Blog :: 09-2007

Asheville Featured In NYTimes

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9/28/2007 - Asheville Featured In NYTimes
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September 30, 2007

36 Hours in Asheville, N.C.

Asheville is an Appalachian Shangri-La. This year-round resort town, tucked between the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, draws a funky mix of New Agers, fleece-clad mountain bikers, antiques lovers and old-time farmers. And what's there not to like? Charming yet surprisingly cosmopolitan for a town of about 73,000, Asheville has a Southern appeal all its own. There are lazy cafes and buzzing bistros, Art Deco skyscrapers and arcades reminiscent of Paris, kayaking and biodiesel cooperatives and one of the world's largest private homes - the Biltmore Estate, a French Renaissance-style mansion with 250 rooms. No wonder so many locals first started out as tourists.

Friday

5 p.m.
1) GATHER AT THE GROVE

For a taste of Asheville's urbane and crunchy sides, start at the Grove Arcade (1 Page Avenue; 828-252-7799; www.grovearcade.com), a giant market built in 1929 and beautifully restored a few years ago. It now anchors downtown Asheville. The Grove Corner Market (corner of Battery Park and O. Henry; 828-225-4949) has fresh bread, wine tastings and live music. Imladris Farm (828-628-9377; www.imladrisfarm.com) sells heavenly jellies and jams ($7). And Dogwood Digs (828-337-0541) carries batik-pattern dresses starting at $32. Or just stroll along the sidewalk outside the arcade and mingle with the Bugaboo pushers and artists buying honey, jewelry and handmade soaps from local merchants.

8 p.m.
2) INDIAN SALSA

Asheville's eclectic dining scene varies from backwoods barbecue joints to sumptuous ethnic hideaways like Mela (70 North Lexington Avenue; 828-225-8880; www.melaasheville.com), an Indian restaurant that blends imported spices with local ingredients. The dark, wood-paneled space draws a mixed crowd with dishes like Chowpatty ragada, potato patties topped with curried chickpeas, tamarind yogurt and mint chutney ($5.95), and shrimp bhuna, cooked with ginger, tomatoes and green chilies ($13.95). Wash it down with a Chimay beer, brewed by Belgian Trappist monks ($7), or a glass of Champalou Vouvray ($8). After 10, dining tables are cleared to make way for a salsa club.

10 p.m.
3) PICK ME UP

The Old Europe Bistro (41 North Lexington Avenue; 828-252-0001; www.oldeuropeasheville.com) is what you might expect from Asheville night life: couples sipping espressos and sharing a plate of tiramisù ($4). But if you feel like dancing to hip-hop and electronica, played by "the region's hottest D.J.'s," head to the back, which the bistro owners have turned into the Z Lounge. The low-ceilinged space, with red sofas and faux flagstone walls, is popular with Asheville's young professionals.

Saturday

10 a.m.
4) EARLY TO RISE

Grab a hearty but healthy breakfast at the Early Girl Eatery (8 Wall Street; 828-259-9292; www.earlygirleatery.com), a friendly haunt of hip Ashevillians for the past six years that culls its ingredients from local farmers. Try the sausage and sweet potato scramble ($7.75), a delicious mix of eggs, sausage (vegan or pork), shiitake mushrooms, spices and sweet potatoes.

Noon
5) SOUTH PARISIAN

It's easy to see why downtown Asheville is nicknamed "Paris of the South." On weekends, you'll find buskers, flaneurs, artists and shoppers strolling along the historic downtown district, lined with Art Deco buildings and tree-shaded squares. Quirky shops include the Mast General Store (15 Biltmore Avenue; 828-232-1883; www.mastgeneralstore.com), which sells wooden toys, Gore-Tex parkas and gummy bears, and Voltage Records (90 North Lexington Avenue; 828-255-9333), which carries 50,000 vinyl records including an import of Iron Maiden's, "Number of the Beast" ($20). If you're in the market for art, head to Woolworth Walk (25 Haywood Street; 828-254-9234; www.woolworthwalk.com), a former Woolworth store from 1938 that showcases about 160 artists and that recently resurrected the original soda fountain.

