Sandy McLeod

Best Asheville Events in June 2015

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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.


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. <> 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.


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


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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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.


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.


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.


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  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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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.



Music in May

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


  • 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.


  • 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:

biltmore house asheville

  • 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:


  • 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 <> 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.

Sandy McLeod

Tried & True: North Asheville Restaurants

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North Asheville — that is, the area north of downtown — is a bit farther from your Asheville cabin at Willow Winds, but the extra few minutes might be worth the trip. While the city has exploded with interesting, diverse places to dine, North Asheville restaurants cater to a mix of well-to-do homeowners and college students, although not always at the same time. Here’s a selection of the best Asheville restaurants north of the city center:


Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company

Here’s an original. Not only does Asheville Brewing Company serve fresh beer, but also they have tasty pizza, sandwiches and salads. The lunchtime pizza buffet is deliciously dangerous. But the food and drink are only half the attraction. ABC features a game room for the kids and three-dollar, second-run movies for the whole family. You can eat and drink in their theater too.

Avenue M 

If all Asheville restaurants could be like this, more people would dine out more often. Right on Merrimon Avenue, Avenue M is a spacious, friendly place that serves a wide range of delicious meals, from a Vegetarian Stir Fry to its Merrimon (Beef) Medallions. The owner really cares about this local restaurant, so she’s there most evenings.



Other Asheville restaurants have tried to capitalize on the local, organic, slow food movements that are trending, but none does it as well as HomeGrown, whose tagline is: “Slow Food Right Quick.” This eatery captures the spirit of Asheville, from the delicious but inexpensive plates and “samiches” to the tattooed waitresses. They’re busy breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Luella’s Bar-B-Que 

Luella’s has quickly become a local favorite. It’s because they simply do everything well, from the traditional ribs to their salad options. This is North Carolina BBQ with a variety of tempting sauces to please your palate. You can’t go broke eating there, either, since prices are reasonable and portions are big. They sometimes feature live music in the evening.

Marco’s New York Pizzeria Restaurant 

Despite its name, Marco’s serves a variety of classic Italian food in addition to New York-style pizzas. Their original location in North Asheville — they opened a South Asheville location recently — has been serving pizza, calzone, stromboli, pasta, hot sandwiches and dessert for years. They were voted the city’s best pizza nine times.

Nine Mile 

Serving Caribbean soul food with a sophisticated twist, Nine Mile has been satisfying and surprising customers since 2008. For lunch or dinner, their pasta meals and rice dishes feature chicken or seafood, delectable or spicy sauces, and lots of veggies. In fact, this eatery is “vegetarian-friendly.” They recently opened a second location in West Asheville, too.



This high-end vegetarian restaurant may make you want to give up meat for good. We love their URL: Their dishes are so wonderfully flavorful and rich that you won’t even realize they’re completely meat-free. They also offer gluten-free options. Try their Red Curry Tofu or the Applewood Smoked Porto’House (complete with steak sauce).

Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian 

Asheville restaurants aren’t deep when it comes to Italian cuisine. Maybe it’s just not a Southern thing. But Vinnie’s captures the family-friendly Italian eateries of old. From pizza to pasta and from sausage to seafood, this place makes those traditional Italian dishes you sometimes crave.

Zen Sushi 

Sushi is always in season, and Asheville has its share of sushi restaurants. What makes Zen Sushi stand out are its variety and its quality. Whether you want a simple California roll or the famous Blue Ridge roll, you can get it here. They serve a limited lunch menu.

Sandy McLeod

Special Asheville Events, April 2015

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Asheville, North Carolina,has a reputation for many things. It’s been named one of the happiest places on earth, as well as one of the best places to retire, start a business and drink beer. Asheville events like Moogfest, Brewgrass and the Gingerbread House competition draw visitors from around the world. And the area rapidly is becoming a foodtopia for people who love to dine on fresh creations.


Not far from your front porch at Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds, you can find everything to satisfy your appetite: from Southern BBQ and soul food to fine French cuisine, fresh farm-to-table meals and everything organic. There are vegetarian-only restaurants in town and others that will pile your plate high with meat.

A few lesser-known activities are helping put the area on the map too. And many of these Asheville events are happening in April, just in time for your visit.

