Sunday, February 24, 2013

Marathon at the Biltmore Estate, First Ever!! Sunday March 3rd, 2013

The first ever USATF certified and bib chip timing Marathon running event to be held at the Biltmore Estate - with the entire course on the 8,000 acres of the Estate's expansive grounds, trails, dirt and paved roads - will be held this March 3rd, 2013.  The marathon will cover 26.2 miles on both the east and west sides of the French Broad River, taking runners throughout the property with part of the course going right by the "front door" of the Biltmore Estate, for magnificent views throughout the run of the estate, gardens, mountains and the French Broad River.  Click here for a vimeo of the course.  This is history at the Biltmore and a not to miss event for runners, spectators and volunteers; the race will begin at 7:00 am from the Antler Hill Village area of the Estate grounds with line-up and announcements beginning at 6:45 am.

  • All runners must be on the grounds of the Estate no no later than 6:30 am and note that the event is sold out for runners!  
  • Volunteer opportunities are available beginning on Monday February 25th and continue throughout the week including race day.  
  • For spectators, annual Passholders may arrive anytime after 9:00 am on the race morning - and children 16 and younger are free.  If not a passholder, spectator tickets are available and required for $35 each ticket.

The first runner is expected to be at the finish line around 9:30 am, at which time the post-race "party" and ceremonies will begin!

For more details about the logistics of this event, for runners, spectators and volunteers (volunteer spots are still available), be sure and visit the Asheville Marathon website, which is chock full of great information.

And, if you are still looking for nearby lodging, be sure and call Vacation In Asheville and Oakland Cottage Bed and Breakfast, located just 1.5 miles from the entrance to the Biltmore Estate.  Reservation offices are open 9am - 7pm daily, 828 994 2627, or 866 858-0863, toll free.  Have a great run and/or fun at perhaps one of the most beautiful Marathon courses in the world!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Grovewood Gallery and the Homespun Museum in Asheville, NC

The Grovewood Gallery, museums and shops are located on the historic site and grounds of six original English style cottages, formerly known as "Biltmore Industries."   In its heyday, Biltmore Industries was known world-wide for its hand-loomed fabrics (and woodworking) - and locally known in Asheville as the "Biltmore Homespun Shops."   The history of the "Biltmore Industries" and Homespun Shops spans a century, with its origins beginning with George Vanderbilt at the Biltmore Estate.  Enjoy learning more about the history at the Homespun Musuem located within the Grovewood Gallery complex.

The Grovewood Galleries are easy to miss, yet conveniently located right next to the Grove Park Inn, and well worth a visit - or two, or more! This is a quiet and fascinating little historic corner, home to the Homespun Museum, the Antique Car Museum, the Grovewood Cafe, working artist studios, galleries, exhibits and exhibitions, classes and shops, a small and delightful wind garden to stroll through along with complimentary and convenient parking right by this charming, historic and most interesting complex. 

Admission to both the Antique Car museum and the Homespun musuem is free.  Take time to walk through the shops that display local artists' beautiful and high quality arts and crafts works.  Visiting the shops is like walking through a museum in and of itself - shop for unique locally made items, or just enjoy looking.  The wind garden is small but worth the stroll and will bring a smile to your day!  Take a rest and a lunch at the Cafe.

It is always a good time to visit the Grovewood Galleries, and late February is an extra special time to visit both the Grove Park Inn and Grovewood Galleries - for the annual National Arts and Crafts Conference held next door at the Grove Park Inn.  This year the conference is celebrating its 26th year and will be held on the weekend of February 21 - 24, 2013.  

For the conference and in conjunction with the Grove Park Inn, Grovewood Galleries will be hosting and sponsoring many not to miss themed events, titled Grovewood Gallery's Arts & Crafts Legacy.  Be sure and visit during this most interesting conference.

 For Grovewood Gallery hours, information and contact, click here.  There is so much going on in this quiet and tiny space so be sure to check the calendar regularly.

Enjoy a nearby Asheville bed and breakfast for convenient and unique lodging needs as well as a fantastic breakfast.  The folks at Oakland Cottage can help you with your Vacation In Asheville.  Or inquire about a nearby vacation or cabin rental.  Reservation offices are open 9am - 7pm daily, 828 994 2627, 866 858-0863, toll free.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The North Carolina Arboretum, a North Carolina State Treasure in Asheville and Western NC

The North Carolina Arboretum is located in Asheville, NC, and may be reached directly from the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost Marker 393, or via Hwy 191, Brevard Road (not too far from the Biltmore Square Mall).  The North Carolina Arboretum is a wonderful treasure in the mountains of Western North Carolina and worthy of a day trip when you are visiting the Asheville area. There are many ways to take advantage of the Arboretum, from walking, hiking and mountain biking, to educational classes and lectures, to space rental for a wedding or special event.

The Arboretum (click for map) borders the French Broad River (at the "Sandy Bottom" picnic area, just off Brevard Road, Hwy 191), the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Bent Creek Experimental Forest.  Many trails may be linked up for a variety of distances to meet one's time frame and exercise needs - shorter walks through the  65 acres and 10 miles of planned gardens within the Arboretum boundaries, or longer hikes and extensive mountain biking, linking up the myriad of single track and gravel road quality trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Bent Creek Experimental Forest (click here for map).

Current exhibits for the 2013 season include local watercolorist, Ann Vasilik, "A Painter's Journey," and Quilts by Nancy Cook, "Seeds up Close" exhibits, both in the Baker Exhibit Center located in the NC Arboretum.  Guided trail walks, plant shows, natural history activities, educational programs, group programs and more are all available for the Arboretum visitor.

Hours are 8am to 9pm daily, April through October, 8am to 7pm daily, November through March.  Exhibits, Education Center (with bathroom facilities and cafe) are open 9am - 5pm daily and Greenhouse hours are 8am - 2pm daily.  Contact information - phone: 828 665 2492 or email  There is a charge for parking of $8 per vehicle and the first Tuesday of each month, parking is free.

Pets are welcome at the Arboretum as long as you keep your pet leashed at all times and clean up any pet waste.

Lodging in nearby Asheville is ideal and Oakland Cottage Bed and Breakfast is convenient to the NC Arboretum and all of what Asheville has to offer, just call the Vacation In Asheville reservation and information offices at 828 992 2627, 9am - 7pm daily, for bed and breakfast accommodations, as well as cabin and vacation rental options.