Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve Parties throughout the NC Mountains

December 31, 2012 the NC Mountains ring in the New Year with parties and celebrations. Below are a just a few event, so check with the restaurants, bars and visitor centers in your local community for more.

Get links for these and other mountain events on the NC Events Calendar.

Event:    18th Annual New Year's Eve Possum Drop  
Ring in the New Year with a Miss Possum contest, live bluegrass music, the Little Brasstown Church Choir, the Blessings, homemade cider and lots of good clean fun.

Event:    New Year's Eve Party at Beech Mountain Resort  
Live music, drink specials, and even midnight ice skating. The party is held In the Beech Tree Bar & Grill, which is open until 1:30 AM for the event. Enjoy live entertainment  from The Jonathan Birchfield  Band, providing a unique mix of country and rock tunes.  Tickets are $10 per person.  Beech Mountain Resort will extend Ice Skating hours until 11 PM with Munchies, located adjacent to the ice rink,  providing games and activities for families.

Rockin' New Year's Eve Party  at the Buckeye Recreation Center.  Food, family-friendly games, jamming music, a bounce house, a kid-friendly New Years Eve count down and much more. So bring the family to celebrate the New Years and still make it out to see the ball drop at your New Year’s Eve Party.   Activities will run from 5pm-8pm, and are free!

Event:    New Year's Eve Extravaganza  
Appalachian Ski Mountain offers torchlight skiing, firework and more. Moonlight ice skating from 10 PM to midnight. Restaurant Specials also available from 9 PM to midnight.

Event:     2nd Annual Black & White Ball at Green Park Inn
. Dinner & Dancing at the historic Inn. More details by calling 828-414-9230

New Year's Eve Party featuring Soul Watt at Canyons Restaurant. $10 cover includes midnight champagne toast. 10pm. 828-295-7661

New Year's Dinner & Party at Crestwood. Starting at 7pm, five course dinner, DJ, then a midnight champagne toast. 828-963-6646

New Year's Eve Dinner at Crippen's. Party favors, midnight toast. 828-295-3487

Event:     New Year's Eve Party  at The Maggie Valley Country Club  
$25.00 per person includes complimentary favors, champagne toast, live ball drop and music by local favorites 45 Cherry. A breakfast will follow the midnight hour and is included in the ticket price. Limited space - RSVP.

Event:     New Year's Eve Celebration  
Come out to historic downtown Marion between 9:00 PM and midnight to ring in the New year with music, food, carriage rides and more. Downtown businesses will be open with their own form of entertainment including the McDowell Arts Council at 50 S. Main Street where you can enjoy "the oldies" and a dance floor for a little toe tapping! This is a free event on Main Street with street vendors and musicians providing entertainment for all ages.

Event:     New Year's Eve Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre  at The Inn on Church Street  
The event includes dinner, dancing & murder in the speakeasy. 

Event:    New Year's Eve Celebration at the Season's Restaurant at Highland Lake Inn/ 
Enjoy a 3 course dinner, champagne toast and midnight celebration.  Live music with The Bruce Lang Trio from 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM. $70.00 per person. 828-696-9094

Event:     New Year's Eve Party at the Art Center 
Sons of Ralph perform - 9 PM show. Champagne toast at Midnight. Ring in the new year for just $15 for tickets

Event:    1st Annual New Year’s Gala-Pilot Mountain Ballroom  
Held at the Armfield Civic Center. 7:30 PM – Social Hour 8:00 PM – Dinner 9:00 PM, Buffet Dinner Serving: Prime Rib ~ Parmesan Encrusted Chicken Breast ~ Twice Baked Potatoes ~ Baby Carrots ~ Winter Salad ~ Dessert.  12:00 midnight – Dancing Dress: Formal Attire (Preferred) or Semi-Formal.  Cost: $30/person (Pre-paid reservation) Note: Both Singles and Couples are invited to Atten.

Event:     New Years Eve Party at Old North State Winery 
Ring in the New Year at Old North State Winery  from 9 PM - 12:30 AM. Music throughout the evening with Mediocre Bad Guys Live on the 1st Floor and a DJ by Sugarbear Productions on the 2nd Floor with a Champagne Toast at Midnight. That's two parties for one price. Tickets are available at the Museum (336-786-4478) or at the Winery (336-789-9463) $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Get your tickets early as space is limited. All proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Museum. 

Event:     New Year's Celebration at The Fun Depot  
Celebrate the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 with lots of FUN at Fun Depot. You will be able to enjoy 3 hours of unlimited FUN for $15 per person. Both groups and individuals are welcome. The Depot Diner will be open and there will even be a live band and party favors. 

