Sunday, December 18, 2011

5th Annual Winter Warmer Beer Festival, January 21 2012, Asheville Civic Center

I know it's still Christmas, but the Winter Warmer Beer Festival is coming up in January in Asheville, NC, nestled in the lovely Western North Carolina Mountains - start planning now!!  And how great is it to visit Asheville when the crowds are down a bit?  Very great!  Looking for a gift for that Beer lover in your family?  What a unique and special idea!!  Check for lodging specials or an Asheville Bed and Breakfast nearby to enhance your Winter Warmer weekend - there are many lodging discounts and specials available in January.

The 5th annual Winter Warmer Beer Festival will be on January 21, 2012 from 3-7 pm, at the Asheville Civic Center on the Exhibition Hall level (accessed from Hiawassee Street in Downtown Asheville).  Brewing participants are from a variety of areas in the Southeast, mostly from North Carolina Breweries, but also from South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.

For the last four years, this event has SOLD OUT, so consider purchasing your tickets early.  For additional information and questions, email  Tickets are $39 each and include a souvenir mug, beer samples & food during the event (YUM!).  Tickets purchased before January 12th will be mailed, tickets purchased online from January 13 - 21 may be picked up at the festival at "will call."

Event details are still being finalized, so check back for details, but as always music will be wonderful and a portion of the proceeds will be donated for the fourth year to the local non-profit organization, River Link, a regional organization dedicated to the economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad River, and the beautiful river valley in which Asheville is nestled in within the Mountains of Western NC.
Best time of year for hiking - expanded views & fewer people!

Western North Carolina Breweries:
French Broad Brewing Co.
Highland Brewing Co
Green Man Ales
Pisgah Brewing Co,
Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co.
Heinzelmannchen Brewing
Appalachian Craft Wedge
Lexington Avenue Brewing
Catawba Valley Brewing Co.

Piedmont & Durham Breweries:
Big Boss
Kind Beers

South Carolina:
Thomas Creek RJ Rockers

Nashville, TN:

Atlanta, GA:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Asheville Christmas Activities, Lighting of the Green, A-B Tech

Asheville Christmas - Lighting on the Green at A-B Tech
A-B Technical College's "Fernihurst" will host the second annual Lighting of the Green for delightful Asheville Christmas Activities, open and free to the public.  Fernihurst was once the center of the township Victoria, which is now in a downtown Asheville neighborhood atop a knoll on Victoria Road, in the midst of Asheville-Buncombe Technical College (A-B Tech) and home to the Brumit Center for Culinary Arts and Hospitality.

Fernihurst was restord in 2008
Colonel John Kerr Connally and his wife Alice Thomas Connally built Fernihurst in 1876 and named it after the Kerr castle in Scotland.  Entertainment did abound in the heyday of Fernihurst and the Connally's hosted as many as 500 guests, including the Vanderbilt family.  Urban legend has it that when George Vanderbilt first saw the Fernihurst Manor and its views, he immediately attempted to buy it; when he was turned down by the Connallys, he purchased all the land on either side of the Swanannoa and French Broad Rivers (the property which is now home to the Biltmore Estate) and bought the property neighboring Fernihurst.  Later, Sunnicrest was built next to Fernihurst by the Vanderbilts, and today the two homes are connected by a breezeway and are both part of the Brumit Center for Culinary Arts and Hospitality.

The Culinary center at AB Tech trains student chefs and restaurant managers; one may even reserve a dinner to be served there by the students, allegedly excellent dining!  The Lighting of the Green will show off Fernihurst decked in Christmas finery and lights.  The area will be lit now through the 20th of December (when the campus closes for the Holiday).  Fernihurst will be open and is free to the public for special events and tours on Tuesdays and Fridays, December 13 through 20th from 6-8 pm, so a great time to get a free peek at Fernihurst and enjoy light snacks, leisurely tours, crafts for the children and delightful local family friendly entertainment:

Entry foyer to Fernihurst at A-B Tech

  • Tuesday December 13 - AC Reynolds Madrigal Singers
  • Friday December 16 - AB-Tech's Music Department and storytelling by David Novak
  • Tuesday December 20 - Storytelling by Sandra Gudger, vocalist Kadesha Barnard and vocalist Darryl Rhymes

For more information about Fernihurst, Lighting on the Green, or dining reservations, call Susan E. Haldane, the Special Events Coordinator of the A-B Tech Foundation.  828 254-1967 X7567.

