Asheville NC Vacation The Ultimate Vacation Destination
  • Feb
    14

    Restaurant Recommendation for our guests at our vacation rental homes in Asheville & Hendersonville:  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com 

     

    You would never know passing by this bright blue little building on Highway 25 (3987 Hendersonville Rd) in Fletcher (half way between Asheville and Hendersonville NC) that the some of the tastiest food around is served here!  Let the full parking lot clue you in that locals know where to find really great food!  You immediately feel welcomed in the fun and relaxed atmosphere.  Sit inside with the blue sky ceiling filled with stars and planes or in the patio out back where there’s even a full size playhouse for your kids (they also have a great kid’s menu).

     

    It’s not your ordinary fare of burgers or country food….the menu is filled with delightful food combinations that will have you coming back again and again!  We often order the “Trio Salad Plate” for a sampling of their dill chicken salad, pesto penne and hummus with pita & veggies.  Another of our favorites is their Spinach Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette & hot Grilled Chicken. There’s a selection of about 20 wonderful wraps made with sun dried tomato flour tortillas and tofu can be substituted for meats in you prefer.  Try their Blackened Chicken wrap or their Sesame Veggie wrap. They have Super-duper Sandwiches and “Bodacious Burgers” and delicious “Cosmic Chicken” choices.  Vegetarians will find a huge selection!  Of their delightful side dishes, served as part of your menu selection, their Sweet Potato Fries are the best we’ve ever, ever tasted! 

     

    The Blue Sky Café is open for lunch and dinner from 11 AM – 8 PM and is closed on Sundays.  You can also order your meals “to go.”  Their phone number is 828-684-1247.  Located at 3987 Hendersonville Road, Fletcher, NC.  The full menu is on their website at www.ILoveBlueSkyCafe.com 

     

    Reviewed by Stephanie Joy Johnson and Robert Bowles, owners of Asheville & Hendersonville luxury vacation rental cabins, chalets, cottages and homes where you deserve to be spoiled!  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com   We have Discounted Biltmore Estate tickets that are good for 2 consecutive days instead of just 1 day.  No waiting in lines!

     

    Ginny eyes her sweet potato fries....the best anywhere around! Robert & I are sharing the Spinach Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette & Grilled Chicken

    Ginny eyes her sweet potato fries....the best anywhere around! Robert & I are sharing the Spinach Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette & Grilled Chicken

    Ginny decides where to sit....always enchanted by the playful atmosphere.

    Ginny decides where to sit....always enchanted by the playful atmosphere.

    Ginny spots her favorite Blue Sky Cafe where she dines on a regular basis!

    Ginny spots her favorite Blue Sky Cafe where she dines on a regular basis!

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  • Feb
    8

     

    One of the most fun aspects of having vacation cabins, chalets and cottages in Asheville and Hendersonville NC is equipping them with the latest HDTV and wireless computer technology.  In our six Asheville vacation rental homes with televisions in every bedroom and gathering rooms, we have a total of 27 TV’s!  We have at least one HDTV in each home, and surround sound in the three largest homes, so we’ve gained lots of information on shopping for home theater components.

    We have found the perfect combination of quality and price by buying mostly over the Internet from factory refurbished outlets like www.savinglots.com, www.refurbdepot.com, www.amazon.com, and others.  We buy factory refurbished units, which arrive in factory boxes, with full manufacturer warranties.  We do buy the extended warranties in most cases since they are being used in vacation rental homes.  Our favorite supplier is Toshiba, and the best quality picture we’ve seen is the DLP Rear Projection models.  If you have room for a few inches more in depth than LCD and Plasma, you’ll find the picture out shines both, and it still weighs a third of the weight of the old style CRT tube TVs we’ve all used for years.

    The warranties come with in-home repair.  We did have one set that kept shutting down on its own after a few hours of being on.  The factory service truck came to the home it was in, and fixed it on the spot, at no charge!  We didn’t have to carry it into a big box store, we didn’t have to send it to the manufacturer, the technicians were both polite and knowledgeable, and quick.

