Shelley Hipps

TONIGHT December 21st, 2017 - Asheville Community FUNdraiser in Support of 5 Local Non-profits!

Join us and share the love as we celebrate the season by supporting local non-profits that concentrate on the homeless population and those in crisis throughout our Asheville and WNC community. Your gift will go a long way to help members of our community have a place to call HOME.

We have chosen 5 local non-profits to work with this year. We feel these five make efforts to help those homeless and in crisis in our community: Homeward Bound of WNC, Helpmate, Caring for Children, Eliada, Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry's Transformation Village

We have set our goal to raise $20,000 and we will be matching all donations up to $10,000!

We are thrilled to have kids activities, 2 wonderful LOCAL bands, a DJ, photo booth, drinks, incredible silent auction & raffle + more!

*Your donation is your admission, you choose what you want to give!

Once inside, enjoy free buffet style dinner and $3 beer and cider!

100% of ALL proceeds go to the 5 LOCAL non-profit organizations!


5pm - 7pm - Kids' activities including photos with Smokey Mountain Santa & Mrs. Claus, games, face painting with Asheville face and body art and more!

Photo booth (ShutterBooth Asheville) for fun photo opportunities - goof off with your family & friends!

7pm - Food will be served & Live Music Begins!

(Amazing LOCAL food donated from all over Asheville & Western NC - PLUS Catering By Corey, LLC & MORE!)

7pm - 8pm - Swing Step

8pm - 9pm - DJ Mad Sci


Silent Auction & Raffle with incredible finds from all over Asheville & WNC!

9pm - 10pm - Leeda Lyric Jones



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    Asheville and WNC Thanksgiving Guide 2017


    The Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend (November 23-26, 2017) in Asheville is a feast of fun. Here are our Top 10 things to do. Of course, eating is number one! Also see our Top Holiday Outings. For Christmas Day Restaurants open in Asheville, see our Christmas Guide.

    Thanksgiving Day Asheville Restaurants

    While many restaurants are closed, there are still many great local choices for a brunch, lunch or dinner. Click on the names to go to their web sites.

    • Biltmore Estate Restaurants. Requires estate admission ticket or 12-month pass to dine.
      • Deerpark 11 AM-5 PM: Extravagant Thanksgiving buffet, $56/adult, $19/youth 10-16, reservations required (and books up fast). 
      • Bistro (at Winery) 11:30 AM-9 PM: Gourmet three-course prix fixe menu, $55/person. 
      • Stable Café (by House) 11 AM-4 PM: Menu with most popular lunch items, plus a number of holiday offerings. Phone: 828-225-6370. 
      • Cedric’s Tavern (Antler Village) 11 AM-9 PM: Regular lunch and dinner menus, plus three-course menu $40/adult. Phone: 828-225-1320. 
    • Omni Grove Park Inn Restaurants (Reserve online or call 1-800-438-5800)
      • Blue Ridge Dining Room: 12-8 PM Buffet feast with views of the mountains, Adults $62, children 2-12 $25
      • EDISON, craft ales + kitchen: 11 AM–11 PM with special menu, $26/entree, $10/dessert
      • Grand Ballroom Buffet: 11 AM-6:45 PM, Phenomenal Buffet, Adults $62, children 2-12 $25
      • Vue 1913: 5-10 PM, Gourmet Thanksgiving 3-course menu, $70/person
      • Read more about Grove Park Inn and the Gingerbread House Competition Display
    • Grand Bohemian Hotel: (Biltmore Village) Two choices: The Red Stag Grill presents an elegant, four-course dinner, 11:30 AM-9 PM, $75adult. The grand Kessler Ballroom has an elegant buffet, reservations times between 12-2:30 PM, $70/adult.
    • Roux: (South Asheville) Traditional Thanksgiving buffet including delicious selections of roasted all-natural NC turkey with orange-cranberry relish, baked ham with maple-bourbon glaze. 1–7 PM. Adults $38/person, $17/child 12 and under. Located in the Hilton Hotel Biltmore Park. Reservations at 828-209-2715.
    • DoubleTree Hotel's Thanksgiving Buffet features seasonal classics with an elegant twist. Biltmore Village. 1:30-6 PM. Adults $42; Children $16 (12 & under). Reservations at 828-274-1800
    • The Blackbird: Modern Southern 3-course menu at $65/adult, $15/children under 12, 11 AM-10 PM, downtown.
    • The Esmeralda Inn in Chimney Rock, buffet with seatings at 11:30, 2 and 4:30 PM. Reservations required. $40/adults, $20/children.
    • Storm Rhum Bar & Bistro, downtown, 3-course prix fixe menu $45/person with choice of heritage breed turkey, beef, pork or fish. They serve from 2-8 PM and the bar will be open until midnight.
    • Isa’s Bistro, 12-5 PM, 3-course prix fixe menu $55, downtown.
    • Strada Italiano, 11 AM-8 PM, Italian family recipes a la carte, reservations and walk-ins. Social Lounge next door open 3 PM-Midnight, downtown
    • Carmels, a la carte Southern inspired menu, Grove Arcade downtown, 12 Noon-8 PM
    • Pack's Tavern, two Thanksgiving Buffets with turkey, ham, trimmings and plenty of beer choices on Pack Square Park downtown, 11 AM-8 PM. $34.99/adults, $17.99/children under 12. Good option for large groups. Reservations and walk-ins.
    • Mountain Magnolia Inn in Hot Springs, Thanksgiving Harvest Dinner served from 11 AM-5:30 PM inside historic inn. 3-Course Prix Fixe $60, 5-Course Prix Fixe $70, Children Under 12 with 3-Course Prix Fixe $25; Under 6 free.
    • Season's at Highland Lake Inn in Flat Rock, big Thanksgiving Buffet 10:30 AM-7 PM, $50 Adults, $25 Child, 5 and under free. Live music. Local's favorite. Reservations required.
    • Tryon International Equestrian Center, buffet at Legends Grill, 11 AM-4 PM, $29.95/person. Call 828-863-1000 for reservations.
    • Cornerstone (102 Tunnel Road, Asheville) is our favorite diner in town. They will have several specials with choice of sides. 7:30 AM-9 PM. No reservations accepted. 
    • Old Europe Pastries downtown at 13 Broadway is open from 7 AM-4 PM on Thanksgiving.

