Monday, January 31, 2011

Got " Frog Holler Helper Biodynamic Garden Soil "?

Frog Holler Helper BIODYNAMIC GARDEN SOIL now available
3 PICK-UP DAYS IN FEBRUARY! (no appt. needed)
SATURDAYS, February 5, 19 & 26, 10:00-2:00 (rain or shine) Closed Saturday, February 12

Frog Holler Specially Blended Biodynamic Garden Soil is a large array of fully-composted ingredients from nature so you get a nutrient-dense growing medium to give your plants and vegetables a broad mineral and nutrient spectrum, for the biggest, healthiest and fastest growing plants possible! Now with Rudolph Steiner's Biodynamic Preparation Formulas BD 500-507 for the best ever! The healthier your soil, the healthier you will be.

All  ingredients are in their natural state as nature intended good soil to be, with no ingredients from unknown yard waste, GMO vegetable waste, non-organic restaurants, garbage, or medical facility waste which may contain toxins, chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, cardboard or compostable containers which have no nutritional value and may contain processing chemicals. Every batch is tested for seed-starting and growing on. The finished product is 100% nutrient-dense growing medium, not top soil. You can plant straight into it without burn and near 100% germination rate for starting seeds. It is not diluted with other soil or topsoil.

For tomatoes that require no spraying or covering and resist diseases, use straight Biodynamic Garden Soil. Frog Holler started creating garden soil in the 1960's and have grown their own food for health benefits since then, never failing to have a large vegetable garden each year and award-winning flowers and landscaping. They are happy to share this fine Biodynamic Garden Soil and good health with you.

No appointment needed on Soil Pickup Days (MOST Saturdays 10-2, February 5 through mid-June.
Frog Holler is located at 234 Tommy Boyd Road, Waynesville, NC
(828) 627-3363  

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mountains to Sea Trail Annual Meeting

On February 5 the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail will hold its annual meeting at Haw River State Park north of Greensboro.  The meeting is from 10 a.m. -3p.m. They keynote speaker will be Howard Lee who first proposed the idea of the trail more than 30 years ago.
At 1:30 there will be a workshop for people interested in walking the entire trail across the state.  People who have hiked the trail will share their experiences, offer tips and answer questions. For additional information: or call:  919-698-9024

Saturday, January 29, 2011

NC Valentine's Special Events: Black Mountain Chocolate Tour and Tasting

February 11 from 4 PM - 6PM Join Slow Food Asheville for the 2nd Annual Black Mountain Chocolate Tour and Tasting.  David Mason from Black Mountain Chocolate guides a tour of the chocolate facility and hosts a tasting of his spectacular chocolate.  Bring your sweetheart, and kick-off Valentine’s Day Weekend with indulgence of David’s new line of chocolate bars and hot chocolate.  Learn where the beans come from, who the farmers are, how David handcrafts the bean into chocolate and taste the complexities and range of flavors that come through each bite. 

It is a rare treat to be able to taste such exquisite chocolate so freshly made by one of the countries’ few true handcrafter's of the bean.  This is a free event, but donations to Slow Food Asheville are greatly appreciated.

Black Mountain Chocolate is located at   131 South Avenue, Swannanoa, NC 28778  (828) 686-5511.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friends thank friends

A Big Shout-Out to Our Friends
submitted by Holly@FriendsoftheSmokies

We are so thankful to the more than 350 donors who gave more than $51,000 in response to our 2010 end-of-year appeal. The generosity of those who are passionate about the preservation and protection of the Smokies is simply amazing.

Throughout 2011, we will continue to seek support for our purchase of 20 acres of land in Pittman Center, Tennessee surrounded on 3 sides by Great Smoky Mountains National Park adjacent to the Soak Ash Creek Wetlands. (
Read More)
Friends of the Smokies is now working to transfer the 9.51-acre undeveloped parcel to park ownership as soon as possible. Friends and the park are still assessing potential uses for the other tract, which includes 10.32 acres and a substantial house. Possibilities include using the facility to host park staff and visiting researchers and/or to support the operations of Friends or other park partner groups.

