Blog :: 07-2013

Art openings, receptions, and tours.



7/22/2013 - Art openings, receptions, and tours.
by Asheville Citizen Times

GRANT WRITING WORKSHOP: 3:30-5 p.m. July 25, Arts Council of Henderson County, 401 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Applications and instructions available at the workshop. It is recommended that all new applicants attend. RSVP by calling 693-8504 or

 LAND OF WATERFALLS CAMERA CLUB EXHIBIT: Reception 5-9 p.m. July 26, Transylvania Community Arts Council, 349 S. Caldwell St., Brevard. Gallery open 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. To Aug. 9. Call 884-2787 or visit 

 TONY BRADLEY: Closing reception 6-8 p.m. July 27, Semi Public: A Space For Contemporary Art at Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte St., Asheville. "Windows-Walls-Cancellations-Infections" prints.

"MIGRATION: INTERPRETATIONS":Opens Aug. 1 with a reception 5-8 p.m. Aug. 2 in conjunction with Downtown Art Walk, American Folk Art & Framing, 64 Biltmore Ave., Asheville. To Aug. 26. Call 281-2134.

ART AFTER DARK: 6-9 p.m. Aug. 2. Held every first Friday through December in downtown Waynesville. Galleries offering meet-and-greets, shows, refreshments, live music.

ANNUAL VILLAGE ART AND CRAFT FAIR: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 3, noon-5 p.m. Aug. 4, on the grounds of the Cathedral of All Souls in Biltmore Village.

ASHEVILLE ART MUSEUM FREE ADMISSION DAY: 3-5 p.m. first Wednesday of each month. Asheville Art Museum, 2 S. Pack Square, downtown. 253-3227 or

TRYON GALLERY TROT: 5-8 p.m. Aug. 10 in downtown Tryon. Every second Saturday through October. Live music near the clocktower. Sculpture show, beer tasting, hands-on blacksmith experience. E-mail

THE JEWELRY MARKET: Aug. 17, Sept. 13, Oct. 19, parking lot at Art MoB Studios, 124 4th Ave. E., Hendersonville. Call 693-4545.


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How Asheville went from 'leper colony' to tourist haven



7/17/2013 - How Asheville went from 'leper colony' to tourist haven
by Jason Sandford

Superior article in USA Today by our friend Jason Sandford of the Asheville Citizen Times and


It could have gone either way for Asheville at the dawn of the 20th century.

Would the city's future be one for tourists? Or would it be for tuberculosis patients?

The little mountain town was already known as a health retreat for those suffering from respiratory ailments, as well as a haven for tourists seeking natural wonders.

Asheville's landscape was dotted with boarding houses and sanatoriums that catered to those suffering from "consumption" in 1900. Some civic leaders at the time pushed to build a national center for tuberculosis treatment.

But even before he pulled up his St. Louis stakes and moved to Asheville to build his grand hotel, the Grove Park Inn, wealthy pharmaceutical-maker Edwin Wiley Grove began working to turn city leaders away from that idea and toward better serving tourists.

"Grove was one of the individuals who recognized what a mistake that would be, that Asheville could literally become a leper colony for tuberculosis," said Bruce Johnson, author of two books about the history of Grove Park Inn, which opened 100 years ago this month.

"You could say it was self-serving," Johnson of Grove's advice, "but this was before he built the Grove Park Inn," which was built in just less than one year, opening in July 1913.

The inn

It was a pivotal decision, one of several that has inextricably linked the grand old inn to the city and its residents over the past 100 years.

Grove Park Inn's massive stone and granite boulders were hewn from its very surroundings. It's Great Hall has served as much as a public space for locals as it has a holding room for visitors.

And the inn's importance as an economic engine has only grown in a town that depends heavily upon tourists.

"Because it's made of the native stone and its other elements, it speaks to a mountain aesthetic that people really love," Asheville architect Jane Mathews said, noting the inn's Arts and Crafts design, a movement that stood for traditional craftsmanship from the mid-1800s to early 1900s.

From its Roycroft furniture and copper fixtures, to its granite walls and curving tiled roof, the inn reflects a design that's become synonymous with the mountains, Mathews said.

"The Grove Park Inn's design conjures images of national parks and that kind of recreation in nature, so it drew lots of people over the years, both visitors and locals, who enjoy those elements that fit together in a very naturalistic way. It's so much a part of our mountains," she said.

Once complete, Grove Park Inn ranked with other remarkable structures of its day, namely the original, ornate Queen Anne-style Battery Park Hotel, built by the Coxe family, and the enormous Biltmore House, the home of the Vanderbilts built in the French chateau style.

