Thursday, January 29, 2015

NC Park News: New Mountain Streams Discovered by Smokies Scientists

There are much more than black bears hidden among the vast old-growth forests and frosty-topped, towering mountains of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The half-million-acre national park which stretches along  the North Carolina-Tennessee border is the most-visited national park in the country, hosting 10 million visitors in 2014, and now, includes more natural streams than were previously known.

The Park's rugged wildness leaves many areas still largely unexplored. Its amazing biological diversity is known to include at least 100 species of trees, 1,500 plant species, 200 species of birds, 66 types of mammals, 67 native fish species and 39 varieties of reptiles with more being discovered all the time as are new waterways.

Because of its exceptionally high rainfall, the park is also home to many natural streams. Following a three-year stream-mapping project, scientists in the Smokies have discovered that the park contains about 900 MORE miles of streams than originally known. The study is ongoing, so expectations are that there will be more streams discovered in the coming years.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park includes ridge upon ridge of endless forest along the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. World renowned for the diversity of its plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is consistently America's most visited national park. The Park is truly a nature-lovers paradise with over 800 miles of hiking trails and opportunities for camping, picnics and educational programs. Park Roads open in March along with Visitor Centers – The three visitor centers are open daily - Campgrounds and Horse Camps, Picnic Areas, Campground Concessions, and the ultimate "get away from it all" lodging, LeConte Lodge, accessible only by trail. 

Get additional links for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and other NC national and state parks on the NC Parks Visitor Guide. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Way to Visitors' Hearts (and wallets) is Through Their Stomachs?

submitted by North Carolina Newslink
a publication of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina

Promoting culinary travel pays off, says report  – A new study of traveler behavior reveals that the way to tourists' wallets may be through their stomachs. The study, sponsored by the World Food Travel Association (WFTA), shows that almost a third (30 percent) deliberately choose destinations based on the availability of activities related to local food and drink, whether it's a beer or wine festival, a farmers market, or a farm-to-table experience. 

More than half (51 percent) of all respondents said they travel to learn about or enjoy unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences, and nearly two-thirds (61 percent) are interested in taking a trip to a destination within the U.S. to engage in culinary activities within the next year.

"This study goes beyond just eating and drinking, and identifies travelers who are seeking out unique and memorable experiences that are authentic to the destination they are visiting,"  said Laura Mandala, managing director of Mandala Research who conducted the study. "In fact, authenticity and local flavors are the greatest drivers of destination choice for these travelers."

 Among the implications of the study's findings are:
  • Tourists are most interested in local and authentic foods and culinary experiences that are different from those they can get at home.
  • Most travelers combine culinary activities with other activities, also participating in culture, heritage and nature-based activities.
  •  Increasing reliance on reviews and recommendations of friends makes getting the word out through social media and other user content sources critical for destinations.
  • Festivals motivate culinary travelers, so destination marketing organizations should consider hosting a beer, wine or culinary festival to feature local fare, products and unique food activities like chef demonstrations and samplings.
  • Foodies want to be educated when traveling.  Eighty-three percent enjoy learning about the local culture and cuisine of the destinations they visit. And the same percentage say they will spend more money on food and drinks while traveling.

Monday, January 26, 2015

AAA Anounces 2015 Five and Four Diamond Award Winners for Mountain Inns and Restaurants

AAA has announced its 2015 Five and Four Diamond Award winners for Hotels and Restaurants.  AAA reviews nearly 30,000 restaurants, but just 0.2 percent make the AAA Five Diamond list. This exclusive group represents just 0.3 percent of the more than 58,000 AAA/CAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants.

Four Diamond Hotels include Asheville's 1889 WhiteGate Inn and Cottage, 1900 Inn on Montford, Abbington Green Bed and Breakfast Inn, Albemarle Inn, Biltmore Village Inn, Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville, Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park, Inn on Biltmore Estate, and The Omni Grove Park Inn; Boone’s The Lovill House Inn in Boone; Cashier's Innisfree Inn By-The-Lake;  Highland's Old Edwards Inn and Spa.

Four Diamond Restaurants include Asheville's Vue 1913; Boone's Gamekeeper Restaurant and Bar Highland's Madison's Restaurant and Wine Garden.

“Attaining the Five Diamond Rating is an impressive accomplishment and a point of great pride for these top hotels and restaurants,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. . “Five Diamond establishments stand apart by redefining personalized service, using creativity to enhance guest comfort and providing memorable experiences.” 

Candidates for the rating undergo multiple unannounced evaluations and a final decision by a panel of experts. Inspectors meticulously evaluate guest services and physical attributes, closely examining the level of competence, refinement and hospitality, from reservations to checkout for hotels and from seating to presentation for restaurants. 

For more information about Diamond Ratings and the complete Five Diamond hotel and restaurant lists, visit

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"Meet the Press" - Carolina Public Press Open House

January 28, 2015 - Join Carolina Public Press from noon to 2 PM for an open house in their new offices at 50 S Grench Broad Avenue, near downtown Asheville, NC. This is your opportunity to meet the staff of WNC's favorite non-profit news publication.