The park's beauty and biodiversity remain constant with Friends of the Smokies' help. The Soak Ash Creek Wetlands (which at 27 acres is one of the largest wetland areas in our national park) are foraging grounds for black bears and are a rich habitat for birds (including 5 species on the US Fish & Wildlife Service's 2008 list of Birds of Conservation Concern: Peregrine falcon, Kentucky warbler, cerulean warbler, wood thrush, and worm-eating warbler) and native plant species.

Since 1993, the park's many, many Friends have funded programs that enhance the park's special places and the life within them, but you can
give today to be a part of this rare opportunity to increase the size of Great Smoky Mountains National Park!

For more information, contact Development Director
Sarah Weeks.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Death by Hops this Friday - what a way to go!

Beer Tasting Jan 28 from 5 PM - 7PM at Hops and Vines, 797 Haywood Rd. Ste 100, West Asheville, NC: Death by Hops take over the Olde Hickory crew!  Olde Hickory's re-creation of Alex's award winning "Death by Hops" has gotten such a great response that it's now part of their regular line up!

Hops and Vines and the staff of Olde Hickory Brewing will release the Death by Hops IPA in 22oz bottles. There will also be draft on tap available, samples free, pints $4 ea.
Cases will be available for 10% off Friday only.
Interested in Brewing your own?
Hops and Vines now offers online shopping with everything for homebrewers from books and bottling to Kits and Chemicals. Get shopping details here...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Smoky Mountains National Park 2010 Visitation Statistics

2010 was a year of weather extremes, landslides and major construction projects in and around the Smokies. But the Great Smoky Mountains National Park visitation in Calendar Year 2010 pulled through to match 2009
levels. Visitation through the Park’s three main entrances and outlying areas in 2010 was 9,463,538  only slightly below 2009, the Park’s 75th anniversary year, which reported 9,491,436 visits.

When compared to 2009 monthly visitation, 2010 started out with decreases during the first three months: January (-6%), February (-28%) and March (-3%). April recorded the first increase of the season (+10%) with succeeding months in May and June reflecting increases (+1 percent, +15 respectively). July entries were flat, August entries dropped (-9 percent), and September reflected no change. While October saw a large increase (+19%), November reflected a large decrease (-12%). December was off significantly by 35 percent.

“A number of anomalies occurred in Park visitation this year that may explain the visitor use patterns we received,” said Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson. “Extreme weather in 2010 left its mark on Great Smoky Mountains National Park from a cold chilling winter to sweltering heat in summer,” he continued. Above average snowfall in the high elevations caused more frequent closures of Newfound Gap Road and other Park roads January through March and then again in December. Both February and December marked record snowfall at Mt. LeConte (6,593 feet), 52 inches and 53 inches, respectively. Then during the summer months, a heat wave hit and the Park recorded a long string of 90-plus temperatures in the low country with August seeing above average highs.

For the first time in several years, autumn foliage, attracting hundreds of thousands leaf seekers, peaked on time in October
and not in November as in past years which may account for the changes recorded.

“Other occurrences that had both negative and positive influences on Park numbers during the first part of the year were several landslides on primary thoroughfares through the mountains both in and outside the Park,” Ditmanson commented. The most significant one was the landslide that closed all lanes on Interstate 40 at the North Carolina and Tennessee border from October 2009 through April 2010. During this impasse, travelers used the Park’s Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) as a detour which most likely pushed April visitation up.

Meanwhile, the Park had a large number of major road construction projects which limited access to some Park roads and facilities throughout the year and played a part in altering visitor statistics. For instance, the Outlying Areas tally recorded double digit decreases several months during peak season when two significant secondary entrances were affected by construction on the Foothills Parkway (Cocke County) and Cherokee Orchard Road.

Camping in the Park’s 10 developed frontcountry campgrounds reflected a yearly decrease. A total of 310,662 camper nights were recorded, a 2 percent decrease over 2009. Backcountry camper nights were flat totaling 79,480.

