Monday, February 28, 2011

Who wil be King of the Mountain?

March 5   Highlands NC hosts the King of the Mountain Chef's Challenge.  Award-Winning Chefs face off in "Iron Chef" style competition.  Using mystery ingredients, the chefs will race against the clock to create the winning culinary dish and be crowned "King of the Mountain."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Winter Specials for NC Rentals

Winter rates in effect through March 31: Get one free night with a 3+ night stay Biltmore Estate tickets only $29 for 2 full days at the Estate. 3 BD, 2 BA cabin with 2 fireplaces and GREAT MOUNTAIN VIEW. Free WIFI. PET FRIENDLY.  Come play on a real llama farm!  Cabin Cove Farm     Asheville area cabin


Luxury lakefront romantic winter getaway at Hemlock Hill Cottage  for only $1300 per week during the Winter Season! Enjoy a cozy fire, stunning  lake view in a storybook cottage.  Lake Glenville - Cashiers area

Last Minute Snow Specials -
Stay Two nights get the THIRD NIGHT FREE Over 70 Asheville area cabins and Luxury Vacation Rentals and Asheville Cabins available for you!
Search for your perfect winter getaway rental at Carolina Mornings

Winter Special
(1/2 - 3/15): Stay 2 nights, take 30% off night rate  or  Stay 2 or more nights and get one night free.  5 cabins in a private 7 acre setting, each beautifully appointed with their own unique, wildlife theme. Nature trails, waterfall pond, creek and more
Cabins at Seven Foxes

Getaway Packages: Save with accommodations and activities and onsite dining. Near Cataloochee Ski area, NC's first Ski Area! Affordable rates and a beautiful mountain setting.  The Waynesville Inn Golf Resort & Spa

Find more Winter Season Specials for  NC Rentals here...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What to do in the NC Mountains: Grandfather Mountain's Habitats

photo by Monty Combs
As if there weren't already enough reasons why Grandfather Mountain is a "MUST SEE" on any trip to the North Carolina Mountains, there is yet another addition to the wonders of the highest point in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Luna, Grandfather Mountain's newest otter in residence, is now on display in the Otter Habitat along with her pal Nottaway. Luna and Nottaway currently have the habitat to themselves until keepers are confident that she is ready to meet Oconee and Santee, long-time favorites at the Otter Habitat. Luna is young and playful and will provide a full range of "otter antics"  for visitors. Read more...

Grandfather Mountain is a scenic attraction and recognized nature preserve managed by a nonprofit stewardship foundation. It offers a variety of activities from the Mile High Swinging Bridge to the Nature Museum to Alpine hiking trails and native wildlife habitats. Special naturalist programs and guided hikes are available throughout the summer months. The recently built Fudge shop provides a homemade sweet treat in an eco-friendly building. And then, of course, there's also the breath taking mountain scenery - as awe inspiring and pristine as you'll find anywhere.
The entrance to Grandfather Mountain is located on US 221, two miles north of Linville, North Carolina, and one mile south of the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305.  The GPS coordinates are 36.08502N, -81.84646W. (2050 Blowing Rock Highway in Linville, NC).

Friday, February 25, 2011

Curate Holds Grand Opening in Asheville on March 4, 2011

An authentic Spanish tapas bar, Cúrate, will host their Grand Opening, March 4, 2011 at 11 Biltmore Avenue, in Asheville NC.  Heirloom Hospitality Group’s lively full-service restaurant brings diners the best of Spanish food and wine with fabulous locally sourced ingredients.

The cuisine at Cúrate is first and foremost traditional Spanish. From jamón Ibérico to croquetas de pollo to flan with caramel sauce, those who have traveled to Spain will instantly be transported back to one of the lively tapas bars beloved throughout the country, one plate at a time. Cúrate’s menu is complemented by a carefully compiled selection of wine, beer, Sherry and sangria. The wine menu features some of Spain's finest wines at affordable prices, offered by the glass or by the bottle.

In the spirit of Asheville's impressive win of the title "Beer City USA" in 2010, Cúrate's beer list will feature locally crafted draft brew selection as well as a variety of beers imported from Spain. Adventurous guests will be delighted by the porrón, a festive tradition imported from Catalonia where even an experienced enthusiast has been known to spill a drop or two. Cúrate also offers sangria, made tableside with a bottle of Spanish Garnacha wine for traditional red sangria or a bottle of Cava for a festive, sparkling sangria blanca.
Cúrate’s authentic Spanish menu was crafted by Chef Katie Button, an alumna of Ferran Adria's critically acclaimed restaurant, elBulli, who spent many years living and cooking in Spain. Chef Button also worked with celebrated Spanish chef José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup at Café Atlantico in Washington, DC, and later The Bazaar by José Andrés in Los Angeles.