    One big thing to make sure any HDTV you purchase has:  the ability to show a standard 4:3 ratio screen size, without stretching it out and distorting everything on the screen.  16:9 is the HDTV standard screen size, and 4:3 is the size we’ve been used to for decades.  Many broadcasts still come into our homes in the older 4:3 style.  Having the option of showing an undistorted 4:3 picture on the bigger screen will be important for your total enjoyment of your new HDTV.  The 4:3 picture is centered on the new screen, with black bars on each side blanking out the unused portion of the screen.

    A few more tips:  720p resolution is excellent from about 51 inches on down.  Above, get at least the 1080i, and if you can afford to, get the 1080p.  Most cable and satellite companies broadcast in 1080i, but Blue Ray HD does the 1080p, as will most cable and satellite companies in the future.  You can find all sorts of articles on what those numbers mean, but if you follow my advice, you’ll be happy with the results.

    Finally, what screen size should you get?  Generally choose a HDTV screen size equal to the average distance you’ll be sitting from the TV divided by 2.5.  So if you sit somewhere around 9 feet from the screen, you’ll want a 42-45” HDTV.  When in doubt, get the bigger selection.  You will not regret it!  Here’s a good explanation from Forbes.com:  http://www.forbes.com/2008/02/01/hdtv-fix-problems-tech-personal-cx_mb_0204hdtv.html

    If you are replacing a standard TV, and are satisfied with the screen size, do not simply replace it with a HDTV using the same screen size in inches.  You’ll end up with a much smaller vertical viewing dimension.   35” 4:3 older style screen needs to be replaced with a 42” HDTV 16:9 screen TV.  If you order a 35” 16:9 HDTV, you’ll be looking at a picture equal to a 29” tube TV.  Confused?  See this calculator:  http://www.cnet.com/1990-7874_1-6307377-1.html

    Written by Robert Bowles from Asheville Vacation Homes with cabins, chalets, cottages and homes in Asheville and Hendersonville, North Carolina  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com 

    52" HDTV with Surround Sound At View Chalet - www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    52" HDTV with Surround Sound At View Chalet - www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    50" HDTV & Surround Sound at Rose Cottage, Hendersonville NC - http://www.ashevillevacationhomes.com/ROSECOTTAGE.html

    50" HDTV & Surround Sound at Rose Cottage, Hendersonville NC - http://www.ashevillevacationhomes.com/ROSECOTTAGE.html

    57" HDTV with surround sound in Media Room at White Stone Lake Manor. www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    57" HDTV with surround sound in Media Room at White Stone Lake Manor. www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

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  • Feb
    6

    We highly recommend the Papas & Beer Mexican Restaurant to guests staying at our near-by Hendersonville luxury vacation rental homes (www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com). You might just drive by this restaurant on 1821 Asheville Highway and never realize that inside is the best Mexican food in Hendersonville.  You can tell by their full parking lot that local residents know this is the place!  We’ve been eating there for years and have consistently received great food and service.  My test of a good Mexican restaurant is whether I like their guacamole dip…and theirs is yummy!  My favorite entrees are their chicken burritos and the spinach enchiladas.  They have a large menu of typical and unusual Mexican dishes.  Their phone number is 828-692-9915.  Their hours are Sunday – Thursday 11 AM – 9 PM; Friday & Saturday 11AM – 10 PM.  As far as I know, they do not have a website.  You’ll just have to trust us that you won’t be disappointed when you eat at this cheerful restaurant!

     

    Reviewed by Stephanie Joy Johnson, www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com for luxury Asheville and Hendersonville vacation rental cabins, cottages, chalets and homes. Buy your discounted BILTMORE HOUSE TICKETS from us…save money, no waiting in line, free wine tasting ticket and tickets are good for TWO CONSECUTIVE DAYS instead of just one!

    You wouldn't guess from the street view that inside is the best Mexican food in Hendersonville NC!

    You wouldn't guess from the street view that inside is the best Mexican food in Hendersonville NC!

