Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Blue Ridge Parkway along the 20 mile Asheville NC Corridor

The Blue Ridge Parkway is ranked as the number one recommended attraction on TripAdvisor, by travelers visiting Asheville, NC and there is a reason why.  Designated as a "motor park" the 400 plus mile long Blue Ridge Parkway is easily accessible for incredible scenic drives with your car, motorcycle or bicycle, it is a free National Park, there are seemingly unlimited, breathtaking and long range views of the Western NC Mountains, via pull-outs and hikes,  there is easy access to hiking and bicycling, amazing creeks, swimming holes and waterfalls, access to the highest points in elevation east of the Mississippi, bird watching, amazing fall foliage, beautiful spring wild flowers... the list goes on.

The Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP), while often closed through mid-April due to inclement weather, seems to be staying open fairly regularly this winter season, 2012, as we experience low snowfall and unusually warm spring weather here in Asheville, NC.  However, be sure and check for road closures, as with snow,  rock fall or construction, parts of this incredible scenic highway can be closed, seemingly on a whim at times. 

And while most of the Parkway can remain closed in winter months, the 20 mile Asheville, NC "commuter section" between the NC Arboretum and Bull Gap (around MPM 395, south end to MPM 375, north end) stays open almost all year round, and both the Folk Art Center and Park Head Quarters may be accessed from this corridor.  The "Mountains to Sea Trail," more commonly referred to as the "White Dot Trail" meanders along this section of the BRP, so hiking along this section of the parkway is almost always accessible.  The NC Arboretum, Bent Creek Experimental Forrest and Lake Powatan border the Blue Ridge Parkway at the southern end of the Asheville commuter section where there are many access points to abundant walking, hiking and mountain biking.  Cyclists, hikers and joggers alike often enjoy the road closure from Bull Gap to Mount Mitchell, as the roads are free and clear of motor traffic during these closures.

This year in Western NC, there has been little snow to speak of.  Temperatures are abnormally warm this March.  Flowers are bursting and Spring is certainly here.  We will keep our fingers crossed against a hard freeze that can spoil our beautiful mountain spring flowers...  But spring flowers are bursting, and the Parkway is open, except for the long term closures due to construction.

And if you are looking for lodging near the Blue Ridge Parkway and Asheville, NC, be sure and call the reservation offices of Vacation In Asheville, 828 994-2627, open 9 am to 7 pm daily, for Asheville bed and breakfast stays, cabin or vacation rentals, all with easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Where will there be Easter Egg hunts, in Asheville, NC this Easter, April 2012

An Easter Egg hunt is a favorite for all.  There will be several in Asheville, NC on both Saturday April 7th and Sunday April 8th (Easter Sunday), 2012.  Following is information about four egg hunts for this 2012 season, all within Asheville city limits:

"Easter on the Green" will be held on Saturday April 7th from 2-5 pm in downtown Asheville on the Roger McGuire Green at Pack Square Park ... right in the middle of historic downtown Asheville. There will be music, entertainment, a large scale Easter egg hunt, games and activities.  Gift certificates and other freebies will be hidden in some of the eggs, donated by many of the downtown merchants.  The Easter Bunny will make an appearance for photo opportunities.  AND it's all free, sponsored by Asheville's Downtown Association.

Also on Satruday April 7th Grovewood Galleries (next door to Grove Park Inn) will be hosting its 4th annual Easter Egg Hunt and this years hunt will benefit Manna Packs for Kids (Manna Food Bank).  For admission, bring 5 food items to donate to the benefit (be sure to check out the Manna site for the top 10 food items to donate).  The hunt will begin promptly at 11:00 am in the wind sculpture garden - be sure and bring your own basket.  The easter egg hunt is for children ages 2 to 9.  Lemonade and cookies will be available for hungry egg hunters and the Easter Bunny will be stopping by of course, for photo ops (busy bunny this easter!)

On Easter Sunday April 8th, The Grove Park Inn (GPI) will be hosting an Easter Egg Hunt in the Grand Ballroom (A) at 10:00 am, $10 per person, and baskets will be provided - or bring your own.  There will also be an Easter Party and Easter Hat making so be sure and check out the GPI website for information, pricing and other details about how to register for any of these Easter themed events.

Front lawn of the Biltmore Estate
The all time annual favorite, perhaps, is the Biltmore Estate annual easter egg hunt on the front lawn, this year on Easter Sunday, April 8th, 2012 and always a favorite.  The setting right in front of the Estate is, of course, beyond spectacular.  The Festival of Flowers opens the same weekend, so sure to be a special weekend at the Biltmore.  There will be three Easter Egg hunts on April 8th for children ages 2 to 9 years old.  Also music, stories and a magic show.  Photos with the Easter Rabbit will also be available.  Times of the hunts are 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm.

