Asheville Claims the #3 Spot for Best Small Towns to Visit

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Jul 122017

Hello Asheville, Black Mountain, Fairview, Fletcher and Hendersonvillians,

We have hit the big time or have we really!!!! Check out this News Article from the Asheville Citizen Times

What are You Thankful For?

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Nov 222016

What does it mean to you?

Is it just another holiday to eat until your unconscious or do you have a guilty/thankful conscience that takes over and you volunteer at a soup kitchen somewhere, or are you more primitive and sit in a tree stand somewhere making memories with your children that your father and grandfather’s taught to you?
What is the reason behind “Thanksgiving”?

Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States.
Presented bymacys-parade Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters. I know that it is our family tradition to wake up and turn on the parade.  I love the music and all the colors and Kermit the Frog.  Its not a parade without him or starting the Christmas season with the traditional ending of the parade with Santa Clause is coming to town.  Enjoy the Season with whatever traditions that you hold dear and keep close the people that you are most thankful for.

From all of us at Cool Mountain Realty……..Happy Thanksgiving

Beauty A Blaze

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Nov 172016

Lake Lure

When you even say those words it just evolves in your mind as a pristine, beautiful, enchanting, and alluring place. It was just recently named 1 of 17 Most Beautiful Places to visit in North Carolina.

Lake Lure, NC

Source: showmenan



North Carolina is also known as Old North State and Tar Heel State and has a lot of places and sights that are worthy of a visit. Besides the many cities and towns there’s a lot of nature to be explored. Have a look at some awesome pictures I found of the most beautiful places to visit in North Carolina.

There is no doubt that Lake Lure is one of the most beautiful places to visit in North Carolina. The history of the town dates back over a hundred years and it has been a popular filming spot for Hollywood, with movies such as Thunder Road and Dirty Dancing having been partially filmed in the Lake Lure area. Tours of Lake Lure are popular, with one of the most stunning parts of this corner of the state being the gorgeous Lake Lure Flowering Bridge.


This beautiful place has been threatened recently by a huge forest fire. It started on November 5th and as of 11/16/2016 has consumed almost 5700 acres.



Across the state, there are 1,600 firefighters fighting wildfires that have burned about 46,000 acres. The largest fire in the state, the Tellico Fire, has burned about 13,600 acres, but is 68 percent contained, according to the firefighters.




The Boteler Fire has also burned 8,967 acres, the Knob Fire has burned 1,130 acres, the Maple Springs Fire has burned 7,705 acres, the Chesnut Knob Fire has burned 4,600 acres, the Ferebee Fire has burned 3,175 acres and the Avey Branch Fire has burned 1,200 acres, in addition to several others that have touched hundreds of acres, according to InciWeb.





While progress has been made, changes to the weather — including those expected later this week — make the blazes unpredictable. It may take firefighters until March to completely put out all the fires, according to North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.


As we come to this season to Give Thanks, let us all be thankful to those that keep us safe while in harms way.
Thank you from Cool Mountain Realty
To all the Men and Women putting there lives on the line protecting our homes and towns

The “Farm to Table” Restaurant Craze

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Nov 102016


5 Farm-to-Table Restaurants in Western NC to Try This Winter

I’m excited to say that 4 of the 5 Restaurants featured in this article are in Asheville or the surrounding areas.  As we wind down the summer and fall season of growing and think back to all the delicious home grown food that we grew and love.. The winter always seems a little lacking when it comes to home grown freshness; although there are a few who planned ahead to save there summer goodies and will reap the benifits of there long hours canning in the kitchen this winter when making there meals. The HomeGrown Craze is sweeping across the nation.  People want to know where there food was grown and what was used to grow it.  Or! they have chosen to purchase what we in the Mountains like to call a “mini farm”.  Small 1-10 acre plots where people can raise livestock, have a garden and experience the joys of growing and eating spectacular food, with the security of knowing exactly what is in your food.  So if you are one of the unlucky ones who didn’t prepare and save check out some of these amazing restaurants who support some of our smaller local Farmers.

First up is the…..

