October 31, 2008

Carolina Mornings receives Sky High Growth Award

We are really proud to say that for the second year running, Carolina Mornings has been honored by the Asheville Chamber of Commerce with a Sky High Growth Award.

The Sky High Growth Award recognizes small businesses that have grown and expanded in several areas over the previous year. The fortunate combination of endless entrepreneurial spirit from our owner Shari, hard work and contributions from our entire team, and maybe a bit of luck have allowed Carolina Mornings to grow and keep growing over the last 10+ years.

Thank you, Asheville Chamber, for recognizing us!

Here is Larry (first person on left), our Director of Property Management & Broker-in-Charge, accepting the award for Carolina Mornings:
photo from the Asheville Chamber's Flickr album of the event.

REI opens in Asheville

It's always surprised me that Asheville didn't have an REI. In fact, for a long time I just assumed that we did, but I'm not a huge "outdoorsy" person and just occasionally liked going into Mast General Store - a local NC icon. The current Asheville store has been in the same downtown location since the 1940s.

Finally someone important at REI realized there was a huge market to be tapped in Asheville, where outdoor activities, even just small-time hiking and camping, are HUGE. And so, they opened the Asheville store. It's a very appropriate location too, away from downtown and around other recent retail space additions over in East Asheville (off of Long Shoals Road for those of you that know Asheville well).

Although I fully support Mast General Store and will continue to do so (as I do all local business), I also love REI. When I'm here working at the Carolina Mornings East Branch office, living in Chapel Hill and Durham, I go to REI all the time. I really love that it is a consumer cooperation, meaning that customers can 'buy' a membership at a one-time fee of $20, and are actually buying into the co-op. I love that mentality in a large company, but also, I get a check in the mail once a year for 10% of what I purchased. The membership paid for itself in my first shopping trip as a member.

Go check out the new REI, especially if you've never been to one. Just don't forget about our great local businesses, either. They are what make Asheville unique!

October 30, 2008

Romantic Vacation in AVL

Imagine celebrating the holiday season nestled in your own private vacation rental atop of one of the mountains surrounding Asheville? Perhaps a B & B is what comes to mind when thinking about spending some holiday time away from the hustle and bustle of daily living. But why spend a getaway hanging out with strangers around the dining room table? Sure the breakfasts are always delicious, but privacy is not one of the premium amenities.
With a vacation rental, you certainly get more for your money! The whole house is included in your stay! No sharing of the common areas, no need to stay in a cramped room to enjoy some private time alone. Aside from having your own private Asheville log cabin home, usually with a fireplace, hot tubs and private decks and porches, you also can enjoy a fully equipped kitchen! Save money and bring your food in and never leave the confines of your romantic paradise in the mountains of Asheville!

October 29, 2008

New Property! Creekside Chalet

We welcome the owners of our newest property, Creekside Chalet!
This home is settled in a gated mountain community. Creekside Chalet has 3 bedrooms (2 queen beds and 2 twin beds), and 2 bathrooms. With a sleeper sofa, the home sleeps 8 people. Enjoy the spacious living areas, which have plenty of room for everyone - and amenities like satellite television, high-speed Internet, and a game room that will keep everyone happily entertained. Or enjoy some quiet time on the comfortable couches in front of the cozy gas log fireplace.

There is just as much fun and relaxation outside of the chalet as inside. The huge covered deck has a peaceful view and comfortable seating, as well as a table for dining al fresco. Plus, the community park is a short walk away, with fun for the kids and picnic tables for a lunch out at the park.
Creekside Chalet is located in Rutherfordton. This small mountain town is about 30 minutes to Lake Lure and Chimney Rock, and easy hour's drive to Asheville.

Rates: $422 for the first 2 nights, $171 each additional night
Current special: discounted rates until the end of the year (excluding holidays) at $362 the first 2 nights, $141 each additional night

October 27, 2008

Tips to get more travel for your money

The LA Times travel section recently published an online article of Tips to make your budget go farther for less. These are all great travel tips, and are worth checking out no matter what... but what if you know where you want to go and are attempting to apply these tips to your destination? We hope that destination is Asheville, and if so...

