Sunday, September 28, 2014

Purple Onion Events and Live Music for October

October 14, 2014,  6 PM at The Purple Onion, 16 Main Street in historic downtown Saluda NC:  Bell's Brewery Beer Dinner - A tasting five of Bell's beers along with seasonal selections from the kitchen chosen to pair with them. For reservations call 828-749-1179. 

 October Music Calendar at The Purple Onion:

October 2 - Beth Wood
"Beth Wood is a musical triple-threat - a thoughtful songwriter and talented multi-instrumentalist with a supple, soulful voice." -

October 4 - Charleyhorse
Americana to the core with a voice like smooth Tennessee whiskey

October 9 - Jamie Laval
Winner of the 2002 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Championship and one of the premier Celtic performers on the international music scene

October 11 - Gigi Dover & Big Love
Two of The Purple Onions favorite musicians return. These old friends' live shows move effortlessly from high-energy to low-swampy grooves

October 16 - Tellico
Unbridled organic Appalachiacana, featuring the singing and songwriting of Anya Hinkle and Stig Stiglets (formerly of Dehlia Low) with Aaron Ballance (formerly of Dehlia Low) on dobro and lap steel and Jed Willis (formerly of Town Mountain, Wooden Toothe) on

October 18 - Lonesome Road Band
A favorite bluegrass band from Hendersonville returns. From the more traditional sound of the great Bluegrass bands of Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs to the classic rock era of the 60's and 70's with The Byrds and Crosby,Stills and Nash , their seamless vocal arrangements move

October 23 - Calvin Edwards Trio
A talented, entertaining jazz guitarist, vocalist, and producer that we thoroughly enjoyed when he debuted at the Onion earlier this summer

October 25 - Laura Blackley Band
Musician, writer, farmer, WNCW radio host, and Renaissance woman from Asheville returns

October 30 - Michael Reno Harrell 

He's back. A classic storyteller with a voice that's part Marty Robbins, part John Prine.

The Purple Onion is a must-do dining experience in the WNC mountains. The Onion features " a variety of ethnically and regionally inspired dishes with an emphasis on the Mediterranean's simple, healthful cuisine  and a focus on freshness".

Get links for local lodging, attractions and information

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

NC Fall Leaf Color Report for 9/22/14

Asheville and the Mid-elevations: No real color developing yet but earlier color than usual is currently predicted. more and see INCREDIBLE photos

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park: The peak of the season i this area is generally mid to late October, but the beginnings of change are starting to be seen in the dogwoods which are taking on a reddish cast. At the highest elevations, a variety of trees are also trending red including red maple, sourwood, witch hobble, and sumac. The Virgina creeper vine currently has vivid red leaves, but only dots the lanscape at mid and upper elevations. Leaf color may be weeks away but the mountain wildflowers are at there peak of color with vibrant pinks, purples and reds with more subtle yellows and blues. You'll find the blooms along the park roadsides and at the forest edges. 9/22/14 the full report and see photos

Southwest Mountains in the Nantahala and Cashiers / Highlands areas: Some of the following trees are in full color - the Virginia Creeper, sourwood, sumac, burning bush - but the color is still primarily green.  Timing for fall leaf color is predicted to by "typical" for 2014, from mid to late October, with higher elevations at the beginning and lower elevation finishing last. 9/22/14

The High Country: This week fall leaf color :officially begins" in the high country. Although the trees are still primarily green, the higher elevations, such as Grandfather Mountain, are beginning to see spots of color. 9/22/14 ....see photos and read more from the biology department at Appalachian State University

Where to find color this week: Wild flowers by roadsides and edging forests throughout all mountain areas. Highest elevations with spots of reddish leaves. Red maples in the town of Boone.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Carolina Press Reports I-26, ‘Corridor K’ highlighted in McCrory’s 25-year transportation plan

Written by David Forbes, a contributing reporter to Carolina Public Press

ASHEVILLEGov. Pat McCrory said Wednesday that he hopes to overhaul North Carolina’s transportation system and wants dollars to help fund the widening of Interstate 26 and turn Highway 74 into an interstate.
“We’re trying to take the politics out of transportation planning,” McCrory said during a press conference held at the Asheville Regional Airport, one of four he and N.C. Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata held across the state yesterday. “Our main goal is to connect citizens with our airports, our water ports, our health care, our education and our jobs.”

McCrory invoked President Dwight Eisenhower frequently as he spoke to a small boardroom packed with legislators and local officials as he presented his “25-Year Vision Plan,” which he said will have as similar an effect on the state as Eisenhower’s interstate building of the 1950s.  “I think we can do the same thing here in North Carolina,” McCrory said, framing the issue primarily as one of economic development.

