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Welcome TO WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA

Beverly-Hanks & ASSOCIATES

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LIVE THE LIFE

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You CHOOSE

ne of the many great things about Western North Carolina is that there are just so many ways to live here. We’ve created a series of videos to help you to discover how you can live the life you choose in Western North Carolina. Scan the QR codes below or go to beverlyhanks.com to take a look.

View from Kress Building, Unit #305

(planned)

(rural)

(urban)

(historic)

beverly-hanks.com 866.858.2257 2

relocate@beverly-hanks.com Beverly-Hanks & ASSOCIATES

EQUAL HOUSING

OPPORTUINITY

Welcome.

beverly-hanks.com

It is our privilege to introduce you to the beautiful region of Western North Carolina that we call home. We know to truly discover Western North Carolina, one must experience the splendor of our mountains and communities. We are confident that when you do, you will find out why most people who visit here never want to leave. Choosing the right real estate company to assist you with exploring this area is important. You want to be sure you choose the best, and in Western North Carolina that means choosing Beverly-Hanks & Associates. With over 250 full-time professional sales associates who have the experience to handle your specific needs, we have earned a reputation for looking after our clients like no other real estate company in the area. If you are a first-time home buyer or an experienced investor, whether you are interested in residential or commercial real estate, our sales associates can assist you. Not only do we know the market, we know the area. We know the schools, the hospitals, the churches, the cultural opportunities, and who to call if you have a problem. We can inform you on taxes, subdivision restrictions, zoning, and home inspections. When it is time to move, we can assist with the movement of your household. In short, we can make your move to this area a pleasant experience. Every year, thousands of buyers and sellers choose Beverly-Hanks & Associates to handle their real estate needs. Many have used our services before, and others are referred from previous customers, from the business community, or from one of the numerous relocation companies who value our professional expertise. Regardless of the source, each client comes to us for the professional service and consul that has been a hallmark of Beverly-Hanks & Associates, REALTORS, since 1976. It is my hope that you will find the information contained in this magazine of assistance in your exploration of the area. We look forward to being of service to you.

Client Services 866-858-2257 Downtown Asheville 300 Executive Park • Asheville, NC 28801 800-868-7221 TOLL FREE • 828-254-7221 Asheville North 820 Merrimon Avenue • Asheville, NC 28804 800-277-2511 TOLL FREE • 828-251-1800 Asheville South One Town Square Blvd. Suite 140 • Asheville, NC 28803 800-868-8999 TOLL FREE • 828-684-8999 Hendersonville 400 Beverly-Hanks Centre • Hendersonville, NC 28792 800-868-0515 TOLL FREE • 828-697-0515 Lake Lure 109 Arcade St. • Lake Lure, NC 28746 828-625-8846 Waynesville124 Branner Avenue • Waynesville, NC 28786 800-849-8024 TOLL FREE • 828-452-5809 NAI Beverly-Hanks Commercial 828-210-3940

Warm regards,

Neal Hanks, Jr.

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Inside: FROM THE TOP: BILL LEA PHOTO • PHOTO COURTESY OF WNC FARMERS MARKET • DONATED PHOTO • PHOTO COURTESY OF BILTMORE

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Welcome Beverly-Hanks & ASSOCIATES

Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Higher learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Healthcare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Business climate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Second homes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Culture and the arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Festivals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Active retirement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Outdoor adventure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Golf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Sustainability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Accommodations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Regional map. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Asheville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 The Parkway . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Arden. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Weaverville & Barnardsville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Black Mountain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Haywood County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Hendersonville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Fletcher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Jackson County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Mars Hill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Marshall & Hot Springs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 Polk County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Yancey County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Brevard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Chimney Rock & Bat Cave . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 Lake Lure. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 Calendar of Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 Regional Statistics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Helpful Links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 ON THE COVER: Visitors on the Blue Ridge Parkway enjoy the views in Yancey County. NANCY SMITH PHOTO • IMAGESBYNANCYSMITH.COM

JOHN FLETCHER PHOTO

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estern North Carolina and the Southern Appalachians have been attracting newcomers for centuries. From the Scots-Irish settlers who arrived after the Revolutionary War to the rich and famous who came for the region’s healing mountain air during the 1920s, Western North Carolina continues to attract newcomers. Among those who made their home here was George Washington Vanderbilt, a millionaire who set out to build a grand estate and named it Biltmore. Opened in 1895, the 250-room home was modeled after a French Renaissance chateaux. Today, Biltmore remains the largest home in the country and is one of the top tourist attractions in the state. Biltmore, though, is just one attraction in the region’s wide-ranging tourism industry. Posh resorts such as the Grove Park Inn and the Inn on Biltmore Estate attract travelers from all demographics. Outdoor recreation is also a huge tourist draw, with the 500,000-acre Great Smoky Mountains National Park and a portion of the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway right in the region’s backyard. Hiking, mountain biking, camping, whitewater rafting and fishing are all popular in the region.

With its dynamic Art Deco downtown, Asheville has become a hub for the arts, where galleries adorn its walkable streets and festivals celebrate local artists. Dining options range from gourmet to downhome barbecue joints, and the craft brewing industry and mountain wineries make their spirits available throughout the region. Smaller towns such as Hendersonville, Waynesville, Black Mountain and Brevard feature charming downtowns with unique shops, restaurants and art studios, while more remote areas of Western North Carolina offer a serene escape from the busy urban lifestyle. A growing sustainability industry — including locally grown food, land conservation and green building — has established the region as one of the most innovative in the country. Every day entrepreneurs are introducing new, locally made products and foods, cashing in on the buy local movement that is strong in Western North Carolina Whether you're looking for a vacation home, an urban condo in downtown Asheville, a sprawling mountain estate, or a home for a young family, Western North Carolina welcomes you home.

Welcome to Western North Carolina VOL. 7 NO. 1

Published by Smoky Mountain News, LLC PUBLISHER/EDITOR Scott McLeod ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Greg Boothroyd WRITERS Paul Clark, Jon Elliston ART DIRECTOR Travis Bumgardner SALES Witney Burton, Lila Eason, Jason Nichols DESIGN Margaret Hester, Micah McClure

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Buncombe County Schools Superintendent Dr. Tony Baldwin, talking with a student, oversees a system with more than 25,000 students in 41 schools. DONATED PHOTOS

A quality O education

ne of the most important things to consider when you’re thinking about moving is the quality of the schools. Even if you don’t have children or they are out of the nest, you want to know how good of an education the area provides to its students. You’ll be happy to know that Western North Carolina’s school systems and private schools consistently rank among the state’s best. The public schools that serve the area include Asheville City Schools, Buncombe County Schools, Henderson County Schools, Haywood County Schools, Madison County Schools, Transylvania County Schools, Jackson County Schools, Yancey County Schools, and Polk County Schools.

WNC’s schools consistently rank among state’s best

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Welcome Beverly-Hanks & ASSOCIATES

Asheville City Schools Asheville City Schools have slightly more than 4,000 students, having experienced a significant increase in enrollment at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year. Typical of that growth are the more than 100 students that Vance Elementary School added since 2005. The number of students enrolled at Asheville Middle School is the highest it has been in nearly a decade. Each of the five elementary schools is a “magnet school,” meaning that parents may apply for admission to the school that best suits their child’s interests. Claxton Elementary integrates the Arts and Humanities into curriculum teaching through drama, dance, music, visual arts and creative writing. Hall Fletcher Elementary emphasizes science, math and technologies through course work such as science lab, its

greenhouse and “HopSports,” which works technology into physical education. Ira B. Jones, a “Global Scholars school,” includes Spanish, multicultural awareness and environmental stewardship into its studies. Isaac Dickson, an experiential learning school, bases its core principles on the educational ideals of Dewey, Piaget, and Montessori. Vance School of Human Diversity and Ecology invites students to study the people and cultures of the world and examine their relationships with the natural environment. Asheville High School, a four-year-school, occupies a stately stone building designed by Art Deco master Douglas Ellington. Just over 1,000 students attend, and classroom sizes are less than the state average. Eight percent of its students are in advanced college prep courses, compared to 4 percent in the state as a whole.

Buncombe County Schools

5th- and 6th-grade school, seven middle schools, six high schools, and four others. Class sizes average 21 students in kindergarten through third grades, 28 students in fourth through ninth grades and 31 students in 10th through 12th grades. Among Buncombe County Schools’ education initiatives is “Learn and Earn Online,” a program that allows sophomores, juniors and seniors the opportunity to take online college-level courses taught by instructors from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. Students may also take classes not offered at their high schools through North Carolina Virtual Public School, which sets up coursework, group discussion and student-teacher interaction via the Internet.

Henderson County Schools Henderson County Schools’ vision is “that every student will achieve success and graduate as a life-long learner, globally

Reflecting the diverse nature of the area’s population, Buncombe County Schools serve children of many different ethnic backgrounds. Students in 41 schools speak more than 55 different languages. The 11th largest school system in the state (and largest in Western North Carolina), Buncombe County Schools employs nearly 4,000 people, making it the county's Each of the five elementary schools in the second largest employer. Asheville City School system is a “magnet High school school,” meaning that parents may apply for students SAT admission to the school that best suits their scores consistently rank among the child’s interests. top five in North Carolina. In 2010, SAT scores in math, writing and critical reading exceeded competitive, prepared for career, college, state and national averages. The system’s and life.” operating budget of $290 million allows it to The system has both one of the highest spend about $7,000 per student. graduation rates in the state and a dwindling Enrollment exceeds 25,000 students, taught dropout rate. Last school year, nearly nine out by nearly 2,100 licensed teachers. Its 41 of 10 graduating students went on to pursue schools include 23 elementary schools, one further education. Its four middle schools have

EDUCATION Public school districts > Asheville City Schools

85 Mountain St. Asheville, NC 28801 828-350-7000 ashevillecityschools.net > Buncombe County Schools

175 Bingham Road Asheville, NC 28806 828-255-5921 | buncombe.k12.nc.us > Haywood County Schools

1230 N. Main St. Waynesville, NC 28786 828-456-2400 | haywood.k12.nc.us > Henderson County Schools

414 4th Ave. West Hendersonville, NC 28739 828-697-4733 hendersoncountypublicschoolsnc.org > Jackson County Schools

398 Hospital Road Sylva, NC 28779 828-586-2311 | jcps.k12.nc.us > Madison County Schools

5738 US 25/70 Marshall, NC 28753 828-649-9276 madisonk12.schoolfusion.us > Polk County Schools

125 E. Mill St. Columbus, NC 28722 828-894-3051 | polk.k12.nc.us > Transylvania County Schools

225 Rosenwald Lane Brevard, NC 28712 828-884-6173 transylvania.k12.nc.us > Yancey County Schools

100 School Circle Burnsville, NC 28714 828-682-6101 | yancey.net

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been nationally designated “Schools to Watch” because of their emphasis on strong academics and their sensitivity to their students. Compared to the students throughout the state, Henderson County’s scholars scored better in ABCs End-of-Grade tests in grades three through eight. Scores were considerably higher than the state average in Geometry, English 1 and Algebra 1 and 2. Achievements for both males and females exceeded state scores. Every classroom in the 13,000-student system has access to the Internet. SAT and ACT scores topped the state and national average. Henderson County Schools owns Historic Johnson Farm, a heritage education center, making it one of only three school systems in the United States to own a farm. The farm, open to the public and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, teaches students about farm life on its 15 acres of farmland, forest, fields and streams. The school system also has the Bullington Center, a 12-acre

Private schools > Asheville Catholic School

Grades PreK-8 12 Culvern St. Asheville, NC 28804 828-252-7896 | ashevillecatholic.org > Asheville Christian Academy

Grades K4-12 74 Riverwood Road Swannanoa, NC 28778 828-581.2200 | acacademy.org > Asheville Montessori School

Ages 3-6 15 Julia St. Asheville, NC 28801 828-254-6014 360 Weaverville Road Asheville, NC 28804 828-645-3433 ashevillemontessorischool.com

horticultural education center that holds workshops to teach children and adults about gardening and plant science.

Transylvania County Schools The Transylvania County school system operates four elementary schools, two middle schools, two high schools and one alternative school. It consistently ranks among the top few school systems in North Carolina in its students’ performances on the state ABC’s tests. Student attendance is among the best in the state. Its high school students scored better on their SAT scores are students

did throughout the state, and Brevard High School’s scores keep getting better. In 2008, the school’s average SAT score was 1569, which is 80 points better than the state average. To help prepare its 3,500 students for careers in the computer age, the school system offers classes in network engineering and webpage development, as well as a Cisco Academy. On their first attempt, more than

> Carolina Day School

Grades PreK-12 1345 Hendersonville Road Asheville, NC 28803 828-274-0757 | cdschool.org

A teacher interacting with students in one of the Western North Carolina’s award-winning school systems. DONATED PHOTO

> Immaculate Catholic School > Christ School

Grades 8-12 500 Christ School Road Arden, NC 28704 828-684-6232 | christschool.org > Emmanuel Lutheran School

Grades PreK-8 51 Wilburn Place Asheville, NC 28806 828-281-8182 emmanuellutheran.info

Grades PreK-8 711 N. Buncombe St. Hendersonville, NC 28791 828-693-3277 | immac.org

Grades 9-12 75 Academy Drive Candler, NC 28715 828-667-2535 | pisgah.us

> Learning Community School

> Nazarene Christian School

Grades K-8 375 Lake Eden Road Black Mountain, NC 28711 828-686-3080 thelearningcommunity.org > Maccabi Academy

> Fletcher Academy

Grades 9-12 185 Academy Drive Fletcher, NC 28732 828-687-5100 fletcheracademy.com

Grades K-5 43 N Liberty St. # 100 Asheville, NC 28801 828-254-5660 maccabiacademy.org > Montessori Learning Center

> Asheville School

Grades 9-12 360 Asheville School Road Asheville, NC 28806 828-254-6345 | ashevilleschool.org

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> Hanger Hall School for Girls

Grades 6-8 30 Ben Lippen Road Asheville, NC 28806 828-258-3600 | hangerhall.org

Welcome Beverly-Hanks & ASSOCIATES

> Mount Pisgah Academy

Ages 18 months-6 years 1 School Road Asheville, NC 28806 828-259-9880 mlcasheville.org

Grades PreK-5 385 Hazel Mill Road Asheville, NC 28806 828-252-9713 ashevillefirstnazarene.org > New Classical Academy

Grades PreK-8 38 Stoney Knob Road Weaverville, NC 28787 828-658-8317 thenewclassicalacademy.org > Odyssey Community School

Grades PreK-12 90 Zillicoa Street Asheville, NC 28801 828-259-3653 odysseycommunity.org

The The South’s South’s Premier Premier Education Education Destination Destination Since 1900, Asheville School has prepared high school Since 1900, school students forAsheville college, asSchool well ashas all prepared the years high that follow. students for college, as well as all the years that follow. Students learn in a nurturing, close-knit community Students learn inofa 300 nurturing, community set on a campus pastoralclose-knit acres in the Blue set on a campus of 300 pastoral acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Our academic program is focused on a traditional core Our academic program is focused onand a traditional curriculum that challenges students gives themcore the curriculum that challenges students them the foundation to become better thinkersand andgives communicators. foundation to become betterteaches thinkers and communicators. A rich tradition of athletics students the important A rich tradition of athletics teaches students the important lessons of the playing field, sport and the outdoors. The lessons of the playing field, sport and the outdoors. The for boarding school experience builds in students a respect boarding school experience builds in students a respect for and responsibility to others and one’s self. and responsibility to others and one’s self. Asheville School is a nationally acclaimed co-ed college preparatory Asheville a nationally acclaimed co-ed9college preparatory boarding School and dayisschool for students in grades through 12. Asheville boarding and day school for students in grades 9 through Asheville School’s 275 students represent 24 states and 13 countries.12. Recent School’s 275 students represent 24 states and 13 countries. Recent graduates are attending Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, University of graduates are attending Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Caltech, UNC-Chapel Hill, Davidson, Duke, Pennsylvania, Cornell, Caltech, UNC-Chapel Hill, Davidson, Duke, University of Virginia, Furman, Emory, NC State, and Wake Forest, University of Virginia, Furman, Emory, NC State, and Wake Forest, among others. among others.

ashevilleschool.org ashevilleschool.org Asheville • North Carolina Asheville • North Carolina 828.254.6345 828.254.6345

360 Asheville School Road • Asheville, NC 28806 • admission@ashevilleschool.org • 828.254.6345 360 Asheville School Road • Asheville, NC 28806 • admission@ashevilleschool.org • 828.254.6345

> Rainbow Mountain

Children’s School Grades PreK-8 574 Haywood Road Asheville, NC 28806 828-258-9264 | rmcs.org > Veritas Christian Academy

Grades K-12 17 Cane Creek Road Fletcher, NC 28732 828-681-0546 | veritasnc.org

Charter schools > ArtSpace Charter School

Grades K-8 2030 US 70 Swannanoa, NC 28778 828-298-2787 | artspacecharter.org > Brevard Academy

Grades K-8 299 Andante Lane Brevard, NC 28712 828-885-2665 | brevard.teamcfa.org

In a region with a rich cultural heritage, public schools still maintain a focus on music and the arts. DONATED PHOTO

> Evergreen Community

Charter School Grades K-8 50 Bell Road Asheville, NC 28805 828-298-2173 | evergreenccs.com > Francine Delaney New School

for Children Grades K-8 119 Brevard Road Asheville, NC 28806 828-236-9441 | fdnsc.net > Summit Charter School

Grades K-8 160 Frank Allen Road Cashiers, NC 28717 828-743-5755 | summitschool.org > The Mountain Community School

Grades K-8 613 Glover St. Hendersonville, NC 28792 828-696-8480 | tmcschool.org

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Welcome Beverly-Hanks & ASSOCIATES

98 percent of its eighth-graders meet state standards for technology competency. The school system has also made steady improvement in its student-to-adult ratio. It has sought and received state and federal grants for technology, reading improvement, exceptional children’s programs, school resource officers, library books, juvenile justice programs, and quality management practices. In conjunction with the Brevard Chamber Orchestra, the system implemented a strings program in its elementary schools. It also started a New Century Scholars program that provides support and college tuition for at-risk students.

Haywood County Schools “Success for today, preparation for tomorrow and learning for a lifetime” sum up the vision of Haywood County Schools. With schools far smaller than the state average, the system is able to offer its 7,700 students a great deal of personal attention. SAT scores and graduation rates are on the rise among its high school students. During the 2009-2010 school year, all 16 of Haywood County’s schools made the state ABC program’s expected growth marks, with 14 of them achieving high growth. Less than a third of school districts in the state had 100

percent of its schools meet or exceed the academic growth standard, and Haywood County was the fourth largest district in the state to have done so. Riverbend Elementary School and Haywood Early College were recognized as Honor Schools of Excellence for having more than 90 percent of its students score at or above standard on mandated state tests. More than two thirds of the system’s schools were state-designated “Schools of Distinction,” compared with less than one third for all state school systems as a whole. Clyde, Hazelwood, Jonathan Valley, Junaluska and Meadowbrook elementary schools, as well as Pisgah and Tuscola high schools and Waynesville Middle School, were all Schools of Distinction, meaning that at least 80 percent of students performed at or above grade level on end-of-grade tests.

Madison County Schools Madison County Schools’ 2,600 students attend two early childhood education centers, four elementary schools, one middle school, one high school and one early college high school. Madison High School was designated a School of Distinction last school year. Students’ SAT scores were higher than state and national averages, possibly because a higher percentage of its middle school teachers have advanced degrees than teachers in other parts of the state. The system beats

the state’s overall systems for the percentage of teachers with more than 10 years experience (50 percent for Madison County’s elementary schools and 57 percent for its high school). Teacher turnover is lower in the elementary schools and the high school than it is elsewhere in the state.

Jackson County Schools Tracing its history to the mid-1880s, Jackson County Schools received the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s ABC of Education Annual Accountability Report. The system has cut its dropout rate by 56 percent – now, eight of 10 students graduate, compared with seven of 10 statewide. The schools have joined other county agencies in challenging its staff and 3,600 students to improve their health through fitness. The system has nine schools, all configured to meet the needs of a large county with few concentrations of population – Smokey Mountain Elementary, which has students from pre-K to eighth grade; Blue Ridge, a PreK-12 school (one of the few in the state); the K-8 schools of Fairview, Cullowhee and Scotts

Creek; the Pre-K-12 School of Alternatives for students with special needs; Smoky Mountain High School; and Blue Ridge Early College and Jackson County Early College. Smoky Mountain High School has about 750 students, and its class sizes are

EDUCATION

schools – Tryon Elementary, Saluda Elementary, Sunny View Elementary, Polk County Middle, Polk County High, Polk Central and Polk County Early College – made “adequate yearly progress” for the 2010-11 school year. The system is 15th among 115 school systems statewide in local perpupil spending. The ratio of teachers to students is one of the highest in North The Jackson County school Carolina. Test scores for students in system has cut its dropout rate by grades 3-12 have consistently ranked among the top of both state and 56 percent — now, eight out of 10 national averages in recent years. Every students graduate, compared school has a fully equipped and staffed computer lab and media center. with seven of 10 statewide. U.S. News & World Report magazine named Polk County High School a Bronze Medal School in its considerably smaller than the state average. It Nov. 2007 report on America’s best high has been named a School of Distinction. In schools. Sunny View and Tryon elementary fact, half of the system’s schools have been schools were named National Blue Ribbon designated Schools of Distinction. Schools by the U.S. Dept. of Education. High school students can take advanced placement English, science, history and math courses. They can also earn college credits through several Polk County Schools iSchool courses offered in conjunction with Polk County Schools serves about 2,600 University of North Carolina-Greensboro. students in a system that ranks high on state and federal lists of academic achievement. All seven

WE PREPARE YOUR CHILD TO

FLOURISH IN TODAY’S WORLD.

At Carolina Day School, we encourage children to embrace the world, to respect and value points-of-view and cultures different from their own, and to reach out and make a difference in the greater community and world through service projects and activities. Both within and beyond the school walls, our students learn that service to others is one of the deepest satisfactions the human spirit can know. Do you want to ensure that your child’s horizons are expanded beyond the classroom? Please call Ryn or Michelle to discuss how your child can be a part of our dynamic community of learning for grades Pre-K through 12. Call 828.274.0757 to learn more.

1345 Hendersonville Rd. Asheville, NC 28803 www.cdschool.org Beverly-Hanks & ASSOCIATES

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Higher learning Western North Carolina learning institutions perpetuate progress

University of North Carolina Asheville (above) is the only liberal arts university in the UNC system and has over 3,700 enrolled students. MATT ROSE PHOTO

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atering to a diverse population with a wide range of interests and talents, Western North Carolina offers residents an outstanding array of higher education choices. UNC Asheville, the only dedicated liberal arts institution in the 17-institution University of North Carolina system, has been called one of the best colleges in the country for the money by the Princeton Review and Bankrate.com. It fosters critical thinking by exposing students to areas of interest that are outside of their chosen fields. Offering 30 different majors, the school employs about 330 full- and part-time faculty members, giving its 3,700 undergraduate students an excellent teacher-to-student ratio. Students from 42 states and 19 countries are enrolled at UNCA, one of the top public liberal arts universities in the nation, where they are able to pursue bachelor of arts, bachelor of science and master of liberal arts degrees. The university has 14 NCAA Division I teams. Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College opened its fall 2011 semester with record-breaking enrollment of 7,767. Established in 1959 as a trade school, AB Tech offers 39 career programs as well as courses that are transferable to any university in the UNC system. One of the oldest and largest schools in the North Carolina Community College System, AB Tech has five schools – Allied Health and Public Service Education, Arts and Sciences, Business and Hospitality Education, Continuing Education, and Engineering and Applied Technology. It also has a popular continuing education program. The college has added several new programs, including an associate degree in healthcare business informatics, a mobile development diploma, a biogas option in industrial systems technology and a geospatial technology option as part of surveying. AB Tech has additional campuses in Enka and Marshall. Founded in 1889, Western Carolina University in Cullohwee serves more than 9,000 students from 38 states and 32 countries. Programs offering more than 220 majors include

Colleges > Asheville-Buncombe Technical

Community College 340 Victoria Rd. Asheville, NC 28801 828-254-1921 | abtech.edu > Blue Ridge Community College

180 W. Campus Drive Flat Rock, NC 28731 828-694-1700 | blueridge.edu > Brevard College

1 Brevard College Drive Brevard, NC 28712 828-883-8292 | brevard.edu > Haywood Community College

185 Freedlander Drive Clyde, NC 28721 828-627-4667 | haywood.edu > Mars Hill College

100 Athletic St. Mars Hill, NC 28754 866-642-4968 | mhc.edu > Montreat College

310 Gaither Circle Montreat, NC 28757 828-669-8012 | montreat.edu > Southwestern

Community College 447 College Drive Sylva, NC 28779 828-339-4000 | southwesterncc.edu > University of North Carolina

at Asheville 1 University Heights Asheville, NC 28804 828-251-6600 | unca.edu > Warren Wilson College

701 Warren Wilson Road Swannanoa, NC 28778 828-298-3325 | warren-wilson.edu > Western Carolina University

N.C. 107 Cullowhee, NC 28723 828-928-4968 | wcu.edu

Asheville-Buncombe Technical College (right) is a leader in high technology and robotics training. PHOTO COURTESY OF AB TECH

the nation’s highest-ranked entrepreneurship and project management programs and a teacher education program that has won national awards. Boasting the nation’s first accredited four-year emergency medical care program, the university also has a criminal justice program upon which North Carolina has modeled an accreditation program. Students earn bachelor's, master's, education specialist and doctoral degrees. Mars Hill College started its fall 2011 semester with its largest enrollment in 30 years and with what could be its largest freshman class in a long time. Founded in 1856 and affiliated with the North Carolina Baptist Convention, Mars Hill College offers 30 majors and 31 minors on its large, leafy campus in the Madison County town of Mars Hill. It has five schools – Business, Social and Behavioral Sciences; Education; Fine Arts; Humanities; and Mathematics and Natural Sciences. A member of the South Atlantic Conference, it fields teams in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. Selected by Sierra magazine as one of its “Coolest Schools” for its efforts to curb global warming, Warren Wilson College is environmentally friendly school whose students enhance their academic experience by working 15 hours a week on campus. They also must complete 100 hours of community service over four years. The college’s 900 students earn bachelor’s degrees in 40 majors and concentrations and 27 minors. Taking at least one class within each of the school’s eight liberal arts areas, they attend classes that average 17 people in size. “Christ-centered, student-focused, servicedriven – equipping agents of transformation, renewal, and reconciliation” is the motto of Montreat College, a small four-year school in Montreat. Its liberal arts curriculum includes traditional and selected undergraduate and graduate professional degree programs, including degree programs for adults in the areas of business, education, management and nursing. Founded in 1897, Montreat College is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church of the United States. It has a little more than 1,000 students. Brevard College in Transylvania County offers more than 40 majors and minors degree programs, including those in art, biology, English, environmental studies, exercise science, history, mathematics, music and psychology. Its preprofessional studies include pre-dentistry, pre-law, pre-medicine and pre-nursing. The college has more than 30 student clubs, as well as lots of intramurals and outdoor adventure opportunities. Among its varsity sports are baseball, basketball, cross-country, cycling, football, golf, soccer,

HIGHER LEARNING tennis, track and field and volleyball. Offering 30 areas of study, Blue Ridge Community College near Flat Rock in Henderson County has more than 95 degree, diploma, and certificate programs, many of them qualifying students to work immediately after completing their course work. About 2,000 students are enrolled at its main campus and a satellite facility in Brevard. It has one of the largest continuing education programs in North Carolina. Haywood Community College, serving primarily Haywood, Jackson and Buncombe counties, offers more than 50 programs. Its 2,700 students may select coursework in the

departments of Advanced Technologies, Arts & General Education, Business & Entrepreneurship, Creative Arts, Health & Human Services and Natural Resources Management. It also offers distance learning and continuing education opportunities. Like all of North Carolina’s community colleges, it offers general education courses that transfer to the state university system, allowing students to get their first two years of university classes completed at a bargain price. Serving the people of Jackson, Macon and Swain counties, Southwestern Community College in Sylva offers coursework in Arts & Sciences, Career Technologies and Health Services. More than 2,600 students are taking classes offered by more than 60 programs, while another 5,500 participate in the college’s ongoing continuation programs.

