Beverly-Hanks Welcome magazine

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Welcome Serving the Greater Asheville, Hendersonville & Waynesville areas



Beverly-Hanks & ASSOCIATES | Welcome to Western North Carolina


are calling Mountain living offers unique opportunities



Handmade Outdoor Heritage Adventures A RICH HISTORY OF CULTURE & CRAFTS



No One Plans for a Less Than Perfect Move... However, occasionally, things happen. Having a local advocate goes a long way

Packing and shipping your personal items and household goods can become a stressful part of your moving experience. Feel goods provider that has been carefully selected by our Move Management Team.

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“It was a good experience. Very timely. Very careful. Very professional movers.� - W. Wisehart

Relocating to Asheville, Hendersonville, Waynesville or anywhere else in Western North Carolina requires some regional considerations, and we can help.

Mountainous terrain requires specialized driving knowledge to minimize unexpected expenses.

Ask about our Full Protection Replacement Program that can help protect your valuables.

Allow our personal relationships with moving companies to ensure you receive the best possible service.

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“Choosing the right real estate company to assist you with exploring this area is important.�

- Neal Hanks Jr., President

Welcome. It is our privilege to introduce you to this beautiful region that we call Home. We know that to truly discover Western North Carolina, one must

Client Services

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 choice is Beverly-Hanks & Associates. With over 250 full-time professional real earned a reputation for looking after our clients like no other real estate company you are interested in residential or commercial real estate, our sales associates can assist you.

800.868.7221 toll free 828.254.7221

Not only do we know the market, we know the area, because it is our home. We know the schools, the hospitals, the churches, the cultural opportunities, and who to call if you have a need. We can inform you on taxes, subdivision restrictions, zoning, home inspections and more. When it is time for a move, we can assist with the relocation of your household. We even have in-house mortgage services. In many ways, we make your move a pleasant experience. Every year, thousand 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, our clients come to us for the professional service and consul that has been a hallmark of Beverly-Hanks & Associates, REALTORS ÂŽ, since 1976. useful in your exploration of Western North Carolina. We look forward to being of service to you.

866.858.2257 toll free

Downtown Asheville 300 Executive Park Asheville, NC 28801

North Asheville

820 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC 28804 800.277.2511 toll free 828.251.1800

South Asheville

1 Town Square Blvd, Ste. 140 Asheville, NC 28803 800.868.8999 toll free 828.684.8999


512 North Main St. Hendersonville, NC 28792 800.868.0515 toll free 828.697.0515


74 North Main St. Waynesville, NC 28786 800.849.8024 toll free 828.452.5809

Lake Lure

109 Arcade St. Lake Lure, NC 28746 828.625.8846

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30 Town Square Blvd., Ste. 202 Asheville, NC 28803 828.775.9179

Warm regards,

NAI Beverly-Hanks Commercial 410 Executive Park Asheville, NC 28801

Neal Hanks, Jr.




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Features g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g

6 Higher Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Health Care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Economic Climate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Festivities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Culinary Scene . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Farm-to-Table . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Something Brewing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 WNC Wineries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Cider City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Artistic Traditions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Fine Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Nightlife . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 The Parkway . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Outdoor Adventure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Lake Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Golf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Asheville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Arden & Mills River. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Sylva, Dillsboro, Cullowhee & Cashiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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66 90 Weaverville & Barnardsville . . . . . . . . 92 Black Mountain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 Hendersonville. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 Fletcher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 Haywood County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 Madison County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110 Chimney Rock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Burnsville & Yancey County . . . . . . . . 112 Tryon & Saluda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 Brevard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114



58 Calendar of Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 Useful Numbers & Links . . . . . . . . . . 118 WNC Map . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

On the cover: A renowned abstract painter, Jonas Gerard resides in Asheville, with two of his galleries in the River Arts District of the city. Originally from Morocco and raised in New York City, Gerard has made Western North Carolina his home since 2006.

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Experience The Omni Grove Park Inn Golf Club & Sports Complex, with memberships


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you connected with our spectacular resort.

Garret K. Woodward Paul Clark Jon Elliston


ART DIRECTOR Travis Bumgardner

SALES Hylah Birenbaum Whitney Burton

DESIGN Micah McClure Emily Kepley Moss

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Max Cooper Mark Haskett Margaret Hester Garret K. Woodward 4

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Let Wick & Greene be part of your Western North Carolina family and help you celebrate all of life’s special moments. Wick & Greene jewelry is more than just jewelry. It’s a message that you are more precious than diamonds, more valuable than gold. And very, very special .

121 PATTON AVENUE ASHEVILLE, N.C. 828.253.1805


Shaping the minds of tomorrow Home to over 4,000 students, Asheville High School (below) has an average cumulative SAT score of 1601, over a 100 points higher than state and national averages. CREATIVE COMMONS


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One 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. 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 and Yancey County Schools.

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. 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.


Each of Asheville City Schools’ elementary schools is a “magnet school,” meaning that parents may apply for admission to the school that best suits their child’s interests.

Asheville High School, a four-year-school, occupies a stately stone building designed by Art Deco master Douglas Ellington. The school had a 71.3 percent SAT participation rate in 2014, which was 19.3 percent higher than the national rate. Students achieved an average cumulative score of 1601, compared to the state average of 1483 and nationwide average of 1497. 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.

BUNCOMBE COUNTY SCHOOLS Reflecting the diverse nature of the area’s population, Buncombe County Schools serve children of many different ethnic backgrounds. Students in 42 schools speak more than 60 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 second largest employer. High school students SAT scores consistently rank among the top districts in North Carolina. In 2014, SAT scores in math, writing and critical reading exceeded state and national averages. Enrollment exceeds 25,000 students, taught by nearly 2,100 licensed teachers. Its 42 schools include 23 elementary schools, three intermediate schools, seven middle schools, six regular high schools, one alternative high school and two middle/early college schools. The “graduation initiative” began in 2006 to examine and put into motion the long-term changes to improve graduation rates. Since its inception, the program has decreased the dropout rate by 35% in the system. Among Buncombe County Schools’ education initiatives is “Learn and Earn Online,” a program that allows sophomores, juniors and seniors the opportunity to

The 11th largest school system in the state, Buncombe County Schools employs nearly 4,000 people

PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS Asheville City Schools 85 Mountain St. • Asheville, NC 28801 828-350-7000

Buncombe County Schools 175 Bingham Rd. • Asheville, NC 28806 828-255-5921

Haywood County Schools 1230 N. Main St. • Waynesville, NC 28786 828-456-2400

Henderson County Schools 414 4th Ave. West Hendersonville, NC 28739 828-697-4733

Jackson County Schools 398 Hospital Rd. • Sylva, NC 28779 828-586-2311

Madison County Schools 5738 US 25/70 • Marshall, NC 28753 828-649-9276

Transylvania County Schools 225 Rosenwald Lane • Brevard, NC 28712 828-884-6173

Yancey County Schools 100 School Circle • Burnsville, NC 28714 828-682-6101

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Education PRIVATE SCHOOLS Asheville Catholic School Grades PreK-8 12 Culvern St. • Asheville, NC 28804 828-252-7896

Asheville Christian Academy Grades K4-12 74 Riverwood Rd. • Swannanoa, NC 28778 828-581-2200

Asheville Montessori School Ages 3-6 15 Julia St. • Asheville, NC 28801 828-254-6014 360 Weaverville Rd. • Asheville, NC 28804 828-645-3433

Asheville School Grades 9-12 360 Asheville School Rd. Asheville, NC 28806 828-254-6345

Carolina Day School Grades PreK-12 1345 Hendersonville Rd. Asheville, NC 28803 828-274-0757

Christ School Grades 8-12 500 Christ School Rd. • Arden, NC 28704 828-684-6232

Emmanuel Lutheran School Grades PreK-8 51 Wilburn Place • Asheville, NC 28806 828-281-8182

Fletcher Academy Grades 9-12 185 Academy Dr. • Fletcher, NC 28732 828-687-5100

Hanger Hall School for Girls Grades 6-8 30 Ben Lippen Rd. • Asheville, NC 28806 828-258-3600

Immaculate Catholic School Grades PreK-8 711 N. Buncombe St. Hendersonville, NC 28791 828-693-3277


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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 competitive, prepared for career, college, and life.” The system has both one of the HENDERSON COUNTY SCHOOLS PHOTO highest graduation rates in the state and a dwindling dropout rate. Its four middle schools have 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. For 2014, the district averaged a 1507 for the cumulative SAT score, which were both above state and national averages. 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 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 as students did throughout the state, and Brevard High School’s scores keep getting better. For 2014, Brevard High School’s average SAT cumulative score for the exam was 1513, which topped the state and national numbers. 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 98 percent of its eighth graders met 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.

Transformations begin here.

Discover the promise.


To engage each bright student, our creative and reflective educators craft a cohesive, inquiry-based curriculum in an inviting and stimulating learning environment. We break from outdated approaches to value real-world problem solving, project based learning, service learning, and design thinking. Carolina Day School prepares students to create, engage, compete, and thrive in school and throughout their lives.

Inspire the Journey. Celebrate the Achievement.


Learning Community School Grades K-8 375 Lake Eden Rd. Black Mountain, NC 28711 828-686-3080

Maccabi Academy Grades K-5 43 N Liberty St. # 100 Asheville, NC 28801 828-254-5660

Montessori Learning Center Ages 18 months-6 years 1 School Rd. • Asheville, NC 28806 828-259-9880

Mount Pisgah Academy Grades 9-12 75 Academy Dr. • Candler, NC 28715 828-667-2535

Nazarene Christian School Grades PreK-5 385 Hazel Mill Rd. • Asheville, NC 28806 828-252-9713

New Classical Academy Grades PreK-8 38 Stoney Knob Rd. • Weaverville, NC 28787 828-658-8317

Odyssey Community School Grades PreK-12 90 Zillicoa St. • Asheville, NC 28801 828-259-3653

Rainbow Mountain Children’s School Grades PreK-8 574 Haywood Rd. • Asheville, NC 28806 828-258-9264

Veritas Christian Academy Grades K-12 17 Cane Creek Rd. • Fletcher, NC 28732 828-681-0546


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Haywood County School Superintendent Dr. Anne G. Garrett reads to students at Junaluska Elementary School. GARRET K. WOODWARD PHOTO

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. In terms of student performance, Haywood was honored in the 2011 as having a “National Blue Ribbon School.” For 2014, Haywood Early College had a cumulative SAT score of 1536, which is 53 points higher than the state average and 39 points above the national average. 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 has also been designated a School of Distinction. Madison Early College High School SAT scores were higher than state and national averages, possibly because a higher percentage of its middle school teachers than other teachers in the state have advanced degrees. In 2014, the school had a cumulative SAT score of 1508, which both rose above the state and national averages. Compared to state averages, Mars Hill Elementary had higher testing scores in almost all of its classroom testing. In 2012, the school was recognized as a School of Progress for its high academic growth numbers. With some of the best educational facilities in the state, the board of education has led an effort to rebuild and/or remodel all facilities over the last decade.

An Education for an Inspired Life Asheville School prepares high school students for an education of a lifetime. A challenging academic experience motivates students to become better thinkers, communicators, and develop strong study habits. One hundred percent of our graduates go on to college, and they attend top colleges and universities. Students learn life lessons in a nurturing, close-knit community of 285 students from 20 states and 15 countries. For more than a century, Asheville School has fostered lives of leadership and service. We invite you to discover Asheville School and learn why our students have a competitive edge. Call today to request an admission packet, schedule a campus tour, or inquire about our merit scholarship program. Asheville • North Carolina



Education Jackson County is home to Smoky Mountain High School. The Mustangs’ football team is a popular attraction on Friday nights during the late summer/fall months. MARK HASKETT PHOTO

AREA CHARTER SCHOOLS ArtSpace Charter School Grades K-8 2030 US 70 • Swannanoa, NC 28778 828-298-2787

Brevard Academy Grades K-8 299 Andante Lane • Brevard, NC 28712 828-885-2665

Evergreen Community Charter School Grades K-8 50 Bell Rd. • Asheville, NC 28805 828-298-2173

Francine Delaney New School for Children Grades K-8 119 Brevard Rd. • Asheville, NC 28806 828-236-9441

Summit Charter School Grades K-8 160 Frank Allen Rd. • Cashiers, NC 28717 828-743-5755

The Mountain Community School Grades K-8 613 Glover St. • Hendersonville, NC 28792 828-696-8480


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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 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 pre-K to 12th-grade school (one of the few in the state); the K-8 schools of Fairview, Cullowhee and Scotts Creek; the Pre-K through 12th-grade School of Alternatives for students with special needs; Smoky Mountain High School; and Blue Ridge Early College and Jackson County Early College. In 2012, Smoky Mountain High School had an 88 percent graduation rate for the last school year, compared to 80 percent statewide. The school enrolls about 750 students and has been named a School of Distinction. In fact, half of the system’s schools have been designated Schools of Distinction. Jackson County Early College had an average SAT cumulative score of 1744 for 2014, more than 261 points higher than the state average and 247 points higher than the national average.

POLK COUNTY SCHOOLS Polk County Schools serves about 2,500 students in a system that ranks high on state and federal lists of academic achievement. All seven 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. Saluda was recognized in 2012 as a “National Blue Ribbon School”, becoming one of only 269 nationwide systems to receive the honor. For the 2011-2012 school year, Tyron, Saluda, Polk County Early College we named a School of Excellence by the North Carolina Department of Public Institution, while Polk Central, Polk County Middle and High Schools received a mark as a School of Distinction. The system is 15th among 115 school systems statewide in local per-pupil spending. The ratio of teachers to students is one of the highest in North Carolina. Test scores for students in grades 3-12 have consistently ranked among the top of both state and national averages in recent years. Every school has a fully equipped and staffed computer lab and media center. U.S. News & World Report magazine named Polk County High School a Bronze Medal School in its Nov. 2007 report on America’s best high schools. Sunny View and Tryon elementary schools were named National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Dept. of Education in previous years. High school students can take advanced placement English, science, history and math courses. They can also earn college credits through several iSchool courses offered in conjunction with University of North Carolina-Greensboro.




• Business incubation





Emmanuel Lutheran School

Preparing children for Today, for Tomorrow,Forever Infant through 8th Grade iPads & laptops for all students in grades 5-8 Visit our website for a virtual open house or call for a personal tour

51 Wilburn Place Asheville, NC 28806 828-281-8182

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Asheville’s University

North Carolina’s public liberal arts university sits at the heart of Asheville, drawing national recognition for its innovative curriculum and commitment to undergraduate research.

UNC Asheville offers creative collaboration in the classroom as well as cultural events and community resources, including the nationally known Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

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Higher learning

Finding one’s place in the world — Warren Wilson College It all started with a postcard. “I got one in the mail. The landscape was beautiful. The school seemed like it knew what it wanted to do and was really grounded in its mission,” said Lia Kaz. “And when I came for visit, it was the place I felt happiest. I’m grateful to have found a college that didn’t believe the myth that you could only learn from a textbook.” A senior social work major at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, Kaz left her home in Massachusetts to lay down academic and community roots in Western North Carolina. For her, the institution was exactly what she looking for. “Warren Wilson promotes the idea that we can be agents of our experience,” the 21-year-old said. “I wanted to go somewhere when I could grow, volunteer, learn and discover who I am as a person. Here, I get to work with people and learn from them in meaningful ways.” Tucked away over the Appalachian hills and back down a country road between Asheville and Black Mountain, Warren Wilson is more than a liberal arts college — it’s the foundation for what it means to be a human being in a modern world. Within — Warren Wilson their key curriculum the “Triad,” students are College student Lia Kaz involved in three main aspects — academics, work and service. Alongside their education, they also work on campus and in the community, all in an effort to find an ideal balance of how to properly contribute and gain from not only your backyard, but also the world around you. “We blend the areas of the Triad so that those graduated students have a real understanding of where they are, perhaps find their calling for a career, and to service their communities no matter where they go,” said Ian Robertson, dean of work and service. “It’s that value-added component for students to learn skills throughout the program, skills that are transferable like

“I feel blessed to be able to not just passively take what an institution has, but to give back and be part of the process.”

Located in Swannanoa, Warren Wilson College is structured by the “Triad,” which combines academics, work and service. COREY NOLEN PHOTO


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COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College 340 Victoria Rd. Asheville, NC 28801 828-254-1921

Blue Ridge Community College 180 W. Campus Drive Flat Rock, NC 28731 828-694-1700

Brevard College Eighteen percent of the food consumed at Warren Wilson College is grown at their farm on campus. COREY NOLEN PHOTO

up to Warren Wilson as a consultant for their critical thinking, communication, civic community garden. That was 35 years ago, and responsibility and self-awareness.” Robertson has never once questioned why he Founded in 1894, Warren Wilson has decided to call Western North Carolina home. continually evolved, with one foot in “It doesn’t take much to realize the natural traditional skills and the other in 21st century beauty here and how accessible it is as well, innovation and technology. They were one of especially with the Blue Ridge Parkway running the first institutions to have LEED certified through some of the most pristine forest in the buildings and platinum LEED certified. The nation,” he said. “I’ve lived in London, lived in almost 900 students not only are hands-on Hong Kong, and I liked big cities, but I always with constructing new facilities, but they also loved country living. I like maintain the working the good honesty of organic farm onsite (18 mountain people. I felt percent of food consumed comfortable here and at the college comes from embraced the great ethics. the farm) and the hundreds With Warren Wilson, it has of acres of managed forest changed and grown, it’s not surrounding the campus. static — it’s dynamic.” “Our traditions is to do And as she prepares for what we can by ourselves her upcoming graduation, and also use that to learn Kaz thinks back to that about ourselves,” Robertson initial postcard, that small said. “We believe it’s piece of paper that changed important to contribute to her life, ultimately setting the life of this valley, and her on a lifelong course of we want to contribute to adventure and knowledge. that for a long time.” “I obviously couldn’t “One of the first things imagine college going any people notice when they Ian Robertson, dean of work and other way. I feel blessed to service at Warren Wilson College. come here is the beauty of GARRET K WOODWARD PHOTO be able to not just passively the landscape, the history take what an institution of a lot of different people has, but to give back and be part of the who have resided here over a lot of different process,” she said. “It’s about creating that times,” Kaz said. “And people here are change, having a say in the process, that give working really hard to keep this place safe and take which makes for a better learning and environmentally conscious because there experience. It’s that duel perspective, learning is so much land to protect in this region.” about yourself and meeting a need in your Originally from England, Robertson community. That sense of self in a place is became a globetrotter pursuing agricultural really important — to work within and outside endeavors, only to find himself in the South of yourself to achieve that societal goal.” over 30 years ago. In 1980, he made his way

1 Brevard College Drive Brevard, NC 28712 828-883-8292

Haywood Community College 185 Freedlander Drive Clyde, NC 28721 828-627-4667

Mars Hill College 100 Athletic St. Mars Hill, NC 28754 866-642-4968

Montreat College 310 Gaither Circle Montreat, NC 28757 828-669-8012

Southwestern Community College Sylva, NC 28779 828-339-4000

University of North Carolina at Asheville 1 University Heights Asheville, NC 28804 828-251-6600

Warren Wilson College 701 Warren Wilson Road Swannanoa, NC 28778 828-298-3325

Western Carolina University N.C. 107 Cullowhee, NC 28723 828-928-4968

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Health Care

Finding wellness in the mountains People seeking better health have been coming to Asheville and the 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 system, the 730-bed Mission Health System in Asheville, which includes Mission Memorial and St. Joseph hospitals. Thomson Reuters recently ranked Mission Health System among the

Top 15 in the United States. Out of the more than 300 health systems reviewed, Reuters found that as a patient at Mission, you will have a higher rate of survival, fewer complications and shorter hospital stays. Mission Health System employs 6,000 team members, including 730 physicians trained in the latest developments in health care, medicine and technology. U.S. News & World Report magazine ranked Mission Hospital among the top 50 hospitals in the nation for heart and heart surgery services. 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,

Mission Memorial in Asheville is the largest hospital in Western North Carolina. MARGARET HESTER PHOTO • MAX COOPER PHOTO (INSET)


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MEDICAL FACILITIES Angel Medical Center 120 Riverview St. Franklin, NC 28734 828-524-8411

CarePartners Rehabilitation Hospital 68 Sweeten Creek Rd. Asheville, NC 28813 828-277-4800

Charles George VA Medical Center 1100 Tunnel Rd. Asheville, NC 28805 828-299-2519 PARK RIDGE HOSPITAL PHOTO

Hendersonville’s Park Ridge Health has a total of 98 hospital beds and eight operating rooms, and is the only faithbased hospital in Western North Carolina. 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. Mission was recognized as one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems from 2012 to 2014 by Truven Health Analytics, formerly Thomson Reuters. Mission is the only medium-sized health system to receive this recognition three years in a row, and the only one in North Carolina. Mission’s awards place 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 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 also opened the Outpatient Care Center in Haywood County.