And if you're looking for an Easter service, Chimney Rock Park will be holding its 57th annual Easter Sunrise service.  Gate opens at 5 am and closes at 6 am for the 6:30 am service, and admission is free for entry to the Sunrise Service.

If you need a place to stay, Oakland Cottage B&B is just a mile from the entrance to the Biltmore Estate, 2 miles from Pack Square Park and 5 miles from Grovewood Galleries and the Grove Park Inn, and about 25 miles from Chimney Rock Park. If you are looking for an Asheville Cabin or Vacation Rental for your Easter or Spring Break week, just call Vacation In Asheville reservation and information offices, 828 994 2627.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

24th Annual Comedy Classic at Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC

The 24th Annual Comedy Classic will be at the Grove Park Inn, Asheville, NC, in Western North Carolina, this weekend, March 9-11, 2012.  

Host for the weekend will be actor, comedian and writer Jeff Jena.  Friday night comedians include Andrew Kennedy - Comedy Central, Rachel Feinstein - TV show, "Comics Unleashed", Mike Armstrong -  regular guest on The Bob and Tom Show, Mike Green - subject of a new documentary, Be Funny, Ralph Harris - one of today' s"hottest comedic and acting talents in the country."  Saturday night performers include the weekend's headliner and one of the country's best known and funniest performers, Kathleen Madigan - veteran of Tonight With Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing and star of the new Showtime special, Gone Madigan, along with Ryan Hamilton - NBCs Last Comic Standing and JR Brow - finalist in SanFrancisco's presticious international Comedy Competition..

General Admission is $30 per ticket on Friday night and $40 per ticket on Saturday night.  Be sure and read all the details about the comedy shows and other goings on at the Grove Park Inn by reviewing the Comedy Classic Schedule of Events at Grove Park Inn, March 9-11, 2012.  For more information call 800 438 5800.  Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa is located at 290 Macon Avenue, Asheville, NC 28804.  Besides general admission tickets, Grove Park Inn has packages with room accommodations available.

If you are looking for alternate lodging and accommodations, call Vacation In Asheville, 828 994-2627 for a B&B room, suite, cabin or Vacation Rental in Asheville, NC and the surrounding area.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Visit Chimney Rock Park, spectacular waterfalls, 25 miles south of Asheville, NC

View of the Chimney Rock and Lake Lure Beyond
Visit Chimney Rock Park this March, 2012 and enjoy a guided hike to Hickory Nut Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River at 404 feet.  Dates of the complimentary guided tour are Mar 3rd, Mar 10th, Mar 17th, Mar 24th, Mar 31st.  The hike is free with paid Park admission.  To participate in the hike, the trail guide will meet in front of Cliff Dwellers Gifts at 1pm.  In the event that the Hickory Nut Falls trail is closed (due to ice melt at the falls), the hike will be held on the Four Seasons trail.  Chimney Rock Park is just 25 miles south of Asheville, NC, a beautiful and scenic drive along highway 74-A through Hickory Nut Gap and along the Rocky Broad River.  

Walking through the tunnel to the elevator

DATES: March 3rd, 10th, 17th,  24th, and 31st, 1-2pm, 2012

No additional cost with paid Park admission

Park hours and Ticket Pricing during March 2012:
A spectacular gorge, Hickory Nut Gorge in Western, NC
The Park and Old Rock Cafe will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through March, 2012.  Park hours are Thursday through Monday from 10 am to 6 pm with the Ticket Plaza closing at 4:30 pm until March 11th at which time park hours will be extended to 7 pm and the Ticket Plaza will close at 5:30 pm, due to daylight savings.  Visit the website or call 828 625-9611 to confirm opening and closing times, as with inclement weather the park will often close.  Because of major capital improvement projects resulting in trail closures, ticket pricing is discounted through Spring 2012: $9 adults, $4 youth (6-15).

Other special events and classes are scheduled at Chimney Rock Park this March (and throughout the year), including a Survival Skills Workshop series, Backyard Habitats Workshop and more, so be sure and check the Chimney Rock website for more details on classes and events.

And if you need a place to stay, consider an Asheville Bed and Breakfast, Cabin or Vacation Rental.  Call 828 994-2627 for detaiils, options, and reservations, 9 am - 7 pm daily,,