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Caring for P our own WNC hospitals provide cutting-edge healthcare services

Mission Hospital’s SECU Cancer Center consolidates all outpatient cancer services in one building. IMAGE COURTESY OF MISSION HOSPITAL

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eople seeking better health have been coming to Asheville and surrounding mountains for decades, drawing upon the area’s reputation for restorative air, healing waters and stimulating altitude. That history continues today, giving the Asheville area one of the state’s highest concentrations of physicians in the state. Because the area is so attractive, Asheville has more doctors per capita than most cities of its size. But the wealth of talent and commitment isn’t confined to the region’s largest city. Western North Carolina has several fine hospitals that practice the latest techniques in treatment, surgery and preventive care. Leading the way is the region’s largest hospital, Mission Hospital in Asheville, a part of Mission Health System. In 2003, U.S. News & World Report magazine ranked Mission Hospital among the top 50 hospitals in the nation for heart and heart surgery services. In 2007, the magazine selected Mission as one of the country’s Top 50 hospitals for endocrinology, which relates to diabetes treatment and research. The hospital was one of the first in North Carolina – and one of only 89 in the country – to achieve the “Baby Friendly” hospital designation given to hospitals and birth centers by UNICEF and the World Health Organization. Mission’s Owen Heart Center, a five-story building of polished pink granite, houses surgical suites, treatment areas, intensive care units and patient rooms, all of which are private. Seven times since 2000, Mission has been named a Top 100 Heart Hospital by the Thomson (formerly Solucient) Cardiovascular Benchmarks for Success Program. In the years 2007 and 2008, it was the only hospital in the Carolinas to receive the designation in the category of teaching hospitals without cardiovascular residency. Mission’s award in 2008 placed it in the company of other award recipients that included the Mayo Clinic Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, University of Virginia Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Top 100 Heart Hospital award

New cancer center consolidates services The Mission SECU Cancer Center, expected to open in early 2012, is a $59 million project that will consolidate all of Mission’s outpatient cancer services in one part of the hospital. Patients will no longer need to navigate Mission’s various medical offices and treatment centers. Instead, they’ll be able to walk just a few steps from the 300-spot parking deck to the radiation therapy or other treatments they need. The 120,000-square-foot five-story cancer center, decorated with natural materials and native landscaping, will be larger than many hospitals and most hotels. Natural light and a skylight on the first floor, where radiation therapy will be done, will soothe nerves and invigorate the spirit. With separate waiting and treatment areas for teens and younger children, the second floor will house pediatric and adolescent care, as well as be a place for cancer research. Outpatient infusion therapy will be done on the third floor, in private and semi-private treatment areas that will look out on gardens and mountains. Indicative of the caring that went into construction of the center are the signatures and messages of hundreds of Mission employees and center donors written on the steel beams of the building. The building bears the name SECU in honor of the 1.6-million member credit union whose foundation made a $5 million contribution to the building’s construction.

winners had hospital stays that were 12 percent shorter, on average, than peer hospitals (5.14 days compared to 5.85 days). Their costs averaged 13 percent – or about $2,000 – less per case than peer hospitals. According to Thomson, if all acute care heart hospitals in the nation performed at the

same level as Mission and the other top 100 heart hospitals, more than 7,000 lives would be saved, and nearly 750 medical complications would be avoided each year. Mission recently opened its Mission Outpatient Care Center in Clyde. Offered at the new center are services that include family

HEALTHCARE medicine, imaging and laboratory services, orthopedic care, spine care, neurosurgery evaluations and follow-up care and wound healing services. Western North Carolina is served by several other excellent hospitals, such as Angel Medical Center in Franklin, CarePartners Rehabilitation Hospital in Asheville, Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva, Haywood Regional Medical Center in Clyde, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital in Highlands, Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville, Park Ridge Hospital in Fletcher, St. Luke’s Hospital in Columbus and Transylvania Community Hospital in Brevard. Created in 1923, Angel Medical Center in Franklin is a 59-bed hospital with seven operating rooms and an 80-person medical staff, the majority of them board-certified. Its emergency room is staff 24 hours a day by nurses and physicians. Among the hospital’s latest additions is a digital mammography system that spots abnormalities to help doctors diagnose breast cancer in its earliest stage. Angel provides a safe patient experience through its patient safety team, medication usage review group and environment of care

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A partnership between hospitals in Buncombe and Henderson counties will improve outpatient services for patients. PHOTO COURTESY OF PARK RIDGE HOSPITAL

Partnership improves service A groundbreaking was held in October 2011 for a joint Mission-Pardee Health Campus in Fletcher. “Since coming to Western North Carolina one year ago, I have learned that many of the region’s significant achievements in healthcare have come through cooperation and collaboration,” said Dr. Ron Paulus, Mission Health CEO. “This project is yet another example of that – two hospitals in different counties, with a long history of working together for the benefit of our patients, have come together to increase access to healthcare.” The 80,000-square-foot facility will have an outpatient focus and offer offer a variety of healthcare services under one roof, including: • Urgent care for those with needs outside of normal business hours. • Advanced imaging: X-ray, mammography, ultrasound and CT. • Laboratory services. • Retail pharmacy. • Physical therapy. • Primary and specialty care physicians. The campus will be constructed on the former site of Youngblood Truck Lines Inc., on the Henderson County line. Throughout the project, Mission and Pardee hospitals have remained committed to working together to bring outpatient services to the greater North Henderson/South Buncombe counties.

“Two hospitals in different counties, with a long history of working together for the benefit of our patients, have come together to increase access to healthcare.” — DR. RON PAULUS, MISSION HEALTH CEO

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team. It emphasizes exercise as a way for patients with cardiac and pulmonary problems to regain strength and health. CarePartners Rehabilitation Hospital in Asheville is an 80-bed regional referral center with programs from those suffering from stroke, brain injury, spinal chord injury, multiple trauma, amputation, joint replacement and neurological disorders. The only licensed rehabilitation hospital in Western North Carolina, it is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, meaning that it has met or exceeded rigorous rehab standards. Its therapists have an average of 14 years of experience, and its patient-to-nurse ratio is 6 to 1. Its participation in a national database that compares its patient outcomes to similar rehabilitation hospitals around the country allows it to continually assess and improve the quality of its rehabilitation programs. Charles George VA Medical Center is a 116-bed acute care facility with a separate 120 bed extended care and rehabilitation center serving more than 31,000 veterans from the Western North Carolina area and portions of South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. It provides primary, tertiary and long–term care in areas of medicine, surgery, mental health, neurology, oncology, dentistry, ophthalmology, geriatrics, women’s health, spinal cord injury, and physical medicine and rehabilitation. Because the hospital is a teaching hospital, it provides a full range of patient care services, with state-of-the-art technology and programs in education and research. A short-term 86-bed acute care facility in Sylva, the non-profit Harris Regional Hospital serves primarily Jackson, Macon, Swain and Graham counties. Having undergone major expansions in 1970, 1986, 1989, 1994, and 1995, Harris offers services including cancer care, cardio-pulmonary, dietary, emergency, maternity and infant care, outpatient surgery, pain management, surgery and sports medicine. Its Community Alternatives Program for Disabled Adults is a Medicaid program that provides in-home services that include screening and assessment, respite care and home-delivered meals. It also has hospice services that include the highest skill level of nursing and counseling support for the patient and family. Haywood Regional Medical Center is a 153-bed hospital with 10 operating rooms whose services include advanced home care, behavioral health, critical care, diabetes education, hospice and palliative care, occupational health, orthopedics, pulmonary rehabilitation, sleep disorders, spine care services and women’s care center. The first county

hospital in the state, it sprawls over 51 acres – the largest medical campus west of Asheville. Haywood and Harris – along with the Swain County Hospital – recently affiliated with Carolinas Healthcare out of Charlotte to form MedWest, a three-hospital consortium to serve patients west of Asheville. In Highlands, the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital has 24 hospital beds, four operating rooms and 84 nursing home beds. Its boardcertified physician staff covers 14 areas of healthcare in specialties usually found only in much larger facilities. It continues to update its range of diagnostic procedures by adding new state-of-the-art equipment. The hospital provides general surgery, as well as hand, orthopedic, ophthalmology, gastrointestinal

building care center, the hospital has 223 physicians among its more then 1,100 caregivers. Among the services it offers are audiology, behavioral health, cancer and cardiology services, dermatology, family practice, internal medicine, ophthalmology, orthopedics, pediatrics, podiatry, respiratory therapy, urology and wound care. St. Luke’s Hospital, a critical access 55-bed hospital that serves Polk County and upper South Carolina, has been operating for more than 80 years. Services include emergency, psychiatric, geriatric, wound and home care, as well as surgery, radiology and rehab and respiratory therapy. Working with Rosenberg Bone and Joint, it offers patients new procedures in hip and custom-fit knee

HEALTHCARE Hospitals > Angel Medical Center

120 Riverview St. Franklin, NC 28734 828-524-8411 | angelmed.org > CarePartners Rehabilitation Hospital

68 Sweeten Creek Road Asheville, NC 28813 828-277-4800 | carepartners.org > Charles George VA Medical Center

1100 Tunnel Road Asheville, NC 28805 828-299-2519 | asheville.va.gov > Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva

68 Hospital Road Sylva, NC 28779 828-586-7000 | westcare.org > Haywood Regional Medical Center

262 Leroy George Drive Clyde, NC 28721 828-452-8202 | haymed.org > Highlands-Cashiers Hospital

190 Hospital Dr. Highlands, NC 28741 828-526-1200 | hchospital.org > Mission Hospital

509 Biltmore Avenue Asheville, NC 28801-4690 828-213-1111 | missionhospitals.org > Pardee Hospital

and plastic surgery. Nearly all of its physicians’ offices are on the hospital campus. Tracing its history back to 1913, Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville is licensed for 222 acute care beds and has 13 operating rooms and 238 physicians and dentists on its medical staff. The medical staff works in 40 medical specialties. Henderson County’s secondlargest employer, it has 1,200 employees. Established in 1953, the not-for-profit community hospital offers an array of health services that include adult day health, rehab and wellness center, health education center and urgent care. Pardee is owned by, but not funded by, Henderson County. Park Ridge Hospital, also in Hendersonville, has a total of 103 hospital beds and eight operating rooms. A one-

800 N. Justice St. Hendersonville, NC 28791 828-696-1000 | pardeehospital.org Harris Medical Park, part of the MedWest Harris campus in Sylva, is home to four physician practices and outpatient lab and imaging services, including a wide-bore MRI. PHOTO COURTESY OF MEDWEST

replacement that result in shorter hospital stays and improved recovery period. Transylvania Community Hospital is licensed for 92 beds and has six operating rooms. It opened the 4,000-square-foot Brevard Cancer & Infusion Center at the hospital in 2009 and has now treated more than 700 patients. That same year it launched “The Joint Experience,” enhancing its joint replacement surgery services. For two years now, the hospital has operated a digital mammography system that allows images to be archived so they can be easily recalled for comparison with future tests.

> Park Ridge Hospital

80 Doctors Drive Hendersonville, NC 28792 828-654-0073 | parkridgehealth.org > St. Luke’s Hospital

101 Hospital Drive Columbus, NC 28722 828-894-3311 | saintlukehospital.com > Transylvania Community Hospital

260 Hospital Drive Brevard, NC 28712 828-884-9111 | trhospital.org

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uperlatives continue to fall upon Western North Carolina and especially on Asheville, the business and cultural center of a vibrant business-friendly region. Fodors included Asheville in its list of “21 Places We’re Going in 2011.” In 2010, Forbes magazine ranked Asheville sixth among all U.S. cities as a place to do business. Asheville was ranked 21st of Forbes 200 best places for business and careers. In 2009, the USA Today “Road Warriors” report listed the city as a favorite city for business trips. That same year, Business Facilities Magazine ranked it eighth among its top 10 metro areas for quality of life. Not to put too high a shine on the city, but let’s mention just a couple more “best of ” designations because Asheville has gotten so many, including inclusion in Inc.com’s 10 best midsize cities for doing business and its placing 41st among 100 best places of “live and launch,” as rated by CNN Money.com. “The Asheville area is extremely business friendly,” said Kit Cramer, president and CEO of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. “There is an entrepreneurial spirit here that runs deep.

The increasing number of flights and attention to customer service at Asheville Regional Airport are a boon to the business community. PHOTO COURTESY OF ASHEVILLE AIRPORT

DOING BUSINESS Charlotte and an easy four-hour drive to “There is no need to wait to retire here. You Atlanta. The city and region are well served by can do business here today and enjoy our busy Asheville Regional Airport, which has tremendous quality of life while you work.” direct flights to several cities and connections “There are a lot of opportunities here,” said to anywhere in the world. Scott Hamilton, president and CEO of Flying in are people working in the area’s AdvantageWest, the state economic biggest industrial growth areas – technology development agency created to promote (Internet startups are run by people who love it business and commerce in Western North here), health care (Asheville is a regional leader Carolina. in the medical sciences), professional and “We’re within a day’s drive of about 50 technical business services (solo practitioners percent of the United States’ population,” he and support personnel can find plenty of work) said, “so it’s easy to get goods to the market. and advanced manufacturing (there are already Our Asheville Regional Airport has direct more than 500 such firms here). links to Charlotte, Atlanta, Detroit, Bucking the trend elsewhere, manufacturers Cincinnati and Newark and LaGuardia. in the Asheville area were quietly adding jobs And there’s a great diversification of business here, from manufacturing to tourism to software development.” The Asheville metro area is an excellent location for any new “There is no need to wait to retire business. For one thing, it’s highly here. You can do business here educated. The average number of college graduates in Buncombe, today and enjoy our tremendous Henderson, Haywood and Madison quality of life while you work.” counties exceeds state and national averages (as do its high school — KIT CRAMER, ASHEVILLE AREA CHAMBER students’ SAT scores). The four OF COMMERCE PRESIDENT & CEO counties are home to eight colleges and universities, whose curricula include the vaunted mechatronics in 2011. This past summer, Linamar Corp. – program at UNC Asheville and the small maker of construction equipment – business incubator at Asheville-Buncombe announced it was moving to Buncombe Technical Community College. County and creating 400 jobs. The city’s attraction to the well educated Manufacturing wages remain high in the may be why its unemployment rate of about 8 area. In the third quarter of 2010, the average percent was two points lower than the state’s weekly wage for manufacturing jobs in the 23 in 2011. Buncombe County, population westernmost counties was $765, a better wage 238,318, has an employed workforce of than even the area’s highly thought of health 192,000 people. care and social assistance job sector ($762). Asheville is well situated in the Southeast. Known as a national center of craft beer, Connected by interstates running in all Asheville now has 10 breweries, many of whom directions, it’s less than a two-hour drive to

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as its hub – is the home of the Cradle of Forestry, the site of the first forestry school in America. More than half of the county is parkland – Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Forest and Gorges State Park. Like its 31,000 residents, manufacturers are attracted to its water, the highest quality to be found in the state. Home to Brevard College, Transylvania Regional Hospital and the nationally known Brevard Music Center, the county has a low tax rate and a median household income of about $49,000. With an unemployment figure a percentage point lower than North Carolina’s in 2011, the county has a workforce numbering 13,070 people. Capitalizing on its parkland and other natural attractions, many are employed in the tourism The Small Business Center at AB Technical Community College provides training for new and existing manufacturers, while the college’s industry, which brought $68 million Business Incubator helps entrepreneurs map out strategies for success. PHOTO COURTESY OF AB TECH into the county and generated $13 million in payroll in 2009. Warmly nestled in North Carolina’s Thermal members to promote their business or Belt, Polk County has attracted a diverse organization to area residents. CONTINUED economic base. Timken, maker of motion With some 40,000 people in Henderson control systems and power transmissions, has a County’s workforce, the average family plant in Columbus, as does fabric maker income was $69,740 in 2009. That year, North support the area’s strong tourism industries by Milliken. Kangaroo Products makes its Carolina gave its industrial park certification offering samples in their tasting rooms. motorized golf caddies there. Agriculture is a to Henderson County’s Ferncliff Industrial Asheville and its many opportunities for big industry in Polk County, suppling Park – the first such certification granted in outdoor recreation have attracted health care vegetables and meat to many restaurants and Western North Carolina and, at the time, one professionals since the early 1900s, giving the institutions. Because of its rolling hills and of only three certifications statewide. city one of the highest concentrations of meadows, Polk County also has a big Home of Cold Mountain, whose looming doctors in the Southeast. Embracing wellness equestrian community, anchored by the profile inspired the novel and movie named for through such public fitness events as Lighten Foothills Equestrian Nature Center. the peak, Haywood County was the first Up 4 Life, Relay for Life of Asheville and the Polk County graduates 77 percent of its Certified Entrepreneurial Community in “Chamber Challenge” 5K race (put on by the high school students, has nearly 10,000 people the nation, a state designation that means the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce), the in the workforce (out of a population of about county is friendly toward those who want to city is catnip to outstanding physicians and 20,500) and has a median household income start or expand a business. Owners and trainers. The city’s hospital system is of $42,072. The unemployment rate in 2011 administrators will find a wealth of information nationally ranked. was about 7 percent. and coaching at the Small Business Center at Henderson County’s two hospitals are Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, Haywood Community College in Clyde. among its top three employers. With skilled Jackson County also boasts a well-educated With about 27,000 educated, skilled workers workers, excellent schools and one of the workforce, many of whom attended Western and a median household income of $40,380, lowest tax rates in the state, the county Carolina University in Cullowhee or Haywood County has a diversified economic (population 106,000) has several Southwestern Community College in Sylva. base that ranges from small business to large manufacturing clusters, including plastics, Experiencing a 22 percent increase in manufacturing. The Blue Ridge Paper Mill in automotive parts, electronic components and population between 2000 and 2010, the Canton is one of the oldest and continuously recreational and sporting goods. county now has more than 40,000 residents operated paper mills in the country. Health care In 2009, some 77,000 residents had and a median household income of $37,823. remains strong in the county, with more than attained at least a ninth-grade education, and Retail sales in 2007 were more than $433 27 providers ranging from MedWest Health the number of residents with degrees from million. Capitalizing on tourists attracted to System to single-physician offices. A higher education institutions was twice the mountains that top 6,000 feet, testimonial to the gorgeous scenery that Cold number of people whose education stopped accommodations and food service sales that Mountain presides over are the 51 Haywood with high school. Every fall, the year amounted to more than $74 million. County businesses that provide lodging, from Hendersonville Chamber of Commerce Jackson County has the state’s biggest inns to campgrounds. sponsors a Chamber Business Expo for employer west of Asheville – Harrah’s Known as the land of waterfalls, Cherokee Casino & Hotel. Transylvania County – with beautiful Brevard

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A home C away from home Mountain region has been a favorite second-home site for decades

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alled the Paris of the South and the San Francisco of the East, Asheville has been everyone’s favorite getaway since George Vanderbilt built his humble vacation home — better known as the Biltmore Estate — in the Blue Ridge Mountains more than 100 years ago. People have been following Vanderbilt for decades, making Asheville and the mountains around it one of the most popular second home and vacation home destinations in the country. In 2011, Barron’s magazine included Asheville in it list of 15 “best places for second homes.” “It's an easy place to live in, with enough culture and outdoor activities to keep even the most demanding resident satisfied,” Barron’s stated. It’s not just the art, though American Style Magazine named Asheville its 2011 top small city for art. And it’s not just the beauty of the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway, though in 2011 the Wall Street Journal included it among its list of “four scene-stealing, summertime routes around the nation.” Partly, it’s the value. You can buy a lot of house here for a fraction of what it would cost in more metro areas. Partly, it’s the charm. People who live in the mountains, even those who move here from far away, seem nicer. They say hello. They let you in in traffic. And they’ll wave while they do it. And it seems the further you get from town, the more helpful people are. Many part-time residents have stories about neighbors who watch their houses when they’re back home. They talk about community members cutting their grass while they’re gone, of making sure doors are locked and that strangers stay away. And if you’re thinking about buying into one of the area’s beautiful gated communities, your concerns will be even less. There are many here, including The Ramble, an exquisite community near the Biltmore Estate so well laid out that it would please Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape master who designed New York's Central Park and the estate around Vanderbilt’s shimmering chateau.

Many of the area’s newest homeowners are people in their 50s and early 60s who are buying second homes with an eye toward making them their permanent addresses once they retire. Buying now makes sense for many reasons, not the least of which is that prices are affordable. Owners can explore the area to see if it suits their interests and lifestyle upon retirement. And, they can recoup some of their investment by renting their houses during the busy summer months and popular leaf season. There are many property managers in the area to handle the transactions. New second-home owners who have already quit the working life often time their visits around the activities of the N.C. Center for Creative Retirement, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed center of learning that is affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Participants may select from an array of programs and classes on a variety of topics, including wellness, the arts and humanities and how retirement differs today (for one thing, it’s a lot more active in a place like Western North Carolina!). There are so many wonderful towns to explore, such as Waynesville with its historic Frog Level community, Marshall with its timeless feel, Hendersonville with its wealth of art galleries. People looking for more isolated homes find

beauty and value near small communities like Hot Springs, Cashiers or Black Mountain. Those who love the city life will certainly find it in Asheville, where condos and townhouses downtown are mere steps from the shopping at the Grove Arcade, the dining along Wall Street, the antiquing on Page Avenue and the people-watching up and down Lexington Avenue. Bookstores, salons, galleries and coffee shops all inhabit Asheville’s Art Deco buildings, making for a fun and funky address for lucky downtown denizens. New arrivals enrich the community with their volunteer spirit, their wealth of knowledge and a sophisticate’s palate that delights in the many farmers’ markets in the area. Here they can indulge in the region’s wonderful restaurants. Indeed, Asheville has a growing reputation for excellent locally sourced bistros that are independently run and wildly supported. And it’s a city that takes its beer seriously, being the home of 10 breweries and, now, a distiller of fine spirits. All this makes the city a popular choice for getaway and second homes. Buyers have a range of choices, from large condominiums in Asheville’s funky River Arts District to Biltmore Park’s comfortably planned neighborhoods to affordable, green homes

SECOND HOMES outside of the city, many within the sheltered folds of the area’s coves and valleys. The range of real estate in Western North Carolina is as vast as are the mountains, from small cottages to large estates. Buy a beautiful lot, and build your dream home – there are many options here. Porch-sitting takes on special relevance here because the climate allows for it nearly year ‘round. Hurricanes, whiteouts and tornadoes are things people experience here only through news accounts. Seasons in the mountains are mild, with few of the intense hot temperatures that make this area attractive to people from southern and coastal regions. There are also few mercury drops, a climatic trail that entices people here from the northern and midwestern states. Talk of the weather is usually about how delightful it is. Experiencing it is just a matter of walking out your front door. Just outside of Asheville is the Pisgah National Forest. Nearby are Joyce Kilmer Forest, DuPont State Park, Chimney Rock State Park, Nantahala National Forest, the Shining Rock Wilderness Area, and the crown jewel of Western North Carolina — the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Life is just more relaxed here. And it’s a lot more fun.