Spiritual Asheville Events

Many holistic and spiritual seekers are drawn to the majesty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and share their devotion through Asheville events like these:

  • Chimney Rock Park’s Easter Sunday Sunrise Service is the place to catch the sunrise on Easter Sunday, April 5 this year. Gates open at the park at 5:30 AM. 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of the event, which will feature live music withpark musician John Mason on the hammered dulcimer, a special addition to the spectacular vistas.
  • The Asheville-based Practical Spirituality Institute’s Pursuing Happiness series kicks off on April 8 for a two-hour workshop called “Finding Your Life Purpose.” The location for this event is in nearby Hendersonville at Lila’s Garden, 707 Brooklyn Avenue.
  • The Cove is home to the Billy Graham Training Center. On April 9 from 7:30 to 10:00 PM, at a special event — An Evening at the Cove — you can hear the all-female band Point of Grace perform just days after the release of their new album Directions Home.

Running on Full Tanks in Asheville

Very few running events are flat in the mountains, but runners love the scenery. And no matter the weather— which usually runs very mild in the Asheville springtime— there’s a race to suit your tastes. Enjoy the outdoors with friends and then relax in your cabin in a soothing hot tub.

Participate in one of the area’s popular race events:


Going Green

Our round-up continues with another growing industry in Asheville — gardening, farming, plants, flowers and fresh food. Catch a slew of Asheville events geared toward the green enthusiast.


Sandy McLeod

East Asheville Restaurants

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As the city of Asheville grows into its well-founded reputation as a food destination, each part of town wants to get a piece of the action. And that’s only good news for native and visiting foodies. From your cabin at the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds, you can navigate to the north, south and west sides of townwithin minutes.

Each part of town has its dining highlights, places worth stopping in for a meal. And Asheville restaurants on the east side of town are no different. Here is just a sampling of some of the East Asheville restaurants we recommend. Try a few during your current trip and save some for your next.

East Village Grille


Local favorites at the East Village Grill include Tiger Wings and the Grouper Reuben. When served with a cold local brew, you can’t beat the taste sensations. This Asheville restaurant is within skipping distance of a Blue Ridge Parkway entrance, making it a great place to stop before or after your hike. At 1177 Tunnel Road, the local staple has been satisfying Asheville palates since 1992 with its Greek specialty dishes and American classics.


We have it all in Asheville, including this European-styled café that serves a wide range of French pastries right along with sandwiches and soups. Pastry chef Maria Papanastasioulikes to surprise guests with a little Mediterranean twist on her desserts. They serve North Carolina-roasted Counter Culture coffee,which gives their baristas a lot to work with as they whip up a hot beverage for you. It’s right down the road at 1155 Tunnel Road.

Native Kitchen and Social Club

At 204 Whitson Avenue, this Asheville restaurant was started by two North Carolina couples who wanted a place they could serve local food with a fresh flair. You’ll find an eclectic menu that changes with the seasons. Eat in the pub, relax on the patio or get down to some real eating in the backyard. From fresh salads to sandwiches and pizzas, the chefs’ only motto is: “Eat native.”

The Social

Asheville is all about neighborhood communities and having fun with food. This Asheville restaurant serves up live, local music in the evening right along with their spicy fried pickle burgers and fire-roasted chicken Phillies. It’s at 1078 Tunnel Road.

Creekside Tap House


They lay it all out on their website in one long sentence: “We like parties, catering, music, creeks, kids, dogs, volleyball, pinball, cornhole, arcade games, craft beer, football, community, and of course BBQ.” You don’t find much more in the way of fun and food than at 8 Beverly Road in the Creekside Tap House. It’s nestled in the Haw Creek community and is famous for its authentic Carolina BBQ and award-winning wings.They serve 20 craft brews. They have a partially covered deck for outdoor dining, a full sand volleyball court, horseshoes, and a play area for the kids.

So get out of your cozy cabin to experience all that East Asheville restaurants have to offer. You’re bound to find something to brag about.

Sandy McLeod

Discover Chimney Rock and Lake Lure

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When you come to Asheville for your vacation, all of Western North Carolina opens up to you. National parks (like the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains), historical towns (like Cherokee and Dillsboro) and several forests (like the Pisgah National Forest and the Dupont State Forest) are close by. Your choices for adventure and exploration are almost limitless.