“This plan is intended to connect small towns with large cities,” N.C. Transportation Secretary Tony Tata says. “It’s intended to address the congestion we’re seeing in those larger cities.”  The governor’s 25-year vision is about connectivity,” Tata said. “Some areas are seeing a boom, and some areas could use some help. This plan is intended to connect small towns with large cities. It’s intended to address the congestion we’re seeing in those larger cities.”

To that end, McCrory hopes to make the overhaul of I-26 around Asheville a major priority. The project, debated for decades, saw some pieces approved earlier this year, though it will likely be years before construction begins.

While endorsed by some elected officials and business leaders as necessary to relieve congestion and improve the economy, the plans for the highway’s expansion have been controversial due to concerns about the its impact on the city, environmental impacts and the number of homes that will be demolished in the city’s Burton Street neighborhood.

“It’s a $153 million project that will better connect people,” McCrory said. “That is a major priority of our 25-year transportation plan.”

The plan also makes the relocation of Highway 74 in Graham County a big priority as a part of the multistate Corridor K transportation network to Asheville to help create a “clean shot to Wilmington,” McCrory said, and make goods move more efficiently and “get rid of these choke points as quickly as possible.” Road improvements around Boone are also a priority.

The presentation of the plan also included mentions of funding for improved rail — in Western North Carolina the focus will be on freight rail — and mass transit and even improved broadband. Without these changes, the plans assert, local economies will decline.

“This is not just about transportation; it’s about all infrastructure,” he added. But good ideas or bad, the plans will require lots of cash — infrastructure isn’t cheap. The state is currently facing an anticipated budget shortfall and requests for over $70 billion in transportation projects, according to the plan. So when the N.C. General Assembly reconvenes early next year, McCrory said he plans to go to the legislature and ask for a $1 billion bond.

When asked, McCrory said there are no plans to use toll roads on I-26, though he does want to engage in more “public-private partnerships” to overcome flat or declining transportation revenues, and “we’re examining all options.  We’re open to any way to increase the amount of revenue we have at this time; we have to think outside the box,” he said.

Asked after the presentation if the plan will mean the I-26 connector is completed more quickly than currently anticipated, Tata replied that “we’re still working through the timing and phasing. We have to make sure that the permits are there and so forth. I’ve asked my staff to look at the connector as a potential project down the road.”
“We’re not done analyzing the phasing of the I-26 project,” he added.

County commissioners, Asheville City Council members, sheriffs and state Rep. Nathan Ramsey (R-Buncombe) were all in attendance for the announcement. Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer praised McCrory’s plan, especially the prioritizing of I-26. “Please continue to focus on I-26, it’s a big priority for us,” she said. She also praised the proposal’s intent to connect multimodal infrastructure to the new roads, and McCrory noted that “we’re trying to use art to de-emphasize the hard infrastructure.”

Asheville City Council member Jan Davis noted that he felt the state’s formula had improved for despite the emphasis on I-26, turning it into reality might still prove difficult, as “we still have a $90 million shortfall on making that project happen.” “It’s still kind of a glimmering hope for us,” Davis said.

Carolina Press , a nonprofit online news service, provides Western North Carolina with unbiased, in-depth and investigative reporting as well as educational opportunities to journalists, students and others. Carolina Press is WNC's only 501c3 nonprofit online news service and welcomes donations. CLICK HERE to contribute.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Magic in the Moonlight Begins Tonight at the Flat Rock Cinema

September 19, 2014 at The Flat Rock Cinema, 2700 Greenville Highway in Flat Rock, NC: Magic in the Moonlight. "Woody Allen shows he still has the "magic" with this delightfully romantic comedy. Firth and Stone shine. --Jackie Cooper,   "A sparkling champagne cocktail of a romantic comedy only Woody Allen could make... it's a little slice of cinema heaven. --Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress.

PG-13, Comedy, Drama, Romance, 98 Minutes - Director and writer: Woody Allen - Stars: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Marcia Gay Harden, Eileen Atkins. This is a romantic comedy about an Englishman brought in to help unmask a possible swindle. Personal and professional complications ensue. OFFICIAL WEBSITE

Doors open 40 minutes before show time. Arriving at least 20 to 30 minutes prior to show time is recommended if you plan to eat or if you have a group of three or more and want to sit together.
Reservations are encouraged but not always required - call (828) 697-2463.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Stories of Mountain Folk for 9/13/14 Marks 100th Anniversary

Stories of Mountain Folk is a weekly podcast produced by Catch the Spirit of Appalachia and archived at Western Carolina University.