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Culture and art in abundance Mountains have long attracted artists of all kinds

The Asheville Symphony Orchestra (left) has been entertaining audiences since 1960. Folkmoot USA (right), the state’s official international festival, is a two-week international music and dance extravaganza held each July. Artists who are members of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild produce some of the finest work in the region. Shown: “Chiwa” (facing page). PHOTO COURTESY OF ASHEVILLE SYMPHONY PATRICK PARTON PHOTO ROBERT BATEY PHOTO COURTESY OF SOUTHERN HIGHLAND CRAFT GUILD CRAFTGUILD.ORG

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hat draws people to this area – the beautiful mountains with their everchanging hues – has drawn artists and performers here for decades. A nationally recognized region for crafts, Western North Carolina also has a growing reputation for its visual and performing arts. The truth is that these mountains boast a cultural climate that surpasses far larger locales. The Asheville Symphony Orchestra, begun in 1960 and now under the direction of the exciting conductor Daniel Meyer, regularly undertakes ambitious programs that include works by Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Wagner and Debussy. The Blue Ridge Orchestra, founded in 1999 by cellist/composer Ron Clearfield, is an ensemble of accomplished amateur, semi-professional and professional musicians that performs nearly a dozen concerts each year. Known for its exquisite sets, the professional Asheville Lyric Opera puts on brilliant performances with famous vocalists from all over the country. The Asheville Choral Society, 100 voices strong and now in its 35th year of innovation, presents three concert programs each season. Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart assumed the baton at Brevard Music Center in 2007, bringing to its stages luminaries such as violinist Joshua Bell and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Those who love traditional music will be drawn to the Sandburg Folk Music Festival, held in appreciation of poet/author Carl Sandburg’s work to preserve traditional folk music. The Bascom Lamar Lunsford Music and Dance Festival is held every fall at Mars Hill College to honor Lunsford, a folklorist who dedicated his life to cataloguing the music of the Southern Appalachians.

The mountains of Western North Carolina attract musicians of all stripes, many of whom aspired to perform at Asheville’s Orange Peel Social Aid & Pleasure Club, a coveted stop for nationally known bands touring the East Coast. Other convivial restaurant/pubs to hear live music include The Grey Eagle Tavern & Music Hall and Jack of the Wood in Asheville, the Purple Onion in Saluda and The Quarry in Brevard. If you need more reason to go out, many of the 10 breweries in Asheville have tasting rooms that hire or invite musicians to play on weekend nights. Adding to the heady mix are breweries in Sylva, Hendersonville and Bryson City. The visual arts have a rich history in Western North Carolina. Since 1929, Penland School of Crafts has been bringing students and nationally recognized experts to the tiny campus in Mitchell County. Each July and October, the four-day Crafts Fair of the Southern Highlands in Asheville lets people appreciate the work of more than 200 juried craftspeople.

The Folk Art Center, home of the Southern Highland Craft Guild just east of Asheville, spotlights the finest in traditional and contemporary crafts of the Southern Appalachians. The Asheville Art Museum has so much 20th and 21st century American art that it can’t display it all at the same time. Asheville has three bustling arts districts – downtown, with its galleries nearly side by side; Biltmore Village, with its “ready-towear” galleries; and the River Arts District, whose old warehouses and factories have attracted artists and a lively restaurant scene. The Arts Council of Henderson County produces that county’s popular Art on Main festival, as well as producing studio tours, performances and a lecture series. It stages local, regional, national and international exhibits in its D. Samuel Neill Gallery. The Haywood County Arts Council and the Toe River Arts Council (representing Mitchell and Yancey counties) enrich residents’ lives with several programs and shows.

Arts in the area > 16 Patton Fine Art Gallery

16 Patton Ave., Asheville 828-236-2889 | 16patton.com

ARTS & CULTURE > Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival

Ramsey Center, Mars Hill College, Mars Hill 828-689-1571 mhc.edu/ramsey-center/lunsford-festival

> Altamont Theatre Company

18 Church St., Asheville 828-274-8070 | thealtamont.com

> Biltmore Village

Biltmore Village, Asheville biltmorevillage.com

> Ariel Gallery

19 Biltmore Ave, Asheville 828-236-2660 | arielcraftgallery.com > The Arts Council of Henderson County

401 N. Main St., 3rd floor, Hendersonville 828-693-8504 | acofhc.org > Asheville Art Museum

2 South Pack Square at Pack Place, Asheville 828-253-3227 | ashevilleart.org > Asheville Ballet

4 Lynnwood Road, Asheville 828-252-4761 | ashevilleballet.com > Asheville Choral Society

828-232-2060 | ashevillechoralsociety.org

> Blue Ridge Orchestra

828-650-0948 | blueridgeorchestra.org > Blue Spiral 1

38 Biltmore Ave., Asheville 800-291-25113 | bluespiral1.com > Brevard Music Center

349 Andante Lane, Brevard 828-862-2100 | brevardmusic.org > Crafts Fair of the Southern Highlands

Asheville Civic Center, Asheville 828-298-7928 | southernhighlandguild.org > Flat Rock Playhouse

2661 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock 828-693-0403 | flatrockplayhouse.org

> Asheville Community Theatre

35 E. Walnut St., Asheville 828-254-1320 | ashevilletheatre.org

> Folk Art Center

Milepost 382 Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville 828-298-7928 | southernhighlandguild.org

> Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre

20 Commerce St., Asheville 828-254-2621 | acdt.org > Asheville Downtown Gallery Association

Downtown Asheville ashevilledowntowngalleries.org > Asheville Fringe Festival

20 Commerce St., Asheville 828-255-1900 | ashevillefringe.org > Asheville Gallery of Art

Because artists like the company of other artists, many galleries are located within walking distance. In downtown Asheville, visit Blue Spiral 1, Haen Gallery, Ariel Gallery, Gallery Minerva, 16 Patton Gallery and Asheville Gallery of Art. Other arts clusters exist in Brevard, Tryon, Hendersonville and Waynesville. In spring and fall, many artists open their studios to visitors in such scenic art tours as Weaverville’s renowned Art Safari and Art in Autumn, the Toe River Studio Tour in Mitchell and Yancey counties, the Henderson

16 College St., Asheville 828-251-5796 | ashevillegallery-of-art.com > Asheville Lyric Opera

2 S. Pack Square, Asheville 828-236-0670 | ashevillelyric.org > Asheville Symphony Orchestra

87 Haywood St., Asheville 828-254-7046 | ashevillesymphony.org

> Folkmoot USA

828-452-2997 | folkmootusa.org > Gallery Minerva Fine Art

8 Biltmore Ave., Asheville 828-255-8850 | galleryminerva.com > The Grey Eagle

185 Clingman Ave., Asheville 828-232-5800 | thegreyeagle.com > The Haen Gallery

52 Biltmore Ave., Asheville 828-254-8577 | thehaengallery.com > Haywood County Arts Council

86 N. Main St., Waynesville 828-452-0593 | hayoodarts.org > Henderson County Open Studio Tour

828-693-8504 www.acofhc.org/studio.htm

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> Jack of the Wood

> River Arts District

95 Patton Ave., Asheville 828-252-5445, ext. 105 jackofthewood.com

> Sandburg Folk Music Festival

> Montford Park Players

Little River Road, Flat Rock 828-693-4178 | nps.gov/carl

Montford Park, Asheville 828-254-5146 | montfordparkplayers.org > N.C. Stage Company

15 Stage Lane, Asheville 828-239-0263 | ncstage.org > The Orange Peel

101 Biltmore Ave., Asheville 828-225-5851 | theorangepeel.net > Penland School of Crafts

67 Doras Trail, Penland 828-765-2359 | penland.org > The Purple Onion

16 Main St., Saluda 828-749-1179 | purpleonionsaluda.com

River Arts District, Asheville | riverartsdistrict.com

> Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre

Owen Theatre, Mars Hill College, Mars Hill 828-689-1384 | sartplays.org > Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance

Pack Place, 2 South Pack Square, Asheville 828-252-6342 | terpsicorps.org

County Open Studio Tour in (where else?) Henderson County and the Haywood County Arts Council’s Open Studio Tour in and around Waynesville. Dance fans find lots to love in Asheville and the surrounding communities. Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance annually re-imagines old stories into new choreography. Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre, an enthusiastic supporter of Asheville Fringe Festival, stages daring, challenging modern works, most of them scripted by director Susan Collard. Asheville Ballet’s annual production of ‘The Nutcracker” brings attention to its

> Toe River Arts Council

102 W. Main St., Burnsville 828-682-7215 | toeriverarts.org > Toe River Studio Tour

828-682-7215 toeriverarts.org/studiotour.shtml > Weaverville Art in Autumn

visitweaverville.com/artinautumn > The Quarry

14 S. Gaston St., Brevard 828-877-2244 | thequarryrestaurant.com

> Weaverville Art Safari

weavervilleartsafari.com

The Penland School of Craft’s (above) mission is to support individual artistic growth. The Flat Rock Playhouse (right) was named the State Theatre of North Carolina in 1961. ROBIN DREYER PHOTO • FLAT ROCK PLAYHOUSE PHOTO

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other acclaimed work, including productions of “Swan Lake” and “American in Paris.” Folkmoot USA ferries traditional dancers from all over the world to Waynesville, which generously shares the exciting, colorful performances with other towns and arts organizations throughout the mountains. For a sparsely populated region, Western North Carolina has a lot of high-quality live theater, much of it here for a long time. Supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre at Mars Hill College has been putting on plays since 1975. The venerable Flat Rock Playhouse was named The State Theatre of North Carolina in 1961. In Waynesville, the Haywood Arts Repertory Theater (HART) puts on main stage productions all year, along with smaller shows in the more intimate Feichter Studio Theater. In Asheville, the North Carolina Stage Company has built its reputation on a solid body of work. Altamont Theatre Company is a black-box theater that performs offBroadway-style musicals by popular writers. Asheville Community Theatre is in its 66th season. The Montford Park Players stage the state’s longest running Shakespeare festival. And, attendance is free.

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breweries in the city limits, and others in the surrounding area, it’s definitely worth a visit. “The BeerCity USA poll is about community pride, not just beer. It’s very different than other polls that rate beer on viral popularity, hop varieties, brand presence, sales, size of brewery, volume produced, ingredients used, or preference based.” hen it comes to spirits, The poll is just proof of what has become the mountain region a beer-based subculture in the Asheville around Asheville has area. In a city known for being unique, always boasted its own local flavors. artistic and a bit funky, residents wear the The moonshine of year’s past, however, has Beer City USA label with pride. Locally been replaced by a craft beer and wine brewed craft beer is not the same as the industry rivaling that found anywhere in the mass-marketed national beer brands popular country. In May 2011, Asheville nabbed the in most cities, and so its popularity goes Beer City USA label for the third consecutive hand-in-hand with Asheville’ distinct year, and the number of craft brewers in the personality. Smoky Mountain region just keeps growing. And the city is not resting on its laurels. In addition, wineries are flourishing and Just as economic development officials are earning national and international recognition trying to lure new brewers to the region, one for their mountain vintages. of the larger local outfits has just become the Asheville and Buncombe County first brewer in the region to sells its product boasts at least 11 local breweries, and the in cans. new years could bring several more. Also, Asheville Brewing Co. on Coxe Avenue two national craft brewers — New Belgium recently began canning the company’s Brewing, of Fort Collins, Colo., and Sierra flagship Shiva India Pale Ale and its Rocket Nevada, of Chico, Calif. — are reportedly Girl lager. Owners expect the canned beer scouting Asheville as potential locations for lines to ratchet up total sales East Coast breweries. Vineyards and wineries are also thriving in Western North Carolina, led by the Biltmore Estate brand that has been on the market since 1985. Many who visit these Those who are interested in learning more about mountains are surprised at the Asheville’s craft brew industry can take a Brews number of vineyards and Cruise. Tours offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse wineries that are found there. at the alchemy of art, science and passion inside Out of the 90 or more wineries every glass of great beer, all while enjoying in the state of North Carolina generous samples of the unique Asheville brews. as a whole, more than 20 are www.ashevillebrewscruise.com found in the mountains. Commonly planted varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, In addition, brewers are popping up in Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, communities surrounding Asheville. Three Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Viognier, brewers will open this year in Waynesville, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Seyval Blanc and and both Sylva and Bryson City already Vidal Blanc. have fully operational beer producers. The Biltmore Estate has the largest winery As for the Beer City USA label, Asheville in the region. The world-famous estate has earned that distinction by winning a opened its $6.5-million state-of-the-art nationwide poll conducted by microbrew winery to the public. Small quantities of guru Charlie Papazian. His blog had this to wine produced from experimental vineyards say about the title: were first sold to Biltmore visitors in 1977. “Asheville, North Carolina rose to the top Current production at Biltmore averages of the BeerCity USA poll once again this 100,000 gallons of over a dozen varietal year. This is the third straight year that this wines, making use of grapes from the estate’s community of 80,000 has rallied behind 75 acres of vinifera grapes, other North their local breweries. With eight craft Carolina vineyards and juice from California.

ARTS & CULTURE Breweries > > > > > > > > > > > > >

Asheville Brewing Company: Asheville Craggie Brewing Company: Asheville French Broad Brewing Company: Asheville Green Man Brewing Company: Asheville Highland Brewing Company: Asheville Lexington Avenue Brewery: Asheville Oyster House Brewing: Asheville Wedge Brewing Company: Asheville Southern Appalachian Brewery: Hendersonville Catawba Valley Brewing Company: Morganton Heinzelmannchen Brewing Company: Sylva Nantahala Brewing Company: Bryson City Pisgah Brewing Company: Black Mountain

Take a Brews Cruise

Tim Schaller, owner of Wedge Brewing Company (top) in Asheville’s River Arts District. Biltmore Winemakers Sharon Fenchak and Bernard Delille. JON D. BOWMAN PHOTO • PHOTO COURTESY OF BILTMORE

Wineries > > > > > > >

Biltmore Estate Winery: Asheville Ritler Ridge Vineyards: Candler Rockhouse Vineyards: Tryon Green Creek Winery: Columbus Green River Vineyard: Green Creek Calaboose Cellars: Andrews Valley River Vineyards: Murphy

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Festivals galore Nearly every weekend, mountain communities throw some kind of party

Asheville’s Bele Chere (top) is considered one of the Southeast’s largest street festivals, while Shindig on the Green in downtown’s Pack Square attracts regional musicians off all ages during its weekly concerts from June-September. PHOTO COURTESY OF BELE CHERE JERRY NELSON PHOTO • JOURNEYAMERICA.ORG

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ith so much going on, even residents of these beautiful mountains feel like guests with more opportunity than time. From bluegrass to baroque, from barbecue to beluga, Western North Carolina has just about every kind of festival you can imagine. Hendersonville has been growing apples since the mid-1700s, and in celebration of the fruit of all that labor (a $22 million crop for the county now), the city holds the North Carolina Apple Festival during Labor Day weekend in Hendersonville. Now 60 years old, the festival brings tasty food, arts and crafts, free entertainment and, of course, lots of apples to the historic courthouse on Hendersonville’s stately Main Street. In July, Waynesville also hosts Folkmoot USA, North Carolina’s official international music and dance festival. The Haywood County town celebrates the region’s traditional roots in September with the Smoky Mountain Folk Festival, a weekend’s worth of mountain music and dance. Then in October two fall festivals fills the quaint downtown. The Church Street Arts and Crafts Festival is a juried craft show, while the Haywood County Apple Festival attracts tens of thousands to enjoy apples, agriculture, crafts and food during the color season. What’s better than barbecue, smoky ribs and a beautiful day? All that and music, which is what you’ll find at Tryon’s Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival, held June 15-16, 2012. This is a serious competition (which you get to savor) in which dozens of teams working with the precision of NASCAR pit crews slop and mop their way to (they hope) the coveted grand championship.

Lovers of the movie “Dirty Dancing” will have the time of their lives at the Dirty Dancing Festival held in September in Lake Lure, where much of the phenomenally popular film was shot. There’s a lake-lift competition and lots and lots of dancing. Considered by many as the best spring music festival, the White Squirrel Festival in downtown Brevard brings hundreds of people to town over the Memorial Day weekend. The festival kicks off with a Memorial Day parade and, like a lot of festivals in the area, also includes a 5K/10K race. Summertime in Brevard brings about the Mountain Song Festival, a benefit show at Brevard Music Center that showcases the best of folk, bluegrass, old-time and traditional mountain music. Christmas is special in Dillsboro, which during the first two Fridays and Saturdays of December turns its streets into pathways of softly lit candlelight. Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries is a winter wonderland of lighthearted laughter and song, with horse and buggy rides, cocoa and hot cider. Got a thing for hats? You should be in the Dillsboro Easter Hat Parade. Bring your hat or make one in front of Dillsboro town Hall. Prizes go to the best, biggest and ugliest hat. And, the Easter bunny attends. The coolest bands and musicians you may not have heard of are always on the program at

the Lake Eden Arts Festival, held in May and October. With a heavy emphasis on world music, the festival has turned into one of the area’s premier music and healing arts events. Go for the day, or camp the whole weekend – either way you’ll love the music, the people and the gorgeous Camp Rockmont setting. The hot days of August are a good time to be indoors, especially when the heels are flying during the Mountain Dance & Folk Festival, held in Asheville’s Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place. Held the first week of August, the event has attracted the area’s top mountain dancers, balladeers, fiddlers, banjo pickers and others since 1928.

ENTERTAINMENT Bakersville in picturesque Mitchell County celebrates its Rhododendron Festival in mid June, a weekend that includes streets dances, a car show and the “Ducky Derby,” which sees thousands of rubber duckies racing down Cane Creek in a fundraiser that everyone loves. The festival also stages the N.C. Rhododendron Pageant, a two-evening event that’s one of the area’s oldest scholarship opportunities for young women. There’s nothing so sweet as a summer’s evening outdoors. Saturday nights on downtown Asheville’s Pack Square Park, that means Shindig on the Green, a four-decades

The Blue Ridge Barbecue Festival in Tryon pays homage to a Southern tradition. PHOTO COURTESY OF BLUE RIDGE BARBECUE FESTIVAL

Festivals

> Dirty Dancing Festival

Lake Lure dirtydancingfestival.com

> Lake Eden Arts Festival

> Shindig on the Green

377 Lake Eden Road, Black Mountain 828-686-8742 | theleaf.com

> Asheville Greek Festival

227 Cumberland Ave., Asheville 828-253-3754 holytrinityasheville.com/ greek_festival

> Festival of Flowers

Biltmore Estate, Asheville 828-225-1333 | biltmore.com

> Mountain Dance & Folk Festival

Diana Wortham Theatre, Asheville 828-258-6101, ext. 345 folkheritage.org

> Folkmoot USA > Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival

Harmon Field, Tryon 828-859-7427 blueridgebbqfestival.com > Dillsboro Easter Hat Parade

Dillsboro 800-962-1911 visitdillsboro.org/specialevents.html > Dillsboro Luminaries & Lights

Dillsboro 800-962-1911 visitdillsboro.org/specialevents.html

828-452-2997 folkmootusa.org > HardLox Festival

Pack Square Park, Asheville 828-253-2282 hardloxjewishfestival.org > Historic Johnson Farm

3346 Haywood Road Hendersonville 828-693-9708 historichendersonville.org/ johnson_farm.htm

Pack Square Park, Asheville 828-258-6101, ext. 345 folkheritage.org > Smoky Mountain Folk Festival

Stuart Auditorium, Lake Junaluska 828-452-1688 downtownwaynesville.com

> Mountain Song Festival

Brevard Music Center 828-243-3496 mountainsongfestival.com

> Sourwood Festival

Black Mountain 828-669-2300 sourwoodfestival.com

> N.C. Apple Festival

318 N. Main St., Hendersonville 828-697-4557 ncapplefestival.org

> White Squirrel Festival

Brevard 828-884-3278 brevardnc.org/white-squirrel-festival

> N.C. Rhododenron Festival

Bakersville bakersville.com/ rhod_events.html

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ENTERTAINMENT tradition for lovers of bluegrass and traditional music. Grab the kids and some lawn chairs and savor the cool night air in the friendliest of atmospheres. As sweet as the honey it’s named for, the Sourwood Festival in Black Mountain attracts more than 30,000 to the town’s streets every August. Kids rides and games, face painting, arts and crafts, music and dancing – plus the Sourwood Idol Contest – make this a fun alternative to larger festivals held in the area this time of year. In April, the Biltmore Estate bursts into bloom, turning winter away with thousands upon thousands of tulips, azaleas and flowering shrubs. The Festival of Flowers pageantry is accompanied by musical events that draw people to the gardens and the hopeful signs of spring. Also in April, the Historic Johnson Farm Festival in Hendersonville gives children of all ages a glimpse of what a working mountain farm was (and is). Foodies find lots to love during Asheville’s annual Greek Festival, a late summer event that ushers in fall with heaping platters of chicken riganto (baked chicken strips sprinkled with oregano, lemon juice and the chefs’ special sauce). The HardLox Jewish Food and Heritage Festival in October is the place to get a mean chopped liver sandwich and a crisp kosher dill pickle. June in Asheville belongs to beer-lovers. The Beer City Festival features great local music, and Brewgrass features great regional music. Both pour some of the best craft beer made in Asheville and elsewhere in the Southeast. Asheville’s least formal festival is the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival, an artist-run blast held in September in downtown Asheville. The most visited outdoor festival in the Southeast takes places all over downtown Asheville the last weekend in July. Bele Chere, a much-anticipated street party that attracts people from everywhere (or so it seems) offers as much entertainment on the street as on the stage. The children’s area of Asheville’s Bele Chere festival is decidedly low-key. The downtown festival may be the largest outdoor festival in the Southeast, but in the children’s area within the cool confines of the Asheville Civic Center, the emphasis is on non-frenzied fun and play. The alcohol-free zone offers a mix of free crafts, ticketed rides and free children’s performances. If you still have any energy after all of that, don’t forget the Mountain Sports Festival in Asheville, a weekend in May full of culture, athletics, music, food, drink and more.

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The twice-a-year Lake Eden Arts Festival’s major focus is music, but events for children and an international focus expand the festival’s appeal. PHOTO COURTESY OF LAKE EDEN ARTS FESTIVAL

Spring, summer, fall Asheville’s famous drum circle kicks up every Friday night during spring and summer. This free event at Pritchard Park in the heart of downtown gives kids a chance to spin and laugh among hula hoopers, tall bike riders and (sometimes) fire dancers. Also downtown is the Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site, where on the first Friday of May through October, from noon until 2 p.m., there’s free music on the front porch of the historic Old Kentucky Home. Relax under the shade trees to some pleasant tunes, then maybe tour the boarding house that Wolfe’s mother ran in the early part of the 20th century. Every July, Narnia Studios, a children’s store in downtown Hendersonville, puts on Chalk It Up!, a sidewalk art affair for children (and adults!) that has become one of Hendersonville’s biggest summer attractions. Just remember to register in June. For one weekend every summer, several farms in the area open their barn doors for the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project Family Farm Tour, a self-guided driving tour that lets your children pet farm animals while discovering where their food comes from. Join the tour for any or all of the farms in the Asheville area and surrounding counties. The Orchard at Altapass, a historic apple orchard and farm on the Blue Ridge Parkway, has events nearly every day May through October. The Coon Dog Day Festival, with its crafts, parade and square dances, happens in Saluda in July. In September, the Mountain Heritage Day

at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee is a day-long celebration of southern Appalachian music, dance, arts and culture. Also in September, there’s the “Fall Into the Farm: A Family Fun Day on the Sandburg Farm” in Flat Rock. This free family-friendly festival highlights the farm life of poet Carl Sandburg’s family and features square dancing, historic barn tours, cheese-making demonstrations and children’s crafts. There’s lots of live theater in the Asheville area performed with children in mind, much of it performed by the Asheville Arts Center, Asheville Community Theatre and the Tryon Children’s Theater Festival.

Winter Children have been enjoying Christmas at the Biltmore House ever since owner George Vanderbilt introduced his family and friends to the estate on Christmas Eve 1895. Festooned with Christmas trees, poinsettias and thousands of ornaments, Christmas at Biltmore runs from early November to Jan. 1 every year. Everyone loves gingerbread houses, and everyone loves going to the Grove Park Inn to look at the confectionary castles entered in the hotel’s national gingerbread house competition. Mondays through Thursdays from Nov. 14 to Jan. 1, the public is invited to ogle the dozens upon dozens of houses entered into this growing competition. Another fun thing to do in winter is to attend the Asheville International Children’s Film Festival, the largest children’s film festival in the Southeast. Held in November, it’s a 10-day extravaganza featuring more than 70 films from 25 countries. Animation, features, shorts, historical films and fantastic hands-on, interactive workshops – this festival has it all for kids.

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Active A retirement Mountains beckon residents of all ages to come out and play

Hikers of all ages enjoy the thousands of miles of wilderness trails in Western North Carolina. ASHLEY T. EVANS PHOTO

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n inexpensive city in an affordable region in the temperate South, Asheville has attracted active retirees for years. And in recent years, Western North Carolina has become even more appealing to those who want to spend the best part of their lives immersed in art, culture, fine dining and adventure opportunities. Each beautiful morning beckons mountain residents to come out and play. No wonder Asheville has been TopRetirement.com’s No. 1 place to retire for four years running. “Asheville’s mountains, gentle four-seasons climate and recreational/cultural opportunities provide the standard that all other retirement towns can aspire to,” the website stated. In 2010, the website eHow.com listed Asheville as one of the five best small towns in which to live as a retiree. MarketWatch put it first among its top 10 places to retire, and Black Enterprise magazine included it in its 20 best retirement locations. Bestboomertowns.com said Asheville was one of the “21 Best U.S. Towns for Baby Boomers’ Active Retirement.” Active retirement certainly sums up the lives of many of the area’s newest arrivals. Every morning, you’ll face an array of exciting options, nearly all of them involving a healthy dose of sunshine and fresh air. There are many other good reasons why retirees love Asheville. Its cost of living is less than the national average. At $251,000, the average home sale is less than the country as a whole. Health care is excellent here, and less expensive than many similar- and smallersized cities in the Southeast. The average cost of a doctor’s visit is $75.50, and for the dentist, it’s $97. Downtown Asheville is a sensory delight, filled with wonderful sights, sounds and aromas. The city’s dining scene encompasses nearly every kind of ethnic cuisine imaginable, including Italian, Indian, Thai, Nepalese, Southern and Southwestern. The sidewalks are full of people popping in and out of dozens of art galleries, all supplied with work by nationally and internationally known artists who chose to live here above all other places.