Event:     New Year's Eve Celebration at the Grove Park Inn  
New Year's Eve packages include accommodations, dinner in the award-winning restaurant of your choice including one of two amazing parties. The “Toast to 100" Package features Big Band melodies from the Doug Burns Band and a large dance floor to waltz and foxtrot the night away. If a blowout event is more your style, the “Centennial Blast Off" Package includes a night of party music from Big Blast and the Party Masters to bring in 2013 with a bang.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last Minute Charitable Deductions to support mountain nonprofits

There's still time to support your favorite NC Mountain organization and get a tax deduction for 2012. Whether you have $10 or $10,000 your donation will help insure the continuing good works of dozens of community and local nonprofits dedicated to preserving and protecting the mountains and their culture and heritage. Here is a list with links for some of the many organizations who need your help:

Friends of the Western North Carolina Nature Center - The Center is a special place in many ways including being one of only four U.S. zoos that saw the birth of red wolves in 2012.  With only 400 red wolves left in the world, the pups' birth in May 2012 was a major contribution to current and future conservation of one of our most endangered species.  In addition to conservation the WNC Nature Center offers year around education for all ages and is a living museum of plants and animals native to the Appalachian region. A variety of support options are offered for adopting an animal to Membership to cash donations. Get complete details and make online contributions HERE. 

Friends of the Mountain to Sea Trail -
Donations help
build, protect and promote the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. In 2012 an additional 42 miles of trail officially opened near Boone, in Pilot Mountain State Park and at Falls Lake. Volunteers also constructed more new trail west of Asheville, in Greensboro and in Alamance counties and along the Eno River.  The Mountains-to-Sea Trail connects Clingman's Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Jockey's Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks with 1000 miles of footpaths and temporary connectors. Donate by becoming a Member beginning at $10 for students.

Foothills Conservancy of North CarolinaDonations help to protect the region's magnificent mountains, creeks, rivers and lakes, and productive farm and forest lands. Protected and supported areas include
include state parks at Lake James, South Mountains and Chimney Rock; game lands at Wilson Creek the Johns River and the Linville Gorge; and hidden gems like Catawba Falls in Pisgah National Forest. Your gifts also help us protect the region's fast-disappearing farmland and forests and water feeding the Broad, Catawba and Yadkin rivers. Learn more about donations to the Foothills Conservancy HERE. - An organization dedicated to ending mountaintop removal coal mining. Give a Gift to Appalachia this holiday and help support several exciting initiatives planned in the coming year. You contributions will be used to buy equipment to test wells and waterways, purchase materials for upcoming End Mountaintop Removal rallies, provide scholarships for emerging Appalachian leaders, and more. You can also shop online for several fund-raising products. By contributing to you directly support the efforts of groups working to end mountaintop removal coal mining and help to counter Big Coal's efforts to destroy the mountains we love.   Learn more about donations HERE.   

Land Trust for the Little Tennessee - conserving the land, water, forests farms and heritage of the Upper Little Tennessee and Hiawassee  River Valleys in southwestern North Carolina. 2012 projects included the Town of Andrews' 930-acre watershed in Cherokee County, the four-mile Blue Ridge Parkway easement in the Balsam Mountains and many projects in between.  There are multiple ways you can give to LTLT before December 31st: cash, stock or an IRA distribution*. Get details about donating, joining of volunteering HERE.

Friends of the Smokies -  Assists the National Park Service in its mission to preserve and protect the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by raising funds and public awareness, and providing volunteers for needed projects. Choose from a variety of way to give support: cash donations, membership, volunteering, shop for Smokies products and more. Click HERE for details.

HandMade in AmericaPrograms and initiatives that train artists and entrepreneurs, help small craft businesses, animate places, and spark development throughout the region. HandMade not only provides support and education for local artisans, their efferts spur revitalization, attract tourism, broaden markets, grow partnerships, and create job opportunities in Western North Carolina. Make a year-end donation to HandMade in America  by calling the office at (828) 252-0121, visiting the online website at or by mailing in your donation to our office, at 125 S. Lexington Ave., Suite 101, Asheville, NC 28801.

Friday, December 28, 2012

New Year's Eve in the Smoky Mountains

December 31 - Fontana Village Resort is hosting a New Year's Eve Gala with Fireworks. Spend New Years in the Smoky Mountains and enjoy champagne and midnight fireworks at one of the NC mountains' oldest resorts. Make it a weekend getaway with accommodations in the lodge or cabins and begin 2013 surrounded by the pristine Smokies.

Enjoy a New Year's Eve Dinner and Party Package with a varied menu from appetizers to deserts at the Mountain view Restaurant. Then the party begins at 9 PM as the Carribean Cowboys take the stage for your dancing and listening pleasure. The champagne and fireworks sparkle at midnight. Party-only admission is available and reservations are required for the dinner package.

Fontana Village Resort - offers a range of accommodations: Lodge rooms and suites, cabins. RV & tent camping. Amenities include conference space, WIFI, 2 restaurants, lounge, General Store, gift shops, outfitters, pools, marina, massage and fitness center,  bike shop, horseback riding and  trails. Get Fontana Village photos, current rates and dates available

Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Year's Eve Event: New Year's Eve at Beech Mountain

December 31   New Year's Eve Party at Beech Mountain Resort   Live music, drink specials, and even midnight ice skating. The party is held In the Beech Tree Bar & Grill, which is open until 1:30 AM for the event.

Enjoy live entertainment from The Jonathan Birchfield Band, providing a unique mix of country and rock tunes. Tickets are $10 per person. Beech Mountain Resort will extend Ice Skating hours until 11 PM with Munchies, located adjacent to the ice rink, providing games and activities for families.

