June 30, 2008

We <3 TalkAsheville.com

I hope this doesn't seem like an advertisement... we just really like TalkAsheville. Are any of our blog readers on it? Have anything to say about it?

TalkAsheville has been a really great way for us to get connected. You can find out more about what's happening in Asheville and find good local events and music. (It is similar to MySpace, but is directed at the Asheville community specifically.) TalkAsheville has event listings, local music and musicians, forums about Asheville, blogs, videos, photos, classifieds... the list goes on.

Of course, it's great for locals but it's also a great way for visitors to find out more about Asheville. Explore the site and check us out!

June 27, 2008

Fourth of July weekend

July 4th in Western North Carolina. Several towns in WNC have fireworks and other festivities.

My personal favorite is downtown Weaverville, which, while still crowded, is more quaint and more easily manageable than fireworks in downtown Asheville. The audience also tends to be a little more quiet and contained. You can also watch fireworks and enjoy festivities at Lake Louise in Weaverville.

Brevard will be having their 36th annual Fine Arts and Crafts Showcase, which coincides with the Classic Car Show, and of course, fireworks.

Morganton will be holding their annual Red, White and Bluegrass Festival (July 1-4).

And, of course, downtown Asheville will have the annual Ingles Fourth of July Celebration, with live music, arts and crafts, old fashioned games, and inflatable rides for the kids.

Special nightly minimum
FYI for those interested in spending Independence Day in Asheville (or those in Asheville who just want a little getaway...)

Carolina Mornings now has a 2 night minimum for the 4th of July weekend!

This means that those who are lucky enough to have the 4th of July off from work can now stay Friday to Sunday, without having to take an extra vacation day. We still have about 20 properties left (the one pictured is Slow Living Cottage), but we're trying hard to book them up as quickly as possible... so don't wait too long :)

Check them all out at www.carolinamornings.com, but to find out everything available for the 2 night minimum, and to book the special nightly minimum, you'll have to call a vacation specialist at 828.398.0712/800.770.9055.

June 25, 2008

Southern Living Idea House 2008

One of this year's Southern Living Idea Houses is located 17 miles northwest of Asheville in Whisper Mountain.

EcoBuilders, an Asheville green construction company, built the home with eco-friendly features such as solar thermal and photovoltaic panels, rain water catchment and grey-water systems, radiant floor heating, tankless water heating, recycled metal roofing, and Energy Star appliances. The home was also built with non-toxic, and mostly locally produced building materials.

The house is a 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom modernized farmhouse design, with a detached barn-style structure holding the 2 car garage and large guest suite. For more details on the house, click here. The house will enter the NC real estate market on October 12, and until then it is now open for public viewing.

11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday
1-5 p.m. Sunday
Admission is $5

June 23, 2008

Sushi in Asheville

I love sushi. In fact, I might be a sushi addict, since I feel compelled to eat it at least once a week. Asheville is a great place for sushi lovers (or those who like Japanese food in general).

Here's a list of sushi bars, in order of my personal preference. Click the names for Web sites, if available, or restaurant locations on Google maps.
1. Wasabi It's too expensive for me to eat here often, but man is it good. Located right in the middle of downtown.
2. Green Tea The best well-priced sushi bar in Asheville. A regular special is amazing butterfly shrimp - tempura asparagus wrapped in shrimp, smothered in great teriyaki sauce.
3. Heiwa Shokudo Easily accessible, especially for a downtown restaurant.
4. Zen Sushi Suffices for a quick lunch special when you're in the North Asheville area (as I often am). I do avoid raw fish here and go for all veggie rolls. Definitely not the best sushi in town.

I know there's a bunch more, but these are the ones I frequent. Anyone have different preferences? Other sushi places include:
Kanpai Sushi

June 20, 2008

Downtown After Five - tonight!

Downtown After 5 is going on tonight, 5-9pm! This year's new location is North Lexington Avenue, near the I-240 overpass.

Woody Wood and Hollywood Red
John Mooney and Bluesiana (headliner)

It ought to be really nice - temperature in the mid-70's (but slight chance of showers). Enjoy!

June 19, 2008

Great summer deals

Take advantage of these great summer deals from our owners. And don't forget about our package rates for the Biltmore Luxury Condos!

Asheville Getaway

Stay 3 nights (or more) and get an extra night free!

Blue Ridge Getaway & Country Cabin

Featured in Southern Living magazine, Corner Kitchen in Biltmore Village is recommended by locals and visitors alike. Coupon: buy one entree, get one entree free.


GAS-IS-CRAZY RATE CHANGE: We've dropped our rates, Cause you still need to vacate!

Wolf Creek Cabin

Discounted rates (25% off original rates)

**We've also implemented an across-the-board 3 night minimum for summer. We know the economy is hard for travelers, but we're doing what we can to make a vacation accessible for more people. See lots of other great specials, including: discounted rates & gas rebates.

June 17, 2008

MAD (Marshall Arts District) French Broad Fridays

Thanks to commenter Pete Kennedy for bringing this to my attention.
I love getting tips and insights from those of you commenting on blog entries, so please keep it coming!

