December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolution: Exercise in Asheville, NC...

So here we are, the last day of 2009. Many of us have made plans of growth and change as we have been thinking about 2010. Many, as a yearly ritual, plan to be healthier, which includes... exercise... So I was thinking about this, about all the forms of exercise that we have today, about forms of exercise we have lost touch with, about forms of exercise we get from everyday doings that we are shying away from more and more. Personally, my favorite form of exercise is hiking/ walking, and Asheville has plenty of spaces to shed some tread while shedding some pounds or just firming it up a bit... The first thing I'd like to point out is how many of the rentals offered by Carolina Mornings have hiking trails on property! This is perfect as you travel here- you can wake up and exercise right outside of your front door! Better still is that many of the rentals also allow you to bring your pets- exercise for all!! Then comes the inevitable trip into town- no extra exercise needed. Just traversing our town gives you uphill climbs and downhill descents, and there are so many things to see that sometimes you forget you are getting exercise (and I am not a runner- remember when I say walk, it can also mean run). This is just as true for the biker in you. And that brings me to the next form of exercise widely available here- tons of places for biking. You can bike into, and all over, town, and bikers find their way into Asheville from some far away places. Although most of the Parkway is closed off this time of year, check out Pisgah National Forest or Bent Creek Experimental Forest. These places are chock full of great trail rides, and great trail riders. Morning or mid-afternoon seem to be the least crowded times. These are great places to hike as well if you have already wandered the property of your mountain vacation cabin. Then there's rafting, swimming (Friday, Jan 1 marks the second annual Polar Bear Plunge at Lake Lure- phew!!), frisbee golf(here's a great list of courses in the area)... pretty much anything. And this doesn't even count the indoor venues for workouts; I'm an outdoorsy lady, though, so I lack the knowledge of where all one could go if they wanted to exercise indoors. Here is the list I did compile of indoor workout spaces: The Rush seems to be what everyone is hyped about here if they go to a gym- gym; the Jewish Community Center; YWCA of Asheville ;YMCA of Asheville; and if you go to a national chain gym, you could check out what it would be for you to get into the gym here...I strongly suggest getting out and breathing in some fresh mountain air to start off the new decade, though, so put on your walking/ running/ biking shoes or boots, and get yourself to Asheville for some form of exercise- you can have fun while sticking with your "resolution"!!

December 29, 2009

Ring in the New Year in Asheville, NC!! PART II

Looking for a New Year getaway? Come and stay with us in an Asheville, NC mountain cabin to ring in 2010, and check out the local scene!! We have already covered a few New Year's 2010 happenings, and here are a few more:
-If you have an in, and know the people you should know, then maybe you could get tickets to the sold out show at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium: The Avett Brothers on New Year's Eve!! This is the biggest event happening in Asheville, and if you are a fan and really want to go, surely you can make it happen!
-A local favorite, Woody Wood and Hollywood Red, will be playing at Jack of the Wood, a favorite local pub that serves their signature Green Man Brewing beer (brewed down the street at Dirty Jack's). This pub has a cozy ambiance and great food, so you could make it an evening-into-night affair!
-Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band is also a local fave, and this year they will party at Emerald Lounge on Dec. 30 & Dec. 31, 2009. If you're into doing some booty shakin', this may just be the place for you! You can always check them out on the 30th and hear something else that Asheville has to offer on the 31st... just an option...
-If you are looking for something to do with the family and feel like getting out, check out the Conscious New Year's Eve Party in Black Mountain at Camp Rockmont. Although the gathering seems to be focused indoors, Camp Rockmont is a beautiful place for retreats and music (this is where the bi-annual Lake Eden Arts Festival is held)

So many options for the new decade here in Asheville, so load up the family and head to your home away from home in one of our Asheville vacation cabins (even Fido can stay with you at many of Carolina Mornings' properties!).

