Sandy McLeod

September 2015 Events

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Aug
22

With September, Asheville welcomes the beginning of one beautiful transition season: Fall. Autumn in Asheville is something best experienced firsthand, so let’s take a look at some events and activities that embody the arts and natural beauty of Western North Carolina during this fantastic season.

 

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A festival that has become an autumn tradition in WNC is just around the corner! The North Carolina Apple Festival will be held September 4-7th on Main Street Hendersonville, NC. Expect live entertainment, arts and crafts, a 4k and fun run, car show, and of course — apples! Recipe contests and apple products to taste and purchase, as well as an orchard tour and the King Apple Parade.  For additional information.

 

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September 11-13th Asheville will celebrate the Goombay Festival in Pack Square, located in the heart of downtown. The free festival celebrates the arts and music of the African-Carribean culture, complete with food vendors and workshops for the kids. Hours will be Friday 2-10pm, Saturday 10-10pm, and finishing up Sunday with a MorningGospel Celebration.

 

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Get lost for a good cause! At 12 acres, the Eliada Corn Maze is the largest corn maze in North Carolina. From September 16th til October 31st, you’ll be able to attempt the maze with 4 miles of twisty trails utilizing a checkpoint system–so you’ll know if you are retracing old steps. All proceeds benefit Eliada Homes, a nonprofit serving the women and children of Western North Carolina. Hours of Operation are Wednesday & Thursday 9am – 3pm, Friday 9am – 8pm, Saturday 10am – 8pm, and Sunday 10am – 6pm.

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Lastly, but not least, is the North Carolina Mountain State Fair. The fair will be held September 11-2oth, and will be held at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center. This fair has all the essentials of a good fair (thrilling rides, pig races, contests, etc) with an attention to the arts and crafts that make WNC beautiful and unique. The action takes place Monday through Thursday 3pm – 11pm, Friday & Saturday 9am – 12 midnight, and Sunday 9am – 11pm. Adult admission is $6 in advance versus $8 at the gate. Child and senior admission is $2 in advance compared to $4 at the gate. And save 50% on rides if purchased in advance. No online ticket sales. For additional information

 

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Sandy McLeod

Making Room for Families and using our Vacation Calculator

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Aug
18

All of us at Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds strive to make everyone’s vacation as wonderful as possible. We encourage families to bring their children and we provide a lot of on-site activities for our smaller guests to enjoy.

 

McLeod-20140426-0003-LR We have two playgrounds, a game porch, a video library, and a trout pond, which provide hours of fun for our families. Many of our guests have caught their first fish at Willow Winds!!!

 

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In an effort to attract more families we have added day beds, with trundle on all of our one-bedroom cabins on Willow Lane. These one-bedroom cabins have a large bedroom, which can accommodate a trundle bed with two twin mattresses making it comfortable for sleeping two children.

 

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At the same time, if you are a couple, the day bed can double as a great place to sit and read or watch TV.  The Day Bed is in the Master Bedroom.

 

 

Comparison shopping??…We offer the tool to help you choose.   Please use our vacation rental calculator to compare us with other luxury lodging. We believe that when all of the extra charges of some of the other locations are included, Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds has the lowest rate. Our only add on charge are the taxes we are required by law to charge. We do not have other fees. Check out our new calculator!

Sandy McLeod

Review of Asheville Breweries

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Aug
10

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Asheville has been named “Beer City USA” four times since 2010 — and for good reason. On any given day of the week, you could sample nearly 100 local beers brewed right here alongside the Appalachian Trail. Take one of the beer tours, like the LaZoom Band & Beer Tour or just pick up a brew while out shopping. When you stay at the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds, you can bring some local brews back to your cabin and enjoy them while barbecuing or relaxing.

Photo courtesy of LaZoom

Photo courtesy of LaZoom

But what’s the best beer in town and where can you find it? Like most any other kind of beverage, the beauty is in the beholder. Fortunately, you can taste as many as you like (as long as you have a designated driver) and decide for yourself. Here’s a list of the more popular brews in town.