Get a link for the Beech Mountain Resort New Year's Eve Party and other events on the Beech Mountain NC Visitor Guide.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Last Week to See the National Gingerbread House Display at the Grove Park Inn

Now until January 2   The National Gingerbread House Competition and Display continues at the Grove Park Inn.   Contestants from across the country have brought their sweet architectural masterpieces to The Grove Park Inn for display over the holidays.  Check availability and current rates at The Grove Park Inn

You will delight in the imagination shown in these sugar-and-spice creations, and enjoy a lasts dose of Holiday Spirit as you stroll through the competition. There is no admission charge to view the entries to the National Gingerbread House Competition.

In addition to the gingerbread overload, see the beautiful holiday displays throughout and warm by the giant fireplaces in the grand lobby. Pick up a map in the lobby to find the various areas where the entries are displayed.

The Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa is an historic Asheville mountain inn with renowned spa services. Additional facilities include the scenic golf course and a sports complex with swimming pool, tennis courts,  racquetball and training equipment. The Resort offers onsite restaurants, lounge and bars. A large variety of accommodations include rooms and suites in varying stages of updates and ages with some original Inn antiques. Check Inn rates and dates

The Grove Park hosts a variety of winter events and weekend packages from  New Year's Eve Celebrations to Big Band Dance Weekend to the All That Jazz Festival. Get a link for details on the Asheville NC Visitor Guide.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Support Dillsboro NC Mural and be a part of NC Mountain History

A mural project called "On Hallowed Ground" by NC Artist Doreyl Ammons Cain is proposed for the town of Dillsboro NC. The project is now on Kickstarter and needs your support to continue. CLICK HERE to get details and make a contribution beginning at $10.

"On Hallowed Ground" will show the interaction of Scotch Irish settlers, the Cherokee Native Americans and the founding of the small town, Dillsboro, NC, in the 1880’s. There are tales of feuds, hardships and Love. All these stories will be painted into the mural within the backdrop of the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains.
The town of Dillsboro will benefit from this project as it is intended to be a re-awakening of the heart of the town, a journey to being an art destination and a thriving town again. 

It will take 9 months to paint the mural,  planed for completion by October 1, 2013. It will be shear coated with a protectant that will keep the sun’s rays out and retain the color for decades outside. The mural will be placed in Dillsboro and unveiled on October 5th at 10:00 AM to begin the annual ColorFest, Art & Taste of Appalachia festival.

Be a part of this exciting project by pledging your support to make this mural a reality! The money you pledge will be used to buy museum quality mural paint, brushes, preserved mural board and will pay for time doing research, creating a large comprehensive drawing and painting the mural for 9 months.
There will be a 1st edition fine art, museum quality art print made of "On Hallowed Ground" and you will receive one of these 150 limited edition prints with your pledge of $25 or more. If you pledge now you can be assured of a 1st edition art print. For those who pledge after the first 15 days, you will receive a 2nd edition hand signed and numbered fine art print and your name will be on a plaque attached to the mural.

Kickstarter is an 'all or nothing'  online funding resource.  If  the goal of $8000  is not reached between December 4th and January 4, the town will receive none of the pledges and no one will benefit. So pass this Kickstarter site on to your friends and give your support today!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Brevard Music Center Alumna Crowned Miss Universe

Brevard Music Center  Alumna Olivia Culpo  has been crowned the 2012 Miss Universe.

Olivia Culpo grew up in Cranston, Rhode Island as the middle child of five. With two avid musicians as parents, she and her siblings each studied different instruments throughout their childhood, Olivia’s choice instrument being the cello. Her other interests include movies, museums, concerts, and making people laugh. One day, Olivia hopes to land a career in either film or television.

Ms. Culpo attended Brevard Music Center in 2008 and 2009. Her mother, Susan, was on the Brevard Music Center viola faculty during the 2009 season.

Brevard Music Center - Each summer more than 400 students, ages 14 through post-college, join professional musicians to eat, breathe and sleep music for seven weeks. In addition to a rigorous schedule of instruction, students collaborate with faculty and guest artists in more than eighty public performances. The Center is located at 349 Andante Lane in Brevard NC

Friday, December 21, 2012

NC Holiday Events: Santa Visits Beech Mountain Ski Resort

December 21 -  Beech Mountain Ski Resort re-opens for skiing today from 9 AM to 10 PM and continue open through the weekend. Santa will be visiting Beech Mountain Friday through Sunday, from 3 PM to 5:30 PM in the View Haus Cafeteria ready to hear everyone's Christmas wishes. Ice skating will be open for all session beginning at noon.

On December 22 The View Haus will host a Holiday Sweater Party from 7 PM to 10 PM  providing live music from Wise Old River. Holiday Beverages will be on special and prizes will be awarded for the best holiday sweater outfit.

On December 24, at 4:30 PM a Christmas Eve Service will be held at the ice rink. Participants can enjoy a free hot chocolate to celebrate the holiday.

Get links and details on the NC Ski Resort Guide.

