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.

Sandy McLeod

Asheville Small Plate Crawl

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February 24, 25, 26


Those lucky enough to live in Asheville and those who are visiting this week are in for a treat. Presented by Asheville Independent Restaurants, the “Small Plate Crawl” will be something special for those vacationers who are staying at our resort cabin. This year’s event is even better than last with more than 23 restaurants showing their culinary talents with small cuisine. Local chefs and restaurant owners are proud to offer delicious small meals at a price range from $3 – $8.

Before you can start crawling you must register online at If you do not receive a verification email you need to return to and sign in again. Then check the “Please manually confirm my account.” Next you will need to download a bar code scanning app such as “QR Code Reader.” The server will bring you a bar code after a plate is purchased for the whole table to scan and be entered in to win a prize.

Courtesy of Sunny Point Cafe

Courtesy of Sunny Point Cafe

Crawlers can visit as many restaurants during lunch and dinner as you can and leave your AirPass at the last restaurant and be eligible for some amazing prices through the AIR raffle.





1 Night Stay at
 Grand Bohemian Hotel

Posana Cafe $25 Gift Certificate

Eating Asheville Walking Food Tour for 2

Treetops Adventure Pass for 2

For more information how this works visit the AIR web page. 


Sandy McLeod

South Asheville Restaurant Guide

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One of the first questions our guests ask us is: “Where’s a good place to eat?” We always answer, “Well, what are you in the mood for?” That’s because Asheville boasts the full gamut of dining choices, from casual to formal and from Asian to Southern. And everything in between. Restaurants in South Asheville are nearby, and although some are new, all are worth a visit. Here are a few of our favorites:

Juicy Lucy’s

This locally owned casual dining restaurant at 620 Hendersonville Road features a signature item: the Juicy Lucy, a cheese-stuffed burger that has to be experienced to be believed. Although known for their burgers and shakes — and rightly so — they also offer wings, salads, chicken and seafood. And it is so close to Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds, you can almost smell the food from your front door. Go hungry and be prepared to make a delicious mess!

Corner Kitchen

Situated at the edge of Biltmore Village, Corner Kitchen has raised the bar for all restaurants in South Asheville to beat. Elegant yet approachable, their dinner menu features such tempting dishes as the Ginger Scallion Glazed NY strip with Bok Choy Stir Fry and Sticky Rice & Pickled Carrots. And it’s every bit as delicious as it sounds. Try them for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch.


12 Bones South

This BBQ joint was so good, it had to expand. First opened in the River Arts District, 12 Bones is now an institution. One of the restaurants in South Asheville serves some of the best and most creative BBQ dishes in town. Everything is made from scratch, and every dish is delish. Best of all, the south store, located at 3578 Sweeten Creek Road, is just down the street from your cabin.

Tupelo Honey Café Southside

Tupelo Honey is a local success story. Started in downtown Asheville, the Southern-inspired restaurant is now in seven cities with four more on the way. Asheville has two locations; its Southside restaurant, at 1829 Hendersonville Road, is every bit as good as its original location, but with newer furniture. This is Southern casual cooking at its best.


131 Main

Located in Biltmore Park, a recent mixed-use development, 131 Main is one of the best continental restaurants in South Asheville. Its menu mixes staples like Southern Shrimp and Grits with Roasted Prime Rib. Sitting right next to the movie theater, it’s the perfect before-or-after-movie meal. Its apt tagline is: “We define fresh.”

Rezaz Mediterranean Cuisine 

Reopening on February 5 after renovations, this Biltmore Village restaurant serves both Mediterranean and Southern foods, often side by side. For example, you can get Chicken Vadouvan or Roasted NC Trout off the dinner menu. Other surprises await you too — don’t miss the desserts!

Stone Bowl Korean Restaurant

Asheville has many ethnic food choices, but this is the first Korean restaurant in the city, and since it’s at 1987 Hendersonville Road, it’s not far from Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds. It’s a small, local operation: just the kind Asheville loves. If you’re in the mood for something different, the Stone Bowl might be just the thing.

Iannucci’s Pizzeria & Italian Eatery

As restaurants in South Asheville go, this one is a casual feast: big portions, heavy sauces and fresh ingredients. Locally owned and family-run, this is a great little place for pizzas and other Italian fare. Since it’s affordably priced, you can stop in for lunch or dinner when you don’t want anything too fancy.