3 p.m.
6) GO WEST

Asheville's grittier west side is home to the up-and-coming River Arts District (828-252-9122; www.riverartsdistrict.com), where local artists are colonizing old factories and warehouses along the French Broad River. Notable studios included Northern Crescent Iron (828-775-2865; www.northerncrescentiron.com), where Matt Waldrop fashions whimsical butterfly sculptures from salvaged copper, and Cotton Mill (122 Riverside Drive; 828-252-9122; www.cottonmillstudiosnc.com), which houses nine artists. Wedge Gallery (111-129 Roberts Street) shows works from students and other artists and plans to open a brewery in December.

6 p.m.
7) SUNSET IN THE SMOKIES

For great views of the Art Deco skyline framed by the Smoky Mountains, take the rickety old elevator to the top of the Flatiron Building. (Don't forget to tip the operator.) The World Coffee Cafe (18 Battery Park Avenue; 828-225-6998; www.worldcoffeecafe.com) recently opened three rooftop balconies, where you can savor a glass of pinot grigio as the sun sets.

7:30 p.m.
8) TABLE TALK

You'll find modern American cuisine in a minimalist room at Table (48 College Street; 828-254-8980; www.tableasheville.com), a casual but upscale restaurant opened by a husband-and-wife team who moved back from Brooklyn. The menu changes frequently and might include fried green tomatoes with quail egg and romesco sauce ($10), and a grilled North Carolina tuna in a black sesame and soy glaze ($25).

9:30 p.m.
9) BLUE GRASS TO ALT ROCK

Scores of talented acoustic musicians call Asheville home. To hear some of the best, drive out to the Root Bar No. 1 (1410 Tunnel Road; 828-299-7597; www.rootbar.com), a dive bar with a great beer selection that includes Mahr's Ungespundet ($6), a dark lager from Germany. Look for a huge illuminated "R" across from a BP station. If you're not into the band, head to the backyard for a game of rootball, a cross between horseshoes and boccie invented by the bar's former owner, Max Chain (sets are $32). For big-name acts, check out the schedule at the Orange Peel Social Aid and Pleasure Club (101 Biltmore Avenue; 828-225-5851; www.theorangepeel.net ), where Bob Dylan, Sonic Youth and, more recently, Smashing Pumpkins have played.

Sunday

10 a.m.
10) PICNIC PALACE

Load up for a picnic at the Western North Carolina Farmer's Market (570 Brevard Road; 828-253-1691), a bright and cavernous space where you can chew the fat (literally) with the drawling farm folk. In the fall, you'll find stands overflowing with ripe heirloom tomatoes, orange bell peppers and crisp Granny Smith apples. At the Mountain Sunshine Farms (828-258-5358; www.msfmarket.com) sample the one-year cured ham ($4.99 a pound), muscadine jelly ($2.96 a jar) and Amish Gouda cheese ($6.95 for three-quarters of a pound).

Noon
11) INTO THE WILD

Take your provisions to western North Carolina's beautiful wild lands. In the autumn, the mountain air clears of its summertime haze and hardwoods explode with color. Drive south (and uphill) along the Blue Ridge Parkway, until you reach milepost 407.6 for the Mount Pisgah Trail. This three-mile trek is steep, rising 500 feet to a 5,721-foot peak. Unpack your picnic and soak in the grand panorama, which includes the gothic spires of Asheville, the Shining Rock Wilderness area and 6,684-foot Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi.

VISITOR INFORMATION

US Airways has flights from Newark to Asheville, with a change in Charlotte, starting at $329 for travel next month. It is often easier to fly directly to Greenville, S.C., about an hour by car to Asheville. Delta has nonstop flights from La Guardia Airport to Greenville, starting at about $360. A car is a must to get around; major rental companies can be found at both airports.

The plushest spot in Asheville is the Inn on Biltmore Estate (1 Antler Hill Road; 800-411-3812; www.biltmore.com), where the lavishly appointed rooms are $299 to $2,000 a night. Set on the grounds of the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate, the inn also offers Land Rover excursions, horseback riding and fly-fishing.

Mountain Vacation Rentals (828-398-0712; www.asheville-cabins.com) offers rustic-style cabins starting at $100 a night, with choices ranging from simple cottages wi th kitchenettes to luxurious log cabins with Internet and huge decks.

Cedar Creek Cabins in the nearby town of Weaverville (70 South Main Street; 828-645-5531; www.cedarcreekcabinsnc.com) also has nicely appointed log cabins for $150 to $225 a night.

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Montford Gets Bigger

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9/26/2007 - Montford Gets Bigger
by Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE - Montford will grow by 220 homes, developers say, now that the city has approved plans for an urban-village style development in the historic neighborhood.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve special building rules for the planned 20-acre Montford Commons in the neighborhood's southwest corner.

