For a brilliant way to start the holiday season, visit Asheville's Biltmore Estate beginning Nov 3rd for Christmas in the daytime.

I know we literally just finished celebrating Halloween and Thanksgiving is still three weeks away, but it’s already Christmas in Asheville. This year, Christmas comes early to Asheville’s Biltmore Estate. Beginning this Saturday, November 3rd and continuing through to the new year, the historic home will be decked out in all its Christmas finery for daytime visitors.

From 9am to 4:30pm every day, visitor’s to Asheville‘s Biltmore Estate will be treated to dozens of Christmas trees, including the 35 foot fir tree loaded with oversized ornaments located in the Banquet Hall. The grand staircase is made even grander with dozens of feet of beautiful garlands woven throughout the banister. Hundreds of poinsettias bring a dash of holiday color to this Asheville home’s 250 rooms. Take a step back in time by visiting the Antler Hill Village on the grounds. The Conservatory holds a real treat for the eyes, with color exploding from every room.

The Biltmore will be holding free seminars on how to make your very own Christmas wreaths at home as well as other fun, traditional holiday decorations. Sign up for a red wine and chocolate tasting (for an additional fee). You can even start your Christmas shopping early by visiting the gift shop for a unique present under your family’s tree this year. To really get you in the mood, traditional organ music will play throughout the entire first floor, emanating from the Earnest Skinner crafted organ located in the Banquet Hall.

Tickets for the day celebration are $59 for adults and $29.50 for kids ages 10-16. You can make your reservation now by visiting their website. Each ticket includes a self-guided tour of the estate, access to the gardens, Antler Hill Village and the current in-house exhibit The Vanderbilts at Home and Abroad and a complimentary wine tasting (for the adults) as well as guided tour of the estate’s own winery. Christmas comes early to Asheville‘s Biltmore Estate. Take a step back in time with your family at the largest privately owned home in the country.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here: http://rich-cooke.com/2012/11/01/christmas-comes-early-to-ashevilles-biltmore/.

Western North Carolina Real Estate - Whether you're interested in buying or selling your Hendersonville/Asheville area home, consider using the services of Rich Cooke, John Knapp and Jan Knapp for your Western North Carolina real estate needs.

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Asheville's National Night Out - August 7, 2012 from 5:30-7:30pm, Asheville's National Night Out kicks off at the Wesley Grant Southside Center.Next Tuesday, August 7, 2012 is Asheville‘s National Night Out. From 5:30pm to 7:30pm, the Asheville Police Department will partner with the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office and Target to bring this national celebration of community safety and crime prevention to the Asheville area. Asheville’s National Night Out will take place at the Dr Wesley Grant Sr Southside Center (285 Livingston St).

National Night Out is a nationwide event that encourages community members to get outside of their houses, meet their neighbors and introduce local law enforcement to the community. Participants will learn how they can help their local police department keep crime and drug use at bay. Being aware of what is going on in your Asheville neighborhood makes it easier to notice when something is out of place. Since the police can’t be everywhere at once, increasing the amount of eyes looking out for possible crimes in progress and alerting the appropriate law enforcement agencies can help keep crime rates low, increasing the safety we all enjoy here in Western North Carolina.

Asheville’s National Night Out will include a canine demonstration, fun backyard games, food and vehicles from the Asheville police, firefighter, EMT and other safety departments. Local police officers will also be on hand to answer questions and give advice on how to look out for and report a crime as well as how to prevent it from happening in the first place. Asheville’s National Night Out kicks things off from 5:30pm to 7:30pm next Tuesday, August 7th. Feel free to continue the evening’s festivities with your own block party after the official kickoff ends.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here: http://rich-cooke.com/2012/08/02/ashevilles-national-night-out/.

Western North Carolina Real Estate - Whether you're interested in buying or selling your Hendersonville/Asheville area home, consider using the services of Rich Cooke, John Knapp and Jan Knapp for your Western North Carolina real estate needs.

The Carolina Mountain Ribfest takes place near Asheville this weekend, 7/13-15/12. Live music, fun for the kids, arts and crafts and, of course, lip-smacking barbecue will be available all weekend long.Beginning tomorrow, Asheville will be hosting the Carolina Mountain Ribfest.  From July 13th through the 15th, barbecue wizards will be grilling up their specialties at the WNC Agricultural Center Fairgrounds(actually located in Fletcher).  Some of the best chefs in the entire country will be competing to see whose lip-smacking, mouth-watering recipes reign supreme.

