Asheville NC Vacation

The Ultimate Vacation Destination

  • May
    1

    Western North Carolina’s  Spring flowering season has just begun in the lower elevations of Asheville and Hendersonville, and with plenty of winter moisture, a spectacular spring it will be!  We toured the Biltmore Estate Azalea Gardens on Thursday, April 29, 2010, and their trees and shrubs were beautiful beyond words.  The foresight of George W. Vanderbilt, who built the Biltmore Estate, Frederick Law Olmsted (the father of American landscape architecture), and Richard Morris Hunt (the architect of the Biltmore House) shows every time we walk the grounds of Americas largest single family home.  The planning, the layouts, the plant placement, the walls, the gardens, the fields, and the water features all were combined to create a magical wonderland.  The family of George Vanderbilt continued the traditions since the house first opened Christmas Eve, 1895, and are still creating more and more joy for themselves and for us.

    Spectacular Azalea Colors at Biltmore Estate's Azalea Garden - photo by Robert Bowles of www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Spectacular Azalea Colors at Biltmore Estate's Azalea Garden - photo by Robert Bowles of www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

     

     

    Ginny adores wandering the acres of pathways of the Biltmore Estate's Azalea Gardens.  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Ginny adores wandering the acres of pathways of the Biltmore Estate's Azalea Gardens. www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    While hiking the Mountain-to-Sea Trail earlier in the week, Stephanie and I noticed some beautiful orange flowering trees, and wondered what they were.  Imagine my delight upon arriving at our Mountain Laurel Lodge to see the exact same flowering tree in our own backyard!  I believe they are Flame Azalea (rhododendron calendulaceum) or Florida Azalea (Rhododendron austrinum).   There are several other shrubs and bushes that have already shown their spring flowers, and we’ve yet to identify them with certainty, although we are pretty certain the following are also in the Rhododendron and Azalea species. Perhaps someone reading this may have an answer.

    While hiking the Mountain-to-Sea Trail earlier in the week, Stephanie and I noticed some beautiful orange flowering trees, and wondered what they were. Imagine my delight upon arriving at our Mountain Laurel Lodge to see the exact same flowering tree in our own backyard! I believe they are Flame Azalea (rhododendron calendulaceum) or Florida Azalea (Rhododendron austrinum). There are several other shrubs and bushes that have already shown their spring flowers, and we’ve yet to identify them with certainty, although we are pretty certain the following are also in the Rhododendron and Azalea species. Perhaps someone reading this may have an answer.

    Our latest vacation rental home acquisition, the Mountain Laurel Lodge, has as its back yard a mountain side rising up to a peak, almost entirely covered in Mountain Laurels, Rhododendrons, Dogwoods, and other trees and shrubs unidentified or perhaps unseen by us so far.  We can’t wait for the surprises in store for us, especially when the huge number of Mountain Laurels and Rhododendrons open up for their private spring decoration show.  There is still time to rent the home for your vacation to witness the show for yourself!  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Our latest vacation rental home acquisition, the Mountain Laurel Lodge, has as its back yard a mountain side rising up to a peak, almost entirely covered in Mountain Laurels, Rhododendrons, Dogwoods, and other trees and shrubs unidentified or perhaps unseen by us so far. We can’t wait for the surprises in store for us, especially when the huge number of Mountain Laurels and Rhododendrons open up for their private spring decoration show. There is still time to rent the home for your vacation to witness the show for yourself! www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Photos and text by Robert A Bowles,  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com, 828-274-9777.  While visiting the Biltmore Estate, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Smoky Mountains, please call us to reserve one of our luxurious vacation rental cottages, chalets and lodges.  You deserve to be spoiled!

