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Asheville, North Carolina News

Archive for the ‘parkway’ Category

Blue Ridge Parkway Celebrates Birthday

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – Another major North Carolina landmark is readying to celebrate a birthday. Just as the 75th anniversary of the Great Smokies National Park is wrapping up, the 75th birthday for the Blue Ridge Parkway is getting started.

A symbolic passing of the torch, from the Smokies Superintendent to the Parkway Superintendent takes place on Friday. “We’ll have elders from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee and youth from the Cherokee Youth Council who will also pass the torch as a way to demonstrate everyone’s obligation to be stewards of this wonderful natural resource,” said Elizabeth Sims spokesperson for the Blue Ridge Parkway 75.

The event will also include Cherokee tribal music and dance. The parkway winds its way through North Carolina and Virginia connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

NC Arboretum Features Brilliant Blooms at Chrysanthemum Show

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – The North Carolina Arboretum is ablaze with color in fall, and the North Carolina Chrysanthemum Society’s Annual Show, held October 17 and 18, is a perfect occasion to celebrate the fall foliage season.

This year will be very special, as the local chapter hosts the National Chrysanthemum Society Annual Show. Some 200 exhibitors from all over the country are expected to exhibit exceptional blooms and displays in addition to the normal excellent presentation made by the local chapter. Expect to see tree and cascade exhibits as well as displays of chrysanthemums, bonsai, educational exhibits, and a special section on photography.

On Saturday afternoon, October 17, visitors are invited to enjoy talks on the North Carolina Chrysanthemum Society’s “Outreach to Schools” program. This program, presented by the local mum chapter, is designed to encourage local high school student participation in growing and showing chrysanthemums and has met with significant success. A program on how to grow mum bonsai as well as mums in miniature will be presented by a national Chrysanthemum Society expert on mum bonsai.
The popular annual show showcases hundreds of chrysanthemum blooms in vibrant and varied colors. The exhibits will be judged by National Standards by expert Accredited National Chrysanthemum judges from all over the United States and Canada, by strict NCS standards and highlights the exceptional variety in size, shape and color of these popular fall flowers.

The show is a perfect opportunity to learn more about how to grow display or show quality chrysanthemums. Guests to The NC Arboretum will be able to enjoy the shows and flower sales as well as trail walks, family activities, and exhibits.
The Chrysanthemum Show is free for Arboretum Society members or with the standard parking fee ($6 per personal motor vehicle). Visitors are encouraged to explore the Arboretum’s 65 acres of cultivated gardens, 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, engaging exhibits, and bountiful opportunities to connect with nature.

For information, call 828.665.2492 or visit www.ncarboretum.org.
The mission of The North Carolina Arboretum is to cultivate connections between people and plants.

The North Carolina Arboretum is located next to the Blue Ridge Parkway entrance at Milepost 393. From I-26, take Exit 33 and follow Blue Ridge Parkway signs for two miles to the entrance ramp. Arboretum grounds are open 7 days a week. Property hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., November-March and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., April-October.

Temporary Closing of Craggy Gardens Picnic Area Due to Bear Sightings

Monday, August 31st, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – Blue Ridge Parkway officials announce the temporary closure of the Craggy Gardens Picnic Area at Milepost 367.6 until at least Labor Day weekend, September 4, 2009. The closure began Friday, August 21 because of bear activity in the area.

The problems with bear at Craggies began in mid-July, when park maintenance staff found food pulled out of a dumpster. “Soon thereafter, we began seeing bear during the day. Bears were completely unafraid of people by early August,” said Doc Cross, a maintenance employee who often works at Craggy Gardens. “Three or four bears were regularly raiding the dumpster,” Cross said.

The dumpster at Craggies had a broken latch, and park rangers observed bears opening the dumpster and getting in to get food. The dumpster has been removed.

It is relatively unusual for the park to close a picnic area, but “This is an unusual year,” said District Ranger Tim Francis. “If we can keep food away from bears by closing the picnic areas, then we have a chance to keep both people and bear healthy and alive,” said Francis. Park officials hope that bear will move out of the picnic area by Labor Day weekend so it can be reopened. “We won’t know for sure, though, until we get closer to the long weekend,” said Francis.

“We’re advising people to be really careful with the food in their campgrounds and while picnicking, making sure they store food in their vehicles,” said Bambi Teague, Chief or Resource Management and Science. Though we have closed only the Craggy Gardens Picnic Area, we are having problems all along the 469 mile parkway. “We want visitors to fully comprehend that when they feed bears, whether accidently or on purpose, they kill bears.” Bears that become unafraid of humans will walk right up to people expecting food. The closer the bear get to people, the greater chance we have that someone will get hurt. When bears become unafraid of people, sometimes the only option we have is to kill them.” Earlier in the month a bear made physical contact with a picnicker at Craggies and was later killed by euthanasia.

