Thursday, June 29, 2017

Annual Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, 2017 Asheville, NC

The Annual Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, 2017 is celebrating its 70th anniversary!

Always an amazing event to attend, the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands is a wonderful way to view local craftspeople / makers and their works.  Enjoy both viewing, demonstrations, vignettes, live mannequins and local live music, along with the opportunity to purchase delightful and locally made works of art!  This year, 2017, the Craft Fair will be held for three days in July on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd, and again in October on the 20th, 21st and 22nd (10 am to 6pm both Friday and Saturdays, 10-5 on Sunday) at the US Cellular Center in vibrant downtown Asheville.  

The cost for admission is $8.  Children 12 and younger are admitted at no charge.  Tickets are available at the door.

The Mission of the Southern Highland Craft Guild is: “Cultivating the crafts and makers of the Southern Highlands for the purpose of shared resources, education, marketing and conservation.”

Over 140 Craftspeople  Makers will be showcasing their works on two levels of the US Cellular Center in July, about 70 craftspeople on each level. Clay, fiber, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, natural materals, paper and wood are all media that will be exhibited and available for purchase.

This year three “vignettes” will be set up in order to showcase and demonstrate crafts and how they might be integrated into daily life and homes.  The three vignettes for July are as follows:  1) "Rustic Elegance” / Living Room, 2) "Transitional” / Dining Room, and 3) “Contemporary” / Bed Room

Additionally, many demonstrations will be available, showing various makers at work.  Live mannequins will also be at the Craft Fair this year, modeling some of the makers' works.

The US Cellular Center is located at 87 Haywood Street right in the heart of downtown Asheville.  Eclectic local restaurants are within walking distance to the Center as well as several lodging options. The Visitor Center is within easy walking distance as well, where you may find a plethora of local information as well as one of the stops for the Historic Trolley Tour (good for two days of “hop on/ hop off” riding), a wonderful way to get an overview of downtown, Asheville’s history with stops in the historic downtown as well as nearby outlying areas such as the River Arts District, South Slope “Beer District,” Thomas Wolfe Boyhood home, Biltmore Village and the Grove Park Inn & the Grovewood Galleries, to name a few places you might want to visit during your Vacation in Asheville.  

If you are in need of lodging, Bed & Breakfasts abound in Asheville and can provide a more intimate option to the larger chain hotels.  Be sure and call Oakland Cottage Bed and Breakfast (828 994-2627 for reservations and information), just two miles south of the US Cellular Center, tucked right between Downtown Asheville’s South Slope and Biltmore Village.  Oakland Cottage also has pet friendly rooms (click here for pet policies) for your well behaved pet.  And enjoy the Annual Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Ingles Independence Day Celebration at Pack Square Park, July 4 2017, Asheville, NC

Pack Square Park in the heart of Downtown Asheville will be a wonderful place to spend the 4th of July – a free event, all afternoon and through the evening (2pm – 10pm) with food, festivities, activities for kids, live music and more with a grand finale of fireworks at 9:30 pm.

For the family, LEAF Easel Rider will be providing children’s activities including bouncy rides - open and available for kids from 2-6 pm.  Wrist bands cost $3.00 and are good for all rides and activities for as many times as your child might wish to bounce.  Splasheville will be open till 6:00 pm – always a free and fun option on a hot summer day in the park!!  Hula Hoops will also be available to enjoy on the Roger McGuire Green area of the park, from 2-4 pm, hosted by Asheville Hoops.
While dogs are otherwise NOT permitted, Ultimate Air Dogs will have competitions taking place on the hour at 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm, 6:00 pm and lastly at 7:30 pm for the grand finale!!  This is always a treat to watch.  Registered dogs are permitted in the Ultimate Air Dogs show area.  For registration and doggy particulars be sure and visit the Ultimate Air Dogs website at
Live music & entertainment begin at 5:00 pm at the Park Stage, featuring Grammy award winner, fiddler and local talent, Mark O’Connor and the O’Connor Band.  Other opening acts include Savannah Smith & Southern Soul and The Greenliners.  Local, Kat Williams, will sing the National Anthem to kick off the fireworks show that again start at 9:30 pm on the fourth.  Food and Beverage vendors will have food, beer, cider, soft drinks, BBQ and other foods available for purchase.  
For more information, visit the Asheville Downtown Association website.
Other nearby venues to check out for 4th of July festivities are the West AshevilleTail Gate Market Events, and the nearby quaint little  Town of Weaverville at Lake Louise Park.
For lodging information, stay with us at Oakland Cottage B&B, just 2 miles south of Pack Square Park and The Roger McGuire Green, 828 994-2627 reservations and information about Oakland Cottage.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Spring at the Biltmore Estate - "Biltmore Blooms 2016"