 "Ski Beech", located on Beech Mountain NC, is Eastern America's highest ski resort at 5506 feet above sea level. With excellent skiing (day or night), and a charming Alpine Village filled with intriguing shops, tempting restaurants and more, Beech Mountain Ski Resort offers a winter wonderland of fun and activities for all members of your family or group. Alpine skiing and snowboarding will appeal to the thrill-seekers and for those looking for something a little tamer, the resort also features ice skating and snow tubing. Snow making is on 100% of the skiing terrain. To round out your fun-filled day, spend some time in one of the charming shops or tempting restaurants.

Find lodging, restaurants and attractions convenient to Beech Mountain Resort at Beech Mountain NC and nearby Banner Elk NC


Thursday, December 20, 2012

RiverLink ends 2012 with a liong List of Accomplishments

submitted by Karen Cragnolin, Executive Director RiverLink

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at RiverLink -- our staff, our board and our wonderful volunteers. Thanks for making 2012 a productive year working together with our 300 collaborating organizations and partners to make the French Broad River Watershed swimmable, fishable and drinkable now and into the future.

We wish you a New Year filled with hope, good health, joy, and peace of mind. Thanks to you it has been a wonderful year. Here are some highlights:
  • We empowered 1644 volunteers to put in 2800-plus hours, collecting 744 bags of trash, 271 tires and an assortment of TVs, toilets, mattresses, hubcaps, toys, and other debris.  
  • We did MAJOR work at Karen Cragnolin Park. Not only did we donate an easement across the front of the property for brand new sidewalks, we also started phytoremediation on the land. Phytoremediation is a technique that uses nature's healing properties (plants) to clean up contaminated soils 
  • We partnered with local micro-breweries to host the annual Winter Warmer Beer Festival.  The brewers donated $2,500 and we directed that money  to the Broadway greenway  
  • We hosted our 5th annual "Voices of the River: Art and Poetry Contest. Using all of their senses, students observe their watershed and create a piece of art or poetry based on topics such as fish and wildlife; boating and recreation; pollution and trash; geography; culture and history; water and the hydrologic cycle, or any relevant topic that students wish to address.
  • We co-sponsored two events in April: The River Management Society conference entitled "From Intimate Creeks to the Infinite Sea" and the 3rd annual French Broad River Classique Canoe and Kayak Race.
  • We were happy to transform the old tire store at 704 Riverside Drive and welcome the our new tenants,  Asheville Adventure Rentals. AAR is a full-service gear rental, retail, travel and instruction company. High-quality rental and retail inventory includes whitewater, recreational and touring boats, Stand-Up Paddleboards, fishing gear, and camping essentials.
  • We sponsored community dialogues with the neighborhoods around Amboy Road and the developer who is working on a project at the corner of Amboy Road and Riverview.
  • We raised $25,000 from the Pigeon River Fund to install the Best Management Practices or BMP's along the greenway that will help to control the erosion and sediment. With all the money raised thus far we only need another $42,000 to get the old Health Adventure section of greenway and BMP's installed.
  • We hosted RiverMUSIC throughout the summer. We kicked off our series of performances and events at the RiverLink Sculpture and Performance Plaza with a live theatre performance by the Warren Wilson College Theatre Department. The "Swannanoa River Play" took anecdotes and stories directly from Swannanoa Valley residents and mixed in music to create a half-hour performance.  Over the summer we welcomed, Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds with special guests The Krektones and The Mad Tea; Sanctum Sully with special guests Bobby Miller and The Virginia Daredevils; The 42nd Street Jazz Band; Sirius B. with special guests The Blood Gypsies. We finished off the concert season with a Purveyors of Funk Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band with special guests The Fritz.
  • We celebrated the river at the 13th annual RiverFest at French Broad River Park.  We were pleased to announce that Sierra Nevada as our title sponsor and the Asheville Adventure Rentals, Navitat Canopy Adventures, Carolina Mountains Credit Union, a division of Self-Help Credit Union, Glazer Architecture, PA., and Happy Body Studio and RC Cola also helped to sponsor RiverFest this year.
  • We  enjoyed another year of  our  world famous Anything that Floats Parade during RiverFest.
  • We incorporated environmental education, river recreation and service learning  during SUMMER CAMP! At camp, RiverLink works to:
    • Provide young citizens of the French Broad River watershed an in-depth, hands-on educational  experience about their environment;  
    • Empower campers to be lifelong watershed stewards by educating them on the issues facing our rivers and watersheds, and providing concrete examples of what can be done;
    • Inspire campers to make community service an integral part of their student and adult lives.
  • We hired long-time artist resident of the river Heinz Kossler to create some handmade tiles for the new sidewalk that will surround one of our properties The Warehouse Studios at 170 Lyman Street. The city installed the sidewalk using granite curbstones that were removed from the river area when they asphalted the street most times right over the granite and the old trolley tracks