One reason for the increased bear sightings is because the area’s black bears are coming unusually close to humans to forage for food. Their food supplies are low right now, and people are leaving food out. The bear population is also on the rise.

A culvert trap has been placed in the picnic area in hopes of capturing and releasing bear, thereby reinforcing its fear of humans.

Parkway visitors are reminded to keep all campsites and picnic areas clean and store food in containers locked in vehicles. Grills should also be removed of any food remains. Food or garbage should never be stored in tents or left unattended on picnic tables.

Blue Ridge Parkway 75 Announces Artist Program

Friday, August 28th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – The states of Virginia and North Carolina share many beautiful things – mountains and forests, farmland and coast, rich heritage and friendly towns. They also share the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway and an appreciation for the many talented artists who live along its route.

Two of the most gifted artists from Virginia and North Carolina – P. Buckley Moss and Teresa Pennington, respectively – have created special works of art to commemorate the Parkway’s 75th Anniversary.

Moss will unveil a new work commemorating the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th Anniversary at events September 11 and 12 at The Framer’s Daughter, 121 N. Main Street in Galax, VA. The artist will be at the gallery from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. September 11 and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. September 12. Representatives from the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th committee will join her at the September 11 appearance. For further information, contact Kay Weddle at 276.236.4920 or by e-mail.

The painting will be released as both a limited edition offset lithograph as well as a poster. Its unveiling coincides with the Parkway’s celebration of its 75th year September 11, 2010. The print and poster will be available after the unveiling on the P. Buckley Moss Web site www.pbuckleymoss.com and at authorized Moss dealers.

In addition to Moss’s commercial success as an artist, she has worked to raise over $4 million for charitable organizations and has established the P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education, promoting the use of art in school curriculums as a learning instrument for students with learning differences.

Teresa Pennington has created four drawings in her series of limited edition giclees and lithographs. Pennington’s work will be unveiled the evening of October 9 at T. Pennington Gallery in Waynesville, NC.

Pennington has also created four series of drawings for Biltmore Estate over the past 17 years. Her work has also been commissioned by the U.S. Forest Service and the Western North Carolina Diocese of the Episcopal Church

Proceeds from the sale of the commemorative prints by both artists will benefit the Parkway’s 75th anniversary.

Scenic Savings: Fall Color Ablaze at The NC Arboretum

Friday, August 21st, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – Natural beauty comes in a kaleidoscope of colors each fall at The North Carolina Arboretum – a beautiful bargain at only $6 per vehicle.

Vibrant colors amid trees, shrubs, and perennials delight the senses at the Arboretum. Director of Horticulture Alison Arnold notes that many colors brighten the landscape, including brilliant reds from dogwood and maple trees, blazing oranges from black gum and persimmon trees, and glittering gold from a variety of shrubs and perennials.

Surrounded by the Southern Appalachian mountains and adjacent to the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, the Arboretum is nestled in one of the most beautiful natural settings in America.

Within its 434 acres, the Arboretum offers 65 acres of cultivated gardens, 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, a state-of-the-art production greenhouse, and one of the finest bonsai collections in the Southeastern United States. Engaging exhibits about science, art, and culture are featured year-round in the Baker Exhibit Center.

Visitors during fall also have an opportunity to attend the Carolina Bonsai Expo, held at The North Carolina Arboretum every second weekend in October. This two-day horticultural extravaganza, situated in the midst of the colorful mountains during fall foliage season, features a juried display of bonsai by clubs from across a six-state region, a renowned bonsai marketplace, workshops, free demonstrations, and a popular Ikebana exhibit.

For information, call (828) 665-2492 or visit www.ncarboretum.org.

Hilton Asheville to Open with Major Step Toward Eco-stewardship

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Hilton Asheville, scheduled to open this August, is one of the first major hotels in the United States to take a considerable step toward sustainability. For evidence of the Hilton Asheville’s unique commitment to eco-stewardship, you need only to look up. Atop the Hilton is one of the nation’s first hotel solar water heating systems. This system will be one of the largest installations in the Western North Carolina region.

Water throughout the hotel, including the pool, will be solar heated, eliminating twenty-five tons of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent of planting 7,377 trees. Here guests can feel good about relaxing in one of the Hilton’s Whirlpool Tubs or taking a dip in the heated saline pool. Moreover, the solar water heating system is just one of the hotel’s many environmentally focused features.

