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!