Tuesday, January 31, 2012

RiverLink Hosts Volunteer Information Sessions

RiverLink is an exciting place with an abundance of opportunities for volunteers to get involved. From office work to helping host special events to cleaning litter from local waterways, RiverLink can match most everyone with a way to help out.

Western North Carolinians (and others) who would like to be involved in restoring the French Broad Watershed as a place to live, work and play are invited to join the team by attending one of two volunteer information sessions on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. There's a morning session at 10 a.m. and an afternoon session at 5 p.m. at the RiverLink office, 170 Lyman Street in the River Arts District of Asheville.

The information session will detail RiverLink's volunteer positions in a Powerpoint presentation. Volunteers will have a chance to fill out a volunteer application, and Volunteer Coordinator Dave Russell will be available to answer questions and help everyone find their best fit at RiverLink.

RSVP to Dave by calling (828) 252-8474, ext. 11 or via e-mail at volunteer@riverlink.org.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces New Program

Officials at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in conjunction with the Friends of the Smokies and the Great Smoky Mountain Association,  are announcing a new opportunity to experience the Smokies. The new program, Experience Your Smokies, is a unique opportunity to get to know the park and its employees in a whole new way.

"If you have ever wanted to be a park ranger or get a behind the scenes look at what goes on in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this is your opportunity," said park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson of the new program. Experience Your Smokies is a program designed for local business, civic and educational leaders to get a behind the scenes look into the national park, while networking with others from western North Carolina. "Our surrounding communities and their leaders are very important to us, and this program gives us a chance to make more meaningful connections with our neighbors and for them to do the same with us."

Participants will attend two half day and three full day sessions at a variety of locations in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, accompanying park employees in activities that may include radio-tracking elk, excavating archeological sites, and monitoring salamander populations. This is a perfect way to get an insider's look at park operations as we explore areas like Cataloochee Valley, Deep Creek, Oconaluftee, Clingmans Dome, and Purchase Knob.

Assisting in planning for the program are representatives of Smoky Mountain Hosts, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, the Swain County Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Waynesville and others. "Western North Carolina and the people of this region have such a deep and long connection with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park," said Waynesville Town Manager Lee Galloway, "This program is intended to give participants an inside look at the day to day operation of the Park and a better understanding of this wonderful asset we have in our region."

Experience Your Smokies is seeking diverse applicants from the surrounding communities for a program this spring. Program dates are as follows: Tuesday March 13th and 27th, April 17th, May 1st and Saturday May 19th. Class size is limited to 25 participants. Those attending will be asked to commit to attending all class days. Applications will be accepted between now and February 15. Please visit www.friendsofthesmokies.org/events.html  or call 929-452-0720 for an application.

Valentine's Day Special: Asheville Tourists Baseball Valentine's Gift Pack Special

Valentine's Day Gift Package:  Get the perfect gift for the baseball fan in your life. The Asheville Tourists Baseball Team has  the perfect package.  For only $39.00, the Tourists are offering an exclusive Valentine's Gift Package through February 14, 2012.

The 2012 Valentine's Gift Pack gives you 5 Box Flex Vouchers good for 69 games* of the 2012 season of Asheville Tourists Baseball AND a moisture wicking athletic shirt featuring the primary logo in the upper left chest area. Regularly a $77 value, specially priced for your Valentine at  $39.  *Box Flex Vouchers are not valid for the July 4th Fireworks Extravaganzas. Box flex vouchers must be redeemed at the Asheville Tourists Box Office for an actual ticket. Seating subject to availability.
Add an additional WOW factor:  Still Looking for that Extra *WOW* factor?  Have Mr. Moon or Ted E. Tourist Deliver your Sweetheart's Gift!  For an additional $35, Mr. Moon or Ted E. Tourist will deliver your Valentine's Gift Pack order to your sweetheart at home or at their place of work on February 14.  Act quickly, as their delivery schedule is certain to fill up fast! Deliveries are limited to a 15 mile radius from McCormick Field. Order online or call the Tourists Ticket Office at (828)258-0428.

Get a link for the Asheville Tourists Baseball Team and other Asheville NC Attractions HERE.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Stories of Mountain Folk Podcast 1-28-12

If you like close harmony old-time gospel, listen to this week's Podcast of Stories of Mountain Folk.Amy introduces the show, and then Doreyl interviews the “Spirit-Filled Trio,” made up of Alana Powell Fisher, Nola Powell Brown, and Betty Collins Brown, all from Tuckasegee. During their interview they sing “You are My Hiding Place” accapella. Amy’s guest is Lori Anderson, who learned to make corn shuck dolls from Annie Lee Bryson, and volunteers at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Pioneer Farm Museum in Cherokee. The Spirit-Filled Trio ends the show with “Reunion Time in Heaven.”