Café Rule & Wine Bar • Hickory

Where Youssef 242 in downtown Hickory once stood, you will find Café Rule & Wine Bar, which has a new and improved location, menu, aesthetic, and even a new name. The restaurant has added live music on the weekends, Sunday brunch, and a full bar. But what’s most important hasn’t changed: fresh and local ingredients, delicious food, and friendly service. Café Rule is just breathing new life into its old practices — and doing it with style. “Our whole business model is about breaking the rules, so there are a lot of plays on the name,” says Meghan Stout, Café Rule’s marketing manager. “For example, we don’t believe in pairing a specific wine with a specific food.” Another instance of rule-breaking? Dessert is listed first on the menu.

Café Rule approaches familiar foods in innovative ways. For evidence, look to the House Bacon Stack appetizer, which boasts pepper bacon, fried green tomato, goat cheese, and chipotle mayonnaise. Save room for the Bloody Mary Shrimp & Grits with pickled okra and a fried egg. Even the collard greens have a twist; they are braised in an IPA from Charlotte’s Unknown Brewing Company. Keeping things local is crucial to sous chef Rick Dorherr, who makes weekly trips to Hickory’s farmers market, usually with his four children in tow, where he’ll stock up on fresh produce for the ever-changing menu. “Everyone in the farmers market knows him, and he has a great relationships with the local farmers,” says Stout. “Each fall they’ll go through seed catalogs to decide what they want to grow for the following season.”

5 Farm-to-Table Restaurants in Western NC to Try This Winter

A view of the Chef’s Table, and Fried Broccoli Baffle with lemon zest, sea salt, and vegan aioli. PHOTOGRAPH BY CAFÉ RULE & WINE BAR

In addition to renovations and new décor, Café Rule has introduced two new spaces for private entertaining: the chef’s table and its accompanying outdoor patio complete with plush seating and a fireplace. The table offers diners an exclusive, behind-the-scenes experience, including a large TV screen with a live stream of the kitchen in action. Throughout the meal, the chef will interact with guests and explain the cooking process and ingredient sources. It is certainly a unique experience, perfect for special occasions.

242 11th Avenue Northeast, Hickory • (828) 324-2005 •

The Blackbird Restaurant • Downtown Asheville

The Blackbird Restaurant is a family-owned farm-to-table establishment in the heart of downtown Asheville. Husband-and-wife duo Jesson and Cristina Gil own the restaurant and live in neighboring Fairview. They believe there is a synergy between the community and their business. “Farm-to-table is our first choice,” says Jesson. “My wife and I just started attending Farm Beginnings, an organic farming school, to better understand the food we use and how it is grown.”

The Blackbird’s cuisine can best be described as modern Southern with a nod to tradition, and this fall and winter the restaurant will be featuring acorn squash, Brussels sprouts, braised short ribs, and roasted pheasant. The menu changes four times a year with the seasons but varies slightly week to week to include the freshest local offerings. The Gils buy micro-greens from Moonsprouts, a local company that grows and delivers its greens in trays of sterile soil, which give chefs the freshest greens possible while reducing waste. The Blackbird also works with Beulah Farms in Leicester, Rayburn Farm in Barnardsville, and several local mushroom foragers.

5 Farm-to-Table Restaurants in Western NC to Try This Winter

Fresh shrimp and scallop appetizers. PHOTOGRAPH BY THE BLACKBIRD RESTAURANT

Not only does The Blackbird provide an outlet for local farmers, it also gives back to the surrounding community by regularly donating to local schools and charities. “We know that it is the right thing to support the community that supports our family,” Jesson says. When it comes to helping their Blackbird family — the restaurant staff — the Gils are striving to get living wage certified and have increased their hourly wage by almost $2 in the last five months.

47 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville • (828) 254-2502 •

Next up is one of my favorites and I frequent as often as My Husband will take me!!

The Corner Kitchen • Biltmore Village, Asheville

For 12 years, The Corner Kitchen has thrived in a historic building in Biltmore Village that was built on the estate more than a century ago. Co-owners Kevin Westmoreland and Chef Joe Scully, along with Executive Chef Josh Weeks, strive to stay true to the property’s rustic feel, creating well-presented, farm-to-table cuisine in a comfortable setting that makes The Corner Kitchen well worth venturing beyond the downtown Asheville restaurant scene.