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  • Dec
    28

    We had a major snow in Asheville, NC, starting Friday, December 18, 2009, which blanketed this beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain area in gorgeous white, shimmery snow!  We had guests in all of our Asheville Vacation Homes (vacation rental cabins, chalets, cottages) that week, and the surprise white Christmas snow was an added bonus to their trips.  I was able to get to the Biltmore Estate to take some pictures of their magnificent property.  The Biltmore staff was out early and had cleared the way to the Biltmore House.  It was spectacular!

    The Biltmore Estate House just after a Decembr snow fall - www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    The Biltmore Estate House just after a Decembr snow fall - www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    The Candlelight Night Time Tours are still going on at The Biltmore House through January 2, 2010.  It is indeed spectacular and well worth your visit.  Our guests often comment that “the Biltmore Estate was even more than we expected.”  And that is also what they also say when they stay at our Asheville Vacation Homes cabins, cottages and chalets, as pictures can’t quite portray the actual luxury, comfort, and total vacation feel of our homes as experienced in person. 

     

    You are invited to spend your mountain vacation in Western North Carolina with at one of our vacation rental cabins where we promise to pamper you with wonderful amenities.  We also are authorized Biltmore Estate ticket agents and have discount tickets good for two full consecutive days for less than the cost of the one day ticket gate price!  Call us at 828-274-9777 or email at joyah@aol.com  For details see our website: www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

     

     

    The main gate into the Biltmore House compound was intriguingly decorated with snow, elegant and mysterious at the same time.  Photo by Robert Bowles of www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    The main gate into the Biltmore House compound was intriguingly decorated with snow, elegant and mysterious at the same time. Photo by Robert Bowles of www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

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  • Dec
    28

    Why rent your cabin from an agency when you can receive personal care and service from your vacation rental’s owners!  We are Stephanie Joy Johnson and Robert Bowles, local residents of Asheville NC and owners of Asheville Vacation Homes.  We are in love with this absolutely beautiful mountain town nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina and it is our pleasure to share this exquisite area with you. 

     

    For years we have professionally restored and decorated homes.  We now bring this talent to our personally owned vacation rental cabins, chalets, cottages and homes.  We have chosen lush locations….rich forests, private lakes, panoramic mountain views…as ideal settings for our charming vacation rentals filled with delightful amenities and attention to detail.  All homes are only minutes to town, are exquisitely furnished and with all our special touches, it feels like a warm, inviting home rather than a vacation rental house.  Enjoy hot tubs, massage chairs, gas log fireplaces, top quality king and queen beds with luxurious bedding, high speed wireless Internet, quality kitchens, tastefully furnished, pet and child friendly.  We offer discounted Biltmore Estate tickets.  Visit our website for full details and photos of each home:  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

     

    Call us today to book your week’s vacation:  828-274-9777 or email us at joyah@aol.com

    Enjoy year round awesome 50 mile panoramic views from the View Chalet in Asheville NC.  This luxury home has 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2400 SF and sleeps up to 11 guests.  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Enjoy year round awesome 50 mile panoramic views from the View Chalet in Asheville NC. This luxury home has 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2400 SF and sleeps up to 11 guests. www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    White Stone Lake Manor has its own private wild life lake.  This 4000 SF home features 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, living room, family room, media room, 2 kitchens & dining rooms, kids play room, multiple decks and sleeps up to 20 guests.  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    White Stone Lake Manor has its own private wild life lake. This 4000 SF home features 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, living room, family room, media room, 2 kitchens & dining rooms, kids play room, multiple decks and sleeps up to 20 guests. www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

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  • Dec
    13

    We visited the Biltmore House on Thursday, December 10, 2009, for the Candlelight Christmas Evening Special.  Driving through Biltmore Village and up to the front entrance Gatehouse of the Biltmore Estate set the mood for the festive evening.  The Christmas lights framing the Gatehouse and on many of the architectural features of the Village wonderfully outline their unique features.

