Asheville NC Vacation The Ultimate Vacation Destination
  • 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
    29

    Referred to as one of the “largest yard sales” in the Southeast on 20 acres with over 100,000 square feet selling area, SMILEY’S FLEA MARKET is a fun adventure of bargain hunting!  As you would expect from any flea market there is a huge variety of almost anything you can imagine for sale at bargain prices.  It’s even a great place to buy your fresh homegrown produce and plants. There are permanent buildings including a giant antique mall as well as the huge outdoor area with 700 selling spaces.  Open since 1984 in Fletcher NC, this well-established flea market is a weekend tradition to many shoppers (from 12,000 to 17,000 people attend each weekend!). 

    Hours: They are open Saturday and Sunday from 6 AM to 5 PM….but the outside venders are usually gone by 1 PM so plan to shop in the mornings. 

    Location:  Smiley’s is located a half mile north of Interstate 26, Exit 44 at 5360 Hendersonville Road (Highway 25), Fletcher NC 28732.

    Phone:  828-684-3532

    If you are visiting in the area, be sure to stay at one of our nearby luxury vacation rental chalets and cottages!  See our website at www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com or call us at 828-274-9777 or email us at joyah@aol.com.  

    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
    28

    Produced by Asheville Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department, BELE CHERE (pronounced Bell Share and translates to mean “Beautiful Living”) is in its 31st year and has evolved into an awesome entertainment, food and arts festival attracting over 300,000 visitors….AND IT IS FREE!  Taking over Asheville’s downtown core area with streets closed to traffic, the city is transformed into a vibrant and colorful festival where you can experience the best this region has to offer in the way of music, food, fine art, local crafts, dancing, street performers and much more! 

    Enjoy wandering the multitude of booths with every conceivable item for sale and visit the Arts Park with amazing craftsmen/artists selling their unique jewelry, furniture, paintings, glassware, pottery and more!  Plan to stay all day until 11 PM to enjoy the many and varied music performances….from bluegrass, country, jazz, song-writer ballads, blues….held on stages throughout downtown.  As experienced every year, plan to see incredible local talented bands along with famed national entertainers.  It’s well worth the price….FREE!!!

    And the FOOD!  The Asheville Independent Restaurant Association of local restaurants presents the TASTE OF ASHEVILLE food court at Bele Chere where you can experience the delectable specialty dishes they are famous for.  And for the carnival feel, you can still go for those hot dogs, ice cream and funnel cakes as well. 

    Kids love it here with their special children’s area with all sorts of rides, games, clowns, storytellers and entertainment just for them!  This is an alcohol-free zone.

    Parking lots are all open downtown, but you may want to take advantage of their shuttles ($3 round trip) that run about every 20 minutes to outlying parking areas.  See the festival website for details.

    Be sure to book your stay early!  Our homes fill up fast for this amazing festival event.  Contact us at 828-274-9777 or see our website at www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com  to stay the week at one of our luxury vacation rental cabins, cottages or chalets.

    Bele Chere website:  www.belecherefestival.com

    Bele Chere Days/Hours for 2009:

    Friday, July 24:  Noon – 11 PM

    Saturday, July 25:  10 AM – 11 PM

    Sunday, July 26:  Noon – 6 PM

    While you are in the area, be sure to visit our world famous BILTMORE ESTATE with 250 room home and acres upon acres of gardens, nature trails, winery, restaurants, hiking, biking, horseback riding and more!  We at Asheville Vacation Homes are authorized ticket agents and can sell you DISCOUNTED Biltmore Estate tickets that are good for TWO CONSECUTIVE DAYS instead of the higher priced one day tickets sold at the gate!  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com  or call us at 828-274-9777 or email at joyah@aol.com 

     

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  • Mar
    25

    Ginny is impressed by the fabulous lobby of the new “Regal Cinemas Biltmore Grande Stadium 15” Movie Theater in Biltmore Park Town Square.  She plans to order a pepperoni pizza and popcorn and ice cream!  (She's a hungry girl!)

    Ginny is impressed by the fabulous lobby of the new “Regal Cinemas Biltmore Grande Stadium 15” Movie Theater in Biltmore Park Town Square. She plans to order a pepperoni pizza and popcorn and ice cream! (She's a hungry girl!)

