Asheville NC Vacation The Ultimate Vacation Destination
  • 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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  • 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
    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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  • Mar
    12

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

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

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

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

    Email:  Joyah@aol.com

    Phone:  828-274-9777

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    The awesome High Falls in the NC DuPont State Forest

    The awesome High Falls in the NC DuPont State Forest

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  • Mar
    7

     

    Whether you want to fish, sail, canoe, paddle boat, camp or picnic, LAKE JULIAN, open daily year around, is a great family recreational park located at the south edge of Asheville NC.  Lake Julian is a deep lake about a mile long and .3 to .5 miles wide.  Due to its use as a cooling agent for our local Carolina Power & Light electric company located on its shore, the Lake Julian is a “thermal” lake staying warm even during the winter months.  Some of the best fishing and bird watching is from October through March where you can expect to find catfish, bass, bluegill, crappie and Tilapia.  A local $3 lake fishing permit is required.  For a reasonable fee, you may rent a fishing boat or launch your own (only electric motors allowed – gasoline motors are prohibited).  Rent one of their big pavilions with plenty of picnic tables for family reunions or large group gatherings. 

     

    Website for daily hours and rental rates:      http://www.buncombecounty.org/common/parks/LakeJulianBrochure.pdf

    Phone:  828-684-0376

    Address:  75 Long Shoals Road, Asheville NC

    Directions to Lake Julian Park:  From Asheville take Exit #37 off Interstate 26 E.  Turn left onto Long Shoals Road.  Go 1.1 mile to a light signal & turn right on Overlook Ext. The park entrance is .1 mile. 

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

    Email:  Joyah@aol.com

    Phone:  828-274-9777

     

     

     

     

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  • Mar
    4

    A top recommendation on our list of casual lunch eateries for our Asheville/Arden vacation rental home guests (www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com) to experience is the 12 Bones Smokehouse with the absolute best, most yummy, most excellent BBQ meats in the world!  12 Bones (the number of ribs in a full rack of ribs) specializes in slow-smoked, cooked-to-perfection babyback ribs with amazing sauces, pulled pork and chicken….as well as scrumptious unusual side dishes that would please any vegetarian….no kidding!  It’s the only place in town to get melt-in-your mouth REAL BBQ with very generous portions!  No longer a local secret, their incredible blueberry-chipotle ribs won the 2008 “Best Bites Challenge” on ABC’s Good Morning America and they’ve been featured in Southern Living magazine as well. 

     

    The food is soooo fabulous and affordable that there most always is a line….so come early….strike up a conversation with the friendly customers waiting in line with you!  It won’t take long to reach the order counter. With two locations (listed below) our vacation homes are closest to the new Arden (South Asheville) location on Sweeten Creek (Hwy 25A) housed in a reclaimed garage/gas station.  It is casual, funky and nothing pretentious….just good food in a Spartan setting….sit outside on the picnic benches or inside the “garage.”  (There’s plenty of parking behind the building.) A down side are their short hours….from 11 AM to 4 PM from Monday through Friday and open Saturdays only at the South Asheville location. 

     

    Unlike Robert who loves the pulled pork, my passion happens to be their mouth-watering turkey sandwich….I’ve never knew turkey could be this flavorful, tender…and addicting!  Their smoked portabella sandwich with fried green tomatoes is quite orgasmic as well.  For their sides, the collard greens are a “must” to experience as well as their delectable corn pudding.  Go to their website for all the menu details.  All their menu items are made from scratch.  If you have a large event, they will cater the yummiest food your guests are sure to appreciate.

     

    12 Bone Smokehouse Locations:

    • 3578 Sweeten Creek Rd, Arden NC 28704    Phone: 828-687-1395 
    • 5 Riverside Drive, Asheville NC  28801 (a bit difficult to find in the River Arts District so look at their online map)   Phone:  828-253-4499
    • Catering:  828-606-7880
    • Website:  www.12bones.com 

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

     

    George (still a bit camera shy) has arrived quite early at the 12 Bones best BBQ in the world....soon there will be a line of loyal, addicted customers for lunch.  Located in a funky, converted garage on Sweeten Creek (Hwy25A), the food is sensational!