Listen to the Podcast anytime at: www.storiesofmountainfolk.com

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Flat Rock Playhouse Celebrates its 60th Season

The State Theatre of North Carolina, the Flat Rock Playhouse, begins its 60th season in 2012. The newest addition to the Theatre, The Playhouse Downtown in Hendersonville, will  provide an early start to the season with the first of 10 "Music on the Rock" productions. The Hendersonville Playhouse will also host eight staged shows for the 2012 season. Ten productions will be performed at the original Flat Rock Playhousethis year.

The 60th season begins February 23-25 with Music on the Rock: The Swinging Songs of Frank Sinatra at The Playhouse Downtown. The first main stage production at the Flat Rock Theatre will be "My Favorite Things: the Songs of Rogers and Hammerstein" running March 22 through April 22. The season opener for stage productions at the Playhouse Downtown is "The Boxcar Children" offered by the Playhouse YouTheatre, March 9-18.

The Flat Rock Theatre is located at 2661 Greenville Hwy in  Flat Rock, NC. The Palyhouse Downtown in Hendersonville is located at 125 South Main Street in Hendersonville NC. Get a link for Flat Rock Playhouse 2012 season schedule and tickets HERE.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

AAA announces 2012 Four Diamond Award Winners for Lodging and Restaurants

The 2012 AAA Four Star List is out and a variety of NC mountain Inns and Restaurants have achieved the highly respected award. AAA’s professionally trained inspectors use published guidelines to evaluate and rate lodgings and restaurants as a service to members. AAA has a current inventory of more than 59,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated lodgings and restaurants.

To be eligible for evaluation, establishments meet basic requirements for cleanliness, comfort and security (lodgings) or cleanliness, food preparation and service (restaurants). Evaluations are unannounced to ensure that AAA’s professional inspectors experience a hotel or restaurant just as a guest would. Every hotel or restaurant that achieves the AAA Approved designation offers an acceptable level of quality for members, but AAA does not distinguish any degrees of quality. After establishments are designated as AAA/CAA Approved, inspectors assign a rating of One to Five Diamonds based on the extensiveness of services, facilities and amenities typical of each rating level.

A total of 2,245 establishments -1,491 lodgings and 754 restaurants (just 3.8 percent of the current 59,000 AAA/CAA Approved and Diamond Rated establishments) - throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean received the Four Diamond RatingThe Four Diamond rating is defined as: "Upscale in all areas. Progressively more refined and stylish. Physical attributes reflect enhanced quality throughout. Fundamental hallmarks include extensive amenities and a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail."

Four Diamond NC Mountain Lodging includes:

Asheville NC Inns: (click here to get a link and learn more about the individual inns)
1889 White Gate Inn & Cottage
1900 Inn on Montford, Albemarle Inn
Biltmore Village Inn (1st year as Four Diamond),
Grand Bohemian Hotel
Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park
Inn on Biltmore Estate
The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa

Lodge at Eagle’s Nest by Ashemore Luxury Rentals in Banner Elk NC (1st year as Four Diamond)
The Lovill House Inn in Boone NC
Innisfree Inn By-The-Lake in Cashiers NC
Old Edwards Inn & Spa in Highlands NC
the Greystone Inn in Lake Toxaway NC

Four Diamond NC Mountain Restaurants are:
Horizons in
Asheville NCThe Gamekeeper in Boone NC Madison’s Restaurant & Wine Garden in Highlands NC

AAA is a  not-for-profit organization headquartered in Florida
that provides its members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive services and information. Since its founding in 1902, AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. In 2011, AAA marked its 75th year of conducting in-person property inspections and publishing the results for member travelers. Additional information about AAA can be found at www.newsroom.aaa.com.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Winter Blues Festival a part of this years WInterfest

January 27, 7:30 PM at the Hayes Performing Art Center - Winter Blues Festival. This year's festival features the return of the mighty King Bees along with the Hayes Center debut of Atlanta's own Beverly "Guitar" Watkins.  

Winston-Salem Bluesman "Big Ron" Hunter joins
the Hayes Center's Winter Blues Festival lineup. Mentored by the legendary Guitarist Gabriel and versed in R&B, Rock and the Blues of BB King, Big Ron has been described as having a voice that gives people chills and carries warmth and tenderness. It  is unmistakably his own and embodies everything that's raw, pure and beautiful about the blues.

Tickets are just $20, and are available online or you can purchase them in person at the Blowing Rock Chamber (828-295-7851.

January 28th at 7:30 pm -
John Cowan Band.  Whether he's performing as a member of New Grass Revival, the Doobie Brothers or his own band, John Cowan's ability to take audiences on a jam-filled musical journey has made him one of the most unique vocal artists of his generation. As the man himself says: "...a JCB Jam is something special, and we'd love to share it with y'all!" Get your tickets now for this special "One Night Only" event!