Services offered there include family 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 Hospital in Sylva, Haywood Regional Medical Center in Clyde, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital in Highlands, Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville, Park Ridge Health in Fletcher, St. Luke’s Hospital in Columbus and Transylvania Community Hospital in Brevard. Created in 1923, Angel Medical Center in Franklin — which owned by Mission — is a 59-bed hospital with seven operating rooms and an 80-person medical staff, the majority of them boardcertified. Its emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day by nurses and physicians. Angel has recently opened a new, women-centered obstetrics, gynecology and midwifery practice from a new facility in Franklin. Angel provides a safe patient experience through its patient safety team, medication usage review group and environment of care team. It emphasizes

C.J. Harris Hospital 68 Hospital Rd. Sylva, NC 28779 828-586-7000

Haywood Regional Medical Center 262 Leroy George Dr. Clyde, NC 28721 828-452-8202

Highlands-Cashiers Hospital 190 Hospital Dr. Highlands, NC 28741 828-526-1200

Mission Hospital 509 Biltmore Ave. Asheville, NC 28801-4690 828-213-1111

Pardee Hospital 800 N. Justice St. Hendersonville, NC 28791 828-696-1000

Park Ridge Health 80 Doctors Dr. Hendersonville, NC 28792 828-654-0073

St. Luke’s Hospital 101 Hospital Dr. Columbus, NC 28722 828-894-3311

Transylvania Community Hospital 260 Hospital Dr. Brevard, NC 28712 828-884-9111

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Health Care

The Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville is a not-for-profit facility managed by UNC Health Care. PARDEE HOSPITAL PHOTO

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 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. It 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


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state-of-the-art technology and programs in education and research. A short-term 86-bed acute care facility in Sylva, Harris Regional Hospital serves primarily Jackson County. 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. Partnering with the 48-bed Swain County Hospital, these two facilities are known as WestCare and serve all of Jackson and Swain counties. WestCare was recently purchased by Duke LifePoint. Haywood Regional Medical Center is a 121-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. HRMC is also owned by Duke LifePoint. In Highlands, the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital has 24 hospital beds, four operating rooms and 84 nursing home beds.

Its board-certified physician staff covers 14 areas of health care 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, dermatology and plastic surgery. Nearly all of its physicians’ offices are on the hospital campus. It is also affiliated with Mission Hospital. Tracing its history back to 1913, Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville is a not-for-profit community hospital managed by UNC Health Care. Pardee is licensed for 222 acute care beds and has 13 operating rooms and 238 physicians and specialists on its medical staff. It also has a 130-bed nursing facility. The medical staff works in 40 medical specialties. Henderson County’s second-largest employer, it has 1,200 employees. Established in 1953, the 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 Health, also in Hendersonville, has a total of 98 hospital beds and eight operating rooms. A onebuilding care center, the only faith-based hospital in Western North Carolina 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 55bed 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 replacement that result in shorter hospital stays and improved recovery period. Transylvania Regional Hospital is licensed for 94 beds and has six operating rooms and employs 120 physicians. It opened the 4,000-square-foot Brevard Cancer & Infusion Center at the hospital in 2009 and has treated hundreds of patients. For the fourth year in a row, Transylvania Regional Hospital has been named one of the nation’s top performers on key quality measures by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in America. It was also recently named a Top 20 Critical Access Hospital among nearly 1,300 hospitals by the National Rural Health Association.

At Park Ridge Health, we’re growing with you, just like family. Since 1910, we’ve been on a journey to becoming a community of caregivers dedicated to the pursuit of perfection in health care. Today, our extensive network of providers and specialists is more accessible than ever. Our comprehensive team works closely together to coordinate your care within one of the broadest physician networks in the region. Park Ridge Health connects you to more than 250 medical providers, which includes more than 35 primary care providers and nearly 100 specialists representing over 30 specialties. With clinics and services located across Western North Carolina, we are here to give you and your family the personalized and award-winning care you deserve.

Connecting you to a healthy future.

To find a primary care provider near you, call 855.PRH.LIFE to speak with a provider specialist, or visit us online at p

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Doing Business

The business of progress Superlatives continue to fall upon Western North Carolina and especially on Asheville, the business and cultural center of a vibrant businessfriendly region. Fodors included Asheville in its list of “21 Places We’re Going in 2011.” In recent years, Forbes magazine ranked Asheville sixth among all U.S. cities as a place to do business. Asheville was ranked 21st in Forbes 200 best places for business and careers. The USA Today “Road Warriors” report listed the city as a favorite city for business trips. Business Facilities Magazine also 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’s 10 best midsize cities for doing business and its placing 41st among 100 best places of “live and launch,” as rated by CNN “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. There is no need to wait to retire here. You can do business here today and enjoy our tremendous quality of life while you work.” “There are a lot of opportunities here,” said Scott Hamilton, president and CEO of AdvantageWest, the state economic development agency created to promote business and commerce in Western North Carolina. “We’re within a day’s drive of about 50 percent of the United States’ population,” he added, “So, it’s

Asheville’s architectural jewels speak of a history of progress. MAX COOPER PHOTO

Asheville is well situated in the Southeast. Connected by interstates running in all directions, it’s less than a twohour drive to Charlotte and an easy four-hour drive to Atlanta.

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Doing Business Hendersonville is home to numerous independent businesses, which include cafés, restaurants and bakeries. MAX COOPER PHOTO

easy to get goods to the market. Our Asheville Regional Airport has direct links to Charlotte, Atlanta, Detroit, Cincinnati and Newark and LaGuardia. 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 business. For one thing, it’s highly educated. The average number of college graduates in Buncombe, Henderson, Haywood and Madison counties exceeds state and national averages. The four counties are home to eight colleges and universities, whose curricula include the vaunted mechatronics program at UNC Asheville and the small business incubator at AshevilleBuncombe Technical Community College. The city’s attraction to the well educated may be why its unemployment rate of about 4 percent was more than points lower than the state’s at the end of 2014. Buncombe County had an estimated population of 250,699 in 2014, with Asheville clocking in around 87,240 residents. Asheville is well situated in the Southeast. Connected by interstates running in all directions, it’s less than a two-hour drive to Charlotte and an easy four-hour drive to Atlanta. The city and region are well served by busy Asheville Regional Airport, which has direct flights to several cities and connections to anywhere in the world. Flying in are people working in the area’s biggest industrial growth areas – technology (Internet startups are run by people who love it here), health care (Asheville is a regional leader in the medical sciences), professional and technical business services (solo practitioners and support personnel can find plenty of work) and advanced manufacturing (there are already more than 500 such firms here). Manufacturing wages remain high in the area. In 2014, the estimated per capita money income was $25,377, with its estimated median income $43,287. Known as a national center of craft beer, Asheville has numerous breweries, many of whom support the area’s strong tourism industries by offering samples in their tasting rooms. Asheville and its many opportunities for outdoor recreation have attracted health care professionals since the early 1900s, giving the city one of the highest concentrations of doctors in the Southeast. Embracing wellness through such public fitness events as Lighten Up 4 Life, Relay for Life of Asheville and the “Chamber Challenge” 5K race (put on by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce), the city is catnip to outstanding physicians and trainers. The city’s hospital system is nationally ranked.


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Henderson County’s two hospitals are among its top three employers. With skilled workers, excellent schools and one of the lowest tax rates in the state, the county (population estimated at 111,105 in 2014) has several manufacturing clusters, including plastics, automotive parts, electronic components and recreational and sporting goods. In 2013, some 68,971 residents had attained at least a high school education, and the number of residents with degrees from higher education institutions was 21,831. Every fall, the Hendersonville Chamber of Commerce sponsors a Chamber Business Expo for members to promote their business or organization to area residents.

Evergreen Packaging in Canton. MAX COOPER PHOTO

Henderson County’s estimated median household income was $47,761 in 2014, with its per capita income $25,917. In 2009, North Carolina gave its industrial park certification to Henderson County’s Ferncliff Industrial Park – the first such certification granted in Western North Carolina and, at the time, one of only three certifications statewide. Home of Cold Mountain, whose looming profile inspired the novel and movie named for the peak, Haywood County (population 60,715) was the first Certified Entrepreneurial Community in the nation, a state designation that means the county is friendly toward those who want to start or expand a




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Doing Business business. Owners and administrators will find a wealth of information and coaching at the Small Business Center at Haywood Community College in Clyde. With an estimated median household income of $41,214 in 2014, Haywood County has a diversified economic base that ranges from small business to large manufacturing. Evergreen Packaging in Canton is one of the oldest and continuously operated paper mills in the country. Health care remains strong in the county, with numerous providers ranging from the Haywood Regional Medical Center to single-physician offices. A testimonial to the gorgeous scenery that Cold Mountain presides over are the dozens Haywood County businesses that provide lodging, from inns to campgrounds. Known as the land of waterfalls, Transylvania County – with beautiful Brevard 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 34,047 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 an estimated median household income of $41,952 for 2014. Capitalizing on its parkland and other natural attractions, many in Transylvania County are employed in the tourism industry, with total retail sales topping $249.4 million in

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort is the state’s largest employer west of Asheville. MARGARET HESTER PHOTO


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2014, and average sales per business (with food/drink) around $1.03 million. Warmly nestled in North Carolina’s Thermal Belt, Polk County has attracted a diverse economic base. Timken, maker of motion control systems and power transmissions, has a plant in Columbus, as does fabric maker Milliken. Kangaroo Products makes its motorized golf caddies there. Agriculture is a big industry in Polk County, supplying vegetables and meat to many restaurants and institutions. Because of its rolling hills and meadows, Polk County also has a big equestrian community, anchored by the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center. Polk County has a population of about 20,846 and has an estimated median household income of $44,236 in 2014, with per capita income at $25,782. Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, Jackson County also boasts a well-educated workforce, many of whom attended Western Carolina University in Cullowhee or Southwestern Community College in Sylva. Experiencing a 22 percent increase in population between 2000 and 2010, the county now has 41,787 residents (2014) and an estimated median household income of $34,478 and a per capita income of $20,079. Total retail sales in 2014 was more than $420.5 million. Capitalizing on tourists attracted to mountains that top 6,000 feet, average sales per business (with food/drink) topped $1.29 million. Jackson County has the state’s biggest employer west of Asheville – Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel.

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A Festive Scene

Smoky Mountain shindig With so much going on, even residents of these mountains feel like guests with more opportunity than time. From bluegrass to baroque, barbecue to beluga, Western North Carolina has just about every kind of festival you can imagine. Hendersonville has been growing apples since the mid1700s, and in celebration of the fruit of all that labor (a $22 million crop for the Henderson County now), the city holds the North Carolina Apple Festival during Labor Day weekend in Hendersonville. Celebrating 69 years in 2015, 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 late August 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.


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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 in June. 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


Facing page: Downtown Waynesville comes alive throughout the year with numerous festivals, block parties and Friday night Appalachian dancing, which is open to locals and visitors alike to participate. Inset: Folkmoot USA attracts folk dancers from around the world. MAX COOPER PHOTO • PATRICK PARTON PHOTO


N.C. Apple Festival Hendersonville •

Winter Warmer Beer Festival Asheville •

Smoky Mountain Folk Festival Stuart Auditorium, Lake Junaluska

Folkmoot USA Waynesville •

Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival Harmon Field, Tryon

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. 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 twoevening 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 fourdecades 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 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 events that serves up mounds of delicious ushers in

Brewgrass Festival

Lake Eden Arts Festival

Asheville •

Dirty Dancing Festival Lake Lure •

White Squirrel Festival Brevard

Beer City Festival Asheville •

Mountain Song Festival Brevard •

Festival of Lights & Luminaries Dillsboro

Dillsboro Easter Hat Parade Dillsboro

Black Mountain •

Mountain Dance & Folk Festival Diana Wortham Theatre, Asheville

N.C. Rhododenron Festival Bakersville

Sourwood Festival Black Mountain •

Festival of Flowers Biltmore Estate, Asheville

Mountain Heritage Day Sylva

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A Festive Scene

Dillsboro’s Festival of Lights & Luminaries (above) and Shindig on the Green in Asheville (right). MARK HASKETT PHOTO • MAX COOPER PHOTO

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. 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. 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 of 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


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Mountain Heritage Day at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee is a daylong 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. 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 Omni Grove Park Inn to look at the confectionary castles entered in the hotel’s National Gingerbread House Competition. Mondays through Thursdays from mid-November 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.

SELECTED FESTIVITIES Historic Johnson Farm Hendersonville johnson_farm.htm

Asheville Greek Festival Asheville greek_festival

Church Street Arts & Craft Show Waynesville

HardLox festival Pack Square Park, Asheville

Cherokee Indian Fair Cherokee •

French Broad River Festival Hot Springs

Leaf Festival of Cashiers Valley Cashiers

ColorFest – Art & Taste of Appalachia Dillsboro •

Fall Harvest Craft Festival Cherokee •

Apple Harvest Festival Waynesville

Smoky Mountain Fall Arts & Craft Festival Franklin •

North Hominy Community Apple Festival Canton •

WNC Pottery Festival Dillsboro •

Waynesville Craft Beer Faire Waynesville •

Hard Candy Christmas Arts & Craft Show Cullowhee •

Smoky Mountain Mistletoe Magin Arts & Craft Show Franklin •

Stecoah Valley Center Arts and Craft Show Robbinsville

Culinary Style

Cosmopolitan country cuisine — Carolina style Head chef at The Sweet Onion in Waynesville, co-owner Doug Weaver is at the forefront of a pioneering culinary movement in greater Western North Carolina. “The thing is, Haywood County is becoming a place that when people are in the area they may go to Waynesville or wherever around here because there is this restaurant they have to try,” he said. “There are a lot of people planning their trips around what places to eat here.” Residents and visitors alike are starting to take note. Go into any restaurant on a weekend evening or during the busy summer tourism months and you’ll see bellies full by a madefrom-scratch or farm-to-table meal. “We have many restaurants that can go head to head with any restaurant across the country, and we want to make sure that we continue to have the variety we have,” said CeCe Hipps, president of the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce. With the recent boom in demand for organic produce, meat and farm-to-table restaurants, Western North Carolina has become a hot bed for independent, natural food products.


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Between handcrafted beer using local ingredients, fresh meat from grass-fed cattle, fine wines, fruits and vegetables, the possibilities are as endless as they are available. Opened in 2013, Farm Burger in Asheville is the combination of a farm-to-table restaurant and All-American burger joint. The meat and produce is raised in Western North Carolina, which means its not only fresh, but also beneficial to the environmental and economical stability of the region. “I think this area is a great connection of small communities. Everyone is really well connected and excited to know where their food comes from,” said George Frangos, coowner of Farm Burger. “Everyone is very supportive of organic restaurants and local farmers.” Owner/head chef at Dough in Asheville, Brian Ross opened the chef-driven market in 2013 with the aim to provide a place for food lovers looking to not only get the finest of ingredients, but also be able to learn about the dishes they love through classes, workshops and elaborate sit-down meals. “It’s a place for foodies, but it’s not like a restaurant, or a café,” he said. “What’s setting us apart from everyone else is that everything we’re making and serving here is also made here. It you’re eating a turkey sandwich here, we’re roasting the turkey, slicing it and everything it goes with is made from scratch.” Ross’ intent for individuality in the kitchen is a notion wafting through restaurants around Western North Carolina. Over the past decade, there has been a food revolution in the area. Along every downtown, you’ll find anything from Cajun to French, Asian to Italian, Mexican to Mediterranean. Whether it’s local establishments incorporating different dishes into the menus or the troves of culinary artisans relocating here, the desire to try something new and different

Western North Carolina dines with flair, whether it’s sweet treats at Short Street Cakes in Asheville (left) or creekside barbecue at Butts on the Creek in Maggie Valley (above). MAX COOPER PHOTOS



tanding in front of The Admiral on the bustling Haywood Road in West Asheville, one wonders if this is the right place. At first glance, it doesn’t appear the restaurant is open, and you start to question what the fuss is all about observing the somewhat dilapidated façade appearance. But, after locating the side entrance, you step inside and are immediately greeted with warm smiles as the scents of fine dining waft throughout the dimly lit space. The atmosphere feels cozy, welcoming, almost familiar. You find yourself trying to figure out how all of this beauty lies within a small building that a moment ago outside didn’t even look like it was ready for business. You, like countless others, have fallen victim to the trickery that is The Admiral. “You can see the paint chipping on the outside of the building, and we’ve never wanted to paint it or change the outside. We might look a little weird on the outside, with a used car lot across the street and a gas station next door, and maybe the front door barely opens, and maybe you’re coming in a little grumpy,” coowner/manager Drew Wallace said with a sly grin. “But we’re setting people up when they come in. They come inside and see how comfortable everything is. It’s that service aspect of letting people know the moment they’re inside to trust us. We’re not worried about the outside — what matters is what’s inside.” Launched in 2007, The Admiral has held a steady course as a word-of-mouth culinary sensation within Asheville. At that time, there were few fine dining options in the city, let alone in West Asheville. And the long commercial/residential stretch — Drew Wallace, The Admiral of pavement known as Haywood Road was filled with vacant buildings and a proud blue-collar nature to the neighborhoods. Wallace and his business partner saw the potential of West Asheville and soon came across their current building, which was a rundown bar going out of business. “We peeled all the nicotine off the walls and put a kitchen in,” Wallace chuckled. “Seven years ago, West Asheville was kind of a ghost town. Now? There are so many restaurants, bars and local businesses you can’t even keep count anymore.” With a specialized menu that changes monthly, The Admiral offers everything from flat iron steaks to a San Francisco style seafood stew to farm-to-table dishes that incorporate any number

“We’ve always tried to push the boundaries of creative fine dining without being stuffy. It’s about a confidence in your menu and providing professional service.”

of fresh produce items bought directly from farmers and growers in Western North Carolina. “We change up things seasonally, and we’ll have people knocking on our door everyday with local greens and produce we’ve never used before,” Wallace said. “Sometimes we’ll have fresh forged mushrooms or a new pork product, which are all great things we have available locally here in Asheville.” Led by Chef Ivan Candido, the restaurant strives to meet its three main goals — quality food, professional service and a comfortable atmosphere. “From the day we opened, we’ve always tried to push the boundaries of creative fine dining without being stuffy,” Wallace said. “You’ll have 80 to 100 people eating here for dinner, and we want to make sure every detail is paid attention to. It’s about a confidence in your menu and providing professional service.” And with that confidence in their menu, The Admiral believes in the word-of-mouth approach to attracting customers. It’s about letting the food speak for itself and not worrying about competing with every other restaurant out there — focus on yourself, your product and your pure vision. “Word-of-mouth goes a lot further than any Twitter or Facebook post or advertisement. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we’re aiming to perfect what it is that we do. What we thought was

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Culinary Style cutting edge years ago is now the standard in Asheville, so we’re going back to quality in every aspect of the business — cooking what we want to cook, being comfortable with what we’re doing,” Wallace said. “Experimenting was healthy for us in the early years, but now we have a brand and the business is here to stay, so we’re focused on consistency. You have to find that balance of pleasing a 21-year-old and a 71-year-old, you have to find that perfect mix of what people identify the restaurant as.” Though he’s been at the helm of The Admiral since its inception, Wallace still finds himself in awe stepping into the restaurant buzzing with people getting their fill of delicious food and hearty conversation. “Whether I’m working or sitting down to eat, I pinch myself sometimes,” he said. “It feels good coming into a packed house that’s yours, and seeing that full house gives you the confidence that what you’re doing is making sense to the general public.” Wallace himself feels completely justified in his choice to move to Western North Carolina those seven years ago, when The Admiral was just an idea that perhaps could work. In the last year, he opened up another restaurant, The Bull and Beggar, in the River Arts District. “Asheville is right in the middle of the South, with access to everything you’d ever want to see and do. This city has always had such an entrepreneurial spirit to it, where someone always finds a niche to fill, and there are so many niches here. For us, it’s been pretty amazing to watch it all grow,” he smiled. “Asheville is growing pretty rapidly, and for having two businesses here and being established — you can’t argue that.”


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is all around in this land of cosmopolitan country cuisines. “I certainly like to keep the romance of cooking involved, but I do have a mission to take some of the mystery out of it,” he said. “People respect the integrity and the ideals behind food, but if it doesn’t taste good they’ll loose interest. But, if you can provide both flavor and creativity, then you’ve got them.” While the culinary scene of the region expands, and palettes become more sophisticated, the passion and love put into a meal comes from the mere fact that the restaurant chefs, owners and servers

all reside in Western North Carolina — a place they are proud to call home. “I live here, too, and my motivator for opening Dough was the people living here,” Ross said, “It’s my business in our neighborhood. There’s a true sense of community here and I really have a vested interested in doing the best I can.” Coming into their of existence, Frogs Leap Public House in Waynesville knew from the start that though breaking into the food business would provide some challenges, the initial intent and purpose of the restaurant would ultimately win out. With a philosophy of offering fresh, local farm ingredients, the location makes sure to always serve what’s in season or what’s on the market that can fit perfectly with their farm-to-table cuisines. “My whole goal is to feature Waynesville and Western North Carolina through art, food, music and culture,” said Kaighn Raymond, head chef at Frogs Leap. “Everything we do here at the restaurant is about trying to showcase the qualities and great life we live here in Western North Carolina. I love it all, which is why I moved here.” Since it opened in 2011, Curate, an authentic Spanish tapas restaurant in downtown Asheville, has become a prized centerpiece in a lush, ever-growing food scene in and around the city. It’s about quality over quantity for Curate executive chef/co-owner Katie Button, with her restaurant a prime example of what can happen when a dream is put into motion. “Nowadays, my expectations are high, and my biggest fear is not meeting them,” she said. “I want my guests to walk out of here knowing they had one of the best meals of their lives. It’s all about the food, the service and the people.”