5 Farm-to-Table Restaurants in Western NC to Try This Winter

The Corner Kitchen is housed in a historic building in Biltmore Village that was built more than a century ago.PHOTOGRAPH BY THE CORNER KITCHEN

Westmoreland is an Asheville native and spent much of his childhood exploring the sites where his future restaurant would later stand, so he has a deep-rooted love for the community surrounding The Corner Kitchen. Westmoreland and Scully base the restaurant’s menu off of seasonal ingredients from local farmers, butchers, and food crafters in order to continue a tradition of thoughtful, handmade dishes and sensible preparations. Their local partners include Annie’s Bakery in Asheville, Smiling Hara Tempeh in Asheville for vegetarian and vegan offerings, Brasstown Beef on Ridgefield Farm in Brasstown, and Imladris Farm in Fairview.

The Corner Kitchen is open seven days a week and offers Saturday and Sunday brunch. The menu is constantly updated with western North Carolina’s freshest local produce, even in the wintertime. The extensive dinner menu currently features entrées such as seared scallops over cranberry quinoa, wilted kale, pickled shallots, and butternut squash bisque. Don’t miss the pecan-crusted mountain trout, which is sourced from Sunburst Trout Farms in Waynesville, over sweet potatoes with green bean salad and bourbon sauce.

3 Boston Way, Asheville • (828) 274-2439 •

The Phoenix • Brevard

The Phoenix is a lively farm-to-table gastropub and music venue located in the small mountain town of Brevard. Its seasonal menu features organic, sustainable foods and beverages grown or created in western North Carolina. Executive Chef Miles Hogsed sources from BusyBee Farm in Brevard, Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Fairview, Morgan Mill Trout Farm in Brevard, and Down 2 Earth Farms in Rougemont. Hogsed takes great pride in using only fresh, local ingredients, which carries over to the restaurant’s beer and wine selection. Fancy a cocktail? The Phoenix makes its own liquor infusions.

5 Farm-to-Table Restaurants in Western NC to Try This Winter

The Phoenix has a selection of warm, hearty dishes, perfect for wintertime. PHOTOGRAPH BY THE PHOENIX

The menu is an interesting combination of upscale American cuisine with some international inspiration. Try the Mediterranean chicken samosas with house-made apple chutney or the mussels steamed in a ramp pesto beurre blanc. There is a farm-to-fork portion of the dinner menu that features five different entrées, from mountain trout to pork tenderloin, all sourced from farms in or surrounding Brevard.

The Phoenix prides itself on being a unique dining experience in Brevard, not only because of its farm-to-table offerings, but also its vibrant live music scene. The restaurant hosts local and regional talent six nights a week, so visitors can enjoy a side of jazz, bluegrass, or blues along with their meal.

14 South Gaston Street, Brevard • (828) 877-3232 •

Frogs Leap Public House • Waynesville

Frogs Leap Public House in Waynesville focuses on providing guests with upscale Southern food featuring only the freshest ingredients — all at an affordable price. “We prepare everything from scratch and use local products in our bar and kitchen every day of the year to produce innovative but simple interpretations of traditional Appalachian dishes,” says Kaign Raymond, owner and executive chef.

When Raymond opened Frogs Leap in 2011, he had a feeling it would be the start of something big in the small mountain community. Raymond chose Waynesville because he knew the town was at a turning point. He feels that Frogs Leap has paved the way in supporting local growers, but is adamant about the community’s role in this success. “[We] have only been successful because we have such a great farming community and a clientele who value and understand the importance of building connections in our small corner or western North Carolina,” Raymond says.

5 Farm-to-Table Restaurants in Western NC to Try This Winter

Kaign Raymond, owner and executive chef, only uses the freshest ingredients on his menu. PHOTOGRAPH BY FROGS LEAP PUBLIC HOUSE

Frogs Leap regularly works with a number of local farms, including Willow Springs Farm in Weaverville for greens, herbs, and produce; Sunburst Trout Farms in Waynesville; and Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Fairview for beef and pork. Chef Raymond’s menu changes weekly and always depends on what is seasonally available. As the weather cools down, he looks forward to incorporating candy roaster squash, collard greens, sweet potatoes, and goat cheese into the menu.