Tickets are just $26, and are available online or you can purchase them in person at the Blowing Rock Chamber. (828-295-7851)

The Hayes Performing Arts Center is located at 152 Jamie Fort Rd.in Blowing Rock  NC. Get a link for the Winter Blues Festival and other Blowing Rock NC events HERE.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Woodslore and Wildwoods Wisdom at Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center

January 28, 10:30 AM to 12 PM at Walnut Creek Preserve Nature Center - Doug Elliott offers "Woodslore and Wildwoods Wisdom: Stories, Songs, and Lore Celebrating the Natural World".  Whether he's singing about catfish, pontificating on possums, extolling the virtues of dandelions, cawing with crows, pondering the “nature” in human nature, telling wild snake tales or wailing out a jivey harmonica tune, Doug Elliott is known for his lively presentations as well as his broad, practical, scientific, and cultural knowledge of the Southern Appalachian bioregion.
Elliot will be performing a concert of amazing tales, lively tunes, traditional lore, outrageous personal narratives with facts stranger than fiction. He flavors it all with regional dialects, lively harmonica riffs, and more than a few belly laughs. Time and weather permitting, there may also be an interpretive natural history stroll around the grounds of Walnut Creek Preserve after the presentation. Children and adults are welcome and the event is free.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon NC
and Columbus area, take NC HWY – 108 E and turn left on to NC HWY – 9 N toward Lake Lure. Follow NC HWY – 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station). Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road. Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve. Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane which takes you to the parking area for the Nature Center.

For more information or directions from another location, please contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at (828)859-5060

Monday, January 23, 2012

20th Annual All That Jazz Weekend in Asheville

January 27-29    20th Annual All That Jazz Weekend   Another spectacular weekend of "All Things Jazz" with special performances by The John Pizzarelli Quartet on Friday evening, Jessica Molaskey & Aaron Weinstein Trio on Saturday evening and a special Saturday afternoon concert with the Lenore Raphael Duo featuring Herman Burney.

This event  has earned national recognition as one of the premiere jazz festivals of the Southeast
. Evening and afternoon concerts in the Grand Ballroom along with fun activities and live music throughout the rest of the resort make this a weekend that will satisfy even the most discriminating jazz enthusiast.

Asheville's Grove Park Inn Resort specializes in spa servicesThe event is held at The Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa with packages available,  Package price: $124.75 (average per person, per night), based on 2 night stay*  The spa  and spa services are renowned, scenic golf course,  sports complex with pool - tennis - racquetball - training. Onsite restaurants, lounge, bars. A large variety of rooms and suites, varying stages of updates with some original Inn antiques.  
Get a link for All That Jazz and the Grove Park Inn HERE

Sunday, January 22, 2012

President Obama's Tourisim Initiatives will Boost NC Tourism

The North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development are applauding Thursday’s initiatives by President Barack Obama to boost international tourism. According to N.C. Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco, "We've been actively positioning North Carolina as a preferred international travel destination for nearly 20 years. “Attracting international visitors to North Carolina is very important because they tend to stay longer and spend more of their money at North Carolina businesses.”

President Obama’s initiatives, which include national parks promotion, increased tourist visa processing, and adding Charlotte Douglas International Airport and three others to the Global Entry program, are designed to bolster employment, which is at the heart of North Carolina’s tourism marketing activity.

“The January 19th announcement marks a turning point for our industry and provides us with unparalleled opportunity to work toward a national travel and tourism strategy,” said Lynn Minges, Assistant Secretary of Tourism, Marketing and Global Branding in the N. C. Department of Commerce. Minges also said. “These efforts to make it easier for international visitors to get here will have a positive impact on North Carolina's economy because their spending supports jobs and adds to tax revenues in the state.”

According to the U.S. Travel Association, international tourism represents a significant part of North Carolina’s $17 billion tourism industry:
· International travelers spend $590 million a year in North Carolina.
· That total accounts for 7,500 jobs in the state.
· The spending generates $98 million in state and local tax revenue.

Elements of the new initiative carry special resonance for North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Parkway, which routes travelers across 250 miles of scenery in the western part of the state, is the most visited section of the U.S. National Park System, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park. Other properties in the National Park System include the Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout national seashores.

The addition of Charlotte Douglas (CLT) to the Global Entry program, created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, makes the airport more inviting to international travelers. The airport, which ranks seventh in the world in takeoffs and landings, has nonstop direct service from more than 30 international cities.

Coinciding with the announcement of the new national tourism initiatives, N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle was sworn in as one of 32 members of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. The board advises the U.S. Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the travel and tourism industry.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stories of Mountain Folk Podcast for 1-21-12

Amy introduces the ballad “Pretty Bird” by the Blue Ridge Rounders; Doreyl’s interview is with Julia Jones, acupuncturist from Black Mountain, and Amy talks with Barbara Dumas Ballew from Franklin, author of nine books based on the heritage of family, and then Keith Shuler from Sylva sings his original song “Little People.”
Listen to the Podcast anytime at:  www.storiesofmountainfolk.com

Winter Wildlife Programs offered at Lake James Park

January 21   Bat Tales   Join Park Ranger Nora Coffey for a children's story about bats and make a bat craft to take home. Most appropriate for families with children ages 4 and up. Meet in the Catawba River Area basement classroom of Lake James State Park at 1 p.m.

