November 29, 2011

Plan the Perfect Holiday Party at The Camp, A 150-Acre Paradise in Bat Cave, North Carolina

Are you searching for an extraordinary setting for this year's holiday party? If you're planning a gathering and need a unique location that can accommodate over fifty guests, with enough indoor and outdoor space to entertain a crowd, Carolina Mornings has exactly what you've been looking for: The Camp has it all!

It's Holiday Party Time: Plan the Perfect Event at The Camp

The Camp is the perfect place to host an unforgettable holiday party. The Camp is a 150-acre mountain paradise in Bat Cave, North Carolina, including three luxury homes and endless options for entertainment. Camaraderie comes naturally at The Camp no matter what adventure you choose: plan festivities in the social hall, shoot hoops in the gymnasium, play baseball on the athletic field, gather around a bonfire, or simply enjoy the company of your guests in one of The Camp's many large gathering areas.

The Camp's Spacious Social Hall

The Camp's Holiday Event Package includes:

• The Camp's 5,000 square foot Social Hall with a catering kitchen
Three luxury homes, Cloud 9, Eagle's Nest and the Pond House, each with a fully-equipped kitchen and multiple gathering areas, with total sleeping accommodations for up to 55 people
• Set-up and breakdown of tables and chairs
• An on-site host to assist with event and guest requests

• Access to The Camp's Sports and Activities Facilities, including:

◊ Hot Tub
◊ Exercise Room
◊ Athletic Field (Volleyball, Soccer & Baseball)
◊ Indoor & Outdoor Basketball Courts
◊ Tennis Courts
◊ Giant Trampoline
◊ Ropes Course
◊ Recreation Hall with Game Tables & Coin-less Arcade Games
◊ Multiple Fire Pits
◊ Biking and Hiking Trails

The Camp has everything you need to make your holiday party unforgettable! For more information about The Camp's Holiday Package, call Carolina Mornings toll free at (877)902-9441. We look forward to helping you plan the perfect party for this holiday season!

November 27, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside... Let's Go for a Hike!

Bundle up and grab your mittens; the North Carolina mountain views are better now than ever! Without leaves on the trees, you can see panoramas that are hidden in the summer and stretch far into the distance on a sunny day. Here's a couple of popular hikes to get you started.

Cold Mountain Views in the Wintetime

Take a drive above the tree line for a walk up to the peak of Pisgah Mountain, a 5,721 foot elevation. The 3-mile Buck Spring Trail starts from the Mt. Pisgah parking area, just down the road from the Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway. From the observation deck at the summit, enjoy 360 degree views of the surrounding national forest, including an excellent vista of Cold Mountain and the Shining Rock Wilderness.

The AT Runs Right Through Hot Springs

Hot Springs, a scenic 45 minute drive from Asheville, is situated in the valley at the intersection of two winding rivers. A dozen trails, including the Appalachian Trail, start at the Silvermine Trailhead, just across the French Broad River bridge from town. While you're in Hot Springs, relax with a soak in the therapeutic mineral waters that have been enjoyed by guests for over 200 years. Private tubs are available by the hour at the Hot Springs Resort and Spa. Get maps of the area here.

Begin Your Asheville Adventure at Doolittle Mountain Cabin

Carolina Mornings offers several NC mountain vacation rental homes between the thriving city of Asheville and the gorgeous Hot Springs area. Enjoy the scenic view from the front porch of easily-accessible Reems Creek, located in Weaverville. Escape to Mountainside Getaway, a modern log home with cedar-lined walls, located just minutes from the Appalachian Trail access point in Mars Hill. Or, after a day of adventure, cozy up by the fire at Doolittle Mountain Cabin in lovely Marshall, NC. Call Carolina Mornings' Vacation Planners at (877) 902-9441 to arrange the perfect Asheville vacation rental cabin for your wintertime getaway.

November 23, 2011

Go Local in Asheville, NC: Shopping Suggestions Part 2

"Occupy Black Friday!" has become a catch phrase. Skip the long lines and email spam. Change the pace by patronizing the local stores in your area. If you're in Asheville, you're in luck, we have a ton of amazing independently owned shops, offering just about anything you want.