The inn, marketed as a quiet getaway for the rich and famous, played a role in developing Asheville as a tourist destination.

"The Grove Park Inn occupies two defining spaces," said Stephanie Pace Brown, executive director of the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"One is as a world-class resort that's unique and authentic to Asheville. The other, which is more often overlooked, is as an important source of jobs, not only in terms of employees of which they have more than 900, but because the scope and reach of the Grove Park Inn attracts visitors that support so many other jobs" in sectors such as retail and dining, Brown said.

"Over the course of its 100 years, the Grove Park Inn has provided leadership in those categories and well positioned for the next 100" under its new owners, the Omni Hotel & Resort chain, she said.

Asheville and Grove Park Inn "are linked arm-in-arm" to the tourism economy, Johnson said.

"You have to remember that the Grove Park Inn has always been a resort hotel. The key word is 'resort.' Resort hotels will always mirror the state of the economy, whether there's a recession or Great Depression or good times, because they depend upon people with disposable incomes coming to stay here," he said.

The human ties that bind the hotel and its home city, beyond the tourists who visit, include longtime employees such as Troy Gentry, who started as a server in the Sunset Terrace restaurant known for its stunning mountain view. Twenty-three years later, he works in the inn's sales and convention services department.

"We're a huge family. I love the camaraderie of my co-workers and with our guests," Gentry said.

"I've made friends -- guests for life -- and I see them return year after year. We celebrate their accomplishments, as well as ours," said Gentry, whose most memorable brush with greatness at the inn was serving former first lady Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Taylor Johnson, wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson, in the early 1990s.

Speaking of the inn as a living entity, Gentry said he's impressed that "she's still standing, she's still prosperous. We call her 'the grand old lady' here at the Grove. She was originally advertised as built for the ages, and after 100 years, I'd say that's true."




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Asheville's Stuff the Bus school supply drive revs up today



7/15/2013 - Asheville's Stuff the Bus school supply drive revs up today
by Hayley Benton - Asheville Citizen Times

Backpacks filled with school supplies are being collected this month and into August by Hands On Asheville-Buncombe County at locations throughout Asheville as well as collection events at Tourist games and Paramount Kia.

Backpacks filled with school supplies are being collected this month and into August by Hands On Asheville-Buncombe County at locations throughout Asheville as well as collection events at Tourist games and Paramount Kia. / Special to the Citizen-Times


Beginning today, Stuff the Bus school supplies, either loaded backpacks or loose supplies, may be dropped at: 
o Any Asheville Savings Bank. 
o Any freestanding Starbucks location (not including kiosks within grocery stores). 
United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County, 50 S. French Broad Ave., Asheville. 
o Either Asheville YMCA, at 30 Woodfin St., downtown, or 3 Town Square Blvd., in Biltmore Park Town Square.
Paramount Kia of Asheville locations, at 1000 Ridgefield Blvd., behind Biltmore Square Mall, or 740 Tunnel Road in East Asheville. 
Monetary donations via PayPal can be made at online at
To get a list of supplies needed, text the word "bus" to 77000 or visit Hands On's website.

 ASHEVILLE -- A school supply collection drive beginning today aims to make sure more elementary and middle school students will be packed and ready to learn when schools reopen next month.

A collaborative effort of Hands On Asheville-Buncombe, Mix 96.5, Paramount Kia and the Asheville Tourists, the Stuff the Bus Back-to-School Supply Drive includes many drop-off locations for donations as well as collection events at two Tourist games and at the cardealership's two locations.

"It just always amazes me how generous our community is," said Charlie Lee, volunteerprograms manager at Hands On Asheville-Buncombe. "Because, you know, it's more than just a notebook and a backpack. It really helps (students') self-esteem to start off right with everyone else on a level playing field."



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GPI marks centennial today



7/12/2013 - GPI marks centennial today
by Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE -- The Grove Park Inn will be in full party mode today as it holds an open house to mark the historic inn's centennial anniversary.

Area musicians and crafters will be on display at the inn beginning at 10 a.m. Musicians include the Elkville String Band and banjo player R.G. Absher. Quilter Pattiy Torno and the Carolina Mountain Woodturners will be demonstrating their work.

Other exhibitors will include the Asheville Art Museum, Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, and Nantahala Outdoor Center.

Later in the day, a time capsule will be cracked open and a fireworks display will mark the 100th birthday.

The grand inn, which was built in just under one year beginning in 1912, officially opened on July 13, 1913, with a ceremony marked by Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan's speech to 400 men gathered for the event. Over the years, the inn has had its ups and downs and changed hands several times.