January  22    Winter Wildlife Feeding   Discussion of backyard feeding stations for wildlife. Join Park Ranger Jamie Cameron for tips and strategies to attract birds and wildlife to your backyard this winter. Meet in the Catawba River Area basement classroomof Lake James State Park at 1 p.m.

January  22    Annimal Tracks and Signs   Learn about different tracks and signs that animals leave behind in Lake James State Park. Use clues like paw prints or scat, to identify, track, and learn about them. The program includes a short hike and making your own tracks to take home. Space is limited so call the park office at (828) 584-7728 for program registration. Meet in the Catawba River Area basement classroom at 2 p.m.

Lake James Park is located in rolling hills at the base of Linville Gorge near Marion NC. The the centerpiece of the Park is Lake James, a 6,510 acre man-made lake with 150+  miles of shoreline. Public activities at the Park include Education and events, boating, fishing, camping, swimming, hiking and picnicking.
Get a link for Lake James Park and other
Marion NC Attractions HERE

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Asheville's Grove Arcade offers new Live Music Series

January 20, 5 Pm - 8 PM at The Grove Arcade, 1 Page Avenue in downtown Asheville NC - Live at the Arcade begins this Friday with The funk ensemble Motownblue.  Live at the Grove Arcade, a new series featuring free local music, will take place the third Friday of January, February and March. Motownblue will perform this Friday.

William Stafford, the Grove Arcade’s “Singing Security Guard,” will belt out Motown hits and blues classics. His performing career was restarted with an April 2009 performance at the Arcade, Stafford’s first public performance in decades. Shoppers and merchants at the Grove Arcade know Stafford as one of the security guards at the historic downtown building, but when he takes the stage they see a completely different side. Motownblue performs tunes by hit-makers such as Stevie Wonder, BB King, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye and more.

The Grove Arcade Merchants Association sponsors the Live at the Grove Arcade evenings
of music, food and drinks. Beer and wine are available for purchase and attendees get free popcorn with each drink purchase.
Get a link for Live at the Grove Arcade
and Grove Arcade shops and restaurants HERE

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Compleat Naturalist Celebrates 20 years

January 27, 6:00-8:30 PM - Join the Party as The Compleat Naturalist Celebrates 20 years. There will be snacks, wine, beer and soft drinks. The celebration will include a book-signing for The Cow That Meowed, by Compleat Naturalist owner, Dr. Hal Mahan. Hal and artist Susan Peterson will be on hand to sign copies. While you're partying, take advantage of discounts throughout the store. The event is free and open to everyone, but please send an RSVP to: info@compleatnaturalist.com or call 828-274-5430.
2 Brook Street, Biltmore Village
The Compleat Naturalist nature store and wildlife art gallery was founded in 1992 in Historic Biltmore Village, Asheville NC, by Hal and Laura Mahan.  The Mahans are professional naturalists with extensive backgrounds in natural history museums and science education. Prior to opening The Compleat Naturalist, Dr. Hal Mahan (Ph.D in Zoology) served as director of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the San Diego Natural History Museum, and Laura Mahan (M.S. in biology) was head of education at both the Cleveland and San Diego museums.  Laura was recently elected to the Board of Directors of Discover Life in America (www.DLIA.org) which oversees the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The store carries merchandise relating to all fields of nature study: birds, botany, astronomy, entomology, geology, mineralogy, anthropology, and paleontology.   In addition to retail activities, The Compleat Naturalist maintains an educational mission by offering a variety of classes and field trips.

The Compleat Naturalist is another "Must See" for any visit to Asheville.

Get a link for The Compleat Naturalist and other Biltmore Village shops HERE

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fringe Art Festival this Weekend in Asheville

January 19-22  The Fringe Art Festival  serves patrons of art from Asheville and beyond by facilitating the creation and production of avant garde work that may otherwise not find a venue. In past years the artistic mix has included actors, dancers, singers, videographers, painters and musicians, presenting a varied range of interesting work including cross-genre improvisation, Butoh dance, sketch theatre, modern dance, and multi-media performance art.

This year's schedule includes shows coordinated by: LaZoom Bus Fringe Tour, Bebe Fringe Show and Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center.

A few of the performers are: Lonely Goat Dance Company, Red Herring Puppets - NOW and THEN, Toybox Theatre/Cripps Puppets - installation performance, Human Energy Field - improvisational ensemble, Drumming by freedom, Eternity Elite Dance Company from Urban Arts Institute, Lindsey Kelley - movement and storytelling and Amy Hamilton and Company.

Tickets are being sold at the BeBe Theatre Box Office or online. Get a link for the Asheville Fringe Arts Festival and more Asheville NC events HERE.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King Dream Speech

August 28, 1963

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"John Martin and Southern Drive Band" Performs at the Saluda Mountain Jamboree

January 21 - Saluda Mountain Jamboree, Friendship Chirch Road, Saluda NC - Upcoming country music artist, "JOHN MARTIN & SOUTHERN DRIVE BAND" will perform live.  John Martin is a Georgia singer and songwriter  has recently signed a recording contract with Cowboy Up Records in Texas. He has traveled throughout the south and east to bring his music to many spots.  He has performed in some of country music's most recognized venues in Texas, Tennessee, Indiana, Alabama, Iowa, Virginia, North & South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, and more.