In Spanish, Cúrate, means ‘cure yourself.’  Whether guests are looking for a fun-filled evening out with friends or a quick bite before or after one of Asheville's many art or music productions, Cúrate is the place to go to take care of yourself, by letting us take care of you. Cúrate is open for dinner Tuesday - Sunday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and closed on Monday. Lunch and brunch service are scheduled to begin in April. For reservations or for more information, call 1-828-239-4946

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Winter Rates Extended at Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Winter Rates have been extended through April 30 at downtown Asheville's  Aberdeen Inn.  Choose any room in the house for only $99.00 per night (plus local taxes). The Cottage winter rate is $125.00 per night.

One of the earliest houses built in this area of Asheville, the Aberdeen Inn rests comfortably on a small rise surrounded by nearly an acre of  lawns, trees and gardens.

Relax in the peaceful surroundings of the oak and dogwood trees
at the  ABERDEEN INN and enjoy a view the mountains surrounding Asheville from the large wraparound front porch or upper level deck!  Each room offers a private bath, King or Queen beds and big, fluffy robes.

A full gourmet breakfast is included with your room rate as well as all home 
baked breads and complimentary beverages including wine, beer and soft drinks available 24 hours. The guest parlor has a cozy fireplace with TV and DVD/VCR.  Bring your laptop for FREE WIFI throughout the Inn. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cathie Ryan in Performance at Asheville's Diana Wortham Theatre

Feb 25, 8 PM at the Diana Wortham Theatre, 2 S. Pack Square, Asheville, NC. Twice named "Female Vocalist of the Decade" and voted of the Top 100 Irish Americans by Irish America Magazine, Cathie Ryan is an original and distinctive voice in Celtic music. A captivating and deeply affecting performer, the Irish American News in Chicago states: "She and her talented, versatile band give the definitive live Irish music performance."  Click here for a music sample and slide show for Cathie Ryan.

LISTEN: Tune in to 88.7FM WNCW on Friday, Feb. 25 in the 11:00am hour to hear a live session with Cathie Ryan and her band.  Get tickets here.

Cathie Ryan's Asheville performance is presented in partnership with The Swannanoa Gathering at Warren Wilson College, and is made possible by Mainstage Celtic Series sponsors Don & Nancy Ackermann Cole, Arby's, and BB&T.

Bryson City Cabin offers year around outdoor fun

Sleeping Dog Rentals  is a 2 bedroom  mountain cabin on 4 acres just six miles west of Bryson City and 15 minutes from The Smoky Mountains National Park, white water rafting,  horseback riding, hiking and bike trails. Enjoy the private lake access -  rent 4 wheelers, canoes, a pontoon boat or fishing gear. $140 per night, $950 per week.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Grand Opening for Nantahala Brewing Company's Tasting Room this Friday

February 25 Bryson City celebrates the grand opening of the Tasting Room at Nantahala Brewing Company. Come out for a night of fun, live entertainment, and great locally crafted beer! The Nantahala Brewing Company, located on Depot Street, would like to invite the public to attend the grand opening of their new tasting room. Festivities will begin at 4 PM with a ribbon cutting conducted by the Swain County Chamber of Commerce and continue until 10 PM. Sample several beers including the wildly popular Noonday IPA or take home a growler for later.

Southern Thunder Monster Truck Shootout in Asheville this weekend

Feb 25 - 26   Asheville will host the Southern Thunder Monster Truck ShootoutThe 19th annual Southern Thunder Monster Truck Shootout includes some of the most competitive Monster Trucks in the nation providing serious side by side racing over cars and daring freestyle performances. Fri. 7:30pm - Sat. 1:30pm & 7:30pm.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pearsons Falls open for the season

Pearson's Falls is located in the foothills of Western North Carolina  mid-way between Saluda and Tryon. It is a botanical preserve includin  268 acres of virgin forest, spring-fed streams and a 90 ft. waterfall.  Classified as
a deciduous climax forest the preserve hosts over 200 species of fern, flowering plants, algae and mosses.