  • We  received funding for an all-inclusive online interactive map for the French Broad River camping and paddle trail. Make sure to get in touch with us if you want to be included on this map.
  • We welcomed new Board members -- Barb Korb, retired marketing and operations director for AT&T; Mike Sule, founder and executive director of Asheville on Bikes; Paul Dismukes, community volunteer who works with Habitat for Humanity, GreenWorks and Rotary; and Peter Sprague, an executive with Ingles Market and lifetime volunteer with Boy Scouts of America. Incidentally, Peter was one of RiverLink's first volunteers way back in 1987!  
  • We spent time with close friends at the annual Friends of the River dinner. Our speaker this year was Ken Grossman, president of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
  • We dedicated a new section of Broadway greenway.
  • We taught water-related lessons to approximately 4,000 children ages K-12.
  • We celebrated the life and legacy of Wilma Dykeman by installing three new information kiosks at our Sculpture & Performance Park on Riverside Drive. It was such a joy to hear her youngest son, Jim, describe his mom's legacy and a new effort to preserve and perpetuate it.  Guests were also able to meet Sharon Fahrer, president of History@Hand, and songwriter and singer Laura Boosinger.
  • We showed our love for the Swannanoa River at Swannanoa RiverFest with river cleanups and a ton of Swannanoa fun with Warren Wilson College students and staff.   
  • We hosted a volunteer appreciation party at Dave Russell's Avant Garden.
  • We made a big difference during NC's BIG SWEEP, collecting over 90 bags of trash  and 13 tires from  a 15-mile stretch of the French Broad River.
  • We had a very productive meeting with our Secretary of Tourism and the head of the Community Foundation from the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. We also had a two-day visit with Friendship Force folks from the Maldives in October. Do you know that by law the buffer around any water body -- lake, river, stream -- is a mandatory 150 feet in Moldova!  We love sharing our projects and exchanging information with visitors from overseas.
  • We are continuing to raise funds for the Broadway Greenway at the former Health Adventure site. One of our fundraiser was held at the home of Jo and Kevin Hogan in Montford and another one was in cooperation with the Asheville  Track Club Thomas Wolfe 8K run. 
  • We connected with the community groups. This year's Leadership Asheville Seniors Class adopted our labyrinth as their project and have installed a mediation bench and are working with us to spruce up the whole area.
  • We were voted  The Best Environmental Group for the 7th year in a row in the Mountain Xpress. Thank you so much, Western North Carolina.
  • We braved a cold and wet Sunday to celebrate future greenways at Hominy Creek and at the old Health Adventure site on Broadway. These events raised over $3,500 towards implementing new greenway access corridors!
  • We announced the recipients of the 2012 RiverBusiness Awards: The Asheville Brewers Alliance, The Self-Help Credit Union, The Montford Neighborhood Association, PSNC Energy, Sundance Power and FLS Energy. These wonderful river-friendly companies have made lasting contributions to the entire community making our watershed a better place to live, work and play for everyone.
  • We announced our CriticaLink award winners for 2012. CriticaLinks are non-board members who through their extraordinary volunteer  efforts have helped make the French Broad River watershed a better place for everyone to live, work and play. We are  proud to honor  Margie Eblen, Dr. Robert Quayle,  Rob & Bess Baird,  Mary Anne Worthingham, and Terry & Russ Robertson. 
  • We received funding from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund  to help New Belgium Brewing Co. install BMP'S and restore a sub-watershed of the French Broad River.  New Belgium is  going above and beyond the city of Asheville's storm water ordinance as part of this new brewery effort to recover an old landfill and bring economic vitality to our community.
  • We have a new trademark -- WaterRICH -- a residential program designed to help homeowners and renters manage storm water and erosion on their property. We received a really wonderful thank you letter from Ira Bernstein for  helping  Ira implement his dream of installing a rain garden at his Montford home.   
  • We also installed 3 additional  storm water features constructed for properties in the WaterRICH Program,  conducted 8 WaterRICH Property installations and  Certified  32 WaterRICH Consultations
  • We helped attract the funding for the $600,000 federal highway administration road study for the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay that has been adopted.
  • We had a good old-fashioned oyster roast in Marshall with over 300 people and great music. Our host was Rob Pulleyn who bought the old Marshall high school building on Blannahasset Island and turned it into Marshall High Studios, an artist enclave. 
  • We teamed up with another non-profit to develop an online interactive water quality game designed specifically for the French Broad River watershed.  This is another way we are seeking to reach children of all ages and - surprise surprise - reward them for their knowledge.
  • We were recipients of the sale at an art show at Asheville Adventure Rentals by  local artist, Maryanne Pappano, who has created a series of installations reflecting our work to improve the French Broad River.
Peace and Joy in 2012,