  • Highland Brewery

This is the brewery that started it all in Asheville. In 1994, Asian engineer Oscar Wong started this Scottish brewery in the basement of an Italian restaurant, and the rest is history. In 2006, they moved to larger digs off Fairview Road, where they remain today. Highland is the largest Asheville brewery too. Although there’s always something new brewing at Highland, the favorites include Gaelic Ale and St. Teresa’s Pale Ale.

 

  • Asheville Brewing Company

Brewing since 1995, this is one of the oldest and most consistent breweries in town. Known for its pale ales, like the Shiva and the Red Light, ABC also brews a crazy good stout. The Ninja Porter took the gold medal at 2014 World Beer Cup competition, beating out 54 other entries, and it remains a local favorite. The Merrimon Avenue location also serves up pizza and shows $3.00 movies.

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  • French Broad Brewery

Since 2001, this brewery has served Asheville-style European-inspired brews. Located on Asheville’s east side, very near your cabin, it’s most famous for its Wee-Heavy-Er Scotch Ale, which is a high-gravity beer. That means it has a higher alcohol level, so be warned! Their Anvil Porter and 13 Rebels Extra Special Bitter also are tastes you won’t want to miss. Live music fills its tasting room on weekends.

 

  • Wicked Weed Brewery

Right downtown on Biltmore Avenue, Wicked Weed dubs itself a “gastropub” because of its wickedly good local food that pairs so well with its West Coast-style brews. Their Freak of Nature DIPA and Coolcumber are beers that you simply must try. Wicked Weed is often packed, and since they don’t take reservations, you may have to spend a few minutes waiting. But you will enjoy the fantastic people-watching that downtown Asheville always provides.

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  • Burial Beer Company

One of the newest breweries in town, Burial brews and serves traditional Belgian ales with a modern twist. Located on the redeveloping South Slope, down the hill from the Orange Peel, the brewery pours special releases almost every weekend in an industrial warehouse. Try the Skillet Donut Stout or the Shroud Belgian Dubbel for a unique taste. And in case you’re wondering, the brewers aren’t macabre; on the contrary, they think life should be celebrated.

 

Festivals and Tours

If you’re visiting on August 15, you can attend the Waynesville Craft Beer Faire. About 30 minutes from your cabin, this ticketed venue takes place in the Post 47 American Legion Ball Field. Discover some great local beers from such breweries as Bearhunters, BooJum, Frog Level and Tipping Point.

Stop by the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds office for a complete list of the local breweries and any directions you may need. We’ll be happy to help you plan a tour, hop on the latest hop-related adventure or just point you in the right direction. Because no matter which way you turn in Asheville, you’ll find great beer worth the trip.

Sandy McLeod

Asheville Events in August 2015

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Jul
24

As the kids head back to school, you might think August means that summer is winding down. That’s not the case in Asheville. When you stay at the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds, you’ll find that August is prime time to check out the city and the surrounding area. Here’s our list of Asheville events for August 2015.

Drum Circle — every Friday, starting around dark. You don’t have to be a professional drummer to participate in this weekly free event held at Pritchard Park downtown. Bring your drum and join in the festivities. Not up to making music yourself? Join the dancers or just sit back and people-watch. This is one of those outdoor Asheville events that continue into late autumn. Everyone is welcome.

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Biltmore Village Art and Craft Fair — August 1, 10:00 AM–7:00 PM & August 2, noon–6:00 PM. Historic Biltmore Village is vibrant with color and creativity when hosting the annual art and craft fair. This free August event, held on the grounds of the beautiful Cathedral of All Souls, features handcrafted items and original art, from paintings to T-shirts and metalwork and much, much more.

LEAF Downtown — August 1, noon10:00 PM & August 2, 10:00 AM6:00 PM. LEAF (Lake Eden Arts Festival) is a local music and arts fest held twice a year, in May and October. This year, organizers have added a free downtown event to the mix. A steady stream of live music, including Bootsy Collins’ Rubber Band, Santos, Empire Strikes Brass and Dangermuffin, provide a backdrop as you browse handmade crafts and incredible local art. While you’re there, enjoy a tasty meal or snack from one of the many local food and drink vendors.