     

    Ginny reads over Robert's shoulder to decide which delicious meal she will order

    Ginny reads over Robert's shoulder to decide which delicious meal she will order

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  • Feb
    5

    Our most favorite pizza in the whole wide world is served at this funky North Asheville NC restaurant & movie house that has been voted “Best Pizza In WNC” for 7 years in a row. Here you can watch $3 first run movies that are ready to leave the big screen.  Theater times are 1 PM, 4 PM, 7 PM and 10 PM.  This theater only seats 150 people, so with these prices it’s best to go way early, especially for the evening shows….better yet, buy your tickets the day before.

     

    In case you want to try our favorite highly recommended pizza, it’s the “Shear Delight” with a pesto base, portabella mushrooms, walnuts & gorgonzola cheese….be sure to request it on the poppy seed crust!  What can be better than to watch a big screen movie in comfortable chairs and eat a great meal–there’s a big selection to choose from, especially the pizza!   However, if you’re not in the mood for pizza, there is a large menu selection of unique & yummy appetizers, salads, sandwiches, quesadillas, pastas, and more!   If you want to experience their tasty food, but not quite up for a movie, they have a full restaurant and pub there as well.  Yes, a pub…I should mention this is also a micro-brewery serving 8 of their own specialty beers, from their most popular pale ale “Shiva” to the dark ales.  See ya at the movies!Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company, 675 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville  NC 28803.  828-254-1281.  Click on a picture to visit their website for more details. 

     

    Reviewed by Stephanie Joy Johnson of Asheville’s luxury vacation cabins, chalets, cottages and homes:  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com   828-274-9777.  YOU DESERVE TO BE SPOILED and you will be outrageously spoiled at our vacation rental homes!!!  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!

     

    Ginny got here plenty early to make sure she got in!  The pizza is ordered and will soon be ready!

    Ginny got here plenty early to make sure she got in! The pizza is ordered and will soon be ready!

    Funky place with the best pizza anywhere...and $3 movies!

    Funky place with the best pizza anywhere...and $3 movies!

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  • Jan
    31

    Restaurant Review:  P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Biltmore Park Town Square, 26 Schneck Parkway, Asheville NC 28803, (828) 681-2975, www.pfchangs.com

    Recommended by Stephanie Joy Johnson for our www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com guests of our vacation rental cabins, cottages and chalets.  You’ll find this restaurant just off Interstate 26, Exit 37 heading east, left at first light signal on Schenck Parkway and it’s down about a block on the left….just follow the signs. 

     

    I first noticed PF Chang’s because of the magnificent eleven foot tall horse statue at the entrance.  Newly built in Biltmore Park Town Square, this restaurant is a blend of upscale bistro with 12th century China.  Even though it was 4:00 in the afternoon mid-week, this elegant restaurant had a number of tables already filled.  As I was led to my table, I discreetly peeked at what people were eating as I passed by.  The portions looked generous and the food was colorful and well presented….I was hoping tasty as well! 

     

    I was pleased to be told that each dish is prepared to order with very fresh, quality ingredients and there is even a special gluten free menu available on request.  It was a challenge to decide what to order from the many items, but with a friend’s recommendation I made my selection.  My appetizer was a little slow in arriving so when the entry arrived before I was ready for it, my waitress immediately apologized and ordered a new entry prepared that would be fresh when it was served 10 minutes later.  Now I call that attention to freshness!  I ordered the Sweet Ginger Peach Tea (as good as it sounds), Chang’s Vegetarian Lettuce Wrap (firm iceberg lettuce shells with the very delicious filling that you roll up in the shell) and Ma Po Tofu (delicious sauce, tender flavorful tofu, and broccoli).  The generous portions were enough for two people.  The dessert tray looked tantalizing but I was way too full to order more!  Next time, I think I’ll order dessert first!  I want to try the Great Wall of Chocolate….an extremely rich slab of chocolate cake which from the size of it looks big enough to serve 4 people!  I’m definitely coming back!

    Elegant ,comfortable dining

    Elegant ,comfortable dining

    Ginny spots the attractive horse at the entrance....

    Ginny spots the attractive horse at the entrance....

