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:


Loving the Arts in Asheville

September 15, 2011

Loving the arts in AshevilleHere in Western North Carolina, we love nature, we love apples (the North Carolina Apple Festival was just a few days ago, in fact) and we love art of all kinds.  So, I’m happy to let you know that you’ll have the opportunity to start loving the arts in Asheville over the next couple of weekends with the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s Heritage Weekend, Art in Autumn street festival, Heritage Craft Weekend at the NC Arboretum and the Pisgah Mountain Craft Show.

Heritage Weekend – September 17-18, 2011
Folk Art Center (Milepost 382, Blue Ridge Parkway), 11am to 5pm.  Cost: FREE.  In addition to the many heritage craft demonstrations, there will be live traditional mountain music and dancing, including clogging.  Local experts will be on hand to teach you how to whittle, create pottery, beekeeping techniques, basket weaving, wood carving, quilting, blacksmithing and much more.  There are plenty of nice grassy areas to have a beautiful family picnic.  You definitely don’t want to miss the World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition being held on Saturday from 2pm to 3pm.  The Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle is an Appalachian stick toy.  Parking is free, too.  For more information, please call 828-298-7928.

Art in Autumn – September 17, 2011
Main Street, Downtown Weaverville, 10am to 5pm.  Cost: FREE.  For the fifth year in a row, downtown Weaverville plays host to more than 100 local artisans showing off their talents.  But that’s not all!  There will be live bluegrass music (traditional to the great Smoky Mountains) as well as fantastic food to enjoy.  For more info on this event, please email

Heritage Craft Weekend – September 24, 2011
North Carolina Arboretum (100 Frederick Law Olmstead Way), 11am to 4pm.  Arts and crafts created from a wide variety of mediums will be available to view, including those made from local, natural materials as well as recycled materials.  Learn the art of basket making, spinning and weaving as well as enjoy live music.

Pisgah Mountain Craft Show – September 24-25, 2011
Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 410), Pisgah Inn, 10am to 6pm.  Cost: FREE.  Live glassblowing demos, painting and jewelry are just some of what you can expect from 70 of the area’s best and brightest artists and crafts people. 

So, if you enjoy the beautiful Smoky Mountains and all they have to offer, learn more about what inspires local artists and even become one yourself by attending one of these fun arts and crafts events.  Pretty soon, you’ll be loving the arts in Asheville, too!

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Active Rain blog here:

Asheville's Recycling Program Receives AwardThe Carolina Recycling Association honored the City of Asheville with its “Best Local Government Recycling Program” award.  This award is only handed out to one city in North Carolina or South Carolina.  Asheville’s recycling program received the award because they have successfully provided a complete recycling program to its residents.  In fact, 80% of Asheville’s inhabitants utilize the Asheville residential curbside and city facilities regularly, the highest participation levels in the state.  The recipient of the Carolina Recycling Association’s award serves as a model for other government agencies within both North Carolina and South Carolina on how they can implement successful recycling programs in their respective cities.

The City of Asheville has set a goal of 80% carbon reduction within its city limits by the year 2050.  Their recycling program is just one step in that journey.  Since its implementation in 1997, the residential curbside recycling program in Asheville has taken in more than 90,000 tons of recycled material.  That is more than 90,000 tons of material that has been kept out of the landfills and re-used into the system, which also reduces the drain on our resources by using less materials initially in new products.

Asheville contracts with Curbside Management to provide their curbside recycling program to residents.  Two bins are provided to each Asheville household specifically for recyclable materials (one bin is for glass, plastic, newspapers, cardboard boxes and metal cans while the other bin can be used for junk mail, cereal boxes, magazines, catalogs, paper shopping bags, etc).  The bins are picked up by Curbside Management every other week.  If you have questions about how to participate in Asheville’s residential curbside recycling program, please contact Curbside Management at 828-252-2532 or visit their website.

You don’t have to wait for someone to pick up your recyclable materials, however.  Any Asheville resident can drop off their recyclable goods at any one of the following locations:

  • Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company (behind the business) – 675 Merrimon Avenue
  • Buncombe County Landfill – 85 Panther Branch Road
  • Buncombe County Transfer Station – 190 Hominy Creek Road
  • Curbside Management’s Materials Recycling Facility – 116 N Woodfin Avenue in Woodfin, NC

Congratulations to Asheville’s recycling program for receiving this fantastic award.  It’s a combined victory for both the city’s efforts as well as its people.  This is yet another reason why Asheville real estate is tops.  Our city is beautiful because we make an effort to keep it that way.  Let’s continue our efforts for generations to come.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Asheville is a shining example of the natural beauty that Western North Carolina real estate has to offer.  Its combination of beauty, community pride and friendliness are what have put it on the top of many “Best” lists around the country.  Asheville real estate has been named one of the “top art destinations”, a “New Age Mecca”, one of the “most alive places to be” and the “happiest place for women”, just to name a few.  With over 30 fine art, mountain crafts and folk art galleries in the city as well as several performing arts centers and theaters, it is easy to see why Asheville is a mecca for art and cultural enthusiasts.  People also flock here to enjoy the miles of hiking, fishing, hunting, hot air ballooning and bicycling around God’s green earth.  Asheville is also home to the largest home in America: the Biltmore Estate, hosting visits from a million people every year.  One visit and you will see why so many people called Asheville home.