Spring at the Biltmore Estate is something quite special.  Tulips abound in the cooler and early days of "Biltmore Blooms."  March 19th can be a little early to enjoy the abundant beauty and May 26th can be a little late, but each day at the Estate provides its own unique seasonal beauty.  My personal favorite time during the "Biltmore Blooms" feature, is when the Azalea gardens really pop - and the date will vary year to year; usually mid April is a pretty safe bet for the Azalea gardens.

"Biltmore Blooms," officially begins this year on March 19, 2016 and continues as a feature at the Biltmore Estate through May 26th.  In the early weeks of "Biltmore Blooms," Tulips are everywhere and quite stunning!   As the temperatures warm, the Tulips fall away and the beauty of the Azalea Gardens impress the visitor.  How enjoyable to take in the warmer spring days and wander outside in the beautiful gardens surrounding the Biltmore House.  Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (landscape architect also for Central Park, NYC and many other stunning US parks and gardens), walking around the estate and enjoying the outside as well as the inside provides a wonderful change from the cold days of Winter!!  This spring, enjoy "A Gardener's Place Seminars," daily demonstrations featuring gardening themes such as Orchid gardening, miniature gardening and more, 1:00 and 2:00 pm daily; meet at the Gift Shop located beneath the Conservatory (Fancy Greenhouse).  

Be sure and check out the Bloom Report to find out where the best blooms and walks might be on your day of visit.  Remember, there are 8,000 acres surrounding the Biltmore House, so many walks and trails to explore.

And don't miss the special exhibit, this year, "Fashionable Romance Wedding Gowns in Film," also a part of your daytime ticket.  Many other special events and attractions are featured over the course of each week, most included in your daytime ticket, so be sure and check out the Biltmore Estate "Events and Activities" page (click here) to find out whats going while you are there.

Purchase tickets online through the Biltmore Website with extra discounts available for purchases 7 days in advance or longer.  Buy tickets online or call 800-411-3812.  You may also purchase them at the estate Ticket Center once on the property, in the event you want to go to the estate with less prior planning.  Tickets purchased through The Biltmore Company are good for one day of entry.  If you are staying with Vacation In Asheville properties and/or Oakland Cottage B&B, you may purchase tickets directly and have your tickets waiting for you upon your arrival (no lines!).  Tickets purchased from Vacation In Asheville are good for two consecutive days of entry and are usually equal to or less than ticket prices at the Ticket Center .  Call our reservation offices for ticket details and prices, 828 994-2627.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Asheville Beer Expo Feb 27, 2016 at The Venue Downtown Asheville