    George (still a bit camera shy) has arrived quite early at the 12 Bones best BBQ in the world....soon there will be a line of loyal, addicted customers for lunch. Located in a funky, converted garage on Sweeten Creek (Hwy25A), the food is sensational!

    The former garage/gas station is now a casual, funky home to the best BBQ ribs and smoked pulled pork around!

    The former garage/gas station is now a casual, funky home to the best BBQ ribs and smoked pulled pork around!

     

     

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  • Mar
    3

    Ginny is exhausted before she even starts up this strenuous but gorgeous trail leading up to Mount Pisgah!  Hike this trail in sections unless you are ready to do some serious hiking!

    Ginny is exhausted before she even starts up this strenuous but gorgeous trail leading up to Mount Pisgah! Hike this trail in sections unless you are ready to do some serious hiking!

    The famous Shut-In Trail, which parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway up to the 5721’ Mount Pisgah (about 30 – 40 minutes by car from Asheville), was originally part of a trail built by George Vanderbilt for his family and friends staying at his Biltmore Estate leading to his hunting retreat at Mount Pisgah.  Hiking this trail is definitely NOT for the faint of heart….or body!  It’s a long, steep, up and down ridge trail….and incredibly beautiful.  If you were part of the Biltmore Estate guests visiting during its era, you would have been provided horses from the Biltmore Estate Stables and have ridden up to their Mt Pisgah lodge. Much of the original trail that was graded is no longer in existence and it now follows the ridge line.  (Of course, the Estate servants would have been sent in advance to prepare for the guests’ comfort!)  The 900+ mile long Mountain-To-Sea Trail (marked with a white circular blaze) also shares this route for part of the distance.  We like to enter the Shut-In Trail just off the Blue Ridge Parkway by Hwy 191 before the entrance to the WNC Arboretum (a sign marks the spot – see Ginny’s photo).

     

     

    While visiting our Blue Ridge Parkway and Asheville areas, you are invited to stay at one of our deliciously luxurious vacation rental homes complete with hot tubs, massage chairs, king beds with sumptuous bedding, delightful surroundings and so much more!  After a long day on the trail, you’ll appreciate these important amenities!  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.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 price!  Contact us at 828-274-9777 or email us at Joyah@aol.com or see our website at www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com 

     

    Shut In Trail is a lush forest trail just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    Shut In Trail is a lush forest trail just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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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
    27

    LEAF FESTIVAL:  LAKE EDEN ARTS FESTIVAL at Camp Rockmont in Black Mountain, North Carolina (Just a few miles from Asheville)

    Come participate in this mountain celebration of family, community and life!  The LEAF (Lake Eden Arts Festival, “a non-profit organization established to build community and enrich lives through the Arts”) weekend gala has something special for everyone of all ages: folk arts, handcrafts, healing and culinary arts, poetry, music and dancing, camping, hiking, swimming and so much more.  There is a special kids’ play zone, art market, petting zoo, costumes, face painting, games and more.  There’s even a “Mommy and Me Baby Tent.” Come play, learn and share!  Go to their website to see the list of this year’s stellar performers.  (No pets allowed.) Camp onsite or stay at local area vacation rental cabins & homes: www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com 

     

    Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance!  This popular mountain event is always sold out!  Per day on site there will be about 5500 people.  Choose from a variety of day or weekend passes (see their ticket webpage for all your prices, options and deadlines).  They always need volunteers (about 500!) and you can trade your time toward ticket purchases. 

     

    While you are in town, plan to visit the world famous, American’s largest home, the Biltmore Estate!  Purchase DISCOUNTED BITLMORE HOUSE TICKETS for less than the gate price and enjoy a pass for 2 consecutive days instead of just one!  Buy these tickets from http://www.ashevillevacationhomes.com/BILTMOREESTATETICKETS.html   or call 828-274-9777.

     

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