April 29, 2009

Grossed out by swine flu? Get out of the city and escape to the mountains!

The swine flu is a sickness to be legitimately concerned about, as the World Health Organization is raising the alert level. While there are confirmed cases in New York, Texas, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, Indiana, Kansas and Ohio and expected confirmations of cases in Maine and Illinois, North Carolina is NOT a part of this list at the present time.

Wash your hands and drive to Asheville and the NC mountains to spend some time away from the stress of swine flu. Relax in a downtown loft, mountain chalet, log cabin or beautiful vacation rental. Carolina Mornings is offering fantastic savings during the month of May, including a free $50 gift certificate, several Mother's Day specials, a variety of Owner specials, and our usual packages and Mountain Discovery Pass deals. Combine our offers for unbelievable savings!

April 28, 2009

Our thoughts are with Tupelo Honey Cafe!

Tupelo Honey Cafe, one of Asheville's most popular restaurants, is temporarily closed due to flooding in its basement from a broken City of Asheville water line. The expected re-open date is May 6th at 9am. You can more about the situation, and get updates, on their home page.

We're looking forward to seeing you guys back in action, Tupelo! I'm always craving their Eggs Betty plate (2 poached eggs on a buscuit - I substitute asparagus for ham - and homemade hollandaise. YUM, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it).

Of course there are many other places to tide you over until then! If you're looking for a deal (who isn't these days?), we're offering Corner Kitchen and Zambra gift cards with many of our Carolina Mornings packages and specials.

April 23, 2009

Forbes Best Places - Asheville #6 for Business & Careers

This year Forbes rates Asheville #6 on their list of Best Places for Business & Careers.

According to their summary, we also rank in the top 100 for costs of doing business (#2), cost of living (#94), job growth (#39), and income growth (#41).

You can learn more about Asheville, and other city rankings by visiting the link above!

If you are considering relocating, check out the Asheville Chamber Web site for a relocation guide, and contact us at Carolina Mornings to book a reservation for checking out the city!

April 22, 2009

Biltmore News - flowers and concerts!

From Ashley, our Biltmore representative:
Keeping you informed…

Bloom Schedule:
Due to early blooming this year and the fact that some of the tulips are showing a decline in appearance, the transition over to spring annuals is beginning a little sooner than usual. The good news is that the majority of the walled garden tulips will remain through this coming weekend. The tulips that are being removed will be replaced by snapdragons. Next week, we expect that the remaining tulips will be transitioned over to the spring annuals blend of snap dragons, dusty millers and Iceland poppies. We also expect that the front gate gardens will be a mirror of what is currently blooming in the walled garden. The shrub garden continues to display good color and the Redbuds in the Spring Garden are reaching peak bloom.

Summer Evening Concerts: Summer Concerts at Biltmore will go on sale Tuesday, May 5. The lineup is as follows:
Thursday, July 23: Mercy Me
Friday, July 24: ABBA, The Music
Saturday, July 25: An Evening with Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
Thursday, July 30: An Evening with Tom Jones
Friday, July 31: Rick Springfield with Special Guests Loverboy
Saturday, August 1: The Oak Ridge Boys and Doc Watson & David Holt

Keep in mind that as a Carolina Mornings guest, you can buy our Biltmore tickets at a discounted rate and valid for 2 consecutive days!!

April 21, 2009

Great Savings: Free Dinner on Carolina Mornings

Ok, Nothing is free. However the $50 gift certificate to award wining Zambra Tapas Restaurant is actually free when one books a reservation with Carolina Mornings. Now there are 2 conditions (always some fine print involved, but we will make this very simple): one must book a vacation rental from now until June 1st and this offer cannot be combined with other "specials".
That is it. Very Simple, Value Added Deal that we are offering to all. We want to reach out to our loyal guests new and old and let them know that Asheville's leading vacation rental company is offering a free night out on the town. And, get this: included in our reservations you get our complimentary free North Carolina Mountain Discovery Pass (MDP). This includes more free activities such as whitewater rafting, Asheville Trolly Tour, a round of golf, every day of your stay!!
Again what a Deal! Such Savings! So tell your friends and family to check us out! We really are trying to Simplify!

April 17, 2009

Carolina Mornings wants to help you celebrate motherhood

Celebrate Moms the Entire Month of May!

Festival of Flowers
Relax Mom

Different Packages Available for Mothers Needing Value!

