Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Dickens Festival in Historic Biltmore Village in Asheville This Weekend

Asheville is relishing the holiday season and there's no better place to be fully immersed in the sights and sounds of the season than at the 24th annual Dickens Festival at Historic Biltmore Village. The festival runs from Friday, November 30 through Sunday, December 2.

With the Fraser fir wreaths delicately hung on each streetlight and the more than 250,000 white lights that grace the historic village buildings, the seasonal ambiance is unmatched. The streets, shops, restaurants, and galleries of the Historic Biltmore Village await your presence, offering a little something for everyone in the family. 

The main stage features musicians, choral groups, singers, dancers, and the Montford Park Players in a full lineup of nonstop performances. With more than 300 performers making their way on stage throughout the festival, the entertainment abounds. The performers roam the village as well, entertaining on the streets, in the restaurants, and in the shops. 

As the sun sets, the village is beautifully outlined by the white lights and and the street lamps give off a warm glow. The shops stay open until 7p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings for your shopping pleasure. Bring your camera and capture the shopkeepers dressed in Victorian-era apparel. Leave time to take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets on either Saturday or Sunday. Stop by the main stage for chestnuts roasting on an open fire by chestnut roaster Sakshhi Gentenbein.

Photo Submitted by Stefani Pereira
With plenty of activities throughout the weekend, you'll want to make plans to drop by on one or more of the days. The Dickens Festival runs from 5-7p.m. on Friday, 11a.m.-7p.m. on Saturday, and from 1-5p.m. on Sunday and offers free admission.

We'll leave you with a few final thoughts.

First, remember to make the most of your time in Asheville by taking advantage of our convenient downtown Asheville vacation rentals. Or, if you're looking for something a bit further out of town, check out the wide selection of cabin rentals throughout Western North Carolina.

Second, what better way to end this week's blog than with a quote by Charles Dickens:

"Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead," said Scrooge. "But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!"  ~ A Christmas Carol

Photo Submitted by Daniel Walker Cole
If you've been to Asheville or the mountains of Western NC during the holiday season, tell us about your adventures. What were your favorite things about this time of year? What did you do? 

Our comment section welcomes you. Happy December!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gingerbread Houses, Nutcracker, Winter Wonderland & More Seasonal Fun in Asheville

Photo Courtesy of Joyful Now Photography
It's Thanksgiving week, and it's a great time of year to be in Asheville, North Carolina. With the holiday season in full swing, the sights and sounds of the season surround you as you stroll the downtown streets, shop the boutiques, dine in the local eateries, and cap off the evening in our at a favorite local watering hole. Be sure to take in some of the local holiday productions and just enjoy your time here in Asheville.

If you are visiting with us over the Thanksgiving holiday, here are a couple of other local stops that you may want to pencil-in to your vacation itinerary. Also be sure to check the comprehensive events calendar for Asheville and the surrounding Western North Carolina region at

The Grove Park Inn in Asheville
The Grove Park Inn is a must-see any time of the year that you're here in Asheville. The grandeur of this historic hotel combined with its fine dining, world-class golf, spectacular shopping, and breathtaking views makes it true treasure. 

Beginning Tuesday, November 20 and continuing through January 2, visitors can enjoy sugar and spice and everything nice at the 2012 National Gingerbread House Competition™ display at the Grove Park Inn. The competition was held privately last weekend and now the masterful entries are available to the public for viewing. These culinary creations were masterfully designed by contestants from across the country. 

While you're here, enjoy the Winter Wonderland you'll find at Downtown Asheville's Grove Arcade. It's your chance to start your holiday shopping while also supporting locally owned businesses. In addition to the gingerbread house displays, visitors can also enjoy the stunning seasonal décor while surrounded by a beautiful mountain setting. A wide selection of gingerbread houses are on display in Suite 115 on O. Henry Avenue. The display is free and open to the public Monday-Saturday from 10a.m.-6p..m and Sunday from 10a.m. to 5p.m. Artist Jason Probst is also on-hand creating beautiful handmade blown glass ornaments in Mountain Made, Suite 123 Sundays through Thursdays through the holiday season.

Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place
Photo Courtesy of Asheville Puppetry Alliance
Are you in the Nutcracker mood? Bring the family to the Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place in downtown Asheville for an unforgettable performance by the Asheville Puppetry Alliance. They present the Mountain Marionettes in "In The Nutcracker Mood", an entertaining production featuring your favorite holiday music. 

The trick marionettes perform a special rendition of "The Nutcracker" by the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Also enjoy favorites such as Spike Jones' "All I Want for Christmas" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree." 

The public performance of "In The Nutcracker Mood" is held on Saturday, November 24 at 2p.m. Tickets are $8 and can be purchased here.

If you can't be here over the holiday, be sure to plan ahead for a getaway in the mountains of Western North Carolina sometime soon. It's a fabulous time of year to spend in the mountains! 

Asheville Connections wishes you a lovely Thanksgiving holiday. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Have you been to Asheville or Western North Carolina over the holiday season? Tell us about your visit. We always love hearing from our readers. Our comment section is open!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Great Performances Abound in Asheville

It's a busy time of year in Asheville, North Carolina. There so many things to see and do that it's hard to choose. It's one of the reasons Asheville is a such a popular vacation destination, in addition to the spectacular scenery, of course.

Asheville offers a host of great performances throughout the year, and November is no different. Here are some of the  performance highlights you'll find in Asheville this week and beyond. For a full listing of performances and other events during your stay, be sure to visit's events page.