Local shopping in support of independent retailers is catching on, and Asheville is quickly becoming a leader in this movement by setting a positive example of how a city can revitalize and its economy with community pride. The Asheville City Schools Foundation and the Asheville Grown Business Alliance have teamed up to offer the Go Local Discount Card. The card costs $15 and provides year-long exclusive discounts at all kinds of local businesses ($10 goes to Asheville City Schools, and if you have a preference, you can even choose which school you'd like $5 to go to directly!).

Catch Some Rays & Enjoy
the Breathtaking View from Sunset Haven

So far, 50 businesses are participating, and many more are expected to join in the program. The Go Local Discount Card will be available in January for use beginning on February 1st, and will be valid for a full year. They're on pre-sale right now, so you can give local savings as a holiday present; a gift that keeps on giving!

In a continuing effort to support Go Local this holiday season, Carolina Mornings has brought you a list of local boutiques, local restaurants, local bakeries and sweet spots, local places to spoil your doggie, and local toy stores. (Note: there's a brand new toy store in town! It's called curio and is located at 2 Battery Park Avenue in downtown Asheville.)

Here's a few more suggestions across the board. We hope you'll frequent these Asheville establishments!

The Littlest Birds, 647 Haywood Road - all natural clothing, diapers and kid's accessories, including locally made Tooth Fairy Pillows

The Natural Home, Biltmore Park Town Square - a unique collection of bedding, bath products, home accents and extraordinary gifts

Malaprops Books, 55 Haywood Street - the region's largest locally-owned independent bookstore specializing in local authors and hosting regular readings

Firestorm Cafe & Books, 48 Commerce Street - community powered and worker owned, offering offbeat, underground and independent literature

Second Gear, 444 Haywood Road - all types of outdoor gear, sporting goods, clothing, shoes, boots, and accessories

Black Dome Mountain Sports, 140 Tunnel Road - a full-service outfitter and core climbing store

Liberty Bicycles, 1378 Hendersonville Road - everything a cyclist needs, from repair to safety tips to classes to maps

True Blue Art Supply, 30 Haywood Street - an Asheville landmark with art supplies for atists of most mediums

Musician's Workshop, 319 Merrimon Avenue - carrying a wide assortment of instruments and accessories, with an emphasis on hand-played and handcrafted instruments

Guitar Mama, 610A Haywood Road - repairs, gear and parts for fretted instruments

Harvest Records, 415B Haywood Road - selling vinyl, record players, related accessories and original recordings

Foundry, 92 Charlotte Street - the place for upcycled goods and gifts

Charlotte Street Computers, 252 Charlotte Street - voted best of WNC Computer Repair for 8 years running, your local specialists for Macs and PCs, offering tutoring, data backup, repairs, and upgrades

After a Long Day of Shopping,
Relax in Mockingbird Hill's Soaking Tub

When you reserve a vacation rental from Carolina Mornings, you're going local! This is a major advantage of staying at a vacation rental property, rather than a chain hotel. Carolina Mornings is proud to offer the finest in Asheville vacation rental cabins. Many of our luxury vacation rental homes are pet-friendly and our Vacation Planners are dedicated to making sure your visit to the North Carolina mountains is so enjoyable that you'll come right back! Call (877) 902-9441 to experience the luxury of the mountains!

November 21, 2011

Unbeatable Black Friday Deal: Pay for Two Nights, Stay for Three! + Free Skiing with Two Lift Tickets at Wolf Ridge Resort!

Carolina Mornings is offering an unbeatable deal this Black Friday: Make a reservation for two nights at a luxury vacation rental home of your choice by November 30th and we'll throw in a free bonus night on us. Plus, we'll also give you two free lift tickets at Wolf Ridge Ski Resort.