The First Annual Asheville Beer Expo will be held at The Venue in Downtown Asheville and hosted by the Asheville Brewers Alliance.  This inaugural event offers two sessions, each session with 4 unique panel (although beers poured at each session will not change); the first session is from 1-4pm and the second session is 5-8pm, both on Saturday February 27th, 2016.  
There are more than 30 members in the Asheville Brewer's Alliance.  Meet the members, sample their beers (**must be 21 years old or older to attend), attend the educational panels, hear stories.  Attend one session, or both!  Craft beer production will be show cased.  Learn more about the raw ingredients, brewing and packaging.  Talk to the passionate people who brew the beer!
Cost per session is $25 and includes an "event glass" 8 oz in size and 5 tokens.  Each token may be exchanged for a 4 oz pour into your commemorative "event glass,"  and more tokens are available for purchase at $2.00 each token.  4 panels will be at each session for a total of 8 panels and while space can not guaranteed, participation in panels is part of the ticket price at a first come first serve basis once panels begin.
Panel discussions include such topics as, "Raw Ingredients: sourcing, Mixing and Magic," "Asheville Brewery Origins: The First Wave," "Rare and Special Beers: Wild and Sour Beers," and more.  Again, there are four different panels at each of the two session for a total of 8 different panel topics and discussions, sure to be lively, interesting, informative and fun!
While meals will not be available to buy, there will be some local food vendors exhibiting their samples, including Hickory Nut Gap Farms (local graze fed meats), Roots Hummus, French Broad Food Chocolates and No Evil Foods to name a  few.
Where to park, where to stay:  there is metered parking on the street near The Venue, as well as city parking lots nearby.  The city lots nearby include the Rankin Parking Garage, College Street Deck at 164 College Street and 45 Wall Street.  Asheville is an easy and enjoyable walking town and the lots mentioned here are all within easy walking distance to The Venue.  Many hotels are nearby and Oakland Cottage B&B is just 2 miles south from the event site, reservation office 828 994-2627.
The Venue (click here) is located at 21 North Market Street, Asheville, NC 28801.  Visit the official Asheville Beer Expo 2016 event website (click here) for more details and information.  Tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable.  Children are not allowed, even if accompanied by a parent or adult.  Please be safe and have someone pick you up from this event; should you be in need of a ride back to your place of lodging, volunteers will be on hand to assist you in getting a cab ride

Friday, February 13, 2015

Basketball's Southern Conference 2015 in Asheville, NC Again!

North Carolina loves basketball and Asheville loves hosting the Southern Conference (SoCon) Basketball Tournament - yes, back in Asheville again this March 2015, 5th through 9th and remaining in Asheville, at least through the 2017 Season!  Asheville loves calling the SoCon tournament a March tradition - March is truly basketball's grand finale month and Asheville is a wonderful host town.  What a great way to warm up and celebrate a favorite sport in one of America's favorite cities -  and a favorite tournament as a fan for your favorite team ... or just for your favorite sport!!!

Games will be at both the Kimmel Arena on the University of North Carolina-Asheville (UNC-A) campus - and the U.S. Cellular Center in the heart of Downtown Asheville.  Kimmel Arena is located about 2 miles from the U.S. Cellular Center.  The U.S. Cellular is right in the heart of downtown Asheville, steps from restaurants, bars, craft breweries, local artist galleries, chocolatiers, live music,  River Arts District, parks and more.  Other favorite attractions to take in while you are here and all within 5 miles of Downtown Asheville, include the Biltmore Estate (take advantage of winter ticket pricing), North Carolina Arboretum, Blue Ridge Parkway (check for Parkway section closures) and more.

Tickets for SoCon are on sale and begin at $17 for a 2 game ticket and $100 for all session tickets.  VIP tickets range from $40 to $200; tickets may be purchased at the U.S. Cellular Center or online at

The eleven member institutions participating are from the five Southeastern States of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama and include:

Alabama: Samford University
Tennessee: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Georgia: Georgia Southern University
South Carolina: Wofford College, College of Charleston, The Citadel, Furman University
North Carolina:Western Carolina University, Appalachian State University, Elon University

For more information, schedules and more, be sure and visit the SoCon Basketball Tournament 2015 website.  The tournament is for both men and women's teams.  And this year the SoCon Wrestling tournament will be going on concurrently.  Be sure and look for additional events to participate in or watch, including the Buncombe County/Arc of NC 5k and/or the Downtown Dribble.  Partake in theme days (with ticket discounts) such as Hero's Day, Family Day and Pack the House.  And for a more thorough list of activities throughout the SoCon weekend in Asheville, NC, check out the "SoCon Travel Information" page located on Asheville's "ExploreAsheville" website where you will find links to things to do, breweries and taprooms, Hotels and Lodging, Restaurants and dining, along with a SoCon Events link.

