Saturday, June 16, 2018

Grovewood Galleries & Biltmore Industries - A Guided Tour - April through December 2018

Enjoy a most interesting and "not to miss" tour at the Grovewood Galleries, in the former Biltmore Industries complex.  The tour takes you through the Homespun museum and "dye house," all located & tucked away, just across the street from the Omni Grove Park Inn.  The charming buildings that make up the complex are easy to miss, so be sure and make a point to take the tour & explore.


Formerly known as Biltmore Industries, a rich history of the textile and Arts and Crafts tradition in the mountains of Western North Carolina may be seen in this amazing time capsule found here at the Grovewood Village within the historic weaving and woodworking complex.  Tours are free and begin at 1:00 pm Wednesday through Sunday and in celebration of it's 100th anniversary at this location.

The Dye House has long been closed up, sitting for decades collecting dust (since 1980).  It has been opened up for the tour and it is like walking back in time - original looms, dye vats, mule spinners and various other odds and ends are still sitting exactly where they were when the Biltmore Handwoven Homespun Industries finally closed its doors.  It is nothing less than amazing and perhaps even a bit creepy!  In its heyday, 40 looms were in full operation producing some of the highest quality fabrics, ordered and worn by the wealthiest and most famous, including US Presidents and first ladies.  "Coolidge red" was named for the fabric ordered by the first lady, Grace Coolidge.

At the turn of the century and upon completion of the Biltmore Estate, George and Edith Vanderbilt appreciated the local crafts of the area and wanted to preserve the traditions; thus Biltmore Industries was born.  When George Vanderbilt died in 1914, Edith sold the business to Fred Seely, the architect of the Grove Park Inn & son-in-law to Edwin Wiley Grove, then owner of the Grove Park Inn.  And Fred Seely moved the industries to it's present location, wisely keeping the Biltmore name as part of the acquisition.
 The tour begins in the Homespun Museum and then moves on into the dye house.  The docents are excellent in sharing the history; the ability to walk around in the old buildings freely in and amongst all the old looms, vats and miscellaneous odd objects, adds to the fascinating nature and uniqueness of this particular tour.

Besides the tour, enjoy the car museum - Harry Blomberg's former car collection - also free of charge.  There is an enchanting wind and sculpture garden surrounding the complex, enjoyable to wander through - complete with picnic tables, bring your lunch!  Free parking is past the Gallery complex & next to the Car Museum.  Shopping is a pure treat at the galleries, also within the complex, showcasing current local artists.
For more information, call 828-253-7651 or visit

Friday, February 23, 2018

Southern Conference | SoCon Basketball Championships again in Asheville, NC March 1-5 2018

March Madness is just around the corner!!  SoCon Basketball Championships will again be held in Asheville, NC and the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina.

North Carolina loves basketball and Asheville loves hosting the Southern Conference Basketball Championship Tournament!!  Again this year 2018 the Southern Conference Championships will be held at the US Cellular Center in downtown Asheville – just 2 miles from Oakland Cottage B&B (stay with us!  828 994 2627 reservations - a 5 minute drive or UBER).  Come and see this exciting tournament and road to the NCAA Final Four!!  Asheville has been sponsoring this tournament for many years now and we love bringing in Spring with basketball madness!  

Games will be occurring March 1-5 2018.  Doors open approximately one hour before tip-off.  On Friday March 1st Women’s Semi-finals and Men’s Session 1 will be held, Saturday will be Men’s Session two and three, Sunday, Women’s final and Men’s Semi-finals, Monday, Men’s Final.  Tickets are available online at, or call 800 745-3000.  Ticket prices range from $10 to $250… and up for those wishing for extra awesome VIP seats & action!

All Sessions GA book - $120.00
GA Single Session is $20,
Student & youth passes for GA Single Session - $10.00
Children 5 and younger may enter for free
Single Session – reserved seating on the lower level - $30.00

For those basketball extra enthusiasts, try the Tournament Club VIP book, which is $250.00 and is good for all sessions.  Enjoy reserved seating close to the action, along with complimentary beer, wine and meals with this great option.  And, the Tournament Club seating will open one hour before each session.

For even more excitement, consider the “Close To The Action package for two at a cost of $800, giving two of you a courtside experience as VIPs.  Perks with this include two premium courtside seats, two VIP passes and a convenient exhibition level, reserved parking space for every session.

The US Cellular Center is in the middle of our charming and vibrant downtown and within easy walking or driving to dining, shopping, local brewery tasting rooms, exhibits, music venues, museums, galleries and many other activities.  Additional fantastic activities are within a short drive include the Blue Ridge Parkway, Biltmore Estate, Chimney Rock Park, Navitat Ziplining and more.  And be sure to check out other events associated with the tournament, such as the Downtown Dribble and KidFest, Jamfest, Hometown Heroes night and Hoops Against Hunger.  