    Asheville Outlets: The 70-store Asheville Outlets Center will be open on Thanksgiving Day from 6 PM until 2 AM, Friday & Saturday 8-9 and Sunday 11-6. Free pics with Santa. Read more.

    Pick your Christmas Tree: Go to a "choose and cut" Tree Farm to pick the perfect one for your home on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. All are closed on Thanksgiving Day. Many farms offer hayrides and other activities. See our Asheville Christmas Tree Farms Guide.

    Downtown Asheville: Most all downtown stores are closed on Thanksgiving. But there's plenty of holiday shopping on Friday and Saturday to find those special gifts. Browse through more than 200 shops, 30 art galleries and a dozen antique stores. Free parking on streets and city parking decks on Thanksgiving Day and Friday. See our Downtown Asheville Guide.

    More Shopping: Biltmore Village is home to more than 40 shops in historic cottages and buildings. Asheville is a mecca for artists, so this is the place to find one-of-a-kind gifts. Head to the Folk Art Center and the River Arts District. See our Gallery Guide. Also see our Antique Shopping Guide. Most all local stores are closed on Thanksgiving Day.

    Small Towns: If you prefer the quaint small towns and friendly "Mayberry" Main Streets, explore our cool small towns throughout our mountains.

    Get Outdoors: #optoutside! Take a late fall hike and enjoy views through with leafless trees, cool temperatures, and few fellow hikers. See our hiking guide for top picks. All trails and waterfalls in the National Forests and Parks are open every day.

    • Green Friday at Adventure Center of Asheville (near downtown): Ages 4+ zip at KidZip or climb at Treetops Park. Ages 10+ ride Zipline Canopy Tours as well as advanced challenges in the Treetops Park. 50% of all revenue donated for environmental causes in WNC.
    • Some ski resorts will open. Cataloochee opened Nov 20th and Beech Mtn opens Nov 24th.
    • Ranger Guided Hike, Friday at 10 AM to Mingus Creek Cemetery in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 4.2 miles roundtrip hike. Meet in the Mingus Mill parking area, less than a mile north of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, along Newfound Gap Road. For more information, call the Oconaluftee Visitor Center at 828-497-1904.

    National Parks: Both Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park are open on Thanksgiving Day, weather permitting. The Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the Great Smokies is open on Thanksgiving Day.

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      Asheville Volunteer Day with Eliada Home

      Check out our photo and video gallery from our day of volunteer fun! ( Make sure to watch the hilarious slow motion videos as our agents go head to head in a bouncy horse race! )

      Tuesday October 17th, 2017 was a beautiful day at Eliada Home! Our agents and staff had a great time volunteering at the corn maze where they drove kids on tractor rides, loaded the corn cannons with ears of corn, helped kids safely enjoy the giant tube slides and jumping pillow, and made sure the corn maze was litter-free. Eliada home does amazing things for the kids in our community and we love supporting such a great organization.

      Make sure to join us on Dec. 21st, 2017 at the Orange Peel in Asheville NC for our 6th Annual Home for the Holidays FUNdraiser where we will be raising funds for Eliada Home and four other non-profit organizations!

      Visit our website for more details:


      We are WNC’s ONLY non-profit Corn Maze with 100% of proceeds benefiting the children at Eliada!  Not only does your ticket purchase come with access to family-friendly fun, memories, and adventures but it directly aids in the growth and success of Eliada and our kids!

      Dates and Times

      Eliada’s 2017 Annual Corn Maze will be open from September 30th through October 31st. Stop by and join in the festivities!

      • Monday – Friday: 9am-3pm
      • Saturday: 10am- 8pm
      • Sunday: 10am-6pm
      • Check Eliada’s Facebook Page for updates on inclement weather

      Buy your TICKETS HERE!

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        Tips for Cleaning Up After a Big Storm

        Cleaning Up Your Yard After the Big Storm

        Huge storms can wreck havoc on your beautiful yard. The months spent getting your lawn into perfect shape can be destroyed by just a few minutes of a terrible storm.

        Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take to clean up your yard after the storm has died down. Here are easy ways to assess your yard in the days following an extreme weather event.

        What can you do in the aftermath of a big storm? Plenty. Check out these Top 5 Tips for Post-Hurricane Yard Clean Up. Easy ways to assess your yard in the days following an extreme weather event.