December 28, 2009

Ring in the New Year in Asheville, NC!! PART I

So here we are into the last week of 2009... what do you still have on your list to do?? If a trip is in order (either on your list, or a trip to get away from your list!), why not ring in 2010 while staying in one of our Asheville, NC vacation cabins?? What a fun and cozy place to be!!
If you are one that prefers to stay in, I say cuddle up next to a warm fire with the dog at your feet, the family playing games, and a big meal of black-eyed peas and collard greens!! Staying with Carolina Mornings gives space for all of this and more: pet- friendly rentals, fully equipped kitchens, game rooms, fire places, mountains, hiking... Or if you want to get out, you'll have this cozy space awaiting you after the ball drops!
Here is the first list of the haps for around the town, if you are one who likes to get out and practice some dance moves (maybe after taking a lesson mentioned in the last blog??).

-As mentioned in an earlier blog, you could ring in the New Year with some super-fun swing dancing!! You can either join the dance camp, or just show up at The Crowne Plaza on Dec. 31 for a night of Big Band Swing.
-The Diamond Ball is a black tie event held this year at Doubletree Hotel, and you could support a local non-profit while enjoying the party!
-Party at The Orange Peel with Toubab Krewe and boogie the night away with this local favorite. The New Year's shows at the Orange Peel have always come complete with a complimentary glass of champagne when the ball drops.
-Bluegrass fans join together at possibly my favorite venue in town, The Grey Eagle, for a night with Larry Keel and Natural Bridge. This evening sounds like a high-energy, low-key event in a cozy space.

Check back in a day or two for other events going on as we wind up 2009...

December 23, 2009

Dancin' in the Streets of Asheville, NC

Well, maybe you start the night out dancing in a club or a pub, but you may end up dancing in the streets after all of the fun you had!! You could try to dance your way back to your Asheville vacation rental...
Having said that, here is where to go for whatever dancing may suit your fancy. Pretty much any night of the week is covered, and some of the evenings offer lessons if you feel so inclined.
Mondays at The Grey Eagle: Contra dancing
Tuesdays at Eleven on Grove: Swing dancing and Tango dancing
Wednesdays at Eleven on Grove: Zydeco dancing
Wednesdays at Broadways: 80's night
Thursdays at Warren Wilson College: Contra dancing
Thursdays at Mela Indian Restaurant:Bellydancing
Fridays at Eleven on Grove: Salsa and Mambo dancing

Saturdays and Sundays are dance parties all over town; find some great music (Asheville has plenty to offer!) and try out your moves!! Or, spend a cozy night in at your vacation cabin and practice what you learned at a lesson that week!

December 22, 2009

Learning to dance in Asheville, NC... New Year's Resolution??

Amongst the many other things that Asheville has to offer is a thriving dance scene. On most any given night, there are great venues for dancing: the town has a couple of different contra dances, an 80's night for rockin' out, salsa dances, ballroom dancing, etc etc. One event that isn't offered throughout the year is the Lindy Focus Swing Dance Camp. This camp is in its eighth year and running, and if you're looking for a new hobby, this sounds awesome!! It is offered from December 27, 2009 until January 1st, 2010, and you can join the whole week or just for a day. What a super fun way to ring in the New Year 2010- dancing the new jig you just had a blast learning!! Not only does the camp focus on the fun of learning (or bettering) swing dance, you can take a class, or get your hair all done up, in vintage hair design. You can also take one of their fashion craft classes. A trip to Asheville and a swing dance camp... sounds like the perfect Goodbye to 2009 (not to mention an incredible gift...)! If you are joining us in Asheville, NC and staying in one of our Asheville vacation cabin rentals, why not take a day (or a couple) and join the fun of swing dance??! You can then go back to your home away from home and cut loose with all of your new moves!

December 18, 2009

It's SNOW in Asheville, NC! Where's the sled??