Restaurants and clubs abound in music, as do sidewalks full of accomplished musicians playing for tips and notice. Hat in hand and heart on their sleeves, they sing and strum in front of smart shops purveying fashionable clothes, art and antiques. You can’t drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway without passing a long line of motorcyclists enjoying the freedom of the road and of retirement. Clubs formal and informal meet for long rides throughout Western North Carolina, including the famous Tail of the Dragon near Robbinsville, N.C. – 318 curves over 11 miles, one of America’s premier motorcycle and sports car roads. Nearby is Cherohala Skyway, a mile-high ride to Tellico Plains, Tenn. For those who like to take the mountains by foot, Western North Carolina abounds in trails. Mount Mitchell, Roan Mountain, Clingmans Dome and Mount Sterling are some of the higher peaks that eager hikers notch on their grand tour of the region’s tallest mountains. The Mountains-to-Sea Trail through Asheville passes through much of the region. Perhaps the area’s most famous forested byway is the Appalachian Trail, a Maine-toGeorgia ridge top route that can be accessed in several places in Western North Carolina. For those who like to pedal along under their own power, the backroads of Western North Carolina are unparalleled for their beauty and challenge. Racers will find plenty of

RETIREMENT

events to choose from, including the Blue Ridge Breakaway, Roan Groan, 24 Hours of Pisgah, Mount Mitchell Assault, Hot Doggett 100 and Hilly Hellacious Hundred. Retirees routinely best younger residents in area duathlons and triathlons held at Biltmore Lake, Lake Junaluska and along the French Broad River. Runners in all age groups can choose from races held nearly every week in

nearly every town in the mountains. Those who like to push further will love the half marathons staged in Asheville, Cullowhee, Bethel, Brevard, and Ridgecrest. For those who have even more than that, the DuPont State Forest 50K is in the cool of October, the 18-mile Shut-In Ridge Run is in chilly November and the 40-mile Mount Mitchell Challenge is in the cold of February. Several car clubs cater toward those who like to tinker and show off their work. Highlands Sports Car Club in Asheville is a friendly group of automotive enthusiasts whose members come from all walks of life and drive all types of vehicles. The Mountaineer Antique Auto Club in Clyde attracts collectors of classic cars. There is also an antique car club in Hendersonville and a Mustang club in Asheville.

Bikers from all over the country come to Western North Carolina to enjoy events like the Blue Ridge Breakaway (above), a cycling event held in Haywood County whose route includes a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Center for Creative Retirement offers classes, lectures and other activities all year long. PHOTO COURTESY OF BLUE RIDGE BREAKAWAY PHOTO COURTESY OF CENTER FOR CREATIVE RETIREMENT

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Choose your adventure Recreation is big business and tons of fun in the Smokies

Cataloochee Ski Area (below) and Navitat Canopy Adventures are just two of the dozens of outdoor opportunities available in Western North Carolina. PHOTO COURTESY OF CATALOOCHEE SKI AREA PHOTO COURTESY OF NAVITAT CANOPY ADVENTURES

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ecreation is truly “re-creation” in the Blue Ridge, whose mountains offer lucky residents and visitors the chance to renew their spirits through a rich variety of outdoor opportunities. There’s plenty of fun to be had, and if you like sports, you’ll find plenty to root for here. Asheville turns out in force to watch the Asheville Tourists, affiliated with the Colorado Rockies, a Major League Baseball team that sends many of its first-round picks here to pick up valuable experience. Grab the family, pick up a sack of peanuts and a couple of hot dogs and watch some excellent baseball on a warm summer’s eve. It seems like everyone’s friendly in a minor league ballpark, and that’s no truer than at McCormick Field, where the Tourists play. Is football your thing? Fans flock to area restaurants on Saturdays and Sundays to support their favorite college and professional teams. And many go to Memorial Stadium above McCormick Field to watch the Asheville Grizzlies, a semi-professional team that has dominated the Appalachian Division of the Gridiron Development Football League. For something quirkier, roll over to the Asheville Civic Center to watch the Blue Ridge Rollergirls, members of North Carolina’s first all-female, flat-track roller derby league. The matches combine fashion, camp and fierce competition in an event that draws a spirited crowd as fun to watch as these young athletes going ‘round and ‘round. Coached for years by basketball coach Eddie Biedenbach, UNC Asheville’s Bulldogs have been getting a lot of attention in the Big South League, playing to near capacity crowds in the university’s new Kimmel Arena. In nearby Cullowhee, Western Carolina University’s Catamounts have produced several excellent players, including Kevin Martin, who now plays with the NBA’s Houston Rockets. Soccer and volleyball rule at Montreat College and Mars Hill College. Asheville has been selected as host city for the 2012-2014 Southern Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. The city hosted the tournaments for years at the Asheville Civic Center downtown, and the sidewalks full of people going between games and restaurants brought a palpable excitement to the heart of the city. The Mountain Sports Festival in Asheville every spring is a threeday celebration of all things outdoors. Races and events take in the sports of trail running and biking, cyclocross, Ultimate Frisbee, rock climbing and dodge ball. Everyone from amateurs to professionals takes part in competitions and clinics that make participants better competitors. The festival also stages a lot of free music around downtown Asheville. The Nantahala Outdoor Center can provide just about any kind of adventure you’d want, from biking to climbing to hiking to river floats to lake kayaking to jet boat rides to tickets to the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (you should see the fall foliage from one of these comfortable cabins!). The Wildwater Rafting centers on the Nantahala, Chattooga and Pigeon rivers near Asheville offers exhilarating guided whitewater raft rides that roll over rapids in trips that last about three hours. Other adventurous explorers might opt for harnessed canopy tours, conducted

OUTDOORS

in the beautiful Nantahala Gorge over six aerial bridges and 11 zip lines. The rides, meant to be more informative than jawdropping, go through several ecosystems, and guides share cultural and ecological tidbits along the way. Zip lines are big in the Asheville area right now. Navitat Asheville offers top-of-the-tree tours along 10 zip lines, two sky bridges and from two rappelling experiences. The threehour adventures have been featured in USA TODAY, in the New York Times and on CNN’s Headline News. For those who like two feet on the ground, the region offers unparalleled hiking in Pisgah National Forest, Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and state parks at Chimney Rock, DuPont, Gorges, Grandfather Mountain, Lake Norman and South Mountains. There are several hiking clubs in the area, including the Carolina Mountain Club, established in 1923 and now the oldest and most active hiking club in Western North Carolina. Julian Price Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway’s largest campground, offers rangerguided hikes during the day. The National Park Service also provides car camping in maintained sites at Linville Falls, Crabtree Meadows, Mount Mitchell and Mount Pisgah. For backpackers, there’s excellent primitive camping in Linville Gorge. Closer to Asheville, public campgrounds exist at Lake Powhatan, North Mills River and Davidson River. Lake Powhatan is in the Bent Creek area of the Pisgah National Forest, just south of Asheville, and home to miles of mountain biking trails. DuPont and Pisgah state parks have lots of trails, as does the Jackrabbit Mountain biking and hiking trail system just

outside of Hayesville in Clay County. Road riders will love the popular flat cycle along the French Broad River between Asheville and Marshall (be sure and stop in Zuma Coffee in Marshall for a delicious caffeinated pick-meup!). The Blue Ridge Bicycle Club, Asheville Bicycle Racing Club and the Asheville Women’s Cycling Club host events, club rides and races. Whitewater Paddling magazine has named Asheville a “Top 10 Whitewater Town,“ but the glory is shared by many towns

NANTAHALA OUTDOOR CENTER PHOTO

on the French Broad, Pigeon, Nantahala and Nolichucky rivers. There are many rafting companies in the area, including Huck Finn Adventures in Hot Springs and French Broad Rafting Expeditions and Blue Heron Whitwater in Marshall. The Biltmore Estate has many outdoor experiences, including river floats, fly fishing, horseback riding, hiking and biking. The fun doesn’t stop with the warm weather. Strap on your skis and head to Cataloochie Ski Area in Maggie Valley, Wolf Ridge Ski Resort near Mars Hill or Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain in Banner Elk. All have runs for various levels of expertise, as well as super-fun inner tube rides and ski lodges to nurse any sore muscles.

The Asheville Tourists minor league baseball team is a favorite pastime in the Asheville area (left), as is a rafting trip down one of the many whitewater rivers in the region (inset). Western North Carolina is also one of the world’s top flyfishing areas. (above). PHOTO COURTESY OF ASHEVILLE TOURISTS • PHOTO COURTESY OF NANTAHALA OUTDOOR CENTER • MARK HASKETT PHOTO

A Mecca for anglers Fly-fishing is one of Western North Carolina’s biggest draws, offering any kind of fishing experience the serious angler could hope for. Cherokee just his year hosted the 2011 U.S. National Fly Fishing Championships. Sixty of the top anglers in the country descended on the reservation to try their luck in the dozens of streams that have both native brook, rainbow and brown trout. The tribe has its own hatchery and regularly stocks dozens of miles of rivers and streams (www.cherokee-nc.com). Next door in Jackson County the chamber of commerce has produced a guide to the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail, the only fly fishing trail in the country. The rivers and stream here feature some of the best trout waters in the Great Smoky Mountains (800-962-1911 or MountainLovers.com). Of course the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers some of the best backcountry fly fishing in the eastern United States. Couple that with the hundreds of miles of rivers and streams in the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests, and its easy to understand why the area has become a Mecca for both serious and recreational fly fisherman. The trail takes you to 15 excellent spots for catching brook, brown and rainbow trout. Whether you seek quantity or size, open waters or small streams, the WNC Fly Fishing Trail has it all.

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On course T Mountain golf boasts captivating scenery and challenging conditions

Residents and visitors alike enjoy the dozens of golf courses that have been carved out of the mountain landscape. ASHEVILLE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PHOTO • PHOTO COURTESY OF SEQUOYAH NATIONAL GOLF COURSE (FACING PAGE)

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here’s nothing like playing a round of golf at high elevation to quicken the blood and make you feel alive. Golf courses in Asheville and Western North Carolina have attitude as well as altitude, challenging golfers in the most gorgeous of

settings. Condé Nast Traveler Magazine included the golf course at Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in its list of “Top 20 Southern U.S. Golf Resorts.” Designed by Donald Ross in 1926, the 18-hole, par 70 course has an undulating front nine and a back nine that can be steep. A decade ago, the resort invested $2.5 million to restore the course in a manner that Ross would approve. Players who have enjoyed its challenge include golf immortals Bobby Jones, Sam Snead and Byron Nelson and more recent PGA stars Doug Sanders, Gene Littler, Fuzzy Zoeller and Chip Beck. The Country Club of Asheville has an 18-hole, par 72 Donald Ross-designed course with a distinctive clubhouse that overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains. It also boasts a state-of-the-art indoor tennis facility that has eight outdoor clay courts and a modern fitness facility. Also available are a 25-tee driving range and putting and chipping greens. One of the oldest golf courses in Western North Carolina, Asheville Municipal Golf Course is an 18-hole, par 72 course that opened in 1927. The front nine of this Donald Ross-designed course measures 3,246 yards from the back tees, calling for a driver on every hole. The course is open daily to the public, weather permitting. The 18-hole golf course at Biltmore Forest Country Club recently underwent at $2.5-million restoration, accompanied by an $8.5-million renovation of the clubhouse, bringing both back to their 1922 splendor. Over the years, the course has attracted the likes of Bobby Jones, Bill Tilden, John D. Rockefeller, William Jennings Bryan, William Howard Taft and Calvin Coolidge Sporting the only golf course in Western North Carolina designed by Jack Nicklaus, The Cliffs At Walnut Cove is a par 71, 18-hole course that opened in tournament-ready conditions, according to the PGA Tour. Its greens, bent grass fairways, clever bunkering

and elevation changes make it a challenge that calls for a sharp eye. In Weaverville, just north of Asheville, is Reems Creek Golf Club, an 18-hole, par 72 course. Located in the beautiful Reems Creek Valley, it’s surrounded by tall mountains through which the Blue Ridge Parkway passes. The 6,492-yard course was designed by Hawtree & Sons, a British firm that worked on Royal Birkdale, a course that's in the British Open rotation. South of Asheville, in Mills River, is High Vista Country Club, whose golf course is open to the public. Established in 1976 and designed by Tom Jackson, the 18-hole course has dramatic elevation changes and winding fairways. Nearby, Etowah Valley Golf Club has three 9-hole courses, all knitted together in one spectacular championship golf experience. Create the combination you want from six tee positions on a scenic mountain plateau 2,200 feet high. Height matters at Mount Mitchell Golf Club, located near Burnsville. Lying at about 3,000 feet elevation and bordered by peaks that exceed 6,000 feet, the course is relatively flat. The South Toe River runs through it, a factor that must be taken into account for many shots. In the mountain region west of the Asheville area there are a handful of top-notch public courses, including the new Sequoyah National in Cherokee (designed by Robert Trent Jones II) and the historic 27 holes at Waynesville Inn, Golf Resort and Spa. In the Cashiers area of Jackson County, the scenic High Hampton Inn has one of the most picturesque courses in the country.

GOLF COURSES > High Hampton Inn & Country Club

Regional courses

Private 1525 Highway 107 S., Cashiers 828-743-2411 | highhamptoninn.com

> Asheville Municipal Golf Course

Municipal 226 Fairway Drive, Asheville 828-298-1867 | ashevillenc.gov

> High Vista Country Club

Public 88 Country Club Road, Mills River 828-891-1986 | highvistagolf.com

> Biltmore Forest Country Club

Private 31 Stuyvesant Road, Asheville 828-274-1261 | biltmoreforestcc.com

> Mount Mitchell Golf Club

Public 11484 N.C. 80 South, Burnsville 828-675-5454 mountmitchellgolf.com

> Black Mountain Golf Course

Municipal 15 Ross Drive, Black Mountain 828-669-2710 | blackmountaingolf.org

> Orchard Trace Golf Club

Public 3389 Sugarloaf Road, Hendersonville 828-685-1006

> Broadmoor Golf Links

Public 101 French Broad Lane, Fletcher 828-687-1500 | broadmoorlinks.com

> Reems Creek Golf Club

Semi-private 36 Pink Fox Cove Road, Weaverville 828-645-4393 | reemscreekgolf.com

> Cliffs At Walnut Cove

Private 268 Walnut Valley Parkway, Arden 888-988-3040 | cliffscommunities.com

> Rumbling Bald Resort on Lake Lure

Private 112 Mountains Boulevard, Lake Lure 828-694-3000 | rumblingbald.com

> Country Club of Asheville

Private 170 Windsor Road, Asheville 828-258-9762 | countryclubofasheville.net

> Sequoyah National Golf Club

Public 79 Cahons Rd., Whittier 828-497-3000 | sequoyahnational.com

> Crooked Creek Golf Course

Public 764 Crooked Creek Road, Hendersonville 828-692-2011

> Smoky Mountain Country Club

Public 1300 Conley Creek Road, Whittier 800-474-0070 | smokymountaincc.com

> Crowne Plaza Tennis & Golf Resort

Public 1 Resort Drive, Asheville 828-253-5874 | ashevillecp.com

> Southern Tee Golf Course

> Cummings Cove Golf & Country Club

Public 20 Cummings Cove Parkway, Hendersonville 828-891-9412 | cummingscove.com > Etowah Valley Golf Club

Public 470 Brickyard Road, Etowah 800-451-8174 | etowahvalley.com > Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa

Public 290 Macon Ave., Asheville 800-438-5800 | groveparkinn.com

Public 111 Howard Gap Road, Fletcher 828-687-7273 > Springdale Country Club

Public 200 Golfwatch Road, Canton 800-553-3027 | springdalegolf.com > Waynesville Inn, Golf Resort & Spa

Public 176 Country Club Drive, Waynesville 800-627-6250 | wccinn.com

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F

Leading the way From farmers markets to green building, WNC embraces sustainability

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amilies in Western North Carolina cherish the land they live on, the lives they lead and the love they share. So it’s no surprise that they take good care not only of each other but also of the things that nurture their lives. The rich soil, clean air and pure water of Western North Carolina are prized by area farmers, whose tasty, healthy vegetables find eager buyers at area tailgate markets. The Western North Carolina Farmers Market, one of five stateowned farmers markets in North Carolina, features stand after stand of high-quality fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, freshbaked breads and honeys of all sort. Open daily year ‘round, it has so many farmers and vendors selling tempting treats that it spreads them throughout several buildings on 36 acres. Smaller tailgate markets organized and staffed by farmers abound in the mountains. Often offering up live music and craft demonstrations, the markets resemble county fairs, with lined tents displaying greens, berries, squash and all manner of potatoes, as well as fresh herbs and cut flowers. Bakers bring vans full of aromatic savory and sweet breads, often brewing up strong coffee to complete the treat. Asheville has some excellent natural foods store, including Earth Fare, a large soup-to-nuts natural supermarket in Westgate Shopping Center, and Greenlife, a classy full-service “green” grocery on Merrimon Avenue. Mainstream groceries such as Ingles and Fresh Market have updated their stores and increased their organic offerings. Many bakeries and restaurants throughout Western North Carolina make it a point of using only organic or naturally raised ingredients. Slow Food Asheville, the local chapter of an international slow food movement, is called a “convivium,” a group that assembles convivially every so often to enjoy the pleasures of food and company. Assembling around food that is as tasty as it is healthy and good for its growers and the planet, the The Western North convivium is comprised of tailgate Carolina Farmers markets, organic growers, food artisans Market is a stateowned farmers and wonderful restaurants. Members market with a wide explore the world of good, healthy food variety of vendors. JON D. BOWMAN PHOTO via tastings, field trips and other celebrations. The mission of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project is to help local farms thrive, to link farmers to markets and supporters, and to build healthy communities through connections to local food. The project brings farmers and consumers together in a mutually beneficial way. Buying local means that you’re eating fresher, better-tasting and healthier food, and that you’re helping local farmers stay in business. By supporting farmers, participants are helping to preserve farmland and are encouraging the use of environmentally friendly agricultural practices. Green describes more than just the area’s approach to healthful eating. It also describes the leading trend in homebuilding today. And in “green building,” Western North Carolina is a leader. The Western North Carolina Green Building Council espoused sustainable building practices more than a decade before they became common in much of the rest of the country. Educating and organizing the regional building industry since 2001, the council has been a rich source of information for the public and professional builders. Many of those houses are certified by the NC HealthyBuilt Homes Program, which requires residential builders and developers to utilize sustainable, high-performance building strategies to make homes comfortable, healthy and affordable. HealthyBuilt homes use less water and energy, protect the land on which they’re built and reduce waste by being as recyclable as possible. Many even generate their own power, selling the excess back to the power company. State and federal tax credits make investing in many of these efficient energy systems

more affordable, and having those systems helps homes achieve Energy Star status. To earn the designation, homes must be at least 15 percent more efficient than the standard built to the 2004 International Residential Code. They also must include energy-saving features that typically make them 20 to 30 percent more efficient than standard homes. Such features may include insulation made from recycled materials, floors made from locally sourced wood and windows that let in light but keep out heat and cold. Many homes are LEED certified. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally-recognized green building certification system that helps homeowners design, build, operate and

maintain their homes in ways that save money and decrease their impact on the earth. Building in existing neighborhoods, having dual-flush toilets, installing energy-efficient appliances and providing the best–possible quality of indoor air are all ways to achieve LEED status. Blue Ridge Forever is an organized effort spearheaded by 12 land conservation organizations to protect the mountain land and waterways of the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Already it has gotten 50,000 acres under state, national or conservation trust protection. Sustainability means so much to Asheville that its city government has an office whose sole duty is to come up with ways that city departments can be “green.” Asheville City

Farmers markets

> Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market

> Asheville City Market – Downtown

Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. 161 S. Charlotte St., Asheville 828-348-0340 | asapconnections.org/citymarket.html > Asheville City Market – South

Wednesdays, 2-8 p.m. Town Square Blvd., Biltmore Park Town Square, Asheville 828-348-0340 | asapconnections.org/citymarket.html

Wednesdays & Sundays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. 250 Pigeon St., Waynesville 828-627-1058 | waynesvillefarmersmarket.com

> Black Mountain Tailgate Market

Saturdays 9 a.m.-12 p.m. May-October 130 Montreat Road, Black Mountain 828-669-8722 | blackmountaintailgatemarket.org > Canton Tailgate Market

Tuesdays 7 a.m.-12 p.m., Thursdays 4-7 p.m., Saturdays 7 a.m.-12 p.m. 58 Park St., Canton 828-235-2760 | cantonnc.com > Columbus Tailgate Market

Saturdays, 8-11:30 a.m. Courthouse Street, Columbus 828-894-2281 | polkcountyfarms.org > Greenlife Sunday Market

Sundays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 70 Merrimon Ave., Asheville 828-254-5440 | wholefoods.com/stores/asheville

Council has adopted a resolution to reduce the municipal carbon footprint 8 percent by the year 2050. City-funded buildings fall under a green building ordinance, and all new buildings must be LEED certified. The Asheville Independent Restaurant Association has a “green team” that shows other restaurants how to save energy and reduce waste. Its work has led to a far higher percentage of restaurants in Asheville being certified by the Green Restaurant Association than are certified in Chicago, Los Angeles or New York City.

Asheville City Council has adopted a resolution to reduce the municipal carbon footprint 8 percent by the year 2050.

> Henderson County Curb Market

Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays,8 a.m.-2 p.m. 221 N. Church St. and 2nd Avenue, Hendersonville 828-692-8012 | curbmarket.com > Henderson County Tailgate Market

Saturdays 7 a.m.-12 p.m. 100 N. King St., Hendersonville 828-693-7265

> Big Ivy Tailgate Market

Saturdays 9 a.m.-12 p.m. 1679 Barnardsville Highway, Barnardsville 828-626-3101 buyappalachian.org/listing/big-ivy-tailgate-market

SUSTAINABILITY

> Jackson County Farmers Market

Saturdays 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Railroad Avenue, Sylva 828-631-3033 > Madison County Farmers & Artisans Market

Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Corner of N.C. 213 & Park Street, Mars Hill marshillmarket.org > Montford Farmers Market

Wednesdays, 2-6 p.m. 36 Montford Ave., Asheville facebook.com/pages/Montford-FarmersMarket/210375855670483

> Sundays on the Island

Sundays, 12-4 p.m. Blanahasset Island, Marshall > Transylvania Tailgate Market

Saturdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Corner of Johnson & Jordan Streets, Brevard 828-877-3796 farmersmarketonline.com/fm/ TransylvaniaTailgateMarket.htm > Tryon Tailgate Market

Thursdays, 4-6:30 p.m. McCowan Street, Tryon 828-894-2281 | polkcountyfarms.org > Waynesville Tailgate Market

Wednesdays & Saturdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. 171 Legion Drive, Waynesville 828-648-6323 | downtownwaynesville.com > Weaverville Tailgate Market

Wednesdays, 2:30-6:30 p.m. 60 Lakeshore Drive, Weaverville weavervilletailgate.org

> North Asheville Tailgate Market

Saturdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. UNCA campus, Asheville northashevilletailgatemarket.org > Riceville Tailgate Market

Fridays, 4-7 p.m. 954 Tunnel Road, Asheville 973-943-8506

> Wednesday Co-op Tailgate Market

Wednesday, 2-6 p.m. 70 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville 828-255-7650 facebook.com/pages/Wednesday-Co-op-TailgateMarket/155698901169392

Welcome Beverly-Hanks & ASSOCIATES

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A traveling tradition Inns, B&Bs and resorts welcome visitors to the mountains

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isitors to the Asheville area are lucky — they have a host of hospitality choices, from inexpensive motels by the highways to elegant inns large and small. Travelers, many tempted to stay, have been attracted to Asheville and the surrounding Smoky Mountains for more than 200 years. Western North Carolina’s natural beauty, its healthful climate and its cooler temperatures drew Low Country rice planters up from Charleston, S.C., just after the American Revolution. Those same attributes now attract people from all over the world, many of whom relish the opportunity to stay in an inn built about the time their great-grandparents were born. Perhaps the most famous inn of all is the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa. The centuryold hotel, with enormous fireplaces at either end of its cavernous lobby, is one of the world’s largest repositories of Arts & Crafts furniture and fixtures. Built from tons of granite pulled nearby by crews of men and mules, the inn now has a $42 million

subterranean spa that Travel + Leisure’s magazine included among its 25 best hotel spas in the United States and Canada in 2011. On Lake Toxaway, about an hour’s drive from Asheville, is The Greystone Inn, a resort on the largest private lake in North Carolina. Guests can enjoy its spa, try their hand at croquet on the inn’s championship courts or play golf on a Kris Spence-designed course. Every day that the weather is good, the inn sends guests out on its 26-passenger mahogany boat for a complimentary champagne cruise. The 1891 Cedar Crest Inn in Asheville is one of the premier inns in the region. Built by William E. Breese, a Confederate officer and bank founder, the Victorian inn is full of highly polished oak and walnut, much of it placed (so the story goes) by the same craftsman that George Vanderbilt used to build his mansion. The Asheville area abounds in historic bed and breakfast inns, many of them concentrated in the city’s Montford neighborhood just outside of downtown. Residents and visitors working up an appetite in a pre-supper stroll walk past the Beaufort House Inn, 1900 Inn on Montford, Applewood Manor Inn, and Carolina Bed and Breakfast (built by Biltmore House architect Richard Sharp Smith).