        Tip No. 1. Check your trees, lawn and shrubs for storm damage. Note fallen trees, limbs and branches in a notebook so that you can easily report these items to your tree surgeon, arborist, landscape specialist or insurance carrier, as needed. Pay particular attention to which trees or shrubs were adversely affected. It may be that you’ll need to rethink the placement of these trees and shrubs in the future, or enhance your wind barriers and drainage systems in the future. In my yard, we’re fortunate to have several outbuildings and storm fencing which shield our trees from damaging wind, rain and hail. But, we recently consulted a Master Gardener from our County to provide advice on falling limbs that may be the combined result of summer drought and hurricane force winds.

        Tip No. 2. Check your drainage systems, curbs, gutters, and storm drains for water, leaves, mud and other lawn debris. These systems can sustain damage as well during a big storm. Ask yourself several questions. Where does water tend to pool or puddle? Where do leaves collect? What’s working and what’s not? Follow up with flood and drainage specialists as needed. Or, get the shovel ready to redirect water flow or clear drains as warranted. The experts at HGTV provide easy DIY tips for installing a French Drain in your yard. But, keep in mind, no system is foolproof and most require regular maintenance, particularly after a storm.

        Storm 2







        Tip No. 3. Remove sticks, stones, and leaves from lawn and garden. The days following a storm are excellent times to remove all debris that’s collected or fallen during the course of a tropical storm or hurricane. Clearing your yard will help the sun and wind dry your water clogged lawn and garden areas a little faster than if you let the elements take care of this debris on their own. Remember to put what you can in your compost pile, separating out oak leaves and other material that may not decompose. The rest can be disposed of, keeping in mind that your local authorities may have specific regulations on proper handling of this material.

        Tip No. 4. Steer clear of damaged trees. These can pose dangerous conditions prior to and during removal. Call a tree specialist to figure out your options for your damaged trees. Some are salvageable with a little trimming. Others will need to be removed by the experts. Trees down in common areas? Across yards? For community as well as private tree advice and assistance, contact a certified arborist or Master Gardener at your local Extension office. These experts can help you develop a plan to address your damaged trees, usually at no cost to you. Extension services can also provide important tips on chain saw safety, crucial advice if you choose to clear these specimens yourself. In the meantime, best to keep you and your family a distance away from these post-storm hazards.


        Tip No. 5. Stay away from standing water. If there is significant flooding or water collection in your yard, this can pose significant dangers to you and your family. It may be that a storm drain has dislodged or overflowed. Or, a stream has risen substantially higher than its banks. In any event, it will be important for you to alert family members and neighbors of this standing water, and to report this water hazard to your local authorities. It may be that you’ll need to wait for water to subside. Or, in the case of creeks, streams and other waterways, authorities may need to check things out. The Centers for Disease Control provide an excellent fact sheet on what to do in the case of standing water. At a minimum, CDC cautions homeowners to wash their hands after contact with flooding or standing water. In the meantime, best to keep you and your family a safe distance away from these post-storm hazards.


        Smart, Safe Storm Cleanup Tips

        Getting your home back into shape after big weather may require more than a broom and a mop. Here's a collection of our best pro advice for managing the aftermath


        By the editors of


        Dealing with the Aftermath

        For many people, when a terrible storm hits, it's the aftermath that is the worst. Debris, flood waters, power outages, broken tree limbs, shattered glass, piles of snow— these are all dangerous risks once a hurricane, tornado, or nor'easter makes its way through a town or community.

        The editors of This Old House have compiled our best and safest advice for how to deal with the cleanup after a storm. Follow along to see how you can save your house from more harm—and keep yourself and your family safe as you do it.


        Stop a Flood

        With a heavy storm comes heavy rains, and inevitably flooding. If waters come into your home, be careful about getting it out. Turn off the power—but only if the water hasn't reached as high as any electrical outlets in the room where the main breaker lives. Otherwise you could be wading into an electrified pond.


        Dry Out Your House

        Once the storm subsides, hiring a professional service might be your best bet for a thorough cleanup, because they will know how to eradicate water in places you didn't even realize it had seeped.


        Stave Off Mold

        Even if you think you've gotten all of your goods dried out and cleaned up, dirty and contaminated floodwaters may have already laid the groundwork for mold—not just on the walls, but inside them and in floors and furniture.

        Clean Up Damaged Trees

        With high winds and heavy rains or snows come downed trees, one of the most dangerous and damaging outcomes of a powerful storm.

        First figure out how bad the situation is by following the advice in Assessing Tree Damage. If you find you'll need to remove a tree, call in a certified arborist to do any major removal; taking down trees is a scary job that can cause terrible injury if not done right.


        Fix Broken Glass

        High winds and flying debris might have shattered a pane or two. Follow TOH general contractor Tom Silva's advice for repairing broken glass, whether it's on a door, in a window, or only accessible from inside.

        Clear Leaves

        Those on the peripheries of a terrible storm may not have had downed trees or flooded basements, but they're likely to have found themselves with a house and yard covered in leaves and twigs.

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        How to Help Hurricane Irma Victims

        As Hurricane Irma roars over the Florida Keys after causing destruction in the Caribbean, here is a guide to how you can help the people it affects.

        First, some general guidelines: The Center for International Disaster Information, a part of the United States Agency for International Development, offers useful tips on giving in the wake of disasters. Sending money is almost always the most efficient way to help, it emphasizes.