Yes, it is called the “ribfest” but there is so much more going on than just barbecued ribs here in the Asheville area.  Chicken, pulled pork and brisket will also be on the menu as well as some tasty desserts.  There will even be vegetarian and seafood fare to enjoy.  While you’re licking off the barbecue sauce from your fingers, you can peruse the arts and crafts show or take in some of the exhibits on display.  Kids will stay occupied with the rides and games designed specifically for them.  There is even a Custom and Classic Car Show scheduled for Sunday from 11am to 3pm.  All proceeds from the participants in the car show will benefit the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital.

What Western North Carolina festival would be complete without some live music? Musical acts will be performing everything from Bluegrass to Pop and Funk to Southern Rock throughout the entire weekend.  There’s a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy.

The festival will be open from 4pm to 11pm on Friday, 11am to 11pm on Saturday and 11am to 7pm on Sunday.  Tickets are available at the gate.  Tickets are just $7/adult, with children under 12 and active military (must show ID) absolutely free.  If you are interested in showing off your custom or classic automobile in the car show on Sunday, there is a $10 entry fee.  With that fee, you receive two free tickets for the ribfest itself (a $14 value).  Call the Hendersonville Antique Car Club for more information at (828) 329-4971.  Lawn chairs and blankets are allowed, but leave the coolers, backpacks, pets and outside food/beverages at home.

If you love barbecue, good music and fun in general, you don’t want to miss out this weekend.  Asheville hosts the Carolina Mountain Ribfest this Friday, July 13th through Sunday, July 15th.  Visit the WNC Agricultural Center Fairgrounds in Fletcher for some good old fashioned, lip-smacking, foot-stomping fun for the entire family.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here: http://rich-cooke.com/2012/07/12/asheville-hosts-the-carolina-mountain-ribfest/.

Asheville's Curiosity Market for AnimalsLocal Hendersonville areaartists come together for Asheville’s Curiosity Market for Animals on July 7, 2012.  The Curiosity Market is meant to bring awareness and adoptive parents to Animal Haven, an Asheville no-kill sanctuary.  While Animal Haven mainly takes in abandoned and abused farm animals, they also have several dogs and cats that need good homes.

Curiosity Market takes place from 10am to 4pm at Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville.  Local area artists perform for free to the public.  Several Asheville area businesses donate some great prizes to be raffled off to all attendants at the Curiosity Market.  All money raised goes directly to Animal Haven.  While they primarily shelter animals, Animal Haven also provides a Meals on Wheels program so pets of low-income families can be properly fed.  Their New Leash on Life program provides valuable rehabilitation work with the inmates of Black Mountain Women’s Correctional Center.  Another program offered by Animal Haven involves teaching children responsible ownership and care of pets.

Other dates for Curiosity Market include:

  • August 4, 2012
  • August 18, 2012
  • September 1, 2012

Asheville’s Curiosity Market for Animals helps bring attention and money to local Asheville no-kill sanctuary Animal Haven.  While you’re at the Curiosity Market, consider adopting a new furry family member for yourself.  They help kids learn responsibility and give your years of their unconditional love.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here: http://rich-cooke.com/2012/07/05/ashevilles-curiosity-market-for-animals/.

Downtown Asheville After 5Asheville is the place to be this Friday night!  Rock the night away to live music at Downtown Asheville After 5.  From 5pm to 9pm on the third Friday of every month through September, Downtown After 5 brings a different live musical act to the downtown Asheville area.  Best of all, this live entertainment is absolutely free to the public!

Tomorrow’s Downtown Asheville After 5 opens with The Secret B-Sides.  They blend old school and new school funk with R&B.  Headliner Space Capone is a unique mixture of horns, rhythm section and electronics.  Everyone is encouraged to get up and dance.

Local breweries, such as Asheville Brewing Co, Highland Brewing Co and Pisgah Brewing, will be providing beer for sale at each concert.  Of course, national brands (like Budweiser) will be available on tap as well as wine and water.  Anyone planning on purchasing alcohol will need to be 21+, provide a valid photo ID and purchase a $2 wristband.  Your $2 purchase will go to support Katy’s Kids, a local charity working to eradicate hungry children.  Even in a prosperous country like ours, thousands of children go to be hungry every night.  Katy’s Kids give Asheville children in need a backpack full of food from MANNA FoodBank to take home.