Carolina Mornings is looking for Moms who are stressed out, tired of schlepping the kids, dogs and friends all over town, soccer games, dance, making dinner for your family of 19, cleaning house, and looking at an endless list of chores and errands.

If you - or your loved one - suffer from these symptoms, please call Carolina Mornings and let us help you escape to the mountains. We have the perfect remedy for getting moms back into a healthy mind and body.

How do we do it?

Add any of the following Mother's Specials to any of our luxury mountain log cabins!
Our Specials include: massages, Biltmore tickets, and/or dinner to local area restaurants (which means you save money and your mind!).

Choose your elixir of life....

  • Add Two Biltmore Tickets and Southern Season Sweet Treat for $100 (a savings of $25).
  • Add a $50 Gift Certificate to Zambra's for only $25 (a savings of $25).

  • Add a $40 Gift Certificate to Corner Kitchen for only $20 (a savings of $20)
  • What Women Want: One hour relaxing aromatherapy massage at Relax and Rejuvenate followed by a spa manicure and pedicure. Delicious strawberries dipped in chocolate and spring flowers in a gift box. Add to any reservation for $129.

Visit our Web site to look at our selection of vacation homes available during the month of May. Then give us a call (800-770-9055) to book your Mother's special!

April 15, 2009

Check us out on the Amenity Services Inc (ASI) web site!

Our Carolina Mornings Mountain Discovery Pass, free amenities with every Carolina Mornings reservation, is thanks to our partnership with ASI. They have revamped their Web site since the last time I visited, and it looks great!

Check them out, and while you're at it, take a look at our personal ASI page too! We are enjoying our partnership with ASI, and so are our guests.
We currently offer a variety of amenities depending on the season, including golf at Reems Creek, admission to the Fun Depot, white water rafting with Rock ‘n’ Water, admission to Asheville’s Historic Trolley Tour, passage on the Lake Lure Boat Tour and ski lift passes at Ski the Wolf. There are more to come too!

Congrats to ASI for their nice Web design and thanks to them as well for our great page on their site!

April 14, 2009

Our very own CEO, Shari Goldstein, elected board member of NCVRMA!

Congrats to Shari, our owner and CEO, for being elected to the board of the North Carolina Vacation Rental Managers Association. We are excited for her to have the opportunity to share her leadership abilities, industry savvy, and service with this organization.

NCVRMA "is a professional trade organization dedicated to the development, standards and economic well being of the vacation rental industry" with managers from all over the state whose vacation rental businesses vary greatly in size. "The purpose of the NCVRMA is to provide education for its members; to foster member support and networking, and to be pro-active to legislative issues which affect our industry." Read more.

Managers' associations have helped lend credibility to the vacation rental industry. Member businesses of VRMAs must uphold a standard of excellence and accountability. This protects both businesses and customers, so there are many reasons to be grateful for a managers' organization like this one!

April 9, 2009

Offering customer reviews of vacation rentals

I recently found this post at the Vacation Rental Owner Forum blog about Homeaway's new review feature. The post asserts that customer reviews are subjective and can be unfair, but still recommends owners think about providing this feature on their Homeaway listings because customers can search via reviewed properties. The article says,
According to Homeaway, the advantages of renter reviews include:
1. Reviews increase trust and credibility: Your guests read reviews from past guests for reassurance.
2. Travelers rely on them: 77% of online shoppers use reviews when making purchase decisions (Jupiter Research).
3. Travelers can sort by reviews: This gives homes with more reviews increased visibility with travelers looking for their next vacation home.
4. Reviews let guests promote your vacation home: More than 95% of reviews are positive.
It doesn't take any formal research to realize customer reviews are one of the popular features on the web right now. Any major shopping Web site includes them, and vacation rentals are just hopping on the already moving bandwagon.

At Carolina Mornings, we chose to include reviews for our properties due to this trend but more importantly because we wanted to demonstrate our commitment to credibility and accountability for our rentals and our services.

We use FlipKey.com. Unfortunately this means we can't show the reviews right on our Web listings (yet), but we really love our partnership with FlipKey. We also have a large icon on our homepage that points visitors to our FlipKey reviews site and we try to tell our prospective customers to check out the reviews before they book.

We love reading our reviews which, in keeping with our high company standards, are positive overall. We consistently have an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. And we appreciate the feedback from guests when things don't go perfectly, so that we know what we need to fix. Furthermore, FlipKey allows us to respond to reviews so that we can thank our guests and address any problems they indicated.