The 165-room hotel is set in the heart of Biltmore Park Town Square, the largest mixed-use district outside of the city’s downtown. The Hilton Asheville was built to blend green practices with the Hilton’s acclaimed commitment to guest comfort, and was designed to LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards from the Green Building Council. LEED certification is based on numerous metrics including energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

Committed to the stewardship of its natural surroundings, the Hilton will reduce water usage by 30% through the installation of low-flow toilets, showerheads and sink fixtures. The hotel will also focus on reducing energy consumption by using ENERGY STAR qualified CFL light bulbs, which use up to 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. Each kilowatt-hour saved preserves one pound of coal. The Hilton Asheville will also employ a recycling program for both guests and employees to further reduce raw materials, energy and air pollution. Select staff will even wear uniforms made out of regenerated plastic bottles.

Promoting lower emissions is also part of the hotel’s sustainability efforts. Guests may accept shuttle service in an alternative fuel shuttle, which reduces the burning of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter. The hotel will offer preferred parking for energy efficient hybrid vehicles. Additionally, guests may choose to bicycle as an alternative to driving, ultimately reducing the use of gasoline and the production of carbon monoxide.

The Hilton Asheville is proof that eco-conscious travel can come packed with amenities. Hilton houses spacious and inviting executive suites complete with luxurious bathrooms – some featuring Infinity Edge Whirlpool Tubs. Businesses committed to green travel will be attracted to the hotel’s state-of-the-art meeting facilities, 4,500 square feet of meeting space and green meeting policies that avoid the use of linens when possible.

The hotel is also home to Sparrow Spa, a plush destination spa featuring a full menu of relaxing services. The spa will exclusively use Eminence Organic Skin Care products, a European line that contains the highest possible levels of all-natural organically grown herbs, fruits and vegetables. The hotel’s ultra-modern fitness center features Precor equipment and an indoor lap pool and whirlpool. Traveling foodies will enjoy the gourmet stylings of Executive Chef Randy Dunn, who brings 15 years of culinary achievement to Roux, the on-site full service restaurant. The restaurant is making an effort to use as much local food as possible as part of the hotel’s place-making commitment.

Hilton Asheville is located just off Interstate 26, Exit 37 on Long Shoals Road in Biltmore Park Town Square. This location is just 5 minutes from the Asheville Regional Airport and 15 minutes from Biltmore Estate and downtown Asheville. The Blue Ridge Parkway is just minutes away, along with many other attractions in the Great Smoky Mountains. The Hilton is just steps from major national retailers and restaurants including P.F. Chang’s, Barnes and Noble and REI.

Pre-opening information about the Hilton Asheville, Biltmore Park Town Square is available at 828-210-8290. Guest reservations are currently accepted on www.ashevillebiltmorepark.hilton.com or through a travel professional.

Country Inn & Suites By Carlson Opens in Asheville

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – The new 80-room Country Inn & Suites By Carlson(R) Asheville West today announced it is open for business at 1914 Old Haywood Road in Asheville near Biltmore Estate.

“We’re very excited to bring another Country Inns & Suites By Carlson hotel to this region,” said Steve Mogck, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Country Inns & Suites By Carlson. “All employees will participate in our ‘Be Our Guest’ service training program, to ensure consistent delivery of quality customer service at our hotels.”

“This custom-built hotel featuring Biltmore-inspired French decor is a wonderful addition to our community. We are confident that this recognized brand and lodging concept will help us grow and prosper in the future,” said Vinod Patel, general manager of the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson Asheville West.

Visitors to the hotel are welcomed with beautiful landscaping including waterfalls and a gazebo. The 100 percent non-smoking property features an outdoor heated pool, whirlpool and fitness center with treadmill, elliptical machine and freedom trainer. Other amenities include a complimentary hot breakfast and flexible meeting space that can accommodate up to 10 people. The hotel offers a variety of guest room styles including standard rooms, studio suites, one bedroom suites and Jacuzzi rooms. All rooms feature complimentary wired and wireless high-speed Internet access, hair dryer, 32-inch LCD television, microwave and refrigerator.

Conveniently located off I-40 at Exit 44 near Biltmore Estate, the hotel is less than 15 miles from Asheville Regional Airport and within 120 miles of Charlotte Douglas International. The hotel is also close to three golf courses, tennis courts and a variety of attractions including Blue Ridge Parkway, Biltmore Square Mall and Regal Biltmore Grande Theatre.