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Mountain Dance and Folk Festival — August 6–8, 7:00 PM. If you’re looking for some real Appalachian heritage, this Asheville event has it in spades. Held at Diana Wortham Theatre downtown, the festival highlights traditional mountain dance and music with a variety of performers. The clogging performances are always a treat, and you’ll gain a new appreciation for the music and tales that are such an integral part of our mountain culture. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under. <http://www.dwtheatre.com/>Buy tickets online or at the box office.

Riverfest — August 8, 1:00–7:00 PM. Now in its 15th year, Asheville’s Riverfest is a free event for the entire family. For the kids, there’s face painting and art making, hula hoops and puppy love (with Brother Wolf). Kids in and out of costume can join the Kids Parade at 1:00, but the real fun starts with the Everything that Floats Parade, featuring all manner of creative vessels on the water. Riverfest at French Broad River Park offers a variety of food, beer and nonalcoholic beverages for purchase.

Dirty Dancing Festival — August 14, 7:00–10:00 PM & August 15, 9:00 AM–4:00 PM. Asheville events extend a short drive away to Lake Lure, where the original movie was filmed. This event includes a free lakeside showing of the movie, live dance performances and music, food, crafts, and dance lessons so you can recreate the magic of Baby and Johnny. Tickets to Saturday’s fun cost $22 for adults ($27 at the gate) and $12 for kids ($14 at the gate). Packages are available as well.

Asheville Wine and Food Festival — August 20, 6:00–8:00 PM; August 21, 8:00–10:00 PM & August 22, 2:00–5:00 PM. Asheville is known for its beer, but we don’t ignore wine and cocktails. Asheville events don’t get more scrumptious than this three-day festival. Sample local spirits and cocktail creations from Asheville’s finest mixologists. Enjoy decadent desserts, sparkling beverages and more. The grand finale, at the US Cellular Center, offers just about every palate-pleasing delight Asheville has to offer, including wine tastings. Daily tickets are $49, with packages available.

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Downtown After Five — August 21, 5:00–9:00 PM. This free concert returns in August with the Tony Furtado Band and local favorites Brushfire Stankgrass. Gather near the I-240 overpass downtown and enjoy an evening of music and fun. Some of Asheville’s finest vendors will sell food and beverages, while wine and beer purchases require the purchase of a $2 wristband.

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Sandy McLeod

Hiking Tips for the Appalachian Summer

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Jul
14

 

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The hiking trails around Asheville are truly some of the most beautiful in the world. A sampling of the great nearby trails include:

  • Appalachian Trail
  • Mountains-to-Sea Trail
  • Max Patch Trail
  • Lookout Trail
  • Craggy Gardens Trail
  • Rattlesnake Lodge Trail
  • Grassy Knob Trail
  • Linville Falls Trail
  • Graveyard Fields Loop Trail
  • Black Balsam Knob Trail
  • Hawksbill Trail

yU-udmblWnNHB0xRlUsiXkfwAwXggXFU91EEatwgxCkThere’s a reason that nature lovers from near and far flock here to explore our trails. The Appalachian outdoors are not to be missed during your visit to Asheville, North Carolina. Here are some helpful tips to help you prepare for your hike in the mountains.

Plan Ahead

Many hikers fail to plan adequately. As a result, they don’t have as good of a time because of it. Research the hiking trails around Asheville to find what sort of experience you can expect. Some trails are very mild while others can be grueling. Keep your fellow hikers in mind — some people want to rough it, while others might be looking for a scenic walk through the woods.

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Planning ahead means bringing whatever accommodations you might need. Water and snacks are crucial, and many people underestimate how many provisions they’ll need to recharge during their hike. Furthermore, the weather can change drastically throughout the day while hiking trails around Asheville. What starts as a hot day might end as a surprisingly crisp evening. And rain can sweep through without warning. Bring extra clothing even if you’re not planning to camp out.

Mind the Creatures Near the Hiking Trails

You should know that our trails house a remarkable variety of life. Be mindful that some of the plants you might encounter are poisonous to the touch, while others are lined with barbs. If you’re not familiar with the different kinds of vegetation you’ll find here, just avoid touching any plants excessively.