44 Church Street, Waynesville • 828-456-1930 •


Take the time to stop and crunch the leaves this season and take in a deep breath of fresh Mountain Air

Asheville Fall Color Forecast for 2016

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Nov 032016

The Asheville fall leaf color show in the North Carolina mountains attracts visitors from around the world. With the 5,000-foot elevation change within 50 miles of Asheville, our lush Blue Ridge Mountain range puts on one of the longest-running autumn leaf color displays in the country. Pic at top of page is Rough Ridge taken on October 18, 2016

Forecast: The number one question is: “When is the peak color?” No matter when you plan an autumn visit in October or early November, you can take a short drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway or other mountain roads to find the best color of fall leaves. Elevation and weather are the biggest factors in the color show. Leaves begin their color change on the highest peaks and gradually work down to the lowest elevations. An early frost speeds up the show and warm weather prolongs it.

We have been very fortunate that this years season of fall has been very Moderate and Dry.  The colors have been spectacular. The Farmer Almanac for Precipitation from November 2016 to October 2017 doesn’t show much in the way of liquid precipitation for November or December…  dry-falls-fall4

Autumn Fall Viewing Tips

Here are some tips to help you plan an Asheville fall vacation to enjoy the spectacular autumn colors of the North Carolina mountain leaves:

  • Make your room reservations early. Many times, weekends are booked at B&B innscabins and hotelswell in advance.
  • To avoid the biggest crowds and to save more on lodging, stay on Sunday through Thursday nights. Saturdays during October are super busy at attractions such as Biltmore Estate, and highways and country roads will be busier.
  • If you are gettting outdoors in our national parks and forests, do you research first. Frequently, you will not have cell or internet service on the hiking trails or at waterfalls.
  • With the varying elevations along the Blue Ridge Parkway, this is the quickest way to find the best areas for color. The elevation of the Parkway around the city of Asheville is approximately 2,200 feet, and it rises to 5,000+ feet as you drive north or south. The color show starts a the highest elevations in early October and progress down. When you find a particular area of brilliant foliage, take a hike along a trial or take a detour on one of the intersecting roads. Be patient and expect slow traffic, especially on Saturdays and Sundays. Parking at overlooks can be difficult. See our Blue Ridge Parkway Guide.
  • If you encounter fog (low clouds) on the Blue Ridge Parkway, don’t despair. The weather can change rapidly. It could be very sunny around the next bend or in a few minutes. Fog is most frequent in the mornings, and it can create interesting photo opportunities. The Parkway has more fog than other scenic drives in the mountains since it follows the high ridges.
  • Enhance fall colors by wearing polarized sunglasses.
  • Take a picnic or snacks, especially if you are driving the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is only one restaurant along the Parkway near Asheville. To find a restaurant, exit the Parkway near a town. See our Top 20 Picnic Spots.
  • Fill up the gas tank before taking a scenic drive out of the city. Gas stations are sparse in remote areas and along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Don’t rely 100% on your GPS to navigate our mountain roads. That’s a good way to get lost. Take a map along also.
  • Bring a sweater or jacket. While it might be 70 and sunny in Asheville, it may be 20 degrees cooler at the higher elevations. In mid to late October, snow or ice is possible at the higher elevations. See rime ice from October. Road closures and conditions on the Blue Ridge Parkway, along with weather reports, are available by calling the Parkway information line at (828) 298-0398. Rainy day? Here are some indoor options for things to do.
  • Take your camera. The warm light of the early morning or late afternoon can create especially dramatic images.
  • Bring binoculars for bird watching to bringing a distant picturesque view a bit closer.
  • For ideas on outings to combine with your leaf watching, see our 20 Bucket List Outings.


Take the time to stop and crunch the leaves this season and take in a deep breath of fresh Mountain Air