Perason's Falls is owned and operated by the Tryon Garden Club which was organized in 1928
. The Club purchased the property in 1931 to ensure that it would be maintained as a natural preserve in perpetuity. Ir has been operated and preserved by the Club since that time. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Burnsville cabin offers beautiful mountain view

Our Mountain Hidaway  is a mountain view cabin with 3 Bedrooms and 2 baths, fireplace, hot tub and DSL. Enjoy the scenic mountain views but have the convenience of being only 5 miles to downtown Burnsville NC. Additional amenities include a game room with  pool table and foosball, wrap-around deck with gas grill and rockers and a swing. Affordably priced at $145 per night, $850 week. And it's PET FRIENDLY!

The hills are alive with the sound of music - especially today in Burnsville!

February 19   Burnsville hosts the RiddleFest 2011 Faithful Expressions  Free Daytime seminars from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. covering Shaped-Note Singing & Southern Sacred Music, Spiritual Roots of Black Gospel Music, and Origins of Southern Gospel Music. Evening concert $10

Friday, February 18, 2011

16th Annual Bluegrass First Class Festival this Weekend in Asheville

Feb 18 - 20 the 16th Annual Bluegrass First Class Festival   includes local and regional acts showcasing their talents in the Sunken Lobby and the main ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Resort. There will be jamming in the halls, stairwells, alcoves, meeting rooms, and just about everywhere else. Tickets are still available for and can be purchased online here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vacation Homes with Gourmet Meals

Carolina Mornings is known as much for the "extras"  it offers guests as its quality and variety of Asheville area cabins and vacation rentals.  From activity tickets to romance packages Carolina Mornings constantly strives to provide guests with  memorable vacation experiences.  The latest addition to their array of vacation "add-ons" is gourmet meals prepared by a top chef in the comfort of your own cabin or vacation rental.

Gourmet FoodLast week their new Chef treated the Carolina Mornings crew to a gourmet lunch at the office. Here's what some had to say: "The best gnocchi I've ever had, Absolutely delicious, As good as any fancy restaurant, A pleasure in every bite,"and so on. You get the picture. Bruschetta Fresca, Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque, Crème Brule… the possibilities are endless, and all you have to do is relax and clean your plate.

Enjoy delicious food made from scratch in the comfort of your own home away from home. The Carolina Mornings Chef Service will provide an unforgettable gourmet meal made with fresh and local ingredients customized to your taste and budget. Gluten free, low sodium, vegetarian and vegan options are also available. Call today to set up a meal you're guaranteed to. Call 828.398.0712 to take advantage of a gourmet chef of your own!

Carolina Mornings offers 70+ Luxury Mountain Vacation Rentals and Asheville Cabins. Choose from an exceptional selection of the finest vacation home rentals in the Asheville NC area. Whether you choose to stay in a captivating Blue Ridge Mountain chalet, a Smoky Mountain log cabin, an elegant downtown loft or a luxury vacation villa located at the center of Historic Biltmore Village, you will be showered with free exclusive activities, personal attention, exceptional service and superior amenities such as spectacular mountain views, hot tubs, fireplaces, WIFI, pool tables, pet friendly rentals and more,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Brevard NC vacation cabin on the river - $750 per week

Getaway to Brigadoon, An enchanted vacation cabin on the river, where you never want to leave. The cabin is  renovated, rustic mountain home originally built in 1917. With 3 bedrooms 2 and 1/2 baths it sleeps eight comfortably with amenities including: dishwasher, washer & dryer, fireplace, grill, large screen porch and an open deck.

Brigadoon vacation rental sits on 4 acres that border the Dupont State Forest and Little River. it includes WIFI and is  PET FRIENDLY. An afordable vacation rentals at $150 per night, minimum 2 nights, $750 per week, $2800 per month.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tomorrow is Wednesday at PARI

Feb 16  -  Wednesdays at PARI   The Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute offers an unparalleled opportunity for people of all ages to experience the wonders of scientific research first hand. .PARI volunteers share the history and future of the site. They emphasize the opportunities to explore the universe available through PARI to all ages. The Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute is located at 1 PARI Drive in  Rosman, NC - just outside of Brevarb North Carolina.