A common strategy to avoid allergic reactions and cuts is to wear long pants. Tuck the bottoms of your pant legs into your socks so that no skin is exposed on your legs. This is also a classic tip to prevent ticks from getting down your socks or up your pant legs. When you get back to your cabin, always check yourself thoroughly for ticks since they often are difficult to detect. Bug repellent also is a good bet to keep the bugs away.

-ZkzAktFA19JnZrem_vtUoFzq4PsZRc1FUZFcb_smUcBe aware that you are likely to run into animals — including bear — on the hiking trails around Asheville. The black bear in this region are normally timid, so they are likely to be frightened enough to hide from hikers if they hear you coming. The most dangerous situation is to startle a bear. For that reason, it’s a good strategy to make a decent amount of noise as you hike — this is a respectful way to give bears the heads up that you’re coming, and they will normally stay out of your way.

Use the Environment

You will find plenty of tools all around you as you hike. While experienced hikers and outdoorsmen are can fashion all sorts of implements out of stones and plants, you can learn to make use of nature in a simpler way.

For example, fashioning a good hiking stick that’s sturdy and fits you comfortably can help you conserve energy, keep your balance, and clear obstacles out of your path. Rock formations might not seem like tools, but they often can present a very natural place to rest, eat and regroup. Be aware that the world around you is your friend as you enjoy the hiking trails that Western North Carolina offers.

 

Sandy McLeod

July Asheville Events

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Jun
30

Sunshine, blue skies, fun and relaxation: That’s what life is all about in Asheville in July. Locals and tourists come together to celebrate the beautiful Appalachian weather, spend time with family and friends and enjoy good food, good beer and good times. From spectacular Fourth of July happenings to regularly scheduled musical and artistic events, Asheville has something for everybody. The mountains come alive with activities this time of year.

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Independence Day Events

Asheville Tourists Fireworks: July 3, game starts at 7:05. Get a head start on the fireworks fun at the newly renovated McCormick Field, located just blocks from downtown, minutes from your cabin. Watch the Single-A team Asheville Tourists take on the Charleston RiverDogs and then enjoy the fireworks afterward at this family-friendly Asheville event. Tickets start at $7 in advance for general admission; buy them early because this event is likely to sell out.

Downtown Asheville Independence Day Celebration:  July 4, 11:00 AM–10:00 PM.This is one of the summer’s most popular Asheville events, and it’s right downtown in Pack Square Park. From 2–6:00 PM with a $3 wristband, kids can beat the heat with the water fun at Splashville and jump around in a bounce house. The Ultimate Air Dogs perform every two hours, with an encore at 7:30. A variety of local bands start at 4:00 PM and play all afternoon. Americana/bluegrass star Jim Lauderdale headlines. Beer is for sale, and the fireworks start at 9:30. Admission is free.

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Lake Julian Fireworks:  July 4.This free Asheville event is a long-time family pleaser. Come early to make sure you get a spot to sit and watch the spectacular display over beautiful Lake Julian in South Asheville. With picnic spots, a playground, paddleboats and more, there’s plenty to do while you wait. In true laid-back Appalachian fashion, there’s no set time for the fireworks display — just get ready to see the show when it gets dark.

Spruce Street Market:  July 4, 10:00 AM–6:00 PM. Browse artwork from some of the area’s most talented artists and craftspeople at the Spruce Street Market in downtown Asheville. The street will be lined with artists of all types, showing off their handiwork and ready to sell. The restaurants surrounding the fair will be teeming with activity as well, so you can make a day of it.

Mountaineer Antique Auto Car Show and Swap Meet:  July 3 & 4, 8:00 AM–5:00 PM. Automobile aficionados, here’s an Asheville event that’s sure to get your motors running. Featuring classic cars, hot rods, and other custom vehicles, this show lets you admire the styling of some of the coolest cars in the country. The on-site swap meet gives you a chance to shop for bargains while admiring the autos. It’s held at the WNC Ag Center <http://www.wncagcenter.org/> near the airport; admission is $5.