Today we woke up to SNOW!!! It started as a slushy mix but has moved into beautiful big, white snow flakes, the kind that blankets the ground and beckons you to run and play in it. Schools are closed, roads are coated, the town is quite (well, as quiet as can be for this time of year!). What is one of the best things to do in the snow?? Why, SLEDDING, of course!! If you come and stay with Carolina Mornings in one of our Asheville vacation cabins and get to experience the beauty of this snow, here are some suggestions of where to play...
-When deciding on which of Carolina Morning's properties you would like to visit, maybe think of the possibility of snow and which would be ideal for sledding. Eagle's View, Eagle's Perch, Bear Wallow and McGuffey's Ridge are a few options that have hills (not for the faint of heart! You have to climb back up after the fun ride down!) If these properties aren't what you are looking for, give us a call and we can suggest another!
-When you are visiting in-town and have loaded up the sled for a side-ride in your day, check out the hill at Montford Park (located near the end of Montford Ave.) Nice and easy for the whole family.
-If you want to fit sledding in with another event (remember a change of clothes!), bring the kid's to visit the WNC Nature Center and check out the hills around there. There is a neighborhood right near, so pay attention to where those-in-the-know are headed!
-My last suggestion would be to head to Grove Park Inn for the Gingerbread exhibit (mentioned in an earlier blog) and check out the park at the bottom of the hill (Macon Ave.) This is also a great hill for the whole family.

December 15, 2009

Santa Claus in Asheville, NC??

'Tis the season, and if you are staying in one of our Asheville, NC vacation rentals during this holiday season (hurry- Carolina Mornings has great specials!!) you must get your photo taken with Santa!! This year you can do the traditional and visit Santa at the Asheville Mall anywhere from 10am- 9pm M-Sa or 12-6 on Su, and while you are there be sure to visit the Memorial Trees Garden. If you are feeling non-traditional, or are like me and detest any kind of mall visit, you have other opportunities to have a sit down with Father Christmas. Grove Park Inn offers pictures with Santa on Saturdays from 10am-12pm (only one Saturday left!!), and while you are there you can visit the National Gingerbread Competition I talked of in an earlier blog. Or, head downtown on Saturday morning and visit with Santa in Pritchard Park. Santa visits Pritchard Park from 10am-11am (this is the last Saturday for his visit here as well), and you can head from your photo shot with Santa to do some last-minute shopping where it is best. Whatever you may need to do, you have opportunities, so be sure to find time for pictures with Mr. Claus!!

The last weekend before Christmas in Asheville, NC

So this year Christmas falls on a Friday, making this weekend the last we have before Christmas 2009... are you ready?? Here in Asheville, there are many things going on to help you prepare for Christmas, or help you celebrate Christmas. Here are a few things I have found:
-There is still time to enjoy browsing the Gingerbread Competition at The Grove Park Inn... stop by any weekday and wander through, or take the tour.
-Not previously mentioned, there are 35 of the competition gingerbread houses on display at the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville. This is a great place to give the kids a break from shopping and give them something to look at. It is also a great place to resume shopping, so it could work for the whole family.
-Don't forget the Festival of Lights at Lake Julian (see my previous blog), this is the last weekend!
-Saturday is the final Seasonal Sizzle at Seven for the year, with an after-party at Elaine's Piano Bar this weekend (Grove Park Inn, two birds with one stone...)
-Asheville City Market is having a holiday bash this Saturday at 10am
-French Broad Food Coop is having a holiday party this Saturday as well from 11am-4pm
-A Swannanoa Solstice will be performed by Asheville's new Conservatory on the 20th. I haven't ever seen this production, but if I were to pick a holiday show to see, I beleive it would be this one.
-LaZoom Bus is offering a holiday tour the 23rd thru 27th

*I mention Christmas, but I do realize there are plenty of other celebrations going on this time of year!! These happenings are not just focused on Christmas; let's maybe just say holiday season...*

SSOOO, if you are staying with Carolina Mornings in one of our Asheville vacation cabins or are thinking of visiting (what a great place to come for the holidays!!), you have plenty to choose from this weekend when you feel like being out and about!

December 10, 2009

A Holiday Taste of the Town!

Looking for a holiday trip that will help this time of year slow down and allow you to enjoy the holidays?

You're looking in the right place. As you know, Asheville is home to some of the most majestic landmarks of the holiday season (see here and here and here). And by all means, when you come to Asheville for a day trip or hopefully for longer (i.e. weekends in beautiful Asheville cabins!), check out the Biltmore, the Grove Park Inn's Gingerbread houses and the beautiful lights around town!