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  • Jan
    30

    To our Asheville NC cabin vacation rental guests who are particular about the quality of foods you cook with and eat, I highly recommend shopping for your groceries at the beautiful new Earth Fare in South Asheville.  This is a full service grocery store and café devoted to the health conscious.  If you are gourmet cook, you’ll enjoy all the fine ingredients you can find here.  I especially appreciate that the store is well laid out and the friendly staff is extremely helpful whenever I’ve needed assistance. 

     I never thought I’d go into a grocery store just to admire how beautiful it is, but Earth Fare on Hendersonville Road changed my outlook forever (I love the floors)!  The elegant and sophisticated ambiance is a perfect setting for the vibrantly colored (and, of course, organic) fruits and vegetables, immense cheese and wine selection, countless isles (well, maybe you can count them, but this IS a large store!) of packaged foods, frozen foods, chemical-free meats, teas and coffees, bulk foods and spices, herbal remedies and supplements, chemical-free cosmetics, deli counter with delicious already prepared foods, decadent dessert counter (including the “World’s Best Carrot Cake” by our good friend Avi at www.WorldsBestCarrotCake.com) ….and not to forget the salad/hot foods bar where you can load up your plate (priced by the pound) and have it to go or eat it in their dining area.  As with all organic stores, the prices will be a bit higher than the conventional grocery store…and well worth it!

    Ginny wheels her cart to the cheese deli and huge wine selection
    Ginny wheels her cart to the cheese deli and huge wine selection

    Visit the Earth Fare website for more details: http://www.earthfare.com/storeinfo/1200/details/3111  Their address is 1856 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville, North Carolina 28803  Phone:  828-210-010

    Reviewed by Stephanie Joy Johnson of Asheville’s premier luxury vacation homes, cabins, cottages and chalets.  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com 

     

    Beautifully Presented Organic Produce, Earth Fare, Asheville NC

    Beautifully Presented Organic Produce, Earth Fare, Asheville NC

    Earth Fare on Hendersonville Road for Healthy Groceries & Cafe

    Earth Fare on Hendersonville Road for Healthy Groceries & Cafe

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  • Jan
    28

    Reviewed by Stephanie Joy Johnson, www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

     

    Recommendation to guests at our Asheville and Hendersonville NC vacation rental cabins and cottages:  If you happen to be in the town of Hendersonville, NC and would like to visit a wonderful used home furnishings store, I think you’ll be pleased with the many and varied items found at the Old Towne Market.  Thirty (30) different dealers have set up shop in the 16,000 SF building displaying an immense inventory of gorgeous furniture, lamps, rugs, decorator pillows, pottery, Fiesta dinnerware and just about anything you would put in a home.  There’s an assortment of pretty jewelry, unique gift cards, and other delights.  Most items are quality used (along with new and some antiques) but not the dusty antiques that dominate so many antique stores.  I often find here very distinctive and reasonably priced items I use in our Asheville and Hendersonville vacation rental homes.  I am often complimented on the unique items in my vacation cabins and it’s because I’ve been blessed with having such wonderful stores such as the Old Towne Market to shop. 

     

    Old Towne Market with 16,000 SF of unique used & new home furnishings

    Old Towne Market with 16,000 SF of unique used & new home furnishings

    30 Dealers offer an assortment of delightful home furnishings

    30 Dealers offer an assortment of delightful home furnishings

    Be sure to stop by when you’re in the area.  You’ll find the Old Towne Market located at 822 Locust Street, Hendersonville NC 28792, 828-693-0855.  It’s just a block parallel to Asheville Highway (Hwy 25) and a few blocks north of downtown Main Street.  Where North Main Street turns east at Five Points, Locust Street will be the first street on the right.  Go down several blocks and the building is on the left.

     

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  • Jan
    26

    Wearable Art Store is highly recommended to our Asheville & Hendersonville NC vacation cabin rental guests.  It will make you smile!  “Mona! The Cottages”, 308 Davis St, Hendersonville, North Carolina 28739, (828) 693-1611, www.monapaints.com, Open 11 AM to 5 PM Tues – Sat. 

