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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  • Nov
    13

    For local snow entertainment opening on December 18th, you’ve got to experience the Moonshine Mountain Snow Tubing Park in Hendersonville NC considered to be the best snow tubing in Western North Carolina with 500 feet of fun!  First opened in 2002, this is the only snow tubing park in the southeast that allows tubing “trains” where you hold hands and ankles to go down the slope as a group with as many as 20 people!  New this year is their Pit Boss BBQ Picnic area that promises delectable award-winning BBQ pulled pork, hotdogs, hamburgers, and more! Be sure to ask about their scenic helicopter rides! 

     

    Follow their safety guidelines (they have a great safety record) and it is fun for the whole family.  There are extended hours for holiday weeks including being open on Christmas Day and New Years Day and weekends in January and February 2010.  See their website for open days, hours, pricing, BBQ menu and their safety rules. 

     

    Address:  5865 Willow Road, Hendersonville, N.C. 28739
    Phone: (828) 696-0333;  Toll Free: (800) 849-7553

    Website:  www.MoonshineMountain.com

    Directions – just 5 miles SW of Hendersonville: 

    Ø  From Asheville or Hendersonville, take Interstate 26:

    Ø  Take exit 49B toward Hendersonville on Hwy 64 W = Four Seasons Hwy. 

    Ø  Go about 2 miles.  1 block past N Main Street, turn left on N Church Street (one way street). 

    Ø  Once you are on N Church St., stay in the right lane and in half a mile take the “right turn only” lane at the light signal and turn right on Kanuga Rd.

    Ø  Follow Kanuga Rd out of town about 3 miles to Exxon Station.

    Ø  Take a right at the light onto Price Road

    Ø  At the second stop sign, turn left onto Willow Road

    Ø  Go 3 miles and Moonshine Mountain Park will be on the left (#5865)

     

    Wow!  In our local Hendersonville NC, you can snow tube down the mountain....either by your self and in a "train" as pictured here. This is one of the many exciting photos to be found on the Moonshine Mountain website:  www.MoonshineMountain.com

    Wow! In our local Hendersonville NC, you can snow tube down the mountain....either by your self and in a "train" as pictured here. This is one of the many exciting photos to be found on the Moonshine Mountain website: www.MoonshineMountain.com

    Article by Stephanie Joy Johnson for www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com offering luxury vacation rental homes in Hendersonville, Fletcher and Asheville NC.  We promise to spoil you with awesome amenities including hot tubs, massage chairs, king beds, gas log fireplaces, high speed wireless Internet, sumptuous linens, top quality funishings and so much more!  Our motto is “YOU DESERVE TO BE SPOILED!” See our website for 100’s of photos of our homes: www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com  Call or email us:  828-274-9777 or joyah@aol.com

     

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  • Nov
    4

    A delightful new way to discover the Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC is by riding an all-terrain personal Segway through the many Biltmore trails past the lagoon, river, scenic hills and ridges of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Our guests who have taken this two-hour guided tour had “fun, fun, fun!!!”  Rides are from 11 AM to 3 PM daily.

    Our vacation rental guests rave about how much they enjoyed taking the two hour guided Segway tour of the Biltmore Estate.  What fun!  Photo by www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Our vacation rental guests rave about how much they enjoyed taking the two hour guided Segway tour of the Biltmore Estate. What fun! Photo by www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

     

    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!!! BILTMORE HOUSE TICKETS:  Purchase your tickets from us and enjoy two days at Biltmore for the price of a one day admission ticket!  With advance tickets you can  avoid waiting in ticket lines, tickets upgradeable to season passes, free wine tasting tickets, and best of all, tickets are good for TWO FULL CONSECUTIVE DAYS! Our tickets also allow extended gate access entry up until 6 PM instead of the usual 4 PM.  Tickets are good everyday of the week throughout the year.  Even if you don’t stay with us, you can still buy the tickets.  828-274-9777  Email: Joyah@aol.com

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  • Oct
    24

    When visitors first begin their walk from the parking area toward all the wonders of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC, it is a delightful surprise to come across the small temple with the famous statue of goddess Diana, daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin sister of Apollo.  From the hillside overlooking the entrance to the Biltmore House and the Blue Ridge Mountains, she is a faithful guardian of all she surveys.  As the protector of wild animals, she is a perfect sentinel of the area’s large deer population.  Carved out of Carrarra marble by Italian artist H Whinery Oppice in the 1970’s, the statue replaces the original carving.

