville Highway (Hwy 25).  Turn onto Clairmont Drive at the light signal by the First Citizens Bank (1700 Asheville Highway).  

    Phone Park Information at 828-697-3084

     

    YOU ARE INVITED TO STAY WITH US!  Patton Park is a half mile from our romantic woodlands Story Book Cottage (sleeps 4) and less than 2 miles from our 4000 SF, 5 Bedroom, 4 Bathroom, White Stone Lake Manor (sleeps 20) with its own private lake.  It’s about 4 miles from our secluded Rose Cottage (sleeps 9).  There is a wealth of things to do and see in Hendersonville NC!  We would love for you to stay with us while you explore this lovely mountain town.  All our homes are in scenic settings, with hot tubs, massage chairs, quality furnishings, central heat/air, gas log fireplaces, complete kitchens and so much more! We are authorized Biltmore Estate ticket distributor and will provide you with discounted tickets good for 2 consecutive days instead of just the one day ticket purchased at a higher price!  See our website at www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com or call us at 828-274-9777.

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  • Mar
    12

    NORTH CAROLINA DUPONT STATE FOREST FOR HIKING, BIKING, FISHING, HORSEBACK RIDING AND HUNTING

    The 10,400 acre North Carolina DuPont State Forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains between Hendersonville and Brevard NC is famous for its astounding waterfalls on the Little River and Grassy Creek including the High Falls (150′), Triple Falls (120′), Bridal Veil Falls (you can walk behind the falls) and Hooker Falls (a popular swimming hole).  This was the location for some of the waterfall scenes in the movie, The Last of the Mohicans.  In addition, the park is a leading mountain bike destination with nearly 100 miles of beautiful trails (some with challenges and many with gentle grades) used for bicycling, hiking and for horseback riding.  Enjoy fishing in the five lakes, warm water streams and cold water streams.  Hunting is allowed in specified areas during season.  No camping is allowed.  Please see their website for specific times, licenses, rules and driving directions for your desired activities:  www.dupontforest.com   

    Whatever your reason for visiting the DuPont State Forest, you will be awe-struck by the astonishing scenery of the area.  We highly recommend visiting this state forest to our vacation rental guests staying at our nearby Hendersonville and Asheville cabins, cottages, chalets and homes:  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com  Call 828-274-9777 or email Joyah@aol.com if you wish to make reservations to stay with us. 

    Photos by Stephanie Joy Johnson, www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com for luxury Asheville and Hendersonville vacation rental cabins, cottages, chalets and homes.  We are authorized Biltmore Estate ticket distributors. Buy your discounted BILTMORE HOUSE TICKETS from us…save money, no waiting in line and tickets are good for TWO CONSECUTIVE DAYS instead of just one at their higher price one day price!

    Email:  Joyah@aol.com

    Phone:  828-274-9777

    The astonishing Triple Falls in NC DuPont State Forest Photo by Stephanie Joy Johnson for www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    The astonishing Triple Falls in NC DuPont State Forest Photo by Stephanie Joy Johnson for www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    The beautiful Hooker Falls in NC DuPont State Forest - Photo by Stephanie Joy Johnson for www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    The beautiful Hooker Falls in NC DuPont State Forest - Photo by Stephanie Joy Johnson for www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Hooker Falls in NC DuPont State Forest - Photo by Stephanie Joy Johnson for www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Hooker Falls in NC DuPont State Forest - Photo by Stephanie Joy Johnson for www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

     

    The awesome High Falls in the NC DuPont State Forest

    The awesome High Falls in the NC DuPont State Forest

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