    Darling Mona! Cottage in Hendersonville, North Carolina

    Darling Mona! Cottage in Hendersonville, North Carolina

     Kooky, Funky, Fun, Unexpected are the words that some to mind when I first visited Mona! wearable art (and more) store.  As soon as you see the cheerful wildly painted exterior of Mona’s Cottages, not to mention the brightly painted vintage car outside, you’ll know the whimsical, colorful and eccentric treasures that await you inside!  Everything you can wear on your body…clothes, jewelry, shoes, handbags, accessories….is full of bright color and whimsy.  What you find here is original wearable art….I mean VERY original art! Bring home one-of-a-kind gifts or indulge in something totally unique for yourself!

    One of the cheerful rooms in the cottage

    One of the cheerful rooms in the cottage

     Mona, creating another master piece in a small area at the back of the store, greeted us with an offer of fresh popcorn and chatted away about her creative work.  She pointed out the unusual sweaters she stylishly created from recycled clothing.  There is a huge wall of distinctive hand-painted shoes and more wearable art that can be seen in one stroll around the cottage. 

    So, wander around again from room to room to take it all in!   You might call ahead for directions or check a map.  Although the cottages are close to downtown, they are in a vintage neighborhood a few blocks back from Hwy 25 at the south edge of downtown Hendersonville…just past the Fresh Market.  It’s worth finding this out-of-the-way treasure.  It will make you smile!

     

    Reviewed by Stephanie Joy Johnson from www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com where you will be deliciously spoiled with all the luxurious amenities at our cabins, cottages, chalets and homes. 

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  • Jan
    26

    We have successfully designed vacation cabins and cottages in Asheville, Fletcher and Hendersonville, North Carolina that are extremely child friendly and we would love to share our ideas on how to set up one of your own.  There is nothing more exciting to children on vacation than to be in a home with areas especially designed for their pleasure!  And it’s a big bonus to parents for their children to be thoroughly entertained during their week stay at one of our kid friendly homes. 

     

            playnation-toward-lake-9-08-0251 

    We find our one and two bedroom homes are primarily rented by couples for romantic getaways and honeymoons with less call for children’s needs.  In these homes we supply the basic Pack N Play, small stroller, high chair, toy box and soft blankies.  It is the 3+ bedroom homes rented by families with children that we refer to in this article.

     

    We love to be excessive…and impressive…in what we offer our guests!  With so many vacation homes from which to choose, we endeavor to offer the most and the best so potential guests will select one of our vacation rental homes for their stay.  With that said, here is an idea of how we attract guests with children to our Asheville vacation rental homes:

     

    OUTDOOR PLAY GROUND EQUIPMENT:

    We purchase the Playnation brand Premium Wooden Play Systems.  They are well-built, heavy & strong for years of constant use.  The largest system is at our White Stone Lake Manor, a 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom, 4000 square foot home on several acres with a private lake.  Family reunions are often held here usually with 5 or 6 children.  This playground has a covered fort (kids love to sleep there in the sleeping bags we provide), 3 swings including a toddler swing, 2 slides (one is an enclosed spiral), climbing rope wall, tire swing, clatter bridge and picnic table.  We place benches nearby for the parents to comfortably supervise their kids. We also provide kid size crash helmets.  This elaborate Playnation system costs about $6000 and the smaller systems at our other homes are closer to $2000. 

     

     

    INDOOR PLAY ROOMS:

    These cheerful rooms are devoted to a child’s fantasy & imagination….murals, bright colors, as many exceptionally soft stuffed animals that will fit (which is several hundred at our largest home), and, if it will fit, a walk-in play house (these we purchase at Toys R Us – about $400 – $500).  The playrooms, filled with children’s toys, games, books, & soft blankies, provide countless hours of play for the kids.  We also have a variety of kid movies they can watch on our TV/DVD/VHS throughout the home.

     

    Colorful Kids Play Area at the Rose Cottage

    Colorful Kids Play Area at the Rose Cottage

     

    Note:  We suggest that you do NOT provide crayons, marker pens or paints.  Clean up after children is a major housekeeping chore when guests leave but crayons marked on walls is something you do not want to encourage.  It’s also good to avoid putting breakable decor in the home. 