Last month, the Omni Hotel & Resort chain announced it was buying the landmark inn from a Denver investment group that purchased the inn from longtime owners Sammons Enterprises last year




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he 5 Clearest Blue Skies in the U.S.



7/8/2013 - The 5 Clearest Blue Skies in the U.S.
by Davis Jones - Sierra Club

From epic sunsets to shimmering stars, the sky's natural displays of beauty can rival any fireworks show. Where's the best place to find an unpolluted blue view? We've compiled a list of the top five cleanest skies in America based on the American Lung Association's State of the Air Campaign (the findings are based on measurements of short-term particle pollution).


Asheville skyline1. Asheville-Brevard, North Carolina

Take a bow, Tarheels -- Asheville and Brevard take first place for the cleanest metropolitan area in the country for 24-hour particle pollution. The list of opportunities for breathing in all that clean air is deep and wide. Literally. Western North Carolina is home to nearly 50 named peaks above 6,000 feet. The Great Smoky Mountains are two hours away from Asheville and serve as a habitat for more than 60 species of mammals alone.




Downtown athens georgia2. Athens, Clarke County, Georgia

Once named by Rolling Stoneas "the #1 College Music Scene in America," Athens features plenty to listen to besides booming firecrackers and high-pitched whistlers. Take a stroll to the University of Georgia (the first state-chartered school in the U.S.) and visit the UGArden, a student-run organization that practices sustainable food production.


Atlantic city ferris wheel3. Atlantic City-Hammonton, New Jersey

"America's Favorite Playground" really can equal recess for the outdoor enthusiast. The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is a short 14 miles away from Atlantic City, and the Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge less than 8 miles after that. Their locations in one of the Atlantic Flyway's most active routes make them both great venues for migratory water bird-watching.




Austin Texas4. Austin-Round Rock-Marble Falls, Texas

The only thing bigger than the true Texas town of Austin is its propensity for good tunes. Take a load off in the "Live Music Capital of the world" by enjoying its annual 300 days of sunshine and its average temperature of 68 degrees. You'll find Pedernales Falls State Park just 54 minutes west, where its layers of river limestone are roughly 300 million years old.




Bangor waterfront

5. Bangor, Maine

Q: If a firework goes off and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? 

We were going to imagine a tree instead, but there's a good bet that the sheer accessibility to state parks and to the wildlife here means you'd hear at least one topple. Less than an hour away are both the Hirundo Wildlife Refuge and the Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, which together hold over 200 different bird species as well as 45 species of mammals. Up for a longer trip? Baxter State Park in Millinocket covers over a beautifully-whopping 200,000 acres of mountains, lakes, streams, and forests.


--images by iStockphoto/SeanPavonePhoto (3 images), istockphoto/Mlenny, iStockphoto/egearing, and iStockphoto/apelletr


Davis Jones is an editorial intern at Sierra. His love for the outdoors began when he stepped on a fish hook as a 12-year-old and cried, in a burst of epiphanic clarity, "I'm too young to die." He attends the University of San Diego and enjoys camping, hiking, backpacking, and other activities that more or less benefit the mosquito population.



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sheville area family friendly activities



7/3/2013 - Asheville area family friendly activities
by Asheville Citizen Times


CREATIVE SUMMER BOOK CLUB: 10 a.m.-noon July 3, Pack Place, 2 S. Pack Square, Asheville. Read and discuss books and have fun. Kids should come in play clothes and ready for fun in the sun (think sunscreen, hats and water bottles). Meet at Pack Place main entrance; book club meetings will take place in Pack Place and outside. $15 per club, cash or check. Books appropriate for students in fourth-seventh grades. Book is "One Crazy Summer" by Rita Williams-Garcia. Students should read book before attending, or expect spoilers. Visit

DIG INTO MUSIC: 10:30 a.m. July 3, Leicester Library. Free. Special story time with the Moozic Lady.

FIRST LEGO LEAGUE ROBOTICS: 3-5 p.m. July 3 at 94 Coxe Ave., Asheville. Design, build and program NXT First LEGO League robots. For ages 10-14. Classes meet second and fourth Wednesdays (with extra class on July 3). This is a STEM educational activity. Parental participation encouraged. To learn more, call 258-2038.