Ski for Free: An Unbeatable Black Friday Deal

Our Vacation Planners are ready to assist you in finding the perfect vacation rental home for your Western North Carolina mountain getaway. Reserve any of our properties for at least two nights anytime between Black Friday (November 25th, 2011) and February 29th, 2012, and you'll receive a free extra night at your vacation rental home. Plus, you'll want to get out and enjoy all the fun that the mountains have to offer, so we're including two complimentary ski lift passes at Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, a $108.00 value.

Spend the Holidays at The Camp

With 22 ski runs and 2 timber-frame lodges, Wolf Ridge is the premiere ski resort in the Asheville area. Their Snow Sports School instructors offer private and group lessons for all ages in skiing, snowboarding, and telemark skiing. After an exciting day on the slopes, enjoy breathtaking views with your dinner at the Ridge Lodge Steak and Ribs Restaurant. Then escape the holiday madness by retreating to your Asheville vacation rental cabin, where you can enjoy the privacy of a bubbly hot tub and a recliner by the raging fire.

Carolina Mornings has dozens of premiere vacation rental homes to choose from, like these luxury properties:

Blue Moon Lodge

Eagle's Crest

Five Kings Retreat

Great Escape

Mountain Sky

Eagle's Nest at The Camp

Call our Vacation Planners toll free at (877) 902-9441 to experience a winter-time getaway at one of Carolina Mornings' premiere luxury vacation rentals. Simplify: Experience the Luxury of the Mountains!

November 17, 2011

Go Local in Asheville, North Carolina: A Nationwide Trend to Save Our Economy (Suggestions, Part One: Boutiques)

Asheville's Unique Boutiques

What better way to get in the holiday spirit of giving than to buy local? Asheville is a perfect destination for combining Christmas shopping with a picturesque mountain vacation. The Indie City Index 2011, which ranks American metropolitan areas based on retail activity generated by independent businesses, favorably ranks Asheville in the top 10 percent of all metro areas. The Indie City Index also shows that Asheville has the lowest chain store saturation of any metro area in North Carolina.

Shopping at independent retailers is catching on nationwide with movements like Shift Your Shopping, a campaign to strengthen local economies, expand employment, and nurture a sense of community. Even credit lenders are keeping up: American Express is sponsoring Small Business Saturday on November 26th, offering a bonus for shopping at independent stores.

Where should you spend your dollars in order to participate in the Go Local movement? An organization called Asheville Grown is championing the area's effort to redirect consumers to local businesses. Here's a few suggestions for shopping in Asheville, focusing on clothing boutiques. This is just a small sampling of boutiques, and is by no means comprehensive...

Boutiques in Downtown Asheville

Virtue, 58 N. Lexington Ave - An eclectic array of ladies clothing, including dresses, scarves, hats, and denim.

Minx, 64 N. Lexington Avenue - Fun, affordable, stylish and unique clothing and accessories for a diverse community. "Voted "Best Women's Clothing" in the Mountain Xpress' Best of WNC for 7 years running.

Hip Replacements, 72 N. Lexington Ave - A vintage-inspired boutique carrying locally made lingerie, dresses, and jewelry.

Spiritex, 14 Haywood St - Locally sewn, organically grown, unique cotton clothing.

Ad Lib, 23 Haywood Street - Style. Comfort. Value. Since 1990, offering a special shopping experience with great customer service and a warm ambience.

Frock, 4 Battery Park Avenue - A cornerstone of Asheville's downtown retail scene, offering fashion lines that are Made in America.

Boutiques Elsewhere in Asheville

The Circle, 426 Haywood Rd in West Asheville - Featuring upcycled funky fashion by local designers and artists.

Moda, Biltmore Park Town Square - Offering fresh styles by designers with distinct views of style.

Bette, Biltmore Park Town Square - Life's little luxuries for the fashionable femme.

Another chance to get a good glimpse of Asheville's fashion movement is by visiting the vendors at The Big Crafty, an event to support local designers that will be at Pack Place in the heart of downtown Asheville on December 4th. Many of the vendors seize the opportunity of this twice annual event to showcase their hand-crafted clothing and jewelry outside of their workshops.