Martin and his band performed for our troops aboard the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman naval aircraft carrier when it was over 200 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean.  Learn  more about John Martin by visiting his website, johnmartincountrymusic.com.
Admission for the event is $10.00. Get a link for The Saluda Mountain Jamboree,
The Party Place and more Saluda NC events HERE.

Friday, January 13, 2012

MLK Weekend Events and Specials

The long Martin Luther King Jr Holiday Weekend is a great time to visit the mountains. The NC Ski Slopes offer special weekend activities and reduced winter traffic make taking a weekend break a true getaway. Visit Biltmore, take a hike in the crisp mountain air or visit any of the hundreds of craft galleries and specialty shops.

ASHEVILLE:  Couples Getaway Weekends in January:  Stay Two Nights in a luxurious Asheville cabin and get a 3rd night FREE* (*Certain Restrictions Apply). Starting with MLK's Holiday Weekend. At Carolina Mornings  you can choose from dozens of Asheville Cabins and Luxury Mountain Vacation Rentals. Take advantage of this January Special or one of their popular Packages and Discounts for extra mountain fun.

January 14    B.B. King Performs at the Civic Center   Universally hailed as the reigning king of the blues, the legendary B.B. King is without a doubt the single most important electric guitarist of the last half century.  Get a link HERE.


MAGGIE VALLEY:   January 13-16    Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Weekend at Cataloochee Ski Area    In addition to regular twilight and night skiing schedule of Tuesday through Saturday evenings, there will also twilight and night ski on Sunday, January 15. 

Maggie Valley vacation rental special Special on Maggie Valley vacation rental - $550 per week! Reserve now for skiing at Cataloochee. 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, sleeps up to 5. Fireplace, large deck with grill. Easy access year around.   Get a link HERE

Cataloochee_Mountain_Cabin_Waynesville_North_Carolina Cataloochee Mountain Cabin - Spacious 3 bedroom, 2 bath log cabin in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. Located on a 1+ acre lot at 3,300 ' elevation 15 min to downtown Waynesville. Wooded mountain views. PET FRIENDLY, fireplace, WIFI, large deck, hammock. Community pond, picnic area, volleyball. $175 night, $800 week.

BEECH MOUNTAIN  January 15-16   MLK Day Celebration   at Beech Mountain Ski Resort. Day and evening skiing and boarding and lots of special activities throughout the weekend.

4 bedroom condo rental  - walk to the new snowboarding slopes   Walk to the new snowboarding Slope - 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, sleeps up to 10. Decks overlooking the lower level of Ski Beech. Condo with wood-burning fireplace, fully equipped kitchen,  WIFI, Pets considered.  Get a link here.

4 bedroom condo with beautiful year around mountain views Year around gorgeous mountain views - 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, sleeps 8. Gas fireplace, kitchen equipped with all the fun gadgets. Lots of deck. Minutes from ski slopes, golf course, recreation center, lakes, and dining. Beech Mountain Club privileges included. $100-$225 night, $700-$1225 week.  Get a link here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Golden Golbe Series continues at The Flat Rock Cinema

Flat Rock Cinema, 2700 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock NC: The annual Golden Globe and Oscar Series continues this Friday with The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo ( 2 Golden Globe Nominations: Best Actress - Drama, Rooney Mara; Best Original Score, Atticus Ross, Trent Reznor ). The series will  continue over the next couple of months as movies become available. 

My Week With Marilyn playing:
Jan 6th - Jan. 12th  at 4:00 PM and 7:00PMThe Girl with the Dragon Tatoo playing: Jan 13th - 19th,  Fri, Sun-Thu 7:00 and Sat 12:30, 7:00

Tickets are $7 for all shows. Reservations are recommended, but not required, for most weekend shows. The Flat Rock Cinema is a friendly "bistro cinema featuring great food, cocktails and local brews."

Happy New Beer at the Cinema - Just added: Brooklyn Lager, an amber-gold  color displaying a firm malt center supported by a refreshing bitterness and floral hop aroma. Caramel malts show in the finish. The aromatic qualities of the beer are enhanced by "dry-hopping", the centuries-old practice of steeping the beer with fresh hops as it undergoes a long, cold maturation. The result is a wonderfully flavorful beer, smooth, refreshing and very versatile with food. Dry-hopping is largely a British technique, which Brooklyn Brewery used in a Viennese-style beer to create an American original.
Get a link for the Flat Rock Cinema and Flat Rock NC Information HERE 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Swain County's Tourism Website Goes Mobile

On January 9, 2012, the Bryson City / Swain County Chamber of Commerce unveiled a new mobile version of GreatSmokies.com, its tourism development website. Smartphone users are now automatically redirected to the mobile site — m.GreatSmokies.com.