RESTAURANTS Curate Bouchon Chestnut Street Grill

RESTAURANTS Frogs Leap Bourbon Barrel Sweet Onion

RESTAURANTS Black Rose Square Root Never Blue

THINGS TO DO Biltmore House Restaurants & Brewery Hopping

THINGS TO DO Hiking Fishing

THINGS TO DO Enjoy Main Street Flat Rock Playhouse

Why move here: Quality of life; Mountain Geography


Specializing in Regional Cuisine 39 Miller Street | Downtown Waynesville | 828.456.5559 Reservations accepted. | Walk-in’s welcome.

Where handcrafted beer, delicious food and hearty folks congregate. 190 N. MAIN STREET DOWNTOWN WAYNESVILLE 828.246.9230





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Pitching in to sustain a dream Popping down the tailgate of their truck, Paige Witherington and Justin Dansby hop up and take a seat. They both relax and take a look around. Nearby Crab Creek flows in its timeless rhythm, weaving through the fertile valley on the outskirts of Brevard. Cradling the landscape are innumerable mountains that make up this section of the Blue Ridge. The couple’s eyes drift back to each other. They smile quietly, peacefully. “It’s paradise out here,” Witherington said. “Running a farm is a sunup to sundown job. For us, having this place and also having a world-class trout stream right here and world-class mountain biking down the road makes this a true outdoorsman’s community.” Co-owners/founders of Pitch Pine Organic Farm in Penrose, the duo’s longtime dream of operating their own sustainable farm came to fruition in early 2014. The seven-acre property is situated smack dab in one of the most pristine stretches of countryside in Western North Carolina. “We’ve always loved the mountains, always played in the mountains,” Witherington said. “We love Brevard and were lucky enough to come across this great piece of land.” Since they acquired the land, they have planted, grown and harvested an array of fresh produce that finds its way to the Transylvania Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning. Farming — and local, organic produce in general — is a vital aspect of the blossoming revival in the farm-to-table culinary scene that has overtaken the palettes of Southern Appalachia. “Western North Carolina is on the fast track. It’s light years beyond where other places are — Paige Witherington, with organic farming and farmPitch Pine Organic Farm to-table, and it will just continue,” Dansby said. “The key is to get more consumers educated and on board and the extension services are fantastic around here. A lot of that comes from the original tobacco and apple farms and the networks they created here.” First meeting at Clemson University over a decade ago, the couple found a deep interest in sustainable farming right from

“Farming is absolutely the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”


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Pitch Pine Organic Farm in Brevard. photo

the start. Studying engineering, Witherington found her skills best suited to being outside and digging in the earth. “I was bored with my engineering internship and eventually found a farm to work on where I got to use my hands and see an end product I was really satisfied with,” she said. Eventually, they found their way to suburban Atlanta, landing a job running a new farm at Serenbe, an urbanist development that created a modern community within a sustainable agricultural design. “We took horrible red concrete-like clay and turned it into bountiful, beautiful soil,” Witherington said. Within their first year, harvest numbers exceeded 18,000 pounds of vegetables. By the eighth season that number rose to 80,000 pounds. And yet, with all of their hard work and success at Serenbe, one thing was still missing — a place to call their own. “With farming you invest so much sweat and blood into it. Why would you want to do it if it wasn’t yours? It has to be yours to make it worthwhile,” Dansby said. “So, we came up to Brevard, did a couple mountain biking races around here, sat down at The Hub one night with one of our friends. He said there was a farm for lease, we checked it out, moved in for a month and then made an offer to buy.” As their first harvest season comes to a close at Pitch Pine, the couple is already setting plans in motion for year, from planting perennials to more vegetable varieties to having a year-round greenhouse. Each spring brings new challenges and ideas, while each fall one can see the fruits of their labor — a never-ending satisfaction. “Farming is absolutely the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” Witherington said. “Because to be able to plant something, to love it, and watch it grow, and then take it eight miles down the road and watch somebody’s face light up when they purchase it from you is the just best feeling in the world.” “And there’s a lot of other farms here. The people are very welcoming. There’s this old Appalachian community spirit where it’s not a competition, but more like, ‘Hey, we can learn from each other,’” Dansby added. “More and more farmers are coming to this area and more farmland is becoming available. There’s definitely a resurgence in Western North Carolina and it’s only going to pick up. If you want to eat real food, this is the only way.”


trolling his 10-acre farm in Candler, Joel Mowrey scans the lush fields. He points out endless rows of chili peppers shining in the warm Appalachian sun. The plants are captivatingly colorful, with innumerable shades of red, orange and green poking through the leaves. “What started out as a tree farm has evolved into this,” he laughed. “It’s a far stretch from where we began, and there’s a huge level of gratification in seeing your vision come to fruition.” Owner of Smoking J’s Fiery Foods, Mowrey has established his company into the largest chili pepper farm on the East Coast. Incorporated in 2008, the business has become known throughout the Southeast Learn more about WNC’s and beyond as one of the TV farm-to-table movement finest producers of peppers in the country. “It’s been an incredible amount of hard work to get to this point,” Mowrey said. “And when you see all the peppers get harvested and people enjoying our products, it’s a reward in itself — it’s why we’re in business.” Originally from Ohio, Mowrey and his wife graduated college and found their way to Western North Carolina. They always liked the area, and soon found work. That was 15 years ago. Nowadays, his wife is a counselor at a local elementary school, with Mowrey himself a research specialist for the North Carolina State University Agricultural Research Station in Mills River. In 2003, they bought the farm. “I really had a passion for plants, and we purchased this place to start a rare and unusual tree nursery,” he said. “At that time, the farm was inactive and mostly used for pasture. We remodeled it and started growing trees and shrubs.” And with those plants, Mowrey also grew another passion of his — chili peppers. A lifelong fan of spicy foods, he started tinkering around with different varieties, eventually making his own hot


sauce. Soon, he started selling small batches of the sauce and its popularity grew. “I grew the peppers as a hobby and it slowly evolved into the 15 products we currently make,” he said. “I’m big into barbecue, and it’s hard not to cook without some level of spice in the flavor. I’m not an extreme heat seeker, it’s about flavor, and you can garner a lot of flavor from chili peppers.” The farm these days grows over 40 different types of peppers. In 2014, Mowrey estimates around 50,000 pounds were harvested, with a lot of it being turned into a pepper mash (or puree) which is sold to sauce makers throughout the United States. Onsite, Mowrey also produces the Trinidad Scorpion pepper, the hottest in the world at 2,000,000 Scoville heat units (whereas a habanero is 5,000 — Joel Mowrey, Scoville heat units). Smoking J’s Fiery Foods “Peppers are so tough and tolerant. A lot of these pepper varieties, and vegetables in general, grow well in Western North Carolina,” he said. “The cool nights and moisture content in the air is excellent for what we do. We even have Caribbean varieties that grow over eight feet tall — they’re monsters.” With his family and business roots set deep into the mountains and valleys of Western North Carolina, Mowrey is thankful for all the support and enthusiasm he’s received from the community and other local businesses since day one. For him, it’s about connecting the dots within your own backyard, taking care of one another and building a strong sense of pride in where you live. “It really helps to catapult your business when you have the support of numerous agricultural and food-based organizations in this area. There’s a lot of excitement for local products not only by other businesses, but by the consumers, too — it’s in everything here,” he said. “There is this general commitment in this region for people to please other people, and you see that with all the artists and craftsmen who stand behind their products and get supported. Western North Carolina has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world — it’s an adult’s playground.”



“There is this general commitment in this region for people to please other people.”

Located in Candler, Smoking J’s Fiery Foods is the largest chili pepper farm on the East Coast. GARRET K. WOODWARD PHOTO

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Something Brewing

A hopping destination With over 30 independent establishments in Asheville and surrounding towns, the craft beer industry is booming in these parts. Voted “Beer City USA” in 2010 and 2011, Asheville has become the epicenter for a beverage movement unseen in not only the industry, but also the nation as a whole. In 2014, craft beer pioneer and industry leader Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, California) opened their $100 million, 180-acre East Coast production facility in Mills River, right outside Asheville. “The community around Asheville attracts such an artistic and eclectic mix of people, a very similar mix of people like Chico,” said Ken Grossman, founder/owner of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. “The outdoors is something I try to do on a regular basis — get outside and hike. We’re near mountains, streams and places to recreate in Chico, and Asheville is just like that.” Alongside Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, industry giants New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collin, Colorado) and Oskar Blues Brewery both opened East Coast headquarters in Western


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North Carolina (New Belgium is expected to start brewing by late 2015). Owner/founder of Oskar Blues, Dale Katechis has built a wildly successful brand of craft beer that is rapidly spilling across the country. Originating in Lyons, Colorado, the business opened a nine-acre $10 million dollar East Coast facility in Brevard in 2013. Katechis decided on the location after years of visiting the region, soaking in the ideal combination of southern culture and endless outdoor recreation. “I fell in love with this area,” he said. “When we were looking to build, Brevard offered quite the temptation. I knew my quality of life was not going to suffer being here.” Home to four breweries, Waynesville has become a scene in its own right, with Bear Waters, Boojum, Frog Level Brewing and Tipping Point serving up a wide array of selections that perfectly compliment the innumerable varieties brewed in Asheville. “This area is a vacation destination for the state, and all of these tourists are interacting with our companies while they’re here, and now they want our products where they live,” said

Wicked Weed Brewing in downtown Asheville. MAX COOPER PHOTO




t’s the age-old saying: “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” “We left our whole lives behind in Seattle to realize this passion of ours,” Jessica Reiser said. “It’s certainly been great here and I never want to let go of that feeling.” Reiser is the co-owner of Burial Beer Co. in the South Slope neighborhood of downtown Asheville. Though somewhat tricky to find, one enters the shoebox-sized building with a sense of curiosity — just what is this place? “The places we always liked when traveling were the ones tucked away, where you feel like you stumbled upon something really cool,” she said. “It’s like a hideout from everything. People can come here and feel comfortable, bring their kids. We want that casual environment. One of our customers once told us, ‘I feel like I’m hanging out at my friend’s house.’” Alongside her husband Doug and brewer Tim Gormley, Reiser left Seattle two years ago for Asheville. The dream of opening their own brewery had been one in the back of their minds for the better part of five years. Between writing for a beer blog out West and having a sincere passion for craft beer, the trio kicked around the idea of having their own establishment. “We really love the brewing community, the camaraderie, the whole scene,” Jessica said. “We decided that we’d regret it for the rest of our lives if we didn’t try to start a brewery — it’s a passion of ours.” With so many breweries popping up in Seattle amid the ever-increasing hustle and bustle of the city itself, they started looking for another city, one that appealed to their outdoor and cosmopolitan tastes. Soon, they came across Asheville. “Asheville is as similar to the Pacific Northwest as you’re going to get east of Tim Gormley and Jessica Reiser of Burial Beer Co. the Mississippi River,” Jessica said. “It’s GARRET K. WOODWARD PHOTO close to the mountains, has a great outdoors aspect, a great craft beer culture, and everyone is supportive of the entire culture of the city and its independent businesses. The local economy is small business and we wanted to be part of this true community.” Opening in June 2013, Burial Beer Co. became a hit with craft beer drinkers and the region as a whole. It produced 150 barrels on a one-barrel system in its first year, with that number expected to skyrocket when they install a new 10-barrel system. The new system will hold the foundation for the main facility, as plans are in the works to build an urban farmhouse brewery outside of Asheville. “It’s been crazy to keep up with the demand and that word-of-mouth popularity has been catching up with us, but that’s a good problem to have,” Jessica chuckled. “Seeing people sitting out here and enjoying our beer is a surreal thing, and we have more exciting things to come.”

ASHEVILLE BREWERIES Altamont Brewing Asheville Brewing Burial Beer Co. Catawba Valley Brewing French Broad Brewing Green Man Brewery Hi-Wire Brewing Highland Brewing Lexington Avenue Brewery New Belgium Brewing One World Brewing Open Brewing Oyster House Brewing Thirsty Monk Brewery Twin Leaf Brewery Wedge Brewing Wicked Weed Brewing

WNC BREWERIES Andrews Brewing Co. (Andrews) BearWaters Brewing Co. (Waynesville) Boojum Brewing (Waynesville) Brevard Brewing (Brevard) Catawba Valley Brewing (Morganton) Frog Level Brewing (Waynesville) Heinzelmannchen Brewery (Sylva) Innovation Brewing (Sylva) Lookout Brewing (Black Mountain) Nantahala Brewing (Bryson City) Oskar Blues Brewing (Brevard) Pisgah Brewing (Black Mountain) Satulah Mountain Brewing (Highlands) Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Mills River) Southern Appalachian Brewery (Hendersonville) Tipping Point Brewing (Waynesville)

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Something Brewing

Hi-Wire Brewing’s Adam Charnack. MAX COOPER PHOTO

HI-WIRE BREWING What started out as an idea has turned itself into a career for Adam Charnack. “I’ve always wanted to start my own business, I love craft beer and homebrewed, so we decided to start our own brewery,” he said. With his college roommate and business partners, Charnack launched Hi-Wire Brewing in the heart of downtown Asheville. Opening in June 2013, the company has quickly become a social hot spot for craft beer and conversation. And it’s the ideal combination of people, creativity and passion that drives the business. “With our name ‘Hi-Wire,’ we try to embody the old-time circus in our brand — it’s athletic, fun, open air, artistic and full of curiosity,” Charnack said. “The craft beer industry combines the art and the craft side of things. Here we’re able to make a really great product that takes patience and time. I’m really proud of what we’re doing and of all the Asheville breweries — we never stop pushing boundaries, we’re always trying new things.” And with the craft brewery explosion in Asheville and greater Western North Carolina, Charnack sees it all as friendly competition. “This industry is filled with camaraderie,” he said. “So what about competition? The more, the merrier. Asheville is this Mecca for craft beer, and the more people that place the words ‘Asheville’ and ‘craft beer’ in the same sentence, the better.” For this year, Hi-Wire is on pace to produce over 4,000 barrels on their 30— Adam Charnack, barrel system. With that number expected Hi-Wire Brewing to increase, the brewery is also making great strides in getting their bottled products on the shelves and further out in the Southeast. Recently, their lager took gold in its category at the 2014 North Carolina Brewer’s Cup. Add that into deep roots Charnack and his partners are setting down in the community and you have yourself another story of success found amid an ideal business and lifestyle climate in Western North Carolina. “For me, it’s all about balance,” Charnack said. “I live a mile from work, I can walk to work, ride my bike or take the bus. In a 15- to 20-minute car ride, I can be out in the woods and go mountain biking. This area is about three things — an urban environment, outdoor environment, and great people.”

“So what about competition? The more, the merrier.”


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Kevin Sandefur, owner/brewmaster of BearWaters. “If we’re making that kind of lasting impression, it’s great, and it says a lot of the breweries here and what we’ve accomplished in such a short time.” Heading down the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway, Dieter Kuhn, owner/brewmaster of Heinzelmannchen Brewery in Sylva, sees the growth like a spider web, weaving its way out of Asheville and into the depths of Southern Appalachia. “It has to do with support of agencies, people in the community, and, of course, the customers,” he said. “Everyone has been supportive. Yes, we’ve worked hard, we’re still here, but we couldn’t have done it all without the support.” With brewing beer comes the keen philosophy of “work hard, play hard.” For Katechis, coming eastward was as much a business decision as it was a chance for adventure in the Great Smokies and beyond.

Frog Level Brewing Company in Waynesville. MAX COOPER PHOTO

“We ride bikes and we drink good beer, and we want to turn other people into that,” he chuckled. “I don’t clock out and go home. I hit the trails and everyday is like Christmas out there.” And for Grossman, it’s about continuing to achieve perfection in a rapidly growing industry, one that has become a centerpiece of the Western North Carolina economy. “We invest in quality, invest in people, and invest in systems,” he said. “We’ve been focused on quality since day one. And, I just like beer, I enjoy the whole science and alchemy of turning barley, yeast and hops into something amazing and wonderful.”


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From the Vine

Biltmore Winery — Bottling the essence of Appalachia Holding up a glass of Biltmore Estate Chardonnay, Sharon Fenchak joyously and meticulously examines the fruits of her labor. “What we have here locally is a good differential of day and night temperatures, which is really beneficial for growing certain types of grape varietals,” she said. “Other areas of North Carolina may be a little hotter to grow, but right here in the mountains we’re able to produce a great product.” Sitting at the tasting room at the Biltmore Winery, a prized gem amid the 8,000-acre estate (America’s largest residence), Fenchak lays out an array of selections, from cabernet


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sauvignon to cabernet franc, riesling to merlot. Alongside renowned French winemaster Bernard Delille, Fenchak has established herself as one of the finest winemakers in the East Coast, a testament to the pride and reputation of Biltmore — the most visited winery in the United States. “Bernard is French and his background is European, where I’m from Pennsylvania and my background is American,” she said. “We come together with our different ideas to combine them into the best wines possible.” To squeeze the most opportunity out of their grapes, Biltmore Winery harvests several varietals onsite in Western North Carolina and also produces numerous bountiful strains from select prized California growers in regions like Sonoma, Napa and the Russian River valleys. “We get to play with North Carolina fruit and California fruit. We’re not restricted to just the grapes in our backyard, which is fun as a winemaker because not all varietals will grow well in one area,” Fenchak said. “Biltmore provides us with a lot of freedom here to experiment, to have fun with different varietals we get to come up with, which only makes for a better product.” When George Vanderbilt originally established the Biltmore Estate in the late 19th century, one of his missions was to create a self-sustaining farm on the property. The Biltmore Farms went on to become one of the largest

The Biltmore Winery is the most visited winery in the United States. BILTMORE PHOTO

WNC WINERIES Biltmore Estate Winery (Asheville) Burntshirt Vineyards (Hendersonville) Calaboose Cellars (Andrews) Cherokee Cellars Winery (Murphy) Eagle Fork Vineyards (Hayesville) Falderal Winery (Hendersonville) Ritler Ridge Winery (Candler) Rockhouse Vineyards (Tryon) Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards (Hendersonville) Valley River Vineyards (Murphy)


independent dairy operations in the Southeast until it was sold in the 1980s. With that mission for sustainable forestry and agricultural practices never wavering, Vanderbilt’s grandson, William Cecil, took the reins, transforming the farm into a state-of-the-art full production winery now housed on over 150 acres of pristine land. “We’re producing between 1.5 and 2 million bottles a year, so we’re the real deal here in Western North Carolina,” Fenchak said. “We do over 45 kinds of bottled wines, with all of these different groups and areas available for any type of taste and consumer.” Fenchak herself has been part of the Biltmore family-run winery and estate since 1999. After spending years studying food science at Penn State and the University of Georgia, she came full circle with her love of wine and fermentation while serving in the military in Italy. From there, she found herself at a smaller winery back in Georgia before finding her niche at Biltmore. “I was a little overwhelmed by the size of the Biltmore Winery,” she laughed. “People don’t realize how big the winery actually is and are really surprised when they come and see our full production facility.” So, what is it about wine that sets it apart from other types of alcohol? “With wine, it creates memories. It creates a thought, a feeling, a smell, a state,” Fenchak said. “Where other types of alcohol, you might not create those memories. You might not remember the type of beer you had on a date, but you’ll remember what wine you had with your food — it’s that emotional connection to wine that people love.” Though the societal love for wine goes back to ancient times, there has been a modern-day explosion in its popularity, and that’s no surprise to Fenchak. “The availability of wine and information about it is so prevalent,” she said. “I’ve been in wine for over 20 years and to just see so many more people, and younger generations, come in and ask about the wines is very refreshing. Palettes today are much more evolved, people are experimenting more and finding — Sharon Fenchak, out what they like.” Biltmore Winery And with the continued popularity and quality of the Biltmore Winery comes the rich cosmopolitan nature of the Asheville metro area culinary scene. Fine dining restaurants, local tastings and specialized food events have provided the ideal platform to showcase all of the delicious local products and produce. “This area is such a great place to be,” Fenchak said. “Asheville has evolved so much, especially in the food and drink scene — you can find anything you want.” Glancing around the tasting room, a smile rolls across Fenchak’s face. Outside the sun is shining in Western North Carolina as several tables on the patio are filled with folks saluting another great day in this Southern Appalachian paradise, wine glass in hand. “If the people are enjoying the wine, I love it,” Fenchak said. “I want to make sure they always enjoy what we’re doing here. Biltmore is a family-run industry and it gives me pride in what we do and the products we want to make. There’s always something unique and different offered here, always something new to add to our portfolio — I only see us growing and moving forward.”

“You might not remember the type of beer you had on a date, but you’ll remember what wine you had with your food — it’s that emotional connection to wine that people love.”

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Cider City


Peeling back the layers of community — Noble Cider

Joanna Baker knew she was onto something. As someone who is gluten sensitive, Baker found herself seeking out alternative beverages amid Western North Carolina’s craft beer explosion. Tracking down different types of hard ciders, she realized all of the brands she tried were from outside of North Carolina. “When I was trying out these different ciders from the grocery store, I wondered why there wasn’t one made from Western North Carolina — isn’t North Carolina one of the biggest apple producing states in the country?” she said. With the lightbulb clicking on, Baker and her husband Trevor decided to launch Noble Cider in 2012. The couple took the leap to establish the first commercial hard cidery in Western North Carolina. “When we were kicking around the idea for a cidery, Trevor lost his job, so we went for it,” Joanna said. “We got our business plan together, sent Trevor to cider school and by August 2012 we were a company.”