    Christmas at the Biltmore is always a fabulous experience!  This is their Gatehouse when you first enter the Estate's grounds.  Photo by www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Christmas at the Biltmore is always a fabulous experience! This is their Gatehouse when you first enter the Estate's grounds. Photo by www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

     

    We drove along the winding Estate roads to the parking area and from there took their very warm and comfortable shuttle bus (no charge) to the entrance of the home.   When the shuttle made the turn toward the house, there were oohs and ahhs from both newcomers and repeat visitors.  Eliciting these exclamations was a giant Christmas tree with surrounding smaller trees all spectacularly arrayed with thousands of lights.  Placed halfway down the front lawn near the fountain, this display made the House a welcoming warm refuge amidst some of the most beautiful lands in the country.  Imagining ourselves as guests of Mr. Vanderbilt’s first Christmas Eve event in 1895 made it all the more thrilling.

    Famous for their unbelievably stunning Christmas displays, this  jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains is imaginatively decorated throughout.  There are 55 Christmas trees, each uniquely decorated, with at least one in each room we observed.  Live period entertainment was in place at several spots within the house and could be heard throughout because of the fabulous acoustics.  Our favorite was the two couples dressed in period attire who were dancing in the Winter Garden Room just off the entrance hall.

    More observations to follow in other posts….Enjoy the Biltmore Candlelight Christmas Evenings until January 2, 2010 and Christmas daytime visits until January 3, 2010. 

    During your stay in our Western North Carolina area, you are invited to stay at our luxury vacation rental homes decorated for the season.  We love to pamper our guests with wonderful amenities such as hot tubs, massage chairs, gas log fireplaces, king beds, sumptuous linens, quality elegant furnishings, high speed wireless Internet, quality kitchens & cookware and so much more!  Please visit our website at www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com for details or call us at 828-274-9777 for reservations.  We also sell Biltmore Estate tickets. Purchase your tickets from us and enjoy two full days at the Biltmore for the price of a one day admission ticket!

    What a fabulous Christmas display on the front lawns at the Biltmore Estate!  Photo by www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    What a fabulous Christmas display on the front lawns at the Biltmore Estate! Photo by www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

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  • Nov
    5

    Perhaps it was due to the many years I lived in the City of Roses (Portland, Oregon), that cultivated my love for beautiful rose gardens.  When I moved to Asheville NC in 1996, what a delight it was to find the most magnificent Rose Gardens imaginable right here in town at the Biltmore House!  Buying a season ticket was the best investment I could have made.  You will find this magnificent Rose Garden at the far end of the 4 acre Walled Garden near the Conservatory on the Biltmore Estate grounds.  

    Ginny is in awe of the spectacular roses in the Biltmore Estate Rose Garden!  This rose is bigger than she is!  photo by www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Ginny is in awe of the spectacular roses in the Biltmore Estate Rose Garden! This rose is bigger than she is! photo by www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Each season as I wander through the lush gardens, I am always thrilled to see the changes….how from winter the almost invisible rose bushes suddenly come to life with full lush blooms in the spring and summer.  There are several thousand varieties of premier roses including a full collection of the “All-American Roses” labeled with the year the rose was chosen as a winner.  (FYI: the All-American Rose Selections is a nonprofit group begun in 1938 that operates the world’s most challenging horticultural testing program recognizing roses that will be easy to grow and disease resistant. Each year a top winning new rose is selected.  My favorite “Knock Out” roses in my garden and at my vacation rental homes came from this testing…they constantly bloom all summer and fall with no care!) 

