December 30, 2012

Wet Your Whistle at Asheville, NC's Winter Warmer Beer Festival

Shake off the cold weather blues with the 6th Annual Asheville Winter Warmer Beer Festival. With over 30 microbreweries participating, a dozen of them Western North Carolina locals, your cup (a keeper souvenir) will overflow with plentiful libation. The event, which includes unlimited beer samples and catered snacks from 3 until 7 p.m., takes place on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at Asheville's US Cellular Center.

Winter Warmer Local Line-up
Beer City USA does not disappoint when it comes to frothy flavor. All of your local favorites will be serving at the Winter Warmer festival, including Asheville Brewing Company, Pisgah Brewing, Highland Brewing, French Broad Brewing, Lexington Avenue Brewery, Thirsty Monk, and Oysterhouse Brewing. A few Asheville newcomers will also be in attendance, including Altamont Brewing and Wicked Weed Brewing, which just this past week celebrated their grand opening downtown.
Visiting from surrounding WNC towns are Southern Appalachian Brewing, Tipping Point Brewing, Frog Level, Oskar Blues, and Catawba Valley Brewing. Plus, Mountain Ale and Lager Tasters (MALT) Homebrew Club will be on hand to answer all of your home brewing questions. Asheville is also eagerly anticipating the opening of two new big time breweries in 2014, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium, both of which will be in attendance at the festival to give you a sample of what's to come.

The More the Merrier
Winter Warmer Beer Festival 2013's special guest breweries are Cigar City Brewing from Tampa, Florida, and Founders Brewing Company from Grand Rapids, Michigan, the town with which Asheville shares the Beer City USA title. Additional out-of-towners that fare from in-state include Olde Hickory Brewery, Foothills Brewing, Triangle Brewing Company, Duck Rabbit Brewery, Lonerider Brewing, Birdsong Brewing, Aviator Brewing, and Natty Greene's. Microbrews visiting from Georgia are Terrapin Brewery and SweetWater Brewing Company, serving from South Carolina roots will be Thomas Creek Brewery, Holy City Brewing, and RJ Rockers, and over the hills from Tennessee comes Yazoo Brewing. Finally, 7venth Sun Brewing hails from Florida.

Beer Enthusiasm Will Ensue
This year's Winter Warmer Festival promises to be bigger and better than ever before. The event is moving up a floor from past events to occupy the arena level of the former Asheville Civic Center. In addition to room for more vendors, there will also be more tickets available and increased space for mingling and drinking! This year's partner non-profit is the Western North Carolina Alliance (WNCA), an organization that supports the local environmental grassroots movement. Get your tickets soon - past years have all sold out quickly.

A Sweet Spot to Rest and Relax
Once you've decided which beers are your favorites, you'll want to grab a couple growlers and head to your North Carolina cabin rental. Carolina Mornings offers dozens of luxury cabins in Asheville, NC, many of them pet-friendly and offering panoramic mountain views. Warn up by the fire at a secluded wooded retreat like El Oso, shown here. As an added bonus, Carolina Mornings' guests receive a complimentary Mountain Discovery Pass, giving you free access to snow skiing, LaZoom city bus tours, and much more.

Call a Carolina Mornings Vacation Planner today to book your winter getaway!

December 23, 2012

Stretch Your Legs with A Handful of Winter Hikes Near Asheville, NC

Have the holidays got you feeling antsy? Bundle up and wear your wool socks for a jaunt through the snowy woods. Winter hikes have numerous advantages over summer hikes: the views are wide open, the trails are quiet and uncrowded, and most days the sun is shining. Here's a few trails that will lead you right to winter wonderland.

Waterfalls become works of art in the winter season. Parts of the falls freeze as though they are still flowing and icicles stretch to the water's surface. Looking Glass Falls and Moore Cove Falls are both near Brevard, NC, about an hour south of Asheville.

Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest
Easy accessibility makes Looking Glass Falls a good outing for the whole family. The 60-foot tall waterfall can be seen from the parking area or explored in depth with a walk down the stairs to the river. Looking Glass Falls is a six miles drive north from Brevard on US 276 (Forest Heritage Scenic Byway).