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Once Trevor completed his certification in commercial cider and perry production through the National Association of Cider Makers in Washington, Noble Cider began production. Using only apples from Henderson County (which grows upwards of 65 percent of the state’s apples, which translates into a $30 million a year industry), the company strives to keep every fruit picked from right in their own backyard. “Our hard cider is giving these local farmers another avenue for their apples,” Joanna said. “It’s just another product that can be made from local apples, which is an industry that has thrived here for generations.” For their first production season, Noble Cider made 2,000 gallons (63.5 barrels) for a handful of clients. This year, they topped 14,000 gallons (444.5 barrels) for over 60 clients, which includes local businesses like The Wedge, Ben’s Tune Up, Asheville Pizza and Brewing, Nine Mile, Westville Pub and Rhubarb. Along with that rapid increase in demand, Noble Cider recently purchased a 9,000-square-foot building in West Asheville to house their operation. “In order to keep up with the growing demand for hard cider, we had to find a larger location,” Trevor said. “Not only will we have the potential to grow indefinitely in our expansive new cidery, we will also have a place where cider enthusiasts and newcomers alike can come experience Noble’s ciders first hand.” And that increase in demand is not just in Western North Carolina. With craft beer as a whole doubling their share of the national beer market yearly, hard ciders are quickly following suit. According the a market analysis by, hard cider sales have increased from 5.4 million cases sold in 2011, to 9.6 million in 2012 and 13.2 million in 2013. But for Noble Cider, regardless of the market trends, numbers and demands, they are still focused on the local support infrastructure — their neighborhood consumer. “Asheville has been voted ‘Beer City USA’ and we want to find and meet those craft — Joanna Baker, Noble Cider beer drinkers where they are located, which is at the local breweries and pubs — there’s a demand here and we’re growing.” Joanna said. It never ceases to amaze Joanna seeing her dream come to fruition.

“Our hard cider is giving these local farmers another avenue for their apples.”


(From left) Joanna Baker, Lief Stevens and Trevor Baker of Noble Cider. COURTESY OF NOBLE CIDER

“A lot of people have great ideas, but what they need is the drive, and we have that,” she said. “It’s about having the right idea at the right time, and having the right energy to put in the right place — that’s what makes us different.” Since Noble Cider opened, a handful of other cideries have emerged, all with a similar vision, all with a deep love of community, where they truly seek the essence of living, working and playing in Western North Carolina. “We live here because we love being around people that value the same things we do,” Joanna said. “We value local products, local crafts, great food, great drink, lots of great outdoor activities, and tons of companies that have amazing entrepreneurial spirit. We always get encouragement from other local businesses, they’re always there for us when we have any business questions — it’s about helping make those connections.”

Noble Cider follows five key principles, each playing into its main motto, “True to the Core” and the philosophies of Western North Carolina: Be local — We at Noble Cider believe in working with what we’re given. We’re expanding the already thriving N.C. apple economy, as well as supporting the new orchards growing our region’s heritage apples. Be delicious — Noble Cider believes that our customers should expect a great tasting cider every time. We will always take great care to ensure our ciders uphold our own upmost quality standards. Be part of the community — We love the craft beverage community of WNC. We hope to be another successful member of this industry. Be open to suggestion — We at Noble Cider are dedicated to customer satisfaction. Our doors and inboxes are always open for customer feedback. Be happy — Cider makes us happy because we love what we do. We hope our cider makes you happy, too.

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Arts & Culture

An artistic tradition born of necessity Using your hands to make what you need or desire is a unique trait in Southern Appalachia — the idea that if you can’t find it or afford it, you build it. That notion in itself soaked into the creative minds and curious spirit of Western North Carolina. This region has a storied history of handmade crafts, ranging from weaving to woodworking, pottery to jewelry. From the passed down traditions of basket weaving and stonework of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to the modern cosmopolitan art of metalsmithing and glassblowing, there has always been a rich atmosphere of creation in these parts. Throughout the year, Western North Carolina plays host to numerous art and craft festivals, shows and exhibits, all in an effort to provide the crafter with a platform to share their

Western North Carolina is world-renowned for its handmade crafts, which is a central piece in the culture and heritage of Southern Appalachia. MAX COOPER PHOTOS (LEFT/ABOVE) • GARRET K. WOODWARD (INSET)

wares with locals and visitors in search for that perfect piece. “At these shows, you can see the love and compassion that come from each individual piece. Sometimes it makes you want to cry because you see so much love exhibited in their work — our souls are absolutely in our work,” said Cherokee silversmith General Grant. “They’re not just ‘taking it home with them,’ they’re coming in to get what they were looking for. People are looking for something to feel real, they’re drawn to certain pieces and can’t put them down.” And in a 21st century global society, many of these cherished skills can fall through the cracks, gone forever. But, luckily, that’s not the case in Western North Carolina. “It’s amazing how easily things can be lost, where a family technique can die out in a generation,” said weaver Amy Tromiczak. “There’s something incredible about working with your hands, and that everything you put into a piece really does matter.” Along with galleries in every downtown and home studios


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dotting the mountainous landscape, there’s also a handful of renowned academic institutions promoting and teaching the specific skills to the next generation of crafters. From the acclaimed Penland School of Crafts in Bakersville to the professional crafts program at Haywood Community College in Clyde, the future of handmade items is not only in safe hands, it’s revitalizing what it means to make something and be able to find a market for it. “The professional crafts program at HCC is very unique. It promotes not only creativity and craft, but also how to market yourself as an artist,” said Amy Putansu, fiber instructor at HCC. “The students here are learning to make things, and make things well, with the emphasis around their ethics very positive, very minded in the local sustainability movement. I love it because they’re creating a whole new future, a different shape of manufacturing in America, a new design in conjunction with manufacturing.” With textile crafting a large part of the heritage in Western North Carolina, the students are not only preserving the traditional skills, they’re perpetuating them. “It’s about staying in touch with history,” Putansu said. “It’s maintaining that thread through generations, time and history. It’s about what we do, the objects we make, and it’s really important that history doesn’t get lost.”


“The guild started as a way to help those who were isolated.” The Southern Highland Craft Guild on the Blue Ridge Parkway. COURTESY OF

— April Nance, Southern Highland Craft Guild




ituated on the Blue Ridge Parkway just outside of Asheville, the Southern Highland Craft Guild is a beacon of creative light amid the rich artisan history of Western North Carolina. “Crafts are important because it’s a deep part of who we are in Southern Appalachia,” said April Nance, public relations manager for the SHCG. “It’s important because the items are well done, it’s important because it’s our culture — it’s who we are as Americans and as Southerners.” Representing more than 900 craftspeople from nearly 300 counties in nine Southeastern states, the guild acts as bridge between traditional art and the modern world. Made of six galleries through Southern Appalachia, the guild is headquartered on the parkway at The Folk Art Center. Sitting in her office at the center, Nance overhears the buzz of innumerable locals and visitors alike strolling the onsite permanent collection and gallery. “That traditional art the guild presents makes for a great framework for modern artists,” she said. “It’s about those handmade things, where you can take something as simple as a wooden spoon and feel every cut in the wood the artist has done. It’s the work of the hand that’s special — all of that quality and craftsmanship rooted in those traditional values.” The buzz from the visitors signals a continued interest in traditional crafts and also justifies why the guild began in the first place. Established in 1930, its mission was to create a network for Southern Appalachian crafters, a place where they could display their work and also pass on their skills. “The guild started as a way to help those who were isolated,”

Nance said. “The Industrial Revolution had attracted a lot of mountain people to cities to work in factories. But not everyone left the mountains, and the missionaries working in this area saw all of these beautiful things being made and they found ways for the crafters to get their pieces to market.” The items made by mountain folk were beautiful but also functional. If they couldn’t afford to purchase an item they wanted, or simply couldn’t locate it nearby, they’d use their ingenuity to craft what they needed from scratch. It’s that kind of independence and ingenuity that has permeated through generations and still persists today in Western North Carolina. “A lot of the history of this guild and this region has to do with geography,” Nance said. “People either chose to be isolated or ended up in these remote area. They had to make do with what they had, which meant you had to make it yourself, anything that’s either useful or beautiful for your home. They wanted useful things, but they also had that artistic spirit to make the items beautiful.” The guild also puts on two highly successful festivals each year in Asheville. The two flagship events — the summer and fall Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands — celebrate their 49th year in 2015. Add that to having one of the most comprehensive craft libraries in the South and you have a bright future for the skills of the past finding a footing in the 21st century. “When you buy a local craft, the product you get is worthwhile, beautiful, useful, of high quality, and it supports the community,” Nance said. “My office is right next to director and comptroller. I hear the checks being printed for people. Whether it’s a broom maker in Leicester or a woodworker in Waynesville, we’re putting money right back in the hand of people who are working in this community.”

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Arts & Culture

On the wall, in your heart


Though Western North Carolina is widely known as a central hub for handmade items and artisan crafters, it also has a growing reputation as a top destination for art galleries. Specializing in fine art pieces from around the corner and across the globe, the Downtown Asheville Arts District is home to beloved locations like the Bender Gallery, Woolworth Walk, ArtEtude Gallery, Asheville Art Museum, Haen Gallery, and more. Each houses works ranging from sculpture to painting, glass blowing to metalsmithing, woodwork to jewelry, each providing a platform for some of the world’s most creative minds. Cruise out of downtown along Clingman Avenue to the River Arts District and you’ll come across Jonas Gerard Fine Art, home to the renowned abstract painter, or onward to 375 Depot Studios & Gallery and the Cotton Mill Studios. Heading into Biltmore Village, take a stroll through New Morning Gallery or The Compleat Naturalist, both home to an array of artistic treasures and displays. And amid all of these galleries, there are numerous exhibitions that run throughout the year, where exotic themes are explored, unknown artists becoming overnight sensations, mainstay names perpetuating their unique and intricate styles.



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he first thing you notice about Jonas Gerard are his sapphire blue eyes. The second thing you notice is the cosmic world he sees from behind them. “I don’t care about credentials, I care about if the painting touches the heart,” he said. “Does it make you feel something? Is there that connection from soul-to-soul through the art?” Strolling his maze of a gallery in the River Arts District of Asheville, Gerard is regarded as one the foremost visionaries of modern abstract art. His works explode with color and thought, where one stands there in awe of the mesmerizing beauty looking right back at them. Gerard is honed in on the energies surrounding us everyday, leaving himself creatively vulnerable to the infinite universe. “It’s about communicating and transferring that cosmic energy,” the 73-year-old said. “It’s energy from the atmosphere, from everywhere, and it’s funneled by receptive artists, whether they are painters, writers or performers.” Channeling that free-flowing technique, Gerard approaches a blank canvas with a blank mind. He lets his fingertips moves around the piece like a Ouija board, where trust in the unknown movements

of mind, spirit and time itself take shape on the canvas. “Letting go of trying to make your art look good is a very important part of being an artist,” he said. “You have to be willing to be OK with it, when it feels a little strange, and maybe you wouldn’t have painted something some way, but it feels right and you’re being guided. If inspiration says put a little purple in corner, put a little purple in the corner.” Born in Casablanca, Gerard spent his childhood roaming Morocco and North Africa. His hometown was a haven for exotic people, places and things. Where you have a crossroads of world philosophies and idea sharing, you have creative minds milling






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Arts & Culture

“I care about if the painting touches the heart. Does it make you feel something? Is there that connection from soul-to-soul through the art?” — Jonas Gerard

about, soaking in the essence of one another. “I had a suave French father and a temperamental Brazilian mother,” he smiled. “Music, people, art, everything around me was exotic and beautiful.” When he was 13, Gerard moved to Brooklyn. It was the 1950s, and though he was unaware of the abstract art movement in the city at the time, he did tinker around with painting. It was something that spoke to him, reaching down and pulling something special from deep inside of him. However, when he applied for art college, others didn’t see it that way. “I did paintings and nobody took me seriously,” he laughed. “I showed them my portfolio and they said I had no talent.” Not to be deterred, Gerard began painting portraits on the side while studying mechanical engineering. He began selling them on weekends at outdoor art fairs at Washington Square in Manhattan. People soon took notice of his obvious talents. With each piece sold, more fuel was put on the fire within his soul. After college and few more years in New York City, Gerard took off for Florida. He had heard about all the art fairs down there throughout the winter. He took a chance and swung into an outdoor show in Pompano Beach. “I showed up in my Volkswagen Bus, a big box of paintings, my pregnant wife and $25 dollars left in my pocket,” he reminisced. “They put me way down in the corner at the end. Five hours later, I had sold $1,200 worth of paintings.” That justification of his intent put Gerard on a trajectory of traveling the country and selling his craft. But, he eventually became bored with portraits. He felt imprisoned by created works others commissioned him to specifically do. He wanted something pure, something describing the feelings in his soul. “All at once I cut it off and stop doing portraits,” he said. “The process is to not be attached to the outcome, the message, the end


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result, to be very present and be willing to make a fool of yourself. You have to be willing to jump off a cliff without a parachute. That’s the whole idea, and the moment you do that, as soon as you jump off and put your life on the line, you automatically sprout wings and start flying. You have to take the jump, you can’t stay safe, and that’s the hardest part to understand.” In 1999, Gerard retired from the road. When his daughter became an art professor at Jonas Gerard. East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, he started toying with the idea of living closer to her. He discovered nearby Asheville, fell in love with the city, packed up his things in Florida and headed for Western North Carolina in 2006. “I felt like I was coming home when I moved here,” Gerard said. “There is something magical about Asheville. You have large deposits of crystals in the Smoky Mountains that radiate such energy here. This is a healing place, people come here to feel better.” And as he’s gotten older, Gerard’s output has only increased, sometimes topping 10 paintings in one sitting. He can’t stop. He won’t stop, because once the floodgates of the spirit are open and awakened, one must go with the flow. “It’s a compulsion, an addiction. Can you live without breathing? If you can’t breathe, you’re done. If I can’t paint, I’m done,” he said. “When someone purchases one of my paintings, it’s an honor, it’s gratitude and affirmation from the universe that I’m doing something right, something I was meant to do.”


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Painting the town red

The night time is the right time to be out and about in Asheville, whether dining in Biltmore Park (top) or catching a performance at the Diana Wortham Theatre (above). BILTMORE PARK PHOTO (TOP) • GRANT HALVERSON PHOTO (ABOVE)


After a great day frolicking around the mountains and valleys of Western North Carolina, the fun only heats up when the sun goes down. Asheville comes alive with standup comedy at Pulp or The Odditorium, screenings of documentaries, foreign and independent films at the Fine Arts Theatre, stage productions at the Magnetic Theatre, gypsy jazz at 5 Walnut Wine Bar, international dance troupes at the Diana Wortham Theatre, symphony orchestras at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, rock ensembles at The Orange Peel or funk nights at the Asheville Music Hall — it’s all here, and more. Heading down the road, the options are just as tempting. Catch an old Hollywood classic flick at The Strand at 38 Main in Waynesville, bluegrass legends at The Colonial Theatre in Canton, nationally acclaimed folk troubadours at 185 King Street in Brevard or a beloved Broadway production at the Flat Rock Playhouse in Hendersonville. And that leaves you with only what question — What to do tonight?

THE ORANGE PEEL The room is swirling with harmonious conversation and anxiousness. The houselights soon shut off, with the stage illuminated. The large crowd, numbering a thousand, roars in excitement. The musicians enter the stage, smiles adorning their faces in anticipation of a great show. It’s just another night at The Orange Peel — the musical centerpiece of Asheville.


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“The city has tons of entertainment and it’s great for us to be part of it all. We’re really proud the way we can represent the Southeast like we do,” said Jeff Santiago, operations manager at the venue. “We want everyone, from the artist to the fan, to have a great experience, and we’ve done a lot of things to make sure that happens.” Originally built as a roller-rink for downtown in the 1950s, the building became well known in later decades as a place for live entertainment. Eventually, the location went vacant for many years, only to be revitalized and reborn as The Orange Peel in 2002. Since then, huge acts like Bob Dylan, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Flaming Lips, Kacey Musgraves, Jack White,


Blondie, Wilco and others famous artists have graced the stage. “We’re really proud to be able to secure so many big names to play our stage,” Santiago said. “And for the artists, we try to make them as comfortable as possible. Our whole idea is for them to have an amazing experience from the moment they walk in to the moment they pack up, which is why so many of those big names keep coming back here.” Alongside accolades by numerous publications, Rolling Stone named The Orange Peel one of the Top 5 rock clubs in the nation in 2008. It’s an honor that justifies the vision to provide the ultimate performance for those onstage and in the audience.

“We have a great sound system, but we also take a real hospitable approach,” Santiago said. “We don’t have a ‘security staff,’ we have a ‘door crew,’ where everyone who works here has different strengths to make for a great time for everybody.” Originally from New York City, Santiago moved to Asheville from Los Angeles. Spending his life within the music industry, as a performer and production manager, he saw Asheville as a city with a vibrant music scene and culture. Now in his eighth year working at The Orange Peel, he sees Asheville as the perfect fit for his life and career. “It’s beautiful here. My wife and I felt welcomed here right from the beginning,” he said. “Asheville is a great city that has turned into a foodie, music and entertainment city. I love that the city has such a great downtown center, and yet you can go to mountain communities within a 10-minute drive from here and have no idea downtown is right around the corner.” In recent years, The Orange Peel opened Pulp, a multi-purpose craft cocktail lounge downstairs below the main stage area. Featuring smaller events, the space also has become a center of activity for the city’s thriving comedy scene. “Upstairs you have great local craft beer, cider and wine, and downstairs you can find a fine cocktail,” Santiago said. “For us here, it’s about evolving as a company. The wheels are constantly turning with what we can do, how we can make the experience even better, — Jeff Santiago, The Orange Peel and how we can continue to grow in the community.”

“The wheels are constantly turning with what we can do, how we can make the experience even better, and how we can continue to grow in the community.”



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The Parkway

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 celebrates its official 80th anniversary in 2015. It is a unique unit of the National Park Service, a scenic roadway through the rural mountain areas 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


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America’s favorite journey

pushed the boundaries of competing American ideals. 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. The formula was perfected by railroads in previous decades. “They had all these cars they were pulling, and if you didn’t have a gentle change in curve, you had lurches, bumps and screeches that were very uncomfortable for passengers and bad for freight and prone to derailment and accidents,” said Mary Myers, a Parkway expert on landscape architecture and chair of the Landscape Architecture and Horticulture department at Temple University. 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. “I don’t think you can find a better example of that beautiful line of grace,” Myers said of the Parkway. “The reverse curves do everything.” 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 World War II. By then, only twothirds 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.

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Mountains of adventure Recreation 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 their park, McCormick Field.