    Ginny wanders the path among all the fabulous roses bushes at the Biltmore Estate Rose Gardens. Photo taken in May 2009 by www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Ginny wanders the path among all the fabulous roses bushes at the Biltmore Estate Rose Gardens. Photo taken in May 2009 by www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    If you are planning to visit our area, be sure to stay at one of our delightful vacation rental homes full of wonderful amenities.  We are authorized Biltmore Estate ticket sellers.  Purchase your tickets from us and enjoy two full consecutive days at Biltmore for the price of a one day admission ticket!  Call us at 828-274-9777 or email us at Joyah@aol.com or see our website at www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com 

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  • Nov
    4

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

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

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

     

    Reviewed by Stephanie Joy Johnson of Asheville’s luxury vacation cabins, chalets, cottages and homes:  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com  YOU DESERVE TO BE SPOILED and you will be outrageously spoiled at our vacation rental homes by our awesome amenities!!! BILTMORE HOUSE TICKETS:  Purchase your tickets from us and enjoy two days at Biltmore for the price of a one day admission ticket!  With advance tickets you can  avoid waiting in ticket lines, tickets upgradeable to season passes, free wine tasting tickets, and best of all, tickets are good for TWO FULL CONSECUTIVE DAYS! Our tickets also allow extended gate access entry up until 6 PM instead of the usual 4 PM.  Tickets are good everyday of the week throughout the year.  Even if you don’t stay with us, you can still buy the tickets.  828-274-9777  Email: Joyah@aol.com

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  • Oct
    24

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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  • Oct
    23

    Always changing with the seasons, the famous Biltmore House and grounds take great pride in presenting the most fabulous works of art….including their own ever changing artistic creations in landscaping.  Just off the Biltmore House library is a large area often used for summer outdoor concerts, which is transformed at the end of summer into a “CARPET OF FLOWERS.”  As seen in the photo, the beauty sculpted in a floral carpet design is displayed against the backdrop of the awesome Blue Ridge Parkway and Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. 

    Ginny is delighted to be back at the Biltmore Estate to visit the awesome "Carpet of Flowers" on display in August.

    Ginny is delighted to be back at the Biltmore Estate to visit the awesome "Carpet of Flowers" on display in August.

    During your stay in our area, you are invited to stay at one of our luxury vacation rental homes where you will be spoiled with fabulous amenities including hot tubs, massage chairs, king beds, gas log fireplaces, beautiful settings, gorgeous furnishings and so much more!  Purchase your Biltmore Estate tickets from us and enjoy two full days at the Biltmore for the price of a one day admission ticket!  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com  Contact us at 828-274-9777 or email us at joyah@aol.com. 

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  • Oct
    18

    Asheville & Hendersonville NC is famous for many things, and in the Fall, a main attraction is the “Changing of the Leaves.”  The Blue Ridge Parkway gives “leaf peepers” a show throughout the entire Fall season.  The leaves begin changing to awesome colors at the higher elevations first and then sweep down the mountains as the days and weeks pass.  This year (2009) at the end of September and early October, the colorful leaf pallets began at Mount Mitchell (over 6500 feet) and at Mount Pisgah (over 5500 feet).  The truly spectacular colors have now begun spreading down the mountains towards Asheville & Hendersonville, and as of October 16, 2009, they are just beginning their transformation into breathtaking huge splashes of colors at these lower elevations.  As you can see in the photos, the forests surrounding the Biltmore Estate are just beginning to brighten. 

    Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC as seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway in mid-October 2009.  Fall colors are just beginning to show.  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC as seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway in mid-October 2009. Fall colors are just beginning to show. www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

     

    You still have time to come experience it for yourself.  One of the best ways to really “feel” the changing of the leaves is to hike one of our many trails.  You can witness the changing forests as you walk through the fallen leaves underfoot, see the sun dancing through the leaves above, and see them drop and swirl around you.  It is a simple, heart-felt joy to be here at this time of the year!  You are invited to stay at our luxury vacation rental homes where you will be spoiled with fabulous amenities including hot tubs, massage chairs, king beds, gas log fireplaces, beautiful settings, gorgeous furnishings and so much more!  Purchase your Biltmore Estate tickets from us and enjoy two full days at the Biltmore for the price of a one day admission ticket!  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com  Contact us at 828-274-9777 or email us at joyah@aol.com. 