Go Local for Your Vacation: Stay at Mimi's Cottage

In addition to plentiful local retailers, Asheville also boasts numerous independent restaurants, no traffic, and luxury mountain vacation rental cabins from Carolina Mornings, the area's premiere vacation rental company, offering Asheville vacation rentals that are just minutes away from downtown, like Mimi's Cottage. Carolina Mornings is an independent small business, which means that even in your choice of vacation lodging, you can Go Local! Call our Vacation Planners at (877) 902-9441; they're ready to help transform your stay in Asheville into a dream vacation!

November 14, 2011

Food Destination Asheville: Specialty Olive Oil and Vinegars Please the Foodie on Your Gift List

Is there a foodie in your family? Are you a wizard in the kitchen? Good meals start with incredible basics, and the foundation to many culinary creations is superior olive oil. To add enjoyment, enhance the final flavor with creative balsamic vinegar infusions. Asheville, North Carolina, is no stranger to this concept: we have three specialty oil and vinegar stores, each offering a little something different.

Tree and Vine, located in Biltmore Village, is Asheville's premiere independent oil and vinegar store, featuring both local and regional products. This shop is owned by a husband and wife team who are proud of the fact that they don't have one distributor or supplier, rather they choose their products based on quality and are always searching for the very best. They are passionate about their olive oils and infused vinegars, and would love to extend their invitation to you to try any product in their store.

Tree and Vine's Hand-Selected Specialties

Olive & Kickin' is a locally-owned business on Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville, specializing in the tactile experience of a store visit by providing bountiful samples and daily tasting sessions. Their hand-selected products include the freshest and finest olive oils, white truffle pressed oil, and vinegars from Modena, Italy, including flavor creations like espresso balsamic vinegar and jalapeno vinegar. Plus, they offer the fun option of having a custom label made for your selection.

Inviting Hot Tub at Hidden Pond

Oil and Vinegar is a culinary gift shop located in the Biltmore Park Town Square in South Asheville. This is The Spot for finding a foodie the perfect gift. They carry a wide variety of gift-worthy items, most of them in impressive packaging, such as mustards, dressings, spreads and spices. And of course, they have oil and vinegar on tap, over 40 varieties, for which you can select a custom bottle to be filled.

One of the best things about a vacation in Asheville is experiencing all of the amazing shopping opportunities. The North Carolina mountains offer the whole package: dining, shopping, adventure, entertainment, and the perfect accommodations. Carolina Mornings has dozens of Asheville vacation rental cabins to choose from. Reserve one of these luxury vacation rental homes:

Mockingbird Hill - Offering a panoramic view and plenty of room with two separate levels.

Escape in the Heart of Biltmore Village

Hidden Pond - Escape to this private and modern cabin featuring gorgeous interiors and a bubbling hot tub, plus a prime location.

Biltmore Villa Hideaway - This well-appointed condo is right in Biltmore Village for the ultimate in convenience (and shopping!).

Call Carolina Mornings at (877) 902-9441 to connect with one of our Vacation Planners, who can help you select the perfect Asheville vacation rental for your next vacation.

November 11, 2011

It's Turkey Time! Adventures in Asheville for Thanksgiving Weekend

You know what to do on Thanksgiving, right? Watch the Macy's Day Parade and eat a ton of food, of course. But what else is there to do during your Asheville, North Carolina, holiday vacation?

The National Gingerbread House Competition at the Grove Park Inn is an absolute must for any Asheville vacation. You'll be surprised by the artistry of the entries, and how many there are! Select gingerbread houses will be featured on Good Morning America on December 23rd; this is your chance to see these wonderful creations in person. Public viewing days are Sunday through Thursday. Also, the Biltmore Estate, all dressed up in fabulous holiday splendor, is open for the entire holiday weekend.

Crazy Gingerbread Houses at Grove Park Inn

Need to balance out all that indulgence? There's a 5K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day that starts at 9 a.m. at the French Broad River Park off Amboy Road. The first 1,200 runners to finish the run get a commemorative T-shirt! If you'd rather ride than run, LaZoom is offering their Happy Jollidays Tour, but you'll need to make reservations soon to ride on this funny bus, they sell out quick!