Find a monthly breakdown of 2010 visitation and additional Great Smoky Mountains National Park statistics here...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Vote for PAWS to win $10,000

PAWS (Placing Animals Within Society) has entered the "Shelter Challenge"  offered through through They will have an opportunity to win $10,000 for the PAWS shelter and YOU can make it happen.

Go to, click on the purple button that says "Click here it's
free". A window opens which will bring you to the next page to click on the "VOTE" button on the
top right. Scroll down and fill in the following voting info.
Shelter is: PAWS Animal Shelter,
State is: NC
and then click on the search button. Then confirm your vote by identifying the animal that comes up on the next page.

You can vote on more than one computer, cellphone or anything that has an internet connection. You need to vote everyday through March 20th. You cannot vote on the same computer more than once a day. So if you have a computer at work and at home, vote on both!
Currently PAWS is in 6th place for the state of NC and up to 190th place for the entire country! For asmall shelter with big needs $10,000 will have a great impact for our fury friends.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Asheville's WNC Nature Center calls for volunteers

January and February is Spring (or in this case Winter) Cleaning at the WNC Nature Center and your help is needed! Every Wednesday through February the Center will be closed to the public while work is done on everything from re-organizing the Education storage closet to painting fences behind the Red Wolf Exhibit. That means there is a lot of work and the staff need help from volunteers like you to get everything done. Please consider helping and join the WNC Nature Center for some work and fun. You can also get to know the staff at the lunch provided by the Friends.

Please contact Ian Jensen at  or (828) 298-5600 for details!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Asheville 1847 Inn offers Wedding Packages for Valentine's Weekend

February is National Weddings Month and what better place to get hitched or renew your vows than at an Asheville NC bed & breakfast?

There are 3 different all-inclusive elopement packages available ranging in price from  $749 - $1149.

All packages include accommodations, minister, bridal bouquet, cake, champagne/sparkling cider toast. Add-ons include flowers, chocolates, couples massages. We can customize a package for you. View the Elopement Packages Page under the Facility Rental tab. 1847 Blake House Inn Bed and Breakfast,  Asheville NC

Saturday, January 22, 2011

NC Mountain Valentine Specials: Perfect Gift for your Foxy Valentine

Looking for a special way to remind your Valentine that you think they're foxy?Show your love by adopting a red fox in your valentine's name! Asheville's WNC Nature Center's is home to red foxes Elvira and Toby. Foxes typically mate for life and this pair is even a rusty-red color just right for Valentine's Day. Give a fox to your fox and be a hero twice!

The Wild Parent adoption packages begin at $25 and include an adoption certificate, a photograph of one of the red foxes, and more. Adopt at the $50 level and you'll receive a cute plush red fox with a special heart decoration. A Valentine card can be included for even more personalization. Click here to adopt a red fox today!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Valentine Weekend Chocolate Cook-off in Bryson City calls for Chocolateers

4th Annual Chocolate Cook-off sponsored by the Friends of the Marianna Black Library is looking for chocolateers.  It is a fun time and we offer CASH PRIZES, as well as the good feeling of supporting the local library!

Applications to be a chocolate contestant are at the Marianna Black Library or by clicking here. They are due on February 4th. The event will be held on Saturday, February 12 from 2-4 PM at the Bryson City Presbyterian Church. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mountain Estate for Sale on Two Beautiful Acres

If space is an issue for you, look no further! This large family home has all you'll need with 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths with full separate living quarters in basement. Main level features formal dining room, sun room, office, master suite with his & hers bathrooms. 3 car garage is climate controlled for easy conversion to additional living space, storage space or car collection. Plenty of porches & decking for your enjoyment or entertaining. The craftsmanship and views this home offers is breathtaking. This is a must see in every way! $469,000 G101 PEAK MOUNTAIN PROPERTIES, INC. 336-846-7325 WEST JEFFERSON NC