Here are four great tips from the article, made relevant to Asheville (Western NC) travel, as well as stays with Carolina Mornings:

Look for coupons and promo codes.
Utilize the Chamber of Commerce/Visitor's Center to achieve this tip. ExploreAsheville has online coupons available for local attractions, businesses, and accommodations. There's also a page for area specials and packages. Carolina Mornings offers our own packages and property specials, as well as our Mountain Discovery Pass which includes free passes to area attractions.

Don't focus solely on airfare.
If you live in the Southeast, think about traveling closer to home by coming to Asheville. You can still get a great vacation away, without having go too far or for as long.
If you live elsewhere in the country and plan to visit Asheville, look to cut costs in other areas of travel. Vacation rentals are nearly always a better 'bang for your buck' than hotels, especially if you are traveling with others and can split the cost of a house rather than booking several hotel rooms.

Timing is everything.
Consider dates that are outside of peak seasons. In Asheville, our peak times are summer, October, and holidays. While it is true that at a lot of accommodations you'll find cheaper rates in the off-season, our Carolina Mornings properties typically keep the same rates all year long. However, in our off-seasons the nightly minimums are shorter and you have a great chance of getting a good property special - like a gas rebate or discounted nights.
Plus, traveling outside of the summer months you'll have fewer visitors to contend with, and much clearer skies (our mountains are often obscured in the summer by smog).

Eat, drink and be merry, but don't blow your budget.
Remember that 'bang for your buck' I mentioned earlier? One reason for this is that vacation rentals give you the option to eat in during your stay. Grocery shopping and cooking at 'home' is a great way to cut down on costs and still eat well.
Then you can splurge on a few great meals at Asheville's many tasty restaurants. Another great thing about Asheville is that most restaurant food prices remain reasonably priced, and the food is still great!

October 24, 2008

Riverview Hideaway

Riverview Hideaway is a great way to get to know Asheville since it's located right in town, with views of both the French Broad River and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sit on the great porch and enjoy your front yard, and you'll get the real experience of living here.

Relax in the open living space, which has plenty of natural light and a style that reflects the local Asheville arts culture.

This property has 3 bedrooms (one room has a queen bed, one has a full bed, and the third has a full and two twin beds all together) and 2 bathrooms, and sleeps 8 people.

Rates: $402 for two nights, $161 each additional night.
Current special: Enjoy discounted fall rates of $382 for two nights, $151 each additional night.

October 23, 2008

Asheville fall color update & the White House perfect Christmas tree

With all of our new properties, I haven't had much time to give you the scoop on what's happening in Western NC.

Yesterday was the Fall Color Guy's weekly update on Fall Leaf Color. Here's the report:
In higher elevations the leaves have peaked and is starting to crawl down the North Carolina mountains. In elevations lower than 4,000 feet, the leaves are just starting to peak. It is still a wonderful time to pack the car and head to the North Carolina mountains for some hiking, fishing, biking or just relax while sipping some hot coco and take in the view. Drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway or enjoy the history of NC mountain culture. Grab the camera, load up the family and come catch the fall hues and cooler weather!
There is a longer update for the week of October 19, as well as local reports from individuals in each county, which of course includes the city of Asheville.


Biltmore Estate is in their fall season now until November 1. From Ashley, our Biltmore Partnership Coordinator:
Guests will find every kind of fall beauty they could hope for at Biltmore... fall gardens bursting with thousands of colorful mums, pastoral and mountain views, vibrant colored forests, and rolling countryside.
The photo up top is a current picture of their fall season walled garden, full of pink mums.

At Carolina Mornings, we have Biltmore tickets available to add to any reservation. They are $49 per adult, $25 per kid 10-16 until the end of October (prices go up in November for the winter holiday season). Our tickets are also good for two consecutive days.