    Goddess Diana and her faithful dog overlook & protect the famous Biltmore House (seen in the distance).  Photo by www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Goddess Diana and her faithful dog overlook & protect the famous Biltmore House (seen in the distance). Photo by www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

     

    Wonderful News!  Just added this summer (2009) behind the glorious Diana statue in a secluded hemlock grove, there are now full guest facilities called “Diana at Biltmore” offering a very private, exclusive setting to hold special events.  What fabulous place with spectacular views for a wedding!

    Ginny gazes at the temple of the elegant Diana, protector of wild animals...including giraffes?...and wants to get a closer look. Photo by www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Ginny gazes at the temple of the elegant Diana, protector of wild animals...including giraffes?...and wants to get a closer look. Photo by www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Ginny, after a short visit with Diana, adds her giraffish charm to the photo!  Behind both ladies is the new Diana venue for special events.  Photo by www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Ginny, after a short visit with Diana, adds her giraffish charm to the photo! Behind both ladies is the new Diana venue for special events. Photo by www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

     

    When you are in the area visiting the Biltmore Estate, you are invited to stay in luxurious accommodations at our vacation rental homes:  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.  .comPurchase your Biltmore Estate tickets from us and enjoy two days at Biltmore for the price of a one day admission ticket!  We will have them waiting in the home when you arrive.  828-274-9777 or email:  Joyah@aol.com    

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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
    15

    The BROADMOOR GOLF LINKS golf course is situated in the picturesque French Broad Valley River Basin of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It is a certified Audubon Society golf course with an award winning 18-hole Par 72 golf course known for its bent grass greens, practice facility and clubhouse.  Designed by Karl Litten in 1993, the course is flat with no houses and no out of bounds and is strikingly beautiful with the many ponds, streams, views and abundant wildlife. 

     

    This upscale golf course looks very exclusive but it is open to the public and at very reasonable rates.  Book their gorgeous clubhouse with large dining area, grill room, bar and meeting rooms for weddings, family gatherings, seminars, etc.  Please see their website for full course details. 

     

    Ø  ADDRESS:  101 French Broad Lane, Fletcher NC  28732  

    Ø  DIRECTIONS:  Just off Interstate 26 Exit 40 near the Asheville Airport and the WNC Agricultural center. 

    Ø  PHONE:  828-687-1500  or toll free:  1-866-578-5847

    Ø  GOLF COURSE WEBSITE:  http://www.broadmoorlinks.com

    Ø  THE ORCHARDS WEBSITE:  www.theorchardatbroadmoor.com

    Reviewed by Stephanie Joy Johnson of Asheville Vacation Luxury Rental Homes.  Stay at our Joy Chalet and our Dream Chalet just 1 mile away!  See our website at www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com   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
    15

    Experience what prospecting may have been like in the 1800’s. The whole family will have a fun (and educational) time prospecting for gems prominently found in the mountains of North Carolina….rubies, emeralds, sapphires, quartz crystals, citrine, amethyst, garnets and more!  Only 5 minutes from downtown Hendersonville and about 30 minutes from Asheville NC, you’ll find the ELIJAH MOUNTAIN GEM MINE.  The flumes are covered to provide protection from the rain or hot sun.  Choose the size bucket and type of gems you wish to mine for….prices range from $9 for 1 gallon of dirt all the way up to $125 for a family size “whopper” 15 gallons worth of dirt….not just ordinary dirt, but dirt that holds the promise of gems!  Their website claims that valuable gems are found every day.  Visit the 3000 SF antique and collectable shop.  Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy eating by the creek. 

     

    Website:  www.elijahmountain.com

    Location: 2120 Brevard Road, Hendersonville, NC 28739
    Directions: 

         From downtown Hendersonville: go West on Highway 64 about 2.5 miles.

         From Asheville: I-26 E to Exit 49B. Go 5 miles on Hwy 64 West. 

         Mine is on the left.  Look for signs

    Hours:  11 AM to 4 PM Daily

    Phone:  828-693-3123

    Where to stay:  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com  has delightful cottages and large homes in Hendersonville and nearby Fletcher. 

     

    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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