Arts & Crafts Antique Show and Conference at the Grove Park Inn

February 18 - 20   Asheville NC hosts the Arts & Crafts Antique Show and Conference.  Recognized for its dedication to the education of the collector, this special weekend blends informative talks with an immense show of furniture and collectibles. Providing inspiration is The Grove Park Inn’s own rich Arts & Crafts tradition, which lives on throughout the resort, from the Old Hickory rockers to the Roycroft chandeliers.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Romantic Valentine's Day Dinner in the NC Mountains

Hendersonville NC -  Romantic Valentine’s Day Dinner at The Blue Note Grille
Boonville NC -  Valentine's Lunch at RagApple Lassie Vineyards

Dobson NC   Special Valentine's Dinner at The Harvest Grille

Lake Lure NC   Dinner Specials at Rumbling Bald

Asheville NC   The Sunset Terrace at the Grove Park Inn

Blowing Rock  Valentine's Day Dinner at Crippen's Restaurant

Blowing Rock  Valetine's Day Dinner with FREE Desert at Canyons

Blowing Rock Special Additional Valentine's Menu Items at The Storie Street Grille

Boone NC   Romantic Valentine Dinner at Char - Modern American Restaurant

Bryson City   Thirteen Moons Restaurant Valentine's Dinner

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Stream and Fishing Report from Curtis Wright Outfitters

We are off to a cold start to 2011, but that does not have to mean no more fishing until spring. We are lucky enough to not have to deal with total freeze on most of our rivers. They will build up ice on the edges, and some might freeze over for a short period of time, but for the most part our water will stay flowing all year.

We are very blessed with having a ton of options. The most readily available streams in our area are the Delayed Harvest waters. It has been almost 4 months since they were last stocked but we are finding good numbers of fish holding over from the October/November stockings. These fish have seen a good amount of pressure and have felt a few hooks. That being said they still have to eat. The key on these streams (and most others) this time of year is fishing deep and slow. Medium to large rubber leg stonefly patterns(boss hogs, double bead stones) sizes 12-16 are a great choice as a point fly, followed by a small Pheasant Tail nymph, Hare’s Ear, or one of my favorites a Zebra midge (sz16-24).   Read Full Report

Fly Chick Chat
In light of last month's Fly Chick Chat, I began to think about the agility that is needed on the water as well as the number of times I have tripped, fallen or just got plain soaked. 

Ladies’ Only Fly Fishing Clinic
Ladies, have you ever wanted to get your feet wet and give fly fishing a try, but been a bit intimidated to do so?  Did you know there are over 3,000 miles of fly fishing water within an hour of the Asheville area?  Well your time for waiting is over!   >>Fly Fishing Clinic Details

Lamson Velocity
Lamson reels are known for their bulletproof sealed conical drag system, making it perfect for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.  The sealed drag provides long lasting performance with no maintenance.  That's a great combination.  It has a large arbor design to it is able to retrieve line quickly if a fish takes a run right at you.  
More Lamson Velocity Review

Stream Report Page
Our professional fly fishing guides regulary turn in detailed fishing reports from their most recent trips.  These reports are regulary used by other guides and/or clients to help narrow down where to fish during their next trip in the Asheville area.  With over 3000 miles of streams to choose from, every little bit helps!   View Stream Reports

Friday, February 11, 2011

Celebrate Valentines with a movie and a Brew

Gnomeo and Juliet NOW PLAYING . . . .Join Heinzelmannchen Brewery at Carolina Asheville Cinema Saturday, February 12 from 2 - 8 PM for Heinzelmannchen Beer, Sodas and lots of  Giveaways!  If you can't make it on Saturday, you can always enjoy a fresh draft of Heinzelmannchen beer at the Cinema's on another day!  

"See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! O that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might touch that cheek!" Romeo and Juliet Quote (Act II, Sc. II).
The Carolina Asheville is located at 1640 Hendersonville Rd in Asheville, NC. Heinzelmannchen Brewery is located at 545 Mill Street  in Sylva, North Carolina.

Snow in the Mountains this Weekend - Head for the Slopes

NC Ski Resorts and Ski Areas offer the highest mountains east of the Rockies and the most convenient location for Floridians to ski NC. Whether you're a beginning or advanced skier, snowboarder, snow tuber or ice skater the North Carolina Mountains have a ski area you will enjoy. Check-out NC snow reports and links to the ski slope webcams.