Moore Cove Falls in Pisgah National Forest
A 1.5 mile roundtrip hike makes for a beautiful wintery walk to Moore Cove Falls. This 50-foot waterfall is known for making fabulous frozen sculptures during cold spells. Just one mile north of Looking Glass Falls on US 276, Moore Cove Falls isn't marked by any road signs, but can be found by keeping an eye out for a small parking area just before a stone bridge. A wooden pedestrian bridge takes you to the trail; follow the yellow blazes to the waterfall.

If you're a Carolina Mornings guest who's staying at Scenic Wolf Resort, both Sams Gap and Roan Mountain are nearby Appalachian Trail hikes that will reward you with spectacular views.

Sams Gap, near Mars Hill, NC
A moderate two-mile hike south on the Appalachian Trail from Sam's Gap to High Rock offers a great mountain view. For a little more leg stretching and a 360 degree view, head north 6.5 miles on the AT to Big Bald Mountain at a 5,516-foot elevation.

Directions: From Asheville, head west on I-26 to Exit 3 and take a left on Highway 23A. If you're staying at Scenic Wolf Resort, go back to Highway 23A and drive north. Three miles north of the I-26 exit, and just before an I-26 overpass, there's a parking area on the left side of the road. To hike south to High Rock, walk under the overpass to the trailhead on the left side of the road; signs mark the trail. To hike north to Big Bald Mountain, cross the road from the parking area and you'll see a gate at the AT trail entrance.

Carver's Gap at Roan Mountain
Roan Mountain is frequently blanketed by snow in the winter, even when the cityscape is clear. An easy climb up the Appalachian Trail from the Carver's Gap parking area (open year-round) to Round Bald reveals gorgeous long range views of white, snow-capped mountains. Venture a little further to pass over Jane Bald and Grassy Ridge. It's a bit of a drive to reach Roan Mountain (about an hour and a half north of Asheville), but well worth the journey.

Directions: Take I-26 West toward Tennessee, exit for Highway 173/107 and stay on 173 to TN 37S/US 19E. Turn right on Tennessee State Road 143, following the signs for Roan Mountain State Park and proceed up the mountain to the Carver's Gap parking area. Cross the road to the AT and you're on your way.

Carolina Mornings, the Asheville area's premiere provider of luxury mountain cabins, would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our loyal readers. We invite you to experience a winter getaway in a North Carolina cabin rental.

Ski season is here and they're blowing snow up at Scenic Wolf Resort - get a free lift pass for every day of your stay with our complimentary Mountain Discovery Pass. Call a Carolina Mornings Vacation Planner today to book your Asheville cabin!

December 22, 2012

An Authentic Countryside Setting

For a vacation experience unlike any other, the luxurious accommodations of The Barn House at Horseshoe Farm will delight everyone in your party! Occupying the upper level of a high-end equestrian facility, the Barn House stretches from a great room at one end, past four spacious bedrooms, to a grand master suite with a private kitchenette at the other end. Take in gorgeous views of the horse farm, pond, and Blue Ridge Mountains beyond from the great room balcony. In the evening, cozy up by the massive stone fireplace before retiring to one of six king size beds.

Conveniently situated only seven miles from downtown Hendersonville, Horseshoe Farm provides guests with an easy drive to fine dining, art galleries, shopping, and entertainment. Nearby Lake Lure and Chimney Rock offer the opportunity to discover nature and relaxation in gorgeous Hickory Nut Gorge. Plus, Horseshoe Farm is pet-friendly! This Asheville vacation rental is located in Hendersonville and is approximately 30 minutes driving distance to downtown Asheville.

If your group requires more space, there are four additional properties available at Horseshoe Farm: Apple Cottage, Cowboy Cottage, Grannie's Cottage, and The Carolina. Expand your invitation list and rent two or more properties together.

Horseshoe Farm is the perfect location for events and large groups. Event facilities are available for rent on the premises, including a game room, dining center, and dance floor. Please call Carolina Mornings for more details.