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Fight Against Mountaintop Removal Continues with Southeast Concerts

Restoring Eden and Appalachian Voices have partnered to bring an exciting line-up of concerts stretching the Southeast and mid-Atlantic to raise awareness about the devastating impacts of mountaintop removal on Appalachia. Dewi Sant will headline the tour, joined my many other amazing bands along the way. Check out the line up below and stay plugged in throughout the tour via our Twitter feed! See the schedule:
Charleston, S.C. Loves Mountains
Thursday, Jan. 27 at Eye Level Art
FEATURING: Dewi Sant, Wylie and Older Brother

Charlotte, NC Loves Mountains
Saturday, Jan. 29 at The Evening Muse
FEATURING: Dewi Sant, Wylie, Older Brother, Uncle Mountain

Asheville, NC Loves Mountains
Sunday, Jan. 30 at Pisgah Brewing Co.
FEATURING: Dewi Sant, Efren, Jon Ammons @ the Electric Ghost Collective, Matrimony, and The Alex Krug Trio

Boone, NC Loves Mountains
Monday, Jan. 31 at The Boone Saloon
FEATURING: Dewi Sant, Songs of Water, Matrimony

Chapel Hill, NC Loves Mountains
Tuesday, Feb. 1 at Local 506
FEATURING: Dewi Sant, Matrimony, Big Fat Gap

Charlottesville, VA Loves Mountains
Wednesday, Feb. 2 at The Southern
FEATURING: Dewi Sant, Matrimony, Honey Dewdrops

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

West Jefferson Web Cam

Not rain nor snow nor dark of night will stop the new West Jefferson Web Cam. Now there's no more wondering about the weather. You can see it LIVE on the real-time downtown West Jefferson Web Cam with a view looking west on Main Street from its position in front of the Cheese Factory. Take a look...

Monday, January 17, 2011

UNC at Asheville Celebrates Martin Luther King JR

January 17 - 21     MLK Week at UNC-A   The Office of Cultural Events and Special Academic Programs partners with the Intercultural Center / Multicultural Student Programs to host a week-long campus observance promoting the work of Martin Luther King Jr. Activities include service learning, panel presentations, film screenings,... art exhibitions and distinguished speakers.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

RiverLink hosts French Broad River Paddle Trail Community Meetings

Thanks to a grant from the Pigeon River Fund of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, RiverLink is able to follow up its very successful River Access Guide with a canoe camping trail along the French Broad River.

RiverLink's Watershed Resources Manager, Nancy Hodges, is working with an Advisory Council chaired by long-time river manager and paddler Stephen Hendricks, a semi-retired landscape architect with the Forest Service. Currently he serves as the Vice President of the River Management Society for the Southeast and part-time consultant for the National Park Service. Stephen is a 32-year veteran of the U.S. Forest Service, having served primarily in the Southern Appalachian National Forests. He served as Planner/Landscape Architect for the National Forests in North Carolina for the past eight years and recently received the 2010 Aldo Leopold Stewardship Award for his work with the U.S Forest Service.

The goal of the project is to work with the communities and business along the river throughout Buncombe and Madison counties to explore the feasibility and desirability of establishing overnight wilderness camping along the French Broad River. If successful in Buncombe and Madison, the paddle trail may be extended though the entire watershed.

RiverLink invites interested parties to view the river access guide and the project presentation on their Web site at  In 2006 and 2007 RiverLink sponsored canoe trips down the French Broad, Nolichucky and Pigeon Rivers. This firsthand survey confirmed the need for additional access points, and brought to the forefront the lack of public opportunity to camp along the river safely and inexpensively as a family or group. This fall, RiverLink has hosted community information meetings in Hot Springs, Marshall and Asheville. Interest has been high, with great response from the community in support of such a trail. We have heard many great stories of the magical history of the river.

