Chihuly at night is always magical. If you can make your way to the Biltmore in Asheville by October 7, 2018, be sure to visit. Sixteen vibrant installations are spread out on the grounds and first floor of the mansion. biltmore.com/chihuly
Our friend in Asheville thought we would enjoy the LaZoom City Comedy Tour and she was right on point.
The 90-minute open-air bus tour winds its way through charming Asheville and manages to impart quite a bit of local flavor and history between the funny, corny, and sometimes bawdy, commentary.
Tour guide Cookie flips out.
This is a great city – chock full of unique locally owned shops and restaurants (over 90%) and more craft breweries than anywhere else in the country. You can bet the breweries are mentioned during this tour, which allows consumption of wine and/or beer while on board, and includes a rest stop at the Green Man Brewery.
Two facts that made an impression:
despite the ghost stories, no one died during the Civil War’s Battle of Asheville, and
last month Asheville’s nationally renowned Wicked Weed Brewing company sold out to Anheuser-Busch. We hope it’s not the start of a trend.
Fall is a lot more than beautiful colors and cooler temps when you are in the mountains of western NC. It’s time for some unique and interesting festivals. There is something for everybody.
There is the Woolly Worm Festival for racing fans – that is if you like to race fuzzy caterpillars. The black and brown “worms” are really the larvae of the Isabella Tiger Moth. The Banner Elk, 2-day event draws thousands to the cute town center to race their “worms” up long, taut strings. Winners compete for the $1,000 grand cash prize and the honor of predicting the weather for the upcoming winter. This year’s winner predicated slightly warmer temps and a bit less-than-average snow. Catch the races in 2017, the 40th anniversary of the event: www.woollyworm.com
Making Apple Butter.
One of my favorite events in the area is the Valle County Fair in Valle Crucis. Sponsored by the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross, it is a wonderful local event featured homemade baked goods, entertainment (including clogging), and decent quality crafts, in a perfect pastoral setting. I try not to miss it. It’s always the third Saturday in October, the same mid-October weekend as Woolly Worm.
The Fair has become wildly popular, so go early; you will not only beat the traffic, but you will have the best selection of items to buy (and eat). We always arrive just before the 9 AM opening. All proceeds raised support the needs of local families in Avery and Watauga counties; last year $50,000 was raised and donated towards much-needed assistance. Planning for next year? Check out: www.holycrossvallecrucis.net
by Linda Altschuler
It’s a great time of year to take a leisurely Sunday drive into Asheville for the annual HardLox Festival to celebrate Asheville’s Jewish Food & Heritage. This year the single-day Festival coincided with the start of Sukkot, the Feast of the Tabernacles. Under a brilliant blue sky, in Asheville’s Pack Square, we listened to traditional Jewish music, meandered among the booths featuring information as well as crafts and Judaica. Kids had a big play area, and parking and bathrooms were plentiful.
We learned about this festival first-hand from friends who have a home in Asheville. Linda Altshuler is an accomplished artist who specializes in Judaica. As expected, her booth was swamped with buyers snapping up her colorful prints, cards, glass cheese boards and other gift items.
Linda showing her Judaica art.
But what Jewish festival would be complete without food, and boy did they have food. It’s all very organized, a brochure explains what’s available and the prices, tickets are sold at a special booth, so it keeps the food lines moving quickly. There was pastrami, corned beef, chopped liver, bagels, Matzo Ball soup, Kosher hot dogs, whitefish, babka, mandelbrot, etc, etc. Even Dr. Brown’s sodas. It was wonderful to have some of the delicious food we have dearly missed this summer.
Asheville has become known for its trendy, holistic, artistic vibe and the Salt Cave fits right in. For a modest $25 an hour, you can take advantage of the therapeutic benefits of an all-natural microclimate, created with 20 tons of salt rock imported from several eastern European locations.
Several inches of sea salt cover the floor and the semi-dark, dry environment is bathed in a warm glow from the salt rock lighting and a nice ambient sound from the two water features. Guests have the option of listening to tranquil music, resting in comfortable lounge chairs and using cozy blankets, if needed. And, in case you are wondering, participants are fully clothed.
Salt Cave environments have been reported to help with a variety of ailments including allergies, arthritis and skin problems. But just to take a break and really relax in this unique environment is worthwhile. The Appel family, who own and run the Salt Cave, have studiously researched Salt Caves around the world and carefully planned every detail, even bringing in experts to build the Cave.
Located on Eagle Street in downtown Asheville, the Cave can accommodate up to 10; the entire Salt Cave can be reserved by the hour for groups or private events.
Facilities also include a gift shop with some unique items, as well as services such as a variety of massages, Reiki, reflexology, aromatherapy and facials.
Check them out at www.ashevullesaltcave.com 828-236-59
Chatting with owner Beth Appel in Asheville’s Therapeutic Salt Cave.