Carolina Public Press is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit online news organization providing unbiased, in-depth and investigative reporting as well as educational opportunities to journalists, students and others in the 18 westernmost counties of North Carolina. Their vision is to promote an informed, engaged electorate to ensure government accountability by building the region's most reputable public interest news source. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Learn to Ski with Special "101" Package on Beech Mountain NC

January is "Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month," and Beech Mountain Ski Resort is offering a basic course plus special rates from a variety of larticipating Beech Mountain Inns and Rentals.

The special $101 offer is available weekdays, Monday through Friday (lodging available Sunday through Thursday nights), and includes:

• Ski or snowboard lesson
• Ski or snowboard equipment rental
• A full-day lift ticket
• Helmet rental for extra safety
• One night's lodging, based on double occupancy

Participants must be at least 8 years old and may be brand new to skiing and board or experienced enthusiasts who want to enhance their skills. This paclage continues throughout the month of February.

Contact any of the following and ask for the "Skiing 101" package"

Four Seasons at Beech Mountain
608 Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain, NC

Archer's Mountain Inn
2489 Beech Mountain Parkway, Banner Elk, NC

Pinnacle Beech Resort
301 Pinnacle Inn Road Beech Mountain, NC 

(Charlie's) Beech Mountain Realty Rentals
3455 S. Beech Mountain Parkway

Beech Mountain Chalets Rentals
405 Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain NC

Top of the Beech Inn
606 Beech Mountain Pkwy, Beech Mountain NC 

Christie Village
100 Horn Beam Road, Beech Mountain NC

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cool Weather but HOT Fishing in the NC Mountains

submitted by Curtis Wright Outfitters

Most of the Delayed Harvest rivers are fishing well with good numbers of fish still patiently waiting for your well drifted flies. The Tennessee Tail waters are having great midge and BWO hatches, and the the sulphurs are still making an occasional appearance. 

The Cherokee trophy waters have been dealing out some extremely impressive fish that are absolutely colored up. And who could forget the Davidson. The Davidson is a ghost town this time of year, and the angler who can find the fish and work them will be pleasantly rewarded. 

The big thing to remember on all of these rivers is the water is cold. The fish will be deep and will want their food coming to them. Find fish and work them. Fish ARE spawning so watch where you step. Don't know what to look for? Get professional help to put you in the know!!

Winter fishing, when new to it, can make your head spin just getting geared up to go out. Stop by the Curtis Wright shop or book one of their professional guides, to show you the ropes and shorten the learning curve.

While there are fishing options for the whole year, winter fishing is not for everyone. Whether it's too cold or you don't have the gear, there is a way to stay involved with fly fishing and even get yourself set up for the warmer weather which is right around the corner. Fly tying can look like advanced basket weaving if you don't know what is going on, so winter may be the right time to take a class.

For those who have been thinking about a tying class, get your name on the list and Curtis Wright will put together a class to fit your scheduling needs. For anyone who has never seen a fly tied, those just beginning, or the seasoned tyer the annual "Drop by and Tie" sessions in the Weaverville location will start on Saturday January 17th. The class will begin at 12 PM and run until about 3 PM. Bring your vice, materials, and questions. One of the professional guide/instructors will be on hand to help you through any trouble areas. 

Anyone who comes can also get their name in a raffle to win some great tying/fishing prizes. The "Drop by and Tie" will run every Saturday through the middle of March. Call first if there is inclement weather to confirm the class will still be held.

Curtis Wright Outfitters  has two shops located at 5 All Souls Crescent in Asheville NC and 24 N Main Street in Weaverville NC. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Live Music this Month at the Purple Onion Restaurant

January 17 - Gigi Dover & Big Love -  A blend of rock, r&b, country & jazz - with a southern, soulful vein consistently running thru the middle. These old friends' live shows move effortlessly from high-energy to low-swampy grooves and back again. 

January 22 - Mare Wakefield & Nomad   "A little bit old country, a lot contemporary folk.  Lovely voice and even lovelier songs."  NY Times>

January 24 - Spontaneous Blueprint   Dan's "flying fingers" and eloquent chord solos have earned him a reputation as one of the finest guitarists in the region. He returns with his fabulous group of fine jazz musicians

January 29 - Michael Reno Harrell -  "Michael Reno Harrell is one of those natural born Southern musicians and storytellers who is filled with wit, charm and surprises. Whether the story is in song or narrative, Michael will draw you in and entertain you, all the while making you feel right at home." David Holt, four time Grammy Winner

January 31 - West End String Band   a bluegrass band from South Carolina; new to us and terrific musicians

Winter Blues Buster Bar Specials:  Just added is a new dimension to the winter Monday and Tuesday tradition of  "Oyster and Pint Night" with a special bar menu featuring pizza by the slice, fresh shucked oysters, pint specials and house wine discounts. This coming Monday and Tuesday the featured draft beer is Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp Hoppy Lager. Buy a pint, keep your glass and we'll put your name in the hat for our t-shirt drawing on Tuesday. All other draft beers are $1 off and the wine house pours are 25% off. Open 11 AM until 8 PM on Monday and Tuesday through winter. The full lunch menu is served 11 AM - 3 PM, pizzas and bar menu 3 PM - 8 PM and entrees from 5 - 8 PM.