NC Ski Packages and specials, weather reports, ski vacations rentals and ski lodges are available for all areas including Appalachian Ski Resort, Beech Mountain Ski Resort, Cataloochee Ski Area, Sapphire Valley Resort, Hawksnest Ski Mountain, Sugar Mountain Ski Resort and Wolf Ridge Ski Resort. Get complete information for ALL NC Skiing...

Thursday, February 10, 2011


On Monday, February 14, the Marianna Black Library will present a special children’s program. Area children of all ages are invited to a Fancy Nancy Valentines Party at 3:30-4:30. Fancy Nancy is a popular picture book series written by Jane O'Connor. Children can make cards, play games, and much more at the party. For more information, call 488-3030 or go to

NC Valentine's last minute Cabin specials

 Give your Valentine a rustic, romantic getaway at Hemlock Hill Cottage. Enjoy a cozy fire, stunning lake view and complimentary healthful and delicious bread. Lake Glenville - Cashiers area.

Take 20% off the nightly rate Valentines Weekend (2 night minimum) at one of the 5 Cabins at Seven Foxes. Chocolate & Wine upon your arrival. Cuddle up by the fireplace or visit nearby waterfalls, parks and fine dining at Lake Toxaway, Cashiers or Highlands.

2/12 - 2/14 Guests celebrating at Oak Hill on Love Lane will be pampered with chocolate strawberry tuxedos at turn-down service, decadent breakfast, commemorative photo and additional goodies for a romantic stay! Waynesville

Red Canoe Cottage
is nestled right at the lakes edge with great lake and sunset views. Enjoy luxury and comfort with your Valentine or your group ( 5 bds, 4 baths). Complimentary homemade bread and all the serenity you can consume await you. Cashiers area

Enjoy a Complimentary for Valentine's Day a box of chocolates, a bouquet of flowers, and cheese and crackers when you stay at Cabin Cove Farm a contemporary log home with mountain view, fireplace, hot tub and WIFI. Asheville area

February is National Weddings Month and what better place to get hitched or renew your vows than at a bed & breakfast? We offer 3 different all-inclusive elopement packages ranging in price from $749 - $1149. All packages include accommodations, minister, bridal bouquet, cake, champagne/sparkling cider toast. Add-ons include flowers, chocolates, couples massages. We can customize a package for you. View the Elopement Packages Page under the Facility Rental tab. 1847 Blake House Inn Bed and Breakfast Asheville

Complimentary homemade bread a healthful and delicious comfort food, awaits you and your Valentine at Fern Bank Cottage with awesome lake to mountain views. The master suite has its own fireplace, jacuzzi tub and lake view. The cottage was designed to provide perfect comfort for two, yet allows space for many extra guests (6 bds, 4.5 baths) LAKE GLENVILLE - CASHIERS Area

A half dozen roses are included for FREE for guests of The Cabins at Long Branch. For visitors who wish to have a hand in planning their own valentine weekend we will procure and place in the cabin the flowers or candy that they select. Other flowers arrangements from $35 and gourmet candies from $15 to $75 are available. Also Reservations and payment for romantic dinners also available. Complete information available when bookings are made. NANTAHALA area

*Stay two night's and get the THIRD NIGHT FREE! * Call 828-398-0712 to book or SEARCH NOW for your perfect Valentine's Getaway rental. Asheville Cabins and luxury vacation rentals from Carolina Mornings

Turn the spark into a flame with Fire Mountain's Valentine's Package
at no additional cost above our low winter rates. The Valentine's Package includes champagne, chocolate-dipped strawberries, breakfast, sunset bonfire and more. Highlands NC.

Give your Valentine Romance in the Smokies and get your 3rd night FREE at
Watershed Luxury Log Home Rentals, a collection of luxury rental log cabins in the Great Smoky Mountains providing log homes, chalets and cottages nightly or weekly for a special Smoky Mountains getaway.
Find more Valentine's Weekend Lodging specials here...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

NC Mountains Valentine Event: Valentine Weekend at RagApple Lassie Vineyard

RagApple Lassie Vineyard's Valentine Weekend live romantic music both Saturday and Sunday, wine tasting in chocolate dipped wine glasses, wonderful imported chocolates for sampling and purchasing from Blue Ridge Chocolate Shoppe, AND Romantic VALENTINE LUNCHES by reservation.

Choose between two four course lunches - menus shown below - perfectly paired with a different wine for each course. Seatings at 12 noon and 2:00 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. RESERVATIONS REQUIRED (there is still some seating available). $35.00 per person plus tax and gratuity.