    Here's a view from the Blue Ridge Parkway taken in mid-October 2009 of downtown Asheville, with the Biltmore Estate Sheep Barn in the foreground. www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

    Here's a view from the Blue Ridge Parkway taken in mid-October 2009 of downtown Asheville, with the Biltmore Estate Sheep Barn in the foreground. www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com

     

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  • May
    27

    Yes, it’s the BILTMORE WINERY located on the Biltmore Estate in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina.  Your entry ticket to the world-famous Biltmore Estate includes much more than just a tour of the George W. Vanderbilt’s spectacular 250-room home (the largest in the U.S.), it also is the passport to visit the incredible grounds, restaurants, outdoor activities….and the Biltmore Winery. 

     

    Ginny begins her self-guided tour at the beautiful Biltmore Winery building designed by the Biltmore Estate architect, Richard Morris Hunt, originally used as the Biltmore Dairy

    Ginny begins her self-guided tour at the beautiful Biltmore Winery building designed by the Biltmore Estate architect, Richard Morris Hunt, originally used as the Biltmore Dairy

    Sheltered in the mountain valley of the French Broad River, the 94 acre vineyard is in a perfect climate for grape cultivation producing award-winning wines including Chardonnay, Riesling, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.  The hand-picked grapes produce an annual harvest averaging 250 tons of grapes. 

     

    Ginny gazes at the long row of Wine Vats.  The sign on each vat reads:  "Bottling Termenter and storage.  Capacity 3190 gallons. 17.6 gallons/inch"

    Ginny gazes at the long row of Wine Vats. The sign on each vat reads: "Bottling Termenter and storage. Capacity 3190 gallons. 17.6 gallons/inch"

    1971 saw the first plantings of grapes by George W. Vanderbilt’s grandson, William A. V. Cecil, who felt this would be a natural extension of the self-sustaining economy of the Biltmore Estate.  Indeed, this has proven to be a huge success with the ever-expanding vineyard and a 90,000 square foot wine-producing and bottling facility opened in 1985.  This beautiful facility, converted from the dairy barn with underground tunnels with perfect temperatures for wine making, was designed by the Biltmore’s architect, Richard Morris Hunt. 

     

    Experience it for yourself on your self-guided tour of the winery operation that ends in the Tasting Room where you can sample (and purchase!) the wide range of award-winning Biltmore Wines now available.  For a full listing of the wine offerings, the many awards and details on the winery, visit their website at: http://www.biltmore.com/our_wine/

     

    Ginny views the Wine Cellar.  During the days of the Biltmore Dairy, this was a service area.  The 8 tunnels were used to dispose of waste from the milking rooms.  It is an ideal place with natural temperatures of 54 degrees to 60 degrees, for aging and storing sparkling wines.

    Ginny views the Wine Cellar. During the days of the Biltmore Dairy, this was a service area. The 8 tunnels were used to dispose of waste from the milking rooms. It is an ideal place with natural temperatures of 54 degrees to 60 degrees, for aging and storing sparkling wines.

    If you need discount tickets to the Biltmore Estate good for TWO CONSECUTIVE DAYS, feel free to contact us at 828-274-9777 or joyah@aol.com or http://www.ashevillevacationhomes.com/BILTMOREESTATETICKETS.html

    While visiting in the area, you are invited to stay at our romantic & luxurious vacation rentals:  www.AshevilleVacationHomes.com 

     

    Ginny is entralled with the multitude of wine barrels!

    Ginny is entralled with the multitude of wine barrels!

    Ginny "hangs out" admiring the dusty bottles of vintage wines on the other side of the locked gates.

    Ginny "hangs out" admiring the dusty bottles of vintage wines on the other side of the locked gates.

    At the end of the tour, Ginny finds herself in a huge tasting room and is invited to sample the wide variety of wines made here.

    At the end of the tour, Ginny finds herself in a huge tasting room and is invited to sample the wide variety of wines made here.

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