Asheville NC Vacation The Ultimate Vacation Destination
  • Oct
    26

    Western North Carolina offers the best of many birding environments:  high mountain peaks, wetlands, forests, rivers, meadows, lakes, ponds, brush and much more.  Our area also has a bird friendly attitude, both in our federal and state parks, as well as our official and unofficial bird sanctuaries.  Bird feeders, bird houses and birding supply stores are seen everywhere in Asheville & Hendersonville NC. Food is plentiful here for the bird population, and the numerous protected areas bring us a huge array of bird species from the largest to the smallest.  From the American Bald Eagle to the hummingbirds, both usual and unusual sightings entertain us daily.

    This falcon is a regular fisher at our White Stone Lake Manor vacation rental home in Hendersonville NC which has its own private wildlife lake sanctuary.  I took this picture from inside the vacation home, and using the actual measurement of our swing set he is perched on, he measures 20” from head to tail.

    This falcon is a regular fisher at our White Stone Lake Manor vacation rental home in Hendersonville NC which has its own private wildlife lake sanctuary. I took this picture from inside the vacation home, and using the actual measurement of our swing set he is perched on, he measures 20” from head to tail.

    From another HD movie I took from inside the home, as he turned, a wind gust came up, offering me this display.  Note his talons!

    From another HD movie I took from inside the home, as he turned, a wind gust came up, offering me this display. Note his talons!

    We invite you to stay at our White Stone Lake Manor vacation home in the mountains of Western North Carolia and experience the abundance of wildlife that gathers at our small wildlife lake….blue herons, falcons, kingfishers, hummingbirds, hawks, turkey buzzards, owls, pileated woodpeckers, robins, cardinals, yellow tufted titmouses, and numerous others.  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com  828-274-9777 or email us at joyah@aol.com 

         

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  • May
    27

    White Squirrel is plays in the tree at the Story Book Cottage romantic vacation rental home in Hendersonville NC.

    White Squirrel is plays in the tree at the Story Book Cottage romantic vacation rental home in Hendersonville NC.

    White squirrels roam an area in North Carolina near Asheville in the towns of Hendersonville and Brevard.  The area starts around Cashiers and continues through Brevard to Hendersonville, and beyond, about a 60 mile stretch.  Locals say the squirrels came to Brevard from Hawaii, via Florida.  In 1949 an overturned carnival truck in Florida eventually resulted in the beginnings of the white squirrel population here in Henderson and Transylvania Counties.  Read details at http://www.whitesquirrelinstitute.whitesquirrelfestival.com/ and http://whitesquirrels.com/cart/

     

    Our now famous white squirrels actually belong to the Eastern Gray Squirrel family.  They are not albino, their coats are naturally white and their eye color is dark like gray squirrels.   Most have a dark patch on the head that leads down their backs in a thin dark line. 

     

    Although most white squirrels have some gray markings, this white squirrel is entirely white!  Photo was taken at the Rose Cottage vacation rental home sitting on the lawn of the volleyball play area.

    Although most white squirrels have some gray markings, this white squirrel is entirely white! Photo was taken at the Rose Cottage vacation rental home sitting on the lawn of the volleyball play area.

    It is quite entertaining to watch them.  They play, eat and climb with their gray squirrel families, yet their every movement is magnified so much that no matter how many of their gray cousins are with them, all you see is the white one(s).  They are a delight to watch, you must come see!  My explanations and descriptions cannot match the actually visual treat in store for you. 

     

    A frequent visitor at the Rose Cottage vacation rental home in Hendersonville NC, this white squirrel has found the children's fort/swing/slide playground a fun place to hang out!

    A frequent visitor at the Rose Cottage vacation rental home in Hendersonville NC, this white squirrel has found the children's fort/swing/slide playground a fun place to hang out!

     

     

    Our guests at the White Stone Lake Manor in Hendersonville NC are delighted when they spot our resident white squirrel that visits our private lake.

    Our guests at the White Stone Lake Manor in Hendersonville NC are delighted when they spot our resident white squirrel that visits our private lake.

    Photos and article by Robert Bowles  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com  Come see the white squirrels while you stay at one of our cottage, chalet, cabin & home vacation rentals.  Call us at 828-274-9777 or email us at www.Joyah@aol.com for your reservations. 

     

     

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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
    7
    Ginny takes a break on her winter hike on the Blue Ridge Parkway overlooking the French Broad River in Asheville NC.  During the summer months the scenery will be lush and wildlife abundant!