When you're out hitting the stores over the weekend, you'll want to do some shopping at Biltmore Park Town Square. The majestic 25-foot Christmas tree is worth the visit. But if you're in town before Thanksgiving on Wednesday, November 23rd, you'll have a chance to Buy Local! City Market South will be set up at Biltmore Park Town Square from 2 to 5 p.m., with dozens of vendors selling locally-made and locally-grown products.

And before you head back home, don't forget to pick up a Christmas tree right from the farm where it was grown; the North Carolina mountains are the #2 producing region for Fraser firs (second only to Oregon). Take a little bit of mountain magic home with you!

Relax by the Fire at Reem's Creek

Carolina Mornings has Asheville vacation rental cabins still available for Thanksgiving weekend. Reem's Creek is a relaxing place to spend the weekend, with rocking chairs on the front porch where you can take in the wide lawn and mountain view, and a wood fireplace in the comfortable family room. Just across the street from Vance Birthplace, a North Carolina State Historic Site, Reem's Creek sleeps 10, plenty of room for the whole family. Wouldn't it be just perfect to escape for Thanksgiving to a Asheville vacation rental home?

November 10, 2011

Buy Local: Asheville's Awesome Neighborhood Toy Stores + Thanksgiving Vacation Specials

This Friday, November 12th, is Neighborhood Toy Store Day, recognizing independently-owned toy stores that provide specialty toys for their communities. This event is just in time start your holiday shopping by supporting local businesses. Asheville, North Carolina, is fortunate enough to have several toy stores worthy of a community-friendly shopping spree. In addition to feeling good about where your money is being spent, a distinct advantage of frequenting neighborhood toy stores is that they have superior customer service, thanks in part to passionate retailers that truly care about the products they sell.

A Furry Friend Who's Always Good

Voted Number One in Mountain Xpress' Best of WNC Poll, Dancing Bear Toys has two locations in the Asheville area, Tunnel Road in East Asheville and Main Street in Hendersonville. They specialize in toys that are Made-in-America or Europe, including wooden toys, unique dolls, and durable, attractive items for all ages. Among the many reputable lines they carry are plush creations from Melissa & Doug and Gund.

To honor Neighborhood Toy Store Day, The Toy Box, on Merrimon Avenue in North Asheville, is having a Meet Santa event. The Toy Box offers their customers, the little ones, the opportunity to make a Christmas List when they visit. Then The Toy Box keeps a copy so that friends and family can get exactly the right thing when holiday shopping. Your kids will freak for all of the cool toys that they have!

O.P. Taylor's lives up to its reputation as "The Coolest Toy Store on the Planet," offering goofy promotions like if you sing "Zippity Do Dah" at the checkout counter, you get 10% off. There's two convenient locations in the Asheville area, Biltmore Park Town Square and downtown Brevard (6,000 square feet of fun!). O.P. Taylor's is even gaining a reputation; it will be featured in the December 2011 issue of Southern Living, and was also in last December's Our State Magazine.

If you're in need of gift suggestions, or just want to be sure your kids get the very best, The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association has put together recommendations of Best Toys for Kids 2011. It's time to make a list and check it twice, and tell your kids they better be nice!

Spacious Luxury for the Whole Family at Villa Artista

While you're making a wish list, put something on it for yourself! Carolina Mornings has premiere Asheville vacation rental cabins that are still available for the Thanksgiving holiday:

Villa Artista - luxuriate in this Mediterranean-inspired home featuring an expansive gourmet kitchen

Lone Pine Lodge - a re-constructed hand hewn log cabin with wide porches to take in the panoramic mountain view

Hillside Charmer - a private mountain paradise only 15 minutes from downtown Asheville; enjoy complimentary wood for the fireplace!

Call one of our Vacation Planners at (877) 902 9441 to reserve your dream mountain vacation rental home; spoil yourself with a much deserved retreat!