MICROWONDERS: 2-4 p.m. July 3, Hands On! A Child's Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. $16 nonmembers, $10 members. Must register to attend. Ages 7-12. Examine the world at the microscopic level using traditional and digital microscopes. Call 697-8333 or visit

PARADE OF PUPPETS: 10:30 a.m.-12:30 pm. July 3, Hands On! A Child's Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. $16 nonmembers, $10 members. Must register to attend. Ages 7-10. Learn the history of puppet making, create your own puppets and perform a puppet show. Call 697-8333 or visit

SCIENCE OF SOUND: 10:30 a.m.-noon July 3. $16 nonmembers, $10 members. Must register to attend. Ages 3-6. Learn about sound. Call 697-8333 or visit

WILD OAKS SCHOOL-AGE LIBRARY CLUB: 3:30 p.m. July 3, South Asheville/Oakley Library. On Wednesdays in July for ages 6-12. Space is limited. No groups please.


INDEPENDENCE DAY: Find a calendar of July 4 activities and celebrations throughout Western North Carolina on Page B8.


EXPLOSION-PALOOZA: 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. July 5, Hands On! A Child's Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. $16 nonmembers, $10 members. Must register to attend. Ages 8-12. You've seen the fireworks on July 4th, now spend some time with other explosions safely conducted in an explosion-palooza. Call 697-8333 or


HALOTHERAPY STORY TIME: 10-10:30 a.m. July 6, The Salt Spa of Asheville, 473 Hendersonville Road, Asheville. $8. Storytelling during halotherapy for children in a unique salt room with tons of Himalayan salt on the walls and floor. Halotherapy can support respiratory health and offer relief for allergies, asthma, cystic fibrosis and more. Adult must accompany children. Call 505-1838 or


OVERCOMING ANGER: 7-8:30 p.m. July 7, Rainbow Mountain Children's School, 574 Haywood Road, Asheville. Discover a better way to deal with anger. Learn how to respond to difficult people and challenging circumstances with a patient, relaxed and "cool" mind. Everyone welcome. Drop-in classes. Includes guided meditation,talk and discussion. $8, $5/students/seniors. or call 668-2241.

July 8

ANIMALS THAT LIVE UNDERGROUND: 2 p.m. July 8, Henderson County Main Library. Presented by Henderson County 4-H. For ages 5 and older.

CLAYING AROUND WORKSHOP: 3:30-5:30 p.m. July 8, Claying Around, 1378 Hendersonville Road, Suite D, Asheville. $32, includes materials and snacks. Ages 6-12. Kids will be hand-building wind chimes with clay. Reserve a spot online at or call 277-0042.

POSTPARTUM CLASSES: 10:30-11:30 a.m. Mondays starting July 8, CarePartners, Seymour Auditorium, 68 Sweeten Creek Road, Asheville. $120. Series of six classes for women who are six weeks to one year postpartum. Classes are designed to provide a supportive educational experience for a woman's transition to motherhood by emphasizing wellness, injury prevention and return to self. The classes will also help improve a mothers' ability to care for her baby through the toddler years by caring for her body. It will be taught by physical therapists and a certified yoga instructor. Call 418-1050 to register.

July 9

ANIMALS THAT LIVE UNDERGROUND: 11 a.m. July 9, Fletcher Branch Library. Presented by Henderson County 4-H. For ages 5 and older.

CREATIVE SUMMER BOOK CLUB: July 9, Pack Place, 2 S. Pack Square, Asheville. Read and discuss books and have fun. Kids should come in play clothes and ready for fun in the sun (think sunscreen, hats and water bottles). Meet at Pack Place main entrance; book club meetings will take place in Pack Place and outside. $15 per club, cash or check. Books appropriate for students in fourth-seventh grades. Session from 10 a.m.-noon reads "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." Session from 1-3 p.m. reads "Midnight Magic." Students should read book before attending, or expect spoilers. Visit






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ive days away from it all: Vacationing in Asheville, N.C.



7/3/2013 - Five days away from it all: Vacationing in Asheville, N.C.
by Sean Phipps

Lauren and I decided to embark on a budget-friendly vacation to the mountains of Asheville, N.C., last week. Our rules were this: No. 1, no TV (with the exception of game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals) and No. 2, appreciate the mountains. Here's a recap of our five days spent away from it all. 