December 16, 2012

The Five Most Romantic Ways to Celebrate New Year's in Asheville, North Carolina

Ring in the new year by planning a day that will delight your loved one! Here's a few ideas that will reignite the magic of love and set sparks flying:

1. Downtown Celebrations
Asheville comes alive on New Year's Eve! From The Orange Peel at one end of town to The Grey Eagle in the River Arts District, taking your loved one out on the town for the night promises to be a bundle of fun! Share a romantic dinner at one of Asheville's fabulous independent restaurants, many of which will be serving late night meals, then twirl your partner round with live music and champagne cheers!

2. Dance the Night Away
Celebrating in support of the pooches is a cause to applaud! The New Years Eve Masquerade Furball is a fundraiser for Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, a no-kill shelter for homeless animals. The gala ball, featuring an open bar and silent auction, takes place downtown on Broadway Street and runs well past midnight. Puppy love is sure to follow!

3. Log Cabin Love

What could possibly be more romantic than a night spent together by the fireplace in a cozy log cabin? How about adding a gourmet home-cooked meal prepared in one of the fully equipped kitchens at a Carolina Mornings cabin in Asheville, NC. Snuggle up and cherish the last night of 2012 together, count the stars, then slip into slumber in the peaceful silence of the mountain countryside. Greet 2013 with a tremendous Blue Ridge Mountain view at Scenic Wolf Resort ~ the Mountain Majesty cabin (pictured here) even has a luxurious Master Suite with a Jacuzzi tub!

4. Unwind with a Massage
Set a relaxing tone for the new year by sharing the pleasure of massage with your loved one. A Touch of Love Couple's Massage at Relax and Rejuvinate of Asheville is the perfect way to show your partner how much you care about their wellbeing. Add chocolate-covered strawberries to enhance the sensational experience. The on-staff concierge at Carolina Mornings will gladly make reservations for you to accompany your stay at a luxury mountain vacation cabin.

5. Get Away to Brevard for a Brouhaha
Spend the last day of the year hiking together through Brevard's beautiful DuPont State Forest, the now famous site of the Hunger Games film, then wash away your worries at the Grand Opening of the Oskar Blues microbrewery with their New Year's Eve Hootenany. Or, skip the waterfalls and ride the party trolley from Asheville to Brevard - it returns downtown after midnight. Live mountain music and special release beers will make this a night to remember!

The Carolina Mornings Team wishes you and yours a Happy New Year! Thanks to all of our guests and friends for making our 15th Anniversary Year a huge success!

Call a Carolina Mornings' Vacation Planner to book your North Carolina cabin rental ~ availability for New Year's is going fast, Call Today!

Where Tranquility Awaits You

Tucked snugly on a hill overlooking mountains, streams, and wildlife, you'll be completely refreshed after a getaway at this mountainside retreat we call Red Barn. Surrounded by mountains and forest, you'll enjoy the gurgling stream from your front porch rockers. This cabin is fresh and new and filled with everything to make you feel you're home-away-from-home.

Red Barn includes a comfortable living-dining area, bedroom with queen size bed, bath, and fully equipped kitchen. Being only minutes from downtown Asheville and within an hour of numerous Western NC mountain attractions and activities, you'll enjoy days full of fun and adventure then nights of tranquility back at the cabin.

"We couldn't have chosen a more peaceful and relaxing spot.
The Red Barn was perfect for us. Thank you for all the personal touches that make your guests feel right at home. We're huge porch fans and loved the peace and tranquility we found rocking our hearts out and watching the birds make a nest in the rafters - heaven! We'll be back!" - Previous guest from North Carolina

Located in Asheville, this convenient vacation rental is approximately 20 minutes from downtown and minutes from the Biltmore Estate. What a way to start the new year off with a peaceful and relaxing stay at Red Barn.

Call Carolina Mornings today and let our helpful Vacation Planners reserve a tranquil stay for you and your guests!

December 9, 2012

Top Ten Festive Things to Do in Asheville this December

Discover the best of Asheville, North Carolina, this holiday season with a little help from your friends at Carolina Mornings. Here's a few helpful hints that will help you and yours make the most of time spent in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains.