For something quirkier, roll over to the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Asheville 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 at the Kimmel Arena. In nearby Cullowhee, Western Carolina University’s Catamounts is home to Division 1 gridiron football, playing against the likes of the Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers in recent years. Soccer and volleyball rule at Montreat College and Mars Hill College. Asheville has been selected as host city for the 2012-2015 Southern Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. The city hosted the tournaments for years at the U.S Cellular Center, with sidewalks full of people going between games and restaurants bringing a palpable excitement to the heart of the city. The Mountain Sports Festival in Asheville every Memorial Day Weekend is a three-day 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


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Recreation opportunities are year-round in Western North Carolina. You can find great skiing and snowboarding at Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley (left), minor league baseball with the Asheville Tourists (top), as well as tubing one of the many rivers flowing through the region. CATALOOCHEE PHOTO • ASHEVILLE TOURISTS PHOTO • MAX COOPER PHOTO

It’s a lot harder than it looks. Alongside trail running, hiking and mountain biking, disc golf (or “frolf”) has become one of Western North Carolina’s fastest growing outdoor activities — it really is that much fun. Sure, it may look simple, and perhaps childish, from the sidelines. But grab a disc and try to make the bucket on the horizon in three shots for par. This region is home to several fantastic disc golf courses. Here are a handful of local favorites, for beginners all the way up to expert levels: Beginner — Catamount Links, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee It’s pretty impossible for one to lose their disc on this course. Looping around the athletic fields, there are wide-open spaces and sparse tree lines. Though there are only 13 holes, many of them are extended in length, and a real treat to be able to truly



little tricky to navigate, ask the center for a complimentary map, or simply ask someone (lots of folks play this course). Advanced — Haywood Community College, Clyde A great course. Not too many folks around. Holes meander into the woods, which surround the school. Nice trails. The 18-holes are somewhat challenging, but not too far out of reach for intermediate players.

chuck your disc without fear of it disappearing. Intermediate — Waynesville Disc Golf Course, Waynesville Recreation Center Though plenty of holes are very welcoming for beginners, there are definitely some difficult ones. If you don’t know the 18-hole course, which can be a

Expert — Richmond Hill, Asheville Quite possibly the finest course in Western North Carolina. It’s 18 holes of utter chaos looping around a wooded mountain ridge. One hole you’re throwing way uphill, the next it’s back down the other side. Very challenging, but, if played with respect and caution (for intermediate players), one can have the time of their lives out there. For more information on disc golf, visit

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Head for the Hills — The Bike Farm Cashion Smith can describe the mountain biking scene in Western North Carolina in one word. “Booming,” he said. Co-owner of The Bike Farm in Brevard, Smith and his wife, Eva Surls, have created a highly sought after destination for adventure, fun and exploration — all from behind handlebars. “We are mountain bikers — it’s not what we do, it’s who we are,” Smith said. “We wanted to create a base camp, a community gathering spot that locals and visitors could gather to share in the bike life. We want to foster the experience of connecting to the natural world via the bicycle for as many folks as we can.” Situated smack dab between the Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Forest, the 145-acre farm is set up as a playground for adults, fully equipped as an on-site bike park with extensive guide services, as well as amenities like shuttle services and a direct connection to local lodging. “Our mission is about building community, preserving natural land, engendering respect for the land and natural world,” Smith said. “Our business is bringing folks to the area, filling the hotels, motels, inns, restaurants and bike shops. That is inherently ‘economic development.’ We just want to be a part of the team that


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is pushing to preserve an incredible mountain town and the incredible forests that surround it.” Both Pisgah and DuPont contain some of the finest riding in the country, an endless network of trails, each as unique as the next, all cradled by the mesmerizing beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. And yet, it has only been in recent years these peaks and valleys have relented their recreational secrets to riders and enthusiasts the world over. “We considered this area to be relatively untapped, as compared to other outdoor recreation meccas,” Smith said. “Before we committed, we took a road trip to visit different bicycle tourism outfits and biking towns that anyone had ever said, ‘You have to go check out [this place].’ We talked to those folks who were kind enough to open their doors and we saw what we liked and what was working, as well as what was not and what we wanted to avoid. We are trying to compile a greatest hits from what we learned on the road. When we landed here in September 2012, within two hours we were on bikes and completely solidified in our decision to launch the farm here.” Smith is originally from Chapel Hill, with Surls hailing from Splendora, Texas. Working for a medical device company out of Asheville, the couple would venture up to Western North Carolina to visit family and, of course, go mountain biking. About five years, they sat down at their kitchen counter with notepad and wrote down what they wanted their lives to look like in 30 years. That long-term was them running a mountain bike destination with the mountains of Western North Carolina in the background. “This is where we went on little road trips to see family or take vacations when I was a kid. It just so happens that the reality of the situation is Eva Surls, co-owner of The Bike Farm in Brevard. COURTESY OF ROBERT ADAMO PHOTOGRAPHY that this was the best place to launch our business,” Smith said. “And it’s really nice to be able to hop in a car and in four hours see the ocean. That is a big deal, to live in the mountains, do what we love, but be able to get to the ocean. This is the place that we resonate with. Simply put, this is where we feel at home.” They decided to launch the farm, but first they needed partners and investors. Eventually, they crossed paths with Dale Katechis, owner/founder of Oskar Blues Brewery, who recently opened their East Coast brewing headquarters in Brevard. One of the largest microbrew companies in the United States, Oskar Blues has always held a mission of “work hard, play hard,” a vision that coincided with Smith and Surls. They partnered with Katechis, who then closed on the land in March 2014 and set the farm into motion. Since opening, it’s been a nonstop circus of new faces, excited riders and next step initiatives to improve and expand the ultimate plan for the farm. Last summer, they played host to Red Bull Dreamline, an NBC televised event where professional riders took on the farm’s dirt course. And yet, through all the blood, sweat and tears to see their idea come to fruition, Smith and Surls are grateful to be able to step out their front door and ride, to offer a recreational haven to any and all ready to roam the beauty of the region. “It’s what fills our cup and charges our batteries when we’re exhausted,” Smith said. “It’s a lot of physical work, so when we see a big smile or hear a loud hoot in the forest, it is everything.”

participants better competitors. The festival also stages a lot of free music around downtown. Less than an hour and a half from 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. The Wildwater Rafting centers on the Nantahala, Chattooga and Pigeon rivers offer 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 in the beautiful Nantahala Gorge over six aerial bridges and numerous zip lines. The rides, meant to be more informative than jaw dropping, 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 zip lines, two sky bridges and from two rappelling experiences. The three-hour 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 James 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 ranger-guided 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. In the last two years, experienced riders call home to professional dirt courses at the Kolo Bike Park in Asheville and The Bike Farm in Brevard. Don’t forget Tsali Recreational Area, home to some of the finest riding trails in the entire country, only an hour and a half from downtown Asheville. Road riders will love the popular flat cycle along the French Broad River between Asheville and Marshall. 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 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 Whitewater 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 Cataloochee 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. Want to go cross-country skiing? Then head up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, closed to automobiles in the winter, but not to those strapped in with poles ready to tackle the beloved road.



ly fishing is one of Western North Carolina’s biggest draws, offering any kind of fishing experience the serious angler or curious novice could hope for. In recent years, Cherokee hosted the U.S. National Fly Fishing Championships. Dozens of the top anglers in the country descended on the reservation to try their luck in the dozens of streams that contain native brook, rainbow and brown trout. The tribe has its own hatchery and regularly stocks dozens of miles of rivers and streams ( Next door in Josh Stephens. SARAH E. KUCHARSKI PHOTO Jackson County, the Chamber of Commerce has produced a guide to the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail. The rivers and stream here feature some of the best trout waters in the Great Smoky Mountains (800-962-1911 or 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 had endless possibilities. “It’s a very spiritual act to fly fish. You could take somebody and stick them on the side of the road and put them on all the fish in the world, and they’ll have a good day,” said Josh Stephens, a Jackson County resident and member of the U.S. Fly Fishing Team. “But, you take them back in the woods and put them on one or two fish, and not hear a thing, and it’s a great day.” Swain County has also produced a fly fishing map touting the great fishing within its borders, which includes a large part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The map is available online and in printed form. Of course the nearby 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 it’s easy to understand why the area around Asheville has become a mecca for fly fisherman.

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Jacksboro 70

Rutledge Maynardville

Cherokee L.


25 251



23 19

Bl u Pa e Ri rkw dge ay


Morristown Weaverville








Black Mountain







Douglas 26 L. 33

Fort Loudoun L.



40 240 Newport






Biltmore Forest 74


Hot Springs

25 209


Pigeon Forge






40 11

Great Smoky Mountains National Park 68

Fontana L. Fontana Village 129

Santeetlah Graham Robbinsville



Cullowhee Jackson 107

Macon 209



Clyde 7476 23


Blue Ridge






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e H Ridg e u l B kway Par Brevard Pisg Transylvania 276 Rosman Lake Toxaway



Canton 11



L. Burton Waynesville

17 Balsam




Bent Cre

L. Jocassee 19





Maggie Valley



Hayesville Chatuge276 L. 40






Waynesville Balsam

Topton Andrews

Buncomb Clyde

Whittier Bryson City




Eastern Cherokee Indian Res. Maggie Valley Swain Cherokee





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Tallulah Falls


Clemson Clarkesville 17

Boone L.

Lan Warr J

Mountain City 91



181 81


Johnson City

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Beech Mountain Banner Elk Blowing Rock Avery 105 Sugar Mountain Grandfather Mitchell Newland 321 Crossnore Bakersville Spear 19E Caldwell Ledger Elk Park

Erwin 107


adison Burnsville

Micaville 19


Weaverville Montreat


ncombe Enka 19


Yancey Celo

Mars Hill


Woodlawn L. James e Drexel g d i R ay 64 e u Morganton Bl arkw 70 Valdese P McDowell Marion Salem

Old Fort Black Mountain



nt Creek



Lake Lure



Flat Rock 9

Tryon Landrum











South Carolina



Gaffney Boiling Springs 85


512 North Main St. Hendersonville, NC 28792 800-868-0515 TOLL FREE

Campobello Inman

1 Town Square Blvd. Ste. 140 Asheville, NC 28803 800-868-8999 TOLL FREE



26 25


Alexander Mills

Polk Flat Rock Columbus

Cedar Mountain



Chimney Rock 64 64 Fletcher Lake Lure Rutherfordton Henderson Spindale Forest City Hendersonville Hendersonville




74 221



WhitDOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE Hu 300 Executive Park S Asheville, NC 28801

820 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC 28804 800-277-2511

Avery Creek

Pisgah Forest

West Marion Glenwood





Spruce Pine







74 North Main St. Waynesville, NC 28786 800-849-8024










n 29


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


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Lake Life

Jump right in Amid the hustle and bustle of a modern world, filled with rushed priorities and daily obligations, one voice among the countless seems to get ignored — your own. To find that inner self comes from tranquility and immersion in nature. And with that notion, comes the idea to “head for the hills,” to rediscover yourself in the mountains, soaking in the sunshine and looking out over a sparkling body of water, its depths as mysterious and mesmerizing as the human soul itself. Cue Lake Lure. “Some would describe ‘lake life’ as tranquil or refreshing. Others say that lake life is exhilarating and full of life,” said Patrick Bryant. “In Lake Lure, it’s both. Float on your pontoon, become a water skier, trek deep into the woods, hike up to the high peaks, enjoy a relaxing Sunday drive rambling through the mountains.” A member of The Chamber of Hickory Nut Gorge and the events/catering manager for The 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa, Bryant is well aware of the magic found in these waters of Western North Carolina. “No other community can offer both a relaxing environment and exciting opportunities for adventure in perfect harmony,” he said. “Young professionals, thrill seekers, families and those seeking a place to get away from it all can find a great fit in Lake Lure.” Bryant points to the endless amenities in and around the lake for those looking for endless activities and also muchneeded solitude.


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“You can zip line through the thick hardwood and evergreen forests, horseback ride through the rolling valleys, catch some rays on the beach, rappel and hike our mountains, or cruise, ski and float in the sparkling waters of the lake — all in one day,” he said. Susie Zimmerman can also attest to those words. “There’s such a serene calmness to Lake Lure,” she said. “I’m not even sure there is a way to describe it — it’s almost a feeling, sort of like when you take a picture of a Christmas tree, it still doesn’t give you the feeling of being there and seeing its beauty.” Innkeeper at The Lodge at Lake Lure, Zimmerman knows first-hand not only the natural splendor of lake life, she sees it too in the faces of the guests who stay with her. “There’s lot of energy and excitement, everyone is just happy to be here,” she said. “Once you’re in the area and travel the

“No other community can offer both a relaxing environment and exciting opportunities for adventure in perfect harmony.” — Patrick Bryant, The 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa

Majestic Lake Lure is located just a short drive from downtown Hendersonville. Facing page: The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge is the modern incarnation of the historic 1925 Rocky Broad River bridge, which was closed to traffic in 2011. DONATED PHOTO (ABOVE) • MARGARET HESTER PHOTO (FACING PAGE)

mountains and the lakes, you’re going back to nature — we want you to have an unforgettable experience.” “Lake Lure is a special gem. There’s no other mountain lake I have encountered that offers such stunning beauty in Western North Carolina,” Bryant added. “The cold waters of our mountain streams and rivers merge into the sparkling waters of our lake, lapping against our tranquil shores, reflecting the sun’s warm rays on the mountain faces and ridges — it’s simply majestic.” With downtown Asheville, Hendersonville and Waynesville nearby, the pleasures of urban life are all within a short drive from Lake Lure. “You have cosmopolitan downtown

areas and rural vistas all at your front door, and the many amenities we’re able to enjoy in the mountains,” Bryant said. “Here, there is a full changing of the seasons, with genuine and friendly people, a great live music scene and some of the best craft breweries in the nation.” And yet, with everything one might desire at their fingertips, what remains is a unique body of water, tucked away from the outside world, ready to reveal its secrets to those curious enough to venture into the arms of Mother Nature. “In the winter, I’ll look out on the lake and see the ice, the snow on the mountains, everything sparkling like diamonds — it’s absolutely beautiful,” Zimmerman said.

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Golf GOLF COURSES Asheville Municipal Golf Course Municipal 226 Fairway Drive, Asheville 828-298-1867 •

Biltmore Forest Country Club Private 31 Stuyvesant Road, Asheville 828-274-1261

Black Mountain Golf Course Municipal 15 Ross Drive, Black Mountain 828-669-2710

Broadmoor Golf Links Public 101 French Broad Lane, Fletcher 828-687-1500

The Omni Grove Park Inn and Spa overlooks the resort’s recently restored greens. OMNI GROVE PARK INN PHOTO

Cliffs At Walnut Cove Private 268 Walnut Valley Parkway, Arden 888-988-3040 •

Country Club of Asheville Private 170 Windsor Road, Asheville 828-258-9762 •

Crowne Plaza Tennis and Golf Resort Public 1 Resort Drive, Asheville 828-253-5874 •

Cummings Cove Golf & Country Club Public 20 Cummings Cove Parkway, Hendersonville 828-891-9412 •

Etowah Valley Golf Club Public 470 Brickyard Road, Etowah 800-451-8174 •

High Hampton High Vista Country Club Public 88 Country Club Road, Mills River 828-891-1986 •

Mount Mitchell Golf Club Public 11484 N.C. 80 South, Burnsville 828-675-5454 •

Omni Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa Public 290 Macon Avenue, Asheville 800-438-5800 •

Orchard Trace Golf Club Public 3389 Sugarloaf Road, Hendersonville 828-685-1006


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Swing for the hills There’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 Omni 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. Over 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 other PGA stars like 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.

Golf TEEING UP TRANQUILITY — WAYNESVILLE INN, GOLF RESORT & SPA When asked why he loves Western North Carolina, Travis Smith had to pause for a moment. “Well, that’s a good question,” he chuckled. “It’s special to me because I’ve been here most of my life. I love the mountains, the people. You’re away from the cities, from all the traffic and noise.” Director of Golf at the Waynesville Inn, Golf Resort & Spa, Smith oversees the day-to-day course operations, making sure locals and visitors who arrive to play also leave ready to come back for more. “My job is to make sure everything is taken care of to ensure you have a great time out there,” he said. The property houses three 9-hole courses. “Blue Ridge” and “Dogwood” are more mountainous, while “Carolina” is flatter. These variations provide welcomed challenges for seasoned pros and easy-to-navigate playing surfaces for novice golfers. “What’s really attractive on our courses is that they aren’t extremely long,” Smith said. “A lot of new courses being built are very long and that can be too much. Our courses give families, kids and older folks a chance to really come out, play and have fun at their own pace.” Smith also noted the efficiency of the courses. “It can normally take up to five hours to play a round of golf,” he said. “But here, we do a really good job of making sure a round takes three to four hours, which is great for families because it can sometimes be hard for them to find time to come and play.” Originally a dairy farm, the Waynesville Inn, Golf Resort & Spa opened in 1926 as the Waynesville Country Club. The Carolina “9” was designed by Donald Ross, considered the most prolific golf architect in the history of the sport. Ross’ intent was to construct courses that were not only challenging, but also accessible for all skill levels and aesthetically pleasing, too. And as Waynesville and Western North Carolina grew, culturally and economically, so did the reputation of The Waynesville Inn. In 2009, the Waynesville Country Club changed its name to the

Waynesville Inn, Golf Resort & Spa, a move that better suited the location’s place within the community and beyond. Playing host to the likes of PGA legends Sam Snead, Chi-Chi Rodriquez and Arnold Palmer, the business has maintained an identity for decades as a mountain destination for golf enthusiasts and those simply looking t get away from it all. “With three courses and 27 holes, you could play two days in a row and get a different combination of courses,” Smith said. “Our

“With three courses and 27 holes, you could play two days in a row and get a different combination of courses. Our courses are for every level of player — it’s all about having fun and enjoying yourself.” — Travis Smith, Waynesville Inn, Golf Resort & Spa courses are for every level of player — it’s all about having fun and enjoying yourself.” Smith himself grew up in Waynesville. He was introduced to the game of golf and took his first lessons at the inn. “I started coming here at an early age, around 9 years old, and took lessons from golf pro Duane Page,” he said. Now 38, it’s a full circle experience for Smith in now direction the golf operations at the exact course he got his first taste of golf on. And even though he’s played those courses innumerable times, hitting the links and being surrounded by the 360-degree mountain views doesn’t ever get stale for him. “It never gets old,” he said. “I enjoy the scenery and having that fresh mountain air, to be able to play some golf and take time to make a birdie — it’s what it’s all about.”



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Reems Creek Golf Club Semi-private 36 Pink Fox Cove Road, Weaverville 828-645-4393 •

Sequoyah National Golf Club Public 79 Cahons Road, Whittier 828-497-3000 •

Smoky Mountain Country Club Public 1300 Conley Creek Road, Whittier 800-474-0070. •

Southern Tee Golf Course Public 111 Howard Gap Road, Fletcher 828-687-7273

Springdale Country Club Public 200 Golfwatch Road, Canton 800-553-3027 •

Waynesville Inn, Golf Resort & Spa Public 176 Country Club Drive, Waynesville 800-627-6250 •

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 topnotch public courses, including the Sequoyah National in Cherokee (designed by Robert Trent Jones II) and the historic 27 holes at Waynesville Inn, Golf Resort & 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 in Western North Carolina have attitude as well as altitude, challenging golfers in the most gorgeous of settings.

Elevate your game. Located 45 minutes west of Asheville, North Carolina and nestled among the oak, fir and flowered valleys in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains resides Sequoyah National Golf Club. Owned by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, this Robert Trent Jones II design offers golfers an idyllic 18 hole journey, filled with scenic vistas, beautiful landscapes and challenging golf.

Call 828.497.3000 or visit

Download our free mobile app to book your tee time today!

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With a population of 75,000 and growing, Asheville is the largest city in Western North Carolina and serves as the area’s economic and cultural nerve center in many ways. Billed as a place where “altitude affects attitude,” Asheville is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and is just a short car ride to the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s been renowned as a place to retreat and take in natural wonders since the 1800s. Over the last decade its once-dormant downtown has exploded with commerce and entertainment that is second-tonone in the Southeast. With a theme of “cosmopolitan country,” the culinary scene is bursting at the seams in and around the city. In 2013, The Daily Meal ranked Asheville “The #1 Locavore City in America” (food that comes from within a 100-mile radius), while that same year The Huffington Post named it one of the “Cities You Need To Visit.” As far back as 2007 Asheville started getting noticed. It topped the list of the 100 best places to live that year, while U.S. News & World Report named it one of “America’s best affordable places to retire” for 2009. And in an August 2011 report, Good Morning America pegged Asheville as one of the “10 most beautiful places in America.” There are nearly two dozen craft breweries in Buncombe County, with their delicious output lauded by beer enthusiasts. In 2009, Imbibe magazine’s readers voted Asheville the “best craft beer city in America,” and from 2010-2012, Asheville has won a national online poll for the coveted title of “Beer City USA.” In 2014, the city was named one of the “Top Ten Foliage Destinations” in the United States by USA TODAY, ranked one of the “Best Places to Live” by and one of the “Smartest Cities in America” by Forbes. It was also recognized by

From live music to farmer’s markets, craft festivals to outdoor adventure, Asheville and greater Western North Carolina is a utopian region for any and all ready to take on all of life’s treasures. MARGARET HESTER PHOTO (BACKGROUND) MAX COOPER PHOTOS (INSET)

National Geographic on their list of the “World’s Best Cities,” who described the location as “a mecca of awesome mountain scenery, bohemian art and southern cuisine.” These days, Asheville is firming 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. named it 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. Outdoors enthusiasts find no shortage of activities in Asheville, whether it’s hiking, biking and climbing, 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 an outdoors destination that a few years ago 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. recently named the city the best place in the nation to view fall foliage. Amid this renowned city are six distinct areas — Downtown, Biltmore Village, Biltmore Park, North Asheville, Rivers Arts District and West Asheville — each as unique as the people, places and things that inhabit them.


Downtown The heart of the city, downtown Asheville is a vibrant, cultural mecca. In both 2010 and 2011, the readers of AmericanStyle magazine voted it the “top small-city arts destination” in the country. This section is full of galleries and shops displaying all manners of art, 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 hosts exhibits, talks and workshops that celebrate the legacy of the college, a noted avant-garde institution from 1933-1957. The performing arts also flourish in Asheville, with dozens of venues hosting live music, readings, theatre and comedy on a nightly basis. The U.S Cellular Center is the largest, with both a 7,600seat arena and the 2,400-seat Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. The center hosts everything from performances by the Asheville Symphony Orchestra to roller derby bouts starring the Blue Ridge Rollergirls to the Southern Conference Basketball Tournament. 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 1970s-era music club, draws national acts on a nightly basis and was recently named one of the best rock venues in America by Rolling Stone. And on just about any given night, innumerable bars, breweries, clubs and restaurants around the city feature live music of various genres.

Locals and tourists alike can enjoy the waterpark in downtown Asheville (above), a meal at Curaté (below, left), or a delightfully irreverant tour of Asheville aboard a LaZoom bus (below). MARGARET HESTER PHOTO (ABOVE) • MAX COOPER PHOTOS (BELOW)


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Downtown is home to the Asheville Wine & Food Festival (left), Shindig on the Green summer concert series (above) and Moogfest. GARRET K. WOODWARD PHOTOS (LEFT AND INSET) • MAX COOPER PHOTO (ABOVE)

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 U.S. Cellular Center is home to the fourday 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 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. One of Asheville’s newest festivals, the Mountain Sports Festival hosts an array of outdoor gear demonstrations, live music and craft beer each Memorial Day weekend in nearby Carrier Park. For those who find


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large-scale festivals 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 celebrating the funkier side of Asheville’s underground arts and music. Every April since 2009, 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 during the springtime, is a three-day affair that celebrates the legacy of electronic-instrument inventor Bob Moog, who lived out his final decades in Asheville. In 2012, the inaugural Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit overtook downtown at the end of October, showcasing some of the finest digital stage acts from around the globe. Of course, traditional music also gets its due. 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. 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 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. The city has recently 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. The sky’s the limit for activities in downtown Asheville. Food to festivals, crafts to craft beer, music to mountains — it’s all here, ready for the taking.

Welcome to our neighborhood by the lake. With more than 600 homes, Biltmore Lake is one of Western North Carolina’s most thriving master-planned communities. The community is centered around the 62-acre lake, which provides opportunities for kayaking, fishing, and swimming. Set within more than 1,000 acres, Biltmore Lake’s

neighborhoods connect seamlessly by way of streets, sidewalks, trails, and common areas, making chance encounters with neighbors and friends all the more likely. While each neighborhood offers a unique perspective, they all enjoy the same idyllic mountain character and amenities.