"In 2011, ten percent of our website visitors were using some sort of mobile device," said Karen Wilmot, Chamber Director. "And that was a 300 percent increase over the previous year. The web is definitely going mobile and we are enthusiastically going with it."

According to Wilmot, the mobile version contains virtually all the travel information found on the desktop version — lodging, dining, attractions, activities, shopping, and visitor services. There's an up-to-date calendar of events; a page of deals and discounts; and a Chamber membership directory with one-page profiles of each member business. She added, "Because smartphones are most often used 'on the road', we have integrated Google maps, providing turn-by-turn directions from the user's current location to downtown Bryson City."

Funded by the Swain County Tourism Development Authority, the mobile website was developed by Deep Creek Arts of Whittier in collaboration with Dnet Internet Services of Franklin, which provided the backend database integration.
Get more information about Swain County and the Bryson City Area HERE

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cataloochee Ski Area offers NASTAR

NASTAR is a public racing program that provides recreational racers with an opportunity to compare their ability to the fastest member of the US Ski Team (USST). As the largest recreational ski race program in the world, NASTAR  is available at over 120 of the nation's premier resorts.

Developed by SKI Magazine in 1968
, this fun, competitive and easily accessible racing program allows racers of all ages and abilities a means to compare themselves with one another regardless of when and where they race. Get more information about Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley NC HERE.

Monday, January 9, 2012

January Authors and Booksignings at City Lights Bookstore

January 13, 7 PM - Suzanne Raether will read from and sign her novel, Judaculla.  Set in Jackson County, Judaculla tells the story of Timothy Fletcher, a nineteen year old WCU student athlete and his discovery that he is actually the manifestation of an ancient mountain god.  Pam Duncan says of Raether's novel, "In her debut novel, Judaculla, Suzanne Raether weaves story and poetry, myth and reality, the sacred and the profane, to create a spellbinding exploration of the fragile intersections between people and worlds.  Fresh and original, compelling and utterly beguiling, Raether's voice and talent are magic."
January 14,  2 PM Art Ramsay will visit City Lights Bookstore to read from the second book in his fictional Wisdom Stone Trilogy. The Tibetan Wisdom Code takes up right where the first book, Seven Stones of Wisdom leaves off taking the reader on an exciting adventure from Tibetan monasteries, the vortices in Sedona and the ancient streets of Rome.  Ramsay lives in Asheville and is currently practicing as a Minister of Peace, a Spiritual Peace Coach and a seminar facilitator.  The Wisdom Stone Trilogy provides insight for seven spiritual principles that if used in everyday life could change our lives. 

January 21,  7 PM. Robin Whitley will read from her book, In a Southern Closet.  She will also discuss the importance of journaling as a means for a person to think about his or her life and being able to tell that story.  In a Southern Closet is a collection of poetry, reflections and essays revealing the challenges a lesbian Christian faces in living an open life while seeking to live a life of faith.  Whitley's goal for the book is to assist the lesbian reader in identifying the goodness in her own life and for the book to be shared with friends and loved ones in order that the issues of faith can be seen alongside the gift of being a lesbian.

January 27, 6 PM
City Lights Bookstore will celebrate the release of High Vistas Volume II with a reception and discussion with a few of the authors featured in the book. The second volume continues the tradition set by the first with nature writing focused on Western North Carolina and the Great Smoky Mountains. Arranged chronologically the pieces range from 1900 to 2009. George Ellison will present the book and talk about the importance of nature writing.  Featured writers and artists will include, Elizabeth Ellison, Jim Casada, Jim Costa, Thomas Rain Crowe, John Lane and Bill Hart.

City Lights Bookstore is located at 3 East Jackson Street in Historic Downtown Sylva NC. For a link to City Lights Bookstore of other Sylva Shops and information CLICK HERE

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Blowing Rock Art and History Museum Calls for Unique Collections

The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum is seeking unique, private collections to be featured in its upcoming exhibit: “Curious Collections of the Carolinas,” which will open in April and run through August. American Decorative Arts expert Andrew Brunk, of Brunk Auctions in Asheville, will serve as juror and assist with selection of the collections to be featured.

This exhibit will explore the history and psychology of collecting, as well as the personal stories of the collectors and their collections. BRAHM will focus less on the traditional visual arts, instead pursuing collections that are unusual, interesting and museum-quality. A wide range of objects will be considered for the exhibit to be displayed securely throughout the galleries in BRAHM. If you collect something extraordinary, please consider sharing it with the community for this once-in-a lifetime opportunity. For more information on how to participate in this exhibit, contact Joann Mitchell at (828) 295-9099 ext. 3008 or
director@blowingrockmuseum.org. The deadline for submission is February 3,2012.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Asheville Travel Blog Interviews Record-Holding Hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis

Asheville Travel Blog is one of our favorite NC Mountain Blogs - always timely, interesting and with  true insight into the unique place called Asheville. The following is re-printed from yesterday's posting:


In Her Own Words: If Being the Fastest Hiker Was Never the Ultimate Goal Then What Truly Motivated World-Record-Shattering Jennifer Pharr Davis? 