A short — and scenic — drive through the mountains will bring you to Chimney Rock and Lake Lure. Chimney Rock, a tiny town of just over 100 inhabitants, is home to Chimney Rock State Park. Lake Lure, a larger town (with more than 1000 inhabitants), offers more than just the lake. Both towns are worth a visit.

Chimney Rock

After a hearty breakfast, either in your cabin or at one of the many Asheville-area eateries, enjoy the drive to Chimney Rock State Park. Bring your hiking shoes and be ready to walk… and climb. The hike up the Outcroppings Trail is a 25-minute stroll up to the crest of the rock. If you can climb 31 stairs, you can climb up to Chimney Rock. But there is an elevator if you really need one.


The views from the top of Chimney Rock are exquisite, so bring your camera. You can see Lake Lure and the whole valley stretched out below. The park is also a great place for bird watching. Learn about nature, geology and animals (with Grady the Groundhog). The Hickory Nut Falls Trail follows an easy-to-moderate path that leads to a breathtaking 400-foot waterfall.

Admission to the park is $15 for adults and $7 for kids 15 and under. Children under 5 years old get in free. For hours and other park information, visit

Lake Lure

Just down the road from Chimney Rock, Lake Lure offers fine and casual dining, water sports (including waterskiing) and golfing in a beautiful setting. After a morning hiking up and down Chimney Rock Park, maybe all you want is to relax on the public beach. But you also can rent a boat for an afternoon on the placid lake waters.


If you prefer to be active, try the Rumbling Bald Golf Course, horseback riding at Cedar Creek or ziplining through Hickory Nut Gorge at Canopy Ridge Farm. Lake Lure is a scenic spot no matter what activity you choose — on or off the water.

Getting There Is Half the Fun

You can follow either Route 74A out of Asheville or Route 9 out of Black Mountain (which is just 20 minutes east of Asheville). Both rural routes take you through winding roads and the awakening forests of spring. No matter which way you go, it will take you about 45 minutes to an hour to get to Chimney Rock and Lake Lure.

We recommend driving there on Route 74A and driving back on Route 9, stopping in Black Mountain for a bite, a drink or just a stroll. A Chimney Rock/Lake Lure excursion can be a full day activity and both offer memorable moments for the whole family.

Sandy McLeod

A Comprehensive But Incomplete Guide to Rainy Day Asheville Activities

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Asheville, North Carolina, makes an unforgettable travel destination because it’s full of adventures and fun things to do. Zipline through the forest, float down the French Broad River, or watch the passersby in Pack Square. You’ll find so much going on in and around Asheville that you won’t know where to start.

But the weather here is fickle, especially in the springtime. It might be warm; it might be cold. It might be sunny; it might be raining. If you’re looking for Asheville activities when the weather’s wet or otherwise unfavorable, you have stumbled onto the right place. Read on.

Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds

If you stay in one of the luxury cabins here at Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds, you’ll have an entire cabin at your disposal. Snuggle by the fireplace with your loved ones on our plush furniture. Take out a free video from our onsite library. Take a soak in your private hot tub. Get a massage right in your cabin.


Of course, if the weather’s bad for a couple days in a row, you might get cabin fever. No problem! Even when the weather doesn’t cooperate, there are still too many things to do without venturing far. That’s just the way Asheville operates.

See Asheville, Even in the Rain

If you want to see more of the city, Asheville boasts three different tour options (with windows and side curtains to keep you dry). The straightforward trolley tour points out highlights and history. The LaZoom Comedy tour entertains as it shows you the sights. Asheville Brews Cruise lets you tour the many breweries in our sudsy city.


Then again, you can always pile everyone into the car for an impromptu self-guided tour. Asheville has several distinct and scenic neighborhoods with styles all their own. Tour Montford, Kenilworth, Biltmore Forest, Chestnut-Hill, Grove Park, Lakeview Park and West Asheville.

Downtown Asheville Activities

If you enjoy history and art, spend a few hours at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, which includes the house and a museum. Stop by the Basilica of St. Lawrence to marvel at its dome. The Asheville Art Museum and the Colburn Earth Science Museum, both at Pack Place let you escape the weather and learn something. Of course, Asheville is awash in art galleries and antique shops.