One of the beautiful rooms at Fernihurst
And if you are looking for Asheville, NC lodging, a pet friendly Asheville cabins, Asheville vacation rental, or an Asheville NC Bed and Breakfast, call 828 994-2627, Vacation In Asheville, for lodging information and reservations.  Also Oakland Cottage Bed and Breakfast of Vacation In Asheville is within walking distance to the A-B Tech campus, with family friendly B&B rooms and suites, and pet friendly B&B rooms and suites, just 1 mile to the entrance to the Biltmore Estate and 2 miles south of Asheville's historic downtown center, just off Biltmore Avenue.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dillsboro Festival of Lights, Western NC, near Asheville NC

Lots to do in and near Asheville NC for the holiday season and Dillsboro Festival of Lights, located about 45 minutes west of Asheville, will be hosting it's 28th year of this very classic and lovable event.  The Festival of Lights is genuine small town stuff, with more than 2,500 lit candles in white bags lining the streets of Dillsboro, emulating the Scandanavian custom of lighting the way for the Christ child.  

Mark your calendar and head to Western NC to enjoy this luminary delight held annually the first two weekends in December, in quaint and cozy Dillsboro -  December 2-3 and 9-10, 2011. Carolers fill the streets, musicians stroll through town playing Christmas favorites and Santa visits with children at Town Hall.  Horse and buggy rides are also available each evening (cost plus tip).  Definitely a journey back in time and a classic not to be missed; call 800 962-1911 for more information.  

Dillsboro is located in the Smoky Mountains of Western NC at the intersection of Hwys 19/74 and 441 about 45 minutes west of Asheville.

Stay nearby with us in Asheville NC, at Oakland Cottage B&B, an Asheville Bed and Breakfast - we have wonderful family friendly Suites and Rooms as well as Asheville Vacation Rentals and Asheville Cabin Rentals in various locations in the Mountains of Western NC - all within 10 miles of downtown Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Asheville is a great location to base out of for your mountain vacation.  See you this holiday!  Call 828 994 2627 for reservations and more information.

National Gingerbread House Competition, Historic Grove Park Inn, Asheville NC

Teen Category - First Prize

Enjoy viewing the entries of the National Gingerbread House Competition at the Historic Grove Park Inn in Asheville NC this Holiday season. 2011 marks the 19th year for this delightful annual contest.  Viewing is from November 16, 2011 to January 1 2012 throughout the halls and lobbies of the Grove Park Inn and is free to visitors and resort guests alike.  Community days are Sunday through Thursday and Resort Guests may view the display at anytime.  The gingerbread display and amazing holiday decorations throughout the halls and grand lobby are sure to get you in the mood for the Christmas Season!

Sunday afternoons from 1-3 pm, current and past winners share their stories; and allow the opportunity to meet and mingle with the Gingerbread "superstars."

Additionally, there are "Stories of Gingerbread" guided tours.  The hour-long tours are Wednesday through Sunday at 9 am and 3 pm now through January 1 2012.  Tours are $12 each adult, $6 each child 12 and younger.  Advance reservations are required and may be made by calling 800 438 5800.

Some fun facts about the competition!  There are four age level categories to enter:  Adult (18 years old and older), Teen (13 - 17 years old), Youth (9 - 12 years old) and child (5-8 years old).  While there are many gingerbread houses to view, there are also all sorts of other whimsical gingerbread creations that are truly amazing in creativity and detail.  A professional panel judges the entries and the judging is based on overall appearance, originality/creativity, difficulty, precision and consistency of theme.  The entries must be constructed entirely of edible materials (except for the base).  Size may not exceed 2 feet long by 2 feet wide by 2 feet tall.  More than $12,000 in cash prizes are awarded and the grand prize winner received a $3000 cash prize and a 2 night Club Floor stay for 2 at the Grove Park Inn (so get your plans  entry ready for next year!!).

And if you're looking for lodging nearby (other than at the Grove Park Inn), consider an Asheville Bed and Breakfast, Asheville Cabin or Asheville Vacation Rental.  We'd love to host you during your holiday stay in Asheville, NC and can help you with your holiday plans & reservations!  So much to do this season here in Asheville NC and Western North Carolina.

Keep scrolling down for to view more Gingerbread entry pictures!  I like the children entries the most.