Podcast on September 13, 2014:

Storytelling: Our story today is called “It’s Just Precious, Isn’t it?” where Amy tells the story of her aunt Lillie and aunt Cora’s hair problem.  Background music: “I See the Lord”.

Creative Corner: (100th anniversary of Jackson County Extension) Doreyl talks with Isabelle Cable who worked in Swain County. She tells stories about her tenure with the Extension Office.  Music: “Chickens” by C.W. Colt.

Stories of Mountain Folk: (100th anniversary of Jackson County Extension) Amy talks with Jean Childers, another extension employee from Swain County who talks about her involvement over the years with the Extension.  Music: “Hangin’ by a Thread”” by Clover.

This is My Town: (125th anniversary of Sylva) Joe Rhinehart’s guest is Tracy Whitaker who talks about growing up in the town of Sylva.  Music: “Down at the Company Store by Home Delivery.

Down Another Road: Judy continues her conversation with Worley Capps, an 89-year-old World War II veteran from Madison County who continues his stories, this time about mountain remedies.  Music: “Handsome Molly” by Hylo Brown.  

Closing Song: “I Need You” by Lindsey & Lauren Sowden.

Ashe County Quilt Fair This Weekend

September 19 - 20, 2014   12th Annual Ashe County Quilt Fair    This year's Fair theme is " Reflections in Nature". Events include the Guild Shoppe and Guild Boutique with quilts for sale, a fund-raiser quilt, vender village, sewing machines through the ages and small quilt silent auction.

The Fair is held in Jefferson Station, 20 E Ashe Street in West Jefferson NC

Friday, September 12, 2014

News from the WNC Nature Center

Now that Labor Day has passed, the WNC Nature Center is getting ready for a busy fall.  School groups will once again start visiting and there are many events planned this fall.  On October 1st, the Nature Center will be hosting its most popular off-site program, the NC Elk Experience.   Learn more HERE and reserve your spot soon--this program always fills quickly.

The Center is busy getting ready for the annual fall festival, Hey Day, which this year will be on Saturday, October 11th.  Read more about Hey Day, including how to volunteer at Hey Day and help make this year's event the best ever. 
Just two weeks after Hey Day comes Howl-O-Ween.  The Nature Center's Halloween celebration includes a costume contest at 5 PM for all ages. October 25 beginning at 10 AM. 

The WNC Nature Center is located at 75 Gashes Creek Road in Asheville NC.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

NC Mountain State Fair final days this Weekend

photo courtesy of NC Mountain State Fair
September 5-14, 2014   North Carolina Mountain State Fair    Held at the WNC Agricultural Center, this is the third largest fair in North Carolina.  It celebrates the heritage of the Blue Ridge Mountains including agriculture, music, crafts, art, food, entertainment, display of livestock, competitions, and midway amusement rides.

Friday, 9/12, SPECIALS - FREE Gate Admission for seniors 65 and older and Friday Night Frenzy:  (9 PM until 1AM)   One price admission includes unlimited rides $20.00. Specials cannot be combined with other Fair discounts. 

This year's Mountain State Fair Entertainment includes:
Sea Lion Splash
Stilt Puppets
Josh Knotts & Lea - Extreme Illusions & Escapes
K9s in Flight
Brad Comedy Hypnotist
Wild Encounters with Carlton Burke
Kenya Safari Acrobats
Leon Jacobs, Jr. music
Agricadabra Presents: The Science of Ag
Hogway Speedway
Bills Farm Adventure
Mooternity Ward
Dixie Starlight Express
Heritage Walk     

Admission:    Gate $8.00 Adults;  $4.00 Children 6 - 12 years of age;  $4.00 Seniors 65 years and older;   Children 5 years and under FREE;  Family Fun Pack $35.00 - Includes 5 Admission Tickets, 4 ride tickets plus vendor coupons.

The WNC Agricultural Center is located at 1301 Fanning Bridge Road in Fletcher NC, a suburb of Asheville.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Flat Rock Playhouse Last Sip 'N Stroll of the Season

September 11, 6:30 - 7:45 at the Flat Rock Playhouse, 2661 Greenville Highway in Flat Rock NC - Sip 'N Stroll. Sip fine wine while taking a guided stroll conducted by the FRP master gardener. This will be the last chance of the season to visit the beautiful playhouse gardens. Begin the tour on the historic Lowndes House porch and finish at the Mainstage's Skyfall Lounge. Then stay to be the first to see the evening's performance, The Music of James Bond.

The Flat Rock Playhouse is North Carolina's official State Theatre with a variety of performances, including the Music on the Rock Series, year around at both the Mainstage and the Theatre Downtown in Hendersonville.