In other news, the White House found their perfect Christmas in Western North Carolina again this year. That makes 3 times in 4 years, according to this Citizen-Times article.
An at least 18 1/2-foot-tall Fraser fir from River Ridge Farms of Crumpler [Ashe County, NC] will spend the holidays in the Blue Room of the White House, the N.C. Department of Agriculture says.
The National Christmas Tree Association reported on Tuesday that the tree was selected.
The Blue Room Christmas Tree was handpicked by Director of the Executive Residence and White House Chief Usher Stephen Rochon, Superintendent of Grounds Dale Haney and White House Chief Floral Designer Nancy Clarke on Oct 21, 2008. The tree will be cut in late November and sent to Washington, D.C.

Of the things Western North Carolina does really well, Christmas trees are near the top of the list. Which reminds me of a wonderful book I loved as a kid, and I'll leave you with this -- if you've got youngsters in your family, and you celebrate the Christmas holiday, you might want to investigate The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree (oh, and grown ups beware: I tear up now just thinking about it)!

October 22, 2008

New Properties! Pumpkin Patch

We love the great autumn theme at Pumpkin Patch, but we're sure the property will be just as quaint during any other season!

You'll feel nice and cozy in the comfortable living areas of Pumpkin Patch. The living room and kitchen are great for hanging out and chatting or enjoying television, books or games. There are 2 bedrooms (both with queen size beds) and 1 bathroom. Play in the hot tub on the back deck, or relax in the porch swing!
Pumpkin Patch is located in Hendersonville, about 45 minutes south of downtown Asheville. But you don't even have to drive that far to experience some Western NC fun - Hendersonville is a historic town and has many great restaurants.
Rates: $432 for 2 nights, $176 each additional night
Current Special: Enjoy discounted rates - $372 for 2 nights, $146 each additional night - from now until Thanksgiving. In addition, reservations for four nights or longer will receive a $50 gas rebate.

October 20, 2008

New properties! Autumn Delight

Another new fall property at Carolina Mornings is Autumn Delight.

The windows, porch space, and furniture in this home personify the crisp, cool, and clear light that the Autumn season represents in Asheville.
Autumn Delight has 3 bedrooms (one king, two queen size beds) and 2.5 baths. There is also a queen size sleeper sofa in the living room, to comfortably sleep 8 people. Among many other amenities, enjoy the 180-degree view from the hot tub on the porch!

This property is located in a lovely neighborhood setting in Bat Cave (Henderson County), NC. It is approximately 40 minutes to Asheville and Biltmore Estate, but just minutes from Chimney Rock and Lake Lure.

Rates are discounted for fall!! Just $452 the first 2 nights, and $186 each additional night.

October 17, 2008

New Properties! A Mountain Escapade

We're glad to have A Mountain Escapade re-join us as a property we represent.

This property is in a great location - outside of town so you have a 'getaway' feeling, but an easy drive to Asheville. The interior is nicely decorated with comfortable furniture and amenities like a large television, wireless Internet access, and a wood fireplace.

A Mountain Escapade has 3 bedrooms (one king, one queen and two twin size beds), and 2 bathrooms so it comfortably accommodates 6 people.

Read more about this property and see more photos on the Carolina Mornings Web site.

Rates: $502 for the first 2 nights, and $211 for each additional night. (Don't forget - minimum nightly stays apply based on the time of year.)
Current Special: For October stays 3 nights or longer, receive a $25 gas rebate!

Stay tuned for our other new properties: Autumn Delight (featured Monday 10/20), Pumpkin Patch (featured Wednesday 10/22), and Riverview Hideaway (featured Friday 10/24)!

October 15, 2008

Leaf Update!