Downtown Dribble & Kidsfest will be on Saturday March 3rd from 9am to 11:00 am.  This noisy tradition begins at Pack Square and each kid participating will receive a free t-shirt and basketball and may participate in the "Dribble Parade" from the square to the entrance of the game venue, the US Cellular Center.  Additionally, each participant will receive free admission to the men's quarterfinal session at noon.  Be sure and find out more about the 2018 SoCon Teddy Bear Toss (get your bear to toss with your donation to Mission Children's Hospital)!  And enjoy other games and activities provided for kids at the Kidfest.

And what is a game without a tailgate party!  On Sunday March 4th in the afternoon from 1:30 to 3:45 pm, get jammin' at the Jamfest right outside the US Cellular Center and enjoy featured musicians and local food and beverage vendors right there in front of the venue.

Just a brief smattering of what will be happening in and around the SoCon Basketball Championships.  For more detailed information be sure and visit the SoCon website.  Don't miss it!  Enjoy the madness and early spring in Asheville!!

Friday, September 22, 2017

First Friday Art Walks in Downtown Asheville Art District (DAAD) & Lexington Glassworks. 2017 - Just three left this year!

First Friday Art Walks in Downtown Asheville Art District (DAAD) & Lexington Glassworks. 2017 - Just three left this year!
Visit the Downtown Asheville Art District (DAAD) through the First Friday Art Walks on the first Friday of each month, this year, 2017, with just three left to attend – on the Fridays of October 6, November 3rd and December 1st.  Don’t miss this delightful way to tour and view the fine arts and crafts traditions of Western North Carolina!  The First Friday Art Walks are from five to eight pm. featuring over twenty-five locations that include galleries, studios and museums.  The galleries, studios and museums featured on the walk are all within a half mile radius of historic downtown Asheville; admission to each varies and is on a  “Pay-as-you-wish” basis.
Stops along this self-guided tour include museums (including the Asheville Art Museum), studios and galleries; and during the First Friday Art Walks,  partake in special events, including exhibition openings, guest artists to observe and meet, live music, refreshments and more.  What a great way to view and see Asheville’s vibrant downtown and Asheville’s downtown art scene.  Find wonderful & special gifts to purchase!  Printed brochures to participating sites may be found at all member galleries, various locations around town as well as the Asheville Visitors Center. 
For a complete listing of participating studios, galleries and museums, and for a map of the walk and locations of the the various galleries and stops click here to view a brochure .

As a part of the 1st Friday Art Walk events, be sure and visit Lexington Glassworks Studio (click here), glassblowing gallery and working studio.  View the fascniating art  of glassblowing first-hand, listen to bluegrass music and perhaps drink a local craft beer in a hand-blown glass at the taproom here.  Look for the big green garage doors (often wide open) at 82 South Lexington Avenue, Asheville, NC (828 348-8427).  Besides these special events each 1st Friday between four and eight pm, Lexington Glassworks is also open to the public 6 days a week, Monday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm, Sunday 11am – 6pm.
Along your art stroll you will also pass by many of Asheville’s amazing restaurants and breweries.  Be sure and stop for an appetizer, meal and/or beverage before, during or after your inspiring walk.  If you are looking for a place to stay, check out Oakland Cottage Bed and Breakfast, 828 994-2627 (reservations and information), located within a mile of Asheville’s historic downtown district.

Monday, September 18, 2017

What is a Luthier? Enjoy a Jam Session & Luthier Craft Exhibit at Smith-McDowell House Museum

Chris Testerman teaches, builds and plays fiddles, banjos and dulcimers and studied in the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program.

The Luthier exhibit may be viewed and enjoyed through October 25th 2017.

Besides viewing the art of stringed instrument building found in the special luthier craft exhibit, participate in an old-timey (and new-timey!) jam session!  Join others on the front porch of the Smith-McDowell House Museum for a "jam" session on September 23rd 2017 from 1pm - 3pm.  All skill levels are welcome, the more the merrier!  Instruments may include guitar, banjo, fiddle, lap dulcimer, ukelele, mandolin, harmonica, spoons and more!  Bring your creative spirit, instrument, picnic basket, blanket, chair for a fun afternoon on the front lawn and porch of the Smith-McDowell House.  Be a listener or a jammin' musician!  Dance along, sing along, smile along.  If you desire, drinks and food will be available for $1.00 otherwise there is no admission fee to participate during the afternoon Jam Session - so y'all come on and be a part of the musical spirit of Western North Carolina and the Appalachian Mountain musical traditions!  

While at the Smith-McDowell House Museum and on the AB-Tech campus, stroll to the top of the hill and sit on the front porch of the Fernihurst historic home.  Maybe the best mountain & sunset views in town (George Vanderbilt tried to purchase Fernihurst).  End the afternoon of music - watching the sunset in a big white rocking chair!  

The Smith-McDowell House Museum is open Wednesday through Saturdays, 10 am to 4pm.  Admission is $9.00 for adults, $5 for Children ages 8-18 and Students with a student ID, free for Children 7 years old and younger.  For more information about the Smith-McDowell House Museum (click here for link to website), call 828 253-9231, email and visit the website to stay updated on special events and activities. Oakland Cottage Bed and Breakfast (828 994 2627 reservation offices) is a block away - if you are staying there just walk on over to the museum!

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!!