Karen, Melinda, Dave, Nancy, Nikki and Jess

P.S. There is still time to remember that special someone in your life at Christmas with these great gifts from RiverLink.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

NC Holiday Events: Bernstein Family Christmas Spectacular

Now through December 22 - the last week to see the  30th Annual Bernstein Family Christmas Spectacular  The production stars  Tracey Johnston-Crum (recently voted Best Local Actress by in the Mountain Xpress' annual poll) and Darren Marshall, among other local favorites.

This beloved and occasionally tasteless sketch comedy Christmas show is performed again in Asheville. This year, the Bernstein clan is under the able direction of Katie Anne Towner, Associate Artistic Director and Managing Director of The Magnetic Theatre. Last year the Bernsteins sold out nearly every seat of every performance,so advance tickets are recommended for this hilarious, adult sketch comedy Christmas show.

Tickets are  $13 (Wed/Thurs) and $16 (Fri/Sat).

Find more NC Holiday events on the NC Mountains Visitor Calendar.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

NC Holiday Event: Last Week for A Celtic Christmas in Hendersonville

Now through December 22   A Celtic Christmas  will be performed by the Flat Rock Playhouse at its Hendersonville Location. Join the Playhouse Downtown as it transforms with mist and candlelight for three Celtic singer/storytellers and a group of unique musicians who will ignite the Christmas spirit within you. 

Traditional carols like Silent Night, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, The Little Drummer Boy, O Holy Night, and many, many more are given the Celtic treatment in this one-of-a-kind Christmas spectacular. This is a show you will want to share with the entire family.Discounts available for seniors, AAA members, military personnel, students and groups.

Get a link for A Celtic Christmas and other Hendersonville events on the Hendersonville NC Visitor Guide.

Monday, December 17, 2012

NC Holiday Event: 19th Century Christmas Displayed in Asheville

Now through January 2  19th Century Carolina Christmas.   Celebrate Christmas the old-fashioned way at The Smith-McDowell House Museum. The museum's time-line of authentically decorated period rooms showcase the evolution of Christmas celebrations and decorations.

This yearly exhibit, began in 1981, is a tradition for many regional families, visitors and tour groups. The mansion and local history museum will again be authentically decorated with fresh trees, garlands, ornaments and toys of the Victorian Period. Seven period rooms will be decked out with gold, silver and glassware from the Museum's permanent collections.

The Smith-McDowell House - Located on the campus of A-B Tech, the former residence of mayors and Vanderbuilt friends is now a restored history museum. It is Asheville's oldest surviving home, a National Register property and a living memorial to 19th century life in Asheville. The Museum offers a variety of exhibits from civil war and railroad history to Indian and mountain geography influences. There are also educational programs both planned and on an event basis. Located at 283 Victoria Road, Asheville NC.

Get a link for the 19th Century Carolina Christmas and the Smith-McDowell House on the Asheville NC Visitor Guide - CLICK HERE

Sunday, December 16, 2012

NC Holiday Event: Re-Discovering Christmas

December 21-22   Re-discovering Christmas at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts A fun evening of professional theatre and down home Christmas music in an intimate theatre setting in downtown Black Mountain NC.

Jim and Carol Shores of Acts of Renewal Theatre Co. bring a series of vignettes that welcome young and old to rediscover the hilarity, the mystery, the wonder of Christmas. The evening concludes with a finale about an irrepressible Jamaican wiseman who retells the Christmas story like you've never heard it before. Music by the Holly Hoppers will bring rousing fun to an already great night.

The Black Mountain Center for the Arts offers live Theatre, classes and an exhibition gallery. The Center is located in the renovated Old City Hall at 225 West State Street in historic downtown Black Mountain NC. The Center offers Special Events as well as changing Gallery Shows. 


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Soundwalk Through Sylva NC Today

December 15 at 2 PM:  Tyler Kinnear, a Vancouver-based sound artist and Cullowhee native will lead a Soundwalk through downtown Sylva. A Soundwalk is a silent group walk led along a planned route to experience a location's ambiance and underlying rhythms. Participants are invited to actively listen to the "music" of the environment.

The walk will begin and end at City Lights Bookstore and will last from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. For questions please call the bookstore at 828-586-9499.

Learn more about Sylva NC HERE.

Friday, December 14, 2012

NC Holiday Event: Asheville's Lake Julian Park Annual Festival of Christmas Lights

Now through December 23   Lake Julian Park Festival of Lights  This is the 12th year for the annual holiday spectacle. The drive through show  continues nightly from 6  PM - 9 PM.  The park is brightly lit with thousands of colored lights and over 50 animated and stationary light displays. The road circling the park becomes a magical journey through tunnels of dazzling lights.

Find more Asheville holiday events on the Asheville NC Visitor Guide.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

NC Holiday Event: Dillsboro NC Lights and Luminaries Celebrate the CHristmas Season

December 14-15   Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries   Journey back to the days of yesteryear as Dillsboro presents its annual Festival of Lights and Luminaries. Experience the magic as the entire town is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter and song! 2500 luminaries light your way to shops and studios. 

Horse and buggy rides available each night from 5-8 pm (cost + tips). Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa. Carolers sing and children visit with Santa at Town Hall.

Learn more about Dillsboro NC events HERE.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

NC Ski Event: 10th Annual Sugarfest this Weekend (weather permitting)

December 14-16   10th Annual SugarFest An event sponsored by the Village of Sugar Mountain Tourism Development Authority and hosted by Sugar Mountain Ski Resort. See winter Olympians, Sugar Bear, the newest ski and snowboard equipment available for demo.

Enjoy fireworks, great camaraderie, authentic Southern bluegrass music, a chance to win a RIDE snowboard, real-live social networking and a rail jam complete with prizes and giveaways. The entire family will be wowed by the thunderous and spectacular fireworks display at the base of Sugar Mountain Resort, Saturday evening at 5:45pm.

There will also be Bluegrass music by Boss Hawg from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM.