The Beaufort House (top right) and the Swag (right) are two of the dozens of inns and bed and breakfasts that cater to travelers visiting WNC. The world-famous Grove Park Inn (below) has hosted presidents and celebrities for nearly a century. PHOTO COURTESY OF BEAUFORT HOUSE JUMPING ROCKS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO • PHOTO COURTESY OF GROVE PARK INN

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Farther away (but not far) in Asheville are the elegant Princess Anne Hotel and the Chestnut Street Inn on Chestnut Hill, as well as the Albemarle Inn in Grove Park. In Candler, there’s the Honey Hill Inn and Cabins; in Waynesville, there are the Windover Inn Bed & Breakfast, the Swag Country Inn and Inn at Iris Meadows; in Leicester, there’s the Wildberry Lodge Bed & Breakfast. In lovely Hot Springs, guests stay at the Mountain Magnolia Inn and the Duckett House Inn and Farm. In Weaverville, lovely stays are had at the Inn on Main Street and Dry Ridge Inn. And in between each and every one of these beautiful inns, there are dozens more, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to pamper you during your stay here.

Come Home To The Fitzgerald™ at Grove Park Offering two- and three-bedroom luxury condominiums, The Fitzgerald is the premier address in Asheville, NC. Only at The Fitzgerald will ownership and membership reward you with the legendary lifestyle of The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa.® Indulge yourself at its nationally-acclaimed Spa. Play in the shadow of heroes on The Donald Ross Golf Course. Dine on tantalizing cuisine. And delight in genuine hospitality perfected over the past century. We invite you to tour our model residence, take in the inspiring views and envision how grand life can be at The Fitzgerald.

Luxury Condominiums from just over $1 million MODEL OPEN 828.251.1140 TheFitzgerald.info The Fitzgerald is a trademark of and developed by GPI Ventures LLC. This is not intended to be an offer to sell, nor a solicitation of offers to buy real estate by residents of CT, HI, ID, IL, NY, NJ, OR, PA and SC or any jurisdiction where prohibited by law. No offering can be made to residents of New York until an offering plan is filed with the Department of Law of the State of New York. Use of amenities at The Grove Park Inn subject to purchase of membership. Details available at sales office. The Grove Park Inn and The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa are registered trademarks of The Grove Park Inn Resort, Inc. Used with permission. This offer is void where prohibited. Sales and marketing by Beverly-Hanks & Associates. © 2011 GPI Ventures, LLC. Beverly-Hanks & ASSOCIATES

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Hendersonville 400 Beverly-Hanks Centre Hendersonville, NC 28792 800-868-0515 TOLL FREE 828-697-0515

Waynesville 124 Branner Avenue Waynesville, NC 28786 800-849-8024 TOLL FREE 828-452-5809

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820 Merrimon Avenue Asheville, NC 28804 800-277-2511 TOLL FREE 828-251-1800

One Town Square Blvd. Suite 140 Asheville, NC 28803 800-868-8999 TOLL FREE 828-684-8999

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300 Executive Park Asheville, NC 28801 800-868-7221 TOLL FREE 828-254-7221

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109 Arcade St. Lake Lure, NC 28746 828-625-8846

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Asheville W

ith a population of 75,000, Asheville is the largest city in Western North Carolina and serves as the area’s economic and cultural nerve center in many ways. Talk about your A-list cities: Asheville is amassing accolades on many fronts. Billed as a place where “altitude affects attitude,” Asheville is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s been renowned as a place to retreat and take in natural wonders since the 1800s, and in recent decades, its once-dormant downtown has exploded with commerce and entertainments. Stories about Asheville’s quality of life

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have become a staple of national media outlets. In 2007, the city topped RelocateAmerica.com’s list of the 100 best places to live. In 2009, U.S. News & World Report named Asheville one of “America’s best affordable places to retire.” And in an August 2011 report, Good Morning America pegged Asheville as one of the “10 most beautiful places in America.” Part of that beauty springs from the mountain setting, and part from the architecture. Asheville’s downtown is home to scores of historic buildings, many of which are noted for their art deco accents.

Nearby is the Biltmore Estate, site of the Biltmore Mansion, one of the largest private residences ever built. Completed in 1895, today the 250-room, French renaissance-style house and the 8,000-acre grounds are open to guests for tours, dinners, concerts and outdoor activities. The gardens, stables, restaurants, winery and hotel all help make this North Carolina’s top tourism destination, with more than a million people now visiting each year. Asheville is an arts mecca. In both 2010 and 2011, the readers of AmericanStyle magazine voted it the “top small-city arts destination” in the country. Downtown is

BUNCOMBE COUNTY full of galleries and shops displaying all manner of arts (as is the Biltmore Village area, just south of downtown), from traditional mountain crafts to more modern creations. The Asheville Art Museum, which has helped anchor the arts scene for decades, recently announced major expansion plans. The Black Mountain College Museum & Arts Center, also downtown, hosts exhibits, talks and workshops that celebrate the legacy of the college, a noted avant-garde institution from 1933-1957. A rising jewel of the arts scene is the River Arts District, an ever-expanding complex of studios and galleries near the French Broad River that’s also becoming one of Asheville’s culinary and entertainment hubs. The performing arts also abound in Asheville, with dozens of venues hosting live music, readings, theatre and comedy. The Asheville Civic Center is the largest, with both a 7,600-seat arena and the 2,400-seat Thomas Wolfe

Asheville’s unique shops, galleries and botiques (above) — along with its lively entertainment scene (below and facing page) — have helped it earn a reputation as one of the South’s most desirable cities in which to live. CHRIS CASSELS PHOTO • JERRY NELSON PHOTOS • JOURNEYAMERICA.ORG

With a population of 75,000, Asheville is the largest city in Western North Carolina and serves as the area’s economic and cultural center. Auditorium. The center hosts everything from performances by the Asheville Symphony Orchestra to roller derby bouts starring Asheville’s own Blue Ridge Rollergirls. More intimate performances take place at the Diana Wortham Theatre, a 500-seat venue that’s part of a downtown cultural and educational center, Pack Place, and the recently opened Altamont Theatre, a 120-seat performance spot that boasts some of the best acoustics in the area. The Orange Peel, a renovated 1970sera music club, draws national acts on a nightly basis and was recently named one of the best rock venues in America by

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Rolling Stone. The Grey Eagle, a smaller but still substantial establishment in the River Arts District, also brings in top talents from around the region and the country. And on just about any given night, a dozen or more smaller bars and clubs feature live music of various kinds. There’s also a burgeoning comedy scene, with both amateur and professional stand-up comics performing several times a weeks at various venues. The annual Laugh Your Asheville Off, held in in July, is the biggest comedy festival in the Southeast. Some of the area’s biggest art events take place in Asheville. In July and October, the Civic Center is home to the four-day Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, which has taken place for more than 60 years. At the event, more than 200 local and regional craftspeople

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Entertainment venues like the Orange Peel Social Aid and Pleasure Club is one of the nation’s top live entertainment venues. MARGARET HESTER PHOTO

fill the center, offering their creations of clay, fiber, glass, leather, metal, mixed media, natural materials, paper, wood and jewelry. A newer event, The Big Crafty, has exploded in popularity in recent years. Held in July and December at Pack Place, it’s a kind of community bazaar, with quirky handmade crafts, local food and beer, and music. Asheville’s signature festival is Bele Chere, held downtown every summer since 1979. Held the last weekend in July, the festival draws hundreds of thousands of visitors for a wide variety of arts, music, food, drink, vendors, performances and children’s activities. For those who find the festival too big for their liking, there’s a

smaller but still-vibrant event in September, the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival, a family-friendly celebration the funkier side of Asheville’s underground arts and music. Every April since 2009, the downtown has hosted HATCH Asheville, a creative arts and mentoring festival that brings in luminaries from around the world to discuss and showcase work in seven disciplines: architecture, design/technology, fashion, film, journalism, music and photography. In 2010, Asheville added another festival that’s putting the city on the musical map. Moogfest, held at the end of October, is a three-day affair that celebrates the legacy of electronicinstrument inventor Bob Moog, who lived out his final decades in Asheville. In 2011, the festival featured more than 70

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BILL RUSS PHOTO • VISITNC.COM

America’s Favorite Journey The Blue Ridge Parkway unravels gracefully across the landscape, at times suspended from high cliffs and etched into rocky crags, then deftly shifting gears to skim over hayfields and past log cabins bound by split-rail fences. The road seems unfazed by mountain topography. The Parkway moves so harmoniously through the scenery and lays so gently on the terrain, it seems possible that perhaps the Parkway was there first, or at the very least born at the same time as the mountains themselves. “I can’t image a more creative job than locating that Blue Ridge Parkway, because you worked with a 10-league canvas and a brush of a comet’s tail,” said Stanley Abbott, the chief landscape architect of the Parkway during its construction in the 1930s. The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway celebrated its official 75th anniversary in 2010. It is a unique unit of the National Park Service, a scenic roadway through the rural mountain area of Western North Carolina and Virginia. It both moves people from place to place and also binds the region together. The task facing early Parkway designers was enormous, with little more than vague parameters of where to put the Parkway. Blazing a scenic road through high and rugged mountain passes in the 1930s was an engineering and artistic feat. It also pushed the boundaries of competing American ideals.

musical acts at half a dozen local venues. Of course, traditional music also gets its due in Asheville. On Saturday nights throughout the summer, thousands of mountain-music fans gather for the Shindig on the Green. The outdoor event was founded back in 1930, as the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, by legendary Appalachian song collector and folk historian Bascom Lamar Lunsford. Over the decades, the event has changed remarkably little: It’s still one of the best ways to take in mountain music and dance performed by the young, old and everyone in between. Asheville also has a vibrant literary

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The country was in the midst of a burgeoning national park movement, and many in the general public had already accepted a popular concept of preserving America’s grand landscapes. Meanwhile, a love affair with the automobile had likewise gripped the country. These two notions gave rise to the Parkway concept. Yet merging the two was not easy. “A road and a park are very different things,” said Ian Firth, a historical expert on Parkway design and professor emeritus in the College of Environment and Design at the University of Georgia. “Roads are meant to bring progress and development. A park is 180 degrees different. It is where you preserve something from progress and from development.” Abbott, just 26 years old when he was hired as chief landscape architect for the Parkway, possessed both the skill and instinct to capture the Appalachian countryside and its sweeping mountain vistas from behind the windshield of an automobile. He often likened his approach to that of a cinematographer, training his camera on one frame after the next and eventually producing a 469-mile masterpiece. While the Parkway’s design is often compared to art, Abbott and his colleagues applied a mathematical formula to achieve the serpentine line. Abbott was a master of the spiral curve, a highly engineered and deftly calculated arc that eases cars gently into a curve and exits them smoothly. The turning radius broadens as you move through the curve, much like a spiral expands as it moves outward from the center. The Parkway owes its sweeping nature to the equation, which avoids the unpleasant centripetal force of standard curves. Abbott deployed another geometric tool called the reverse curve, essentially two back-to-back spiral curves in opposite directions. Drivers barely exit one turn before they slalom into the next one. The reverse curve creates a rhythmic experience, as if swaying back and forth through the mountains. Not only do they achieve a rhythmic motion, but they aim the car’s windshield toward the views, whether it’s a mountain vista on the outside curve or a rhododendron-capped boulder after rounding the bend. While the Parkway often changes, the grade is gentle, another area of careful calculation. The notion of Abbott penning the Parkway’s design in one fell swoop is far from the truth. Abbott plugged away dutifully from 1935 to 1944 until he was called into service for WWII. By then, only two-thirds of the road had been completed. Construction resumed immediately after the war and continued in sections until 1967. The final missing link around Grandfather Mountain wasn’t finished until 1987.

The author Thomas Wolfe grew up in Asheville, and his boyhood home is one of the city’s most visited sites. THOMAS WOLFE MEMORIAL PHOTO

culture that springs from deep roots. The great American novelist Thomas Wolfe was born and raised here, and other noted writers of his era, including O. Henry and F. Scott Fitzgerald, did some of their best work while staying in Asheville. The Thomas Wolfe Memorial, a state historic site in Wolfe’s restored childhood home, hosts tours, readings and other events to celebrate his rich body of literature. In recent years, Asheville has firmed up its reputation as a culinary center with a sizable and rapidly evolving food scene. They city has some 250 independent restaurants and 12 farmers markets.

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Livibility.com recently named Asheville one of the country’s top-10 “surprisingly vibrant food cities,” and the Huffington Post listed it among the top “undiscovered local food cities.” The best of the city’s culinary offerings is celebrated at events like the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association’s Taste of Asheville, an annual gala featuring cuisine and spirits from dozens of area eateries, wineries and breweries. Asheville has also emerged as a center of local, specialized food production, thanks in part to Blue Ridge Food Ventures, an 11,000-square-foot kitchen that’s part of Asheville-Buncombe Technical College, which is home to a renowned culinaryeducation program. With its cooking and food storage capacity, along with classes and marketing assistance, BRFV has helped scores of food entrepreneurs find a recipe for success. If all that eating makes you thirsty, Asheville has the solution for that as well. The Biltmore Estate’s Biltmore Winery is one of the largest in the area, and features both tours of the vineyards and an expansive tasting room. And then there’s the local craft

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beer scene, which might be unparalleled. There are a whopping 10 craft breweries in Buncombe County, and their output is lauded by beer enthusiasts. In 2009, Imbibe magazine’s readers voted Asheville the “best craft beer city in America,” and for the last three years running, Asheville has won a national online poll for the coveted title of “Beer City USA.” Outdoors enthusiasts find no shortage of activities in Asheville, whether its hiking, biking and climbing in nearby mountains, paddling and fishing on the French Broad River and local lakes, careening through the trees on a zip line, or golfing at one of the area’s renowned courses. Asheville is such a outdoors destination that in

Downtown Asheville (above) offers myriad dining options, and during the warm months outdoor eating is popular. Biltmore House (below) is the historic home of George W. Vanderbilt. The estate offers mountain biking and paved bike paths that follow the French Broad River to the Lagoon. PHOTO COURTESY OF ASHEVILLE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (ABOVE) • PHOTO COURTESY OF BILTMORE (BELOW)

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Looking Glass Rock is one of the well-known geologic features that can be seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway just outside of Asheville. JOHN FLETCHER PHOTO COURTESY OF ASHEVILLE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

2007 Outside magazine named it “best Southern town” for outdoor adventures. And of course, no survey of Asheville’s outdoor offerings would be complete without a mention of the area’s stunning leaf season. TripAdvisor.com recently

named Asheville the best place in the nation to view fall foliage. Asheville has placed great emphasis on preserving the natural environment, and the city’s government has instituted substantial greenways and bikeways programs. Science and education loom large in the community. The University of North Carolina at Asheville’s 3,600 students participate in such projects as the local hub of the statewide Renaissance Computing Institute, or RENCI. RENCI’s mission is to “bring the latest cyber tools and technologies to bear on pressing problems.” That mission is greatly advanced by academic collaborations with what might be called Asheville’s “climate community.” In fact, the city is home to the federal government’s National Climatic Data Center, making it the nation’s de facto headquarters for climate and weather

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BUNCOMBE COUNTY

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n Arden and Mills River, there’s lots of room to roam — and you don’t have to go far to experience some of the finest facets of mountain life. Arden is an unincorporated community in south Buncombe County. It’s a quick jump off of Interstate 26, with Asheville 15 minutes to the north and Hendersonville 15 minutes to the south. It’s just a few miles from the Asheville Regional Airport and right next door to some of the best spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The community is bordered to the east by the French Broad River and just down the road from the North Carolina Arboretum. An extraordinary public garden that adjoins the Parkway, the 434acre Arboretum has 65 acres of cultivated gardens and 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, hosts one of the most unique bonsai collections in the country, and stages a steady stream of exhibits on subjects ranging from mountain quilts to rare plants. Also nearby is Bent Creek Research and Demonstration Forest, a federal facility that’s part of the Pisgah National Forest, and the Lake Powatan Recreational Area, which together offer dozens of mountain trails and lakeside camping sites. A favorite Arden locale for kids is Jake Rusher Park, a huge public park with playgrounds and a walking area. One of the play areas includes several castle-like structures, so some locals call the facility “Castle Park.”

shops, a movie theater, a bookstore, a hotel and more. Another nearby community, Skyland, is home to scores of additional eateries and shops and more recreation facilities. The county-run Zeugner Center has a heated indoor pool, measuring 35-by-75 feet, that hosts water exercise classes and open swim times for the public. Another county-run facility, Lake Julian Park, is popular among local families. The 300-acre lake and surrounding park offers picnicking spots, boating, fishing and a playground. The lake has an abundance of fish, including bass, brim, catfish, crappie and tilapia. Anglers can fish from the shore and, for a small fee, from privately owned or rented boats. The park also rents paddle boats and canoes, and provides free use of a pontoon boat for people with disabilities, senior citizens and student groups. On the shore, there’s a sand volleyball court and horseshow pits. The park is open yearround, though the hours vary with the seasons. In addition to the regular offerings, Lake Julian is center stage for special annual events, including fireworks displays on July 4, The North Carolina Arboretum’s gardens are worth a visit any time of year, fishing tournaments and the and the adjoining Bent Creek Recreation Area has miles of trails for hiking Festival of Lights. and biking. PHOTO COURTESY OF N.C. ARBORETUM • MICHAEL OPPENHEIM PHOTO

One of Arden’s most impressive historic structures is the Blake House Inn Bed & Breakfast, which was built as a summer retreat in 1847 by the son of a Charleston plantation owner. The house is a rare example of Italianate architecture with Gothic Revival influences. It has been restored and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2010. Across the French Broad River from Arden is Biltmore Park Town Square, a mixed-use development that’s one of the Biltmore Company’s newest ventures. The grounds include hundreds of apartments, condos, offices and townhomes, and a dynamic range of businesses including restaurants, spas, health clubs, specialty

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Weaverville & Barnardsville T

wo communities in north/central Buncombe County offer laid-back living opportunities a short distance from the hustle and bustle of Asheville. Weaverville, population 3,200, has had a mini growth spurt in recent years. The town is situated in the Reems Creek Valley, adjacent to Interstate 26 and just five miles north of Asheville, where many Weaverville residents work. The town has its own economic base, however, with everything from small independent eateries (like two local favorites on Main Street, Blue Mountain Pizza and Well-Bred Bakery & Café) to large-scale manufacturers (like Arvato Digital Services, one of the biggest compact disc producers in the country). Weaverville has earned a reputation for keeping its neighborhoods clean and green. It’s garnered the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA certification every year since 1990, and in 2009 the foundation named it the top “Tree City” in the state. The town maintains Lake Louise Park, a hub of local recreation. The small lake is surrounded by picnic tables and shelters, outdoor grills, a playground and a walking trail, making it a perfect spot for family

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Just a few miles from Asheville, Weaverville has created a sense of community all its own with various community events and a downtown featuring local favorites such as Well-Bred Bakery & Café. MARGARET HESTER PHOTOS

and community events, exercise and romantic strolls. From Weaverville, it’s just a 15-minute drive to the scenic roads and trails of the Blue Ridge Parkway. And the town is home to Reems Creek Golf Course, a semiprivate course designed in part by Hawtree & Sons, British architects who specialize in

crafting classic Scottish-style links. Weaverville prides itself on a tradition of neighborliness, offering residents ample opportunities to get to know each other, be it in a park, at a local pub or sporting event, or at the Weaverville Downtown Go Around, a casual monthly event that’s one part meet-and-greet, one part walking tour. A key part of Weaverville’s recent growth has been in its bustling art scene. Local galleries and studios showcase the work of jewelers, painters, potters, glass artists, sculptors and fiber artists. Two main local events celebrate the town’s artistic abundance: In September, there’s Art in Autumn, which fills Main Street with arts and crafts. And twice a year, in May and October, there’s the Weaverville Art Safari, a free, self-guided studio tour featuring faceto-face encounters with dozens of area artists and craftspeople. One of Weaverville’s main attractions is the Vance Birthplace, a state historic site. There you can visit the restored childhood homestead of Zebulon Baird Vance, a storied North Carolina leader who was the state’s Civil War governor and also served in the state legislature and the U.S. Congress. The property, in a serene part of Reems Creek Valley, hosts regular tours, re-

BUNCOMBE COUNTY amidst rolling hills, pastures and mountain farms. Like Weaverville, it’s home to both folks who enjoy a relaxed environment and a substantial number of professional artists. Barnardsville was once a town, but the residents decided to go unincorporated in 1970. As it shed its municipal The home of Zebulon Baird Vance in Weaverville is a popular state historic site. government, it PHOTO COURTESY OF ZEBULON VANCE BIRTHPLACE found other ways to build community connections. enactments and educational presentations. A local association coalesced and The Vance home, a five-room log cabin, has founded the Big Ivy Community Center, been reconstructed around the original which has evolved into a vibrant hub of chimney and preserved in appropriately activity. The center hosts a library, prerustic, early-19th century style, as have the school and swimming pool, and provides six original log outbuildings. space for an array of gatherings, events and Ten miles northeast of Weaverville is the services, including a pre-school, after-school bucolic community of Barnardsville, set

programs, a community library, a book club, senior lunches, bingo bouts, computer classes, and yoga and zumba sessions. The space is also available for rent, and is used for workshops, reunions, birthday parties, weddings and other special events. Every October, the center hosts Mountain Heritage Day, featuring local cuisine, crafts, music and exhibitions on traditional mountain living. The center’s grounds are also home to the Big Ivy Historical Park, which is dedicated to preserving local heritage. The centerpiece of the park is the pre-Civil War cabin of Henry Carson, grandson of the community’s founding family, the Dillinghams. There’s also a replica of a one-room schoolhouse that was built in the 1890s. Barnardsville is in a part of Buncombe that’s full of farms, so fresh, local food is literally a part of the landscape. There are several community-supported agriculture options, and weekly farmer’s markets at the Old Barnardsville Fire Station, so residents often buy their produce from their neighbors.

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Black Mountain Black Mountain’s downtown is both vibrant and quaint, attracting everyone from young families, retirees and hipsters to its retail outlets, coffee shops and restaurants. BLACK MOUNTAIN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PHOTOS

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estled in the Swannanoa Valley, Black Mountain enjoys proximity to nearby mountain vistas, rivers and trails, and has plenty to offer in its own right. The town of almost 8,000 residents has a vibrant but quaint commercial center and is noted for its cultural and recreational offerings. It’s a community that breathes with a particular kind of mountain energy, embracing both its natural surroundings

and its tastefully configured, small-town urban core. Part of Black Mountain’s vitality can be attributed to its draw as place to gather, consult and worship. Popular retreats and conference centers include the Blue Ridge Assembly, Christmount, The Cove, Ridgecrest, and the Montreat Conference Center. The last of those centers is located in Montreat, a small village adjoining Black Mountain that is also home to evangelist Billy Graham and a liberal arts school, Montreat College. Downtown Black Mountain features a hearty cluster of independent restaurants and bars, gift stores, craft shops and art galleries, and nearly 50 antique dealers. Town Hardware and General Store, on State Street, offers an inventory of 35,000 items and the quintessential old-timey shopping experience. The town’s historic feel is enhanced at local institutions like the Swannanoa Valley History Museum, located in the former Black Mountain Fire Department building, which was designed by Richard Sharp Smith (project architect for Asheville’s Biltmore mansion) in 1921. Also downtown is the nicely preserved historic train depot, which

BUNCOMBE COUNTY

The Lake Eden Arts Festival draws a crowd twice a year to the former site of the avant-garde Black Mountain College (above). Students at Warren Wilson, located near Black Mountain, help maintain the campus, including the permaculture landscaping outside the EcoDorm (below). EcoDorm is the first building on a college campus to achieve LEED Platinum certification in the category of Existing Buildings. PHOTO COURTESY OF LAKE EDEN ARTS FESTIVAL (ABOVE) • PHOTO COURTESY OF WARREN WILSON COLLEGE (BELOW)

is run as a gift shop and event and display space by a crew of volunteers. To take in one key part of the town’s history — the distinguished run of the avant-garde Black Mountain College, which was located next to Lake Eden from 1933-57 — travel fifteen miles to downtown Asheville and visit the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, which pays homage to the iconoclastic institution with an ongoing roster of exhibits, talks and performances. Outdoor recreation is one of Black Mountain’s hallmarks. Nearby fishing holes abound, and just north of town, the 10-acre Lake Tomahawk and its bank-side walkways are a favorite spot for a stroll, fishing off the peer, or a non-motorized boat ride. Several local summer camps are some of the most long-established in the area. The Black Mountain Golf Course, which is run by the town, has a special claim to fame: One of its 18 holes is a whopping 747-yard Par 6. And just a few miles away is the Cliffs at High Carolina, a wellness-focused high-end communit. And the town hosts numerous footraces, bike rides and other athletic contests on a regular basis. Unique festivals and gatherings take place in Black Mountain throughout the year. The last Saturday morning of each month, for example, Town Square hosts CRUZ-N, a casual gathering of classic car, truck and motorcycle enthusiasts. The Black Mountain Arts and Crafts Show takes place each June, and on a midAugust weekend, the town stages the annual Sourwood Festival, a street fair that brings tens of thousands of visitors for a celebration featuring mountain handicrafts and art, rides and games, traditional foods, music and dancing. Several local institutions, including Montreat College and nearby Warren Wilson College, offer frequent concerts, theatre productions and dances. Twice a year, in May and October, nearby Lake Eden and its environs is home base for the wildly popular Lake Eden Arts Festival, featuring scores of music, dance and performance groups from the around the world. Visitors to LEAF, which often sells out early, can camp on the festival grounds or opt for day passes.