BUT don't forget about all those local hideaways and secrets! Check out the Asheville City Market in Pack Square from 10am-2pm THIS WEEKEND for a great taste of the holidays in the mountains of NC.

Traditional gingerbread hearts at a German Chr...Image via Wikipedia

For example: THIS Saturday, check out live music from Galen Kipar AND a cooking demo by Chef Tres from the Lobster Trap to help you get ready for holiday cooking!

Still need Christmas gifts-- look no further than the local and handmade crafts like wreaths and arrangements, baked goods, handmade jewelry and so much more.

Lacking a tree for your Asheville cabin rental? Don't fear... THREE farmers tailgate markets in the Asheville, NC area will be offering local Christmas trees THIS weekend!

The best way to experience the holidays like a local? Grab your family, your coats and leave technology and hassle behind, and come stay at any of the beautiful Carolina Mornings Asheville cabin rentals! Experience the beauty of the mountains with the twinkle of the stars, the quiet of the country and the bustle of the city! Everything you could ask for in an Asheville holiday vacation!

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December 8, 2009

To market, to market in Asheville, NC

Appalachian Grown: Support Local Foods!!
Continuing on the theme of Asheville as a shopping paradise, I feel I want to change my vocabulary for the experience: Asheville is incredible for those that consciously consume!! In previous blogs I've written about boutique shopping, local artists and their wares, shopping for children, for four-legged family members... I want to also give a very small blurb on our local food scene: it's incredible!!!! So many farmers in this area make their fresh-grown and prepared foods available to us through a market on most days of the week (and yes, these markets also have crafters if you need a last-minute gift or two). While staying in one of our Asheville, NC vacation rentals, why don't you make use of the beautiful kitchen and share some locally grown food with the family? Better yet, plan an Asheville mountain retreat for the holiday season and prepare the big meal from Appalachian-grown foods!

Asheville Farmer's Markets:

Tuesday: West Asheville Tailgate Market 2:30-5:30
Wednesday: Wednesday Afternoon Downtown Tailgate Market 2-6:30
Friday: Downtown Market 10-6 (bonus- HiFi Coffee Shop! Market just opened recently, no site
yet) S. French Broad
Saturday: Downtown Market 10-6 S. French Broad
French Broad Food Coop Market 8-2
North Asheville Tailgate Market 8-12
Asheville City Market 8-1
Sunday: Greenlife Tailgate Market (not held in winter)

Nourish your family and help support our wonderful community all at the same time!! For more information about Appalachian-grown foods, please check out

Don't forget your helmet!

Looking for a way to get out of the house in the crisp winter air?

This weekend, check out The Bright Light Biker-- a community ride downtown Asheville, NC to show bikers the highlights of the town's cycling community!

red bike yellow wallImage by zen via Flickr

The celebration was created to bring awareness to the community, local and national media about the hazards of bicycling and the importance of establishing a bicycle-friendly city!

The day-long celebration of biking in Asheville begins Saturday, Dec. 12 at 3:30 PM-- Bring your friends and bikes and gather at the Pack Square Park in City County Plaza

4:00 PM: Begin the ride through the downtown streets

5:00 PM: End the ride with a celebration at the Asheville Brewing Company on Coxe Ave.

Looking for some rest and relaxation after your long, tedious rides? Check out the premiere Asheville vacation rentals with Carolina Mornings! Relax in one of our warm and cozy Asheville cabins after a mountain trail, downtown tour or leisurely cycle!

Still need some convincing? Check out all of these ROAD trails, many of which area near some of the Carolina Mornings cabins in North Carolina!
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December 6, 2009

Real (honest to goodness, no edits, no interventions) Guest Reviews

Enjoy Water Falls!

I decided to share some reviews taken from Flipkey.   
Flipkey is  the exclusive third party provider of vacation rental reviews on TripAdvisor!
I am sharing some highlights:

February 2007 - Raleigh, NC
"Pie In The Sky was the best recipe I could have ever received:
- 1 nice cabin
- 1 cup privacy
- 3 1/2 cups peace & quiet
- 2 TBL relaxation
- 1 gallon of love
- 1 pinch of a perfect view
- 1 hot tub
Bake @ 375 for 18-25 min and you get a fantastic relaxing vacation for two."

