The National Gingerbread House Contest takes place at The Grove Park Inn in Hendersonville on Nov 17, 2012. Entry forms must be received by Nov 12th.The holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving is just two weeks away and Christmas will soon follow. Decorations are going up, holiday sales are already being advertised and it’s almost time for Hendersonville‘s Gingerbread House Contest.

The National Gingerbread House Contest will take place on Saturday, November 17th. Judging will take place in four separate categories: Child (ages 5-8), Youth (ages 9-12), Teen (ages 13-17) and Adult (ages 18+). To enter, you must send in your entry form with a description and/or photos of what your entry so that it is received by the Grove Park Inn before 5pm on Monday, November 12th. Entries can be sent via fax or mail. Just make sure it is received before the deadline. You will not be able to enter a gingerbread house into competition without pre-registering. Beginning November 20th, The Grove Park Inn will be displaying the winning entries for visitors to see. Of course, the rest of the hotel will be decked out in all its holiday glory as well.

Thousands of dollars in cash and prizes are up for grabs for the winners of Hendersonville‘s Gingerbread House Contest. The top three winners declared in each category will receive cash and prizes, with the top 10 winners each receiving a ribbon. While this is a gingerbread “house” contest, entries are not strictly limited to a house-type structure. The only restrictions are that the entry is no bigger than 24″ x 24″ x 24″, including the board base required. If you’re interested in participating, please download an entry form here or call The Grove Inn’s Special Events Department at (800) 438-0050 ext 8045.

Put a bit of fun in your holiday step by visiting The Grove Inn in Hendersonville to see the winning entries of the National Gingerbread House Contest beginning November 20th through January 2nd. The holiday season is in full swing here in Hendersonville. I love it!

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here: http://rich-cooke.com/2012/11/08/hendersonville-gingerbread-house-contest/.

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.

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.

The Apple Country Antique Engine & Tractor show hits the Hendersonville Fall Harvest Days Oct 25-27, 2012 with tractor pulls, antique collectibles and more.Fall has definitely landed in Hendersonville. The leaves are changing. The air is coldly crisp. Can you believe we’re already in the middle of October? That means that Hendersonville Fall Harvest Days are almost here.

From October 25th through the 27th, the Apple Country Antique Engine & Tractor Association will holds it’s 27th Annual Antique Engine and Tractor Show at the Western North Carolina Fall Harvest Days. Gates will open at the WNC Agricultural Center in Arden, NC promptly at 6pm on Thursday and 8am on Friday and Saturday. In addition to the antique tractors, there will be an antique peanut roaster, a sawmill, crafts workers, blacksmiths, corn milling demonstrations and food vendors on-site throughout the entire three days. More than 250 vendors will be selling tractor and gas engine parts, toys, collectibles and other items as well. On Saturday, Hendersonville area residents can participate in the kiddie and adult pedal pulls at 12pm. The big boys will be competing in a tractor pull using farm tractors from 1964 and older at 10am the same day.

Admission is just $8 per day for anyone ages 12+ or $20 for all three days. Children under 12 will get in free with a paid adult. Come to the Hendersonville Fall Harvest Days October 25-27, 2012 in Arden, NC. It’s old fashioned country fun for everyone!

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina Real Estate blog here: http://rich-cooke.com/2012/10/18/hendersonville-fall-harvest-days/.

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.

Own a piece of local Hendersonville art by bidding on a bear at the Bearfootin' Auction on October 20, 2012 in downtown Hendersonville.The 10th Annual Bearfootin’ Art Walk will come to an end with the Bearfootin’ Auction in Hendersonville on Saturday, October 20th, 2012. This is your chance to bid on the public bear art that has been on display in the downtown Hendersonville area since May of this year. Festivities begin at 1pm in Historic Henderson County Courthouse Square.

Shelley’s Fine Jewelry, located in historic downtown Hendersonville, will be conducting the live auction this year. Registration for bidders begins at 1pm. All attendees will enjoy live musical accompaniment from the Russ Wilson Quartet for the afternoon beginning at 1:30pm. A special meet and greet with the actual artists whose works are up for auction will take place at 3pm. The actual bidding will begin when the auction commences at 3:30pm. The auction will only finish when the last bear is sold.

If you’ve enjoyed seeing the bears decorating the Hendersonville landscape over the last several months, now’s your chance to actually own one. The Bearfootin’ Auction takes place at the Historic Henderson County Courthouse Square on October 20, 2012. Not only will you be owning a piece of art created by local Hendersonville artisans, but you will also be supporting local community projects in the process with the money raised from the auction. That’s definitely art that matters!

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here: http://rich-cooke.com/2012/10/11/bearfootin-auction-in-hendersonville/

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.

Curbside fall leaf collection will begin for Hendersonville residents on Monday, October 15, 2012 and continue through til December.The seasons are a’changin’ here in Hendersonville. The leaves have begun to change color and will soon be parting ways with the trees they’ve resided on since Spring. Let the raking begin!