The Marshall River Arts District just began French Broad Fridays (sorry I didn't include it last week before the opening night but now you'll know for future Fridays!), which will continue every Friday through October.

This will undoubtedly be an amazing and fun way to breathe new life into downtown Marshall, located among the beauty of Madison County, and about 30 minutes (easy driving) north of Asheville. French Broad Fridays has food, dancing, shopping, performances, river activities, and more - most shops will keep their doors open until 9 pm.

Places to check out:
Feather Your Nest
Redneck Rafter
Good Stuff
The Taqueria
Marshall High Studios, and other open art studios

Here is a map guide to French Broad Fridays, which has festivities from 5pm - midnight.

Did anyone have a chance to check out 'opening night'? What did you think?

June 13, 2008

Weekend Events

Warm weather in Asheville means there's tons to do this weekend...

Gemfest 2008
10am-6pm Friday & Saturday; 11am-5pm Sunday. Colburn Earth Science Museum, Pack Place. Tons of dealers, free admission to the museum, silent auction.

Lighten Up Yoga: Free Yoga Day
Classes from 9am-4pm. Door prizes every hour. Open to new students, current students can play free if they bring a friend or family member.

Naked Bike Ride(please beware of naked photos on this Web site, click only at your own discretion).
Why? To make an impactful statement about world dependency on oil and petrochemicals. To protest the war in Iraq and the Middle East; to make a statement for Peace, civil rights and personal sovereignty. -From the Web site.
11am at the French Broad Co-op at 11am for a ride through downtown. Organizers work with the Asheville Police Department, and nearly everyone covers the 'important bits' - so while you might see scantily-clad people biking downtown on Saturday, you probably won't see complete nudity.

Knit in Public Day
11am at Charlotte Street Park/EW Grove Park.

Urban Block Party
Food, beer, and music. On Eagle Street from 4-9pm.

Ferral Chihuahuas
Sketch comic hilarity at 35Below, show times are 8 pm & 9:30 pm.

June 12, 2008

River Arts Studio Stroll

Twice a year the Rivers Arts District studios open up to the public for a 2-day festival. The studio stroll is a fun way to see local artists in action, and to discover the art that lies inside the warehouses and old factories next to the French Broad river. You can walk between studios and eat at several restaurants in the district. It's a time to meet the artists, see their newest projects, and watch demonstrations. Download this weekend's map and list of artists.

Details: Friday and Saturday (June 14-15), 10-6. FREE and open to the public.

Grab food at...
Twelve bones
Clingman Cafe
Twin Cousins Kitchen

June 11, 2008

Table Talk, City Walk: a Cafe on the Square obesity awareness event

Next Thursday, June 19, Cafe on the Square is hosting an event to raising awareness of childhood obesity, which affects 25 million children nationwide. Table Talk, City Walk will also highlight the importance of family time at the dinner table as a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Throughout the day and evening, Cafe on the Square will serve all meals on its signature 9 Plates, which are healthier portions of its dishes presented on a 9-inch plate. All desserts will be served in the Cafe's popular Yum Yum Dishes, which diners can take with them to use at home for encouraging moderation while snacking.

Table Talk At each table, cards will feature ideas for family meal fun as well as a short survey to test patrons’ knowledge of food. Completed surveys will be entered in a drawing for prizes including restaurant gift certificates, a session with a personal trainer and tickets the Diana Wortham Theatre.

City Walk portion of the day will encompass after-meal strolls throughout downtown, where participants can pick up cards from participating businesses. By collecting all of the cards, participants will receive a $15 gift certificate to Grove Arcade Corner Market.

Ten percent of all proceeds from the day will go to Louie's Kids, a non-profit organization providing treatment for pediatric and adolescent obesity. Funds will be earmarked to help children in Western North Carolina.

Mayor Terry Bellamy will join diners for lunch at the Cafe at noon, then lead one of the downtown walks afterward.

For more information or to make reservations, call Cafe on the Square at 828.251.5565 or visit the restaurant online. If you can't join the event next Thursday, you can still make a donation to Louie's Kids anytime you visit Cafe on the Square.

About Cafe on the Square: Located at One Biltmore Ave. in Downtown Asheville, Cafe on the Square presents contemporary American cuisine in a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere. The menu includes choice-cut meats, pasta, seafood and vegetarian dishes, while the full bar features fine liquors, craft beers and an extensive wine list. Cafe on the Square offers daily food and drink specials as well as live jazz on Monday and Tuesday evenings.

About Louie's Kids: Louie's Kids is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization that raises funds to help treat childhood obesity, which afflicts 25 million American children today. Louie's Kids works to find the best treatment options to meet the needs of each child, finding the fix that fits, one kid at a time. Founded in 2001 in Alexandria, Va. and operated today out of Charleston, S.C., Louie's Kids places a particular focus on economically disadvantaged kids.

June 9, 2008

Folkmoot Festival July 14-27

Hey readers - has anyone been to Folkmoot in the past? Experiences, tips, or recommendations to share?