Photo by Maureen Robinson
Self-determination and a passion for long distance hiking were the driving forces behind the incredible adventure undertaken by Asheville resident Jennifer Pharr Davis. In 2011 she blazed through the Appalachian Trail becoming the fastest person to ever complete the 2,180 miles stretching across 14 states.

With help from her husband Brew Davis, she completed the trail in an astonishing 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes, breaking the previous record set by Andrew Thomas by one day, two hours and 11 minutes. 

The feat garnered the attention of National Geographic who nominated her for Adventurer of the Year; a big honor that took her by surprise. We interviewed Jennifer to get her insight into what inspired her to take on such a lofty goal.

Q: You hiked the A.T. seven times faster than the average person. What motivated you to do such an amazing feat?

A: It was my third time to cover the entire distance of the Appalachian Trail, so I wanted to do it a little differently. The first time I hiked the path it took nearly 5 months to complete the 2,180 mile journey. The second time I was newly married and I liked to hike quickly, so my husband supported me along the journey and we set the women's record on the trail. After that trip I knew that I had the ability to set the overall record. I didn't want to look back and have regrets or wonder what if, so we decided to try for the overall record this past summer. It was amazing and it was a very unique and special way to experience the trail. But my ultimate goal is not to set records it is to have a life long relationship with long-distance trails. It is never about how far or how fast you hike, but simply what you take from the experience.

Photo by Melissa Dobbins
Q: What would you say was the most challenging part of the hike? Was it weather? Fatigue? Terrain? Something else completely?

A: The A.T. is a very difficult trail! (Regardless of how quickly you hike it.) The terrain was challenging and the weather was challenging, but you have to expect that. I think the most difficult part of trail records is maintaining your mental focus despite how you feel physically, it is a constant battle of you body yelling, "Stop, stop, stop!" and your mind saying, "We can do this." I dealt with horrible shin-splints, stomach sickness, nausea, and overwhelming fatigue, yet I believed I could work through those obstacles if I stayed positive and just thought about taking one step at a time.

Q: What was the most challenging part for your husband Brew?

A: Brew will tell you that he doesn't miss much from this past summer. He felt a lot of pressure the entire time. Most people don't realize how these attempts are really a team effort and the support crew is 50 % of the equation. Brew had the right ability, knowledge and temperament to do a terrific job, but it was still very hard for him. He kept thinking that if at any point, he missed a road or messed up then it would ruin my chance at the record. He is definitely glad that we were able to attempt the overall record, but I'm not sure that I could talk him into it again.

Photo by Christoffer Sjostrom
Q: Knowing what you do now, what would you (and Brew) do differently if you had to do it over again?

A: We would have structured our support crew (the extra helpers) a little differently, and I wouldn't have tried for such high miles in Maine and New Hampshire, but overall, I think we planned and executed very well. Part of going after a trail record is realizing that you are not in control. the ability to adapt and remain flexible is very important.

Q: Describe the moment you learned you were nominated for the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. What was going through your head?

A: "Are you sure you want me?" Ha ha. I was honored to be nominated, and I was excited about the positive attention that it will bring to hiking, women in the outdoors and the Appalachian Trail. Looking at the other adventures they all survived a lot more danger than I did. I like to think that adventure doesn't have to be reckless. The key is exploration, and Brew and I were certainly exploring what was possible for humans on the Appalachian Trail. I think the fact that we believed that a hiker and a woman could hold the record when it had always been held by men and mostly by trail runners, will continue to impact other adventures and adventurers.

Q: What's next for you? Any other record-breaking attempts?

A: Life is pretty normal for us most of the time. Brew is a teacher in Asheville and I started my own hiking company, Blue Ridge Hiking Co, that I run out of our house.  We try to get out on the trail as much as possible during the year, and next summer Brew will choose our hiking adventure. Fair is fair, right?! (I think right now he is learning toward exploring some long distance trails in Europe and maybe even Iceland.)

Q: Your husband Brew has written the book, 46 Days, chronicling the trek. Where can people pick up a copy?

A: Well they just came out, so while I hope they will arrive on the shelves of most local book stores and outdoor stores very soon, I know that Diamond Brand put in an advanced order and has some in stock.

Q: Is there anything else you care to share?

A: I feel very fortunate to have grown up in Western North Carolina and reside in Asheville. People come to our mountains from all over the world to go hiking. We are very close to the Smokies, and we have the Appalachian Trail and Mountains to Sea Trail running through our back yard. We also back up to Pisgah National Forest - what a jewel! I hope that I can help other Asheville residents and visitors appreciate the amazing natural gifts that surround us, and learn to enjoy them – on their own terms.

We agree Jennifer and congratulations on your success!