Festivities Galore: July 4 at dusk.Many small towns near Asheville have their own July 4 celebrations. If you’re looking for a more small-town feel, try the rodeo in Marshall, the fireworks over Lake Louise in Weaverville, the fun times in Waynesville or the music and more in Hendersonville.

The Rest of July

River Arts District Farmers Market: July 1, 2–6:00 PM. The River Arts District, locally referred to as the RAD, was once home to crumbling warehouses. Today, the RAD has been revamped into a thriving artist community, and the River Arts District Farmers Market reflects the spirit of the area. The market at 175 Clingman Avenue features handmade products for home and body, local produce, beer, and other tasty treats, along with live music for shoppers to enjoy. This Asheville event is the embodiment of the Shop Local movement.

Shindig on the Green:  July 11, 18, & 25, starts at 7:00 PM.This landmark Asheville event continues through July, with free performances at Pack Square Park downtown. Bring your lawn chair, but don’t plan to sit in it for long — the bluegrass artists that take turns on the stage are sure to get you up and dancing in the sweet summer air.

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The Big Crafty: July 12, noon–6:00 PM. The Asheville Art Museum is home to this indoor-outdoor event featuring carefully selected crafters of all types. The Big Crafty lives up to its name, showcasing some of the most creative and interesting crafts you’ll ever see. Take home a little piece of handmade Appalachia of your very own. This Asheville event is free, but pre-sale tickets are available for $5, which lets you into the show at 11:00 AM, ahead of the expected crowds.

Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands: July 16–19; 10:00 AM–6:00 PM, Thursday–Saturday; 10:00 AM–5:00 PM Sunday.Members of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild come together for four days to showcase works of art from our region. The artists sell their art, answer questions, and share tales of how they’ve created their stunning work. Held at the US Cellular Center, the juried craft fair features more than 200 highly skilled artists and craftspeople. Admission is $8; kids under 12 are free.

Folkmoot: July 16–26; times vary by performance. This two-week celebration of music, folklore and dance from around the world is based in nearby Waynesville, but features performances in Asheville. On July 19 & 26, all of the Folkmoot performers will put on a show at the Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville; the performance begins at 1:30 PM; tickets are $30 (children 12 and under are $15). Two featured Folkmoot groups will perform at the Asheville Jewish Community Center on July 23 at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $18 for adults, half-price for children 12 and under.

Downtown After Five: July 17, 5–9:00 PM. Enjoy music from the Asheville All Stars and Future All Stars (made up of school children) at this month’s installment of the popular free concert series. Food is sold on-site, and local beer is available for purchase with valid ID and a $2 wristband, with proceeds going toward local non-profit agencies.

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Feel free to ask the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds office for ticket information or directions. We’ve attended many of these annual events and will gladly share our thoughts. You will never lack for fun when you visit Asheville, North Carolina.

Sandy McLeod

The West Asheville Restaurant Scene

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Jun
15

West Asheville has earned a reputation as the hip, funky side of town. The streets are lined with groovy thrift stores, trendy bars, music venues, and of course, restaurants. Step into any dining establishment, and you’re nearly certain to be part of a visually diverse crowd: long dreadlocks and tall mohawks, preppy plaid and black leather, high-heeled boots and running shoes; all are represented here, and the Asheville restaurants on this side of town offer just as wide a range of tasty flavors. Here are a few notable places to dine while you’re exploring the West Side.

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The Admiral

Tucked away in an unassuming storefront, this is one of the Asheville restaurants that offers a surprisingly upscale menu from 5:00–10:00 PM. The menu at The Admiral  changes daily, but the selections are always fresh and interesting, and the desserts are absolutely divine.

Biscuithead

You can’t go wrong with a good old-fashioned biscuit for breakfast, and Biscuithead does them right. The large, fluffy biscuits are offered up in a variety of ways, from sandwiches to meals, and you can top them with a huge selection of butters, jams, jellies and gravies. Biscuithead is open for breakfast and lunch.