Want to discover Asheville’s premier lakeside community? Visit or call (828) 209-LAKE(5253). Marketed exclusively by Beverly-Hanks & Associates, Asheville, NC. Biltmore Lake® is a trademark of, and developed by, Biltmore Farms, LLC. This is not intended to be an offer to sell nor a solicitation of offers to buy real estate in Biltmore Lake® by residents of CT, HI, IL, NY, NJ, OR, PA and SC or in 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. This offer is void where prohibited. All prices and plans are subject to change without prior notice. ©2015 Biltmore Farms, LLC



John Ellis has had his doors open for 18 years. “This building is a testament to the vision of the people who built it,” he said. Managing director for the Diana Wortham Theatre, Ellis sits in his office a few floors above Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville. In 1997, he left Upstate New York and took his current position at the theatre. Already having an affinity for Western North Carolina, he saw the potential of the art scene, which, at that time, was still in its early stages of a cultural revitalization. “When the theatre opened in 1992, it became kind of a white elephant for the city, with nobody really knowing what to do with it,” Ellis said. “It wasn’t a cultural center built for the sake of culture, it had a very direct purpose for downtown revitalization and redevelopment. If you’re going to revitalize a downtown you need nightlife, and they built the theatre without knowing who or what should go in here, just that we should have one.” Ellis wanted to not only perpetuate the organization’s original artistic mission, but also nurture the endless possibility of what could and does hit the stage. “So, instead of deciding what we should produce and put onstage, we opened the doors to the community,” he said. Soon, groups like the Asheville Lyric Opera, Asheville Puppetry Association and Motion Dance Theatre formed and came knocking on the door. All community run organizations, they each now have a home, a stage to call their own. And in the coming years, the theatre will also add a smaller performance stage and a black box theatre


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tailor-made for the groups. “We meet what we consider a need and a demand from small organizations for these spaces,” Ellis said. “It can be, and is, tough for these smaller orgs to have all the infrastructure there to support them, and by having a collection of three stages there will be a centralized staff, box office and marketing that we hope will provide an economic model that will work.” At the core of the theatre is its “Mainstage Series.” Encompassing a wide variety of national and international performers, Ellis and his staff aim to bring onstage acts that you won’t see or hear anywhere else. “Asheville already has such a vibrant live music scene, so what can we bring in that no one else has?” he said. “Only here would you see a circus from Prague or a renowned Japanese drummer. For us, it’s about building that core audience, those people who trust in what you’ll bring to the stage.” And it’s the audience having those unique experiences that showcases the beauty of the theatre. “It’s great when someone in the audience says to me, ‘I knew nothing about that performer and I loved them,’” Ellis smiled. “It’s incredibly satisfying to see an artist in New York City or wherever and know I want to bring that back to Asheville, I want to share that with our audiences because they will appreciate it, they will have a sense of discovery, they will see something they didn’t anticipate.” Entering his 18th year with the theatre, Ellis couldn’t imagine doing anything else. It is that reciprocated love between his organization and Southern Appalachia that fuels his passion for bringing the worldclass arts to his own backyard. “It’s still fun working those 16- or 18-hour show days,” he said. “And at 5 o’clock you’re ready to go home, and — John Ellis, yet you still have a Diana Wortham Theatre performance that night, but the show rolls around and all your energy is back and your smiling. Then you hear the performers hit the stage and the audience reaction, and you realize why you do this and what got you into this in the first place.” When asked why he still likes calling Western North Carolina home, a grin rolls across Ellis’ face. “A lot of people move here from other metropolitan areas and they have a taste for the arts, an affinity for them. Asheville is a small city, but with all the urban attributes, restaurants, arts scene and vibrancy that can be experienced in a larger area,” he said. “It’s the urban, the natural built and human built environment. I drive to work and I find myself hit the steering wheel, saying, ‘Damn, I live here.’” GRANT HALVERSON PHOTO


“For us, it’s about building that core audience, those people who trust in what you’ll bring to the stage.”


Biltmore Village One of the most unique shopping experiences in the South, Biltmore Village, is home to high-end boutiques, open-aired restaurants, locally owned retailers and other points of commercial and residential interest. Built as a community entrance for the renowned Biltmore Estate, the village is filled with tree-lined streets, historic homes and majestic architecture. 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.


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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. The estate’s Biltmore Winery is also one of the largest in the area, and features both tours of the vineyards and an expansive tasting room.

The Biltmore Village Art & Craft Fair (above) draws a crowd to the heart of the village (below). MAX COOPER PHOTO • DONATED PHOTO


n 1972, the art scene in Asheville was pretty much nonexistent. And yet John Cram saw the promise of what could transpire in the city. “It was a sleepy town, but I looked around and was just amazed at its potential,” the 66-year-old said. Owner of New Morning Gallery in Biltmore Village, Cram sits at one of the beautiful handcrafted tables on the second floor of his business, hovering about the always-busy



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Hendersonville Road, a main artery of travel and commerce in Western North Carolina. “The trick is to get people to come upstairs,” he smiled. “It’s about getting them away from the rest of the world and into this great space.” Heading up the staircase, one immediately steps into a vast room of items, from finely crafted jewelry to pottery, glassware to furnishings. And the moment you think you’ve seen it all, you head towards the back of the main room, which then opens up to an endless showroom of local, region and national artisan crafts. Representing over 900 artists, Cram aims to bring quality and beauty straight to those entering his gallery. “I’m a compulsive buyer. If I see something I like, I’ll purchase it and not know where to place it,” he laughed. When Cram came to Western North Carolina in 1972 he was fresh out of college in Wisconsin. Asheville was his wife’s hometown. He was fascinated with the longtime craft traditions of

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Asheville Southern Appalachia, and with that, immediately wanted to open a gallery. “One of the reasons why I felt strongly about the potential success in an area like this was because I realized very quickly people were coming into my gallery that may not be at all interested in what I was selling and then would find something they really liked,” he said. Named after the Bob Dylan song “New Morning,” the gallery opened across the street from its current location. Cram began small, slowly and steadily making contacts in craft circles and at the legendary Penland School of Crafts nearby. He also would take off for the mountains on the weekends, always in search of incredible works to display in his business. “Mountain people around here were all object makers, creating out of necessity. And it’s that greater appreciation for handmade items that is deeply rooted in this area,” he said. New Morning Gallery in Biltmore Village. GARRET K. WOODWARD PHOTO The business then relocated to its current spot in 1979. And as its success grew, so did Cram’s ambition to keep its identity in a changing world. shaping and nurturing the creative spirit within Asheville. If an effort “There’s this intrinsic value to the objects these artists create, to save the numerous beautiful structures falling into disrepair in where these people that have vision and do have vision, they affect downtown, he created the Asheville Preservation Society, launched the whole community wherever they may live,” Cram said. “This area the Village Art & Craft Fair (celebrating 43 years in 2015), is unbeatable, where you can drive and see pristine, preserved resurrected an old theatre (now the beloved Fine Arts Theatre on landscapes. Asheville is a jewel, like a ring, a big diamond with Biltmore Avenue) and opened the Blue Spiral 1 Gallery. These mountain prongs that hold this jewel together.” moves were made at a time when Asheville was still searching for


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River Arts District A rising jewel of the Southern Appalachian arts scene is the Asheville River Arts District, an ever-expanding complex of studios, galleries, cafes and pubs near the French Broad River that’s also becoming one of the city’s culinary and entertainment hubs. The Grey Eagle, a blossoming music venue in the RAD, brings in top talent from around the region and across the country. The club has cemented its spot as one of the renowned spots in the Southeast for live entertainment. Brewing some of the finest craft beer in the region, The Wedge is tucked behind the numerous art studios, restaurants and shops that dot the RAD.

THE GREY EAGLE If music is the universal language, then Jeff Whitworth speaks it fluently. “I believe that seeing an unforgettable show is one of the single most unifying experiences a room full of complete strangers can share — live music brings people together, plain and simple,” he said. “With the technological advancements our society has at our daily disposal, it’s more important than ever for folks to get out and interact with each other and experience real life.” The owner of The Grey Eagle, a renowned music club in the River Arts District of Asheville, Whitworth showcases genres from every part of the musical spectrum, with a weekly lineup that is show-for-show among the finest in the Southeast and beyond. “I just enjoy bringing a wide variety of great music to the Asheville area while at the same time providing a space where my community feels safe and welcomed on a nightly basis,” the 39-year-old said. Situated at the — Jeff Whitworth, intersection of The Grey Eagle Clingman Avenue and Haywood Road, the building itself resembles some old mechanics garage or long-forgotten store, where from the outside you find yourself wondering just what in the heck the fuss is about. You soon notice dozens of cars lined up and down the street, scores of people milling about, eventually heading inside. Stepping into the venue, a buzz of people and music surrounds you, with a delicious smell wafting from the Taqueria Con Cuida restaurant situated inside. The front entrance opens up into a large hallway, leading you into the main concert floor. The ceiling is low, to where you could almost touch the beams, the crowd packs in one-by-one, with those stage just a few feet away. It’s a unique experience, one only found in the confines of live music amid those filled with passion and

“I think this area has always had a vibrant music scene, even way before there were such things as ‘music scenes.’”


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The Wedge Brewery is a hot social spot in the River Arts District. MAX COOPER PHOTO

enthusiasm from both sides of the microphone. “It makes me happy when a room full of people, including myself, are completely in tune with what’s happening on stage,” Whitworth said. “There’s a very intimate vibe when seeing a show at The Grey Eagle and there is often times an indescribable connection between the crowd and the band.” Originally opened 20 years ago in Black Mountain, Whitworth purchased the club in 2004 and has been its owner since its relocation to downtown Asheville. The name of the venue comes from the local Cherokee and Catawba tribal description of the Black Mountain region. For Whitworth, setting down deep cultural, melodic and family roots in Asheville has been his mission since he came to the area in 1999. “I think this area has always had a vibrant music scene, even way before there were such things as ‘music scenes,’” he said. “From the traditional acoustic music that’s deeply rooted in this area to the beat writers that spent so much time at Black Mountain College, to the natural beauty we’re surrounded by, I think it’s just a perfect

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band at The Grey Eagle. GARRET K. WOODWARD PHOTO storm for a creative and nurturing artistic environment. And I think it always has been — well before our time here.” Day in and day out, The Grey Eagle pushes forth with their intent of bringing quality music to their own backyard. One night might feature a world-class West Coast jazz act, the next perhaps a raucous punk rock group from New York City or honky-tonk country band straight out of

Nashville. The variety and quality of music showcased at the venue is not only a testament to Whitworth and his vision, but also to the vibrant music culture of Asheville that is transitioning it from a small market to national concert hub. “It’s certainly growing exponentially currently. It seems like there is a new music venue opening in Asheville every month these past couple of years,” he said. “While it is somewhat over-saturating in what’s still considered a ‘small market,’ it’s providing more and more rooms for our local music scene to grow.” As The Grey Eagle continues to be a beacon for live music in the Southeast, Whitworth is thankful for being able to achieve the ideal balance of work, play and family only found in Western North Carolina. “Asheville has always felt like home to me, ever since the summers I spent at Montreat as a kid — I knew then it was where I’d eventually end up,” he said. “I love the mountains, and I love living in a part of the country where there are four clearly defined seasons. And most importantly it’s a great place for my wife and I to raise our family.”

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West Asheville Quite possibly the fastest growing area in the city, West Asheville has become home to numerous small businesses and is attracting young families who seek out its walkability and its great vibe. From cafés to restaurants, music venues to breweries, and everything in between, the area offers a warm welcome to the possibilities of niche commerce. The area is known for its “neighborhood friendly” image, where you’ll see just as many baby-strollers and joggers moseying down the sidewalks as patrons heading toward a concert or lunch date.

The West End Bakery in West Asheville (below) attracts a crowd that values walkability and variety in their downtown (above). GARRET K. WOODWARD PHOTOS

WEST END BAKERY For Krista Stearns and Cathy Cleary, it’s about creating a sense of community that is comfortable, cozy and cooperative. “We wondered what kind of business would create community among young families,” Stearns said. “We wanted to make this space where people would want to gather with friends and family.” Located on Haywood Road, Stearns and Cleary are co-owners of West End Bakery, a long-time culinary centerpiece in West Asheville. Opened in 1999, the business came to fruition as an idea to create a scene within a neighborhood that was on the verge of a rebirth. “At that time, we saw all of these beautiful old buildings here in this commercial district, and nothing was happening with them,” Stearns said. “There were a lot of abandoned buildings with a lot of young people moving into West Asheville because the real estate was affordable. So, we saw this need for more community spaces. We were blessed to be in one of the most walkable communities in all of Asheville, and also didn’t want to always have to go to downtown to get something to eat.” With Cleary’s lifelong passion for baking and Stearns’ enthusiastic community activism, the duo launched West End Bakery. Specializing in locally grown, organic, made-from-scratch cuisine, one can find a vegan or gluten-free option as easily as a hot and fresh pastry or cup of locally roasted coffee. “We felt a bakery café had such a great appeal because West Asheville is such a young family neighborhood,” Cleary said. “This neighborhood is where the hipster side of Asheville meets the family

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Asheville side, and they meld so well here at the bakery.” That first day, Cleary and Stearns unlocked the front door and awaited their fate. In no time, people began wandering in. “We were shocked that people immediately showed up here,” Cleary chuckled. “It was like having a party and you’re not sure if anyone will show up, and then they all do.” Since that initial opening, the bakery has become a mainstay in West Asheville, a testament to the residents and visitors that truly want to uphold their local businesses. “It’s exciting to have an established business, and it’s also a reflection of the community that supports us,” Cleary said. “We’re fortunate to be in this great neighborhood where people see the value in a small business.” To give back to the community that believes in them, Cleary started FEAST (Fresh, Easy, Affordable, Sustainable, Tasty), a local food education initiative that brings the skills to cook and identify quality meals into classrooms around the area. “We teach cooking classes with the goal of getting kids to eat healthy, wholesome food,” Cleary said. “It’s a hands-on class where we go into schools and after-school programs and show kids how to work with fresh fruits and vegetables.” In celebrating 15 years, both of them are thankful for their continued success of being surrounded by friendly, familiar and curious faces that enter their business each and every day. “For the last 15 years we’ve gotten to watch West Asheville grow


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Krista Stearns and Cathy Cleary. GARRET K. WOODWARD PHOTO around us in the most amazing way. I mean, we’ve had six new businesses recently open up within a two-block radius of us,” Stearns said. “And with all of these businesses now in West Asheville, it’s good for our business because it keeps us on our toes, keeps everything fresh, fun and interesting.” And being part of the community for all those years never gets old for Cleary, especially when she sees a customer stroll out of the bakery and into the world with their product in hand. “There will be times when I walk to work and see somebody walk down my street with a bag and cup of coffee from our shop,” she said. “And they may not know who I am, but they just had gone and gotten food from our bakery — it’s incredible.”



Biltmore Park

A “fresh re-imagining of the Main Streets of the past, made to meet today’s standards of smart growth, green living and reduced driving,” Biltmore Park is just minutes from downtown Asheville. Between an array of apartment, condo, townhouse and residential home options, the strength lies in the vibrant commercial/urban core of the community, which extends outwards into neighborhoods as unique as the people who inhabit them. At the center of the town are numerous restaurants, cafes, spas, health clubs, boutiques and gathering spots. Consumers and residents alike enjoy catching a flick at the Regal Biltmore Grande Stadium 15 movie theater or perusing retailers like REI, LOFT and Barnes & Noble. Amid these stores are plenty of local, independent businesses and worldclass merchants.

Barry Bialik had no intention of ever living in the South. “Asheville is the only West Coast city on the East Coast,” he said. “I’ve always lived in creative class cities and places — Seattle, Alaska, Austin — and I kept hearing about Asheville. I never imagined living on the East Coast, but I came here and it’s such a cool city. It has all the elements of an entrepreneurial environment — people come here because they want to be here and start something here.” And start something Bialik did. For the past almost seven years, he has owned and operated the Thirsty Monk in downtown Asheville. Known as one of the finest craft beer bars on the planet, with accolades that include “30 Best Beer Bars in America” (Paste), “50 Best Southern Bars” (Garden & Gun) and “#45 Best Beer Bar in the World” (Rate Beer). Bialik has built the beloved business into a brand that now encompasses locations in Biltmore Park and Reynolds Village. “When I was living in the northwest, the pub concept is very big out there. It’s a lot like an English pub, and I felt it was something that was lacking in downtown Asheville,” he said. In 2013 alone, the downtown social hub tapped 1,832 different beers. The building houses a specialized rare Belgian beer bar in the basement, taproom on the first floor and a classic cocktail space upstairs. “I want to make rare beer accessible for everyone to try,” Bialik said. “Everything has always been available by the pint, half-pint, flight or sample pour — it’s almost like a candy store for adults.” And the Biltmore Park pub’s popularity is matching that of the original location. Tucked away in the modernly designed retail


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Fox Fo ox Run R Preserve, Pres esserve, e a Biltmore Biltmo Biltm Biltmor il mor mo Farms ms Community Commun Communit mmunity Where here ere Nature N Natu is the e Favorite F orite Amenity Amenity it Fox Run Preserve eserve is a Biltm Biltmo ore Farms Community Co Commu ommun mmun y tucked into Hendersonville, nto o the hills of Hend Hende ersonville, onville, on only y om m historic istoric downt do downto dow nto own own. n. The commu community community’ oom s minutess from downtown. n provides conv onvenient onv nvenient access to the he firs firstlocation convenient class restaurant scene, staurant sce cene, ce ne, shops, hops,, and entertainment ainmen off ainm downtown wn Hender Hendersonville. errsonville. ville With i on nly 44 home sit sites es on 86 8 acres, a m more mo o than a fourth of the land in Fox ox x Run R n Pres Preserv Preserve erve rve is dedicate dedicated to pond, parks, and to green n space space, pace, a community communit uni pond unit d parks trails. This Th his gated gateed d community’s design invites you to o makee the m mo most stt of life in thee Weestern North Carolinaa mountain mountains. moun in Parks, gardens, spaces accent the gard g an and a green sp commun n s sanctuary-like nity’ san ssetting, which rises f m op pen en meadows meadow m d to a mat from open mature mountain fores rest. Home/lot H pack ckages ar forest. packages are available from Biltmorree Farms H Hom Home mes es starti Biltmore Homes starting in the mid $300s. Visit Vi i ou ur model home hom at at 68 G our Gossamer Court, Hend rsonville, Hend Hender rsonvi NC 28739 228 8 to experience the Hendersonville, quality lity and craftsmanship crafts craftsman of the Biltmore Farms Homeess Cottage Homes ottage tt C Collection an and learn more about this out outstanding community.

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Fox Run Preservee is mar marketed ark rketed eted exclusively by Beverly-H Beverly-Hanks Hanks & A As Associates, Asheville, Asheville NC. This T is not intended to be an of offer o er to sell nor a solicitation oof offers ffers to buy real estate in Fox Run Preserve by residents ents of CT CT, HI, ID, IL, NY Y, NJ, J, OR OR, PA PA and SC C or in any jurisdiction jurisdic whe wher ere prohibited by law. No offerin offering rin ing can be made to residentss off New Yo York k until ntil an offerin offering p plan iss filed with the Department ent of Law of o the State off N New Yo York. ork. All prices and plans are subject sub to chaange without prior notice. ce. Copyrightt © 2015 2 Biltmore tmore Farms Farms, s, LLC

cluster, the location is as cozy and inviting as it is filled with jovial folks and mesmerizing craft beer and liquor choices. Sitting at one of the tables, Bialik points out details within the establishment that make all the difference. “Everything is designed for the experience and for communication amongst people and patrons,” he said. “We buy regular tables and cut off two inches to bring people closer together. We want to be thought provoking, we want to encourage conversation and experimentation, whether it’s with their beer palettes, cocktail palettes or just meeting new people.” Bialik himself lives in Biltmore Park. As the downtown core is structured with commercial businesses, it spirals out, where you have condos and townhouses, which then separate further into small lot homes, ultimately ending with subdivisions and large properties. “The genius of the Biltmore Park development is that it’s a true downtown with a long-term approach to it,” he said. “It’s a walking community with miles and miles of paths — it’s a true urban density.” With that sense of community permeating strongly through Biltmore Park, Bialik likes the fact he can walk into the Thirsty Monk and sit down next to his neighbor and also have one of his other neighbors as an employee at the pub. “It’s about bringing people together who may live near each other but don’t have the opportunity to cross paths and start a conversation,” he said. “We’re a gathering place and that’s what I


Asheville “I want to make rare beer accessible for everyone to try.” — Barry Bialik, Thirsty Monk

love most about what we do here. It brings a smile to my face to be able to create this mission of community.” Now with three Thirsty Monk locations throughout the city, Bialik recently launched Open Brewing in Gerber Village. The brewery has a new take on the wildly popular Asheville craft beer scene, where “open-source brewing” would take place, which is a facility for homebrewers to make their recipes on a large scale and have them available for purchase. “Asheville is a great place to live. It’s an entrepreneur’s dream town,” he said. “There are lots of creative people here, lots of great people to work with. It’s a bootstrap town where if you’ve got a great idea you can pull it off here with enough hard work.”