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Waynesville & Maggie Valley H

igh peaks surround the town of Waynesville, once billed as Gateway to the Smokies and now the county seat of Haywood County. These ridges bring snow in the winter and cooler temperatures in the summer, and Haywood boasts the highest average elevation of any county east of the Rockies. The county has 18 mountains that are 6,000 feet or higher. Waynesville and its quaint, historic Main Street are just part of what makes Haywood a unique mountain community. It also includes Maggie Valley, a small town long popular to visitors, and Canton, a historic industrial town that takes pride in its blue-collar roots. Where to Retire magazine named Waynesville one of its 100 Best Places to

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Retire, calling it the best mountain town and saying it had the best main street. It also referred to Waynesville as a “low-cost Eden.” The town’s proximity to Asheville offers residents the best of a larger city while still holding on to its small-town amenities. Early doctors prescribed visits to the area surrounding Waynesville for patients suffering from respiratory ailments — not an unpleasant prescription by any means — and hotels once welcomed those suffering from tuberculosis. Along with these health-conscience tourists, the wealthy flocked from Charleston and Atlanta by train in the summer to escape the heat, with two trains a day unloading vacationers at the old train depot in what is now the Frog Level area. A horse and buggy would take visitors and their luggage three

blocks to Main Street, which was lined with hotels and boarding houses. The recently restored train district in Frog Level has gained recognition as a National Historic District and is now home to a collection of small galleries, a coffee roastery, and a micro-brewery. Downtown is a pedestrian’s dream with much to choose from including working art studios, fine restaurants, pubs, a local bookstore, another coffee roastery, cigar store, gift shops, a bakery and more. The first Friday of each month is Art After Dark, a gallery stroll with meet-the-artist events that is almost like a street party due to the number of people who show up. There are also the popular Mountain Street Dances on several Friday nights during the summer beginning at 6:30 p.m.

HAYWOOD COUNTY in front of the Haywood County Historic Courthouse, a fun, free event where you can listen to live music and take part in the traditional dancing. No worries for those new to the art form as the caller takes his time and walks everyone through the steps. Waynesville is also one of those mountain towns that provides a great jumping off point for a mountain vacation. It’s close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Pisgah National Forest, mountain biking trails and whitewater rafting rivers Just outside of Waynesville is Cold Mountain, the peak that Charles Frazier used to name his acclaimed novel that also became the title of the subsequent movie. Hiking the mountain requires a map and an entire day, but you can view it by following U.S. 276 out of Waynesville until you hit the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Cold Mountain overlook is right at the U.S. 276-Blue Ridge Parkway intersection. This Historic Courthouse in Waynesville was built in the neoclassical style during the Depression using the same stone that was used for the Washington Monument in D.C. Its lawn, with large trees and benches, makes a great resting place. On the west side of Waynesville is Hazelwood Village, which used to be home to up to four mills that provided jobs for thousands of workers. The town merged with Waynesville but has maintained its own identity and evolved into a revitalized retail district, including pottery studios, a coffee roastery, a gourmet restaurant, and a business that makes homemade soaps and lotions (which make great gifts). Hazelwood also is home to the Folkmoot Friendship Center, which serves as the headquarters for the two-week international dance and music festival that has been held for 28 years every July. Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center is home to the World Methodist Conference and the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church. It features a public, 2.5mile paved walking/jogging path around the lake. There are ducks, geese and swans to feed, benches, bridges, a dam, a butterfly garden and a rose walk along the path. In addition to lodging accommodations, a couple of good restaurants and the World Methodist Museum also are on the grounds,

Downtown Waynesville hosts many street festivals (opposite page) in its beautiful downtown. Visitor and locals alike enjoy riding the Blue Ridge Parkway (above) or visiting Lake Junaluska (below) and its popular walking trail. ASHLEY T EVANS PHOTO • PHOTO COURTESY OF HAYWOOD COUNTY TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY • ASHLEY T. EVANS PHOTO

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Higher elevations When you include the mountains that are in the national forest and those that became part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Haywood County can make a claim to having the highest average elevation east of the Rockies. Six-thousandfoot mountains are the monsters of Appalachia, and Haywood has 18 of them. The county also has another unique claim to fame — all the waterways in the county have their headwaters there. No rivers flow in. Mount Guyot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6621’ Richland Balsam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6410’ Old Black . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6370’ Waterrock Knob . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6292’ Luftee Knob . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6234’ Black Balsam Knob . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6214’ Big Cataloochee Mountain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6155’ Mount Hardy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6110’ Reinhart Knob . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6095’ Plott Balsam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6088’ Tennent Mountain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6060’ Green Knob . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6056’ Grassy Cove Top . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6055’ Sam Knob . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6055’ Cold Mountain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6030’ Shining Rock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6010’ Balsam Corner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6000’ Big Butt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6000’

along with a native plant garden and meditation labyrinth. Paddleboats can be rented on the lake. There is also a pool and playground. The lake is just off U.S. 19 north of Waynesville and east of Maggie Valley. Waynesville is also home to the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts, which is located in the historic Shelton House and features 19th century crafts, including pottery, quilts, basket and woodworking. Waynesville also has plenty of recreational opportunities for families at its greenway, playground and recreation center. The full-sized recreation/fitness center features an indoor pool and water park. It also includes a game room with video games and ping pong table. A disc golf course starts on its grounds. Just 10 miles outside of Waynesville is Maggie Valley, a quaint mountain delight that sprang up to cater to visitors and still rolls out the welcome mat to traveling tourists. The town is an epicenter of oldtime mountain fun, from family

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The high mountain peaks of Haywood County are often rime-covered during winter months. ASHLEY T. EVANS PHOTO

restaurants and fine dining to footstomping Appalachian song and dance to putt-putt, elk-spotting and some of the best snow skiing in the South. From spring to autumn, the valley is also packed with motorcyclists from around the country, who come to traverse the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, motor through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and enjoy the camaraderie of other riders who make annual treks to Maggie to visit the Wheels Through Time Museum. The Museum is among the highlights of a visit to Maggie, featuring a world-class collection of historic motorcycles and some cars. Most of the motorcycles are still in running condition. The museum has been featured in dozens of television shows and magazine articles. Maggie herself, the town’s eponymous early resident, became its namesake when

her father realized that the hamlet must be named to have a much-desired post office. After submitting the names of his daughters — Maggie, Cora and Mettie — the postmaster settled on Maggie, and in 1904, a town was born. Maggie left the valley for Texas at 17, but her image and namesake live on in the bonneted silhouettes that adorn the town, welcoming visitors to the mountain way of life. A volunteer dressed as Maggie still roams the town’s sidewalks, welcoming visitors and posing for pictures. Speaking of Maggie traditions, don’t miss out on a visit to Joey’s Pancake House. It only serves breakfast, but it’s a hearty meal served up by a staff that knows how to treat their customers. Don’t be put off if there’s a line out the door — which there usually is on weekends — it moves fast and there’s complimentary coffee while you wait. Cataloochee Ski Area features the best skiing in the southern mountains and typically is one of the first ski resorts in the

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concerts, shows, movies and other entertainment events in a beautifully restored historic theater. The theater features a winter music series hosted last year by the Grammy-award winning local bluegrass band Balsam Range. Historic murals also dot the downtown landscape, offering interesting viewing for a stroll down Main Street, while a stop into one of the street’s barber shops or cafes will give you a chance to rub elbows with the locals. The Pigeon River Scenic Walking Trail in the town park covers a mile and a half of the scenic Pigeon River. Benches line the trail for those looking to relax and take in the native flora or feed local wildlife, while a boat ramp is Horseback riding (above) is a popular mountain pastime, and a re-introduced elk herd is thriving in the Cataloochee Valley area available for fishing and of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. PHOTO COURTESY OF HAYWOOD COUNTY TDA • CHARLES JOHNSON PHOTO canoeing. The park also includes tennis courts, a huge outdoor pool and a picnic area East to open. The resort’s with grills. snowmaking abilities are Clyde, a hamlet that lies constantly modernized and between Canton and updated, allowing it to add inches Waynesville, can boast as its of snow to its base every time the own the oldest structure in weather drops below freezing. Haywood County. The Near the ski resort is Shook-Smathers House, Cataloochee Ranch, which has home to the Shook Museum, cabins, horse stables, a grand old was built around 1820, with lodge and restaurant, all atop a additions and renovations 5,000-foot mountain. Those not made for decades producing staying at the ranch are invited the finished product we see to join staff and visitors for today. The home’s attic chapel evening cookouts, and you played host to many storied might even hear some local circuit preachers over the storytelling. years, many of whom have left From Maggie Valley it’s a short their mark in the unique drive to Cataloochee Valley in the collection of signatures that Great Smoky Mountains decorate the chapel’s walls. Canton is a snapshot of a classic mill National Park. Elk again roam free in the The town is also home to ‘The Big Gun,’ town, with many of the unique and valley, thanks to a re-introduction program. a local landmark and war memorial that is beautiful bungalows and buildings once Dusk is the best bet for guaranteed the defining feature of the small built for mill workers and managers still sightings, but please, stay away from the elk. downtown landscape. Another memorial, intact. The downtown district is listed on They have antlers for a reason. made from steel taken from the World the National Register of Historic Places, For true local charm, look no further Trade Center, is slated to open in Clyde and its crown jewel is the Imperial Hotel. than Canton and Clyde, the neighboring in 2011, commemorating the 10th Originally crafted as a stately home, it is towns nestled in eastern Haywood anniversary of the September 11 attacks. currently being renovated to its former County. They are situated around the Clyde was given two of only around 1,000 glory, to include a restaurant celebrating Evergreen paper mill, which started life as piece of steel salvaged from the site to be the town’s history. Blue Ridge Paper Products and has been used in memorials. The restored Colonial Theater features running steadily for more than 100 years.

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H

endersonville, long known for its historic charms, is blooming into the future. The town, population 12,000, is the largest in Henderson County and is the county seat. In recent years, it has revitalized its local business scene and advanced its reputation as a place that offers something for just about everyone. The town’s many tranquil neighborhoods and housing developments all surround a sturdy core — a downtown that’s a unique blend of the past and the present. It’s full of pubs, restaurants, museums, general and specialty stores, and other independent businesses, and welcoming to pedestrians, bikers and cars all at the same time. Few downtowns in the area can boast such a concentration of attractions, especially museums. The Henderson County Heritage Museum is housed in the historic old courthouse, built in 1905. The Mineral and Lapidary Museum, on Main Street, offers geologic highlights from near and far. Also downtown are Hands On!, a free educational museum for children, and

the Historic Hendersonville Train Depot, home of the Apple Valley Model Railroad Club. The club has installed a remarkable scale model railroad that has over 600 feet of track. (And just outside of town is the Western North Carolina Air Museum, the first air museum in the state, which features restored and replica antique and vintage airplanes.) Downtown bustles with special events throughout the year. In the summer, the free Monday Night Street Dances take place, bringing traditional mountain music and dancing. Attendees are welcome to tap their toes as spectators or cut a rug on Main Street. Music on Main Street, a weekly summer concert series on Friday nights, showcases diverse styles of local live music. And again, visitors are free to sit and watch or to join in on the dance area. The biggest event of the year is the North Carolina Apple Festival, held every Labor Day weekend for more than 60 years. A celebration of the county’s major crop, the festival pays tribute to everything the fruit

has to offer, along with other local foods, crafts and entertainment. Hendersonville’s culinary scene has coalesced and evolved of late, with a cornucopia of old and new eateries on the menu, along with wine shops and a brewery. A local food blog, the Carolina Epicurean, recently introduced a popular regular event that takes advantage of the offerings. The Small Plate Crawl takes diners to as many as 20 participating establishments in Hendersonville and nearby Flat Rock. Local foods get another boost at the Henderson County Curb Market, a farmers market held downtown three days a week during warmer months and once a week during winter. The market has a true local focus: vendors must be county natives and all items for sale are required to either be handmade or locally grown. The arts also make a strong showing in and around Hendersonville, with the Arts Council of Henderson County taking the lead. The group manages the D. Samuel Neill Gallery on Main Street, which hosts

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HENDERSON COUNTY

The historic Henderson County Courthouse (opposite page) dominates downtown Hendersonville. The downtown area (above) is a shopper’s paradise, and things get a little crazy during the annual Apple Festival (right). EDGAR WARD PHOTOS

regular exhibits and events, and spearheads local events including Art on Main, a twoday art fair that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009, and the Open Studio Tour, a self-guided tour of local studios and galleries. In addition, the Council recently launched a performing arts series. The Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2011, stages frequent performances and conducts both music education programs and a youth orchestra as well. The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design also makes a major contribution to the local arts scene. Based at a 50-acrea facility in Hendersonville, the center is a project run by the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Its programs include craft and design research and publishing, exhibitions, public art projects, and

conferences that draw artists from across the country. The town of Hendersonville manages a splendid array of local parks, which are integrated into a comprehensive greenways plan. Berkeley Park presently has a baseball park and a large pavilion, and plans are being advanced to develop a nature trail there. Boyd Park has two tennis courts and a unique municipal park feature: a miniature golf course. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park features picnic tables, a walking path and a granite memorial to King. King Memorial Park has a baseball field, a mile-long nature trail and a half-mile walking trail. Lenox Park is another popular picnicking spot, as are Toms Park, which has more than 20 shuffleboard courts, and Sullivan Park, which has basketball courts and a playground. The two-mile-long

Oklawaha Greenway Trail passes through several of the parks. Patton Park is one of the larger facilities. The 19-acre park has two baseball fields, a football and soccer field, basketball, racquetball and tennis courts, pavilions and picnic tables, two gazebos, a playground, a walking trail, an Olympic-size swimming pool and a skate park. When it comes to outdoor recreation, Hendersonville is uniquely situated. It’s close to the Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Forest, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and several mountain lakes and rivers. Just five miles from downtown is Jump Off Rock, a storied scenic overlook. According to local legend, hundreds of years ago, a Cherokee Indian chief and his sweetheart would meet on the rock, until he was called off to battle. She waited at the rock for him to return, but he was killed in combat, so she leapt to her death. Her ghost, the legend goes, appears on moonlit nights. Whatever the truth to the story, today the views remain fantastic, and the trails around Jump Off Rock are popular with hikers. The area’s natural attributes are explored at the Bullington Center, a horticultural education center that’s a partnership of the Henderson County Education Foundation, the local school system and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. The 12acre facility is home to a shade garden, a therapy garden, a native woodland garden, a pumpkin patch, an herb garden and a nature trail, and it hosts regular classes and workshops for children and adults. The Holmes Educational State Forest, eight miles from downtown, offers more opportunities to explore nature in a managed forest setting. There’s a series of trails and several picnic areas, all surrounded by hardwood trees, azaleas, rhododendron and wild flowers. Henderson’s ties to traditional mountain agriculture and culture are on display at Historic Johnson Farm, a former farm and tourist retreat that was established in the late 19th century. The centerpiece of the property is a house built from handmade bricks, the home of a wealthy tobacco farmer. Several outbuildings, including a blacksmith shop, barn and cottage, have also been lovingly preserved. In 1987, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and today the 15-acre site is owned and run by the county school system, and

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provides a unique range of heritage education programs, including field trips, tours, classes on farm animals and guided nature walks. A renovated boarding house is home to the Heritage Weavers & Fiber Artists, a group dedicated to preserving the history of local textile arts. Another historic Hendersonville treasure is the Mountain Farm & Home Museum, which is dedicated to preserving agricultural and domestic equipment, methods and literature related to rural life in 19th century Western North Carolina. The museum offers a trip back in time, and is packed with such relics as a 16-foot water wheel, a local doctor’s buggy, grain reapers and threshing machines, and antique engines, tractors, butter churns and tools. The cornerstone of higher education in Henderson County is Blue Ridge Community College, the main campus of which is just south of Hendersonville. The two-year, comprehensive post-secondary school serves more than 15,000 students a year. The college, which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, offers 95 programs of

The Carl Sandburg Home. NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE PHOTO

study and one of the largest continuing education programs in the state. It has placed special emphasis on technical programs in automotive technology, emergency response, law enforcement, nursing, engineering and machining technology. The Hendersonville Airport is a private airstrip that offers flight training and aircraft rental, storage and maintenance. Hendersonville is neighbored by smaller towns that also have much to offer. Nearby

Flat Rock, once known as “The Little Charleston of the Mountains,” has long been a resort escape for southerners fleeing summer heat. It’s home to the Flat Rock Playhouse, where the many and varied performances draw some 90,000 visitors each year. It’s also where you can visit the Carl Sandburg Home, where the renowned poet and writer lived out his last 22 years. The estate, which Sandburg christened “Connemara,” is a National Historic Site and welcomes the public to view everything from Sandburg’s 10,000-volume library to the goat farm that was lovingly tended by Sandburg and his wife. Etowah, also close by, has become a residential and retirement haven that features some of the finest golf courses in the area.

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Fletcher A

small town that enjoys close proximity to some of Western North Carolina’s biggest attractions, businesses and natural wonders, Fletcher is no longer simply a sleepy stopping point between Asheville and Hendersonville. The town’s motto, fittingly, is “Pride in our past, and faith in our future.” Fletcher is growing at a steady and smooth pace, with its current population of 7,200 more than double what it was a 20 years ago. The town sits on six square miles of relatively flat land, with the Blue Ridge Mountains on the close horizon. Located in north Henderson County, Fletcher is just a quick jaunt away some of the most vibrant and culturally rich cities and towns in the region. Asheville, Black Mountain, Brevard, Flat Rock, Hendersonville, Mills River, Lake Lure and Saluda are all within a 20-mile radius of the town. Fletcher is uniquely positioned for national and international travelers, and a great spot to host visitors from near and far. In addition to ready access to the nearby Interstate 26, residents are just minutes away from Asheville Regional Airport, which offers nonstop flights to almost all major U.S. cities. The airport is going through a growth spurt of its own, adding new routes on a regular basis. In recent years, the town has expanded its health and recreation initiatives, implementing a greenways master plan that makes the community more walkable

Fletcher’s picking in the park is a popular seasonal event (above), as is the town’s annual Easter egg hunt. DONATED PHOTOS

and bikable. At present, there are 4.5 miles of connected trails; the plan envisions expanding the network to some 13 miles. Two local parks offer opportunities for exercise and enjoyment close to home: The 60-acre Fletcher Community Park features playgrounds, picnic areas, walking trails, and baseball and soccer fields, and Kate’s Park, adjacent to the Fletcher Library, has playgrounds, trails and an outdoor grilling area. Community celebrations, from free concerts to parades, take place throughout the year. Many annual highlights are staged in the fall. Pickin’ in the Park, a bluegrass-infused get-together in September, turns Fletcher Community

Park into a center of mountain music, local food and kids’ activities. And in October, Kate’s Park hosts an annual Halloween Carnival that offers safe (if slightly spooky) fun for families. The biggest festival draw of all is the weeklong Western North Carolina Mountain State Fair, held each September at the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher The state-run fair is a counterpart to the annual North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh. In 2011, the fair drew an estimated 175,000 attendees from around the region. The WNC Agricultural Center’s 87acre multiuse facility hosts events year round, including horse and livestock shows, a variety of professional conferences, classic-car events and multiple trade shows. For the past two years, it’s been home to the Asheville Food and Wine Festival, a sizable showcase of the region’s culinary delights co-sponsored by Slow Food Asheville and WNC Magazine. Several times a year, the Ag Center welcomes thousands of arms aficionados to the Land of the Sky Gun and Knife Show, which outgrew its traditional home at the Asheville Civic Center in 2010. In late 2011, the show again expanded significantly, adding 130 new venders (for a total of 450). The upsizing was made possible by the recent completion of the Davis Event Center, a 45,000-square-feet arena that’s outfitted with huge exhibit spaces, several conference rooms and an onsite restaurant. Other new economic opportunity is brewing in Fletcher, as the town, in conjunction with the Fletcher Area Business Association, is developing a “Heart of Fletcher District.” The mixedused district is being tailored to support small retail businesses, professional offices and independent restaurants, and will feature a new Town Hall complex, built in part with a special $5 million communityfacilities loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, Fletcher has long been home to (and close to) major manufacturing and industrial facilities.

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Jackson County J

ackson County, which includes the county seat town of Sylva and the high-altitude village of Cashiers, has some of Western North Carolina’s most spectacular scenery. The county was established in 1851 from parts of Haywood and Macon counties and named after President Andrew Jackson. The Tuckasegee River winds through the county, boasting some of the best trout fishing in the region. In fact, Jackson County is home to the only Flyfishing Trail in the state, and a flyfishing trail map available from the Chamber of Commerce gives directions to some of the best spots to try and hook a prized trout. Jackson is also home to part of the Nantahala National Forest, the largest of the four national forests located in the state. Nantahala is a Cherokee word for “land of the noonday sun,” and the Nantahala Gorge in adjoining Swain County is considered one of the top whitewater rivers in the East. National Geograpic magazine called the river the number one water tourist destination in the country, and it attracts more than 250,000 paddlers a year. The 2013 World Freestyle Kayaking Championships will be held in the gorge at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Sylva has one of the most vibrant downtowns in all of Western North

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through October. Sylva’s tree-lined streetscape, dotted with benches, provides visitors with an afternoon of easy walking. There is even an official 1.2-mile tree walk, featuring 44 of the more than 50 species in Sylva, designated a Tree City USA. The Sylva Garden Club currently maintains the walk, which features a guidebook, map and small signs at the base of each tree indicating its common name. The walk officially begins in the shade of Bicentennial Park near the historic courthouse. Speaking of the Jackson County Courthouse, it is often called the most photographed courthouse in the state. And why not, as it sits atop a knoll accessed by 107 steps. The famous island hole at the High Hampton Inn in Cashiers Those steps are what gives local (top photo) is the scene of thousands of photographs, as is the picturesque Jackson County Courthouse (above). PHOTO COURTESY highway N.C. 107 its name. OF HIGH HAMPTON INN AND COUNTRY CLUB • MARK HASKETT PHOTO Adjacent to the courthouse is a brand new library, historical museum and Carolina. It boasts an assortment of art performance space. What was the most galleries, furniture and clothing stores, beautiful courthouse in the state is now restaurants, a coffee shop, bakery, a considered by some the most beautiful brewery and more. public library in the state. Mill Street — better known locally as Friday Night Live brings music to Sylva Back Street, which is the other half of the and Dillsboro with an ever-changing list of one-way Main Street — is undergoing locations and bands. The popular Art After revitalization. It also provides access to the Dark gallery stroll is held on the first Friday town’s bustling Farmers Market, open of each month. every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, May

JACKSON COUNTY Turning trash to green power The Jackson County Green Energy Park (JCGEP) uses gases from an abandoned landfill to produce power for artisans, showcasing the county’s commitment to green energy and economic development. The JCGEP, located just outside the artisan village of Dillsboro, includes studios (blacksmithing, glass blowing, and pottery), greenhouse space, classroom and conference space, a café, and a retail gallery. Capturing the landfill gas not only ensures free fuel for GEP tenants, but also provides direct, measurable improvements in local air quality. The GEP helps new artisans succeed by acting as a business incubator, offering fully functional studios and free fuel during their three-year residencies. The GEP will open new opportunities for agriculture and greenhouse businesses by greatly reducing associated energy costs. It will also help to increase ecotourism and heritage crafts tourism in the area. Since its opening, the park has landed more than $600,000 in state and federal grants, including $140,000 from the State Energy Office and $120,000 from the N.C. Rural Center. When the park first began tapping its methane reservoirs, GEP The Jackson County Green Energy Park produces Executive Director Tims Muth estienergy for its blacksmithing operations from mated there was a 25-year supply methane gas captured from an old landfill. of gas. PHOTO COURTESY OF SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS N.C. Rep. Phil Haire, D-Sylva, said the park shows how the region is working to implement Gov. Beverly Perdue’s push towards a renewable energy economy using local, state and federal dollars. “In effect, we’re recycling,” Haire said. “You couldn’t do anything with methane for years, and we started this project five years ago and now it’s creating jobs. It’s the first step towards a renewable economy.” Since the grand opening the GEP in October 2006, it has given tours to hundreds of people from all over the world. Visitors have ranged from local youth groups and community members to city planners, state and federal legislators, and visiting international fellows.

The Bridge Park Pavilion is the newest gathering place for events in downtown. The Scotts Creek Bridge conveniently connects the Bridge Park and Poteet Park. Nearby Western Carolina University’s Fine Arts Center and Museum has an excellent permanent collection and visiting exhibits. WCU also is home to the Mountain Heritage Center, which features exhibits, demonstrations and educational programs on mountain society, past and present, from the migration of the Scotch Irish people to basket making traditions. A mysterious collection of Native American petroglyphs known as Judaculla Rock is located on Caney Fork Road off N.C. 107 between Cullowhee and Glenville Lake in Jackson County. In the late 19th century, Cherokee groups were known to have ceremonial assemblies around the rock. Some say the rock is a map of a 1755 battle between the Cherokee and Indian rivals. Archeologists who have perused the stone claim it was carved sometime in the Late Archaic Period about 5,900 to 3,200 years ago when evidence first appears of Native American societies forming mound societies, or towns. The Village of Cashiers likes to boast of its location, perched on the highest plateau in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina. And, there’s no doubt this singularly unique geography is spectacularly beautiful, with hundreds of waterfalls, quiet lakes, stone mountains and rhododendron forests. Cashiers (pronounced CASH-ers) is a true crossroads community, with four roads coming in from each of the cardinal directions serving as the only arteries in or out. At this crossroads is the Village Green, a commons area lined with shops. You’ll find plenty of hikers and rock climbers amongst the permanent residents in the area. Panthertown Valley boasts 6,700 acres of sheer rock, waterfalls, and hiking and biking trails. Cashiers also has excellent golfing and country clubs. High Hampton Inn and Country Club and Fairfield Sapphire Valley are full-service resorts that provide rooms, golfing, dining and other amenities. In the village proper, a walking trail leads shoppers to the many retail shops and restaurants. Whitewater Falls, the tallest waterfall in the east, is 10 miles from Cashiers. The ZacharyTolbert House is an 1840 Greek Revival estate house on the National Register of Historic Places built by one of the founders of Cashiers.

