1-828-258-8700 {Check Availability}

Archive for November, 2012

Ready or Not Here Comes Santa! Christmas in Asheville

November 21st, 2012 by abedofroses

Santa and his wife

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at the Asheville Holiday Parade

The Biltmore Estate Candlelight tours have begun, Asheville held its Holiday Parade this past Saturday and the Grove Park Inn’s Gingerbread Competition winners have just gone on display. In spite of my stubborn reluctance to even think about Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving, I can’t help but start to give in to the excitement surrounding the holidays. The Christmas season is here, like or not, and I absolutely love this time of year. There’s something magical about the decorations and the music, the parties and even the shopping. Downtown Asheville has a holiday shop window competition that brings out everyone’s creativity and helps get you into the spirit.

Snowman at the Spa

Mr Snowman at the Spa

Sensibilities Spa won the competition with their clever snow-people enjoying the spa treatment, complete with a snow ancestor portrait above the fireplace! The holiday parade was quite an extravaganza with innumerable floats, performers, marching bands playing holiday music and our own Olympic silver medalists, Lauren Tamayo and Manteo Mitchell serving as Grand Marshals of the parade. Santa was the last to arrive with his entourage of festooned live llamas, bobbing Christmas-tree characters, and dancing reindeer people. Families camped out along the parade route and excited children darted into the street to catch a glimpse of what was coming.

Kids at the Asheville Holiday Parade

The cutest float at the Holiday Parade

It was great family fun. The Gingerbread Competition winners are always amazing to see and it gives you an excuse to enjoy the outstanding Arts & Crafts Architecture and original mission furniture of the Grove Park Inn. These are not run-of-the mill gingerbread houses. They are amazing edible sculptures and the bakers come from as far away as Massachusetts to compete. There are no less than 6 productions of The Nutcracker or variations thereof in Asheville this year. They range from the Asheville Puppetry Alliance’s “In the Nutcracker Mood”, featuring holiday music, to a modern interpretation with all dance and no singing or speaking at the Flatrock Playhouse and Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre‘s “The Return of the Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” a surreal, imaginative telling of “The Nutcracker”. And of course, the Asheville Ballet will perform the full original ballet from Imperial Russia.

Biltmore at Christmas

The Biltmore Library at Christmas

There will be choral performances and parties as well, but nothing can compete with the Grand Biltmore Estate in full Christmas regalia. By candlelight, with harpists playing and choirs singing in the Conservatory, the myriad of trees sparkle even brighter. My own 9 foot Christmas tree has arrived from Balsam Hill trees and it’s all I can do to keep from setting it up now. Right after Thanksgiving it’s going up! Happy Holidays!

Autumn Colors in Asheville – Saying Goodbye to October in the Mountains of Western North Carolina

November 5th, 2012 by abedofroses

Autumn Leaves on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Late Autumn Leaves on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The colors have become more muted around Asheville, with tones or rust and gold, but the mountains never cease to be breathtaking. As innkeepers, we are often too busy in October to get out to see the peak fall colors, but we managed to get away last week to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mount Pisgah to see the last colors before the leaves fall and we begin to busy ourselves with Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations. We began the drive with the Folk Art Center. We can never resist a stroll through the galleries of traditional and modern local crafts and fine art. From there we headed south, where the colors brightened.

The French Broad River in late Fall

The French Broad River

Late autumn has it’s own charms. The woods are less impenetrable with fewer leaves allowing you to see deep into them and appreciate the topography of the land. As we climbed we first were treated to views of the French Broad River and then overlook after overlook of mountain views and rich color. A partly cloudy day is often a more interesting time to visit the mountains than a sunny one. The skies and the hillsides become more dramatic.

Late Fall Foliage in the Mountains

Climbing toward Mt. Pisgah

As we got to the top of Mount Pisgah we found ourselves in the clouds winding through the tunnels as the fog rolled around us. At that elevation with the cold snap we were having last week I was a little nervous about snow, but we were lucky and the sun shone as we descended the other side. We circled around through the Pisgah National Forest past the Cradle of Forestry and stopped at Looking Glass Falls before heading home. It was a lovely afternoon.

Looking Glass Falls

Looking Glass Falls

So now the pumpkin has been carved, the trick-or treaters (169 of them!) have come and gone and Thanksgiving is almost here.

The temperature has warmed up again in the afternoons dipping down to the high 30s at night and the leaves are holding their own. It’s not quite time to say goodbye to them yet! By then Christmas will almost be here. The Biltmore Estate has already put up the 35 foot Christmas Tree and their Candlelight Evening tours start in just a few days!

 

»