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North Asheville With a large focus being placed on the rest of the city, North Asheville has been working behind the scenes, creating a steady stream of new, small business and eccentric development. Once overlooked, it is rapidly becoming a hot spot for retail and commercial businesses looking to stake out their own piece of land to pursue and cultivate their dreams. It is also a booming residential community, as residents enjoy both established neighborhoods and new apartment and condominium development. Science and education also loom large in the North Asheville 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, whose mission is to “bring the latest cyber tools and technologies to bear on pressing problems.”


Reynolds Village is a mixed-use development on the northern side of Asheville that offers a variety of commercial and residential units. DONATED PHOTO


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Cruising up Macon Avenue in North Asheville, one is immediately transported into an era of style and grace often forgotten or overlooked in a modern time. The bright red roof tiles and sparkling native granite stone of the Omni Grove Park Inn soon peek through the thick tree line. The building captivates you, almost as if to tease you of the beauty that’s to come. “You’re stepping into a fairy tale here,” said Tracey Johnston-Crum. Director of public relations and community outreach at the inn, Johnston-Crum is as welcoming and warm as the property she represents. Recently celebrating its 101st year of operation, the inn is a world-renowned destination of escape for any and all looking to get back to themselves, to step out of a hectic existence and focus on the most important voice — their own. “Asheville has always been a place for health and wellness, that great mountain air, where people would come to recharge and renew,” Johnston-Crum said. “The vision of the inn is the same today as it was in 1913. People still come here for the same reasons, and we’re able to extend that Southern hospitality, that idea of the three main things — rest, relaxation and respite.” Purchased by Omni in 2013, the entire inn received a $25 million dollar capital upgrade, which was meant to uphold the traditional style of the past and also provide modern amenities. Standing in the Great Hall, the main entrance to the inn, one is immediately washed over with a wave of beautiful art and craft furnishings, traditional and post-modern décor amid the hum of people wandering throughout the inn. It’s a scene of smiles and jovial conversation, where in one direction is a couple on their honeymoon, in another a family kicking back on their vacation or an older couple celebrating the anniversary. “We find a lot of multi-generational people returning here over and over again,” JohnstonCrum said. “There’s just this certain something special about this inn.”

The Sunset Terrace at the Omni Grove Park Inn. PHOTO COURTESY OF OMNI GROVE PARK INN

Besides its 513 sleeping rooms, the inn also boasts a majestic golf course, world-class spa, four specialty restaurants and several craft cocktail bars and lounges. “Whether you’re a hotel guest, spa guest, restaurant guest or just want to come in for a drink, we’re taking you into our home and want you to have an unforgettable experience,” Johnston-Crum said. And with their acclaimed restaurants — Sunset Terrace, Edison, Vue 1913 and Blue Ridge — come a keen sense of serving farm-totable dishes with items locally sourced from farms around Western North Carolina. “We source the best of what’s available locally because the best of what you can find is local. We utilize local produce and proteins and allow our chefs to have creative freedom in their restaurants. We want them to drive the food, to make it something unique and

interesting,” Johnston-Crum said. “What began in Asheville as an art revolution turned into a craft beer revolution, which then turned into a magnificent culinary culture that has received national merit.” Johnston-Crum herself grew up in Asheville, only to have a successful career as a professional actress on Broadway. She came back to Asheville to start a family and a new life, one that today is meeting and greeting all the incredible people she crosses paths with, and also perpetuating the history and grandeur of the inn. “How could you not love being in Western North Carolina?” she said. “There are those days you may get bogged down with life, and for me, when that happens, I’ll walk out onto the terrace overlooking the city, and see the sunset. It’s an immediate attitude adjustment — you feel alive again.”

“The vision of the inn is the same today as it was in 1913. People still come here for the same reasons, and we’re able to extend that Southern hospitality.” — Tracey Johnston-Crum, Omni Grove Park Inn

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Buncombe COUNTY

Arden & Mills River In 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 434-acre 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.”

become a leader in their field and maker of some of the finest microbrews for the last 35 years. Based out of Chico, California, the company hit 1 million barrels for their 2013 production year. With those staggering numbers, the company felt it was time to open an East Coast headquarters, with Asheville and Western North Carolina their ideal location not only for distributing strategies, but also for an unparalleled quality of life for their employees. 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

The 434-acre North Carolina Arboretum has 65 acres of cultivated gardens and 10 miles of hiking and biking trails. 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. In August 2014, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. opened a $100 million, 180-acre facility (with around 150 acres remaining a natural landscape) in Mills River, right next door to the Asheville Regional Airport. As one of the pioneers of the craft beer industry, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has


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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 year-round, 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, fishing tournaments and the Festival of Lights.

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Buncombe COUNTY

Weaverville & Barnardsville Two 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 local favorites on Main Street, Blue Mountain Pizza, Well-Bred Bakery & Café, and The Glass Onion) 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 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 semi-private 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

Weaverville prides itself on a tradition of neighborliness, offering residents ample opportunities to get to know each other.


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Weaverville’s walkable downtown features an eclectic mix of shops and eateries. MAX COOPER PHOTO

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 face-to-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, reenactments and educational presentations. The Vance home, a five-room log cabin, has been reconstructed around the original chimney and preserved in appropriately rustic, early19th century style, as have the six original log outbuildings. Ten miles northeast of Weaverville is the bucolic community of Barnardsville, set 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.

Have a meal or just indulge your sweet tooth at Well-Bred Bakery & Café in downtown Weaverville. MAX COOPER PHOTO

Barnardsville was once a town, but the residents decided to go unincorporated in 1970. As it shed its municipal government, it found other ways to build community connections. A local association coalesced and founded the Big Ivy Community Center, which has

evolved into a vibrant hub of activity. The center hosts a library, pre-school and swimming pool, and provides space for an array of gatherings, events and services, including a pre-school, after-school 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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Buncombe COUNTY

Downtown Black Mountain features a hearty cluster of independent businesses, including numerous antique dealers. The Chatlos Memorial Chapel on the grounds of The Cove (above) provides spiritual respite. MAX COOPER PHOTO • DONATED PHOTO

Black Mountain Nestled 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


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Asheville’s Biltmore mansion) in 1921. Also downtown is the nicely preserved historic train depot, which 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 bankside 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 oldest 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

Black Mountain is a community that breathes with a particular kind of mountain energy, embracing both its natural surroundings and its tastefully configured, small-town urban core.

wellness-focused high-end community. 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, 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, the Lake Eden Arts Festival brings together local and national artisans and musical acts. Visitors to LEAF, which often sells out early, can camp on the festival grounds or opt for day passes.

A beloved Black Mountain institution, the Lake Eden Arts Festival is a twice-yearly melting pot of art and music. LEAF PHOTO

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Henderson COUNTY

Hendersonville, long known for its historic charms, is blooming into the future. The town, population 13,000, is the largest in Henderson County and is the county seat. In recent years, it has revitalized the 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, 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

Hendersonville & Flat Rock 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. Local foods get a 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 council recently launched a performing arts series. The Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra, which celebrates its 44st anniversary in 2015, stages frequent performances and

Downtown Hendersonville is a vibrant location, filled with cafés, shops and restaurants (above). The Western North Carolina Air Museum houses a variety of vintage aircraft such as this 1946 Fairchild 24R (inset). MARGARET HESTER PHOTO (ABOVE) WESTERNNORTHCAROLINAAIRMUSEUM.COM PHOTO (INSET)

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add new amenities,” Volk said. “Because we approached the revitalization in phases over three years, we were able to see what worked and what people liked. We incorporated more trees and tables, chairs, and benches in the later phases, all very popular with our visitors.” Volk points to the recent influx of new cafes, restaurants, bars and social gathering spots as another facet of downtown’s vivacious character and charm. “We’re fortunate to have a wide variety of stores, restaurants and professional offices, as well as Flat Rock Playhouse downtown, which draws people to Main Street all day and into the evening,” she said. “We have special events, festivals, and concerts to encourage more local residents and out of town guests to come on down.” Hazzard notes the current push by the city to bring create more multi-use properties in downtown, filled with commercial and residential spaces. This also plays into plans to connect downtown

Mayor Barbara Volk of Hendersonville has seen her city go through a cultural and social evolution in recent years. “We are a lovely, lively town filled with friendly people who are proud of our mountain community,” she said. For decades, downtown looked like any other downtown in America. Two lanes of opposing traffic, department stores, and pretty quiet once the sun went down. In the 1970s, a curvilinear lined street was put in place to give the road more appeal, though other advancements to increase pedestrian traffic never seemed to materialize. And, for decades, that’s just the way it was. That was until 2007, when local company Luther E. Smith & Associates Landscape Architecture/Land Planning was brought in by the city to give downtown its much needed 21st century makeover. “What we wanted to do was make downtown more vibrant, more pedestrian friendly, to make it work better in all scenarios of everyday life, and also make it flexible for parades, outdoor markets, art installations and other events,” said David Hazzard, project manager for Luther E. Smith & Associates. In planning out their design, the company wanted to open up downtown, let the space breathe, where pedestrians can not only move about freely, but also be encouraged to spend as much time as possible enjoying their downtown experience. “In the [new design], we felt the pedestrian should come first. There are plenty of highway corridors in the region, state and country. In our For the better part of the last decade, downtown Hendersonville has gone through an extensive revitalization to downtown setting, it’s the sidewalks, transform its once typical Main Street into an aesthetically pleasing, pedestrian friendly space. GARRET K. WOODWARD PHOTO it’s the pedestrian and the pedestrian experience, and not about the car,” Hazzard said. “We designed for the pedestrian and allowed for the car, as opposed to a design for the car [and traffic] and to just throw sidewalks on it for pedestrians.” — Barbara Volk, Hendersonville mayor Those initiatives implemented included removal of numerous large with surrounding parks and the future possibility of the Ecuta Rail brick planter boxes lining Main Street, redesigning curb and Trail, an abandoned rail line between Hendersonville and Brevard crosswalk entries, platforms along the route for farmer’s markets that could open up endless recreational opportunities. All of this is and festivals, bringing in native vegetation (plants like black-eyed in an effort to encourage more pedestrian mobility and truly bring susans, rhododendrons, oakleaf hydrangeas, with red maples, forth that ideal sense of community. fruitless sweetgum and shademaster honey locust trees) and using “I’ve really enjoyed this project, it’s been a lot of positive growth, a a granular soil mix to allow water to properly reach the roots of the positive experience,” Hazzard said. “Day in and day out I’m seeing trees (an idea that also helps in mitigating rainwater). the effects of this project — it’s pretty amazing to see how far its “Although we were doing well and had a pretty downtown before come in the last decade.” the renovation, we needed to update outmoded infrastructure and

“Because we approached the revitalization in phases over three years, we were able to see what worked and what people liked.”


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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-acre 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. The park also 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 skate park.

Hendersonville is home to numerous museums and historical sites such as the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society. MARGARET HESTER PHOTO

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Henderson COUNTY

DuPont State Forest (above), the North Carolina Apple Festival (right), and the Carl Sandburg Home (inset) are all popular destinations in Hendersonville. VISITNC.COM PHOTO HISTORIC HENDERSONVILLE PHOTO • NPS PHOTO

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 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


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National Register of Historic Places, and today the 15-acre site is owned and run by the county school system, and 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 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. 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 100,000 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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Roughly 100,000 patrons visit the playhouse annually and in a recent independent study it was reported that FRP contributes 14 million dollars annually to the county bottom line. For 2015, the playhouse will showcase 16 productions, which include six musicals on the main stage, one youth production, as well as four plays and five Music on the Rock performances at the Playhouse Downtown. “Flat Rock Playhouse has always been a draw for artistic professionals,” Bryant said. “Many of our ‘vagabond’ family began their professional careers here, and have returned season after season for the beauty and lifestyle unique to Western North Carolina.” Heading into their 63rd season, seeing the audience take their seats and the performers hit the stage never gets old for the playhouse staff. “Sharing a love of live theater and artistic excellence are the sparks that light the playhouse fire. Year after year and season after season, there is simply no feeling like the one experienced by our actors and staff on opening night of a production,” Bryant said. “It give us great pleasure to bring joy to the community we’ve all come to love and care so deeply about. We look forward — Lisa K. Bryant, Artistic to doing it for 63 more years — and beyond.” Director, Flat Rock Playhouse MICHAEL CAIRNS PHOTO

hat started out as Rob Roy Farquhar’s vision to establish an artistic haven for theatre professionals outside of New York City turned out to be a 63-year celebration of performance and community for the Flat Rock Playhouse. While the playhouse has been historically proud of the professional productions produced over the years, they are equally proud of their commitment to education. Lisa K. Bryant, the fourth artistic director in playhouse history, is dedicated to Farquhar’s founding principle of the importance of arts education and is exploring what that looks like in today’s world. “We believe that education is a key component to our strategic long-term success, relevancy and service to Henderson County and Western North Carolina,” she said. We are closely evaluating our educational model and are working diligently to craft meaningful arts programming that will enhance the lives and experiences of our local K-12 youth, keep relevant our robust apprentice program which serves college-age pre-professionals, and introduce specific professional development opportunities for staff and guest artists alike.” Just down the road from bustling Hendersonville, the playhouse is situated along Little River Road in the village of Flat Rock. The 14acre property is covered with a vibrant forest that resides in a cultural hotspot for the region, which includes the Flat Rock Playhouse MainStage, educational offices, artist housing and the historic Lowndes House. In 2010, the 250-seat Playhouse Downtown opened on Main Street in Hendersonville. And all of this started in 1937, when a group of struggling performers decided to take their talents on the road and see what they could come up with. In 1940, they stumbled across Western North Carolina and were greatly received by local residents and tourists alike. Originally, they performed at an old gristmill that was converted into a playhouse. Following World War II, the performers returned and opened the Lake Summit Playhouse, only to eventually purchase the current property from the village of Flat Rock. They started there with a big top tent, then installed a roof, then walls, which today makes up the large, barn-like main stage structure. “That troupe of actors literally did everything,” Bryant said. “They did the marketing, produced the shows, built the sets and costumes, sold the tickets, parked the cars, and following the show went up and down the aisles looking for donations to keep the playhouse going.” And it’s that strong, determined and passionate work ethic that resulted in the Flat Rock Playhouse being named “The State Theater of North Carolina” by the N.C. General Assembly in 1961. Since that time, the nonprofit organization has seen ups and downs, but through it all has remained a vital entity.

“Sharing a love of live theater and artistic excellence are the sparks that light the playhouse fire.”

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Henderson COUNTY


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. The Mountain State Fair drew an estimated 175,000 attendees from around the region. The WNC Agricultural Center’s 87Fletcher is home to the Feed & Seed, a acre multi-use facility hosts events year community gathering spot for mountain music and dancing. MAX COOPER PHOTO round, including horse and livestock shows, a variety of professional conferences, classic-car events and multiple trade shows. A small town that enjoys close proximity to some of Several times a year, the Ag Center welcomes thousands of Western North Carolina’s biggest attractions, businesses and arms aficionados to the Land of the Sky Gun and Knife natural wonders, Fletcher is no longer simply a sleepy stopping Show, which outgrew its traditional home at the U.S. Cellular point between Asheville and Hendersonville. Center in Asheville. The show has expanded significantly, The town’s motto, fittingly, is “Pride in our past, and faith in adding 130 new vendors our future.” Fletcher is growing at a steady and smooth pace, (upwards of 450). The with its current population of 7,340 more than double what it upsizing was made was a 20 years ago. The town sits on six square miles of possible by the recent relatively flat land, with the Blue Ridge Mountains on the completion of the Davis close horizon. Event Center, a 45,000Located in north Henderson County, Fletcher is just a square-feet arena that’s quick jaunt away some of the most vibrant and culturally rich outfitted with huge cities and towns in the region. Asheville, Black Mountain, exhibit spaces, several Brevard, Flat Rock, Hendersonville, Mills River, Lake Lure conference rooms and an and Saluda are all within a 20-mile radius of the town. onsite restaurant. Fletcher is uniquely positioned for national and Other new economic international travelers, and a great spot to host visitors from opportunity is brewing in near and far. In addition to ready access to the nearby Fletcher, as the town, in conjunction with the Fletcher Area Interstate 26, residents are just minutes away from Asheville Business Association, is developing a “Heart of Fletcher Regional Airport, which offers nonstop flights to almost all District.” The mixed-used district is being tailored to support major U.S. cities. The airport is going through a growth spurt small retail businesses, professional offices and independent of its own, adding new routes on a regular basis. restaurants, and will feature a new Town Hall complex, built in In recent years, the town has expanded its health and part with a special $5 million community-facilities loan from recreation initiatives, implementing a greenways master plan the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, Fletcher has that makes the community more walkable and bikable. At long been home to (and close to) major manufacturing and present, there are 4.5 miles of connected trails; the plan industrial facilities. envisions expanding the network to some 13 miles. Two local

Fletcher is just a quick jaunt away some of the most vibrant and culturally rich cities and towns in the region.


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Haywood COUNTY

Waynesville, Maggie Valley, Canton & Clyde High peaks mountains 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 it a unique mountain community. Haywood 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 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. 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 also the popular Mountain Street Dances on several Friday nights during the summer beginning at 6:30 p.m. 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. On the west side of Waynesville is Hazelwood Village, which has merged with the town but has maintained its own identity and evolved into a revitalized retail district, including pottery

Art After Dark (left) and the Waynesville Historic Farmer’s Market (above) are two of the many regular events that draw the community together. MAX COOPER PHOTOS


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Haywood COUNTY

It never ceases to amaze Lorraine Conard. “It’s a little bit magical,” she said. “You walk in and there’s this energy and excitement, a heartbeat within the community — I’m always so grateful and thankful for the people who come in.” Lorraine and her husband, Rodney, own and operate The Strand at 38 Main in downtown Waynesville, a renovated movie theatre. A beloved destination for many years, it lay dormant for far too long, only to be purchased, renovated and revived by the young couple. “The last year has really been a rollercoaster, and we’ve learned so much,” Lorraine said. “It’s been incredibly challenging and rewarding, too — it’s a huge job.” On any given weekend, The Strand will screen an array of films, from blockbuster superhero flicks to romantic comedies, foreign sensations to cinema classics and children’s favorites. “We’re trying to figure out the best give and take, what people are interested in and are looking to see,” Rodney said. “I remember seeing ‘Flash Gordon’ here when I was a kid, and it’s great to be able to provide this place for families and people to come and enjoy the movies.” After a handful of goodhearted attempts to bring the theatre back to life, the Conards bought it out of foreclosure. The space would serve two purposes, as a main office for the couple’s daytime business that specializes in barcode scanning, and as an entertainment hub of Waynesville at night. But, that initial plan shifted as responsibilities and the continual evolution of the theatre takes up more and more of their time. “It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle,” Lorraine smiled. “The original goal what to have it just be a fun thing in downtown, have a theatre on the side of our business, and help bring more traffic and people to town, but that hasn’t been the case.” When films weren’t being screened, live music takes center stage. Acts from across the country and around the world find their way to The Strand. One night there may be a renowned Appalachian storyteller, the next an acoustic duo from Vermont, only to follow that up with a local old-time string band or bluegrass outfit. “It’s great to be able to offer all kinds of music, but it can be also

“The small town movie theatre is a disappearing wonder. It’s getting lost in so many places and we have a chance to keep it alive here.” — Lorraine Conard, The Strand at 38 Main


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nerve-wracking because a lot of these groups are from out-of-town and might not be so well known,” Rodney said. “But, for tonight’s show, we’re expected a packed house.” That evening, virtuoso Celtic fiddler Jamie Laval rolled into the theatre. The U.S National Scottish Fiddle Champion, Laval has played with Dave Matthews and also performed personally for Her Majesty the Queen in England. The Conards are not only excited for the impending show, but also for the folks from far and wide in Southern Appalachia that will trickle in shortly for a memorable evening. “We’re trying to fill a niche,” Lorraine said. “So many people go to Asheville for entertainment, and we want to be able to provide that same kind of atmosphere in their own town.” With a solid foundation of film and live music throughout the week, The Strand recently transformed their entrance room into a “Dessert Lounge.” Where before you could get popcorn and snacks before sitting down to a movie, you can now get an array of local products. With local artisan organic soda from the Waynesville Soda Jerks still a mainstay at the establishment, patrons can also purchase a variety of locally made products, including handmade ice cream from The Hop in Asheville, cakes and pretzels from Just Simply Delicious, brownies from Lenoir Bakery, items from Breaking Bread Café, baked goods from City Bakery a few doors down and craft beer from BearWaters and Frog Level breweries across town, among others. “The Dessert Lounge has it’s own separate life and vibe,” Lorraine said. “People can stroll downtown, come in and get an ice cream or a slice of cake and a cappuccino.” And as night falls upon the mountainous landscape of Western North Carolina once again, the marquee lights of The Strand illuminate, like a lighthouse calling out for all those in search of simpler time all to often forgotten in a modern world, where a scoop of ice cream or sitting down to a favorite flick is a moment to reflect and revel in the magic of life. “The small town movie theatre is a disappearing wonder,” Lorraine said. “It’s getting lost in so many places and we have a chance to keep it alive here. This is our community space, this is our theatre, your theatre, everybody’s theatre — come here and be part of the magic.”