Western Carolina University in Cullowhee is a member of the University of North Carolina system. PHOTO COURTESY OF WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY

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Mars Hill L

ocated in a mostly rural, exceedingly picturesque part of Madison County, Mars Hill is a small town that’s big on mountain traditions. There are 1,800 residents within the town limits, and 11,000 within a 5-mile radius of downtown. Mars Hill sits close to Interstate 26, offering quick access to Asheville, which is 15 miles south. The state’s border with Tennessee is just 11 miles north. The largest local institution, Mars Hill College, contributes much to the character of the town. A private liberal arts school with an enrollment of 1,200 students, the college is affiliated with two Baptist institutions. It was founded in 1856, making it one of the oldest educational facilities in Western North Carolina. The college’s artistic and cultural offerings are considerable. The Rural Life Museum preserves and presents artifacts of traditional Appalachian communities, and the Weizenblatt Art Gallery shares both visiting exhibitions and student and staff works. The 1,800 seat Moore Auditorium hosts frequent concerts and other performances. The Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre, founded in 1975, has become one of the region’s top theater draws. The focus of its work is a summer season of five distinct productions, ranging from musicals to dramas to comedies, along with plays that highlight aspects of mountain heritage. The performances take place in one of the most historic buildings on campus, Owens

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Mars Hill College holds a variety of events that attract members of the greater community. PHOTOS COURTESY OF MADISON COUNTY VISITORS CENTER

Theatre, which also features student- and staff-written productions. Mars Hill’s college’s dance team, the Bailey Mountain Cloggers, has won 18 national championships and helped preserve the practice of traditional mountain dancing. In 2010, Mars Hill College spearheaded a partnership of local groups to promote a unique and overlooked part of the town’s history, the Anderson Rosenwald School, which served the county’s black elementary students from 1930 to 1965. Long in disrepair, the school is now being refurbished as a community center. The college has also developed some renowned athletic programs. Its men’s crosscountry team has won many a title, and in 2011, the cycling team won the NCAA Division II national championship. Its indoor swimming pool is open to the public (for a small fee) during select, regularly scheduled hours each week, and the recently installed Disc Golf Sanctuary is open as well. The course, noted for its natural beauty and sloping design, traverses a mile-and-ahalf circle around part of campus. Mars Hill Recreation Park, which is operated by the town, offers more options for exercise, with tennis courts, a ball field, basketball courts, a playground and a

public outdoor swimming pool that’s open in the summer. And the privately owned, well-stocked Rainbow’s End Trout Pond is a favorite among local anglers. Come winter, nearby Wolf Ridge Ski Resort is open for business. One of North Carolina’s top-rated slopes, Wolf Ridge welcomes visitors of any skill level. The resort recently expanded its operations, and now offers 82 acres of terrain for skiers and snowboarders. The area around Mars Hill is rich with other outdoor opportunities, including nearby stretches of the Appalachian Trail, numerous other trails in the Pisgah National Forest, and the fishing- and paddling-friendly French Broad River. The mountains around Mars Hill are also filled with music. The town’s most famous native was the late Bascom Lamar Lunsford, also known as the “Minstrel of the Appalachians.” Born in 1882, Lunsford was a folklorist and performer who spent decades collecting mountain stories and songs. To celebrate and continue his legacy, each October, Mars Hill College hosts the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival. The event features mountain music concerts, “picking circles” where anyone with a fiddle, guitar or banjo can join in to swap songs, dancing, storytelling and traditional crafting demonstrations. From June through August, the town stages the Mars Hill Music & More Summer Series, a free monthly event that brings folks out for music and dancing. Throughout the year, the Ebbs Chapel Performing Arts Center’s 250-seat theater hosts musical performances ranging from the classical to the traditional. Most commerce in Mars Hill is relatively small-scale, independent and local. The Mars Hill Merchants Coalition helps tout the benefits of shopping locally, which are amply demonstrated at the Madison County Farmers Market. Open Saturdays from April through October, the market features a cornucopia of locally grown fruits and vegetables, along with handmade preserves and mountain crafts.

MADISON COUNTY

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wo small Madison County towns, Marshall and Hot Springs, have made the most of riverside living. Marshall, population 800, is the county seat and sits on the banks of the French Broad River some 20 miles north of Asheville. The area is rich with local history, as it was a key way station on the Buncombe Turnpike, an early trading route that ran from Tennessee though Western North Carolina to South Carolina. Today, Marshall is an enclave of artists that’s in the midst of a renaissance. There are dozens of local galleries and studios, including the epicenter of local arts: Marshall High Studios, a former high school on Blannerhassett Island in the middle of the river that’s connected to downtown by a bridge. The building, which dates to 1925, was renovated and reopened in 2007 as a home for 28 studios. In addition to hosting working artists who specialize in numerous different media, the 28,000square-foot facility has regular classes, exhibitions and hosts performances. Marshall’s Main Street offers other signs of the town’s unique blend of old and the new. There’s a bookstore and numerous cafes, galleries, antique shops and eateries. Hovering above it all is the historic, cupola-domed county courthouse, which was built in 1906 and designed by the famed architect Richard Sharp Smith. One Main Street mainstay is The Depot, an old-timey general store. It’s a great community shopping spot that doubles as a performance venue on Friday nights, when local musicians strike up a soundtrack of traditional bluegrass and country music. Music can also be heard at the town’s regular French Broad Fridays, a series of free outdoor concerts. Several other local institutions keep Marshall’s art scene humming. The Madison County Arts Center, also on Main Street, presents regular exhibitions of both traditional and contemporary art. A couple of blocks away is the French Broad Institute (Of Time & and the River), aka “The FBI,” which was opened in 2007 in a former Methodist church that was built back in 1912. Run by a collective of volunteers, the FBI’s unique mission is “to serve the community of Marshall and surrounding areas by providing a forum for curated collaborations, multidisciplinary performances” and

Marshall & Hot Springs The French Broad River (above) slices through the picturesque town of Marshall, where the historic courthouse occupies a prime spot downtown. PHOTOS COURTESY OF MADISON COUNTY VISITORS CENTER

function as “an investigative think tank for reimagining the relationship between traditional and avant-garde arts, and between the time-based arts and the natural sciences.” Another of Marshall’s unconventional centers is the Prama Institute, a nonprofit holistic retreat just a mile from downtown. Founded in 2005, the institute hosts workshops, seminars, yoga classes, spiritual gatherings and other events, as is available for rent. On the near horizon, it plans to expand into an eco-village with an organic farm. The resort town of Hot Springs is also nestled next to the French Broad. Though its resident population is only 650, the town’s numbers swell with visitors seeking relaxation and recreation. Hot Springs got its name from one of the region’s extraordinary natural features: mineral springs with a temperature of more than 100 degrees. The Hot Springs Resort & Spa maintains indoor and outdoor hot tubs that are fed by the springs, and also offers a full range of massage and body treatments. Broadwing Farm Cabins also features spring-fed tubs. The town itself is quite quaint, with one main drag that’s lined with cafes, coffee shops and gift stores.

Hot Springs’ real outdoor claim to fame, though, is its intimate relationship with the Appalachian Trail. The AT passes right through town. Each April, the town hosts the weekend-long Trailfest, a celebration of all things AT complete with live music, local foods and athletic events. A few weeks after Trailfest, Hot Springs sponsors the annual French Broad River Festival, featuring an impressive roster of musical groups, whitewater and bike races, arts and crafts vendors and a kid’s village. And in September 2011, the town added the French Broad Fall Fest to its calendar, a celebration of craft beer and live music.

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Polk County T

outed as the “First Peak of the Blue Ridge,” Polk County has long welcomed flatlanders to a higher altitude, offering foothills rich with history, culture, crafts, vast natural areas and unique culinary traditions. Elevations in the county range from 300 feet to 3,200 feet. Most of Polk’s 20,000 residents live in or near the county’s three main towns – Columbus, Saluda and Tryon. Columbus, the county seat, is a scenic small town dotted with historic houses and other noted buildings, such as the Polk County Courthouse, which has been preserved in all its 1859 splendor (and modernized a bit, of course). Saluda is nestled in the mountains in the southeastern corner of the county, and in fact its borders stray over into neighboring Henderson County. The town is famous for sitting atop the Saluda Grade, once the steepest railroad grade in the United States. It is also well known for its charming town center, with a main street lined with cafés, restaurants, antique shops, art galleries and historic buildings like the M.A. Pace General Store, a hub of local commerce and community that recently celebrated its 112th birthday. Given its location, from Saluda it’s a quick to trip to other quaint and cultured mountain towns, like Brevard, Flat Rock and Hendersonville. Tryon sits close to the border with South Carolina, and is located in what climate researchers call a “thermal belt.” The result is that the town and its environs are generally free of dew and frost, making it an

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Horse farms beautiful pastures dot the countryside in Polk County (above), which is the birthplace of well-known jazz singer, pianist and civil rights advocate Nina Simone. MELINDA MASSEY YOUNG PHOTOS

ideal area for certain types of agriculture not practiced widely in the mountains. For example, with its three wineries, Polk is a pocket of Southern wine country. Tryon has long been a haven for artists, crafters, musicians and writers. Back in the early 1900s, when Tryon was a small village, artists flocked in from Europe and major U.S. cities like Chicago and New York, establishing an informal creative colony. Today, the town’s art scene still thrives, with numerous studios, galleries, art schools and theaters. The art of toy and craft making was an integral part of the town’s development. Tryon Toy-Makers and Wood-Carvers operated from 1915 to 1940, cranking out

small wooden figurines and toy animals. That’s why, at Tryon’s town center, you’ll find a larger than life replica of “Morris the House,” one of the company’s popular creations. While the company is long gone, crafting businesses still boom in Tryon, and the recently opened Tryon Toy-Maker’s House Museum pays tribute to the town’s handmade traditions. Tryon has also taken recent steps to celebrate the legacy of its most famous native, the late jazz and soul great Nina Simone, who was born here in 1933. The heart of downtown features Nina Simone Plaza, home to a striking bronze sculpture, dedicated in 2010, of Simone playing piano keys suspended in midair. Local volunteers

POLK COUNTY are striving to preserve Simone’s childhood home, and in the fall of 2012, a group of her fans plans to stage the first annual Nina Simone International Music Festival. The Lanier Library, founded in 1905, which today is one of the country’s few private member-funded libraries still in existence, highlights Tryon’s lively literary history. Polk County is home to dozens of parks and recreation areas. In Saluda, the Green

River Cove Recreation Area offers access points for fishing, tubing, kayaking, canoeing and hiking. Tryon’s 50-acre public park, Harmon Field, sits next to the Pacolet River and features wading areas, a playground, tennis courts, a walking track, sports fields and horse rings. There are scores of hiking trails, ranging from easy to moderate to strenuous, in the county, and Polk is noted for its numerous summer camps. The county can rightly boast of hosting some of the finest public events and festivals in the region. In April, there’s the Block House Steeplechase, a day of races that’s the longest running steeplechase in

North Carolina, now celebrating its 66th year. The event is sponsored by the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club, which also stages horse shows throughout the year. What’s more, the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center offers regular equestrian events at its 400-arce facility in Tryon. May brings the Saluda Arts and Music Festival, and in July, Saluda hosts the lively annual Coon Dog Day Festival, a bark-filled celebration of the mountains’ favorite canine that includes a classic car show and parade. The Art Trek Tryon Studio Tours, held each July, showcase the town’s many artists, as does the Tryon Arts & Crafts Fall Festival, in October. On the food and drink front, each July, Tryon hosts the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival. The event includes the state barbecue championship, featuring some 90 competing teams. And several of the county’s wineries and vineyards host tours and feature tasting rooms.

The Blue Ridge Barbecue Festival in Tryon attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year. ERIK OLSEN PHOTO

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Yancey County Y

ancey is an elevated county with some of the highest mountains to be found in Western North Carolina (and in the eastern U.S., for that matter). It makes sense, then, that the county offers living situations and outdoor experiences that go above and beyond the norm. The county is bordered by Tennessee to the north and a stretch of the Appalachian Trail to the south. There are 11 townships in Yancey, the largest of which, Burnsville, is the county seat and has 1,700 residents. Located in the center of the county, Burnsville is 35 miles north of Asheville and 50 miles west of Johnson City, Tenn.

Just a few miles from Burnsville looms Mount Mitchell, the tallest peak east of the Mississippi, reaching to 6,684 feet above sea level. The mountain is surrounded by the 2,000-acre Mount Mitchell State Park, which is full of choice spots for hiking, camping, picnicking and outdoor education. Several trails of varying lengths lead to the summit of Mount Mitchell, where a recently built observation deck offers the perfect perch for high-altitude sightseeing. The summit can also be reached via a short, paved, ADA-accessible path. Halfway to the summit, the Park Restaurant serves up vittles with a view.

Flowing right by the park is the Toe River, which offers premium trout fishing and whitewater rafting. In addition to its peaks and valleys, Yancey County is known for its extraordinarily rich artistic output. The county boasts more that 400 full-time and 200 part-time working artists, including basket makers, glassblowers, metalsmiths, painters, paper makers, potters, quilters, sculptors and weavers. Twice a year, the Toe River Arts Council sponsors the Toe River Studio Tours, as scores of local artists, from both Yancey and neighboring Mitchell County, open their studios for a free, up-close look inside the creative process. And each August, downtown Burnsville comes alive with local art at the Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair, which has been celebrated for more than 50 years. The Carolina Mountains Literary Festival is held in Burnsville each September. It started as a small gathering of authors and readers in 2005, and has blossomed into a full-fledged literary happening complete with

Mount Mitchell in Yancey County (above) is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River and is a state park. Arts and crafts lovers will appreciate the studios and galleries in Burnsville, including the Katherine and William Bernstein Glass Studio. NANCY SMITH PHOTO • IMAGESBYNANCYSMITH.COM PHOTO COURTESY OF TOE RIVER ARTS COUNCIL

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YANCEY COUNTY readings, workshops, plays and seminars. The event is free, and draws some of the regions most popular writers of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. The performing arts have a strong presence here as well. The Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville, founded in 1947, is the longest running community theater in North Carolina. It produces a wide range of performances, and has a special dramatic arts education program for children age 4 to 18. A nonprofit group, the Burnsville Little Theatre, performs fundraising shows for various local nonprofits. Another standout Burnsville’s institution is the Nu-Wray Inn, built in 1833. The oldest lodging house in the region, it’s hosted such notables as Mark Twain, Thomas Wolfe and Elvis Presley. The inn is known both for its historic charms and its signature Southern breakfasts, with most menu items sourced from local farms. The John Wesley McElroy House was built around the same time, in 1840, and also plays an active part in saluting

Crabtree Falls is a popular hiking destination in Yancey County. NANCY SMITH PHOTO • IMAGESBYNANCYSMITH.COM

Burnsville’s heritage. McElroy, a local businessman and lawyer (and later a Confederate brigadier general) constructed the 3,000-square-foot home as a mountain mansion for his wife, Catherine. In later years, the family of William Moore, a state senator and Union Army officer, took residence in the home. In the early 1900s, it served as Burnsville’s first post office,

before being abandoned and falling into disrepair over the decades. The home got a new lease on life in 1987, when a local historical association purchased it and established the Rush Ray Museum of Yancey County History. Yancey is also home to one of the most unique communities in the South — Celo, a settlement and land trust founded in 1937. There, some 40 families adhere to a loosely defined humanist ethic and help run a collective farm and the Arthur Morgan School, a progressive middle school with roots in Quaker values and the Montessori educational approach. While mountain traditions run deep in Yancey, the county is making some key modern advancements of late. In late 2012, the main highway through the county, U.S. 19E, will be expanded from two lanes to four, aiding travel to and from the area. That said, there’s actually one less reason to drive out the county, thanks to a recent development: In a 2010 referendum, Burnsville residents OK’d alcohol sales, so Yancey is no longer a dry county.

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the United States. The national forest is also home to the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education, a state-run facility that hosts students of all ages to learn about the region’s unique biodiversity. The headwaters of the French Broad River, one of the oldest rivers in the world, are located near Brevard. A few miles west of the town, the master guides at Headwaters Outfitters help residents and visitors alike take advantage of all the river has to offer. It’s a hot spot for tubing, canoeing, kayaking and flyfishing. Nearby, the Davidson River, another renowned trout-fishing destination, flows through the Pisgah National Forest. There’s also plenty to enjoy in the heart of Brevard, a vibrant and walkable hub of independent shops, boutiques, galleries, pubs and eateries. Between April and December, the Fourth Friday Gallery Walks — a monthly celebration of local art, food, wine and music — offer an especially pleasant way to peruse local businesses and get to know neighbors. More local arts are highlighted on the Scenic 276 South Fine Art & Craft Corridor — a 13-mile stretch of state road that showcases numerous galleries and studios. It’s a rare town that can boast of hosting an equal number of barbecue joints and Asian restaurants — and just as many ice cream parlors — but in Brevard it’s true. The Brevard Music Center has hosted noted performers for the past 75 years. Its signature event is the annual Brevard Music

Brevard B

eing a small town doesn’t mean you can’t offer some of the finest charms Western North Carolina has to offer. Just ask the 7,000 residents of Brevard, the county seat of Transylvania County. The town has distinguished itself as an epicenter for nearby outdoor adventures, education, art and music. Transylvania can justly claim to be “The Land of Waterfalls,” as some 250 waterfalls exist in the county. Some are relatively small and gentle. Others take big, breathtaking plunges into mountain pools. Looking Glass Falls, for example, drops 60 feet amid a stunning crop of boulders and is one of the most-photographed waterfalls in the country. The wildly popular Sliding Rock is a natural waterslide where thousands of visitors slide down its long, slick surface into a 6-feet-deep pool at the bottom. Remarkably, more than half of the land in Transylvania is publicly owned and protected, including 88,000 acres of Pisgah National Forest, the 10,000-acre DuPont State Park and the 7,600-acre Georges State Park. Together, these offer myriad opportunities for biking, camping, climbing, hiking, horseback riding, paddling and sightseeing. Another natural treasure, tucked within the Pisgah National Forest, is the Cradle of Forestry, site of the first forestry school in

White squirrels (above) can be found throughout the downtown Brevard area, including around its famous courthouse (top right). The area surrounding Brevard is known as the “Land of the Waterfalls” because more than 250 can be found in Transylvania County. PHOTOS COURTESY OF BREVARD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE • PHOTO COURTESY OF NCWATERFALLS.COM

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Festival, which spans seven summer weeks and features more than 80 different acts. Local music aficionados also take in shows at Brevard College’s Paul Porter Center for the Performing Arts. Contributing to the town’s special character is Brevard College, a small liberal arts school founded in 1934 and located adjacent to downtown. In March, the college hosts the worldtouring Banff Mountain Film Festival, a big-screen celebration of films and documentaries about life and sports in the wild. In May, the town pays tribute its signature furry creature with the White Squirrel Festival. White squirrels, you ask? As it happens, the Brevard area is home to a rare concentration of, well, white squirrels. The festival features a parade, free concerts, a “Squirrel Box Derby” and other, well, “nutty” amusements. Come summer, Brevard’s Main Street becomes a prime place to cut a rug. Each Tuesday night, Old Time Street Dances are held to a soundtrack of live bluegrass.

WNC LOCALES

Chimney Rock & Bat Cave J

ust off the beaten path, about 20 miles southeast of Asheville via Highway 74A, is a Western North Carolina community that enjoys spectacular views, an abundance of outdoor activities, a temperate climate and a unique ecosystem. The expansive Hickory Nut Gorge, nestled between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky mountains, feels like a land unto itself. The 14-mile mountain canyon is split by the Rocky Broad River, which ultimately flows into Lake Lure. Four small townships are in the gorge: Gerton, Bat Cave, Chimney Rock Village and Lake Lure. Each has its own particular charms, but a common thread that benefits them all is the natural setting, which is famed for its biodiversity. Hickory Nut George is home to 14 rare animal species and 36 rare plant species, and is a haven for biologists, geologists and birders. It’s teeming with streams and stunning rock formations, as well as Hickory Nut Falls, a waterfall with a 404foot drop that’s one of the biggest in the region. The falls made a big splash on the big screen, serving at the setting for a fight scene in the 1992 film “The Last of the Mohicans.” The crown jewel of the gorge is the 4,000-acre Chimney Rock State Park, home to a hulking granite monolith that the park is named after. A climb up the stairs to the top of 315-foot-tall Chimney

Chimney Rock State Park boasts some of the best views in the mountain, and an elevator carries visitors to the lookout station (top photo). The park also features a stunning 404-foot waterfall (above). STEVEN MCBRIDE PHOTOS

Rock (or an elevator ride there) is rewarded with panoramic views to spots as far as 75 miles away. The park has an extensive network of hiking trails and ample opportunities for bouldering and rock climbing. And impressive as it is, Chimney Rock isn’t even the high point. Other easily accessed features above the rock include the Opera Box, a stone enclosure with a broad opening where you can sit and take in the stunning sights, Devil’s Head, a menacing rock “face” perched over the gorge, and Exclamation Point, the park’s highest point, some 200 feet above Chimney Rock. The park has a rich history that gives it appropriately deep ties to the region. The land it sits on was bought and developed by a Missouri native, Lucius Moore, a

doctor who was diagnosed with tuberculosis circa 1900. Moore moved here to clear his lungs with the mountain air, and went on to develop both the park and the nearby resort town of Lake Lure. After being privately owned for more than a century, the site was purchased by the state of North Carolina in 2007 and is presently in the midst of major upgrades. The elevator to the top is being modernized; the Sky Lounge Gift Shop & Deli, at the top of the rock, is being renovated; and a system of trails around the rock and other key features, the Outcroppings, is being reconstructed. The improvements are slated for completion in spring 2012. In August there’s the Race to the Rock, which is actually two races: a 5K run and a 25-mile bike race, both of which end at Chimney Rock. In September, there’s the weekend-long Flock to the Rock, a celebration of area’s exemplary birding scene. Nearby are the townships of Bat Cave and Chimney Rock Village. In Bat Cave, the Old Cider Mill sells mountain crafts and curios, and, during apple season, fresh-pressed cider. In Chimney Rock Village, Bubba O’Leary’s General Store offers a trip back in time to an era before chain stores and strip malls. Hickory Nut Gorge hosts a wide range of lodging options, from short-term cabin rentals to stately mountain inns.

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Lake Lure T

he town of Lake Lure and its namesake water feature date to the 1920s. That’s when Lucius Morse, a noted developer of his day, arranged to dam the Rocky Broad River and create the 720-acre lake that would be the centerpiece of a unique resort community Today, Morse’s vision lives on, and Lake Lure continues to provide a kind of laidback luxury that’s in perfect tune its natural surroundings. The mid-sized mountains of western Rutherford County are filled with forests, streams, striking vistas, stunning rock formations and gently winding roads and trails. What’s more, Lake Lure features a large share of spacious homes ranging from the historic to the modern, from the somewhat rustic to the state-of-the-art. With slightly more than 1,000 permanent residents, the community’s population surges in summer and fall with small waves of tourists and water-sports enthusiasts. The lake itself has much to offer, above and below the surface and along its 21 miles of shoreline. Permitted residents can launch from the nicely outfitted Lake Lure Marina to enjoy waterskiing, jet skiing, leisure cruising, speed boating, paddling and swimming. And Lake Lure’s clear mountain water is home to sizable

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Boaters often meet in the middle of the lake to catch one of Lake Lure's unforgettable sunsets. One of several town parks in Lake Lure, Morse Park at Lake Lure features walking paths, bird watching and great views of the lake and mountains. VALERIE A. HOFFMAN PHOTO

stocks of blue gill, catfish and largemouth bass, making it a haven for anglers. If parts of Lake Lure look familiar to first-time visitors, it’s no surprise. The lake and several local properties were the prime shooting ground for a wildly popular movie, the 1987 romance “Dirty Dancing.” The film was set in the early 1960s, but even today, parts of Lake Lure feel like the lakeside stomping grounds of the two main characters, which were played by Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze. It’s a connection the town continues to celebrate with the annual Dirty Dancing Festival, launched in 2010 and held each September. Also popular are Lake Lure’s longstanding annual events, including premier fireworks displays on the Fourth

of July and the summertime Lure of the Dragons Race and Festival. The latter event brings “dragon boat” and other races to the lake, and raises money for local children’s charities. In May, there’s the Olympiad Fly Masters Tournament, hosted on both the lake and the Rocky Broad. In August, the Hickory Nut Gorge Olympiad beckons athletes from around the nation for footraces, a triathlon and tournaments in golf, pickleball, swimming, water skiing, basketball and other sports. A lesser known, smaller body of water is Bald Mountain Lake, which adjoins Lake Lure and is nestled in Rumbling Bald Resort. The resort’s residents and guests have access to a marina and a recreation center featuring a host of outdoor

WNC LOCALES amusements and sports, food and drink, and swimming areas both in the lake and in inland artificial pools. At Lake Lure, outdoor activities await at pretty much every door. There are three scenic golf courses: Lake Lure Golf Course is a nine-hole course owned by the town that was designed by the great golf architect Donald Ross in 1929, making it one of the first in Western North Carolina. The two fulllength, semi-private courses — Bald Mountain Golf Lake Lure’s Town Hall covered in snow. VALERIE A. HOFFMAN PHOTO Course and Apple Valley Lure attract motorcyclists for cruises and Golf Course — each offer a unique take rallies, and Cedar Creek Stables offers a on mountain golfing. trail-ride experiences if you’d rather let a Lake Lure and its environs offer no horse trek you around the mountain coves. shortage of other amusements and No center of leisure would be complete something for just about everybody. without good options for wining and Nearby Chimney Rock Park features dining, and Lake Lure satisfies in this several hikes and unparalleled views. The respect as well. Local eateries run from mountain roads that weave around Lake

the mid-range to the upper crust. A favorite among locals and visitors alike is the Geneva Riverside Tiki Bar & Grille, where you can take in what the establishment calls its “Key West, open air feel” right next to the lake. Life at Lake Lure is hospitable above all else, for the resident or the visitor. A rich offering of bed and breakfast options circle the lake, as do a number of motels, hotels and condos. A mainstay of Lake Lure lodging is the Lake Lure Inn & Spa, which was founded along with the town in 1927 and continues to keep pace with the lake and town’s ever-growing options for recreation and relaxation. Like the community it calls home, the inn is rife with reminders of Lake Lure’s engaging past, and updated with signs of the town’s exciting future.