Country Inns & Suites By Carlson offer amenities such as complimentary hot breakfast, in-room coffee maker, in-room iron and ironing board, and weekday morning newspaper. Country Inns & Suites By Carlson embraces the love of reading through its Read It & Return Lending Library. A variety of titles for all ages are available for guests to borrow and read at their leisure at more than 465 locations in the U.S. and Canada and the brand supports literacy efforts through charitable donations. For reservations and information, visit www.countryinns.com or call toll-free 1-800-456-4000.

Repairs for Bridges on Blue Ridge Parkway Scheduled

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Blue Ridge Parkway

ASHEVILLE, NC – Bridges on the Blue Ridge Parkway will be undergoing routine maintenance in the next couple of months, including some local bridges, though travel delays are expected to be minimal.

Beginning Monday, Aug. 3, Aldridge Brothers Inc., of Robbinsville will be conducting maintenance on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The project will begin in the Asheville area and proceed north, encompassing multiple park bridges between Asheville and Roanoke, Va.

Parkway officials said the work will consist of cleaning and sealing bridge expansion joints, spot repairing of decking and sealing of deck surfaces. The project is scheduled to be completed by September.

No road closures are planned for the project; however, single lane traffic will be required to conduct maintenance procedures at certain times of the day and visitors should use caution when traveling through the flagged work zones


Work restrictions are in place for the Asheville, Boone, and Roanoke commuter zone traffic, limiting one-lane closures to work hours between 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

New Green Weddings Program Unveiled at NC Arboretum

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – It’s one of the most treasured moments of your life. Make it more meaningful by choosing one of the most beautiful natural settings in America as your wedding site. And, make another choice-make it “green.” Extend your celebration of love for each other to the natural world by reducing your wedding event’s carbon footprint on the earth.

Located just outside Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 393, the North Carolina Arboretum is nestled in the Southern Appalachian region – one of the most botanically diverse areas in the world. With more than 65 acres of cultivated gardens and 10 miles of forested hiking and biking trails, the Arboretum shows how plants are important to our world. The Arboretum property and facilities offer excellent lessons in sustainability through its green architectural practices, sustainable garden areas, natural products, water conservation and recycling.

The Arboretum’s Green Wedding Program offers elegantly designed green buildings and lush, sustainable landscapes as sites for ceremonies and receptions. Couples will follow guidelines for using organically grown and natural products as part of their wedding and pledge to a reduce consumable products as part of their activities.

Green weddings and receptions are offered Friday-Sunday evenings after 5 pm, April – October.

For more information about the Arboretum’s Green Wedding Program, including fees and restrictions, call Cindy Blankenship at 828-665-2492, Ext. 216 or Angie Chandler, 828-665-2492, Ext. 217.

Asheville Makes Top 10 List for Being Dog Friendly

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – DogFriendly.com released its Top 10 dog-friendly resort regions in the United States for 2009. Asheville came in at 9th place and was noted for the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Biltmore Estate.

The rankings are determined by the DogFriendly.com staff and take into account the quality of dog-friendly accommodations, things to do with your dog, beaches, parks and dog-friendly patio dining.

Below is the complete list;

1. Carmel / Monterey, CA – Many pet-friendly accommodations. Off-leash
Carmel City Beach. Many walking and hiking options. Shop and dine in

2. Bar Harbor / Acadia, ME – Pet-friendly Acadia National Park. Shop in the
historic downtown. Take a ferry or boat cruise.

3. Black Hills, SD – Lots of dog-friendly attractions and campgrounds. Mt
Rushmore worth visiting with a dog. See Badlands National Park.

4. St Augustine, FL – See the historic downtown. Lots of dog-friendly
shopping and dining. Take a harbor boat cruise and a ghost tour.

5. Cape Cod, MA – Visit Cape Cod National Seashore. Many cruises and
ferries. Also take in Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

6. Key West, FL – Quaint B&B’s and outdoor dining. Dog-friendly
attractions, boating and stores. See the Southernmost Point Monument.

7. Charlottesville, VA – Visit estates of Thomas Jefferson and Patrick
Henry. Shop at the downtown mall. Visit dog-friendly Shenandoah Park

8. Mendocino, CA – Stay in a pet-friendly B&B or resort. Walk the
seaside town. Go to the beach and dine outdoors.

9. Asheville / Blue Ridge, NC – Tour the Blue Ridge Parkway. Visit the
Biltmore Estate grounds and shop at Biltmore Village.

10. Amarillo, TX – Visit the famous Cadillac Ranch. Spend a day or camp at
Palo Duro Canyon. Stay at the Big Texan Steak Ranch Motel.