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          Asheville and Western NC Fall Foliage Outlook for 2017!

          Fall Foliage Forecast 2017, Asheville & NC Mountains



          The fall leaf color show in the North Carolina mountains attracts visitors from around the world. With the 5,000-foot elevation change within 50 miles of Asheville, our lush Blue Ridge Mountain range puts on one of the longest-running autumn leaf color displays in the country. 

          Blue Ridge Parkway & Mountains Fall Foliage Forecast 2017

          Linn Cove Viaduct
          See our Top 20 Fall Spots Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

          Limited time: Enter to win a fall getaway through Sept 10th.

          Forecast: The number one question is: “When is the peak color?” No matter when you plan an autumn visit, in October or early November, you can take a short drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway or other mountain roads to find the best fall leaves color. Elevation and weather are the biggest factors in the color show. Leaves begin their color change at the highest peaks and gradually work down to the lowest elevations. An early frost speeds up the show and warm weather prolongs it.

          Where to Find Color Week-by-Week 2017

          Fall Events
          There are many festivals and events tor enjoy in September and October. See our 40 Favorite Fall Festivals.

          Find the best photo spots with our Fall Photo Journal 2016 and Fall Photo Journal 2015. Also see our favorite Scenic Drives, Motorcycle Drives, Mountain Views and Pet-Friendly guides.

          Dry Falls
          Pic: Dry Falls

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          Are you planning a trip to the mountains of Western North Carolina to view fall foliage this autumn?  If so, this map, put out by the department of biology at Appalachian State University, could be an incredibly helpful planning tool.

          Maps claiming to predict the arrival of fall foliage come a dime a dozen this time of year, but the App State map incorporates multiple variables such as elevation change and latitude, making it more accurate than similar leaf peeping predictions.

          “We constructed the map using the following assumptions,” writes Michael Denslow of the Department of Biology at Appalachian State University who created the graphic.”First, we assumed that fall color would start earlier at higher elevations. We then figured (guessed!) that for each 1,000′ increase in elevation, peak fall colors would occur about one week earlier, with the exception of those areas near the coast, where we divided the elevation into 500′ sections.”

          According to the map, fall will come first to areas like Boone, Mount Mitchell, and Grandfather Mountain, with peak season arriving around October 1, while Asheville won’t experience peak viewing conditions until mid-October.

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          The 2017 Fall Foliage Map is the ultimate visual planning guide to the annual progressive changing of the leaves. While no tool can be 100% accurate, this tool is meant to help travelers better time their trips to have the best opportunity of catching peak color each year.

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            Solar Eclipse 2017 - Where to Watch in Western NC


            Don't miss the opportunity to experience a rare total solar eclipse in western North Carolina near Asheville on Monday, August 21, 2017. Jackson County, Swain County and Graham County - all located about 50-70 miles west of Asheville - are the few areas in our state where you can totally experience the extremely rare celestial phenomenon. Towns in the direct path include Sylva, Dillsboro, Cashiers, Bryson City, Cherokee, Franklin, Highlands and Robbinsville, with one to two minutes of complete darkness as the moon moves in front of the sun. Even the city of Asheville will see a 99% eclipse - but not total darkness.

            People will be traveling to this area from around the world to experience this amazing event. At 2:36 PM, the Carolina blue sky will turn pitch black. Temperatures will drop, and stars will come out as the sun disappears. While the total eclipse is just a couple of minutes, the transition will begin about 1 PM and end around 4 PM. Since we expect many visitors, you should be at your viewing location well before noon. Other tips: Gas up and have food and water with you in case you are stuck in traffic for a while. Traffic will be heavy especially right after the eclipse. See places to watch below!

            Weather forecast: As of 8/17, the weather forecast for Monday is looking much better with mostly sunny skies with temps in 80s (dropping 10 degrees during the eclipse)! Don't forget sunscreen and water. Even if it is cloudy, you will experience the total darkness.

            Monday afternoon traffic: Be ready for very heavy traffic right after the eclipse, since expected sunny weather will bring larger crowds and everyone will be leaving at the same time (like one huge concert). It will be especially bad around the city of Asheville, since many will be passing through during the 5 PM rush. 

            Across the United States, cities from Oregon to South Carolina are inside the 70-mile-wide path of the total solar eclipse. This is the first time in 26 years that America has seen a total solar eclipse (last one in our area was in 1506, next one in 2153), and it is one of the few that will travel the nation from Atlantic to Pacific coasts. See viewing safety tips at bottom of this page.

            Solar Eclipse NC Mountains

            Best WNC Spots to Watch the Eclipse near Asheville

            There are many places to witness the entire sun eclipse in western North Carolina, including small towns, mountaintops and lakes. Since we expect big crowds, arrive very early to get your spot! Expect heavy traffic, especially midday. If you hope to watch at a place with limited parking (like most spots in National Forests and Parks), you should arrive by 8 AM! Rangers will start closing areas as they fill up. The towns with events will have much more parking.