Whatever you’re in the mood for, ask at the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds office. We know all the restaurants in South Asheville and beyond to ensure you get a great experience. When it comes to your Asheville vacation, we look out for you.

Sandy McLeod

Couple’s Spas in Asheville

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Couple’s Spas in Asheville You’ll find plenty of time to cozy up to your significant other while you spend a long Valentine’s Day weekend at the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds. You can give each other massages after sitting in the luxurious hot tub in your cabin. Or if you want the comfort of a professional Asheville massage right in your cabin, we offer a special deal with Around Town Massage. 


If, however, you are feeling adventurous and want to try one of the many Asheville spa locations around town, you have a wide choice of options. After your couple’s massage and Asheville spa treatments, then you can head back to your cabin and continue the cuddling in front of a roaring fire – then who knows what might happen.

Asheville Massage/Asheville Spa Options

Spa Theology: A uniquely Asheville massage center, Spa Theology in downtown Asheville offers a range of locally inspired treatments for couples. Experience a 75-minute, hop-infused body wrap, microbrew Swedish massage and therapeutic scalp treatment with the Asheville Brewing Company Treatment for $145, or choose the 60-minute French Lounge Chocolate Factory Treatment that includes a rich Asheville massage with decadent organic cocoa for $105. Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds offers special spa packages at Spa Theology.


Shoji: Move from one splendid mountain getaway to another when you visit Shoji. This Japanese Asheville spa is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, just minutes from your cabin. The facility offers a special Valentine’s package the entire month of February for $499 that includes an 80-minute aromatherapy Swedish massage for you and your partner, warm Hanoki and tea tree oil scalp massage, hot ginger saké, and an exfoliating foot massage. You’ll also carry a special Asheville spa gift home with you.

Sensibilities Day Spa: Choose from the location in the heart of downtown or the site in the Hilton at Biltmore Park; both are mere minutes from your cabin. Sensibilities is a local favorite that offers a wide range of Asheville massage options that can be tailored for couples. Try a 30-minute integrative massage for $50 or go for a 75-minute hot stone massage for $75. Sensibilities also offers body treatments, organic skin care, waxing and natural nail care. Piece together a package to suit your needs.


Grove Park Inn: The Spa at the Omni Grove Park Inn was named one of the top spas in the country by Conde Nast. You can visit the Asheville spa at this landmark without paying the high room rates. Purchase an all-day spa pass and spend the day moving lazily between the inhalation room, sauna and eucalyptus steam room and the pools. Book a couple’s massage from one of the talented therapists on hand and make a complete day of it. There’s even a café. Outside guests can only purchase day passes for Monday through Thursday visits that run $95.

Winter Warmth

The weather may be cool outside, but indoors, Asheville massage therapists will warm up your body and soul. Call ahead to secure reservations or have the office staff at Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds make them for you. Lovers leap at the chance to spend time in an Asheville spa, especially in February, the season of love.

Sandy McLeod

February 2015 Things to Do in Asheville

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If you’re looking for things to do in Asheville this month, you can always go skiing, snowboarding or snow tubing at one of the area ski lodges: Beech Mountain, Cataloochie or Wolf Ridge.


There are, however, plenty of indoor events so you can beat the cold if that’s what you want. Listed below are some of the best things to do in Asheville during February 2015:

Umphrey’s McGee in Concert

Umphrey’s McGee is a band known for its longevity, improvisation and mix of rock-and-roll genres. They play February 7 at the US Cellular Center at 8:00 pm. With 16 years under its belt, the band has just released its eighth studio album. Tickets — $30 in advance for general admission — are still available. Buy Umprey’s McGee tickets online. 

Master Storyteller David Novak

Appalachia is the storytelling capital of the country, if not the world. David Novak is an award-winning Disney Institute Master Storyteller who has spun yarns at all the country’s major festivals. Come hear him bring his stories to life in a salon setting at Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte Street, on February 8, at 3:00 pm. $15 cash admission gets you a free beverage. Visit David Novak’s website.