Learn more about Sugar Mountain Ski Resort and SugarFest on the Sugar Mountain NC Visitor Guide.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Saluda Christmas Events this Weekend

December 14 - Saluda Hometown Christmas from 6 PM to 8 PM enjoy Enjoy the warmth and fellowship of a stroll down Saluda's Main Street with music and refreshments provided by local businesses. An ecumenical service will follow at 8:30 PM at Saluda Presbyterian Church.

December 15 - A Special Holiday Tailgate Market from 1 PM to 3 PM do your holiday shopping from locally farm grown products or hand-crafted items. The market is held at the west end parking lot in Saluda.

December 15 - Saluda Christmas Parade from 3 PM - 5 PM on Main Street.

December 15 - Opening reception at the Saluda Center for and Art Exhibit Featuring Jim Carson. "Paintings from Paris & the French Countryside". The reception will be held from 5 PM - 7 PM and the Exhibit continues through January 15.

Learn more about Saluda Hometown Christmas and other events on the Saluda NC Visitor Guide.

Monday, December 10, 2012

NC Holiday Events: Festival of Trees begins today in Cashiers

December 10 - Jan 1   Festival of Trees  The Village Green will make spirits bright this holiday season with “Christmas On the Green.” Visitors to the 12.5 acre park will enjoy twinkling light displays and festive decorations from Thanksgiving weekend until January 1, 2013. One of the highlights of “Christmas On the Green” will be a Festival of Trees decorated by local merchants and non profit organizations. “The Festival of Trees celebrates one of the area’s greatest industries and showcases our local businesses,” says Village Green Executive Director Ann Self. After the holiday season, the evergreen trees will be planted in The Village Green for continued enjoyment.

Learn more about Cashiers events, vacation rentals and local attractions on the Cashiers NC Visitor Guide.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

USDAA Dog Agility Trial this week in Asheville NC

December 14-16  USDAA Dog Agility Trial   The Blue Ridge Agility Club of Western North Carolina will host a United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA) agility trial. Spectators are welcomed to attend and admission is free.

Over 150 purebred and mixed bred dogs, from throughout the southeast, will compete at various levels of difficulty. Spectators, please leave your dogs comfortably at home. Held at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center.

Get a link for the USDAA Dog Agility Trial and other Asheville events on the Asheville NC Visitor Guide.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Polar Express this Weekend at the Great Smoky Mountins Railroad

Now through December 30   The Polar Express on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad All Aboard The Polar Express for a memorable journey to the magic of the Holiday season. The 1.25 hour round-trip excursion departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through a peaceful wilderness to a special visit at the North Pole.

The motion picture soundtrack music plays as guests on board enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while reading along with the magical story. Children's faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the "North Pole" to find Santa Claus waiting.

Santa will board The Polar Express, greeting each child and presenting everyone a special gift as in the story – a special silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung on the return back to the Bryson City Depot.

The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad is located in Bryson City NC. Get a link for details on the Bryson City NC Visitor Guide.

Friday, December 7, 2012

NC Holiday Events: NC towns hold Christmas Celebrations tonight

Christmas is celebrated in historic downtowns throughout the NC mountain regions and towns. There's nothing like the intimate small town lights, decorated shop windows and downtown evening strolls to set the stage for a memorable holiday.  Get links for more information on these and other things to do in the NC mountains on the NC Mountains Event Calendar.

You'll find lots of Christmas spirit tonight, December 7,  in these charming mountain towns:

Event: Holly Jolly Christmas
A festive evening visiting downtown shops of Black Mountain with stores staying open late and Santa will make an appearance.

Event: Art After Dark
Downtown galleries and studios remain open until 9 PM. The evening features special openings, demonstrations, artist receptions, and music.  

Event: Weaverville Candlelight Christmas Stroll
Downtown Weaverville will be aglow the with luminaries along the streetsand local choirs and bands will provide music. Horse and buggy rides will be available through town. Local businesses will be open late for Christmas shopping, and kids can visit with Santa.

Event: Olde Fashioned Hendersonville Christmas -
An event featuring carolers, entertainment, merchant's open house and refreshments, all with a Victorian flair. Held in historic downtown Hendersonville. 

Event: Winter Wonderland in Franklin
Franklin's Holiday Festival transforms Historic downtown Franklin into a Winter Wonderland. The event will be one night only with live music, Santa Clause, wagon rides and more. 5 PM - 9 PM. The Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet will be headlining the entertainment performing two concerts, one at 7:00 PM and the other at 8:00 PM. Artist Ryan McCurdy from Asheville will create a special slide made of ice for the young and young at heart to enjoy. 

Event: Boone First Friday S
ampling the diverse offerings of art, music, shopping and dining, in North Carolina's most walkable neighborhood! - downtown Boone

Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries Journey back to the days of yesteryear as Dillsboro presents its annual Festival of Lights and Luminaries. Experience the magic as the entire town is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter and song! 2500 luminaries light your way to shops and studios. Horse and buggy rides available each night from 5-8 pm (cost + tips). Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa. Carolers sing and children visit with Santa at Town Hall. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

NC Christmas Event: Dillsboro Annual Lights and Luminaries

December 7-8    Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries  Journey back to the days of yesteryear as Dillsboro presents its annual Festival of Lights and Luminaries. Experience the magic as the entire town is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter and song! 2500 luminaries light your way to shops and studios.

