September 30, 2008

Most stations now have gas in Asheville as panic subsides

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported this morning that 2/3 of Buncombe County (Asheville) gas stations had gas Monday night, and others received gas during the night. Lines have subsided in Asheville, though stations still are experiencing shortages/outages between deliveries. The Colonial Pipeline is supposedly back to flowing at full capacity, which means the Southeast should be on the road to gas recovery.

The important thing to remember is not to panic. Get as little gas you need, when you need it - don't top off every day, leave enough to go around. Things are only going to get better, so there's no need to horde!

Also, visitors should keep in mind that gas is pricier than average. I assume this has to do with basic supply-and-demand economics, although it seems to me the oil companies, or in our case the Colonial Pipeline, ought to be able to do some price control for the gas stations who in turn can keep costs down for us!

At any rate, expect to pay somewhere between $4.00-$4.50/gallon for unleaded regular. The Citizen-Times article reports the average at $4.13 (23 cents more than the state average).

September 27, 2008

Biltmore Luxury Condos - Press Release

Experience Asheville and Biltmore Estate in Comfort at Biltmore Luxury Condominiums

Enjoy luxury accommodations in the heart of Biltmore, with flexible stays from weekend getaways to seasonal rental terms. Carolina Mornings, Asheville’s premiere vacation rental company, provides full property management and concierge services to all guests.

Asheville, NC (1888PressRelease) September 27, 2008 - Experience the beauty of Asheville in luxury condominiums located right next to the entrance of Biltmore Estate. Biltmore Estate owner George Vanderbilt, architect Richard Morris Hunt, and landscaper Frederick Law Olmstead constructed Biltmore Village, located just outside the Estate, in the 1890’s. The design was intended to match the aesthetic of the Estate, though the Village was originally built for the Estate’s employees and their families.

Read full press release.

September 26, 2008

UPDATE: New Minimum Night Requirement for October!

We have just updated our October nightly minimum for all Carolina Mornings (Asheville Cabins) properties. While we usually only accept 4 night rentals, we've decided to drop it down to just a two night stay! Plus, many properties are offering discounts or other specials as incentive to come visit.

Some of our properties are keeping longer requirements, but almost all are allowing weekend-long stays in an attempt to increase bookings for October. This is a GREAT time to visit Asheville - I believe it's even better than a summertime visit (see reasons below). Most years you won't find this kind vacation rental opportunity since many rental home owners bump their nightly minimum for leaf season.

5 reasons why October is a better time to visit than summertime:
1. Fall feels so re-freshing after a long hot summer!
2. Typically beautiful weather, usually warm days and not-TOO-cold nights.
3. Clear mountain views, since they are no longer obstructed by summer smog (I always joke that the mountains hibernate in summer and come back out in the fall).
4. Leaf colors, of course.
5. Downtown Asheville is a bit less crowded with other visitors.

September 25, 2008

Asheville gas shortage - Update!

Word on the street is that most stations have gas, there are shorter lines, no fights, and the streets in general are pretty quiet. I guess people are staying home today, but this is a good sign of improvement!

September 24, 2008

Gas Shortage Update from the Asheville Chamber of Commerce

The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce is working with government officials and oil industry representatives to maintain open communication regarding the current gas situation. As part of our efforts, we want to share some key message points that can be conveyed to your employees, customers and any out-of-town visitors or clients.

  • Fuel supplies should be increasing throughout the next week and, hopefully, returning to normal by late next week. Already, some stations are reporting a small increase in gas allotments.
  • The Chamber, along with local government, continues to encourage residents to only purchase the gas they need. Motorists should refrain from hoarding gas supplies, so that other community members will have access to fuel as well.
  • Updated information about availability can be found at:

For those communicating with visitors or clients from out-of-town, consider sharing the following message:

  • Like other parts of the South, the Asheville area has experienced fuel supply issues this week. Although gas allotments are increasing daily, we recommend visitors to the area, purchase fuel before arriving in Asheville to avoid possible lines in this region.
  • We anticipate that supplies will return to more normal levels next week.
  • Once in town Asheville's visitors can visit to find Fall Gas Saving Adventures and Park Your Car Itineraries.