Arlo Guthrie: Alice’s Restaurant 50th Anniversary Tour

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember The Alice’s Restaurant Massacree, a seminal recording by Pete Seeger’s boy. Fifty years later, Arlo returns to sing that song and others at the beautiful Diana Wortham Theatre on February 13 and 14, as pat of an international tour. Both performances are at 8:00 pm and the cost is $48/$43 for adults and students. Read more about Arlo’s concerts. 

Valentine’s Day Drag Queen Bingo

Of all the things to do in Asheville in February, this has to be the most unique. This unusual event benefits pets in need, thanks to Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. Held at the DoubleTree Hotel at 115 Hendersonville Road on February 13 and 14 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, you get eight bingo games, prizes, raffles, a silent auction and a cash bar. Admission is $25. Get more information about Drag Queen Bingo. 

Asheville Symphony on Valentine’s Day

On Valentine’s Day, treat your lover to the symphony. Asheville Symphony plays three selections (by Zhou Tian, Bartók and Dvořák) inspired by the earth’s beauty. You cannot get more romantic than that. The concert starts at 8:00 pm at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. Tickets are $22 to $62. Get details about the symphony concert and buy tickets.


Les Femmes Mystique Presents ValenDine

Also on Valentine’s Day is this provocative dinner/show at White Horse, Black Mountain. For $50 ($20 without the meal), you get a farm-to-table four-course dinner, sensual dancers and poetry, and of course your choice of beverage. The fun starts at 7:00 pm, and dancing continues until closing. Find out why they call it “Delight in All Things Delicious.” 

Passion, Temptation and Tango at Lex 18

On Valentine’s Day, you’ll never run out of things to do in Asheville. Lex 18, a local restaurant, presents two seatings for a four-course meal and a bottle of wine in a stylized 1920’s Argentinean setting. For $90, you get food, wine, chocolates and a show featuring professional tango dancers. Get more information about Lex 18’s dinner show. 

Winter at Biltmore

During this time of year, the Biltmore Estate offers its lowest admission prices. Let the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds staff make your reservation for Asheville’s biggest attraction. You’ll get a free audio tour guide — and kids under 10 get in free. After February 5, you also get the free exhibit Dressing Downton, showing more than 45 period costumes. See what’s going on at the Biltmore Estate. 

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This is just a smattering of things to do in Asheville during February. Stay at Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds, and let us plan your perfect vacation.

Sandy McLeod

Outdoor Winter Activities in the Mountains

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When the fireplace is roaring in your Asheville cabin, you may be tempted to spend your vacation time curled up by the fire, sipping wine and staring into each other’s eyes. That’s fine if that’s your preference, but don’t be fooled; there is still plenty to do in the Western North Carolina Great Outdoors.


With falling temperatures come Ashville winter activities. Just because there’s no snow on the ground in the city doesn’t mean there’s no snow. Asheville sits in a valley, surrounded by mountains: the Blue Ridge and the Smokies. If you love the mountains and the outdoors, you can find lots to do. Here are some of the Asheville winter activities.

Asheville Ice-Skating, Skiing and Snowboarding

While you can’t actually ski or snowboard in Asheville, you can find decent slopes within a short drive. All ski lodges offer runs all winter. When Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, snowmaking equipment comes to the rescue.

  • Sugar Mountain: South of Banner Elk, this ski resort is a 1½-hour drive away from Asheville. Sugar Mountain offers day and night skiing, tubing, snowshoeing and even ice-skating. With 21 slopes, including a double-diamond, and 11 lifts, you’re sure to find a fun run for you and your family.


  • Wolf Ridge: An easy 40-minute drive north of Asheville, this Mars Hill ski lodge has 15 runs and three lifts. Wolf Ridge, the closest of all the resorts, features a family-friendly tube run, too.
  • Cataloochie: Less than an hour west of Asheville, the Cataloochie Ski Area in Maggie Valley has day and night skiing and snowboarding. Five lifts and 18 slopes cover this little part of the Smoky Mountains.