Menu One:  Give me LOVE
Cheddar Cheese, Fig jam and crackers with RAL Chardonnay
Beaufort Shrimp with Kaleidoscope Gold
Tenderloin of Beef and truffle dusted duchess potatoes with Cabernet Sauvignon
Peach Tart with Boonville Blanc

Menu Two:  Give me Romance
Creamy Brie, pears and almonds with Pinot Gris
Shrimp Bisque with Viognier
Lamb Chops and fresh asparagus with Syrah
Double Chocolate Terrine with Rockford Red

RagApple Lassie's Kaleidoscope Red was top on the list of Ed Williams' News & Record 'Uncorked' recommended wines for Valentine.  As quoted by Ed Williams in his article, "This wine is just like good sex....teasing the palate with a hint of sweetness and a promise of spirit in its long lingering finish!  Try it - you'll love it

RagApple Lassie Vineyard is located at 3724 RagApple Lassie Lane in Boonville, NC - near Mount Airy and Wilkesboro.

Monday, February 7, 2011

NC Valentine Specials: Romance in Lake Lure

Lake Lure North Carolina is home to one of the most breathtaking man-made lakes in the world. WOW your Valentine with the gorgeous scenery with these Valentine Specials:

Rumbling Bald Resort in Lake Lure NC Wine and; Roses Valentine's Getaway from Feb 11 - 15 includes lodging, dinner and wine and roses.  Valentine's Dinner Specials at Rumbling Bald offer great dining options all weekend at Luna del Sol Restaurant and and Legends!>

Romantic Getaway Packages from the 1927 Lake Lure Inn and Spa include the Jacuzzi Package and the Standard Package with messages, champagne, dinner and more.Get details and links for these Valentine Packages and more NC Valentine getaways here...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

NC Mountain Valentines Cabin Special: Fire Mountain's Valentine's Package

Turn the spark into a flame with  Fire Mountain's Valentine's Package There is nothing more romantic than enjoying the peace and quiet that winter brings to a beautiful mountaintop. Enjoy a bottle of Perrier-Jouet Champagne in front of a roaring fire. Witness a blazing sunses at the bonfire on Saturday night. Relax and enjoy a special time with that special someone. Fire Mountain created a package for you to make this Valentine's Day as stress free as possible and at no additional cost above our low winter rates. Get details and restrictions on the site. Highlands NC.

NC Mountain Valentines Cabin Special: Get your 3rd Night FREE

Watershed Luxury Log Home Rentals is offering the lowest rates of the season, so you can enjoy the Great Smoky Mountains with your special Valentine! The 3rd night FREE has just been extended to include March. Visit the site fro details and restrictions.

Watershed Cabins are a collection of luxury rental log cabins in the Great Smoky Mountains providing log homes, chalets and cottages nightly or weekly for a special Smoky Mountains getaway.

Friday, February 4, 2011

NC Valentine's Weekend Event: Naturalist Meetup Party

The Compleat Naturalist is hosting a Naturalist MEETUP FREE party, Friday Feb. 11, 6:00-7:30pm. Celebrate the end of the week with drinks and snacks. Stop by and stay for the whole time or leave when you wish. This week we are focusing on the geology of the Southern Appalachians. For "show & tell," Hal will have a display of a portion of our extensive rock and mineral teaching collection, and will talk a little bit about our upcoming Rock and Mineral ID Class. Bring your naturalist stories and ideas to share! Please email if you plan to attend or if you have questions:

Join the  new Compleat Naturalist Meeup Group to be notified of upcoming events. Meet other nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, naturalists, and similarly inquisitive minds. The Compleat Naturalist Shop is located at  2 Brook Street, Historic Biltmore Village,  Asheville NC.

NC Valentine's Special Events: Romance at the Rock

February 9 - 15  find affordable (not to mention healthy) Romance at Chimney Rock Park with Buy One Get One FREE regularly priced adult tickets. Go for a refreshing hike to the base of Hickory Nut Falls. Top off the perfect day with a tasty lunch at the Old Rock Cafe.

CHIMNEY ROCK PARK  is a 500 million-year-old giant granite monolith overlooking Hickory Nut Gorge. Visitors to the Park are awed by the breathtaking view that spreads 1200 vertical feet beneath them and 75 miles across the Carolinas. The state-owned park, located in Chimney Rock North Carolina, encompasses 1,000 acres, including the Chimney itself and Hickory Nut Falls and the beautiful Hickory Nut Falls.  Chimney Rock Park is a "must see" for  any trip to the mountains.