Green Tea Sushi

Sushi lovers will delight in this relaxing Asheville restaurant. The décor lends itself to both quiet conversation and happy celebrations, and the menu at Green Tea Sushi offers other favorites such as tempura, barbecue squid, and vegetarian choices.

Isis Restaurant and Music Hall

Like many Asheville restaurants, Isis also serves as a music venue, featuring live bands in a tasteful yet relaxed atmosphere. Isis has an outdoor dining patio, as well as a more intimate bar and lounge upstairs with a view of the stage. And its menu contains many locally sourced ingredients.

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King Daddy’s Chicken and Waffles

You haven’t really visited the South until you’ve feasted on chicken and waffles, like those served at King Daddy’s. Their appetizer menu also offers poutine, a rare find this side of the border, along with pork cracklins and fried chicken livers — proof that this is genuine Southern cuisine, but with an all-inclusive twist.

Lucky Otter

Looking for a laid-back experience in Asheville restaurants? Try the Lucky Otter; it might be exactly what you’re looking for. This West Asheville restaurant has long been established as a favorite among locals and for good reason.

Nona Mia

This Italian restaurant serves up classic favorites, but it’s known for its wood-fired pizzas, hearty sandwiches and more. The whole family will appreciate the warm, comfortable atmosphere. Asheville restaurants don’t get friendlier than this. Go to Nona Mia when you’re in the mood for good old-fashioned Italian comfort food.

Sunny Point Cafe

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While there’s often a wait at Sunny Point, one of our favorite West Asheville restaurants, it’s because it serves up classic breakfast, lunch and dinner fare with distinctive twists. The fried green tomato BLT is the perfect blend of fresh and savory flavors, and the homemade pimento cheese is a Southern staple. Try the shrimp and grits or some organic cornmeal hotcakes.

Universal Joint

A former gas station converted into a must-visit burger joint, the aptly named Universal Joint has quickly established itself as the burger place in West Asheville. But they offer more than just burgers. Quesadillas, tacos, salads, vegetarian fare and chicken sandwiches grace their menu. For a real treat, try the smoked trout Reuben.

No matter where you dine, venture into West Asheville from your cabin at the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds to experience the Asheville restaurants that helped transform this part of the city. Pleasant surprises await you.

Sandy McLeod

Best Asheville Events in June 2015

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Jun
1

Nestled deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, North Carolina, is known for its beautiful summer weather, gorgeous scenery and welcoming, small-town feel. But a peek beyond the lush green mountains and glistening streams reveals a city rich in diverse entertainment options. You can visit the many local breweries, catch some live music, admire the talent at a craft fair — Asheville is a town where there truly is something for everyone. Here’s a short list of some of the best Asheville events happening this June.

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International Doll and Teddy Show

Some of the world’s most renowned doll and teddy bear artists will have their work on display at the Crowne Plaza Resort. Just minutes from downtown, the event will show off beautifully crafted items available for both private collectors and retailers to purchase. This Asheville event runs June 5–7; admission is $10.

Clay Day

This free event at the Folk Art Center,  right off the Blue Ridge Parkway in East Asheville, offers the opportunity to observe ceramic artists at work. Watch as they demonstrate various pottery-making techniques, and then spend some time taking in the other beautiful art at the Center. June 6, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Fiber Feel Day

On June 6, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, explore all things fiber at the WNC Farmer’s Market. <http://www.wncfarmersmarket.org/> Local farmers and fiber artists will teach you all about different natural fibers. You’ll also have the chance to shop for raw materials and finished fiber art. When you’re done, stock up on locally grown fruits, veggies and herbs, as well as handmade crafts and home goods.

Asheville Art in the Park

Asheville Art in the Park,  which takes place in Pack Square Park on June 13, 20 and 27, welcomes visitors to view and purchase works from many talented local artists. Asheville is home to an eclectic artist community, and you’re sure to see something that strikes your fancy. The event runs from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM each day, allowing you plenty of time to shop.

Downtown After Five

One Friday a month, Downtown After Five combines local food and beer with free music. On June 19, bring the whole family out to enjoy the sounds of Corey Harris and Zansa, sure to get your dancing feet moving and keep a smile on your face. One of the most popular Asheville events, DA5 starts at 5:00 PM and winds up around 9:00.