  • Beech Mountain: North of Banner Elk, this ski resort is 1¾-hour drive from Asheville. Beech Mountain offers 15 slopes and seven lifts, as well as a freestyle terrain park for adventurous skiers and snowboarders. A 7,000-square-foot ice-skating rink sits in the midst of an Alpine Village.
  • Appalachian Ski Mountain: This ski resort lies 1¾ hours northeast of Asheville, near Boone. With day and night skiing, snowboarding, a terrain park and ice skating, Appalachian Ski Mountain has six lifts and 12 slopes, including three freestyle terrain runs.

Asheville Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing can be arduous, so we recommend it only for our fittest guests. It’s basically hiking on top of snow, but there is a technique to it. Before you go, make sure you know what you’re doing and alert someone if you’re going off alone. But among the Asheville winter activities, snowshoeing can best take you to remote, quiet, breathtaking vistas.

When Asheville gets any significant amount of snow, the city shuts down, making it the perfect opportunity to rent some snowshoes for a hike across town or along the Blue Ridge Parkway, just above the Asheville Cabins at Willow Winds. Of course, if you want a more adventurous trek, some of the nearby ski resorts also offer snowshoeing. To really get away from it all, take your snowshoes to a state park, such as Dupont State Forest, Mount Mitchell or Elk Knob State Park.

Whatever your proclivities during the winter months, let the staff at Asheville Cabins at Willow Winds know, so that we can recommend the best experience for you. A visit to Asheville can delight and surprise you whether you want to test your skill on the slopes or snuggle by the fire.

Sandy McLeod

Day Trip from Asheville: Cherokee

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From the front door of your cabin at Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds, you are minutes from the Biltmore Estate, downtown Asheville and numerous hiking trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway. At the same time, you’re just a short drive from a wide range of other, exciting venues and vacation destinations.


A very popular day trip from Asheville, for natives and visitors alike, is the Cherokee reservation, its shows, casino and authentic Native American shopping and displays. Cherokee is only 52 miles from the heart of Asheville, about an hour drive if you take the more direct route on the freeways; a three-to-four-hour drive on the scenic parkway.

And once you arrive, you’ll find activities to suite the entire family.

The Cherokee Experience

Cherokee, North Carolina, actually is a sovereign nation within the state borders. It’s a base camp for hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina as well as a destination in itself. Attractions on the reservation include:

  • Museum of the Cherokee Indian, an interactive experience that vividly explores the 11,000-year-old Cherokee traditions.
  • Oconaluftee Indian Village gives visitors an interactive journey through the lifestyle of the Cherokee nation, where you’ll see traditional sacred rites, dwellings and work areas.
  • Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual, Inc. is where you can purchase handmade artwork, such as beads, wooden masks and clay jugs.
  • Unto These Hills is a dramatic presentation produced in the newly renovated Mountainside Theatre. The critically acclaimed outdoor drama features Cherokee actors in a production that centers on the lifestyle and values honored through time.
  • Sequoyah National Golf Club is an 18-hole course designed by Robert Trent Jones II set in the majesty of the surrounding landscape. Sequoyah National offers an intriguing challenge for beginners and scratch handicappers alike.
  • Harrah’s Cherokee Casino has 150,000 feet of gaming space where you can play everything from slots and blackjack to roulette and craps.

imagesNature at Its Best

In Cherokee, you’ll be able to engage in a wide variety of outdoor activities. The reserve is host to more than 200 species of birds, making it a bird-watchers heaven. Go hiking and check out the magnificent waterfalls on the reservation and spot elk roaming the hills. Spend the day:

  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Biking
  • Motorcycle riding


Fill Your Soul and Your Stomach

While you’re in Cherokee, you won’t find an absence of food options either. Check with your Asheville Cabins staff for information about regular events in Cherokee, such as the Cherokee Indian Fair, the North American Indian Women’s Association Annual Strawberry and Blueberry Festivals and the BBQ and Bluegrass Throwdown.

You’ll also find plenty of interesting dining options serving traditional Native dishes, such as:

  • Paul’s Restaurant — with rabbit, pheasant, and buffalo on the daily menu
  • Little Princess
  • Newfound Lodge
  • Deer Clan Production
  • Granny’s Kitchen

Asheville to Cherokee is worth the trip, especially if you plan an extended stay at the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds. As you wind your way back to your cabin, you’ll feel closer to North Carolina’s original inhabitants and maybe even bring back a piece of that culture to hang on your walls or fit in your scrapbook.