The Historic Grove Park Inn - view of the back side from the newer Sammon Wing

Not of Gingerbread!  But a fun scale model of the Grove Park Inn found in one of the hallways.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving, in Asheville, NC

Thanksgiving week in Asheville, NC and things to do.  Yes, many restaurants and shops will be closed on Thanksgiving day itself, but lots will be open.  Following are a few options for the week, weekend and Thanksgiving Day.

Most restaurants, shops and activities will be open on Wednesday and Friday of Thanksgiving week, and a few will be open on Thanksgiving Day itself.

The Biltmore Estate will be open on Thanksgiving Day, although no Candlelight tours will be available that evening.  In spite of no candlelight tour, it should be a wonderful day to visit the Biltmore Estate, grounds and winery as the crowds will be a bit down (expect it to be very crowded on the Friday after Thanksgiving day).  Restaurants on the Estate grounds will be open, including the Deerpark Inn, with traditional Thanksgiving fare (reservations required, 828 225-6260).

Other restaurants in town and in the area reported to be open for Thanksgiving Day dinner include the Grove Park Inn, Grand Bohemian Hotel, Hotel Indigo Hotel's 151 Boutique Bar & Kitchen, Restaurant Solace, Packs Tavern, Olive or Twist and more.  If you decide to have lunch or dinner at the Grove Park Inn, be sure and visit the Gingerbread House exhibit!

For entertainment, most venues will be closed on Thanksgiving Day itself but look for lots to do on Wednesday and again on Friday and through the weekend.

The NC Stage Company (15 Stage Lane, Asheville, NC 28801, 828 239-0263) will be presenting "It's a Wonderful Life" all week, excepting Thursday night (Tuesday Nov 22, Wed Nov 23, Fri 25 - Sun 27th at 7:30 pm) - a fun and heart-warming play set in the fictional studio of WVL Radio Theater, struggling to stay on air on a snowy winters night.  four actors play all the roles, sponsored by BMW of Asheville.  $20 Adult tickets, $10 children, sure to get you in the holiday spirit!

And, if you need a place to stay, consider an Asheville Bed and Breakfast or Asheville Vacation Rental.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Easy Holiday Recipes from Family Friendly Asheville Bed and Breakfast, Oakland Cottage B&B

Holiday Peanut Brittle - YUM!
What better way to celebrate the holiday season with your family than in the kitchen with fun and easy holiday recipes; that's just what we do with our family, too, here at Oakland Cottage Bed and Breakfast, a family friendly Asheville Bed and Breakfast.

Here's one of my favorite quick and easy holiday recipes, this one is fun to do with the children (and grown-ups, too!) and makes a great gift:

Peanut Brittle makes a wonderful Christmas treat or holiday gift.  It is so easy to find fun containers, either old ones to re-use and recycle, or inexpensive new ones, for fun and easy gift packaging.

Stay with us at Oakland Cottage B&B or one of our Asheville Cabin Rentals or Asheville Vacation Rentals, when you Vacation In Asheville this holiday season.  You might just find some home-made peanut brittle on the Welcome Table when you check in!

Holiday Peanut Brittle:
Cook Time: 15 minutes

2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup (or less) of peanuts, pecans or walnuts

This is so easy you will never buy peanut brittle again! Melt the sugar in a skillet on medium heat, stirring constantly (if the heat is too high, the sugar will end up with a little bit of a burned flavor). As it melts, the sugar will become more and more crumbly.  Keep stirring until all the "crumbles" are melted.  Once the sugar has completely melted, stir in the butter and your choice of nuts. While hot, pour onto a greased cookie pan, 8X12 or larger (one with a rim, not a sheet), allowing the mixture to spread out over the sheet. Let cool. Break into pieces.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Where to find Santa Clause, this 2011 Christmas Season, in the Asheville Area

There will be lots of places to find Santa Clause this 2011 Christmas Season, in the Asheville, NC area and mountains of Western NC.  Following is a list of some of the upcoming places, many of which are free, compliments of Santa's day-planner.

November 4 - December 24th, 2011 Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, in Bryson, NC, Ride the Polar Express and see Santa.  Prices vary, see the GSMR website for details and schedule.

Santa arrived at the Asheville Mall on Saturday November 12th, 2011, and may be seen between Barnes and Noble and the new ULTA.  Lots of happenings are available at the Asheville Mall which include Santa.  Click the link here for Santa's full schedule at The Asheville Mall and photo package prices.