Horse and buggy rides available each night from 5-8 pm (cost + tips). Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa. Carolers sing and children visit with Santa at Town Hall.

Learn more about Dillsboro events, lodging and attractions on the Dillsboro NC Visitor Guide.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

NC Holiday Events: A Weekend of Art and Holiday Crafts in Asheville

Hundreds of Art and craft galleries, shops and open studios can be found year around in Asheville North Carolina. And during the holidays and Christmas season even more mountain art and crafts are available for holiday and Christmas gift giving, decorating your home or business or just plain enjoying the experience. This weekend in Asheville you'll find some of the best quality and variety art and crafts for p0urchase or viewing:

December 7  Asheville Downtown Gallery Association Art Walk Enjoy the fine art and craft of the Asheville Downtown Gallery Association and see on of the reasons Asheville has been voted #1 small city in the country by the readers of American Style Magazine 2 years running. 25 downtown venues participate with a complete Downtown Gallery Guide and a map available at any participating downtown gallery, the Chamber of Commerce, or Pack Place.

 December 8   Asheville Chocolate and Arts Festival   A multicultural arts event featuring performers, musicians and dancers from Asheville and beyond. Experience local artisans, baskets and basket weaving demonstrations by Gullah artisans, cultural arts and education by members of the Cherokee Nation, Bellydancing, African dance, Argentine Tango, Hip Hop, and local chocolate tasting by Asheville's finest chocolatiers and dessert-makers. Performers will also be teaching classes in: Drumming, Bellydance, Tango, West African Dance, and digeridoo throughout the day which are all included in your ticket price. This is a family friendly event with Local children's performance artists Juan Halladay and the Secret B-sides, balloon twisting, face painting, and dance workshops. 25% of proceeds will be donated to Urban Arts Institute and Odyessy School to fund multicultural arts education for Asheville youth.

December 8   Guild Artist Holiday Sale
The Southern Highland Craft Guild presents the annual Holiday crafts sale at the Folk Art Center from 10 AM - 4 PM, milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Choose from a variety of gift items - at special prices - including ceramics, jewelry, fiber, paper, glass and wood. Buying from artists supports the local economy and promotes the mission of the Guild which is bringing together the crafts and craftspeople of the Southern Highlands for the benefit of shared resources, education, marketing and conservation. An additional date is Dec 1 with different artists participating,

December 8  River Arts District Second Saturday  Asheville’s River Arts District Artists ( 120+) open their studios for a day of family friendly fun, educational experiences, live demonstrations and to share their creations. Visit dozens of artists working in all types of media, available for viewing or purchase.

Find more information about Holiday crafts and other Asheville arts and crafts on the Asheville NC Visitor Guide.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

RiverLink Benefit Oyster Roast at Blannahassett Island in Marshall NC

December 8, 1 PM - 7 PM -  The Appalachian Oyster Bash and Seafood Boil:  A Benefit concert for RiveLink and DMA, and canned food drive for Neighbors In Need. The event is held at Marshall High Studios on Blannahassestt Island in  Marshall NC .

RiverLink is teaming up with Hills To Holy Water for a winter party on Blannahassett Island.  This is a way to celebrate the local catchers groups that promote a strong state and local economy.  The event will feature fresh seafood from Ocracoke Island and beer from Highland Brewing Company.   

This party can't happen with out amazing volunteers, and RiverLink still needs people to check IDs, serve beer, help with trash/recycling and maybe even fry some oysters.  Volunteer shifts are 12:00 PM -3:30 PM and 3:30 PM -7:00 PM. 

Volunteers will get a voucher for free food and beer. There are still shifts available, so come out to Marshall and have a great time for a good cause. To sign up or for more volunteer details contact Dave Russell:  828-252-8474 ext-11, email

Stories of Mountain Folk for 12/1/12

December 1 Catch the Spirit of Appalachia presents Stories of Mountain Folk for December 1, 2012:

Storytelling: Amy’s story, “The Star Princess and the Miracle,” gives an unusual lesson on being kind.  Music: "When You Wish Upon A Star" by Jo Northup and Richard Birt.

Creative Corner: Doreyl and Mary Jo Hooper Cobb discuss how important our "water" is here in the mountains. Music: “Cool, Clear Water” by Gary Clawson.

Stories of Mountain Folk: Amy talks with Mary Lee Duvall, originally from Spruce Pine, now from Franklin who talks about her life and how she learned to quilt.  Music: "Mary's A Grand Old Name" by the Hollywood Orchestra.

Stories of the Cherokee:
Introducing Robert Jumper as CSA's interviewer and storyteller: This week Robert talks with Joyce Cooper, Membership Manager of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. Music: "The Beloved Woman's Song" by Eddie Bushyhead.

Down Another Road: Judy interview is with Deb Ramsey, who talks about growing up in WNC, and tells Judy about how her grandmother fed the local hobos.  Music: "Wish I Could've Been There" by Archie Watkins.

Closing Song: "The Roving Gambler" with Henry Queen and the Queen Family.

Listen to the podcast of this week's or archived Stories of Mountain Folk HERE.