Guest Review  Nov 16, 2009 For Sunrise Cottage:

"Beautiful Place!"

This was such an amazing place to stay. We got to see the sunrise every morning and enjoy the serenity of the clean mountain air. Everything about this cottage was perfect, and I will most definitely be staying there in the future. Thank you Carolina Mornings!!
Jan 8, 2009 Hidden Pond:

"Very pretty and comfortable!"

This is a very pretty, clean and well decorated home. The hot tub was wonderful! We had to adjust to the roosters next door but still had a wonderful stay! The gas stove really kept the den warm- though since heat rises, the loft was extra warm! All in all, it was a great stay and we loved your beautiful home! We would definitely recommend it as a great place to stay while visiting in the Asheville area!

Guest Review -Pumpkin Patch Dec 16, 2008

"Too Wonderful For Words"

We just spent a wonderful 4 days at the Pumpkin Patch. We have stayed in vacation rentals before and this one rates right at the top. The cabin was close to all of the sites that we were interested in seeing and was a "site" in itself. The owners were very kind and a phone call away. Everything was in order when we arrived, right down to some toys placed at the cabin for my 2 small grandchildren. The online pictures don't do the cabin or the countryside justice. It is much more inviting than the pictures show. We'd definitely recommend this house. The local area offers many things to do and see for both adults and children. Though Texas is a distance from this wonderful place, we do hope to get back here some day.

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December 5, 2009

Where the lights are brightest in Asheville, NC

While staying in one of our Asheville vacation rentals this holiday season, might I suggest some scenic viewing for a festive spirit? Although our mountains are mostly bare during the month of December, our town has many spectacular things to see! One great thing to do on a chilly night is to visit our holiday light displays. Our historic neighborhoods, such as Montford, Biltmore and Kenilworth, offer my favorite displays because you get to see the lights embellishing beautiful and historic homes. You can peruse these neighborhoods free of charge, and find yourself viewing and understanding the charm of this mountain town. As mentioned in a previous blog there is also Biltmore House (you can get 2 free tickets when staying with Carolina Mornings!), where you can both tour the gigantic house and enjoy their display of lights throughout the property. Not far from Biltmore is Lake Julian, known in these parts for their 9th annual display of lights that are bright. You can tour the park for $5 a carload. If you are feeling really festive and want to see more of western NC, you can travel the 2 hours to Christmas Town USA in McAdenville, NC. This is their 54th year of holiday brights, and although I have yet to go, it seems a wonderful display. Besides driving, you are also encouraged to walk through Christmas Town; actually, the only way to enjoy the decorated bridge up close is on foot.
So start off with some eggnog and hot cider back at your holiday getaway, then head off to see displays of the night.

December 1, 2009

The ultimate Christmas gift: a trip to Asheville, NC!!

Now that it has reached the first day of December, some of us have started realizing the inevitable: it is time to wrap up (or, if you really procrastinate, begin!) our Christmas shopping endeavors. If you are like me, you actually take time to buy thoughtful gifts for your loved ones, honoring and celebrating this giving season. One sure way to show anyone that you were thinking of them is to give them with a priceless gift: an Asheville, NC getaway!! The gift of experience! When looking for the perfect place, look no further than Carolina Mornings for your getaway destination. There are many different rentals available to meet the needs and wants of anyone you could be thinking of; check out our vacation rentals  to find that perfect getaway. And, Carolina Mornings has last minute specials and has a free gift offer  with the Mountain Discovery Pass (free ski lift tickets every day) with each stay, so the gift keeps on giving!
A visit to Asheville before Christmas Day will provide you with another perk:  Asheville is a great place to shop! Boutiques, jewelry stores, and book stores abound, just to name a few. This is not mall shopping; the gifts are far better (and the traffic as well!)!! So give an unforgettable gift to someone you love (remember yourself!) and send them off smiling to their retreat in the mountains.
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