Friday November 18th, enjoy the lighting celebration in the Biltmore Park Town Square, with carolers, magicians, horse drawn carriage and visits with Mr. & Mrs. Clause.  At 7:00 pm Santa Clause will lead the countdown to light the 25' Christmas Tree and complimentary photos may be taken with Mr. & Mrs. Clause throughout the evening.  Free.

Saturday November 19th, 2011, beginning at 11:00 am along the streets of Downtown Asheville, don't miss the 65th Asheville Parade, themed "Days Gone By." Santa will be the last of approximately 100 floats!  Free.

Saturday December 3rd and December 10th, 2011, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm, watch Santa scale the 315' Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock Park, his favorite annual practicing grounds for the real thing.  Park Admission.

Saturday December 3rd, Black Mountain Annual Christmas Parade with Santa begins at 4:00 pm along the streets of Downtown Black Mountain.  Free.

Sunday December 4, 2011, 2-5pm JingleFest at the Roger McGuire Green Terrace in Pack Square with caroling, dance, holiday games and contests.  Sponsored by Fun Depot, so sure to be fun.  Elves & Reindeer will be there, and Santa is sure to stop by.

Need a family friendly place to stay during the holiday season?!  Be sure and call us for your Vacation In Asheville for a Cabin, Vacation Rental, or Asheville Bed and Breakfast stay.  Happy Holidays!  And we'll keep you posted about more fun events this Christmas in Asheville.

"A Taste of Asheville", November 17, 2011, Asheville Independent Restaurants,

Not to be missed, A Taste of Asheville is Asheville Independent Restaurant Association's (AIR) annual fundraising party (!) and this years event will be held November 17, 2011 from 7-9 pm at The Venue, 21 N Market Street.  This year, 31 plus member restaurants are participating as well as local breweries for wine and beer tasting opportunities.  For a bargain, Tickets are $70 per person and $125 per couple, available on the AIR website at or at The Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau at 36 Montford Avenue; or for more information, call 828 338 9839.

An additional bonus, The AIR PASSPORT program will be officially kicked off at this event.  the AIR PASSPORT offers discounts at many of the best and most popular restaurants and offers a great incentive to try out AIR member restaurants in the Asheville Area.  The cost for the AIR PASSPORT is $50 with coupons totaling over $600 in savings at AIR member restaurants; coupons are good for one year.

A portion of the proceeds from both A Taste of Asheville and the AIR PASSPORT sales will partially fund AIR's Chefs of Tomorrow scholarship program at A-B Tech.

Independent Restaurants that cater to local and quality foods abound in Asheville, NC making dining a unique, extra-flavorful, healthy and fun (really fun) experience.  What better way to enjoy it all in this one event, A Taste of Asheville and through the purchase of the AIR PASSPORT, for year long savings and enjoyment.  Need a place to stay while you're dining here in Asheville?  Oakland Cottage B&B of Vacation In Asheville, is centrally located, just 1 mile north of Biltmore Village and 1 mile south of Downtown Asheville in a neighborhood bordering AB-Tech campus.  We have rooms and Suites ranging from $90 to $150 nightly double occupancy and include a delightful breakfast each morning!  We are a family friendly Bed and Breakfast and several rooms are pet friendly, too!  Come stay with us and try out AIR member restaurants while you are here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

You won't hear Lady GaGa at Oakland Cottage B&B, but our Teen-Age Son is Listening

Our son is an avid Lady GaGa fan, and while you won't hear Lady GaGa's music during your stay here at Oakland Cottage B&B (unless you bring it), you may know it is being passionately listened to over and over and over again by our 13 year old son through his I-Pod earphones.

Living in an Asheville B&B is a unique experience, especially with a Teen-ager on board.  It does have advantages - he mows the lawn, rakes the leaves, helps with the trash & recycling and brings a great smile to our breakfast preparations each mornings before he heads off to school.

And he keeps us updated on all the current pop trends, like Lady GaGa, what is trending on Twitter and more.  We really are family friendly and there is a reason why.  We're a family living at a B&B.

Never a dull moment at our house & home, here at Oakland Cottage B&B.  Come stay with us - and bring your family!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bicycling the Blue Ridge Parkway from the Historic Brigman House, Asheville, NC

For all you cycling enthusiasts, Hawk's View Chalet, a cabin rental offered by Vacation In Asheville Vacation Rentals, offers exceptional biking options on the Blue Ridge Parkway and other backcountry roads of the area.  For the more ambitious cyclist, simply roll right our the front door onto scenic Reems Creek Road and in 1 mile turn onto Ox Creek Road.  A beautiful rural valley road that gently rolls in the first couple of miles and then starts uphill for a very challenging 3 mile climb, ending at the Blue Ridge ParkwayDuring the Tour DuPont (cycling stage race held in the US between 1991 and 1996), the climb up Ox Creek Road often decided the actual winner of the Tour's queen stage ending in downtown Asheville.