     

    BABIES:

    It is a great relief for parents traveling with small infants (who seem to require a great deal of special paraphernalia) to find our homes equipped with a full size crib with bumper pad & bedding, high chair, stroller, infant bath tub, playpen, child gates, etc.  Although used for the entire household, another necessity with babies and children are a full size washer and dryer! 

     

    CHILDREN:

    In addition to the playroom and outdoor equipment, children appreciate chairs and picnic tables especially their size.  Parents also appreciate the colorful kids tableware for their children….plastic plates, cups (including sip cups) and silverware.  We provide quick inflate/deflate twin air beds since you never know where kids want to sleep.  We have plenty of twin bedding as well as children’s sleeping bags. 

     

    BIGGER KIDS:

    Teens and adults like the Play Station game player with games, foosball table, badmitten, croquet, board games, etc.  If you have plenty of spare room in your home, consider putting in a pool table.  And, everyone loves a huge big screen television!

     

    WHAT TO CHARGE:

    Cleaning is much more extensive and expensive that with only adults.  We find fingerprints in all the glass doors & windows, toys & game pieces hidden in the oddest places, baby spit-up just about anywhere that one needs to be a detective to find!  We also have a large investment in what we provide for children.  So, we consider children and infants as full fledged guests and charge accordingly. 

     

    CLICK HERE TO SEE EXAMPLES OF OUR CHILD FRENDLY HOMES:

    www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

     

    Stephanie Joy Johnson

    828-274-9777

    www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    You’ll be outrageously spoiled staying at our luxury vacation homes.

    Cribs are greatly appreciated by traveling parents!

    Cribs are greatly appreciated by traveling parents!

    Playroom with walk in Play House at the White Stone Lake Manor

    Playroom with walk in Play House at the White Stone Lake Manor

    Playroom with Play House & Jungle Mural at the View Chalet, Asheville NC

    Playroom with Play House & Jungle Mural at the View Chalet, Asheville NC

    Kids Play Ground at Rose Cottage

    Kids Play Ground at Rose Cottage

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  • Jan
    26

     

    Genny spots the Cinebarre

    Genny spots the Cinebarre

    Review by Stephanie Joy Johnson & Robert A Bowles for our Asheville Vacation Home guests and visitors: www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    We live to eat yummy food AND watch $3 movies (and $1 on Sundays with a great Sunday Brunch menu served for movies starting no later than 2 PM).  We were thrilled when the Cinebarre Movie Theater Restaurant came to Asheville, NC meeting both these necessities of our lives!  How convenient (and a bit decadent) to have your theater usher take your food order at your seat and bring it to you while you watch your movie.  The seats are quite comfortable and there’s plenty of table room in front of you to spread out the goodies you’ve ordered. 

    I must confess that the whipped cream topped creamy coffee milkshakes (for Robert) and the mint chocolate milkshakes (for me) along with the fresh baked Braveheart 10” pizza (spinach, 4 cheese blend, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, roasted garlic, goat cheese & olive oil) & the Body Snatchers (crispy potato skins with peppered bacon, melted cheddar cheese and chives) has us looking what recent movies are showing at this theater so we can go just for the tasty food.  For the two of us, it ends up being about $30 dollars for this outing. 

    Beer and wines as well as a varied food menu are available to order before and during the first-run movies.   See their menu on line to get an idea of what is offered. The Cinebarre is located in Asheville at the back of the Biltmore Square Mall just off I-26 exit 33.  Click on a photo for their Website:  Phone: 828.665.8661  

    Ginny waits for the movie to start and for the food to arrive!

    Ginny waits for the movie to start and for the food to arrive!

    You might also want to check on line with the theater’s policies regarding children.  Children under 6 are not allowed except for “Scream Tuesdays” when the first showing allows parents to bring their young ones (for free).  It’s fun, it’s tasty and we recommend it to local residents as well as our Asheville NC visitors staying at our luxury Asheville and Hendersonville vacation rental homes:  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com 

    See ya at the movies!

     

     

     

     

     

     

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