Even as supplies increase conservation and reduction measures will aid in returning supplies to normal. Governor Mike Easley assured residents today stating, "This is a temporary shortage. We have been assured by the oil companies that some supplies are on their way today and larger additional supplies are expected through the pipeline very soon."

Drivers should eliminate non-essential trips, car pool when possible, and take advantage of alternate transportation such as public transit (, walking, or bicycle riding.

For up to date information on the gasoline shortage please visit the City of Asheville news page.

I want YOU! come to Asheville soon

Tourists, travelers, vacationers, Asheville-loving visitors, we need you! Don't abandon us now, just because our heads are scrambled and gas stations are floundering. There is NO reason why you should avoid coming to Asheville for the weekend. (Plus, it could be worse, we could be suffering like Nashville.)

Here is why (and how):
  • Getting Gas. You can get gas coming into town from any direction. Obviously you'll want to avoid having to get gas once you're here, since waiting in long gas lines is the last thing you'll want to do on an Asheville vacation. But you shouldn't have any problem filling up on the road between home and here.
  • Location. Sleep close to what you want to do. If you want a weekend of hiking, don't stay in Asheville - don't even go into Asheville. Pick somewhere in the mountains and hike whatever trails are nearby. If you want to spend the weekend 'doing' downtown Asheville, stay close to downtown. The same, of course, goes for Biltmore Estate & Village- or anything else!!
  • Relax. Pick a cabin or vacation rental and hole up for a c0zy, relaxing weekend in the mountains or Asheville proper. You'll still help the local economy if you buy groceries and eat out once or twice.
  • Peace & quiet. Asheville is pretty quiet with the locals staying home. Downtown might be quiet enough to look like the winter season, but with bearable (even nice) weather temperatures. And waits at the most popular restaurants will be cut down. Chances like this don't come around very often!
Team Carolina Mornings is trying to think of ways to increase bookings for our owners. If you are interested in visiting Asheville in the next month or so, take a look at our listings and give one of our Vacation Specialists a call (toll free 800-770-9055). We'll do everything we can reasonably do to secure a booking with you!

Don't let the gas panic scare you

Yes, getting gas in Asheville is troublesome.
BUT...panic won't solve anything.

Yes, lines were disrupted from the hurricane; yes, there is a shortage; yes, we are having trouble getting our gas through our regular Colonial Pipeline because it flows at 4 mpg. But there is no need to hoard gas, or top-off, or close government offices and schools. That worsens the shortage, creates more panic, and the cycle goes on. Most of us don't use more than a tank a week, and by staying home a little more, consolidating errands, and even just carpooling you'll make that gas stretch long enough (another week or so) that the pipeline and gas stations will more likely be back to normal by the time you actually are at the end of your tank.

I've heard so many reasonable blogger-types saying this sort of thing, but I think the general media, as a whole, is neglecting to say what locals need to hear. Instead, local and national words of gas shortages and fear are scaring people and fueling the panic. We just need to keep cool heads on our shoulders and we need to keep our money flowing into our local economy (go out to dinner, go buy a few things downtown). The Ashvegas blog does a good job of explaining this.

I find it hard to believe that the hundreds of cars that line up at gas stations every day actually NEED gas that day. Don't top off - if your tank isn't low, stay away from the stations! Don't hoard, drive less, make your gas last another week. If you don't have to drive and can use a different travel option, even carpooling, just do it!

photo from Asheville Citizen Times Web site. This station only has 2 pumps. Also, note the police car.