Downtown Asheville features great restaurants, eclectic coffee shops (including the Double Decker Bus) and the exquisite Grove Arcade, an indoor mall built in 1929. The Asheville Salt Cave Day and Salt Spa is a unique experience just waiting for you. The Mast General Store, the Woolworth Walk, and the Kress Emporium each are worth an hour or two of browsing. And don’t forget to indulge yourself at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Chocolate Fetish and/or Chocolate Gems.

If you want to see a movie, the Fine Arts Theater shows first-run art films that are almost always worth seeing. Further north, on Merrimon Avenue, the Asheville Pizza and Brewery shows three-dollar second-run movies in a comfy theater that serves food and beer.

Rainy-Day Asheville Activities for Kids

These activities aren’t just for children, but they will keep kids entertained regardless of the weather. The Asheville Fun Depot has all kinds of games, including laser tag and go-carts. ClimbMax provides indoor rock climbing. And the Asheville Pinball Museum is the cure for video games. For ten dollars, you can play vintage pinball machines for as long as you want.

We haven’t even mentioned the Biltmore Estate, where the whole family will enjoy the tour, the shops and the restaurants. If you’re in a shopping mood, Biltmore Village, Biltmore Park, Lexington Avenue, the Folk Art Center and the River Arts District supply the goods.

Adults Need Rainy-Day Activities Too

The Grove Park Inn and Spa is worth a sightseeing trip, but it’s the spa that is worth the stop. Even if you don’t get a massage, spending an afternoon in the spa is a treat you won’t soon forget. After you’re totally relaxed, get a permanent keepsake from Asheville: get a tattoo from one of the many artists who have set up shop here.


Other Asheville activities include seeing a concert or taking in a play. Choose from between venues like the US Cellular Center, the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, The Orange Peel, The Grey Eagle, Isis Restaurant and Music Hall, Diana Wortham Theater and Asheville Community Theater. Travel down to Cherokee for Harrah’s Casino, which also features concerts.

No matter what the weather, you will never lack for Asheville activities when you stay at the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds.

Sandy McLeod

Top Asheville Events in March 2015

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Top Asheville Events in March 2015

When you reach your cabin at Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds in March, you’re greeted by the very first signs of spring. Blooms of every size and color begin to poke up through the grounds, from the front entrance to your doorstep. You’ll agree: the grounds are gorgeous.

Once you’ve taken in the glory of the Blue Ridge Mountains display of flora outside, settle into your luxury cabin. Relax, enjoy the hot tub and then get ready to participate in a couple big, unique Asheville events for you and your family.

2015 Southern Conference Basketball Championships


You’re just in time for the big SoCon basketball championship games taking place downtown Asheville at the U.S. Cellular Center. The men’s and women’s games provide pure excitement from March 5 through March 9.

And you’ll find plenty of sideline Asheville events complementing the tourneys. Just a few of the activities include:

  • Overtime at the Grove Arcade is Friday, March 6, after the games, just a block away from the arena. Join in for drinks, food and a local-style pep rally to celebrate the b-ball events.
  • Downtown Dribble takes place at the Vance Monument from 10:45 to 11:15 AM on March 7. 500 kids get basketballs to dribble, parade-style, the six blocks to the civic center.
  • ARC of Buncombe County 5K Run complements the dribble on March 7 for a little pre-game exercise. Start and finish at Pack Square. Race goes from 9:30 to 10:30 AM.

Amadeus Asheville

Music lovers get their fair share of the excitement in March, too. Asheville events include concerts and shows dedicated to the master of Mozart. Among the many Amadeus Asheville activities you’ll find:


  • Amadeus is a co-production presented by NC Stage Company and Asheville Community Theatre. The local theater troupe offers this special engagement March 11–22, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 PM and on Sundays at 2:30 PM.
  • Pre-Festival Kick-off at Highland Brewing Company, on March 14, when a classic Vienna- style lager is released in Mozart’s honor.
  • The Asheville Symphony plans a number of concerts:

o   Opening night at Diana Wortham Theatre, March 17 at 8:00 PM

o   Family Concert on March 21 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM

o   Pianoforte at the Asheville Art Museum, March 19 at 6:00 PM

o   Asheville Lyric Opera at the YMI Cultural Center, March 18 at 7:00 PM

Flower Shows

Floral Asheville events include concerts, special hikes and creative gardening classes. And you’ll be amazed at two exceptional flower shows in locations very close to your cabin’s front porch:


  • Biltmore Blooms takes place from March 20 through May 25. Talk to us at the office about landing tickets for this amazing event that celebrates the blooms of spring. The festival of flowers shows off more than 90,000 tulips and beautiful floral displays in the Biltmore House gardens. It’s a must-see.
  • The Orchid Show at the NC Arboretum features plants on display and supplies for sale by world-class vendors. It runs on March 28 and 29. The judged show includes thousands of orchids and is one of the largest orchid competitions in the Southeast. The theme this year is “The Lost World of Orchids.”
Sandy McLeod

The Charms of Nearby Hendersonville

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While Asheville lays claim to a host of accolades from magazines and travelers across the world, nearby Hendersonville reaps much of the overflow attention — and visitors. The city of Hendersonville is a short 40-minute drive from your cabin door at Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds. Let us tell you why it’s worth the trip.


Year-Round Charms

As more and more people have discovered nearby Hendersonville and its reasonable housing costs, especially for young families and retiring seniors, the city has seen an upsurge in downtown business and activity. You’ll now find trendy art shops, restaurants and galleries on the historic six blocks that make up the downtown area.

Hendersonville, just off I-26 south of Asheville, offers autumn treats to visitors every year during the apple bounty for which the area is renowned. Every Labor Day weekend, the town welcomes thousands of guests to its annual Apple Festival, where you can grab a bushel of fresh-picked apples or taste everything from apple fritters and fried apple pies to apple cider and apple butter.

Among the other charms of Hendersonville’s downtown, a few businesses stand out:

  • Wickwire is a shop that focuses on Americana with ceramics, paintings, iron sculptures and crafts that feature wildlife and mountain themes.
  • Narnia is one of those curiosity shops that you’ll tell your friends about when you get back home. Part flower shop, part fairy emporium and part gift shop, the shop draws tourists and locals alike.
  • Village Green Antique Mall houses 12 different vendors who sell their wares, making your browsing experience a joy. You might find a valuable antique or a whimsical memento.

Eat and Be Happy

You won’t find a dearth of high-quality, unique eateries in nearby Hendersonville. Whether you need to get off your feet for a drink and appetizer or want to sit down to an array of local delights, you can find it downtown Hendersonville.


  • Never Blue may surprise you when you enter — the place is painted in a dozen shades of blue. It’s a tapas bar run by artist/owner Jessie Roque, who decided to change her life and never be blue. The martinis are earning a reputation in the region and the food ranges from jalapeño poppers to Black Sea Bass marinated in lime. Try the chicken wings submerged in a Thai peanut-cashew sauce that Roque calls Chings.
  • The Grove Street Inn is a classic diner with an upscale menu that includes New Zealand Lamb Shanks Slow-Braised in Porter Beer and Roasted Wild Shrimp and Chorizo Sausage in a Smoked Tomato Sauce over Parmesan Polenta. That’s a mouthful, as is the burger you’ll find on the menu.
  • Bistro 502 is located,you guessed it, at 502 Main Street. It specializes in French cuisine made from mostly local ingredients. The restaurant specializes in French comfort food like Cassoulet, Coq au Vin and Boeuf Bourguignon. Enjoy your meal as you can sit at one of the window seats and watch as life passes by on Main Street.
  • West First Wood-Fired has developed a reputation for wood-fired pizza and exceptional Italian fare, such as Lamb Tagine and Garlic and Fresh Herb Gnocci. They offer full bar service with a selection of local beer.

And if you’re into wine, Henderson County is home to two distinctive vineyards: Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards and Burntshirt Vineyards. Both offer tastings and sales.

History in Nearby Hendersonville

If you like to pick up a little history from the places you visit, you’ll find plenty of it in Hendersonville. And if you feel like traveling to adjacent areas, plan to visit Flat Rock, Brevard or Bat Cave. But while you’re in nearby Hendersonville, you can visit:


  • Henderson Country Historical Museum
  • WNC Air Museum
  • Mineral and Lapidary Museum
  • Historic Johnson Farm

Make a day of it in nearby Hendersonville.