Maggie Valley and Lake Junaluska attract visitors seeking everything from wholesome tourist fun to spiritual enlightenment. MAX COOPER PHOTOS

studios, a coffee roastery, 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 is held 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, 2.5-mile paved walking/jogging path around the lake with a 1.5-mile extension available. There are ducks, geese and swans, benches, bridges, dam, butterfly garden and a rose walk along the path. In addition to lodging accommodations open, a couple of good restaurants and the World Methodist Museum also are on the grounds, 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. 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. 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 Valley, featuring a world-class collection of historic motorcycles and cars. One of the popular mainstays in Maggie Valley is 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 East to open. Near the ski resort is the Cataloochee Ranch, which has cabins, horse stables, a grand old lodge and restaurant, all atop a 5,000-foot mountain. Those not staying at the ranch are invited to join staff and visitors for evening cookouts, where you might even hear some local storytelling and mountain music. From Maggie Valley it’s a short drive to Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Elk again roam free in the valley, thanks to a re-introduction program. Dusk is the best bet for guaranteed sightings, but please, stay away from the elk — they have antlers for a reason. For true local charm, look no further than Canton and Clyde, the neighboring towns nestled in eastern Haywood County. They are situated around the Evergreen paper mill, which has been running steadily for more than 100 years.

Canton is a snapshot of a classic mill town, with many of the unique and beautiful bungalows and buildings once built for mill workers and managers still intact. The downtown district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and its crown jewel is the Imperial Hotel. Originally crafted as a stately home, it is currently being renovated to its former glory, to include a restaurant celebrating the town’s history. The restored Colonial Theatre features concerts, shows, movies and other entertainment events in a beautifully restored historic theater. The stage features a winter music series hosted annually by the International Bluegrass Music Association award-winning local group Balsam Range. Clyde, a hamlet that lies between Canton and Waynesville, can boast as its own the oldest structure in Haywood County. The Shook-Smathers House, home to the Shook Museum, was built around 1820, with additions and renovations made for decades producing the finished product we see today. The home’s attic chapel played host to many storied circuit preachers over the years, many of whom have left their mark in the collection of signatures that decorate the chapel’s walls. The town is also home to “The Big Gun,” a local landmark and war memorial that is the defining feature of the small downtown landscape. Another memorial, made from steel taken from the World Trade Center, is situated in front of the fire department, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Clyde was given two of only around 1,000 piece of steel salvaged from the site to be used in memorials.

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Mars Hill, Marshall & Hot Springs Located 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 five-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. Mars Hill College contributes much to the character of the town. A private liberal arts school with an enrollment of 1,400

The French Broad River. GARRET K. WOODWARD PHOTO

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. Come winter, nearby Wolf Ridge Ski Resort is open for business. 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.


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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. Two other small Madison County towns, Marshall and Hot Springs, have made the most of riverside living. Marshall, population 870, is the county seat and sits on the banks of the French Broad River some 20 miles north of Asheville. The town is an enclave of artists, local galleries and studios, including the epicenter of local arts, Marshall High Studios. The building is home for 28 studios and has regular classes, exhibitions and performances that are open to the public. A stroll down Marshall’s Main Street and you’ll find a bookstore, numerous cafes, galleries, antique shops and eateries. One 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. There’s also plenty of music to 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. About 15 miles northeast of Marshall is the resort town of Hot Springs, which is also nestled next to the French Broad. Though its resident population is only 560, 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. The town itself is quite quaint, lined with cafes, coffee shops and gift stores. The real action is in the surrounding waters and ridges, which are renowned for outdoor activities including biking, fishing, kayaking and tubing. Hot Springs’ real outdoor claim to fame, though, is its intimate relationship with the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT passes literally right through the town, bringing hikers to Hot Springs throughout the year. Each April, the town hosts the weekend-long Trailfest, a celebration of all things AT complete with live music, local foods and athletic events. In May, 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. In September, the town also plays host to the French Broad Fall Fest, a celebration of craft beer and live music set against the beauty of fall leaf season.



Chimney Rock 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 404-foot 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 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. 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 the 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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Burnsville & Yancey County Yancey 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, Tennessee. Just a few miles from Burnsville looms Mount Mitchell, the tallest peak east of the Rockies, 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. 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, 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 fullfledged literary happening complete with readings, workshops, plays and seminars. 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.


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Yancey County is home to Burnsville (top), a haven for artists, and Mount Mitchell (above), the tallest mountain east of the Rockies at 6,684 feet. MARGARET HESTER PHOTO • MAX COOPER PHOTO

The John Wesley McElroy House was built around the same time, in 1840. 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. 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.


Tryon & Saluda Touted 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. 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 115th birthday. 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. 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 of Simone playing piano keys suspended in midair. 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 68th year. The event is sponsored by the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club, which also stages horse shows throughout the year. The Foothills Equestrian Nature Center also 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. Each June, 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.

Green River Brew Depot (left) in Saluda and the Farmer’s Market in Tryon (right). MAX COOPER PHOTOS

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Brevard Being a small town doesn’t mean you can’t offer some of the finest charms Western North Carolina has to offer. Just ask the 7,600 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-foot-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

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 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 of over 700 students founded in 1934 and located adjacent to downtown.

Brevard has distinguished itself as an epicenter for outdoor adventure, education, art and music. 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. Rocky’s Grill & Soda Shop in downtown Brevard is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. MAX COOPER PHOTO Another natural treasure, tucked within the Pisgah National Forest, is the Cradle of Forestry, site of the first forestry school in the In March, the college hosts the world-touring Banff United States. The national forest is also home to the Pisgah Mountain Film Festival, a big-screen celebration of films and Center for Wildlife Education, a state-run facility that hosts documentaries about life and sports in the wild. In May, the students of all ages to learn about the region’s unique biodiversity. town pays tribute its signature furry creature with the White The headwaters of the French Broad River, one of the oldest Squirrel Festival. White squirrels, you ask? As it happens, the rivers in the world, are located near Brevard. A few miles west of Brevard area is home to a rare concentration of, well, white the town, the master guides at Headwaters Outfitters help squirrels. The festival features a parade, free concerts, a residents and visitors alike take advantage of all the river has to “Squirrel Box Derby” and other, well, “nutty” amusements. offer. It’s a hot spot for tubing, canoeing, kayaking and fly Come summer, Brevard’s Main Street becomes a prime fishing. Nearby, the Davidson River, another renowned troutplace to cut a rug. Each Tuesday night, Old Time Street fishing destination, flows through the Pisgah National Forest. Dances are held to a soundtrack of live bluegrass.


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Sylva, Dillsboro, Cullowhee & Cashiers Jackson 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 WNC Fly Fishing Trail. 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 Geographic 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 was also recently held in the gorge at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Sylva has one of the most vibrant downtowns in all of Western North Carolina. It boasts an assortment of art galleries, furniture and clothing stores, restaurants, coffee shops, a bakery, breweries and more. The town’s bustling Farmers Market is also open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, May 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. Those steps are what gives local highway N.C. 107 its name. Friday Night Live brings music to Sylva and Dillsboro with an ever-changing list of locations and bands. The popular Sylva After Dark gallery stroll is held on the first Friday of each month. The Bridge Park Pavilion is a popular 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, along with a great line-up of nationally-

Rock climbing is a popular activity in Jackson County. MARK HASKETT PHOTO

known performers. With over 10,000 students 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. Archeologists who have perused the stone claim it was carved sometime in the Late Archaic Period, about 5,900 to 3,200 years ago. At this crossroads of the town is the Village Green, a commons area lined with shops with a stage that also hosts a full lineup of free performances. 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 located 10 miles from Cashiers.

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Jan. 9-11 — Best of Our State. Grove Park Inn, Asheville.

spring takes over this historic site.

Jan 16-18 — Big Band & Swing Weekend, Grove Park Inn, Asheville.

Early April — 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.

Jan. 17 — Asheville Symphony. Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville.

April 18 — Asheville Symphony, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville.

Jan. 23-25 — All That Jazz Weekend, Grove Park Inn, Asheville. Jan. 24 — Winter Warmer Beer Festival, Asheville. Celebrating craft beer from the southeast and beyond. Jan. 30-Feb. 1 — Celtic Weekend, Grove Park Inn, Asheville. Feb. 14 — Asheville Symphony. Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville. Feb. 20-22 — Arts and Crafts Conference, Grove Park Inn, Asheville. March 5 — Southern Conference Basketball Championships, U.S. Cellular Center, Asheville.


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March 13-15 — Comedy Classic Weekend, Grove Park Inn, Asheville. March 17 — Asheville Amadeus, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. Asheville. Six-day festival celebrating Mozart. Mid-April — Mélange of the Mountains, Laurel Ridge Country Club, Waynesville. Experience the culinary talent of some of Western North Carolina’s most regarded restaurants and vendors as area chefs compete in categories ranging from salad to seafood to dessert. Late Winter/Spring — Festival of Flowers, Biltmore Estate, Asheville. Enjoy the beauty of tulips, azaleas and countless flowers as

May 7-10 — Lake Eden Arts Festival, Black Mountain. The event aims to connect cultures and create community through music and art in the great outdoors. Music, poetry, dancing, camping, kids activities and more. May 9 — Asheville Symphony, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville. Memorial Day Weekend — Sandburg Folk Music Festival, Carl Sandburg Home, Flat Rock. June 12-13 — Blue Ridge Barbecue and Music Festival, Tryon. Popular sanctioned barbecue competition. All proceeds benefit the local chamber of commerce. June 27 — Shindig on the Green, Pack Square Park, Asheville. Free traditional

Western North Carolina is filled with festivals and annual events throughout the year, which include Shindig on the Green (far left), NC Mountain State Fair (middle), Folkmoot USA (right) and the Asheville Symphony (inset). MAX COOPER PHOTO • NC MOUNTAIN STATE FAIR PHOTO PATRICK PARTON PHOTO • DONATED PHOTO

Carolina Agricultural Center, Fletcher. Celebrating mountain traditions with rides, exhibits, art, food, concerts and more. Mid-September — Mountain Song Festival, Brevard Music Center. Food, local artists, children’s activities, nature exhibits and more. Oct. 15-18 — Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, U.S. Cellular Center, Asheville.

music concerts held outdoors in downtown. July 11 — Shindig on the Green, Pack Square Park, Asheville. Free traditional music concerts held outdoors in downtown. July 16-19 — Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, U.S. Cellular Center, Asheville. July 17-26 — Folkmoot USA, Waynesville. Two-week international dance and music festival. Headquartered in Haywood County, but events also held at venues throughout Western North Carolina. July 18 — Shindig on the Green, Pack Square Park, Asheville. Free traditional music concerts held outdoors in downtown. Aug. 6-8 — Mountain Dance & Folk Festival, Diana Wortham Theatre, Asheville. Since 1928, mountain fiddlers, banjo pickers, dulcimer sweepers, dancers, balladeers and others have gathered the first weekend in August at the event. Aug. 15 — Shindig on the Green, Pack Square Park, Asheville. Free traditional music concerts held outdoors in downtown.

Aug. 15 — Blue Ridge Breakaway, Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. An annual cycling event in support of the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce. Mid-August — Sourwood Festival, 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. Aug. 22 — Shindig on the Green, Pack Square Park, Asheville. Free traditional music concerts held outdoors in downtown. Aug. 29 — Shindig on the Green, Pack Square Park, Asheville. Free traditional music concerts held outdoors in downtown. Labor Day Weekend — Smoky Mountain Folk Festival, Stuart Auditorium, Lake Junaluksa. Two nights of the finest traditional music and dancing in the region. Sept. 5 — Shindig on the Green, Pack Square Park, Asheville. Free traditional music concerts held outdoors in downtown. Early to Mid-September — The NC Mountain State Fair, Western North

Mid-October — Lake Eden Arts Festival, Black Mountain. The event aims to connect cultures and create community through music and art in the great outdoors. Music, camping, kids activities and more. Mid-October — HardLox Festival, Pack Square, Asheville. Jewish food and entertainment. Early November-Jan. 1 — Christmas at Biltmore Estate, Asheville. The grand estate puts on a show every holiday season with lighting, lit fireplaces, musical performances and other events. calendar/holiday.asp Mid-November-Early January — 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. Month of December — Dillsboro Luminaries & Lights. The Jackson County town is lit with luminaries, stores host open houses, Santa, children’s activities, horse and buggy rides, music. Dec. 31 — First Night Asheville. Entertainment, games, fireworks in an alcohol-free atmosphere.

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Getting started CLIMATE January February March April May June July August September October November December

Avg. High Avg. Low Avg. Precip. 46 27 3.07 50 29 3.19 58 36 3.83 67 44 3.16 74 52 3.53 81 60 3.24 84 64 2.97 83 62 3.34 77 56 3.01 68 45 2.40 58 37 2.93 50 30 2.59

VOTER REGISTRATION Buncombe County 35 Woodfin 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 W. Main St., Burnsville • 828-682-3950

DRIVERS LICENSE Buncombe County 85 Tunnel Road, Asheville • 828-252-8526 1624 Patton Ave., Asheville • 828-251-6065

Haywood County 290 Lee Road, Clyde • 828-627-6969

Asheville Hendersonville Weaverville Waynesville Brevard Asheville Airport 15 12 22 36 20 Greenville/ 80 59 60 100 56 Spartanburg, SC Charlotte, NC 124 111 138 153 132 Knoxville, TN 129 144 123 112 152 Columbia, SC 158 137 165 178 157 Atlanta, GA 208 187 215 169 183 Raleigh, NC 251 275 260 279 283 Charleston, SC 268 247 275 288 267 Myrtle Beach, SC 302 281 309 322 301 Savannah, GA 314 293 321 335 314 Wilmington, NC 360 339 366 380 359 Washington, DC 471 495 463 500 503 Orlando, FL 584 563 591 604 583 New York City, NY 691 714 682 719 722 Miami, FL 794 773 801 815 793

MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME Asheville City Buncombe County Haywood County Henderson County Madison County North Carolina United States

Henderson County 125 Baystone Drive, Hendersonville 828-692-6915

Jackson County 876 Skyland Drive, Sylva • 828-586-5413

Madison County 164 N. Main St., Marshall • 828-649-2248

Polk County 130 Ward St., Columbus, • 828-692-6915

Transylvania County 50 Commerce St., Brevard • 828-883-2070

Yancey County 116 N. Main St., Burnsville • 828-682-9619

VEHICLE REGISTRATION Buncombe County 85 Tunnel Road, Asheville • 828-252-8526 780 Hendersonville Road, 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


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

454 E. Main St., Sylva • 828-586-3886

2008 $39,906 $43,805 $39,042 $46,047 $38,077 $46,574 $52,029

2012 $42,333 $44,206 $42,089 $46,503 $38,658 $46,450 $53,046

Madison County 133 S. Main St., Marshall • 828-649-3528

Transylvania County 69 New Hendersonville Hwy., Pisgah Forest 828-883-3251

Yancey County 14 Town Square, Burnsville • 828-682-2312

TAX OFFICES Buncombe County 828-250-4910

Haywood County 828-452-6734 •

Henderson County 828-697-4870 •

Jackson County 828-586-7541 •

Madison County 828-649-3402

Polk County 828-894-8954

Transylvania County 828-884-3200 Yancey County 828-682-2198

PROPERTY TAXES Buncombe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.604 Asheville. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.46 Biltmore Forest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.385 Black Mountain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.375 Montreat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.41 Weaverville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.40 Woodfin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.305

Haywood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.5413 Canton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.58 Clyde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.43 Maggie Valley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.39 Waynesville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.4082

Henderson . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.5136 Flat Rock. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.084 Fletcher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.325 Hendersonville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.41 Laurel Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.36 Mills River . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.0224 Saluda (in Henderson) . . . . . . . . . . $0.55

Jackson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.28 Dillsboro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.21 Forest Hills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.15 Highlands (in Jackson) . . . . . . . . . $0.135 Sylva . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.30 Webster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.05

Madison. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.52 Hot Springs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.51 Mars Hill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.47 Marshall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.49

Polk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.5175 Columbus. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.40 Saluda (in Polk) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.605 Tryon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.5508

Rutherford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.607 Lake Lure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.191

Transylvania . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.4499 Brevard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.4525

Yancey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.50 Burnsville. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.50

Helpful links ELECTRICITY Duke Energy Haywood EMC Progress Energy

NATURAL GAS Progress Energy PSNC Energy

PUBLIC UTILITIES City of Asheville Water Resources

Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County City of Asheville Sanitation

Henderson County Utilities

CABLE/INTERNET/ PHONE AT&T Charter Communications DirecTV Mountain Area Information Network

StarBand TDS Telecom Verizon

AIRPORTS Asheville Regional Airport Hendersonville Airport

TRAINS Amtrak Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION Buncombe County Transportation

CITY/COUNTY GOVERNMENTS Buncombe County Asheville Barnardsville Biltmore Forest

Brevard/Transylvania Cashiers Area Carolina Foothills Downtown Waynesville Association

Haywood County Henderson County

Jackson County Madison County Maggie Valley Polk County Saluda Business Association Yancey County

TOURISM Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority

Cashiers Dillsboro Merchants Association

Haywood County Tourism Development Authority

Henderson County Travel and Tourism

Jackson County Travel and Tourism

Lake Lure Tourism Madison County Polk County Transylvania County Tourism

Weaverville Tourism Yancey County

Black Mountain Fletcher Montreat Weaverville Haywood County Canton Clyde Maggie Valley Waynesville Henderson County Flat Rock Village Hendersonville Laurel Park Jackson County Sylva Madison County Hot Springs Marshall Mars Hill Polk County Columbus Tryon Rutherford County Lake Lure Transylvania County Brevard Yancey County Burnsville

CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE Asheville Area Black Mountain-Swannanoa

SCHOOLS Asheville City Buncombe County Haywood County Henderson County Jackson County Madison County Schools Polk County Transylvania County Schools Yancey County Schools North Carolina Public Schools

North Carolina School Report Cards

PRIVATE SCHOOLS Asheville Catholic School

Asheville Christian Academy

Asheville Montessori School

Asheville School Bethel Baptist School Carolina Day School Christ School Emmanuel Lutheran School

Fletcher Academy Hanger Hall School for Girls

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The Blue Banner The Mountaineer

The Smoky Mountain News



Immaculata Catholic School Learning Community School

Mount Pisgah Academy Nazarene Christian School

Rainbow Mountain Children’s School

Veritas Christian Academy

The Sylva Herald The Transylvania Times

The Tryon Daily Bulletin

ArtSpace Charter School

Brevard Academy Evergreen Community Charter School

Francine Delany New School for Children Summit Charter School The Mountain Community School

COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Blue Ridge Community College

Brevard College Haywood Community College Mars Hill College Montreat College Shaw University Education Center

South College Southwestern Community College

University of North Carolina-Asheville

Warren Wilson College Western Carolina University

MAGAZINES Blue Ridge Outdoors The Laurel of Asheville Smoky Mountain Living Sophie Magazine Verve Magazine WNC Magazine WNC Woman

TELEVISION STATIONS WYFF-TV 4 (NBC) Greenville • WLOS-TV 13 (ABC) Asheville • WSPA-TV 7 (CBS) Greenville/Spartanburg •

WYCW-TV 62 (The CW) Greenville/Spartanburg •

WHNS-TV 21 (FOX) Greenville/Spartanburg •

AM RADIO STATIONS 570, WWNC news, radio • 880, WPEK news, talk • 920 WPTL country, news, talk • 1230, WSKY Christian • 1310, WISE sports, talk • 1450, WHKP news, music •

FM RADIO STATIONS 88.1, 95.3, WCQS NPR news, classic music

88.7, WNCW eclectic music, news • 90.5, WWCU Western Carolina University

LEARNING CENTERS Penland School of Crafts Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

PUBLICATIONS Asheville Citizen-Times Asheville Magazine Asheville Tribune Black Mountain News

Crossroads Chronicle Hendersonville Times-News

Hendersonville Lightning Mountain Xpress


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St. Luke’s Hospital Transylvania Regional Hospital

VA Medical Center

Yancey County News


Mission Hospitals Pardee Hospital Park Ridge Hospital Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care

92.5, WYFL Bible Broadcasting Network

93.7, WFBC Top 40 • 96.5, WOXL Lite rock • 99.9, WKSF Kiss Country • 103.5, MAIN-FM Community programming

105.1, WQNS Rock • 105.9, WTMT Rock •

MEDICAL CENTERS Asheville Specialty Hospital

Blue Ridge Regional Hospital

Care Partners Rehabilitation Hospital

Henderson County Red Cross MedWest

PLACES TO GO Biltmore Estate Blue Ridge Parkway Botanical Gardens at Asheville

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site Cataloochee Valley elk Cherokee North Carolina Chimney Rock State Park

Dupont State Forest Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountain Railroad

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort

Hot Springs Maggie Valley North Carolina Arboretum

Old Pressley Sapphire Mine

Pack Place Pisgah National Forest Smith McDowell House Museum

Thomas Wolfe House Western North Carolina Nature Center

TOURS Asheville Urban Trail

Asheville Historic Trolley Tours

Brews Cruise Brewery Tour

Lazoom Tours of Asheville

Segway Tours Walking Tours of Historic Asheville

LIBRARIES Avery-Mitchell-Yancey Regional Library Buncombe County Public Libraries

Haywood County Public Library

Henderson County Public Library

Jackson County Public Library

Madison County Public Library

Transylvania County Public Library

Skilled Knowledgeable Customer-focused

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800.868.8999 toll free 828.684.8999

800.849.8024 toll free 828.452.5809


Lake Lure

512 North Main St. Hendersonville, NC 28792

109 Arcade St. Lake Lure, NC 28746

800.868.0515 toll free 828.697.0515


Downtown Asheville 300 Executive Park Asheville, NC 28801 800.868.7221 toll free 828.254.7221

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