If you need a place to stay, consider Asheville's Oakland Cottage Bed and Breakfast, located about 2 miles south of the US Cellular Center on the southern side of downtown Asheville.  Reservation offices: 828 994 2627, online booking:  Have a great SoCon Weekend!!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Wine and Storytelling with David Novak

Wine and Storytelling with David Novak, what a wonderful combination for a Sunday and winter afternoon in Asheville!  Hosted by Metro Wines at 169 Charlotte Street on Sunday February 8th, 2015 at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, taste some wine, listen to the art of storytelling (a western North Carolina and Appalachian tradition) performed by a true national and international master.

This will be a wonderful venue to hear and visit with David Novak a true national and local treasure and resident of Asheville, NC.  David Novak's resume, among other accolades, lists his numerous and telling awards with the storytelling craft, including, Disney Institute Master Storyteller, Oscar winner of Storytelling, National Storytelling Network, Circle of Excellence Award winner and more.  David Novak has taken his craft to an international level as well, bringing creativity to classic myths and folktales worldwide.  His fluid voice and surprising props enhance his storytelling; and his interactive performances are wonderful for all ages.

For the Sunday afternoon storytelling this February 8th at Metro Wine, reservations are recommended as seating is limited at this intimate venue; be sure and get your tickets in advance.  For information and to make your reservations, call 828 658-4151 and/or email:  Tickets are $15 each (cash at the door) and of course, the price includes a glass of wine or beverage.

And if you are visiting Asheville from out of town and need a place to stay, be sure and call Vacation In Asheville and Oakland Cottage Bed and Breakfast, reservation offices, 828 994-2627, online reservations at

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Third Annual Asheville Marathon at the Biltmore Estate

Third Annual Asheville Marathon will once again be at the Biltmore Estate, Sunday March 15th 2015, beginning at 7:30 am. While it is sold out, with 1,400 participants, there is now a wait list and if you don't get in this year, your wait list number will guarantee you a spot in the 2016 Asheville Marathon.

The 26.2 mile course will take you through the 8,000 acres of the grounds of the Biltmore Estate - on carriage roads both surfaced and uneven, across rolling hills, along the French Broad River, through the vast gardens designed by landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmstead, and across the vinyards and farmland of the Estate.  The Asheville Marathon is a certified race course as well as a Boston qualifying race (USATF Sanction #14-13-448 and Certification Code #NC14024DF).  Or, if a shorter race is to your taste, enjoy the Half Marathon at 13.1 miles, for its second year in a row.  In addition, this year the Appalachian Distance Series of races has added the Asheville Marathon to its Southeast series (including Asheville, Knoxville, Townsend, Chatanooga and Oak Ridge).

If you are not running, and want to support and watch as a spectator, be sure and read about all the rules and regulations, as there are some unique and specific procedures for entering the Estate (get an early start) and getting through the gate as the event is not open to the public.  Spectators will need to purchase a day ticket for $20 or be an annual passholder in order to get onto the property.  This will give you access to the grounds only, and you may upgrade your day pass to include the inside of the Estate for an additional $9 ($29 includes entry and tour of the inside of the Biltmore Estate).  Spectator Tickets may be purchased on March 14th at the Race Expo from 9am - 7pm at the Double Tree Hotel, or on Race Day beginning at 6:00 am at the Group Sales Office.  Besides enjoying the beauty of the grounds of the Biltmore Estate, Antler Hill Village, and the Winery, there will be plenty to do throughout the morning and early afternoon including cheering on your favorite runner(s), food and drinks, music and more.

Runners and spectators, do be aware that the race start is located at the Winery and Antler Hill Village - six miles from the entrance. Because of distance and heavy traffic that morning, it will take an additional 20 - 25 minutes to get to the race start once inside the gate.  If you prefer not to drive in, for an extra $10 jump on a shuttle bus at the Doubletree Hotel and you can get a ride right to the start line.  Be sure and check schedules.

If you are in need lodging nearby, call Oakland Cottage Bed and Breakfast (reservation line: call 9am to 7pm daily, 828 994-2627, for online booking log on to, or email anytime: for a more unique stay, and just one mile from the entrance to the Biltmore Estate.