            Sylva: Live music, food trucks and eclipse experts at Bridge Park (76 Railroad Avenue) downtown 11 AM-3 PM. Total time of darkness will be 1 minute 47 seconds. They are geared up for large crowds, so you'll find parking, food trucks and plenty of other things to do - including educational and children activities. Planetary walk on Main St. Go to the Jackson Website for more events and viewing locations. Dogs permitted on leashes. Park opens at 10 AM. $1 shuttle rides from extra parking at Jackson County Justice Center (401 Grindstaff Cove Rd, Sylva)

            Cashiers: The Village Green will host food trucks, live music 12-4 PM and experts with equipment for viewing. Protective glasses available. Totality of darkness will be 2 minutes and 23 seconds. Go to the Jackson Website for more events and viewing locations. Also, the US Post Office will be on site to cancel their special solar eclipse thermal stamp, a great souvenir of the big day! Park opens at 9 AM. Bring water, chair, blanket and sunscreen. 35 Highway 64 West, Cashiers

            Cherohala Skyway: Our top pick for roadside viewing is this National Scenic Byway near Robbinsville since it will experience the longest period of darkness (about 2.5 minutes) and there are many overlooks to park. Or hike up to Huckleberry Knob - limited parking, so you need to arrive very early morning. Bring a picnic (no food, drinks or gas on the Skyway) to enjoy the entire afternoon of mountain views. Due to expected crowds, many areas will probably close early in the day. Read more about the Cherohala Skyway.

            Blue Ridge Parkway: The southern section of the Parkway will be in the path of total darkness (about 20-60 seconds of totality around 2:36 PM) - from around Looking Glass Rock overlook (Milepost 417) south to the end at Cherokee. While there are numerous overlooks to stop, most will fill up quickly. Portable toilets will be placed at many overlooks. Popular hiking spots to summits like Black Balsam, Devil's Courthouse and Waterrock Knob will be packed. So go early to claim a parking spot! Rangers will allow roadside parking in any grass areas - you just need to be completely off the road. Sections of the Parkway will close if it becomes too crowded. Waterrock Knob has the largest parking area with prime viewing from the lot (44 seconds of total darkness) with picnic area and restrooms. See our Blue Ridge Parkway Guide for stops along this section, Milepost 417-469.

            Stecoah: The top spot for viewing in Graham County on Monday is the wonderful Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center, located near Robbinsville and Fontana Lake. Enjoy plenty of art, picnics, special activities, food and music 11 AM until 3 PM with plenty of parking.

            Bryson City: Join the block party downtown on Frye Street, 11-3, with music and special offerings at local shops. Food trucks and music at Swain County Event Park. Total darkness for 1 minute 57 seconds. Go to their website for details.

            Solar Eclipse Train: Ride the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad from Bryson City, leaving at noon, to Dillsboro with a two-hour layover to explore the artsy town and watch eclipse. Returns at 5 PM. Tickets from $59/person. SOLD OUT. Go to their Website.

            Lakes: Rent a pontoon or kayak/canoe (reserve well in advance) to watch from the middle of one of the scenic lakes in the area (Santeetlah, Glenville and Fontana Lakes). Watch from the top of Fontana Dam!

            Nantahala Outdoor Center: Experience the eclipse while enjoying outdoor adventures in the Nantahala Gorge. Rental kayaks or stand-up paddleboards to watch from Fontana Lake. Take a guided rafting trip down the river. Zip line with panoramic views, stopping for moments of darkness. All trips include viewing glasses. Read more!

            Gorges State Park: A 3-day celebration with free activities. August 19 is Nature Day with a series of guided hikes 10 AM-4 PM. August 20 is Fun Day with programs, exhibits, food and music 10 AM-4 PM. On Eclipse Day (21st), gates will open at 5 AM with activities 10 AM-4 PM with free solar glasses, food and music. They will close the gate when they reach capacity (1,600 automobiles). Hike to Rainbow Falls before the eclipse. They are located in the direct path (2 minutes of darkness), west of Brevard. Read more about the park.

            Mountaintops: Hiking to a mountaintop with a view will be a very popular destination. However, most of these hikes are in the Nantahala National Forests with limited parking. Many will probably close. If you want to hike, arrive early in the morning and plan to spend the day. John Rock in Pisgah National Forest should have about 30 seconds of totality and it has a large parking area. More top spots for total darkness: Looking Glass Rock, Wayah Bald, Wesser Bald, and Devil's Courthouse.

            Cherokee Cultural Eclipse Celebration (August 20 2-9 PM & August 21 9 AM-7 PM): The Cherokee have observed eclipses for millennia and have several names for them. The oldest is “Nvdo walosi ugisgo” with translation “The frog eats the sun/moon.” The traditional belief is the eclipse is caused by a giant frog swallowing the sun or moon. To scare the frog away, people made loud noises. Learn more at the Fairgrounds and the Museum of the Cherokee with warrior dancers, drumming, storytellers and craft demonstrators. 1 minute, 25 seconds of totality. Admission is $25/day and includes viewing glasses. 545 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee

            Dillsboro: Park at Monteith Park (Old Home Town Road) for $2 and take a free shuttle 11 AM-4 PM into this artsy village with galleries, studios, shops and restaurants along the river. Also find extra vendors and a kid's recreation! Eclipse glasses available for a small donation to the local Merchants Association. 1 minute, 50 seconds of total darkness.

            Brevard: West Jordan Street will be closed to traffic since it's the prime viewing spot - about a minute of darkness. Stop by the "Heart of Brevard" booth for a free moon pie! The public is also invited to Brevard College to watch near Porter Center - with viewing glasses available. The event at Brevard Music Center is sold out.