Ways to find gas in case you're unlucky enough to really be at the end of your tank:
  • Mountain Xpress gives Twitter updates on gas (if you are a Twitter user, or want to become one)
  • Text @ashevillegas to 44636 from your mobile phone (it will cost you money if you don't typically get free texting)
  • Eric from Asheville has a Facebook group (if you are a Facebook user, or want to become one)
  • Citizen-Times online article asks you to report where you found gas, updates article list pretty regularly

September 22, 2008

Watch Chimney Swifts in Downtown Asheville

Each year, chimney swifts visit Asheville. The birds are best viewed at dusk, when they swirl in large numbers and return to nests in the chimneys around town.

Downtown is always a good bet for seeing swifts. The Grove Arcade has a chimney they seem to particularly like each year. I haven't personally spent an evening watching for the swifts, though I have seen them while out and about in autumn.

Other Asheville bloggers have mentioned a bit about the swifts - above and beyond my ability to explain the phenomenon. Plus, they offer some great photos. This amazing one is from Ashvegas.
This is a great annual event for locals to keep an eye out for on a daily basis, but those in Asheville on a vacation or trip should also look to the sky, you may just get an added bonus to the fall color!

I'd love to hear everyone and anyone's experience with chimney swifts, whether in Asheville or elsewhere. If you'd like to share, just leave a comment! Thanks :)

September 19, 2008

Biltmore Field to Table Festival begins today

The Field to Table Festival begins this Friday! Biltmore is offering guests the opportunity to celebrate the bounty of the season and to experience a little bit of our Appalachian heritage at the Field to Table Festival. Biltmore is showcasing its tradition of collaboration and celebration between the farm and the table, the farmer and the culinarian, the winemaker, and the consumer and the local agriculture community. The Field to Table Festival takes place at the Winery and the River Bend Farm. The River Bend Farm will feature the "field" aspect of the festival with the Winery featuring the "to table" aspect of the event.
September 19th -28th
11:00a.m. – 7:00p.m.
The festival is complimentary with daytime admission!!
Want more information about the Field to Table Festival? Click on the following link for a quick video!

Our Carolina Mornings Biltmore Condos are the perfect place to stay to experience Biltmore! Click the link to learn more on our Web site, or call us toll-free at 800.770.9055.

September 15, 2008

Baking a pie at Pie in the Sky

A recent guest at Pie in the Sky sent the Carolina Mornings team an email about his group's vacation adventure! They were inspired by the name of the rental and also the vast number of apple orchards in Western North Carolina... so they decided to bake a homemade apple pie (with local apples for you locavores out there)! And they were nice enough to share some photos:

Chef (really! he actually is a chef) Robert Keen gets things started.

Alas, there was no rolling pin in the property- but they make do (with a wine bottle from the looks of it)!

And, the finished product (we all drooled over the look of it)!

Photos courtesy of John Sweeny.

We love getting emails like this! If there are any guests out there who would like to share their Carolina Mornings or Asheville experiences, please don't hesitate to drop me a line -

September 13, 2008

MORE great property specials

Several properties are offering a double special for the rest of September! Click the links to view each property listing, access availability calendar (updated in real-time), and use our online reservation system. Call us if you have questions or would like to book online - gas rebate specials must be booked through a vacation specialist.

Mountain Sky and Blue Ridge Getaway have discounted rates for September:
Mountain Sky (3 bd, 2 ba)- $602 the first 2 nights, $261 each additional night
Blue Ridge Getaway (3 bd, 3 ba) - $372 the first 2 nights, $146 each additional night
Mountain Sky, Blue Ridge Getaway, Country Cabin & Slow Living Cottage have gas rebates:
$25 gas rebate for a 2 night stay, $50 rebate for a 4 or more night stay.
**some gas rebate specials will continue into October
Country Cabin (1 bd, 1 ba)- $372 the first 2 nights, $146 each additional night
Slow Living (1 bd, ba) - $285 the first 2 nights, $110 each additional night

Red Wolf offers discounted rates and an extra night for only $10
Red Wolf (2 bd, 2 ba) - $352 the first 2 nights, $136 each additional night

Dogwood Studio has again dropped their rates
Dogwood Studio (studio home) - $237 the first 2 nights, $86 each additional night.
PLUS only a 2 night minimum for October!

September 11, 2008

Another great property special!