You have to see the Biltmore before you die. (Photo: Staff)

Day 1 (Limestone to Asheville)
We started at my family farm in Limestone--a small town in Northeast Tennessee with a few people and cows. My grandparents have a pool, and our intention for the start of the weekend was to sit beside it as much as possible. Our "real" vacation began when we departed from the farm toward Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Lauren has been traveling the parkway with her parents since she was a little girl. I've only recently been introduced to it, but it's become one of my favorite places. We drove from just below the Linn Cove Viaduct to the Folk Art Center near Asheville. Along the way, we stopped at various overlooks, hiked down to Crabtree Falls and ate lunch in Little Switzerland. We also spent some time in a fabulous bookstore called Little Switzerland Books and Beans. I recommend it if you're ever driving through. In Asheville, we checked into the newly remodeled Renaissance Hotel, which was a sort of "lipstick on a pig" kind of place, though our view of the mountains was fantastic. Our dinner (and several beers) occurred at Jack of the Wood, an Irish pub with great beers and interesting food. I had the first goat taco of my life. Later, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. This was a good start to the week.

Wall-to-wall books at Little Switzerland Books and Beans. (Photo: Staff)

Day 2 (Asheville/Blue Ridge)
Here's a tip: There's no need to get up early when you're staying in Asheville because nothing opens before 10 a.m. We were planning to make this day our "downtown" day, and we started by eating breakfast at the Early Girl Eatery, a place where the food is organic and everybody is blissfully stoned. I loved this place. My breakfast was a salad with organic blueberries, goat cheese and spinach. Lauren ate some bacon and hashbrowns, and we set out. Much of Day 2 was spent sightseeing (various art museums and walks) and shopping at stores like The Spice and Tea ExchangeMalaprop's BookstoreGrove Arcade and other shops. We checked into our second hotel just outside of town. Sentimentally, I wanted to visit my old house in Asheville (I lived here from age 2 to 10). Nothing had changed in 20 years except the color. Everything looked so much smaller than I remember it being. We had lunch at Iannucci's Pizzeria, where my dad used to take me as a kid. A lot has changed in my life, but not a damn thing has changed at Iannucci's Pizza. They still have the best breadsticks in life. At the hotel, I smoked a cigar on the porch, and Lauren read a book. We retired early because Day 3 was Biltmore day, and I needed my energy.

Day 3 (Biltmore)
Everybody should visit the Biltmore Estate at least once. It truly is a marvelous place to behold. However, it's also a HUGE tourist trap, and you should expect large crowds and large prices. We spent much of our trip outside the house in what are known as Biltmore Gardens--designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the visionary behind Central Park in New York City. The gardens were gorgeous, but after a couple of hours, I was ready to leave. Unfortunately, a day at Biltmore is a DAY AT BILTMORE. The brochure says to block at least eight hours for the entire visit. There was no way I was going to last that long. We toured the house and then visited the winery for a few hours, but I needed a break. The highlight of my day was discovering a small ice cream operation called Ultimate Ice Cream. They make their ice cream with only local ingredients, and it was the best ice cream I've ever tasted. Try the bleu cheese and caramel swirl. Lauren and I had a few drinks at the hotel that night and retired early. 

Triple Falls is one of many waterfalls along the Blue Ridge Parkway. (Photo: Lauren Smart)

Day 4 (Brevard)
Day 4 was completely open. We ended up in Brevard, N.C., hiking around three separate waterfalls. This was one of the highlights of the trip. High Falls, in particular, was breathtaking. For lunch, we ate at a little diner in Brevard called Rocky's Grill and Ice Cream Shop. Lauren had a grilled cheese, and I ate a pimento hot dog. After driving around for what seemed like hours after that, we eventually ate ice cream again and had burritos from Papa's and Beer. The next morning, I sentthis tweet about my "issues" the night before. Lauren almost broke up with me because of the smell. I wish I were kidding. She's a keeper. We retired early in hopes we could catch the morning sunrise ...

Day 5 (Asheville to Knoxville)
... but it was raining, so we slept in. Our final destination was Knoxville for a Josh Ritter concert at 8:30 p.m. This gave us almost 12 full hours to mosey. I was struggling with digestive issues (read: burrito flatulence), and Lauren was struggling also with my digestive issues. We ended up driving the duration of the Blue Ridge Parkway and through Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. I drank some coffee at a rooster-themed pancake house, which helped run the course. We did some outlet shopping and spent the early evening in downtown Knoxville. For dinner, we had Tupelo Honey (a review is coming soon), and I am probably not welcome back atMast General Store because of the situation. Josh Ritter and The Milk Carton Kids were incredible. Back in Chattanooga, we slept for a few hours. What a trip!

Sean Phipps is a writer, tobacconist and ghost tour guide living in Chattanooga. Originally from the Tri-Cities, he spends much of his free time smoking cigars, awkwardly embracing his girlfriend and torturing his therapist. He has no criminal record. You can contact him via email and Twitter with comments and questions. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not or its employees.


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