            DuPont State Forest: We recommend staying away from this area since it's crowded already and facilities are limited. 

            Franklin: Block Party downtown on Iotla Street, 1-6 PM, with 3 PM concert on the square. Total darkness 2 minutes 30 seconds. Free viewing glasses to first 1,000 people. Free moon pie and RC Cola to first 100 people! Try their EclipSmart binoculars in front of Town Hall. Kid's zone too. Many downtown merchants will open at 8 AM.

            Downtown Asheville: Solar Eclipse Festival in Pack Square Park downtown on August 21, 12-3 PM, with the Museum of Science and UNC Asheville with music, food, and fun hands-on eclipse related activities led by local organizations. The eclipse will be 99% total here. Free

            NC Arboretum: The first 250 cars will receive free eclipse glasses to watch from their gardens. They have plenty of parking, trails, exhibits and more to keep you busy before and after. 99% eclipse here. See our Arboretum Guide.

            Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute: NASA scientists and hundreds of astronomers from around the world will come to this leading space research facility. Visitors can watch them at work. PARI is located deep in Pisgah National Forest and will be in total darkness for 1 minute and 47 seconds. General visitor tickets ($100/person) are SOLD OUT. They have some VIP event tickets at $750/person, a fundraiser for their outreach programs. Call Sarah at 828-862-5554. Go to their website for other star gazing events throughout the year. On August 11, 7 PM, PARI presents "Eclipse of a Lifetime" with a great overview of what to expect, campus tour and star gazing with telescopes, registration required, $20/adult. The campus will be open the Saturday before the eclipse with guided tours at 10:30 AM & 2 PM. Read more.

            Great Smoky Mountains National Park: The road to Clingmans Dome will be closed both Sunday and Monday to all motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The park's event at Clingmans sold out in five minutes and ticket holders will take shuttles in. Newfound Gap Road (US 441) will close when traffic becomes too congested (so we recommend staying away from that area). Oconaluftee Visitor Center at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains has a large field for viewing, with rangers answering questions. Expect a big crowd there. Cataloochee Valley will have a 99.7% eclipse, so the elk may come out to graze like they do at sunset.

            Eclipse Online: Watch the NASA 360 Live Stream from Clingmans Dome on Aug 21, beginning at 12:15 PM.

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              Downtown Asheville LEAF Festival August 4th and 5th, 2017


              3rd Annual LEAF Downtown AVL
              in Pack Square Park

              Friday & Saturday, August 4th-5th, 2017

              LEAF Downtown celebrates communities, creativity, diversity, and families in the heart of downtown Asheville!
              LEAF Downtown will further the goals of inclusivity, community partnership and economic vitality in the greater Asheville area, while driving the greater LEAF Community Arts mission to connect cultures & create community through music & arts.

              Get ready to Turn It Up at the 3rd Annual LEAF Downtown AVL, taking place August 4-5, 2017 in the heart of Downtown Asheville at Pack Square Park. LEAF Downtown AVL showcases dynamic musical talent, immersive cultural arts performances and local handcraft & culinary artists. Join the LEAF community to experience funk at its finest – pulsing through stages, conversations, connections and more! Visit for more info on this inclusive, family-friendly, FREE event!

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              Town and Mountain Realty is proud to sponsor the 3rd Annual LEAF Festival in downtown Asheville! Many of our agents have worked with and volunteered for LEAF for years and we are excited to get another opportunity to support our incredible community by participating in this event!

              LEAF Downtown Asheville- Photo Credit Madison Link

              LEAF Downtown Asheville 2016 - Photo & Video Credits Madison Link

              Check out the video below with some clips from last year's downtown Asheville LEAF festival. Get inspired to come out and join in all the fun this weekend August 4th & 5th, 2017!


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                Downtown Asheville Summer Fun

                Summer in Asheville and Western NC is always a blast. There are so many fun events and festivals happening every weekend, and Downtown After 5 is a great way to start the weekend off right!



                July 21

                Headliner: Asheville All-Stars

                Bringing together some of Asheville’s best musicians, the All-Stars show has quickly become a favorite of the summer. Audiences will be treated to a mix of original songs and fun covers.

                Opener: Rock Academy

                Students from Asheville’s Rock Academy will open the July show. Rock Academy gives young musicians the opportunity to meet and play together while learning from professional musicians. They may be young, but these kids rock!

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                It was a great show and an amazing turn out - as usual! Some of our agents volunteered and had a great time despite the heat!

                Some locally made Town and Mountain Realty koozies were handed out and they were a hit! One of those koozies was even spotted on the Dig Local Beer Pong Table!

                Town and Mountain Realty agents that volunteered in the photos above include:

                Sue Riles, Susan Young, Bethany Acker, Robin Cape, Gretchen Lewis, & Eric Workman!

                It is definitely worth the short stroll over to Pritchard Park from Downtown After 5 to catch the Friday night drum circle too!

                The last two Downtown After 5 events of this year are coming up in August and September, don't miss out!


                August 18

                Headliner: Cedric Burnside

                With the blues running through his blood, Cedric Burnside has been playing music all his life and is widely regarded as one of the best drummers in the world. Grandson of the legendary R.L. Burnside, Cedric grew up on tour and has shared the stage with Jimmy Buffet, Black Joe Lewis and Widespread Panic

                Openers Lyric and The Stump Mutts:

                They’ll have two local openers for the August show. First up, The Stump Mutts playing all original alternative rock. Following, Asheville native, Lyric, takes the stage with her blend of pop, soul and funk.