For the rest of September, 4 Winds Lodge is offering:
One extra night for $11 (savings of $215)
NO pet fees (savings of $75-150)

See the Web listing, and book online
View a Virtual Tour with many more photos

And, as always, give us a call if you have questions or want to book over the phone!

September 10, 2008

Environmentally friendly travel

terracurve, the "sustainable travel network" is a great online resource for those looking for environmentally friendly travel destinations and options. You can read about eco news, culture, technology, and more - Asheville even gets recognized on the site as a eco-friendly city.

Most noteable though, is the section for Green Travel Tips. The most popular articles include:

-A New York Times interview with 'ecoprenuer' Dana Ghermine Mayer about green travel trends, where Mayer says eco-friendly travel is better for the world and less stressful for the individual.
-How to pack light enough to bring everything as a carry on, and avoid baggage fees when flying
-Responsible travel guidelines, including packing light, researching your destination, considering carbon offsets, walking or using public transit, support the local and regional economy, and so on.
-A great, brief explanation of Fair Trade (Fair Trade centers around both sustainable development and self-sufficient producers, recognizing hard-working farmers and workers in developing countries as well as the value of the product, establishing both environmental and labor standards.)
-Facts on green travel, and ways to achieve greener travel

These are just some of the many, but I hope they provide a starting point by hitting areas of interest to different people. For example, I was most interested in the Fair Trade article and the article about responsible travel. Someone else, however, might find the green travel ideas most interesting. Regardless, I hope there is something here for everyone- I really enjoyed stumbling across this site.

Did you know? Carolina Mornings offers an eco-friendly certification program for our properties. These properties participate in the program, but many others also have green features.
In the office, we do our part by recycling everything (sometimes it looks like an aluminum can factory in the kitchen, when no one gets around to doing a recycle center trip), using a paperless Internet fax program, and taking part in Adopt-A-Highway for trash pickup. We're always looking for new ways to reduce our footprint.

September 8, 2008

Getting personal...

... but (don't worry) not too personal! We rarely do this here on the blog, but I thought I'd take an entry and talk a little about Team Carolina Mornings.

Who is Team CM? Our new Web site (coming soon) will include an "About Us" page with much more detail, but for now here's the basics:
Shari Goldstein - Owner
Ginger Boyd - Chief Operating Officer
Larry Miller - Broker In Charge, Property Manager
Matt Jones - Property Management Coordinator
Katie Sundmacher - Vacation Specialist, Broker
Charlie Brooks - Vacation Specialist
Tena Moore - Social Media Manager
Kelly McIntyre - Marketing Editor, Vacation Specialist (writer of this blog)

This weekend we had the pleasure of a company pot-luck. All of us, plus our friends and significant others, got together to enjoy some laid-back conversation and to quietly celebrate Charlie's recent marriage.

Larry, his wife and their 2 daughters, were nice enough host us all at their house - and we thoroughly enjoyed their great back deck (Larry's handiwork).

While the theme was Mediterranean foods, we got some special Morsels cupcakes to celebrate the occasion. I tasted the chocolate peanut butter cupcake and also had a bite of lemon cupcake, but the first bite alerted me that these aren't your ordinary cupcakes. They are much more like gourmet mini cakes.

The only missing piece of this great gathering was our newest member, Sean Carr. Sean has been doing some heavy legwork over at the Biltmore Condos and will join our team to help us with this as the project grows. We're glad to have him with us and hope he'll be able to make it to the next get-together (we also hope we'll get to have another one soon).

If you are interested in joining Team CM by way of being our guest, check out the Carolina Mornings Web site for Asheville, Blue Ridge Mountains and Smoky Mountains vacation rentals - cabins, condos, chalets and more! We'd love to have you!

September 5, 2008

Escape to Higher Ground

In Asheville we are seeing coastal residents seeking a quick, easy, and enjoyable way to get out of Hurricane Hanna's path.