    Although it is a mouth full to say (we personally call it the “Biltmore 15”), we highly recommend this fabulous new state-of-the-art movie theater to our Asheville Vacation Home guests for a great place to enjoy movies that are close by.  The first with stadium seating in Asheville (we love that no one can block our view of the screen!), the Regal Cinemas Biltmore Grand Stadium 15 opened in November 2008 with 15 theaters & movies to choose from!  Conveniently located in Biltmore Park at the intersection of Interstate 26, Exit #37 and Long Shoals Road, this is an easy, drive-to location at the south edge of Asheville NC.  There is plenty of free parking in the various parking structures beside the theater. 

    You enter this 57,000 square foot complex with over 3,000 seating into a colorful and impressive lobby spacious enough to serve the audiences of a 15 theater complex.  Not only do you have the standard movie theater concessions of popcorn, candy, ice cream bites, soft drinks, etc., you can even select from a limited choice (Cheese or Pepperoni) of really tasty Freschetta pizzas.  If you decide to order one, allow an extra 6 minutes for the pizza to heat.  As you would expect from a classy new theater, there is high tech digital projection, the luxurious seats (they even rock!) are quite comfortable and the seat arms/cup holders can retract out of your way so you can sit closer to your sweetie!  Enjoy the movies! 

    Theater Phone:  828-684-4726

    Website for current movies playing: http://www.fandango.com/regalcinemasbiltmoregrandestadium15_aauza/theaterpage

    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

    Ginny looks down at the stadium seating and loves her unobstructed view of the screen!  “Regal Cinemas Biltmore Grande Stadium 15” Movie Theater Lobby in Biltmore Park Town Square

    Ginny looks down at the stadium seating and loves her unobstructed view of the screen! “Regal Cinemas Biltmore Grande Stadium 15” Movie Theater Lobby in Biltmore Park Town Square

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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
    21

    Robert and Ginny pause to admire the Biltmore Estate Conservatory "Green Houses" Building.  Ginny is anxious to explore inside!

    Robert and Ginny pause to admire the Biltmore Estate Conservatory "Green Houses" Building. Ginny is anxious to explore inside!

     

     

     

    Be sure to allow plenty of time to explore the exquisite grounds surrounding the Biltmore House in Asheville NC.  There are acres of winding walkways and trails through the natural and formal gardens of flowers, shrubs and trees.  Colorful blooms can be seen throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons. 

    In the center of the gardens, displayed like a diamond on a ring, is the beautiful, fully restored (after 2 years & 2.5 million dollars spent), glass-roofed Conservatory with a fabulous collection of tropical plants.  Designed by the world famous architect Richard Morris Hunt and preserved to its original grandeur, the Conservatory supplies the mansion with fresh flowers and plants.  Stroll through the various hot and cool houses to experience this extensive plant collection.  Downstairs you’ll find a delightful gift and plant store to take home your own collection of garden decorations and plants.  There’s even a wine and sandwich cart to serve you while you sit in a nearby bench to enjoy the gardens. 

    To the front of the Conservatory is the formal Walled Garden planted each season with a planned symmetry of colorful annual flowers and award-winning rose bushes.  Down the center of this Garden leading to the Conservatory are several long arbors adorned with vines and flowers.  

    In order to enjoy the full experience of the Biltmore House AND the exquisite grounds and activities offered, we advise spending two days on the Estate.  As authorized ticket partners, we are able to sell you DISCOUNTED Biltmore Estate tickets good for TWO CONSECUTIVE DAYS for less than their one day entry price.  Contact us at www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com or email at joyah@aol.com or call us at 828-274-9777. 

    Ginny hides in the tropical flowers of the Conservatory.

    Ginny hides in the tropical flowers of the Conservatory.

     

    Ginny is ready to explore all the green house rooms of the Conservatory.  Such a wonder of foliage & blooms year-round!

    Ginny is ready to explore all the green house rooms of the Conservatory. Such a wonder of foliage & blooms year-round!

    Ginny and Stephanie relax in one of the pretty sitting areas provided in the Conservatory.  What a beautiful place to unwind!

    Ginny and Stephanie relax in one of the pretty sitting areas provided in the Conservatory. What a beautiful place to unwind!

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  • Mar
    20

    Ginny is awed by the magnificent Biltmore House.  The Stables is to the far right where she plans to eat a delicious lunch.

    Ginny is awed by the magnificent Biltmore House. The Stables is to the far right where she plans to eat a delicious lunch.