Once at the Blue Ridge Parkway, one can head north for 25 miles and the epic ascent of Mt. Mitchell (highest peak east of the Mississippi), or continue going north towards scenic Little Switzerland and Linville Gorge.  No matter how far one chooses to go, cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway is an absolute treat!

Or turn south on the Parkway at the Ox Creek junction and in a couple of miles take a right onto scenic hwy 694 (Asheville's Town Mountain Road).  This beautiful road travels along a distinct ridge that ends by descending into downtown Asheville in approximately 6 miles.  Take your bike into the center of Asheville and enjoy an expresso or latte at one of the many coffee houses found around town before you head back - or have your buddies come and pick you up!

Special note of interest, there are several trailheads at the Ox Creek/BRP junction and all along the BRP for those of you wishing to hike - the Ox Creek junction of the BRP "white dot" or "Mountains-to-Sea Trail" has recently been renamed to be the "Obama Trailhead" in honor of the Obama's as this is where Barack and Michelle Obama hiked on their vacation to Asheville North Carolina one May.  And if motor-touring is more to your taste, Reems Creek Road, Ox Creek Road, Town Mountain Road and the Blue Ridge Parkway are a delight in your car or on your motorcycle as well.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Asheville International Children's Film Festival

The third annual Asheville International Children's Film Festival will be held November 4-13th in the Asheville area of Western North Carolina and is the largest children's film festival in the Southeast.  Festival venues include Asheville Pizza and Brewing, Earth Fare, Posana Cafe, The Lab (all in Asheville city limits) and the Tryon Theater in Tryon, NC.  Events are scheduled over the 10 day period at the various venues.  The feature film is "The Crocodiles Strike Back."  There are seven short block films:  "Family Matters," "Round the World and Home Again," "Legends Come Alive," "All Creatures Great & Small," Tally Ho! Films that Fly High," "Once Upon an Adventure," and "into the Woods and Under the Sea."  For a schedule of events, clips and more details about each movie, visit the AICFF website.

The festival is for ages 3 to adult with the goal of using film media "to stimulate critical thinking and promote intelligent dialogue through the introduction of passionate and provocative cinematic works."

"The festival celebrates the best and brightest in international children’s cinema with a 10-day extravaganza of more than 70 films from 25 countries. This year’s festival has an exciting blend of programs, including animation, features, shorts, historical films, and fantastic hands-on, interactive workshops for the filmmakers of tomorrow. The festival provides families with the opportunity to screen one-of-a-kind films not available on DVD."

Besides the children's film festival, there are many fun and fantastic things to do and see in the Asheville Area as well as family friendly lodging options.  Mix your film watching with daytime hikes along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a trip to the Biltmore Estate, Chimney Rock Park and more!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall Backpacking in Asheville and Western NC

Fall is a wonderful time for backpacking, hiking or visiting Asheville and Western NC.  Fall foliage is amazing and with weather that is typically a bit dryer and cooler, views are even more amazing (and summer crowds are down - but watch out for hunters & the various hunting seasons - wear bright orange clothing!).  Many short hikes will take you to beautiful vistas, backpacking campsites - some with shelters.  And, if you do not care to backpack, many out and back trails or loop trails in the area will be enough!  Asheville is known for it's bed and breakfast accommodations and cabin and vacation rentals.  Hiking in the area is the best way to really enjoy the fall splendor.

Some of my favorite hikes near Asheville:
Montreat area hikes (various mileages)
Craggy Pinnacle (1 mi out, 1 mi back)
Mount Pisgah (1.5 mi out, 1.5 mi back)
Moore's Cove (1.5 mi out, 1.5 mi back)
Caney Bottom/ Cove Creek (2 mile loop)
Graveyard Fields (various mileages available)
Black Balsam and Shining Rock (up to 10 mi out and back)
Looking Glass Hike (5 mile loop)
Pickleseimer Fields and Cat Gap hike (8 mi loop)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall Foliage Is Here In Asheville, NC

Fall is in the air in Asheville, NC and the stunning colors are beginning to burst through and take over the rich greens of summer.  Maples are turning golds and oranges, Hickorys a bold yellow, the Virginia Creeper a rich red.  Leaf blowers (and maybe a few rakes) are going full blast for front yard leaf piles and play.  Up on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Fall is in it's full splendor, so it's time to bring yourself to Asheville and check out the show!

