Ringing in the New Year in HendersonvilleOnly three more shopping days (including today) to get those Christmas gifts taken care of.  That means there’s nine days until New Year’s Eve.  Have you made any plans on how you’ll be ringing in the new year in Hendersonville yet?  I’ve got some ideas for you to ponder, including one the kids can participate in.

New Year’s at Noon! – Midnight can be tough for little kids to stay up for.  So, why wait?  The Hands On! Children’s Gallery (318 N Main St in downtown Hendersonville) will be holding their own New Year’s at Noon celebration.  For just $5 per person, there will be a countdown to 12:00 (noon), when everyone can ring in the new year kids’ style.  For more info, please call 828-697-8333.

Inn on Church’s New Year’s Eve Celebration – Ring in the new year with a good old fashioned murder mystery dinner.  There’s even dancing included.  Then, after you’re done solving crimes and drinking champagne, stay in one of the Inn’s gorgeous guest rooms.  No drinking and driving allowed!  For more info and to make your reservation, please call 828-696-2001.

Highland Lake Inn’s New Year’s Special – Don’t limit celebrating to just one night.  Try one of their New Year’s specials with a 20% discount on a two night stay and 30% discount on a three night stay.  Their packages include your morning breakfast for each day you stay and dinner for two with a champagne toast at their award-winning Season’s restaurant.  Even if you can’t enjoy an extended stay at the Highland Lake Inn, consider partaking in their special three course meal on New Year’s Eve.  The Bruce Lang Trio will serenade guests while they enjoy a specially prepared menu of lobster bisque or warm duck confit salad to start, your choice of grilled beef tenderloin, seared sea scallops or roasted duck breast as an entree and a warm dark chocolate tart dessert.  Dinner will be served from 6:30pm to 1am for just $60 per person.  But early birds (5pm to 6:30pm) can enjoy the same meal for $50 per person.  For more information and to make your reservation, please call 828-696-9094.

No matter how you decide to ring in the new year in Hendersonville, just make sure you do it in a safe and sane way.  Don’t drink and drive.  Never get into a car driven by someone who has been drinking.  Always make sure you have a designated driver so everyone gets home safely.  Happy holidays!

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/2660535/ringing-in-the-new-year-in-hendersonville.

Cheap, safe homemade cleansersLiving a more eco-friendly lifestyle is a hot button topic for many folks around the country.  Here in the beautiful Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains surrounding Hendersonville homes, we really appreciate the “green” philosophy.  You don’t have to completely overhaul your life to become more environmentally aware.  You can save money and the environment by making your own homemade cleaning products with everyday household items.  It’s easier than you think.

All-Purpose Cleaner – Every household could use a simple cleaning solution that takes care of multiple surfaces.  Simply mixing 1/2 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup baking soda in 1/2 gallon of water (2 liters) will create a cleaner that will take care of your countertops, chrome faucets, built up water deposits and windows.

Carpet Stain Remover – After you have dabbed up as much of a spill as possible, mix together equal parts white vinegar and water in a bottle.  Spray this mixture liberally on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes.  Then use warm, soapy water to remove the mixture.  For tougher greasy stains, sprinkle some corn starch on the area and let it sit for approximately 30 minutes.  Then, vacuum it up. 

Lime Deposits – Using household tap water can create a lime buildup on just about any surface over time.  You can clean your teakettle by boiling a mixture of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 cups of water inside.  Rinse the teakettle completely with fresh water before it cools off.  Fresh lemon juice will help remove lime deposits from your bathroom fixtures.  Just let it sit for a few minutes before wiping off with a warm cloth.

Scouring Powder – For surfaces that can be easily scratched up using a traditional scouring powder (such as refrigerators and stove tops), use baking soda and a warm, damp cloth.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner – Simply mix up 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar, pour the mixture into the bowl and leave it.  After a few minutes, scrub it with your toilet brush and flush.

Wall Marks – At one time or another, especially if you have kids, your walls will be marked up with something (crayons, pencils, pens, etc).  If rubbing it with warm soapy water doesn’t remove the mark, try using baking soda to gently rub the mark away.

As you can see, using only baking soda, white vinegar or a combination of both can make your house spic and span in no time at all.  There are no harsh chemicals so they are safe to use around kids and animals and you didn’t break the bank buying expensive household cleaners.  It’s a win-win situation all around.  Making homemade cleaning products for your Hendersonville home is simple, cheap and great for the environment.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/2650408/making-homemade-cleaning-products.

Ride the Polar Express in HendersonvilleLooking for a fun way to celebrate Christmas with the family?  Take a ride on the Polar Express near Hendersonville.  The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is taking visitors on a magical journey to the North Pole aboard their special Polar Express from now through Christmas Eve.  There’s nothing like it!

Once you board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s Polar Express (which departs from Bryson City Depot), you and your children will be treated to the retelling of the Christmas classic as you are whisked away to the North Pole.  Between sips of hot cocoa, listen to carols being sung by the staff.  Once you reach the North Pole, Santa Claus will join you, bringing each little girl and boy a special gift…their very own sleigh bell.  But, will they be able to hear it ring?  You’ll have to be on board to find out!

Tickets start at $39 for adults, $26 for kids 2-12 years old and free for children under 2.  Upgrades are available.  Please click here to view the Polar Express’ departure schedule and click here to make your reservation There will be a special limited Polar Express Christmas Eve train ride available on Saturday, December 24, 2012.  Tickets for that range from at $51 (for Coach) to $72 (First Class) per adult and $37 (for Coach) to $50 (First Class) for kids (children under 2 are still complimentary).  Seats for all rides fill up fast.  So, make sure you make your reservations right away.

No matter what the weather may be like, the Polar Express will always make its way to the North Pole.  So, dress the kids up in their warmest jammies and take a ride on the Polar Express near Hendersonville It’s a night your children are sure never to forget!

Happy holidays!

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/2637208/ride-the-polar-express-in-hendersonville.

Giving Blood in Hendersonville Could Win You Airline TicketsThey say this is the season of giving and nothing could be better than the gift of life.  That is exactly what happens when you donate blood.  Sometimes, when you give something, you will get something in return.  Giving blood in Hendersonville could win you airline tickets.  Yes, you read that right.  If you come to the City of Hendersonville Water & Sewer’s Activity Room on Thursday, December 8, 2011 to donate blood between 10am and 3pm, you will be eligible to receive one of three pairs of roundtrip airline tickets from Delta Air Lines.

The American Red Cross will be on hand to take your donation.  Unfortunately, there is never a shortage of need for blood but there is a critical shortage of blood available.  All blood types are welcome.  To find out if you are eligible to give blood, please visit the American Red Cross website here.  Walk-ins are always welcome but an appointment is preferred.  To make an appointment, simply call 697-3073 and speak to Sharon.  Make sure to bring your Red Cross ID if you have one.  If not, a regular photo ID will work.

Not only will you be saving a life, but giving blood in Hendersonville could win you airline tickets as well.  That’s not a bad deal no matter how you look at it.  You never know.  The life you save may be your own.  Happy Holidays, everybody!

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/2627274/giving-blood-in-hendersonville-could-win-you-airline-tickets.