A post over at BlogAsheville says now is the time to head up to the Blue Ridge Parkway's higher elevations and do a little viewing or hiking. There is also a great photo of fall color from just yesterday posted there, if you need visual encouragement!
Ok, if you don't get up on the Blue Ridge Parkway this weekend or before, you'll be very sorry for about a year. There's still more color to come in the middle mountains and the foothills, but the ride up to this autumn wonderland is lined with maple leaves blood red, sassafrass' warm yellows, late-blooming asters and a color palate as diverse as our wonderful ecosystem.
The fall foliage report at VisitNC.com hasn't been updated as of this posting today, but last week's update says that at the high elevations, colors were starting to really pop.
With the maples and burning bushes showing bright reds, oranges and yellows and the birches, goldenrod and poplar showing darker hues, there is plenty for everyone’s eyes to enjoy. Lower elevations and the piedmont areas are showing little leaf color, but are plentiful in colorful fall events and attractions.
You can get more information on leaf colors by calling 1-866-6leaves.

It sounds like those of you who have already planned a trip to the mountains in the next few weeks are really going to luck out. Last year fall color was kind of a dud, so if you came last year and were disappointed, you should consider coming back to make up for it!

We're still taking October reservations, with several properties still available. As always, check them out on the Carolina Mornings Web site.

October 13, 2008

New specials from our owners

Gas Rebates:

Autumn Special: Free Gas, $150 Value! at Sunrise Cottage

October Special: $50 and $25 Gas Rebates Available! at Blue Ridge Getaway, Country Cabin Getaway and Ekho Cottage

October Special: Stay 3 nights or longer and receive $25 Gas Rebate!
at A Mountain Escapade and High Acres

$25 and $50 Gas Rebates Available throughout the Fall!
at Cozy Creek, A Bird's Nest, Asheville's Downtown Loft

Discounted rates:

Fall Special: $20 Gift Certificate or Stay 3 nights and add a 4th night for ONLY $11! at Bull Creek Cottage

Book now for winter... and enjoy two nights with a third night for only $11! at Asheville Getaway & Rivertime

Military specials:

**Also valid for parents of active service men and women.

Discounted pet fees - up to $50.00 at Black Bear Cabin & Red Wolf

Waived pet fee for one dog at Trout Rock

October 10, 2008

Great Black Mountain College article

Check out this really great article about Black Mountain College, Legacy of NC's Black Mountain College Continues.

Here's an excerpt:

Black Mountain College opened its doors in Asheville in 1933, testing limits in
education, art and society as students and faculty worked together to cultivate
everything from minds to food. There were no bells that rang when classes ended.
Students didn’t get report cards with As or Fs.

“Students had to take charge of their own education and that was totally the opposite of most colleges in that era,” Allen said.

It was founded by classics professor John Andrew Rice, who had been fired from Rollins College in Florida. He took several colleagues and some promising students with him and opened the school.

At first, the entire campus was inside a YMCA building. Later the faculty and students built cabins on a farm that everyone worked on. People living in the area thought “it was a nest of communist and homosexuals,” said alumnus and author Michael Rumaker.

At a time when racial segregation was the law, two blacks taught there in 1945, and by 1947, five black students were enrolled.

There are constantly events in Asheville related to Black Mountain College. Find out details at the Black Mountain College Museum Web site.

October 9, 2008

Weekly Weekend in Asheville

Thursday, Friday & Saturday
96th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair
Each year the fair offers an opening parade, midway, fireworks, traditional Cherokee food and competitions that bring out the best of the Eastern Bands basket makers, carvers, quilters, gardeners and more. The fair also attracts high-quality entertainment to perform each evening in the amphitheater. The fair began as a way for members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to showcase their arts and crafts and invite neighboring communities to the Qualla Boundary, the tribes traditional homeland. The fair has grown since its early days, but its original focus remains. This is a hugely popular event among Eastern Band members and a great opportunity for visitors to experience the fun, welcoming qualities of the Cherokee culture. Gates open 10 a.m. daily with Nightly shows.

