Sandy McLeod

Hiking Tips for the Appalachian Summer

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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.


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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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.


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.


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 <> 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.


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.


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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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.


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.


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.


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


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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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.