November 8, 2011

Treat your Family to the Ultimate Holiday Getaway: Cloud 9 at The Camp

Imagine a place where your family has limitless entertainment opportunities on a 150-acre property, where you have a beautiful, fully-eqipped kitchen to prepare your Thanksgiving feast, where luxury is a given and unexpected surprises are delightful discoveries. Cloud 9 at The Camp is waiting for you and yours to land in a mountain paradise. The Camp is the only vacation rental property of its kind, a fully renovated summer camp in the North Carolina mountains that has been transformed into a year-round playground for kids and adults alike.

Thanksgiving Dinner Delight in
Cloud 9's Fully-Equipped Kitchen

The kids will squeal with glee when they get their first glimpse of The Gymnasium, a full-size basketball court with original squeaky hardwood floors and a giant trampoline. They'll be equally geeked when they discover the Recreation Hall, an arcade with video games, a pool table, ping-pong, air hockey, foosball, and more. And after your plentiful dinner, toss some ball around on the athletic field, play a game of tennis on the tennis courts, or explore one of The Camp's many hiking trails. In the evening, a campfire in one of the fire pits will warm the whole family while they enjoy mountain silhouettes against a nighttime sky. You'll even consider waking up early in the morning to throw out a line on the fishing pond and see what you reel in. The Camp provides all-ages adventure all day and night long!

Enjoy The Camp' s Mountain View
from Cloud 9's Covered Porch

Cloud 9 is an entertainment mecca in and of itself. This fabulous vacation rental can sleep up to 21 people with plenty of room to gather together in two dens, a sunporch, and a screened-in porch. The roomy kitchen features stainless steel appliances and a breakfast table, plus an adjoining dining room. Cloud 9 also has a full bar and plasma screen TV so you can make the best of adult time, and a kid's area on the lower floor has two flat screen TV's and double bunk beds. Bring the family dog along; all of The Camp's properties are pet-friendly!

Luxury Awaits You
in The Owner's Suite

After a dip in the hot tub, when you're ready to truly escape, The Owner's Suite awaits. This private, luxuriously appointed suite has a fireplace, king sized bed and large windows to take in the mountain view. For the ultimate relaxing experience, the Owner's Suite bathroom has double marble sinks, a spacious glass shower and a claw foot soaking tub.

The Pond House, The Camp's newest vacation rental, is also available for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Discover The Camp, Carolina Mornings' premiere mountain vacation rental, located only 40 minutes from Asheville, North Carolina. Call one of our Vacation Planners at (877) 902-9441 to learn more about this one-of-a-kind mountain getaway. Have the experience of a lifetime this Thanksgiving by treating your family to The Camp!

November 6, 2011

Food Destination Asheville: Where to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth - Part 2, Every Side of Town

Part two of the incredible desserts installment of Food Destination Asheville explores the best places to get sweet treats on each side of Asheville, North Carolina. In North Asheville, The Hop on Merrimon Avenue serves truly incredible ice cream in flavors you've never heard of (Butternut Squash? Cesspool of Cinnamon?) but you'll instantly love. Further up the road, visit Sisters McMullen for muffins that'll keep you smiling all day. They've got great whoopie pies, too. A dessert list wouldn't be complete without mention of the bakery at Greenlife Grocery, a must-stop on the way back to relax at your vacation rental cabin.

Flaky Baklava at Filo Pastries

If you're Eastside, you've got to try Ultimate Ice Cream, hidden behind Pomodoro's on Tunnel Road (they also have a location on Charlotte Street), famous for their wildly awesome flavors like Brown Sugar Maple Bacon. If baklava is your weakness, you'll find the best in town at Filo Pastries & Coffee on Tunnel Road, where they specialize in Greek desserts like kourabeides, kataifi, koulourakia and galaktoboureko.

Short Street Cakes Cute Little Shop

Craving something both sweet and classy? In South Asheville, the Red Stag Grill at The Bohemian Hotel has a dessert table to die for, perfect for a romantic evening. Plus, each week they feature a different sorbet martini with locally made seasonal sorbet.