NC Valentines Weekend Package: Message and More at Smoky Mountain Inn

Romance your Valentine in the heart of the Smoky Mountains only 1 mile to charming downtown Waynesville NC. Add one massage to your stay and receive a complimentary chocolate-covered strawberries. Add two massages and enjoy your strawberries with a complimentary bottle of wine as well. The Brookside Mountain Mist Inn is a Smoky Mountains Inn in a park like setting with beautiful mountain views. The Inn offers 5 spacious rooms with cozy fireplace, private bath, sitting area and gourmet 3 course breakfasts.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Service - Get Smokies Road Status via Texts or Twitter

On February 2 the Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced that Park visitors and local travelers may now sign-up to receive status updates about the Park’s most frequently used roads via text message or the Internet. In the past, travelers had to place phone calls to the Park to determine the status of the roads which can change frequently with changing weather conditions.

“I am excited that visitors and park travelers with cell phones or access to the Internet can now obtain information on road status changes immediately,” said Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent, Dale Ditmanson. “While better serving the public, we can also reduce the workload to the Park’s Communications Center.” The Park’s recorded information line receives more than 1,000 calls per day during the severe winter weather from people inquiring about road conditions. When all of the incoming lines are in-use, the calls rollover to the park’s Communications Center staff, often resulting in more than 600 calls to be answered, hampering the staff from responding to calls requesting park information and emergency assistance.

Those who wish to be notified of the status of the Park’s four most popular roads - Newfound Gap (U.S. 441), Little River Road, Laurel Creek Road, and Cades Cove Loop Road – can opt to get text messages to their cell phones by texting: follow smokiesroadsnps to 40404. To stop receiving the text message alerts, text stop smokiesroadsnps to the same number. Standard text rates will apply.

The public can get that same information via the Internet by going to: to read recent road notification postings. This is a Twitter website maintained by the Park, but anybody can access it at any time, without having to establish a Twitter account. Anyone having a Twitter account can go an extra step and choose to have updates set to them by going to the site listed above and clicking the “follow” button to see the updates on their own account page and receive the notifications in the manner they specify.

In addition to notifications of winter road conditions, Park officials plan to notify travelers throughout the year of road openings and closings due to rock slides, fallen trees, and accidents. Anytime the status of one of the listed roads changes, a message will be sent. As the National Park Service prepares for its 2016 centennial celebration, officials are increasingly utilizing technology to connect the American people to their national parks.

For more information go to  Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Information on all of the roads in the Park as well as other Park information may be obtained by calling the park’s information line at (865) 436-1200 and follow the prompts.

Asheville's Historic Grove Arcade the perfect backdrop for Valentine Vows

Year after year it can be hard to come up with a new and special way to say "I love you" on Valentine's Day. You find yourself in the grocery store standing in front of the greeting cards with an uninspired box of chocolates and the last fresh-looking bouquet. Why not "kick it up a notch" this year and let Asheville's remarkable Grove Arcade can help make this Valentine's Day remarkable and memorable.

On Saturday, February 12, join other romantically inclined couples renewing their vows at 4 PM. Darr Conradson will lead the devoted crowd in a group ceremony. With its heart tracery and historic ambiance, the Arcade is a wonderful spot to declare your love,  once more … and publicly. The happy couples will share a free champagne toast (must be 21 years of age).

Find the perfect present in one of the Arcade’s locally-owned shops, galleries and boutiques featuring jewelry, crafts, women’s clothes, bath products, make up, fudge and much more.
Studio Flora Diva will have long-stemmed roses, custom bouquets and grab-and-go bouquets at the ready. Select carefully as merchants are offering special discounts including 25% off of any red items at Jazzy Giraffe.
Grove Arcade restaurants are offering specials and creating unique meals for the holiday. Whether you are celebrating Friday, Saturday or Sunday, downtown’s “restaurant row” offers unparalleled choice and quality.

The Grove Arcade is a true MUST SEE during any visit to Asheville NC. Located at One Page Avenue at the heart of the Battery Hill neighborhood in downtown Asheville, the Arcade offers unique shopping and exciting dining in one of Asheville's architectural jewels. A downloadable building tour and new video podcast are available on the website.