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:

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.

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:

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.

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:

Christmas at the Biltmore in AshevilleBuilt by George Washington Vanderbilt II (youngest son of railroad tycoon William Henry Vanderbilt), the Biltmore estate is one of Asheville‘s most opulent icons.  Over 2,000,000 square feet in size and still owned by Vanderbilt descendants, the Biltmore House welcomes thousands of guests every year.  Christmas comes to the Biltmore in Asheville beginning this Friday, November 4, 2011 with the Christmas at Biltmore Daytime Celebration.  The following weekend (November 11, 2011) is when this opulent estate begins their Candleight Christmas Evenings.

During the daytime celebration, guests will be treated to the most magnificent holiday decorations you are liable to ever feast your eyes on, including a 35 foot Christmas tree, decked out in ribbons, traditional ornaments and tons of lights.  This is only one of the several Christmas trees you’ll find around the estate.  Garlands sweep along the elegant banisters.  And Antler Hill Village, located on the grounds, is a perfect place to relax with the family and take in the sights.  The conservatory is bursting with red poinsettias, tropical flowers, white Christmas cactus and so much more.

At night, the estate simply glows from the millions of lights strewn about.  The ambiance of the estate takes on a totally different look when lit by thousands of candles.  The warmth of the lit fireplaces will get you in the holiday spirit as well.  The exterior lighting displays will simply take your breath away.

Fine dining is available at the Christmas style buffet.  You’ve never taken a wine tour like this before!  Wine tasting is even better by candlelight.  Do some Christmas shopping for that one-of-a-kind gift that evokes the feeling of days gone by.  The Winter Garden Choir helps ring in the holiday season with Christmas carol favorites.  There’s even a six foot long gingerbread replica of the Biltmore House set up in the main kitchen.

If you’re interested in experiencing Christmas at the Biltmore in Asheville, visit their website to reserve your tickets for the daytime festivities, candlelight evening celebration or even to spend a couple of days there.  Even though Thanksgiving is still a couple of weeks away, it’s never too early to get into the holiday spirit.  And what a unique way to do it!

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here:

Not yet sure what to do this Sunday, May 9th to honor the mom in your life?  Here are a few suggestions on how to celebrate Mother’s Day in Asheville:

25th Anniversary Festival of Flowers – Biltmore House, 9am.  Visit the beautiful Biltmore gardens and see the colors of Spring in all their glory.  Tickets are $60 for adults and $28 for children.

Sunset Terrace Mother’s Day Brunch – The Grove Park Inn & Spa, 10am-3pm.  The brunch includes an appetizer, entree and dessert.  Cost is only $30 plus tax and service charge.  To make a reservation, please call 800-438-5800.

Mother’s Day Grand Buffet – The Grove Park Inn & Spa’s Grand Ballroom and Blue Ridge Dining Room, Grand Ballroom 11am-2:30pm, Blue Ridge Dining Room 11:30am-2:30pm.  Cost is only $36.95 plus tax and service charge.  Please call 800-438-5800 to make your reservation today.

Mother’s Day Buffet – The Grove Park Inn & Spa’s Horizons Dining Room, 11am-3pm.  Cost is $39 per person.  To make your reservation, please call 80-438-5800.

Asheville Community Theatre’s Readers Theater – University of North Carolina at Asheville’s Reuter Center-Manheimer Room, 2:30pm.  The Autumn Players perform readings of great literature that simply cannot be missed.  Tickets are only $5 at the door.  For more info, please call 828-251-6140.

These are just a few suggestions of how to celebrate Mother’s Day in Asheville.  No matter how you do it, make sure that you let that special mother in your life know how great she is this Sunday, May 8th.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Rich Cooke, your Hendersonville real estate specialist

According to the North Carolina Association of Realtors®, home sales may be down overall across the state, but Hendersonville experienced a 2% increase in home sales from the same time last year.  The 110 Hendersonville homes sold in June 2009 was a 2% increase from June 2008 figures and was a 31% increase from sales figures in May 2009.  The average cost for a Hendersonville home was $219,362 (down 17% from June 2008’s average cost of $264,559).

In comparison, Asheville home sales were down 7% from the previous year (June 2009 showed 217 units sold, June 2008 showed 233 units sold).  However, June 2009 sales were up 45% from May 2009 figures.  The average cost for an Asheville home was 6% less than the same time last year ($266,883 in June 2008, $253,852 in June 2009).

What do these figures mean for you buyers out there?  These low prices aren’t going to last long.  Asheville real estate already seems to be experiencing what may be a bottoming out of the market, with home sales only slightly down from the previous year and the average price being only slightly less as well.  Hendersonville real estate is not too far behind, with its home sales almost exactly the same as the previous year and up significantly from the previous month.  You don’t want to miss out on owning your piece of the American dream.  With the expiration of the $8,000 tax credit coming quickly upon us, now is definitely the time to buy.  Contact me today to let me know how I can make your Hendersonville or Asheville homeownership dreams come true!

Feeling fenced in?  Contact Rich Cooke for all your Hendersonville real estate needs.