We've harvested our two pumpkins from the garden and they now adorn the front porch of Oakland Cottage B&B as we decorate for the fall harvest and Halloween!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Spectacular Hikes in Western North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the most spectacular hikes in Western North Carolina is just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, beginning off the spur road that goes into the Black Balsam and Sam's Knob parking area at mile post marker 420.
View of Looking Glass Rock from atop Tennent Mountain
The trail section referenced here follows along part of the Art Loeb trail and into the Shining Rock Wilderness area.  The trail as we talk about it here is out and back so may be as long or as short as one wishes to make it or has time for.  Spectacular scenery begins soon after the hike begins, about 1/4 mile up the trail.

For those hiking with pets,  there is not a lot of water along the trail, but small springs are scattered here and there every few miles.  There are also several springs that are obviously used by hikers to filter or treat as a water source, especially around the actual Shining Rock area.  Once on this part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, elevations begin around 5000 feet above sea level, so bring extra clothes, layers and hats, even in many summer months.  You will notice a big difference in the flora and fauna at this elevation as well, making the area and hike all the more striking, interesting and beautiful.


There are two places to start this section of the Art Loeb Trail.  I prefer starting at the obvious trail head about 1/4 mile in on the paved spur road (off the Blue Ridge Parkway at MPM 420) on the right side of the road. This is such a popular section, there are almost always other cars parked there.  There is also a larger parking area another 1/2 mile further down this spur road and where the Ivester Gap Trail and old fire road merges.  There is a pit toilet at this parking area and several other fantastic hikes begin from this parking area as well.

From the first trailhead referenced above, you will climb up and turn left hiking up through a forest of Black Balsam trees.  After a fairly short hike, you will break through the trees, continuing up hill to the first bald and quickly out into the open at high elevation to take in breathtaking 360 degree views.

The trail is open and very exposed most of the way, so watch the weather and bring sunscreen.  There are rough and rocky sections, but because the start of the hike is at a fairly high elevation point to begin with (especially for the Eastern US), there are little ups and downs from mountain top to gap, but really not that much elevation change, especially compared to other hikes.  Balds you will cross include Black Balsam Knob, Tennent Mountain and more.  We hiked 5 miles out to The Shining Rock and back for a 10 plus mile roundtrip hike, all day for us.   And the hike can take you all the way to Cold Mountain (yes, the Cold Mountain referenced in the book "Cold Mountain") for a longer adventure.  Make it as short or as long as you like, turning around at whatever point you reach.  This is a popular place to hike into for even just a mile and watch the sunset.  There are amazing views of Looking Glass Rock, Graveyard Fields and parts of the ribbon of The Blue Ridge Parkway.  All breathtaking with sweeping views!

lunch on "The Shining Rock" - a giant outcropping of Quartz boulders

Giant quartz vein is "The Shining Rock"

So white - it looks like salt hunks

If you need a place to stay, Asheville is about 30 miles away via the Blue Ridge Parkway and host to many bed and breakfast and vacation rental and cabin rental lodging options.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Navitat Canopy Adventures near Asheville NC

Navitat Canopy Adventures are a lot of fun and the one near Asheville, NC is a top notch operation.  It is just shy of an easy 30 minute drive from Oakland Cottage B&B and Asheville, NC.  Wonderful staff, extremely professional and in a beautiful setting; from start to finish, allow for a 4 hour adventure in the beautiful hardwood forests of the Western North Carolina Appalachian Mountains.

To begin the adventure, settle in for your 15 minute safety briefing and harness fitting with your guides for the day.  You and up to 7 other participants will then be driven up the side of the mountain via a Gator where you will be dropped off for your first lesson on how to brake and steady yourself as you zip from tree to tree, platform to platform.

Once up in the trees, the setting is completely in the wilderness - no other buildings or construction are within view during the entire event -  and groups are spaced evenly over the 10 ziplines, 2 bridges, 2 rappels and 3 short hikes.    And while it is scary at times, it is also wonderfully relaxing to be in and among the trees.  The ziplines are of varying length, the longest ones are quite amazing, the construction of the decks, views, people you meet, beautiful trees in which all is built and the wonderful guides, all add to the amazing experience of Navitat, Asheville NC.