    Ginny takes a break on her winter hike on the Blue Ridge Parkway overlooking the French Broad River in Asheville NC. During the summer months the scenery will be lush and wildlife abundant!

    The stunningly beautiful FRENCH BROAD RIVER flows through the heart of Asheville, North Carolina as well as the picturesque Biltmore Estate.  You can see why this free-flowing wide river attracted the establishment of such a unique mountain city on its banks.  Today it provides fabulous recreation including fishing (small mouth bass & catfish), rafting, kayaking, canoeing or just the pleasure of watching the amazing river as it flows by.  It is only one of two rivers that flows toward the north in the U.S. and is the third oldest river in the world.  Beginning at Rosman NC, it flows 210 miles northwest through the Appalachian Mountains into the Tennessee River, then into the Mississippi River and on to the Gulf of Mexico.  Take a gentle ride or experience a rapids raft adventure down the French Broad River for an experience of a life time.

     

    RECREATION ON THE RIVER: 

    • Check out the local in town Asheville Outdoor Center for a gentle French Broad River trip by canoe, raft or kayak.  It’s a great way for kids and families to experience the natural beauty, wildlife and history of this mountain area. You can even see the Biltmore Estate grounds as you float through its property.  The Asheville Outdoor Center now has added mining for fossils, minerals and precious stones along the river as part of your mountain experience.  You can call them at 800-849-1970 or 828-232-1970 or go their website for more details: www.paddlewithus.com.
    • For a white water rafting adventure on the French Broad River and only 24 miles out of Asheville, check out the French Broad Rafting Expeditions with various river tours from 9 miles to 5 miles and from class I to class IV rapids.  It promises to be a memorable adventure!  They are open 7 days a week from March through October. Their number is 800-570-7238 and their website is:  www.frenchbroadrafting.com/whitewater.htm.
    • If you are visiting The Biltmore Estate, for a fee additional to entrance admission price, you can enjoy their French Broad River float trips by raft or kayak either with a guide or on your own.  Available April through October.  See below on how to buy your DISCOUNTED Biltmore Estate entry tickets.

    WHERE TO STAY:  You are invited to stay at our luxurious Asheville vacation rental cabins, cottages and chalets while in the area.  Visit our website at www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com for your choice of a quality home with all the amenities to pamper you….hot tubs, massage chairs, king beds & sumptuous bedding, beautiful settings, high speed wireless Internet, gas log fireplaces and so much more!  Call us at 828-274-9777 for your reservation.

     

    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!  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
    2

    Known as “America’s Favorite Drive,” the scenic 469 mile long BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY winds through the spectacularly beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains (part of the Appalachian Mountain chain).  Starting at the Shenandoah National Park, Virginia and ending in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway runs directly through the mountain city of Asheville NC.  Be sure to stay in or near Asheville (www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com) to explore the wonders of this amazing Blue Ridge Parkway National Park.  Throughout the length of the Parkway, you’ll find many pull out areas and marked hiking trails.  Visit the many waterfalls, visitor centers, picnic areas, panoramic vista overlooks, Mount Mitchell, Mount Pisgah, the Pisgah National Forest, Folk Art Center, and so much more! 

     

    While in the Asheville area, we suggest exploring from Mile Post (MP) 350 to 412 (Smaller numbers are to the north and larger numbers head south):

    • MP 350:  MOUNT MITCHELL (about 30 minutes north of Asheville) the highest point East of the Mississippi at 6684 feet and the Mount Mitchell State Park with nature trails, museum, campground, restaurant and awesome views from the look out tower and restaurant.
    • MP 364:  CRAGGY DOME view with an elevation of 5640′ and the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center (MP 364.6)  During June and July you’ll witness the awesome blooms of the rhododendron, mountain laurel, azaleas and other wildflowers.
    • MP 382:  FOLK ART CENTER VISITOR CENTER  More than just a visitor center, this is one of our favorite places to shop for unique gifts by the Southern Highlands Handicraft Guild!  The beautiful building houses wonderful exhibits, artwork, jewelry and crafts for sale. Also housed are a library and auditorium for informative presentations, and of course, visitor information.  
    • MP 407: MOUNT PISGAH (about 30 miles south of Asheville) at 5721.’  Once a part of the Biltmore Estate, there is a winding trail from off the Pisgah parking lot that leads to the top with fabulous vistas.  There is also a motel and quality restaurant with floor to ceiling picture windows with out-of-the-world views!   
    • MP 412:  View of COLD MOUNTAIN  at 4542’ made famous by the best-seller book and movie with the same name. 