Westside has the hidden gems of Asheville. Short Street Cakes on Haywood Road has a bakery that'll baffle you because there's so many mouthwatering confections to choose from. Owner Jodi Rhoden is making waves in the literary world, too, with her recent publication of Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition. Farther up Haywood is another location of The Hop , and one more block lands you at our last stop, West End Bakery, where every Friday they host Cupcake Happy Hour!

Spend a Deluxe Thanksgiving at Eagle's Wing Lodge

Carolina Mornings is currently offering sweet deals on over two dozen Asheville Vacation Rental Cabin Specials. And speaking of sweet, Eagle's Wing Lodge is still available for Thanksgiving. This gorgeous Eco-Friendly home sleeps 12 and is one of Carolina Mornings' most luxurious Asheville vacation rental homes, with features such as two gourmet kitchens with granite countertops, a gas-log fireplace and outdoor fire pit, and a nearby Shoji Japanese Style Spa. How's that for a special treat? Eagle's Wing Lodge truly satisfies. Call our Vacation Planners at (877) 902-9441 and let us assist you in planning the perfect holiday getaway.

November 4, 2011

Venture Outside in Asheville: Short Walks Five Minutes or Less from Downtown

Looking to get some fresh air? Even if you don't have all day to go exploring in the mountains, there's a few walks in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina, that are five minutes or less from downtown. As a matter of fact, one of them is downtown. Urban Trail Asheville, sponsored by the Asheville Arts Council, is a 1.7 mile trail that begins in front of the Asheville Art Museum on Pack Square. It stops at thirty different bronze sculptures that each represent a piece of The Land of the Sky's history. The Urban Trail gives its participants an educational tour of downtown plus a timeless connection to the past. Download a PDF guide and map to help you find your way.

A Walking History of Asheville:
The Urban Trail 

If you're a history buff, Riverside Cemetery is a National Historic Site and a must-see when you're in Asheville. Located off of Birch Street in Montford (a neighborhood area just outside of downtown), the cemetery is comprised of 87 acres of rolling hills, with views overlooking the French Broad River. Several prominent Asheville citizens are buried here, such as Thomas Wolf, O. Henry, and George Masa (the renowned Japanese photographer known for documenting the Blue Ridge Mountains). Wander around and check out the gravestones, and don't forget to look up, the surrounding mountains are beautiful from this urban vantage.

Stroll through Riverside Cemetery

The Botanical Gardens, located just off of W. T. Weaver Boulevard near UNC-A, are free and open year round. A level trail weaves through the ten acres that have been landscaped with over 600 species of plants native to Southern Appalachians. There's a garden gift shop (sales from which support the non-profit, independent organization) where you can pick up Investigation Passports for the kids that make learning about trees, bushes, and vines both invigorating and fun. Expect a different scene each season with the changing flora and fauna; even the Skunk Cabbage flowers in winter. (Sorry, dogs aren't allowed in the garden...)

Lady Victoria Charms Guests in Montford

Have the ultimate Asheville experience by walking around town and staying in town! Only a couple minutes from downtown Asheville, Lady Victoria is a renovated 1893 home in the historic community of Montford (just down the road from Riverside Cemetery). The first floor of this duplex is available as an Asheville vacation rental property from Carolina Mornings. Staying at Lady Victoria is a step back in time to charming luxuries of the past. Enjoy this home's wide front porch, original hardwood floors, hot water radiators and two fireplaces--and dog-friendly yard! Call Carolina Mornings at (877) 902-9441 to talk with a Vacation Planner about finding the perfect North Carolina mountain vacation rental for your next Asheville adventure.