Saturday, Oct 11

Doc Watson & David Holt: Hills of Home
Two priceless performances by superstars of traditional American folk music, legendary performer Doc Watson and Grammy-winning musician and folklorist David Holt.

12 p.m., Diana Wortham Theatre
Tickets: $45. Get them by calling 828-257-4530 or visiting above Web site

The acclaimed touring showcase of odd and hilarious found videos, will make a one-night-only appearance in Asheville next month as part of its 2008 North American tour. Hosts Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, whose credits include The Onion and the Late Show with David Letterman, are excited to present their unique blend of video clips and live comedy in two big shows. The shows are being sponsored locally by the Media Arts Project (The MAP) and OrbitDVD. This one-of-a-kind event compiles more than an hour’s worth of footage from videos that were found at garage sales and thrift stores and in warehouses and dumpsters throughout the country. Curators Pickett and Prueher host each screening in-person and provide their unique observations and commentary on these found video obscurities. From the curiously-produced industrial training video to the forsaken home movie donated to Goodwill, the Found Footage Festival resurrects these forgotten treasures and serves them up in a lively celebration of all things found.

8:00 p.m. & 10 p.m., Asheville Arts Center
Tickets to the Found Footage Festival are $10 and are available online at www.brownpapertickets.org or around Asheville at Static Age Records, Harvest Records, TV Eye, Orbit DVD or at the door.

Sunday, Oct 12

The Asheville Choral Society (Lenora Thomas, Music Director), one of Western N.C.'s premiere performing arts organizations, will perform Sir Paul McCartney's oratorio Ecce cor Meum (Behold my Heart) -- the first performance in the Southeast and only the second performance in the U.S. since its Carnegie Hall debut.

4 p.m. Diana Wortham Theater
Ticket prices recently dropped from $75 to just $40.

See many more events on ExploreAsheville.

Interested in making a last minute trip to Asheville? Give Carolina Mornings a call at 800.770.9055 or visit our Web site to view all of our Asheville vacation rentals, log cabins, condos, chalets and more!

October 8, 2008

Asheville ranked in the top 50 performing cities of 2008

From the Mountain Xpress:
Asheville has placed 46 on the Best-Performing Cities 2008 list, just released by the Milken Institute/Greenstreet Real Estate Partners—up 71 spots from the city’s 2007 rank. That’s the second-largest gain among all 200 cities on the list.

The annual study, Best-Performing Cities: Where America’s Jobs Are Created and Sustained, ranks metropolitan areas by how well they’re creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth.

Factors used to determine the ranking include: short- and long-term job growth; wage and salary statistics; and the concentration of high-tech industries. Asheville’s rise in the rankings was driven primarily by strong one-year and five-year job growth.
That's some good news for the locals on "Main Street" concerned about the economy. Let's hope we move up again for next year's ranking!

October 6, 2008

Fall leaf colors will be gorgeous

Each Wednesday, those interested in the status of fall color in Asheville and the surrounding Western North Carolina mountains can turn to VisitNC's "Fall Color Guy" - Dr. Howard S. Neufeld, a professor of plant physiology at Appalachian State University in Boone.

The Fall Foliage Report states that, as of October 1, "Cool crisp nights are setting the stage for bright color across the state. A hint of color is present in the highest elevations; lower elevations are still patiently waiting."

The current Asheville area, which is where our Carolina Mornings properties are located, has the following report:

While the colors in this area are still subtle, there is plenty of beauty to be found. County Road, in the Lake Junaluska area, is a quick drive full of twists and turns that is always beautiful and is currently showcasing a large maple tree showing tinges of yellow that is simply beautiful. There are also a few reds popping up along this stretch.

Nights continue to be slightly cool and the days are moderate in temperature.

Sounds like good news for all of our guests planning to come in the next few weeks. If you like the idea of being surrounded by beautiful fall colors, it isn't too late to book with us - we have plenty of Carolina Mornings properties still available and now just a 2 night minimum stay! Check it out on our Web site, or call us toll free at 800.770.9055.