The Purple Onion is located at 16 Main Street 
in downtown Saluda NC.  


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cooking Clases from Knife and Fork's Award-Winning Chef

Cooking Classes this Winter at The Knife and Fork

In addition to the Series of Culinary Adventures at the Knife and Fork, the second winter of cooking classes has begun and there are still a few spots available.

What better place to wait out the cold winter then in a kitchen filled with warmth. These cooking classes offer the chance to gather together with other home cooks for a meal, a glass of wine, and lessons in how to cook and why to cook with care and love for technique and ingredients. 

The content of each class will be student driven and meals will be choosen to prepare each week that reflect your interests. Classes meet every Tuesday from 5 - 8 PM as well as Saturday, January 17th ; Saturday, January 31st from 11 AM - 2 PM. You can sign up for just one class or to all of the classes.

Class size is limited and eservations are required. Each class (includes meal and wine) is $50. For the full winter series schedule visit The Knife and Fork Website or call 828.765.151.

Knife and Fork is located at 61 Locust Street (lower) in Spruce Pine NC.  The restaurant is owned and operated by award-winning chef Nathan Allen and dedicated to using local ingredients and supplies for area growers and businesses. Menus include seasonal and sustainable dishes that reflect the traditions of the North Carolina mountains. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Julian Bond Featured Speaker for Annual Martin Luther King Commenoration at Appalachian State University in Boone

Press release from Appalachian State University:

January 23, 2015 - Civil rights activist and professor Julian Bond will speak for the 31st Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration at Appalachian State University. 

“An Evening with Julian Bond” begins at 7 PM. in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. The talk is free and open to the public. Bond’s talk is sponsored by the Chancellor’s Commission on Diversity and the Office of Multicultural Student Development.

Bond is a distinguished scholar in residence at the American University in Washington, D.C., and a professor in the University of Virginia’s Department of History, where he is co-director of Explorations in Black Leadership.  From his college days as a founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to his role as former chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Bond has been an active participant in the movements for civil rights, economic justice and peace. 

While still a student at Morehouse College, Bond was a founder of the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights, the student civil rights organization that directed three years of non-violent anti-segregation protests that led to integration of Atlanta’s movie theaters, lunch counters and parks.

Bond served four terms in the Georgia House of Representatives and six terms in the State Senate. The widely published author of many books of poetry, Bond is also author of A Time to Speak, A Time to Act, a collection of his essays, as well as Black Candidates Southern Campaign Experiences.

In 2002, he received the prestigious National Freedom Award. He was named one of America’s top 200 leaders by Time Magazine and in 2008 he was named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress.

Appalachian State University offers an acclaimed academic environment, energetic campus life and breathtaking location. Appalachian combines the best attributes of a small liberal arts college with those of a large research university. Known for its value and affordability, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors. Small classes and close interactions between faculty and students create a strong sense of community, which has become an Appalachian hallmark. Appalachian, located in Boone, N.C., is one of 16 universities in the University of North Carolina system.

Monday, January 5, 2015

WNC Nonprofit Pathways hosts the 2015 PUBLIC POLICY BRIEFING

January 14, 2015, 3 to 5 PM at the DoubleTree Hotel, 115 Hendersonville Road in Asheville NC - 2015 PUBLIC POLICY BRIEFING. Doors open at 2:30 PM.

Each year, WNC Nonprofit Pathways hosts the Public Policy Briefing as an opportunity to learn about important policy issues that affect nonprofits. This event is a time to join other nonprofit leaders and explore the North Carolina political landscape, demystify the advocacy process, and help your organization be more effective in achieving your mission.

Dr. Christopher Cooper and attorney David Heinen will discuss major public policy issues facing the state's nonprofit sector including:

  • Challenges to nonprofit tax exemption and incentives for charitable giving;
  • Potential changes to rules for nonprofits with federal and state grants and contracts;
  • Updates on key provisions in the state budget affecting nonprofits; and
  • Proposals from Congress and the IRS that could limit nonprofit advocacy.

Cost for this event is $15 per individual, or $25 for a team of 2 or 3 from the same organization.
Register below!

Dr. Christopher Cooper is Professor and Department Head of Political Science and Public Affairs, and Professor in the Department of Psychology at Western Carolina University. He is a published author on the topics of state politics, political psychology, and mass political behavior, and is frequently called on as a source on both North Carolina and national politics.

David Heinen, Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy for the N.C. Center for Nonprofits
, advocates on issues affecting North Carolina's nonprofit sector. He provides training on nonprofit advocacy and legal compliance, and keeps nonprofits across the state informed about important legal and policy developments.
$15 for individual / $25 for a team of 2 or 3 from the same organization

Western North Carolina Nonprofit Pathways - A funders' collaborative dedicated to strengthening nonprofits vital to the future of our mountain region. Website:
Email:     P.O.Box 7667 Asheville, NC 28802