                September 15

                Headliner: Billy Strings and Special Guests TBA

                Whether sharing stages with acoustic music royalty, crisscrossing the nation playing as a solo artist or performing high-energy, jaw-dropping sets, Billy Strings’ songs, his articulation, his entire approach, sounds so authentic and steeped in tradition.

                Opener: Whiskey Shivers

                Hailing from Austin, Whiskey Shivers’ bluegrass-fueled Americana infused with punk rock energy, is infectious and joyful.

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                  Asheville Summer Big Crafty July 16th, 2017

                  The Big Crafty

                  Sunday, July 16, 2017
                  Pack Square Park
                  Free & Fun for All!

                  The Big Crafty revives the tradition of the community bazaar, a lively celebration of handmade commerce, featuring local food, music, and fine wares from a juried group of select indie artists and crafters.
                  We’re so grateful to have been voted Best Arts/Crafts Fair in the annual Mountain Xpress readers’ poll for the 8th year in a row! (Thanks, Asheville!)
                  Our guiding principle is that buying handmade is good for the community, and our aim is to make doing so fun.
                  Our fun-for-all-ages events are held twice annually in the heart of beautiful Asheville, NC.
                  We extend warm welcome to Asheville’s rich pageant of basement and backyard artists, its juried prize-winners, and those who delight in them.
                  We’re grateful for the hearty support of the community, and in particular the Asheville Art Museum for their ongoing support of The Big Crafty and for their 60+ years of promoting a creative and culturally-vibrant Asheville.


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                    Asheville and WNC 4th of July 2017 Celebrations


                    There are so many 4th of July celebrations and firework shows in Asheville and in the Western North Carolina mountains! Check out some of the fun below - thanks to for creating such a great list!

                    There are many 4th of July celebrations and firework shows in Asheville and many small towns in the western North Carolina mountains! Below is a big list of 2017 events and festivals - more than 30!

                    4th of July

                    Downtown Asheville Independence Day Celebration 2017: Join in the fun in Park Square Park starting at 2 PM on July 4th at the Ingles Independence Day Celebration. Children's activities and bouncy house 2-6 PM. Splashville Fountain will be on 2-6 PM. Live music starts at 5 PM ending with headliner Mark O'Connor. Ultimate Air Dogs at 2, 4, 6 and 7:30 PM. Beer and wine will be available for purchase. Fireworks at 9:30 PM can be best seen from the park (buildings will block the view in other parts of downtown). Bring your chair or blanket to picnic. Buy from food trucks or nearby restaurants. Parking is available in nearby parking decks, on the street or in private lots. No outside alcohol, coolers or pets in the park.

                    Tourist Baseball Game July 4th: Watch a big fireworks show after the Asheville Tourists game. Get tickets in advance since this game will sell-out ahead of time.

                    South Asheville Fireworks: At Lake Julian, fireworks show starts at dark on the 4th, but come early. Bring your lawn chair or blanket and find a spot along the lake. The park offers picnic tables, grills, a sand volleyball court, two horseshoe pits, boat rental and a playground. Bring a picnic! Park at Estes Elementary School on Long Shoals Road across from the lake. Daytime shuttle 8 AM-6 PM. No pets please due to crowds. From Asheville take I-26 East to Exit #37. Turn left at the light onto Long Shoals Road. Free

                    4th of July Celebrations & Fireworks near Asheville in Western North Carolina Towns

                    Bryson City: Freedom Fest is an old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration and street festival (10 AM-10 PM) in downtown Bryson City with a 5K, crafts, food, contests, live music, watermelon eating race and the best fireworks show in the Smokies. Also, go rafting or tubing nearby! Read much more on their website.

                    Bryson City: Freedom Train on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, July 4th excursion at 7:30 PM, returning to the Freedom Fest for the fireworks show. See our Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Guide.

                    Lake Junaluska: Visit just for the day with the parade at 11 AM, BBQ picnic at 12-2 PM, Lake Junaluska Singers concert at 7:30 PM, and fireworks at 9:30 PM. Or book a 3-night package with lakefront lodging, buffet breakfasts, dinners, cookouts, three concerts, parade and fireworks VIP seating. Go to their Web site.

                    Sylva: Enjoy live music and and dancing 4-9:30 PM, followed by fireworks at dark in the picturesque "all-American" small town nestled in the mountains. Stroll Main Street filled with shops, restaurants and breweries. Go to their Web site.

                    Marion: See the parade at 6 PM, followed by the street dance and live music at 7 PM, food vendors and fireworks at 9:45 PM.

                    4th of July

                    Montreat: Montreat will host a the all Amercian small town parade on July 4 at 10:30 AM (pic above). It's a longtime local favorite. Get there early to see the short-but-fun parade. See photos and video.

                    Lake Glenville: Watch fireworks from land or the lake on July 2nd, located near Cashiers. Rent a pontoon boat at Signal Ridge Marina!

                    Lake Lure: July 3rd is Independence Day festival starting at Noon at Morse Park Meadows near the beach with ice cream, funnel cakes, kettle corn and more - until fireworks at dark over lake with seating at the pavilion. On the 4th, fireworks will be at Rumbling Bald Resort for their owners and guests, but others enjoy from boats on the lake. Expect traffic bottlenecks after fireworks!