Food vendors will also be on hand offering sandwiches, pizza, tacos and ice cream for purchase to all concert attendees.  It’s a great night out for the entire family to enjoy.  Strap on your dancing shoes, pack the kids in the care and come to the Downtown Asheville After 5 live musical event this Friday.  Don’t worry, though.  If you miss this free concert tomorrow, there will be another one next month (July 20, 2012).

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here: http://rich-cooke.com/2012/06/14/downtown-asheville-after-5/.

Asheville Easter Egg Hunt 2012This Sunday, April 8th, is Easter Sunday.  But the Easter Bunny will be visiting the Hendersonville area early.  From 12pm to 2pm on Saturday, April 7, 2012, the Henderson County Parks and Recreation Department will be sponsoring the Asheville Easter Egg Hunt at Jackson Park.  In addition to the regular, colored Easter eggs, the Easter Bunny has hidden special prize eggs, candies and grand prize eggs for each age group.  There will be plenty of music, food, inflatable fun for the kiddies and, of course, the big man himself…the Easter Bunny.  And it’s all free to the public.

The egg hunts will be divided up by ages.  Egg hunting times are as follows:

12:30pm: Walkers to 2 years old
12:45pm: 3-4 year olds
1:00pm: 5-6 year olds
1:15pm: 7-8 year olds
1:30pm: 9-10 year olds
1:45pm: Special populations

Bring the family to Jackson Park this Saturday, April 7, 2012 from 12pm to 2pm for the Asheville Easter Egg Hunt.  It won’t cost you a thing for your children to have a great time hunting for Easter treasures while visiting with the Easter Bunny.  Henderson County residents know how to have fun any time of the year.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Hendersonville real estate blog here: http://rich-cooke.com/2012/04/05/asheville-easter-egg-hunt/.

Gingerbread House Competition in AshevilleThe Grove Park Inn will be hosting its annual gingerbread house competition in Asheville soon and is currently accepting applications from competitors.  Beginning Monday, November 14, 2011, closed door judging of all contestants will start in the Grove Park Inn’s Grand Ballroom.  Awards will be handed out the same day.  However, if you don’t fancy yourself a gingerbread house architect, you can still enjoy all the entries beginning Wednesday, November 16th and continuing through New Year’s Day 2012, when they will be on full public display.

Contestants are allowed to bring their entries to the Vanderbilt Atrium (Level 7) from 2pm to 7pm on Sunday, November 13th and again from 7am to 8:30am on Monday, November 14th.  Judging will begin in the Grand Ballroom (Level 8) at 9:30am.  Awards will be handed out at 5:30pm and are open for the contestants as well as the general public to attend.  While judges look over all the entries, the public is welcome to participate in a jigsaw puzzle tournament (from 10am to 12pm), a scavenger hunt in the Great Hall (from 1pm to 2pm) or listen to live music performed by the NC Thumbpickers while enjoying an afternoon snack or drink in the Great Hall.  You definitely won’t be bored!

Entries in the Grove Park Inn’s National Gingerbread House Competition here in Asheville will actually get some air time on ABC’s Good Morning America during their December 23rd broadcast.  But you can get a preview by visiting the Inn and taking a tour any Sunday through Thursday until January 1, 2012.  Resort guests, of course, can view the displays anytime they wish.  Hour long tours will be available from 9am to 3pm Wednesdays through Sundays beginning November 16th.  On the tour, your guide will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the gingerbread competition as well as details about judging, how the winning entrants created their magnificent structures and more about the display itself.  The cost for the guided tour is just $12 per adult and $6 for kids ages 12 and under.  Reservations are required (800-438-5800).

Get in the Christmas spirit by either joining in on the Grove Park Inn’s gingerbread house competition in Asheville this Sunday and Monday or by visiting the public display of all entries beginning Wednesday, November 16th.  Christmas is a wonderful time to spend with friends and family.  It also brings out the amazing natural beauty we get to enjoy here in Western North Carolina.  The gingerbread house competition is just one of the fun ways to kick off the holiday season here in Asheville.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/2597573/gingerbread-house-competition-in-asheville.