The Asheville Citizen-Times has an article about the benefits to Asheville tourism, particularly accommodations providers. In this vein, Carolina Mornings is offering a discount to those last minute travellers trying to get out of the wind and rain. Here is the info:

Escape to Higher Ground!
Hurricane escapees and evacuees receive $40 off your reservation.
Call us toll free at 800.770.9055 and we'll help you get out of the storm and into a cozy Asheville cabin, condo, or vacation rental :)

September 4, 2008

Weekly Weekend in Asheville

There are two big downtown events this weekend.

On Saturday, check out Organicfest from 10 am - 6 pm. From the press release:
Organicfest, one of the nation's largest regional organic festival ... is a special environmental project of the Imagine Center, a local non-profit dedicated to promoting organics through educational and fun events.... The finest organic foods and refreshments will be available. Environmental organizations will share information and provide help with organic living, organic gardening, organic farming and other earth care matters. Activities will include live music, dancing, organic food demos, drawings for organic goods and gift certificates and the festival will again feature the popular Organicfest Kids Parade at 1 PM.

The other big event this weekend is LAAFF - Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun Festival (as our West Asheville Plurk friend mmphotos reminded me today).

Let's call it a mini-Bele Chere. From the Web site:
Three blocks of N. Lexington Ave will be lined with all local art, food, beer and street performers on Sunday, September 7th from 11am – 10pm between College Street and the I 240 overpass. The street will be brimming with a celebration Asheville's diverse and unique culture.

Three stages and two courtyards of music and performance include rock and roll, indie pop, funk, folk, ragtime, reggae, world beats, singer songwriters, bluegrass, old time, drummers, clowns, magicians, contortionists, belly dancers, modern dancers, vaudeville actors, fire dancers, break dancers, and hula hoopers. The complete lineup will be available within the next couple of weeks; stay tuned to our emails find out more details of the day's events.

See 'em on Myspace too.

For more events, see the Asheville Chamber's calendar.

If you would like to attend any of these events and need a place to stay, contact Carolina Mornings for your last-minute reservation needs. We have downtown condos, Biltmore Luxury Condos, Asheville cabins and vacation rentals. Reserve as late as 3pm the day of arrival (call by 2 pm to ensure time to complete the reservation process). Toll free 1-800-770-9055.

September 1, 2008

Pet friendly Asheville vacation

Yesterday I went down to the beach - just a day trip - and was surprised by the number of dogs I saw. I can only figure their owners must also have been day tripping, as I've heard so many accounts of difficulties finding pet friendly rentals at the NC shore.

Asheville and the surrounding mountains are a much more pet friendly destination, as noted in various travel magazines, online articles, and on Web sites and forums. This is just one example, and here is one more.

Here are 8 reasons Asheville is a great place to bring Fido:

1. Downtown Asheville. It's a great place to just walk, people watch, and window shop - so bring Fido on a long urban walk!

2. Hiking. The mountains around Asheville are full of hiking trails, and so long as you keep Fido leashed (s)he is welcome on all trails.

3. Rivers. There are also large two rivers in Western North Carolina, the French Broad and the Swannanoa. Enjoy romping in the rivers at access points. Several Carolina Mornings properties also have water access.

4. Parks. All over town you can find a park where your dog will have fun. There is a dog park on the French Broad (West Asheville), plus Beaver Lake (North Asheville) and Bent Creek (East Asheville) are great for walking.

5. Restaurants. Many restaurants in Asheville have outdoor dining in the warmer months, and Fido is usually welcome to sit by your chair.

6. Biltmore Estate grounds. While you can't bring dogs into the House, winery or restaurants, you can explore the entire grounds together (so long as you keep Fido on a leash).

7. Pet-centered businesses. There are pet resorts and day cares, stores with cute pet accessories, and even a dog treat bakery (there is a second one in Black Mountain too).

And, finally,
8. Pet-friendly rentals. Carolina Mornings' owners take dogs, sometimes cats, and have even been known to accept birds!

Check out our Web site or give us a call!

Please share you and your pet's favorite things to do in Asheville!