                    Banner Elk: Iconic small-town parade begins at 11 AM on the 4th, starting at Lees-McRae College at ending at the town park with lunch vendors, rubber duck race and lawn games at 1 PM. Part of Mile High 4th Weekend, June 30-July 4 with neighboring Beech Mtn. Other events include Art on the Greene, live music and theatre." Go to their Web site.

                    Beech Mountain: Fireworks on July 1 following their annual roasting of the hog that starts at 6 PM. Events all day including scenic chairlift rides, wine tasting, Blues on the Beech, biking, blues and jazz. Part of Mile High 4th Weekend, June 30-July 4. Go to their Web site.

                    Weaverville: "Fire on the Lake" at Lake Louise Park with food, vendors and live music 7-10 PM and fireworks at 10 PM. 

                    Forest City: Rutherford County Freedom Fest is 10 AM-2 PM at McNair Stadium with Owls baseball game at 7:05 PM followed by fireworks. 

                    Robbinsville: Graham County Heritage Festival on June 30-July 1, 2017 on the square with crafters, food, moonshiners, country and bluegrass music, exhibits, contests on Friday 5-10:30 PM and Saturday 10 AM-11 PM. On Saturday, parade at 1 PM and fireworks 9 PM.

                    Columbus: Their Fabulous 4th features food, music, entertainment, family games and a variety of vendors 10 AM-10 PM, with fireworks concluding the day. 

                    Cashiers: Fireworks On the Green with festival, food, music and dancing 6:30-10 PM. Ends with big fireworks show.

                    Black Mountain will have family fun and fireworks beginning at 7 PM on July 4.

                    Fireworks Hike: Come celebrate the Fourth of July with an old-fashioned watermelon cutting, and view the Black Mountain fireworks display from the peak of Sunset Mountain, presented by the Swannanoa Valley Museum. Meet at 6 PM. Museum transports chairs up the mountain. Moderate 45-minute hike to the mountaintop. Cost is $35 for members and $50 for nonmembers. To register, call 828-669-9566.

                    Orchard at Altapass on Blue Ridge Parkway: July 4th, 11:00 AM-4:30 PM, Covered dish picnic open to all. Live music all day is free! Admission for the meal is a dish to share OR $10 per meal. The Orchard provides fresh barbecue, water, iced tea and paper goods.

                    Brevard: Their 4th Celebration begins with the 5K/10K Firecracker Run at 8 AM. Downtown streets close for the Fine Arts & Craft Festival 9 AM-5 PM. The Classic Auto Show stretches for blocks. The Courthouse Gazebo is center stage for day-long musical entertainment. Evening fun moves a few blocks to Brevard College starting at 6 PM, with fireworks at 9:30 PM. Bicycle parade, hot dog eating contest and much more.

                    Brevard Music Center Festival: Patriotic Pops Concert on July 4th at 2 PM with favorite marches and patriotic tunes, color guard, and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with live cannons. Arrive early and enjoy a picnic on the lawn prior to the concert. More on the Festival.

                    Cherokee: Fireworks at the Acquoni Expo Center on July 2nd at 10 PM. Part of the Pow Wow Weekend!

                    Hendersonville: July 4th Fireworks display at dark, viewable from downtown Hendersonville, with free live outdoor music 7-9 PM downtown at 201 South Main (Visitors Center).

                    Waynesville: The Stars and Stripes daytime celebration runs 11 AM to 3 PM along Main Street with music and sidewalk sales. Children's parade at 11. No fireworks in downtown Waynesville, but see them nearby in Maggie Valley and Lake Junaluska.

                    Maggie Valley: Backyard Fourth, gates open at 6 PM and fireworks at dark. Free admission. Maggie Valley Festival Grounds.

                    Franklin: 4th of July Parade at 10 AM with activities until 1 PM. Fireworks at dark at Macon County Rec Park on US Highway 441 South.

                    Little Switzerland: Watch or participate in their July 4th Parade at 4 PM.

                    Old Fort: Parade at 4 PM.

                    Morganton: Red, White and Bluegrass Festival on July 1-3, 2017: One of the top bluegrass music festivals in the South with 20+ bands. Camping, food, crafts and more. ​Catawba Meadows Park (701 Sanford Dr). Daily admission starts at $25/advance and $30/gate. Four day pass is $60/advance and $75/gate. Go to their Website.

                    Valdese: Celebrating on Friday, June 30, starting with live music at 7 PM. Also, Antique and Classic Car Show, food trucks, beer & wine, kids rides, and fireworks at 9:40. Live music and dancing ends around 11 PM. Located near Morganton and I-40.

                    Cherokee: Pow Wow on June 30-July 2, 2017 with authentic Indian dancing, drumming and tribal regalia. Fireworks July 1st. Read more about Cherokee Pow Wow.

                    Tryon International Equestrian Center: Saturday Night Lights on July 1st. Watch international level riders compete in horse jumping at this world-class campus with multiple arenas, stadium, restaurants, shops and entertainment. Free admission. Read more about Saturday Night Lights.

                    Antique Car Show in Asheville on June 30-July 1, 2017 with 18 acres of classic cars, trucks and street rods at the Western North Carolina Agriculture Center near the Asheville Airport. $5/person. Visit their Web site for more.

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