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Shindig on the Green

Celebrate Appalachian culture throughout the summer with Shindig on the Green. This free Asheville event  kicks off on June 27, as some of Western North Carolina’s most skilled traditional dancers and musicians converge downtown to entertain folks from near and far. It starts at 7:00 PM and runs until about 10:00. Bring a blanket or chair.

Asheville Tourists Baseball

No list of Asheville events is complete without mentioning an Asheville Tourists game. Check out the game schedule and then make plans to visit McCormick Field for America’s favorite pastime — it’s a timeless tradition that anyone of any age can enjoy.

Asheville Tattoo Expo

This might be one of the most colorful Asheville events happening this month. Meet with some of the country’s most renowned tattoo artists, watch them in action, and maybe pick up some new ink of your own. This event is held at the US Cellular Center, June 26–28, 11:00 AM to midnight. Tickets start at $26, but kids 12 and younger get in free.

Biltmore Blooms

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When you visit the Biltmore Estate, don’t forget to spend some time on the grounds. Biltmore Blooms  goes on all summer, offering colorful views of the vibrant flower gardens surrounding the impressive home. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the gardens boast a constantly changing display of thousands of tulips, roses, chrysanthemums and more.

Sandy McLeod

Day Trip from Asheville: Grandfather Mountain

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May
21

When you visit Asheville, NC, and stay at the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds, you’ll likely want to get the most out of your vacation. You can be forgiven for wanting to hang around your cabin, soaking in your hot tub or wandering our scenic grounds — which are beautiful in May, by the way. But there is so much to see and do around Asheville that you’ll kick yourself later if you missed a highlight.

Which brings us to Grandfather Mountain. It’s a nature reserve with several attractions. In fact, it’s been designated an International Biosphere Reserve due to its biological diversity. But you may want to visit because of its Mile High Swinging Bridge. So whether you enjoy being out in nature, hiking along established trails or viewing wildlife in its natural habitat, you’ll find it at Grandfather Mountain State Park.

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The Fun Facts

While Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River at 6684 feet, Grandfather Mountain rises to 5945 feet, more than a mile high! The view from the top makes the whole trip worthwhile. In the midst of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the peak lets you see for miles and miles in all directions.

The park has a variety of mountain trails with beautiful scenic views, so you can hike regardless of your fitness level. There are more than 12 miles of trails on park property. You can pack a lunch for an unforgettable picnic at one of the more than 100 picnic tables throughout the park. You can find grills, too, if you prefer a hot meal. Alternatively, stop in at Mildred’s Grill, a family restaurant on the grounds.

In addition to the Mile High Swinging Bridge, which is accessible by elevator or stairs, the Nature Museum features exhibits on the natural history of the mountains and films that were made in the Park. Then swing by the wildlife habitats to see cougars, black bear, white-tailed deer, river otters and eagles. All the animals are in an enclosure that resembles their natural environment. For an extra fee ($25 per person), you can go on a behind-the-scenes tour.

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Finally, the park hosts special activities, nature programs and educational opportunities. You can learn about and participate in birding, geology and endangered species. Kids and adults alike can learn something new.

Getting To Grandfather Mountain

Getting to the park can be half the fun. You can reach Grandfather Mountain by highway, via Interstate 40 east to US 221 north. Since the park is just 70 miles from Asheville, that’s a short 90-minute drive. A better option, though, involves taking the Blue Ridge Parkway. Just plan for an extra hour of travel time, more if you like to stop at the scenic vistas.

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Grandfather Mountain is a perfect day trip from Asheville, fun for the whole family and a beautiful spot to spend the day. For more information, visit grandfather.com.  You can buy tickets online and see what special events are happening. Get outside and enjoy the scenery, on the Blue Ridge Parkway and off. The mountains beckon!

Sandy McLeod

May 2015 Asheville Events

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Apr
28

Asheville events in May bring a host of activities that take advantage of the spectacular weather we experience in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Outdoor venues open up for business, and the crowds rush in. As the city becomes more popular every year, you should consider making reservations for some events. The office at the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds is happy to help.

