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Archive for September, 2011

The Waterfalls of Western North Carolina: First of a Series

September 24th, 2011 by abedofroses

Chimney Rock Hickory Nut Falls

Hickory Nut Falls at Chimney Rock

The Tour de Falls is today and tomorrow, September 24th and 25th!  Western North Carolina’s geography makes it treasure trove of awe-inspiring waterfalls and this tour looks like a good start to appreciating them all. The Tour de Falls is a 12 mile shuttle bus tour of DuPont Forest’s most popular falls. They will tour Triple Falls, High Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Lake Julia. Friends of DuPont Forest are putting this on and no reservations are required. Just show up in the parking area near 1300 Staton Road, Cedar Mountain, NC. Buses will leave at regular intervals between 9AM and 2:30PM. There’s still time to catch the tour tomorrow!

But the Tour de Falls highlights are just the beginning of the waterfalls our area has to offer! Transylvania County, the “Land of Waterfalls”, is a short drive from Asheville. Within the county waterfalls can be found in the Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Forest and Gorges State Park. Chimney Rock, 25 miles from Asheville in Rutherford County is also home to 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls.

Hickory Nut Falls from below

Hickory Nut Falls from below

Bill and I are on a quest to visit them all and we’ll be sharing our photos with you! We started our quest at Chimney Rock a few weeks ago, a short day trip from Asheville. The hike to Hickory Nut Falls was an easy walk through the woods, with lots of interesting exposed tree roots along the way, the result of natural erosion. You can hear the falls long before you can see them, heightening your anticipation. Our visit came at the end of a dry, hot summer and when we finally got to our destination the volume of water coming over the rocks was less than expected, but the falls were still very impressive. There is something so peaceful about the sounds of a waterfall. Portions of the movie “Last of the Mohicans” were filmed at Chimney Rock and you may recognize this lovely spot from the movie.

Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock

The added bonus of coming to see this waterfall is that you get to see Chimney Rock itself and the spectacular views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure from the top. The elevator is temporarily out of service, so be forewarned, there are about 500 steps to get to the top of the rock! We preferred to hike the trails and enjoy the views from the base of the rock.

Last week we continued the search in the Pisgah National Forest with a short stop in nearby Brevard. Our next in the Waterfall series will highlight the Falls there!

See our Photo Gallery for more photos of Chimney Rock and Hickory Nut Falls.

LAAFF: The Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival Showcases Asheville’s Creatives

September 9th, 2011 by abedofroses

The LAAFF Festival on Lexington Avenue

The view up Lexington Avenue

This past weekend Lexington Avenue in Asheville came alive with art, music, costumes, impromptu performance art and quirky good fun. Arts 2 People has brought this free end of summer festival to Asheville for 10 years. They are a non-profit organization devoted to promoting the role of the arts as an integral part of our culture, supporting artists and exposing the public to the transformational power of creative expression. This year they extended the festival to two days with 3 sound stages and numerous smaller venues for music. You could find lots of local food, art, one of a kind clothing and gifts, not to mention events you won’t find at just any street fair, like bicycle jousting matches!

Costumed shop keeper with musician

A shopkeeper is serenaded

Everyone dresses up in their most creative and unique style including the fair-goers. A silver statue of a woman with urn in hand suddenly walks down the street. A veiled creature with black material where a face should be pushes a baby carriage full of stuffed toys. A car that has been transformed into a dissertation on heaven and hell is proudly displayed by the artist. Cirque de solei style performers roam the street. It is truly a quintessential Asheville event. Lexington Avenue is known for its artsy and funky shops even without the fair. It’s also home to some wonderful restaurants, like Bouchon and Boca. We took advantage of the front window table at Boca to enjoy lunch and the very best people-watching at the fair. It was on the second day of the fair and a brief deluge from the outskirts of tropical depression Lee sent fair goers scurrying for cover. In no time the soaked and costumed crowd accepted their fate and children splashed in the river flowing down Lexington Street.

Clown on Stilts

A very wet clown on stilts

A thoroughly wet and dripping man on stilts in nautical dress peered down at us, dry inside the window. Once the storm was over the booths flung open their flaps and the festivities resumed as is if nothing had happened. The living statues took up their stations and wet musicians played again.

Little girl in costume

All the children dressed up for the event

See our photo gallery or go to our facebook page for lots more photos!