1. Shop Local 'Til You Drop
Whether it's antiques, art, technology, or fashion that jingles your bells, Asheville, North Carolina, is home to hundreds of independent stores eager to help you find the perfect gifts. Take a stroll through downtown, inside the Grove Arcade (which is beautifully decorated for the holidays!), down West Asheville's Haywood Street, or through the River Arts District to get your dose of the warm and cozy local spirit.

2. LaZoom Special Holiday Tour
The big purple LaZoom bus is a moving Asheville landmark, cruising through downtown with full loads of laughing participants. The LaZoom crew will certainly help you get your holiday jollies on! Carolina Mornings wants to give you a hand in getting on the bus: the Mountain Discovery Pass, which comes complimentary with any vacation rental, includes one free LaZoom ticket per day of stay.

3. Look at All the Pretty Lights!
This holiday season, millions of tiny lights will be twinkling all around Asheville! To delight your eyes with visions of Christmas, take a drive through Montford, a walk around Biltmore Village, or a visit to Lake Julian Park's Festival of Lights.

4. Support Local Theater
Nothing like a little theater action, and maybe some mistletoe, to get you in the mood. The Ballet Conservatory of Asheville is putting on The Nutcracker, Asheville Community Theater performs The Santaland Diaries, and the Montford Park Players presents the classic A Christmas Carol. Pick up a copy of the Mountain Xpress for showtimes and ticket info.

5. Christmas at the Biltmore Estate
Witness the splendor of a Victorian Christmas at the Biltmore Estate. Enjoy a Candlelight Evening Tour where grandiose rooms come together with a cozy fire and passageways are lit by flickering candlelight. This is a family-friendly splendor not to be missed! Discount Biltmore Estate tickets and special deals such as the Romantic Biltmore Package are available through Carolina Mornings. Our on-staff concierge will even book your Candlelight Evening Tour reservations for you!

6. Buy Handmade Arts and Crafts
Say "I Love You" to that special someone with a handcrafted gift made by an Asheville artisan. You'll find plenty of arts and crafts to choose from at any one of the local holiday craft fairs taking place in Asheville this December. Check out the popular Holiday Bazaar at UNC-A, the Black Mountain Center for the Arts Holiday Market, or the Grow Down Home Market, all taking place right up until Christmas.

7. Discover Your Home Away from Home
After you load up the family and make your way to the Blue Ridge Mountains for the holidays, you'll need a comfortable spot to call home. Carolina Mornings, the area's premiere provider of vacation rental cabins in Asheville, NC, welcomes you to your very own mountain retreat. Call one of our professional Vacation Planners today to book your getaway in one of our luxury Asheville cabins - check out the huge selection offered by Carolina Mornings!

8. Sit Back, Relax, and Take in the Mountain Skyline
You work hard all year: now is your time to take it easy! What could be more relaxing than soaking in the sunshine while you gaze out at the rolling skyline surrounding Asheville. Claim a rocking chair on the deck of one of the cabins at Scenic Wolf Resort. The view from 4,300 feet is truly tremendous! Carolina Mornings also offers dozens of mountain vacation rentals all around the Asheville area, as well as numerous convenient, in-town locations.

9. Spend Quality Time with Your Family
During the hectic hustle and bustle, we sometimes overlook the most important part of holiday time: making memories with the ones you love. A Carolina Mornings mountain cabin provides you with many conveniences that will make your vacation a breeze, including a fully equipped kitchen, private amenities, fireside hearths, and plenty of space under one roof for everyone to gather together. Even the family dog is welcome: Carolina Mornings offers dozens of pet-friendly vacation cabins!

10. Plan a Spring Ski Trip
Just past the holidays comes another exciting time of year: ski season! Book your cabin now at Scenic Wolf Resort to be sure you get a prime weekend or week-long spot - reservations are pouring in already. The Mountain Discovery Pass, complimentary with any Carolina Mornings' vacation rental, includes one free ski lift ticket per day of your stay. Hit the slopes on Scenic Wolf Resorts' 22 runs covering 72 acres. Call Carolina Mornings today to secure your spring ski plans!