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Music in May

Enjoy the outdoors with music, food, drinks and fellow revelers:

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  • Sponsored by the Asheville Downtown Association, Downtown After 5 kicks off this year on May 15 from 5–9:00 PM on North Lexington Avenue. CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band is the featured act this month. In addition to the jams, you can find great food and taste many of the fine local brews, always on the third Friday of the month through September.
  • Sunday Music in the Park  is another Asheville Downtown Association event. The first show is on May 17, featuring the Cool Cats, who play swing dance music. On May 31, the event presents Hymns and Beer, a gospel sing-along (only in Asheville?). The concerts take place on Pack Square downtown in front of the courthouse from 4–6:00 PM. Vendors will sell food and drinks at the event.

Spring Festival Time

Asheville events are loaded with surprising and offbeat selections. Attend for a few hours or a few days, and leave with plenty of cool pictures and excellent memories.

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  • May 22–30 is the prime time to celebrate Beer Week in the city, culminating with a smashing good time at the 4th annual Beer City Festival on May 30. During Beer Week, a range of tastings, workshops, dinners, speakers and other beer-related activities take place throughout the city. The finale at Pack Square features reps from 32 different breweries and live music.
  • Continue your Asheville immersion during The Americana Burlesque & Sideshow Festival that runs May 22–24. In its ninth year, the show takes place just minutes from your cabin in a variety of downtown venues. You’ll find everything from unicorn-feathered starlets and Mr. Gorgeous to workshops on Hand-to-Hand Acrobalancing and Two-Person Comedy.

Must-See Exhibits

When it comes to Asheville events in May, you’ll want to catch a few exhibits and cultural shows that continue through the month:

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  • The Asheville Art Museum is holding a special showing of Flourish: Selected Jewelry From the Daphne Farago Collection at the downtown venue. The exhibit features the contemporary jewelry that exemplifies the middle 20th Century creativity. Each piece offers visitors a diverse glimpse into the processes and craftsmanship of jewelry makers as well as the ideas, history and materials involved.
  • Visit Biltmore House to take in the last vestiges of the Biltmore Blooms display in the gardens. The event runs through May 25. In addition to the outdoor gardens lush with the spring bounty of tulips, roses, daffodils and azaleas, the interior garden winds up its display of stunning orchids. May 25 also is the last day to catch the Dressing Downton Abbey display of more than 40 costumes from the popular PBS series.

Food Is Always on the Event Menu

With its growing reputation as a foodie haven, Asheville events that revolve around food are always fun and popular. Begin your mornings with a trip to one of the many tailgate markets that feature fresh, locally grown food. Then try some of the goodies at one of the foodie Asheville events:

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  • The Asheville Artisan Bread Bakers’ Festival takes place on May 2–3 in the Magnolia building on the AB Tech Community College campus on Victoria Road. The free Asheville event celebrates local farmers, millers and bakers. Attend lectures and workshops, meet more than 15 local bread artisans and sample their wares from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
  • Get a real taste of Appalachia and experience a local favorite at the annual Ramp Festival on May 2–3 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the American Legion Field in Waynesville, about 40 minutes from your cabin. Bring your breath mints or go all out for the pungent tastes and smells of the ramp-based fare. You’ll also get a taste of two other mountain traditions at the festival: clogging and bluegrass music.
  • Stop by the Lex 18 Moonshine Bar and Restaurant on Lexington Avenue between 12:30 and 2:30 PM through May 30 for high tea, Downton Abbey style. Choose from a selection of teas brewed in vintage tea pots, the chef’s quiche classic, assorted tea sandwiches, scones with lemon curd and pot de crème chocolate and sherry or champagne, among other options. All are served in an elegant setting reminiscent of the 1920s and set to classical music.

Stop by the office at Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds <http://www.ashevillecabins.com/> for help making your plans. Asheville events in May make an ideal complement to your relaxing experience on the Willow Winds property. When you return from your event, the luxury and comfort of your private cabin will be here to greet you.