Please join us in Asheville on January 18, 2011 from 5:30-7 p.m. at RiverLink (170 Lyman St. in the River Arts District) OR the rescheduled meeting in Marshall on January 25, 2011 from 3-5:30 p.m. at the Very Small Buisness Center at the Marshall High Studios on the island in Marshall for an information gathering session about a possible canoe camping trail along the French Broad River in Buncombe and Madison counties.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Think it will snow?

The Western North Carolina Mountains have always been a haven of moderate temperatures and climate, year around. "Think it will snow?" was a common winter question with a not so common positive response - until last year. Record snow storms and accumulations marked 2010 to the delight of skiers and the despair of trail crews and anyone trying to navigate a combustion engine vehicle. 2011 is already heading in the same flakey direction.

"North Buncombe Snow Day Delayed by Snow" was Thursday's headline for the Asheville Citizen Times official Daily Snow News. Daily snow news??? Today had been scheduled as a make-up day at local schools for previous closures, but ADDITIONAL snowfall foiled officials' attempts to maintain a tight schedule. Along side the snow piles Asheville will be seeing less pristine garbage piles as waste collection was also postponed.

When life gives you snow, make snowmen! According to the Franklin Press some folks view the recent mountain winter wonderland as just another opportunity to get creative. The Crabtree family and friends brought  a group of "special" visitors to the Macon County Veterans Memorial Recreation Park this week. The cool visitors are seen here with Abigail Roper, Danyel Fouts, Samuel Crabtree, Timothy Crabtree, Stephan Crabtree, and Erin Moffitt in a photo taken  by Tim Crabtree.

Sylva’s Confederate soldier has a bird's eye view of the season’s third major snowstorm in Jackson County. Monday's storm left a blanket of 10+ inches on the Sylva-Dillsboro area by daybreak. The Sylva Herald reported accumulations ranging from 9 to 15 inches with schedules interrupted for everything from schools to government meetings while all awaited road clearings.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation provides updated travel information online and through a 511 system. Get details...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Get on the Bus - and tour the French Broad with RiverLink

The RiverLink Bus Tour offers answers about Asheville's past and future: What is the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan and what does it hold for Asheville's future? Who is Peter Demens and why is he world famous but not known in Asheville? Where is the RiverLink Meditation Labyrinth?

The next tour will be Thursday, Jan. 20.  The public is invited to tour the French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers with RiverLink. This is an opportunity to see the improvements that have occurred and hear  about upcoming projestc.  You will also learn  local history and visit streets and neighborhoods you may never have never seen before.

The bus leaves from the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce (36 Montford Avenue) at noon and returns at 2PM. . The tour is free for RiverLink members. Non-members cost is $15 per person. Lunch is not provided but you are welcome to bring your own. Reservations are required. Please go to to make your reservation online or call 828-252-8474 ext. 11.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design announces a fund-raising raffle. Buy a raffle ticket today and support CCCD with your opportunity to win a one-week class at your choice of Arrowmont, John C Campbell folk School or Penland School of CraftsCLICK HERE to Purchase Raffle Ticket for a free one-week class

There are 2 chances to win a one-week class, including board  (double room w/ shared bath) & meals. Each class is valued at $950! The cost of a ticket is $25  and the odds of winningare 1 in 100 (200 tickets will be sold).  Each winner will select and register for a class that takes place within one year from the date of the raffle (Jan. 21, 2011). Once they register at the school of their choice, the tuition will be paid for by CCCD.

To view classes go to:
Penland School of Craft:
Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts:
John C. Campbell Folk School: **This is for a one-week class, but can be used towards a two-week class. To maintain the odds we reserve the right to add or subtract a winner/class.**
Proceeds go to support the programs of the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design non-profit foundation.

The Center for Craft, Creativity and Design is an inter-institutional Center of the University of North Carolina. The mission of the regional UNC Center is to support and advance craft, creativity and design in education and research, and, through community collaborations, to demonstrate ways that craft and design provide creative solutions to community issues. The mission of the nonprofit CCCD is to support the mission of the UNC center through funding, programs, and outreach to artists, craft organizations, schools in the community, region and nation.  email: - phone: 828.890.2050

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New 2011 Asheville Travel Guide + Pottery Giveaway!