From the Folkmoot USA brochure & Web site:

Folkmoot USA, North Carolina's Official International Festival, is a two-week celebration of the world's cultural heritage through folk music and dance. Held each summer across the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina, Folkmoot features performances, parades and workshops by more than 350 performers from a dozen or so countries. Performers demonstrate a cultural heritage through colorful, authentic and original reproduction costumes, lively dance and beautiful sounds. During its 25-year history, over 200 folk groups from more than 100 countries have shared their heritage and culture at Folkmoot USA.

This is Folkmoot USA's 25th anniversary celebration! Countries who are expected to participate include Argentina, Belarus, Canada (Nova Scotia), Chinese Taipei, France, Japan, Kenya, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, and Trinidad. The U.S. Host Team, Whitewater Bluegrass Company & Mars Hill College's Bailey Mountain Cloggers will appear at the Gala, Opening, & Closing performances.

Events and performances are located all over WNC. See the detailed schedule.

Tickets are currently on sale, and purchase options include:
Online at www.folkmootusa.org
By phone at 828.452.2997
Or by contacting the specific venue

Check out a Hawaiian Fire Dancer at Folkmoot 2007.

June 5, 2008

Just Economics recognizes businesses paying a 'living wage'

Carolina Mornings is part of a growing list of certified 'living wage' businesses, as determined by Just Economics. The Mountain Xpress recently featured the organization and the current list of certified businesses in the article Living wage issue picking up steam.

Here is an excerpt from the article:
Living-wage proponents have long maintained that paying workers enough to meet their basic expenses in the local economy is ultimately good for businesses as well. Now, with the issue gaining traction here, a small but growing number of employers are taking the pledge and getting certified by Just Economics, a local nonprofit, says staffer Sarah Osmer.

Launched in March, the free, voluntary program has certified 38 businesses, nonprofits, churches and other employers (see sidebar, “Certified"). For businesses, says Osmer, the biggest immediate payback is the ability to market themselves as a responsible and sustainable employer in a city filled with discriminating consumers. Employers needing time to reach the appropriate wage levels can get probationary certification that gives them two years, with benchmarks to be met along the way.

According to the article, Just Economics has determined that the living wage in the Asheville area is $22,700 per year ($11.35 per hour) or $19,700/yr ($9.85/hr) for an employer providing health insurance, based on Housing and Urban Development's annual calculation of Fair Market Rent. Important to note that Osmer adds that this is the bare minimum.

June 4, 2008

Tweet with me

Follow me on Twitter!

...and I will happily follow you back. Happy tweeting!

June 3, 2008

Biltmore Condos: Package Rates!

Carolina Mornings is offering two awesome packages for the Biltmore Luxury Condos.

Included is the condo rate, a Corner Kitchen gift certificate, and Biltmore Estate tickets or an in-house massage. Biltmore tickets are $40 through Carolina Mornings ($45-51 through Biltmore) and guests get 2 consecutive days at the Estate, an offer not available through Biltmore!

The Biltmore Bed and Breakfast Package is available until the end of August.
Enjoy the best the Biltmore area has to offer - relax in luxury at your Biltmore Condo, enjoy great, homestyle food at Biltmore Village's Corner Kitchen, and enjoy all that the Biltmore Estate has to offer with your special two day admission!

Start your morning with a delicious, hot breakfast one short block from your condo. Featured in Southern Living magazine, Corner Kitchen in Biltmore Village is recommended by locals and visitors alike. After breakfast, travel across the street to the Biltmore Estate entrance, and spend the day touring America's largest, private home.

Tip: Use your tickets to spend one day on the house tour, and the next day around the gardens. This way you'll still have the energy to experience everything else Asheville and WNC has to offer!

Package details:
June - $760 + tax, double occupancy (save $80!)
2 night stay at the luxury Biltmore Condos in the heart of Biltmore Village
$40 gift certificate to the Corner Kitchen
2 tickets to Biltmore Estate, valid for 2 consecutive days

July & August - $1352 + tax, double occupancy (save $150!)
4 night stay at the Condos
$80 gift certificate to the Corner Kitchen
2 tickets to Biltmore, valid for 2 consecutive days

The Luxurious Rest and Relaxation Package is available for a limited time only!
Enjoy ultimate relaxation, surrounded by the quiet charm of Biltmore Village, when you stay at the Biltmore Luxury Condos. Add a massage and a warm meal at the Corner Kitchen, and you're sure to leave Asheville refreshed. Sit back and let Around Town Massage come to you, with their hour-long aromatherapy massage.

Package details:
June - $752 + tax, double occupancy (save $85!)
2 night stay at the Condos
$40 gift certificate to Corner Kitchen
One 60-minute aromatherapy massage in the comfort and privacy of your condo

July & August - $1344 + tax, double occupancy (save $135!)
4 night stay at the Condos
$80 gift certificate to Corner Kitchen
One 60-minute aromatherapy massage in the comfort and privacy of your condo

To book a Condo with package pricing please call to speak with a Vacation Specialist.