Beverly-Hanks & ASSOCIATES

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Calendar of events > Jan. 1-31 — Tiffany at Biltmore. In partnership with The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass, view 45 stunning stained glass lamps designed by one of America’s most celebrated artists and designers, Louis Comfort Tiffany. 828-225-1333. biltmore.com > Jan. 4-March 31 — Henderson County Heritage Museum is observing the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, never-before-seen artifacts of military weaponry and uniforms dating back to the war. 828-694-1619. hendersoncountymuseum.org > Jan. 27-29 — All That Jazz Weekend at the Grove Park Inn. Featuring the John Pizzarelli Quartet, Jessica Molaskey and Aaron Weinstein Trio. 800-435-5800. groveparkinn.com > Jan. 29 — Asheville Bravo Concerts: Soweto Gospel Choir, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville. 828-259-5544. ashevillenc.gov/Departments/CivicCenter > Feb. 11 — Do Tell Storyfest, Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown Theatre. Listen to tales from rhymes to folk tales to history to modern personal stories from the region’s best performers. 828388-0247. dotellfestival.org > Feb. 19 — 20th annual Frostbite 10K, 5K and 1-mile Fun Run/Walk at the Lelia Patterson Center in Fletcher. 828-687-5644. Email gro.rebmahcellivehsa@rebmem

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Welcome Beverly-Hanks & ASSOCIATES

> March 9-11 — Comedy Classic Weekend at Grove Park Inn. 24th annual event features Jeff Jena, Andrew Kennedy, Rachel Feinstein, Mike Armstrong, Mike Green and Ralph Harris. 800-4355800. groveparkinn.com > March 24 — Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place Mainstage Celtic Series presents Lúnasa. 828-257-4530 dwtheatre.com > April 7-May 20 — Festival of Flowers at Biltmore Estate in Asheville. Enjoy the beauty of tulips, azaleas and countless flowers as spring takes over this historic site. 828-225-1333. biltmore.com > May 10-13 — Lake Eden Arts Festival. Held twice a year in Black Mountain, LEAF aims to connect cultures and create community through music and art in the great outdoors. Music, poetry, dancing, camping, kids activities and more. Black Mountain. 828-686-8742. theleaf.com > May 12 — Asheville Symphony, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville. 828-259-5544. ashevillenc.gov/Departments/CivicCenter > May 12-13 — Fiber Weekend at the Folk Art Center, located at Milepost 382 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville. Fiber craft demonstrations and hands-on activities. 828-298-7928. craftguild.org > May 28 — Sandburg Folk Music Festival, Carl Sandburg Home. Flat Rock. 828-693-4178. nps.gov/carl

> June 8-9 — Blue Ridge Barbecue and Music Festival in Tryon. Considered one of the most popular sanctioned barbecue competitions in the United States. All proceeds benefit the local chamber of commerce. 828-859-7427. blueridgebbqfestival.com > June 30 — Shindig on the Green on Pack Square Park, Asheville. Free traditional music concerts held outdoors in downtown. 828-258-6101, ext. 345. folkheritage.org > July 7, 14 & 21 — Shindig on the Green on Pack Square Park, Asheville. Free traditional music concerts held outdoors in downtown. 828-2586101, ext. 345. folkheritage.org > July 18-29 — Folkmoot USA. Two-week international dance and music festival. Headquartered in

Waynesville but held at venues throughout Western North Carolina. 828-452-2997. folkmootusa.org > July 19-22 — Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands. Asheville Civic Center. 828-298-7928. craftguild.org > July 27-29 — Bele Chere street festival in downtown Asheville. The Southeast’s largest street festival brings more than 100,000 to downtown Asheville. Music on several stages, food, children’s activities and more. 828-259-5800. wwwbelecherefestival.com > Aug. 2-4 — Mountain Dance & Folk Festival at the Diana Wortham Theatre, in Asheville. Since 1928, mountain fiddlers, banjo pickers, dulcimer sweepers, dancers, balladeers and others have gathered the first weekend in August at the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival. 828-258-6101, ext. 345. folkheritage.org > Aug. 11, 18 & 25 — Shindig on the Green on Pack Square Park, Asheville. Free traditional music concerts held outdoors in downtown. 828-2586101, ext. 345. folkheritage.org

Facing page, from left: Christmas at Biltmore is a yearly Asheville tradition. The Smoky Mountain Folk Festival draws traditional music talent to Lake Junaluska. Gingerbread artists from all over compete at the Grove Park Inn’s yearly National Gingerbread House Competition. The Southern Highlands Craft Guild hosts two shows at the Asheville Civic Center each year. Bele Chere brings artists and musicians to downtown Asheville by the hundreds, and attracts spectators by the thousands. BILTMORE PHOTO • PHOTO COURTESY OF HAYWOOD COUNTY TOURISM • BILL RUSS PHOTO/VISITNC.COM • PHOTO COURTESY OF SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS CRAFT GUILD • PHOTO COURTESY OF BELE CHERE

> Aug. 11-12 — Sourwood Festival in Black Mountain. Music, dancing, arts and crafts, super food, kid’s rides and games, face painting and more in a no alcohol environment, along with gourmet sourwood honey.828-669-2300. sourwoodfestival.com > Aug. 31-Sept. 3 — N.C. Apple Festival in downtown Hendersonville. Street fair on Main Street includes entertainment, arts, crafts, apple products, children’s activities, exhibits, food and parade. 828-697-4557. ncapplefestival.org > Aug. 31-Sept. 1 — Smoky Mountain Folk Festival at Lake Junaluksa’s Stuart Auditorium. Two nights of the finest traditional music and dancing in the region. 828-452-1688. downtownwaynesville.com > Sept. 1 — Shindig on the Green on Pack Square Park, Asheville. Free traditional music concerts held outdoors in downtown. 828-258-6101, ext. 345. folkheritage.org > Sept 7-8 — Mountain Song Festival at the Brevard Music Center. Food, local artists, children’s activities, nature exhibits, and more. 828-2433496. mountainsongfestival.com > Sept. 7-16 — The NC Mountain State Fair at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center in Fletcher. Celebrating mountain traditions with rides, exhibits, art, food, concerts and more. 828687-1414. mountainfair.org > Oct. 14 — Tenth annual HardLox Festival in Pack Square in Asheville. Jewish food and enter-

CALENDAR tainment. 828-253-2282. hardloxjewishfestival.org > Oct. 18-21 — Lake Eden Arts Festival. Held twice a year in Black Mountain, LEAF aims to connect cultures and create community through music and art in the great outdoors. Music, camping, kids activities and more. Black Mountain. 828686-8742. theleaf.com > Oct. 18-21 — Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands. Asheville Civic Center. 828-298-7928. craftguild.org > Nov. 2-Jan. 1 — Christmas at Biltmore Estate. The grand estate puts on a show every holiday season with lighting, lit fireplaces inside, special musical performances and other events. biltmore.com/visit/calendar/holiday.asp > Dec. 7-8 and 14-15 — Dillsboro Luminaries & Lights. Jackson County town is lit with luminaries, stores host open houses, Santa, children’s activities, horse and buggy rides, music. 800-962-1911. visitdillsboro.org/specialevents.html > Dec. 15-Jan. 1 — National Gingerbread House Competition viewing at the Grove Park Inn. Walk through the inn and see hundreds of intricate gingerbread creations and the award winners. 800-438-5800. groveparkinn.com > Dec. 31 — First Night Asheville. Entertainment, games, fireworks in an alcohol-free atmosphere. 828.252.2711. ashevilleparks.org

Voter Registration

> Buncombe County 189 College St., Asheville • 828-250-4200 > Haywood County 1233 N. Main St., Waynesville • 828-452-6633 > Henderson County 75 E. Central Ave., Hendersonville 828-697-4970 > Jackson County 401 Grindstaff Cove Road, Sylva • 828-586-7538 > Madison County 5707 Hwy. 25-70, Marshall • 828-649-3731 > Polk County 40 Courthouse St., Columbus • 828-894-8181 > Transylvania County 221 S. Gaston St., Brevard • 828-884-3114 > Yancey County 225 West Main St., Burnsville • 828-682-3950

Tax Offices

> Buncombe County Tax Office 828-250-4910 buncombecounty.org/governing/depts/Tax > Haywood County Tax Office 828-452-6643 • haywoodnc.net > Henderson County Tax Office 828-697-5595 • hendersoncountync.org/depts/collector > Jackson County Tax Office 828-586-7567 • taxadmin.jacksonnc.org > Madison County Tax Office 828-649-3014 • madcotax.com > Polk County Tax Office 828-894-8500 • polknc.org/departments/taxassessor > Transylvania County Tax Office 828-884-3200 • transylvaniacounty.org/TaxAsses > Yancey County Tax Office 828-682-2197 • yanceycountync.gov

Drivers License Offices

> Buncombe County 600 Tunnel Road, Asheville • 828-252-8526 1624 Patton Ave., Asheville • 828-251-6065 > Haywood County 290 Lee Road, Clyde • 828-627-6969 > Henderson County 125 Baystone Drive, Hendersonville • 828-692-6915 > Jackson County 338 Keener St., Sylva • 828-586-5413 > Madison County 164 N. Main St., Marshall • 828-649-2248 > Polk County 130 Ward St., Columbus, • 828-894-8969 > Transylvania County 304A S Broad St., Brevard • 828-883-2070 > Yancey County 116 N. Main St., Burnsville • 828-682-9619

Vehicle Registration Offices

> Buncombe County 85 Tunnel Road, Asheville • 828-252-8526 153 Smokey Park Hwy., Asheville • 828-667-2104 > Haywood County 478 Champion Drive, Canton • 828-646-3406 80 Waynesville Plaza, Waynesville • 828-452-1577 > Henderson County 145 Four Seasons Mall, Hendersonville • 828-692-0648 > Jackson County 454 E. Main St., Sylva • 828-586-3886 > Madison County 45 N. Main St., Marshall • 828-649-3528 > Transylvania County 62 New Hendersonville Hwy., Pisgah Forest • 828-883-3251 > Yancey County 728 W. Main St., Burnsville • 828-682-2312

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Welcome Beverly-Hanks & ASSOCIATES

Getting started Distances

(in miles)

ASHEVILLE HENDERSONVILLE WEAVERVILLE WAYNESVILLE Asheville Airport 15 12 22 36 GreenviIle/Spartanburg, SC 80 59 60 100 Charlotte, NC 124 111 138 153 Knoxville, TN 129 144 123 112 Columbia, SC 158 137 165 178 Atlanta, GA 208 187 215 169 Raleigh, NC 251 275 260 279 Charleston, SC 268 247 275 288 Myrtle Beach, SC 302 281 309 322 Savannah, GA 314 293 321 335 Wilmington, NC 360 339 366 380 Washington, DC 471 495 463 500 Orlando, FL 584 563 591 604 New York City, NY 691 714 682 719 Miami, FL 794 773 801 815

BREVARD 20 56 132 152 157 183 283 267 301 314 359 503 583 722 793

Property taxes Buncombe.................$0.525 Asheville .........................$0.42 Biltmore Forest................$0.32 Black Mountain ............$0.365 Montreat ........................$0.37 Weaverville...................$0.355 Woodfin........................$0.265 Haywood...................$0.514 Canton............................$0.58 Clyde...............................$0.43 Maggie Valley .................$0.42 Waynesville ....................$0.40 Henderson ................$0.462 Flat Rock.......................$0.075 Fletcher...........................$0.32 Hendersonville................$0.38 Laurel Park......................$0.31 Mills River.....................$0.075 Saluda (in Henderson) ..$0.515 Jackson .......................$0.28 Dillsboro .........................$0.21 Forest Hills ......................$0.10 Highlands (in Jackson)..$0.135 Sylva...............................$0.30 Webster ..........................$0.70 Madison......................$0.56 Hot Springs .....................$0.51 Mars Hill .........................$0.47 Marshall .........................$0.49 Polk ............................$0.52 Columbus........................$0.39 Saluda (in Polk) ............$0.505 Tryon ..........................$0.5258 Rutherford..................$0.53 Lake Lure ........................$0.21 Transylvania............$0.3949 Brevard.......................$0.4325 Yancey ........................$0.45 Burnsville........................$0.50

Climate Jan. Feb. March April May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.

AVG. HIGH 46 50 58 67 74 81 84 83 77 68 58 50

AVG. LOW 27 29 36 44 52 60 64 62 56 45 37 30

AVG. PRECIP. 3.07 3.19 3.83 3.16 3.53 3.24 2.97 3.34 3.01 2.40 2.93 2.59

Median Household Income Asheville City Buncombe County Haywood County Henderson County Madison County Asheville MSA* North Carolina United States

2000 $33,091 $36,795 $34,029 $38,385 $31,065 $36,419 $39,257 $42,257

2008 2012 PROJECTED $39,906 $44,325 $43,805 $49,216 $39,042 $45,764 $46,047 $50,597 $38,077 $40,840 $43,744 $48,603 $46,574 $54,370 $52,029 $52,723

*Asheville MSA includes Buncombe, Henderson, Haywood and Madison counties

Helpful links Electricity

> Duke Energy duke-energy.com > Haywood EMC haywoodemc.com > Progress Energy progress-energy.com

Natural Gas

> Progress Energy progress-energy.com > PSNC Energy psncenergy.com/en

Public Utilities

> City of Asheville Water Resources ashevillenc.gov/residents/public_services/water_service > Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County msdbc.org > City of Asheville Sanitation ashevillenc.gov/residents/public_services/sanitation > Henderson County Utilities hendersoncountync.org/depts/utilities.html

Cable/Internet/Phone

> > > > > > >

AT&T att.com Charter Communications charter.com DirecTV directv.com Mountain Area Information Network main.nc.us StarBand starband.com TDS Telecom tdstelecom.com Verizon verizon.com

Airports

> Asheville Regional Airport flyavl.com > Hendersonville Airport hendersonvilleairport.com

Trains

> Amtrak amtrak.com > Great Smoky Mountains Railroad gsmr.com

Public Transportation

> Buncombe County Transportation buncombecounty.org/governing/depts/Transportation

City/County Governments

> Buncombe County • buncombecounty.org Asheville • ashevillenc.gov Barnardsville • barnardsville.com Biltmore Forest • biltmoreforesttownhall.homestead.com Black Mountain • townofblackmountain.com Fletcher • fletchernc.org Montreat • townofmontreat.org Weaverville • weavervillenc.org > Haywood County • haywoodnc.net Canton • cantonnc.com Clyde • townofclyde.com Maggie Valley • townofmaggievalley.com Waynesville • townofwaynesville.org

> Henderson County • hendersoncountync.org Flat Rock Village • villageofflatrock.org Hendersonville • cityofhendersonville.org Laurel Park • laurelpark.org > Jackson County • jacksonnc.org Sylva • townofsylva.org > Madison County • madisoncountync.org Hot Springs • townofhotsprings.org Marshall • townofmarshall.org Mars Hill • townofmarshill.org > Polk County • polknc.org Columbus • columbusnc.com Tryon • tryon-nc.com > Rutherford County • rutherfordcountync.gov Lake Lure • townoflakelure.com > Transylvania County transylvaniacounty.org Brevard • cityofbrevard.com > Yancey County • main.nc.us/yancey Burnsville • townofburnsville.org

Chambers of Commerce > > > > > >

Asheville Area ashevillechamber.org Black Mountain-Swannanoa blackmountain.org Brevard/Transylvania brevardncchamber.org Cashiers Area cashiersnc.com Carolina Foothills polkchamber.org Downtown Waynesville Association downtownwaynesville.com > Haywood County haywood-nc.com > Henderson County hendersoncountychamber.org > Jackson County mountainlovers.com > Madison County madisoncounty-nc.com > Maggie Valley maggievalley.org > Polk County polkchambernc.com > Saluda Business Association saluda.com > Yancey County yanceychamber.com

Tourism

> Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority exploreasheville.com > Cashiers cashiers-nc.com > Dillsboro Merchants Association visitdillsboro.org > Haywood County Tourism Development Authority smokeymountains.net > Henderson County Travel and Tourism hendersoncountync.org/travelhvl > Jackson County Travel and Tourism mountainlovers.com > Lake Lure Tourism lake-Iure.com > Madison County visitmadisoncounty.com > Polk County polkchambernc.com > Transylvania County Tourism visitwaterfalls.com

INFORMATION > Weaverville Tourism visitweaverville.com > Yancey County visityancey.com

Schools > > > > > > > >

Asheville City asheville.k12.nc.us Buncombe County buncombe.k12.nc.us Haywood County haywood.k12.nc.us Henderson County henderson.k12.nc.us Jackson County jcps.k12.nc.us Madison County Schools madison.k12.nc.us Polk County polk.k12.nc.us Transylvania County Schools transylvania.k12.nc.us > Yancey County Schools yanceync.net > North Carolina Public Schools ncpublicschools.org > North Carolina School Report Cards ncreportcards.org

Private Schools

> Asheville Catholic School ashevillecatholic.org > Asheville Christian Academy acacademy.org > Asheville Montessori School ashevillemontessorischool.com > Asheville School ashevilleschool.org > Bethel Baptist School bethelwarriors.org > Carolina Day School cdschool.org > Christ School christschool.org > Emmanuel Lutheran School emmanuellutheranschool.org > Fletcher Academy fletcheracademy.com > Hanger Hall School for Girls hangerhall.org > Immaculata Catholic School immac.org > Learning Community School thelearningcommunity.org > Mount Pisgah Academy pisgah.us > Nazarene Christian School ashevillefirstnazarene.org > Rainbow Mountain Children’s School rmcs.org > Veritas Christian Academy veritasnc.org

Charter Schools

> ArtSpace Charter School artspacecharter.org > Brevard Academy brevardacademy.org > Evergreen Community Charter School evergreenccs.org > Francine Delany New School for Children fdnsc.net > Summit Charter School summitschool.org > The Mountain Community School tmcschool.org

Welcome Beverly-Hanks & ASSOCIATES

89

Helpful links CONTINUED

Colleges & Universities

> WYFF-TV 4 (NBC), Greenville wyff4.com > WLOS-TV 13 (ABC), Asheville wlos.com > WSPA-TV 7 (CBS), Greenville/Spartanburg wspa.com > WYCW-TV 62 (The CW), Greenville/Spartanburg carolinascw.com > WHNS-TV 21 (FOX), Greenville/Spartanburg foxcarolina.com

Learning Centers

FM Radio Stations

> Penland School of Crafts penland.org > N.C. Center for Creative Retirement www2.unca.edu/ncccr/

Publications

> > > > > > > > >

Asheville Citizen-Times citizen-times.com Asheville Magazine ashevillemagazine.com Asheville Tribune ashevilletribune.com Black Mountain News blackmountainnews.com Crossroads Chronicle crossroadschronicle.com Hendersonville Times-News blueridgenow.com Mountain Xpress mountainx.com The Blue Banner thebluebanner.net The Mountaineer themountaineer.villagesoup.com > The Smoky Mountain News smokymountainnews.com > The Sylva Herald thesylvaherald.com > The Transylvania Times transylvaniatimes.com > The Tryon Daily Bulletin tryondailybulletin.com > Yancey County News yanceycountynews.com

Magazines > > > > > > >

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Television Stations

> Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College abtech.edu > Blue Ridge Community College blueridge.edu > Brevard College brevard.edu > Haywood Community College haywood.edu > Mars Hill College mhc.edu > Montreat College montreat.edu > Shaw University Education Center shawuniversity.edu > South College southcollegenc.edu > Southwestern Community College southwesterncc.edu > University of North Carolina Asheville unca.edu > Warren Wilson College warren-wilson.edu > Western Carolina University wcu.edu

Blue Ridge Outdoors blueridgeoutdoors The Laurel of Asheville thelaurelofasheville.com Smoky Mountain Living smliv.com Sophie Magazine sophiemagazine.com Verve Magazine vervemag.com WNC Magazine wncmagazine.com WNC Woman wnc-woman.com

Welcome Beverly-Hanks & ASSOCIATES

AM Radio Stations

> > > > > >

570, WWNC, news radio wwnc.com 880, WPEK, news talk 880therevolution.com 920 WPTL, country, news talk 1230, WSKY, Christian wilkinsradio.com 1310, WISE, sports, talk 1450, WHKP, news, music whkp.com

> 88.1, 95.3, WCQS, NPR news, classic music wcqs.org > 88.7, WNCW, eclectic music, news wncw.org > 90.5, WWCU, Western Carolina University > 92.5, WPAP, country wpapfm.com > 93.7, WFBC, top 40 b937online.com > 96.5, WOXL, lite rock 965woxl.com > 99.9, WKSF, Kiss Country 99kisscountry.com > 103.5, MAIN-FM, community programming main-fm.org > 104.9, WQNS, rock rock104rocks.com

Medical Centers

> Asheville Specialty Hospital missionhospitals.org > Blue Ridge Regional Hospital spchospital.org > Care Partners Rehabilitation Hospital carepartners.org > Henderson County Red Cross hcredcross.org > MedWest haymed.org > Mission Hospitals missionhospitals.org > Pardee Hospital pardeehospital.org > Park Ridge Hospital parkridgehospital.org > Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care urgentcares.com > St. Luke’s Hospital saintlukeshospital.com > Transylvania Regional Hospital trhospital.org > VA Medical Center asheville.va.gov

Places To Go

> Biltmore Estate biltmore.com > Blue Ridge Parkway blueridgeparkway.org > Botanical Gardens at Asheville ashevillebotanicalgardens.org > Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site nps.gov/carl/index.htm > Cataloochee Valley elk nps.govjgrsmjindex.htm > Cherokee North Carolina cherokee-nc.com > Chimney Rock State Park chimneyrockpark.com > Dupont State Forest dupontforest.com > Great Smoky Mountains National Park nps.gov/grsm/ > Great Smoky Mountain Railroad gsmr.com > Harrah’s Cherokee Casino harrahscherokee.com > Hot Springs hotspringsnc.org > Maggie Valley smokeymountains.net > North Carolina Arboretum ncarboretum.org > Old Pressley Sapphire Mine oldpressleymine.com > Pack Place packplace.org > Pisgah National Forest cs.unca.edujnfsnc > Smith McDowell House Museum wnchistory.org > Thomas Wolfe House wolfememorial.com > Western North Carolina Nature Center wildwnc.org

Tours

> Asheville Historic Trolley Tours ashevilletrolleytours.com > Brews Cruise Brewery Tour brewscruise.com > Lazoom Tours of Asheville lazoomtours.com > Segway Tours movingsidewalktours.com > Urban Trail urbantrails.net > Walking Tours of Historic Asheville history-at-hand.com

Libraries

> Avery-Mitchell-Yancey Regional Library amyregionallibrary.org > Buncombe County Public Libraries buncombecounty.org/governing/depts/Library > Haywood County Public Library haywoodlibrary.org > Henderson County Public Library henderson.lib.nc.us > Jackson County Public Library fontanalib.org/sylva > Madison County Public Library madisoncountylibrary.org > Transylvania County Public Library transylvania.lib.nc.us

Is stress-free financing possible? Yes. But don’t take our word for it. “I have never known the loan process to be easy or comfortable, but Beverly-Hanks Mortgage was just that. Eric took the time to reach out, whether it was 10 at night or a Saturday morning. He looked out for my best interests the entire time. He moved the process along eďŹƒciently, but at the same time buered me from any unpleasantness that may be happening on the other side.

Eric would say ‘here’s what you should think about, and here’s why.’ That’s competent professionalism. I had a great team on my side with Beverly-Hanks, and I couldn’t be happier in my new home.�

Eric never felt like a salesperson, but like a person doing their job to help me to be proactive and to make the right ďŹ nancial decisions at the right time.

Je Wilson of Asheville bought a home in 2011 and says it wouldn’t have happened without BeverlyHanks Mortgage.

Eric would say ‘here’s what you should think about, and here’s why.’ That’s competent professionalism.

Our Buyer Assurance program eliminates the stress of the unknown. Buyers can search        comes after full loan approval. Contact one of our dedicated         . Downtown Asheville 828.258.1945 828.231.4909

South Asheville 828.654.6402 828.713.7763

North Asheville 828.210.2979 828.505.6229

Hendersonville 828.698.7924 828.335.3839

beverly-hanks.com/mortgage 866.858.2257 NMLS#42020

EQUAL HOUSING

OPPORTUINITY

S E R V I C E S

Beverly-Hanks & ASSOCIATES

91

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Discover wh what hat this can mean for you. youu.

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Downttown Asheville Downtown 300 E Ex xecutive ti P k Executive Park 828.254.7221 828.25 54.7221

North Asheville A 820 Me M errimon i A venue Merrimon Avenue 828.251 1.1800 828.251.1800

South Asheville A 1T own o S B l d Town Square Boulevard 828.684 4.8999 828.684.8999

Wayne esville Waynesville Branner A venue 124 Branner Avenue 828.45 52.5809 828.452.5809

Hender sonville Hendersonville 400 Beverly-Hanks Bevverly-Hanks Centre 828.697 7.0515 828.697.0515

Lake Lure Lu ure 109 Lake Lakke Lure 828.625 5.8846 828.625.8846

beverly-hanks.com beverl ly -hanks.com

Beverly-Hanks & ASSOCIATES

866.858.2257 86 66.858.2257

Grove e Arcade One Page P A venue Avenue 828.2 210.1253 828.210.1253

relocate@beverly-hanks.com relo ocate@beverly-han nks.com


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