Fall leaf collection begins in Hendersonville on Monday, October 15, 2012. This is a separate service from the regular brush and lawn clippings pickup that normally takes place. Beginning on October 15th, Hendersonville residents can rake their leaves into piles curbside and the City will pick them up for proper disposal. They don’t need to be placed in bags either. The only request from the City is that the piles of leaves are not placed either in the street or on the sidewalk.

Leaf collection services will continue every 10-14 days (more or less depending on volume) through December. Hendersonville residents don’t need to call to take advantage of this service. It will be done automatically. Remember, if you have brush and leaves to be picked up, please make sure they are in separate piles. If you have any questions, please feel free to call Tom Wooten with the City at (828) 697-3084.

Fall leaf collection begins in Hendersonville on Monday, October 15, 2012. Rake ’em up and put ’em to the curb. The City will take care of the rest.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here: http://rich-cooke.com/2012/10/04/fall-leaf-collection-begins-in-hendersonville/.

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 Carl Sandburg Home in Hendersonville will be hosting their annual Fall Into the Farm event Sept 22, 2012 for free.The Carl Sandburg Home, a National Historic Site, will be celebrating Fall Into the Farm in Hendersonville this Saturday, September 22, 2012. From 10am to 3pm, visitors will be treated to what life on the farm was like for the Sandburg family during the 1940s and 1950s. This family-friendly event is absolutely free to the public.

Included in the day’s free events are a tour of this historic Hendersonville home, which would usually cost $5 for adults and $3 for seniors. A professional storyteller will be on site to entertain guests. Take a tour of the garden and join in on some toe-tappin’ square-dancing fun. Cheese-making demonstrations, a goat judging contest and children’s crafts round out the rest of the day.

Schedule of Events

  • 10:00am to 12:30pm – Garden Tours
  • 10:30am to 11:30am – Storytelling and Music Making
  • 11:30am to 12:00pm – Cheese-Making Demonstration
  • 12:00pm to 1:00pm – Storytelling and Music Making
  • 1:00pm to 1:30pm – Square Dancing
  • 1:30pm to 2:00pm – Goat Judging
  • 1:30pm to 2:00pm – Cheese-Making Demonstration
  • 2:00pm to 2:30pm – Square Dancing
  • 2:30pm to 3:00pm – Goat Judging

Two activity stations will be set up and will remain open throughout the entire day. The Farm Life activity station in the barn will provide a hands-on interactive experience of Hendersonville farm life in the 1940s and 1950s. The Rootabaga activity station will be set up in the amphitheater, where the storytelling and music making events will be held. Bring the family to the Carl Sandburg Home for Fall Into the Farm in Hendersonville this Saturday, September 22nd. Experience a bit of history in a fun, interactive way with the 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/2012/09/20/fall-into-the-farm-in-hendersonville/.

Ever wonder how your credit score is calculated? There are several factors involved in determining your credit score. Learn more now.Banks use your credit score (aka FICO score) to help determine whether you are a worthy risk for a Hendersonville home loan. It’s also one of the deciding factors regarding your interest rate on a mortgage loan. Most likely, you already know WHAT a credit score is. But have you ever asked yourself, “how is my credit score calculated?” That’s a much more complicated answer.

Lenders like it when you have several different types of credit. That includes not only revolving credit, like credit cards and department store accounts, but also previous mortgage notes on other Hendersonville area homes, installment loans, student loans, car loans, etc.

Most Hendersonville home owners have debt. It can sometimes be unavoidable. But, too much debt makes you look risky. Make a concerted effort to pay down as much debt as you can before you apply for a mortgage loan.

Banks live by the mantra “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Your payment history says a lot about your creditworthiness. Late payments on any bill, including the cable, cell phone, electric bill, etc., may be reported to the credit reporting agencies, reducing your score and your chances of scoring a home loan.

Not only is your payment history important, but the length of time you have had credit can affect your score as well. The longer you’ve had a history of credit accounts and payments, the more complete a picture a mortgage company will have at your spending and repayment habits. A long history of credit with faithful payments makes your Hendersonville home loan a much more attractive risk than someone who just received a credit card two months ago and is applying for a home loan.

Finally, opening new credit while trying to purchase a Hendersonville home is a definite “no-no”. First of all, your credit is hit by 5-10 points every time someone makes an inquiry. When you purchase a car, for example, the dealership may try to find you the best deal by shopping around at a few lending institutions. That could mean three to four different hits on your credit at one time. Secondly, a mortgage company could look at this as someone who is set on a spending spree, which makes you look less fiscally responsible and can cost you approval on your home loan.

Knowing how your credit score is calculated can help you stay on top of your credit in a more effective manner. Keep these tips in mind before you apply for a mortgage on your Hendersonville home. A good score not only means loan approval, but can also determine how much it will cost you for any loan you take out.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina Real Estate blog here: http://rich-cooke.com/2012/09/13/calculating-credit-score/.