RiverLink Co-sponsors Winter Warmer Beer Festival

RiverLink is proud to partner with many of Asheville's local micro-breweries to host the Winter Warmer Beer Festival againfor 2012. Winter Warmer takes place at the Asheville Civic Center on January 21 from 3 to 7 PM. Asheville is known as Beer City USA with its many innovative and creative world class breweries. Equally important is the local great water needed to make great beer.

Again this year RiverLink will be dedicating all the donations from Winter Warmer to the greenway development fund, affectionately referred to as the "Missing Link" fund. What better way to celebrate the river than to build greenways next to it so that everyone - local or visitor - can access and enjoy this precious natural resource? Rivers belong to everyone. It is one of those really precious shared resources, like air. We all own it and we all share it -- both the rights and responsibilities.

Get information about the Winter Warmer Beer Festival and other
Asheville events and festivals HERE

Friday, January 6, 2012

50th Book Published by Catch the Spirit of Appalachia

Catch the Spirit of Appalachia has announced the publishing of it's 50th book, "God Will Make A Way" by Jean Frady.  Frady's first book signing will be held at the fellowship hall of Tuckasegee Baptist Church in Tuckasegee, NC, at 3 PM on January 15, 2012.  Refreshments will be served.

Within this book is a blessing, for it’s the story of a mountain girl’s very reason for living. As you read of her life, you will be with her as she finds her way through the realms of tribulation to the depth of love for family, for community, and for God.

Jean Frady is the wife of Reverend Cecil Frady, who spent six years as Pastor of Holly Springs, and twenty years as Director of Missions for Macon County, and also has spent time as Pastor of Tuckasegee Baptist Church.  At the age of  84, with the encouragement of neighbor Jo Cobb, Jean has spent the last year writing the long journey of her life.  She says, “ Life has not always been easy.  In this life’s story of Jean Frady and her family, (with over 150 pictures of their lives) you will witness Frady's conclusion that "God will make a way".
Get a link for Catch the Spirit of Appalachia and more
Sylva NC area information HERE

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Golden Golbe Series continues at The Flat Rock Cinema

Flat Rock Cinema, 2700 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock NC: The annual Golden Globe and Oscar Series continues this Friday with MY WEEK WITH MARYLIN ( 3 Golden Globe Nominations: Best Motion Picture, Comedy/Musical, Best Supporting Actor, Kenneth Branagh, Best Actress, Michelle Williams). The series will  continue over the next couple of months as movies become available. 

J. Edgar playing: Dec. 30th - Jan 5th,  Fri-Sun 12:00, 7:00;  Mon-Thu 3:30, 7:00. 
My Week With Marilyn playing: Jan 6th - Jan. 12th  at 4:00 PM and 7:00PM

Tickets are $7 for all shows. Reservations are recommended, but not required, for most weekend shows. The Flat Rock Cinema is a friendly "bistro cinema featuring great food, cocktails and local brews."
Get a link for the Flat Rock Cinema and Flat Rock NC Information HERE 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ski NC at Winterfest this Weekend

January 7-8   Winterfest   The town of Beech Mountain and Beech Mountain Ski Resort present a variety of events throughout the weekend to get the official start of ski season underway. The town of Beech Mountain will host the North Carolina State Championship Snowshoe Race on January 7.

The weekend's events will include the the annual bathing beauty contest, the Village Rail Jam, the Cardboard Box Derby’s Visual Competition, huge sales on apparel and equipment, live music and more. 

January 7 - Roots Rideshop Grand Opening Celebration. Beech Mountain resort's newest addition, Roots Rideshop will
host the largest sale the High Country has ever seen. Find competitive prices on apparel as well as ski and snowboard equipment. All purchases will receive a raffle ticket for a drawing at the Rail Jam.

Roots Rideshop's indoor skate ramp will be open to the public throughout the day. Ski and snowboard demos will also be featured. The Roots Rail Jam will begin at 4:30 PM on January 7 in the heart of the Beech Tree Village. This spectator-friendly event will feature Ski and Snowboard categories with $1,000 in Roots Rideshop credit for first prize in each. Second and third place winners will receive prizes from Smith, Scott, Armada, Flow, Bataleon, Vans, Spyder, Dakine, Billabong, and Loki. There is no entry fee for this Rail Jam! Visit Roots Rideshop from 1 PM. to 4:30 PM to register for the event.

Get a link for Winterfest, Roost and Ride and other

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Program from Stories of Mountain Folk

Each week Stories of Mountain Folk presents a half hour podcast of mountain heritage told through music and interviews with local "folks". This week's offering includes snippets taken from interviews throughout 2011, including:
Amy's "Ballroom Dancing" story, Joyce Moore, Becky Lipkin and Thomas Rain Crowe, all from Tuckasegee, and to end the segment, The Butterpats sing "For the Beauty of the Earth"; Amy's guests are 100-year old Rose Clark from Franklin, 80-year old Ruth Ensley Bryson from Cullowhee, and a young Sarah Conley (from Hickory) of The Hurleys who share with us "Wayfaring Stranger." Finally, Ron Smith plays "Auld Sand Syne."
To listen to this week's broadcast CLICK HERE