Asheville Travel Blog and the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority has announced their FREE Official Travel Guide and a chance to win one of five hand-thrown pottery bowls from Black Mountain Pottery. Order your free Official 2011 Travel Guide here...

The guide includes a 2011 calendar of events, local maps, and more than 20 pages of Asheville details, such as the scoop on downtown’s new Pack Square Park and the "down-and-dirty" on Asheville’s most popular road races. New features this year are the “Asheville Your Way” itineraries with separate listings for art, beer and food festivals plus restaurant listings with eateries' details.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Although the travel and tourism industry is changing how it understands sustainability in tourism, many industry experts continue to predict it will be a hot trend in 2011. The National Restaurant Association, for example, has predicted local and sustainable foods will be a top trend in 2011 among the hottest menu trends.

TripAdvisor’s 2011 Travel Trends Forecast has reported that 47 percent of travelers expect to make travel decisions with green in mind, and 20 percent of travelers are planning on traveling greener in the upcoming year than they have in the past. 

According to Jerry Yudelson, a green building expert, there will see growing interest in green building, with a shift in focus from greening new building to existing buildings.  Pike Research predicts that this growth in green building will be fueled by both rising regulatory pressure and increased options of financing green building projects.

For more information on what’s to come in 2011 on the subject of sustainable tourism, contact Tom Rhodes; for more information on sustainable tourism, contact Alex Naar at (252) 737-1346.
This information reprinted courtesy of Visit NC Newslink

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

City Lights Hosts "The Liar's Bench" this Saturday Night

January 8, 8 PM at City Lights Bookstore, Sylva NC. Special Liar's Bench Focuses on Moonshine. Celebrating “moonshining in the mountains,” The Liar's Bench, Western North Carolina’s own Southern Appalachian live variety show, will be at City Lights on Saturday January 8 at 7:00 p.m. Marion Jones, Jack Parris, Gary Carden, Barbara Duncan, Steve Brady, and Paul Iarussi will be performing. Gary Carden will give a special introduction to a short film on moonshining in the mountains. Marion Jones and Jack Parris will demonstrate with an authentic still how the old timers made “white liquor.” Steve Brady will relate, in story and song, the strong ties between the moonshining industry and the beginnings of NASCAR.

Dave Waldrop, The Liar's Bench host, says, “This show is definitely going to be a unique cultural event and an opportunity for the audience to learn about our southern mountain history. There also will be an exciting surprise for all the participants.”

Regular cast members include Gary Carden, Lloyd Arneach, Paul Iarussi, Barbara Duncan, Dave Waldrop, Steve Brady, and the show’s mascot Bodine. The Liars Bench recognizes established artists and performers and also encourages new talent.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Swain County Chamber of Commerce will host Qualla T Customer Service Training Session

Want to learn how to build and maintain a positive visitor friendly business atmosphere and community? Then you need to attend the Qualla T Customer Service Training Session being hosted at the Swain County Chamber of Commerce office, Bryson City NC on Tuesday, January 18, 9 AM untill noon.

Sponsored by the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce and Swain County Cooperative Extension office and facilitated by Rob Hawk, this free program integrates Cherokee and mountain values and attitudes into your workplace as a basis for providing excellent customer service. All participants will be Qualla T certified upon completion of the session.

“With 15 years in retail I know first hand how important customer service is to a business. This training reinforces the ‘soft skills’ that are absolutely essential in an employee and business owner: listening and communication, understanding body language, enhanced professionalism both with customers and coworkers, stress management, and teamwork building. All of the staff members here at the Chamber are Quall T certified and I strongly recommend this training to all of our Chamber members and community businesses,” stated Karen Wilmot, executive director, Swain County Chamber of Commerce.

To register please contact Robert J. Hawk at 828-488-3848,
For more information, please call Karen Wilmot at 828-488-3681,

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

"In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, but never in want."
-Celtic Proverb