Montford has been the site of past battles over development, but at the council meeting, even people who raised some objections praised the planned community that will include 102 apartments, 81 homes for the elderly and single-family homes.

Offices and stores also will be part of the development that is within walking distance of downtown.

Several residents said it was the type of place they wanted to move to.

"It's a place we can walk. It's got some green space. It's close to town. It's got a nice creek area," Robert Howarth said.

Bill Bailey of East Asheville said he liked the idea of being able to walk to downtown. He called the project "one of the finest things I have seen since I've been in Asheville."

The project is expected to cost at least $100 million. It is surrounded by Chamber of Commerce and Montford Avenue to the east, Dickson School to the west and Hill Street and Interstate 240 to the south.

Developers Frontier Syndicate engaged in a series of meetings with residents and neighborhood groups. They originally planned a high-rise hotel, but opposition from residents and lack of interest by hoteliers scrapped that plan.

Some residents said they liked the idea of the development but thought the property acquisition was heavy-handed and could have involved them more.

Hill Street resident Doug Brock said he and four other residents had wanted their property to be part of the rezoning for new building rules, but developers decided not to include them.

"Overall it is a great project. ... There has been just a little bit of a squeeze play going on," Brock said.

Developer George Gabler said he and others worked for years to acquire property from 48 landowners and tried to communicate with everyone.

Such a project, Gabler said, "takes an amazing amount of good fortune and we hope good will on our part."

 

 

 

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Asheville Gets Largest Broadband Line Ever

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9/24/2007 - Asheville Gets Largest Broadband Line Ever
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Asheville Gets "Largest Broadband Line Ever"
Asheville to Atlanta in minutes

Netriplex has announced that it's working with AT&T to bring a new broadband line to Asheville, NC which will extend all the way to downtown Atlanta, GA. The line will be an OC-192 optical fiber which will allow businesses in Asheville's Biltmore Park commercial center to access quick speeds. Residents in the area shouldn't get too excited though. This "largest broadband line ever" is only intended to meet the needs of Netriplex's clients although they're considering sharing the spoils with other businesses in the area.

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enilworth Blends Old and New

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9/4/2007 - Kenilworth Blends Old and New
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ASHEVILLE Businessman James Madison Chiles had romantic notions of the English countryside on his mind when he developed Kenilworth, one of Ashevilles oldest neighborhoods.

Like the castle and town in England of the same name, Kenilworth features a lake and a village-like setting. Residents today such as Doug Beatty are fond of its sidewalk-lined streets, mature trees and unusual blend of architectural styles.

"Its a nice neighborhood," he said. "Its filled with a lot of older homes. You see lots of families and couples and folks out walking their dogs."

Chiles developed much of Kenilworth in the boom years of the 1920s, selling 283 home sites within eight months in 1923, said Mike Miller, a former Kenilworth resident and owner of Town and Mountain Realty.

"The interesting thing about Kenilworth is that in the original houses you have everything from English Tudors to Spanish-style architecture to Asian-influence architecture," Miller said.

Brick ranchers and other styles following in the 1950s and 60s, and new houses continue to be built there today.

With that diversity comes a wide variation in prices. Fifty-three homes sold in Kenilworth during the past 12 months, ranging in price from a high of $580,000 to a low of $157,500, according to the Multiple Listing Service.

The variety of styles and prices has attracted a similarly diverse and appealing mix of residents, Miller said.

"Its a very diverse neighborhood," he said. "Its racially diverse. Youve got blue collar, white collar. Youve got low income, high income. Its just a very nice blend of people."

And its convenient.

Bordered by Tunnel Road on the east, Biltmore Avenue on the west and Swannanoa River Road on the south, Kenilworth is within a few minutes drive to downtown, Biltmore Village, the Asheville Mall and Interstates 40 and 240.

Residents can play soccer, volleyball and basketball at Kenilworth Park or enjoy several other parks in the neighborhood. And then theres 19-acre Kenilworth Lake, inspired by Chiles visits to England.

According to the Kenilworth community Web site: "And Kenilworth castle had a lake, a grand and glorious lake, so Mr. Chiles decreed that his Kenilworth would also have a grand body of water to reflect the noble houses and trees that would one day spring up on its shores."

On the Net: www.kenilworthcommunity.org

by Clarke Morrison, AC-T

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