November 2, 2011

Food Destination Asheville: Where to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth - Part 1, Downtown

Sweet Goodness at
The French Broad Chocolate Lounge

You're in for a treat: Asheville has delightful sweets on every side of town. Let's start with Downtown, where you can find whatever yummies your tummy desires. Chocolate Gems, on Broadway, is turning homemade gelato into Asheville's obsession, serving new creative flavors everyday. Up on Haywood Street, The Chocolate Fetish can be described with one brilliant word: truffles. Wait, two words: amazing truffles! If you're going to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge on Lexington Avenue, give yourself some time as there's often a line stretching out the door. People keep coming back because their liquid truffle and espresso are both positively addictive.

Warm Up and Relax
by Pie in the Sky's Wood Stove

If you're craving something a bit fluffier, Old Europe Bakery on Broadway has kept customers coming back for years for loved classics like the French Creamy and Lemon Barvarian. Melinda, owner and pasty chef, was born and raised in Hungary and her heritage is reflected in the fine quality of her goods. Over in the Grove Arcade, True Confections is baking up a decent selection of eclairs, pies, cakes, and cookies, plus many more mouthwatering delights to brighten your mood.

Then Take a Dip
in the Outdoor Hot Tub

Carolina Mornings specializes in the very best mountain cabin rentals, and we have some sweet specials to offer up. How about a generous serving of Pie in the Sky, our vacation rental in Burnsville, North Carolina, 35 minutes from Asheville. After a day full of sweet eats, retreat to Pie in the Sky's warmth; there's a wood stove full of complimentary firewood and bubbly hot tub on the deck. Now that sounds yummy!

(Be sure to tune in for Part 2, Where to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth on Every Side of Town, coming soon!)

November 1, 2011

Gather Together in Asheville: Easy Holiday Activities for Entertaining the Whole Family

Holiday time is fast approaching and Moms everywhere are bustling to make sure plans are in order. If you're traveling this season, the North Carolina mountains have plenty to offer, and Carolina Mornings has a huge selection of mountain vacation rentals to choose from. Of course, when visiting Asheville during the holidays, you'll want to spend time touring the Biltmore Estate and enjoying the giant Christmas tree at Biltmore Park Town Square, but long before all of the sights have been seen, your family will be craving some down time. However, time spent back at the house shouldn't be limited to video games and watching football; the focus of the holidays is on spending quality time together. Here are a few ideas that are easy and suitable for any time of the year, making a big impact with minimal planning:

Sunny and Spacious Mockingbird Hill 

1. Games - Throw a couple decks of cards on the kitchen table and see what happens. Anyone for a game of War? And isn't it about time someone taught Junior how to play poker?

2. Craft Table - Cover the floor with newspaper, break out the construction paper and Elmer's glue, and let the ideas fly. Whether the kids are making ornaments or gingerbread houses, you can guarantee at least a few adults will unleash their creativity and join in the fun. It keeps the kids busy and makes parents proud!

3. Talent Show - Sure, Grandpa's probably going to gross out the kids with the world's longest beer burp, but maybe you'll learn a little about your family too. Everybody's got some special talent they can share. Showing off will bring your family together and make them laugh.

4. Karaoke - Use the Play Station for something everyone can participate in. Maybe little sister will surprise everyone and sing a Beatles tune.

5. Best Dessert Contest - Here's an idea that will satisfy even the grumpiest member of your family. Have everyone make their favorite dessert, anything from Christmas cookies to a fancy cake. Then comes the fun part: tallying up the votes!

There's Room for the Whole Family at Wilderness Haven

Vacation rentals are perfect for bringing families together during the holidays. You needn't worry about redecorating or cleaning up before everyone arrives: Carolina Mornings has already done it for you. Plus, all of our vacation rental cabins have fully-equipped kitchens to help you keep your family's big appetites satisfied. Just imagine them playing cards around the dining table at Mockingbird Hill while their desserts are baking in the oven! (And after the games are over, you can send the kids to the private downstairs level and retreat to the Japanese soaking tub...) Or maybe the cabin decor of spacious Wilderness Haven fits your perfect mountain holiday fantasy. Simplify your family's experience by calling one of our Vacation Planners at Carolina Mornings; let us help you figure out your accommodations so that you can enjoy more quality time with your loved ones!