    As the name suggests, the STABLES RESTAURANT adjoining the Biltmore House, was the former stables for the Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC.  And not just any stables!  This equestrian mansion for horses is a wonder to behold!  Along with this fabulous restaurant, there are a variety of wonderful gift shops and specialty stores housed here as well.  In the entry courtyard you’ll find a Bakery Shop with yummy treats and an Ice Cream Shop perfect for those warm sunny days.  There’s plenty of seating outside in the courtyard fresh air and an undercover area in case it rains.  This is an experience recommended to all our vacation rental home guests staying at our cabins, chalets, cottages & homes at www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Retaining the original stables architecture, you’ll find the STABLES RESTAURANT dining tables privately situated inside the former horse stalls….mind you, these are not just ordinary horse stalls but elegant wrought iron and wooden rooms!  The center of the restaurant is also set with dining tables.  The upstairs of the stables (I assume this spectacular space was used as a massive hayloft) has a second kitchen and a huge dining area.  The Biltmore Estate has created a wonderful capacity to feed and delight its thousands of daily visitors.

    But back to our delightful luncheon at the STABLES RESTAURANT where Robert and I (and Ginny) shared one of the most deliciously seasoned soups we’ve tasted!  It was their soup of the day: Cream of Zucchini and Yellow Squash and served with warm corn bread.  Our sandwiches and sides were equally delicious and the proportions were huge!  Mine was their “Grilled Chicken Panini special: Marinated, grilled chicken breast, mozzarella cheese, Arugula & spicy roasted tomato mayonnaise on toasted ciabatta bread.”  Since their servings are overly generous, next time we plan to share a soup and a sandwich so we’ll have room to sample their wonderful desserts!  They have a wide variety of offerings sure to delight your tummy!  It’s all good! 

    There may be a wait, so go there first to be on their waiting list, then wander down the long hallway to explore the delightful shops.  Your personal pager will buzz, vibrate and light when your table is ready. Enjoy!!!

    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

    Ginny enters the Stables Courtyard anticipating the shopping and yummy food!

    Ginny enters the Stables Courtyard anticipating the shopping and yummy food!

    Ginny has put her name on the lunch wait list and is browsing through the variety of gift shops while she anticipates the specials she saw posted for lunch.

    Ginny has put her name on the lunch wait list and is browsing through the variety of gift shops while she anticipates the specials she saw posted for lunch.

    Ginny is about to be seated and is hoping for a horse stall booth!

    Ginny is about to be seated and is hoping for a horse stall booth!

    Ginny is impressed with the massive "hayloft" above the downstairs restaurant. During busy days, the upstairs Stables Restaurant with a separate kitchen is ready to serve!

    Ginny is impressed with the massive "hayloft" above the downstairs restaurant. During busy days, the upstairs Stables Restaurant with a separate kitchen is ready to serve!

    Another view of the downstairs Stables Restaurant taken from the floor above.

    Another view of the downstairs Stables Restaurant taken from the floor above.

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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
    14

    WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA AGRICULTURAL CENTER & FAIRGROUNDS (locals refer to as the “Ag Center”) is one of the premier facilities in the U.S. praised for its design and multi-use functions!  Not only is it home to the famous 10-day N.C. Mountain State Fair, almost every weekend there are horse shows, rodeos, motorcycle rallies, dog shows, children clothing sales, RV shows, truck shows, fiber arts shows, and even a weekly cowboy church.  Buildings can be rented for reunions, weddings, business meetings and almost anything you can imagine. 

     

    The Ag Center is under constant upgrade and improvement.  Currently under construction, a beautiful 4,615 SF log Arts & Crafts Building is due to be completed by the September 2009 Fair.  It’s also in the plans to build a new Expo Building for the ever-expanding livestock shows and events held here.  Most of the buildings are slated for major renovations and minor face-lifts to make this a world class facility. 

     

    A brief overview of some of the facilities offered are:

    • McGough Arena:  65,000 SF enclosed indoor show facility with a 3000 seating capacity and a 120’ x 240’ show ring.
    • J. Clayton Davis Arena: 45,000 SF covered facility with a 120’ x 240’ ring with a 150’ x 50’ to corral cattle.
    • Three outdoor Warm-Up Rings.
    • Livestock Facility with 500 seating and a 50’ x 250’ attached barn.
    • 603 well-ventilated permanent and 271 portable Stall Barns under roof.
    • Private Meeting Facility with 99 Seating, air conditioned.

     

    DATES:  for the 2009 NC Mountain State Fair is September 11 – 20, 2009.  Check their website for upcoming events or to arrange a rental for your own event. 

    LOCATION:  1301 Fanning Bridge Road, Fletcher NC 28732 (across the street from the Asheville Airport.)

    PHONE:  828-687-1414

    WEBSITE:  www.agr.state.nc.us/markets/facilities/agcenters/western/

    NEAR-BY LODGING:  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com  for vacation rental homes in walking distance to the Ag Center. 

     

    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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