     

    BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY DETAILS SUMMARY:

    • Length of Road:  469.1 miles Virginia to North Carolina
    • Speed Limit: 45 MPH unless posted slower
    • No Entrance Fee – This is a FREE park
    • Winter Months:  The road is not maintained during the winter so winter conditions may force some closures.  Note: through the city of Asheville, the Parkway is usually open except during snow or ice conditions. 
    • Construction:  Begun during the Depression in 1935 as a public works, the Parkway was completed in 1987 at Grand Father Mountain.
    • Websites: 

    Great for Mile Post Views:  http://www.virtualblueridge.com/

    Blue Ridge Parkway Association:  http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/ 

    National Park Service:  http://www.nps.gov/blri/

    We invite you to visit stay at one of our luxury vacation rental cabins, cottages, chalets or homes in the Asheville and Hendersonville NC locations:  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com  or call us at 828-274-9777 to make your reservations. 

     

    BILTMORE HOUSE TICKETS:  Buy your DISCOUNTED Biltmore Estate 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!  Even if you don’t stay with us, we can still sell you the tickets!  http://www.ashevillevacationhomes.com/BILTMOREESTATETICKETS.html

     

    Ginny enters the Blue Ridge Parkway ready for her hike on the Mountain-To-SeaTrail.

    Ginny enters the Blue Ridge Parkway ready for her hike on the Mountain-To-SeaTrail.

     

     

    Pull out at any of the number of turn-outs along the Blue Ridge Parkway for magnificent panoramic views!

    Pull out at any of the number of turn-outs along the Blue Ridge Parkway for magnificent panoramic views!

     

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  • Feb
    16
    Our famous White Squirrels found in Hendersonville & Brevard NC

    Our famous White Squirrels found in Hendersonville & Brevard NC

     Recommendations by Robert Bowles of www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com   

    The wildlife being so accessible in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina and especially at the unique and wonderful natural habitats found at our Asheville and Hendersonville vacation rental homes & cabins locations, has led me to explore digital photography.  We often see falcons, white squirrels, wild turkeys, deer, bear, muskrats, kingfishers, raccoons and more.  I’ve done a great deal of research about taking wildlife photographs, and creating digital movies, and have been experimenting with several types and makes of cameras and camcorders.  The choices of features are huge, and the types of photography formats can be confusing.

    I suggest choosing an actual optical zoom feature, not digital zoom, on both picture taking and movie making.  I find combining the use of the digital zoom function when using the optical zoom is a waste of time and energy.  The resultant pictures and movies are much more blurred, and do not take advantage of the high resolution the cameras are capable of.

    Choose the highest resolution you can afford for both pictures and movies.  Higher resolution means larger files, but a simple USB plug in hard drive for your computer will take anything your photography may produce.  They are available with large capacities, and cost between $80 and $160.  Look for the deals in Sunday ads.

    A few notes about movie resolution:  HD (high definition) is tons better than anything else.  1080P will give you excellent details on computer screens and HDTV’s.  It will also look great on a standard TV.  1080i will look good on 1080i HDTV’s, but makes for poor video on computers.   720P has less detail, but on smaller screens (17” or less on computers, 44” or less on HDTV’s) is still very good.  I haven’t tried the 720i resolution, but imagine it too would be annoyingly sparse with horizontal lines when shown on computers, like the 1080i is.  Both the 1080 and 720 resolutions are MUCH better than the 640×480 and the 320×180 movie picture formats encountered on the lesser camcorders, and in movie mode on many digital cameras.  Those are good for fun, but will be disappointing if you are looking for crisp and clear results.

    For more information, see www.cnet.com/camcorder-buying-guide.  Click around once there for information on digital cameras, TV’s, computers and more.

    Come see our natural habitat wildlife for yourself and take your own photos! See our 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!!!  We have Discounted Biltmore Estate tickets that are good for 2 consecutive days instead of just 1 day.  No waiting in lines!

    Our Guests at the Dream Chalet and the Joy Chalet often see families of wild turkeys wandering out from the woodlands into the back yard.

    Our Guests at the Dream Chalet and the Joy Chalet often see families of wild turkeys wandering out from the woodlands into the back yard.

    The White Stone Lake Manor vacation rental home is a great place to observe all the lake's wildlife in action!

    The White Stone Lake Manor vacation rental home is a great place to observe all the lake's wildlife in action!

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