December 8, 2012

Gather & Celebrate in Asheville's Great Escape

Overlooking the vast and gorgeous Appalachian Mountains, Great Escape, a retro-style mountain retreat with modern amenities, offers a unique escape from the daily grind. You and your guests will be awed by the beautiful décor and world-inspired accents in every room.

Start the celebration out on the large deck and porch area and take in incredible views of the mountainous skyline that Asheville is known for.

From indoor indulgence like WiFi and satellite TV to outdoor adventures like wildlife sighting and quick trips to artsy downtown Asheville, you and your family and friends will not run out of fun! Spend your nights in front of the large stone fireplace with great conversation and a delicious snack made with ease in the gourmet kitchen.

Convenient to both Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway, you and your guests can venture out to enjoy local winter-time activities like skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, and hiking or a day at the grand Biltmore Estate or shopping, dining and taking in an Asheville show. Whatever you choose, you can rest assured that you'll be back to relax in minutes at Great Escape.

Gather with friends and celebrate this beautiful season at Great Escape. Call Carolina Mornings today to reserve your own escape to this magical mountain retreat!

December 3, 2012

Sweet Treats and Global Rhythms Take Center Stage at the Asheville Chocolate and Arts Festival

Whether you're looking for indulgent holiday gifts or just looking to indulge, the Asheville Chocolate and Arts Festival will satisfy your cravings on December 8th, 2012. Taking place at the US Cellular Center from noon until 7:00 p.m., the event features world music, dance, arts, and pounds upon pounds of chocolate made by over a dozen local chocolatiers.

Chocolate, Chocolate, and So Much More
The cost of admission to the Asheville Chocolate and Arts Festival includes free chocolate samples, plus the opportunity to purchase sweet treats from local chocolatiers. The confectionary line-up includes all of your Asheville favorites, like the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Raw Shakti, and True Confections Bakery, and a few new industry names too, such as Raw Herbal Chocolates and Silver Moon Chocolates. And, there's plenty of additional ways to get your chocolate fix: World's Best Carrot Cake makes a delightful baked good, Nourish & Flourish will be serving up chocolate chai tea, and Choffy presents a tasty beverage that is brewed from roasted cacao beans.

Celebrate Diversity through Music and Dance

Performers, musicians, and dancers will bring a world of culture to the stage at the Asheville Chocolate and Arts Festival. Featuring a bold range of sound and movement, including Tango, West African dance, bellydancing, Aztec dance, Reggae Afro-beat music, and Native Cherokee dance, the event has a worthy mission of bringing people together to celebrate diversity this holiday season. Kids will love Juan Holladay and the Secret B-Sides, and the whole family can get in the groove with Eternity Hip Hop Dance Troupe with Michael Hayes. Additional performances include Bollywood-style Indian dance by Gayatri, the Tried Stone Gospel Choir, and Middle Eastern Drumming by River Guerguerian. And, if you want the full experience, dance workshops will be offered throughout the day.

Shopping to Support Local Education
The international artisans market at the Asheville Chocolate and Arts Festival will feature plenty of gift buying opportunities, including handmade goods from local artisans, baskets and basket weaving demonstrations by Gullah artisans, Buddhist gifts and books from Urban Dharma, paintings by a Haitian artist from Atlanta, and clothing and accessories from Cooperativa Mujeres Tejedoras, a Guatemalan women’s cooperative. There will also be a live fashion show featuring stylish threads from local designers and independent shops, including Honeypot, Royal Peasantry, The Costume Shoppe, and Vintage Moon. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Urban Arts Institute and Odyessy School to fund multicultural arts education for Asheville youth.

The Perfect Place to Stay in Asheville
Carolina Mornings, the area's premiere provider of mountain rental cabins in North Carolina, wants to help you plan the vacation of a lifetime. With dozens of luxury cabins in asheville NC to choose from, you're sure to find the perfect spot for you and yours to relax and enjoy the mountain air! (Pictured: a winter wonderland at Bear Wallow.) Many of our asheville cabins are pet-friendly, and locations range from offering in-town convenience to spectacular mountaintop views. Call a Carolina Mornings Vacation Planner today to book your reservation!