We welcome you to read our reviews. We're glad to have them! As a vacation rental company, we hope Homeaway's reviews will help improve credibility in the industry. However, we still believe that renting with a small local business of realtors representing properties is more secure and provides more customer service bonuses, such as helping you pick the right property for your needs. And you'll support the local economy of the area you're visiting! As I always say, that's the way to get more 'bang for your buck'!

April 8, 2009

Carolina Mornings gets an A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau

A photo from our Asheville Chamber ribbon cutting ceremony in 2007.

We've been proud members of the Asheville Business Bureau since December of 2007. We recently received a copy of a report the BBB sent in response to a inquiry about our company. We're pretty proud of ourselves for this profile and wanted to share! (We try to stay modest, we promise, but we can't help but spread the good news about Carolina Mornings!)

From the BBB profile:
Rating: A+
Our opinion of what this rating means:
An exemplary rating. This means that nothing in our files causes us to have any doubt about the company’s reliability.

April 7, 2009

Mountain colors - in the spring!

Photo from www.biltmore.com. Spring Garden at Biltmore Estate.

We always refer to color in the mountains as a part of the Autumn. But the blooms in spring can be just as beautiful.

Since we fully experience all four seasons in the NC mountains, there is a wide time frame for seeing mountain flowers. Typically blooming begins in March and ends in late June. ExploreAsheville, the official tourism Web site for Asheville, gives a spring bloom schedule. Biltmore provides a bloom report on their Web site, so you'll know what's showing up in their gardens during your upcoming stay.

The largest selection can be seen in May, but the famous widespread rhododendron blooms in June. Take hikes in June and will find yourself completely surrounded by blooming rhododendron. It is a beautiful sight!

Some great places to view spring flowers include:
Biltmore Estate (Festival of Flowers in particular)
The Arboretum
The Blue Ridge Parkway
Grandfather Mountain

Just don't forget your allergy pills if you're like me and get sneezy from pollen!

April 2, 2009

Asheville astronomy lovers share the joy of star-gazing

This just in from the great folks at BlogAsheville...

The Asheville Astronomy Club is having Sidewalk Astronomy Nights at Pack Square this weekend - beginning tomorrow night. All ages are welcome to come look through the large telescope they'll have set up, and if you have your own, you are also welcome bring it with you!

You can expect to see the Moon, double stars, and Saturn, it's rings, and Titan, one of it's moons.

This in celebration of International Year of Astronomy, as 2009 marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first use of the telescope to view the stars.

Pack Square
Fri, April 3 & Sat, April 4
8:30 pm
Free and open to the public of all ages

Rain date: Sun, April 5

April 1, 2009

2009 Biltmore Festival of Flowers

The theme of this year's Festival of Flowers at Biltmore is Preservation, to reflect the corresponding opening of the restored suite in the home.

As always, Festival of Flowers will include thousands of blooms, plus music, demonstrations, seminars, and more. A complete list of activities is on the Biltmore Web site.

Festival of Flowers begins this Saturday, April 4 and goes until Sunday, May 17. Carolina Mornings can help you save $65 by adding our Biltmore festival package to any reservation.
Here are the details, which you can also view on our Web site along with our other specials:

Save up to $65 on our Biltmore Festival of Flowers Package!

Experience the beauty of springtime in Asheville! Breathe the mountain air and catch the intoxicating scent of spring flowers. Relax in any Carolina Mornings vacation rental and add our Biltmore Festival of Flowers package to your stay. This year, Festival of Flowers also corresponds with the opening of a new suite of rooms. These four rooms have been through a complete, nearly three-year long, restoration to their original grandeur.

See the sights and smell the flowers of Biltmore Estate in leisure with your special Carolina Mornings two-day admission ticket. You will appreciate the extra time, since the annual Festival of Flowers boasts over 90,000 blooming tulips, daffodils, hyacinths ... and more! Plus there will be many events including music and seminars for cooking, gardening, and wine. The winery will offer demonstrations, tastings, music, and a red wine and chocolate matching workshop. Weekend events will include dance, crafts and grape stomping!

Use your Corner Kitchen gift certificate to start the day with an energizing, delicious breakfast, or rejuvenate after a big day of sightseeing. Corner Kitchen, featured in Southern Living Magazine, is located in Biltmore Village right down the street from the entrance to Biltmore Estate, and is recommended by locals and visitors alike.

Package includes:
$80.00 Gift Certificate to the Corner Kitchen
2 tickets to Biltmore Estate, valid for 2 consecutive days
Add to any reservation for only $128.00, a savings of up to $65!