Asheville Symphony
On Saturday, November 17 at 8p.m., enjoy three selections including Bizet's L'Artésienne Suite No. 1, Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (Joyce Yang, piano), and Beethoven's Symphony No. 4. The first is from the score of L'Artésienne Suite by composer Georges Bizet. The spirit and stories of Southern France are expressed through the viewpoint of a Parisian. Then Joyce Yang joins the performance to play Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Yang is a Van Cliburn medalist who eagerly takes on the challenge of this complicated piece in a sure-to-please performance. Lastly, the night concludes with Beethoven's Symphony No. 4; one his most creative symphonies. 

The Asheville Symphony performs at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium at the US Cellular Center in Asheville. Ticket prices run from $20-$58 depending on seating. Asheville Symphony ticketing information can be found here.

Asheville Community Theatre
Beginning Friday, November 16 and continuing until December 1, Inspecting Carol is a performance about a man who auditions at a small theater and is mistaken for an informer for the National Endowment for the Arts. This creates a lot of confusion and hilarity as the bewildered wannabe actor is given a performing role in their current production, A Christmas Carol. Be prepared for a delightful performance perfect for any time of year but is especially suiting during the holiday season.

Also now playing at the Asheville Community Theatre is Naughty But Nice! through November 24. This performance captures the wit of Noel Coward and the sophistication of Cole Porter. The musical is designed to take guests to the inner circles of New York, Paris, London, and Cannes. It's a collection of songs and monologues, and is crowd-pleaser.

The Asheville Community Theatre is located on 35 East Walnut Street. Admission prices and show dates and times for each of the performances can be found at the Asheville Community Theatre's website.

Paula Poundstone
Paula Poundstone performs at the Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place in Asheville on Friday, November 16. Tickets are $35 in advance and $38 the day of the show. Poundstone is known for appearing on stage with a stool, a mic, and a Diet Pepsi combined with her natural wit and knack for improvisation. She delights crowds and offers fast-paced laughs with ease. The Boston Globe is quoted as saying, "Poundstone improvises with a crowd like a Jazz musician...swinging in unexpected directions without a plan, without a net."

Visit the Diana Wortham Theatre website for ticketing options and information. Be sure to check out some of their other performances scheduled for November!

Asheville Holiday Parade & Jingle Fest
In its 66th year, the Asheville Holiday Parade is held this Saturday, November 17 from 11a.m. to 1p.m. It begins at Biltmore Avenue, turns at Pack Square on Patton Avenue, and continues onto French Broad Avenue. Streets along this route are closed to through traffic beginning at 9a.m. and reopen at 1p.m. The parade includes marching bands, dance teams, local non-profits, local businesses, and more.

The parade is followed by the Downtown Jingle Fest from 1-4p.m. at Pack Square Park. Full details and information can be found at the Asheville Downtown Association's website. Both the parade and Jingle Fest are free!

Thanksgiving Specials on Asheville Accommodations

With so many things to do, all you need now is a place to stay. Take advantage of the downtown Asheville vacation rentals so you can be close and convenient to all of the Asheville action. 

Don't forget there are still a few rentals left during the Thanksgiving holiday. Book your stay for three or more nights from November 21-25 and receive $75 off. Book it online using discount code TG2012.

We hope to see you soon! Tell us about any Asheville performances you've attended. What were your favorites? We love hearing from you so drop us a line in our comment section.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November Brings Seasonal Fun to Western North Carolina

Photo Courtesy of Joyful Now Photography
It's November! Seasonal fun starts revving up in Asheville and around the surrounding areas of Western North Carolina this time of year. There's a lot going on in the upcoming months, so plan ahead now. We'll keep you posted with the highlights, but you can find a comprehensive listing of events in and around Asheville here

If you're looking for a cozy cabin tucked away in the woods or a condo conveniently situated in downtown Asheville, look no further. Thanksgiving is only a couple of weeks away and there are some fantastic specials on vacation rentals. If you book your stay for three or more nights between November 21-25, you'll receive $75 off your stay at a premier vacation rental. Book it online using discount code TG2012. Don't delay; book your reservations now.

Okay, now back to the seasonal fun. 

Get Some Shopping Done
Photo Courtesy of
Are you looking for some unique gifts for family and friends? What could be better than handmade works of art from local artists? Why not come out to the Studio Stroll in Asheville's River Arts District this weekend on November 10-11. This large walking tour offers a chance to drop in to working artists' studios in the area while taking in artists' demonstrations and hands-on activities. Also enjoy the 19 historic buildings along the French Broad River as you tour the district. The Studio Stroll is free and runs from 10a.m. to 6p.m. both days. 

The River Arts District is easy to access from downtown Asheville, West Asheville, as well as Biltmore Village. There is plenty of parking as well as a free trolley. Once you finish shopping for family and friends, don't forget to pick up a little something for yourself!

Ride the Polar Express on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
All aboard! Take an hour-and-a-quarter journey on the Polar Express departing from the Bryson City Depot and continuing on to the North Pole. As the motion picture soundtrack plays in the background, guests can sip hot cocoa and have a snack while listening to the story of the Polar Express. Kids and kids-at-heart enjoy this magical adventure as the story unfolds before your eyes.

Tickets start at $39 for adults, $26 for children ages 2-12, and children two years of age and under ride for free. The Polar Express runs from November 9 through December 30.

Taste Some Exquisite Food
Make plans now for Wednesday, November 14 at 7p.m.and see why Asheville is a premier destination for culinary delights. Asheville Independent Restaurants (AIR) present the Taste of Asheville, a local event that spotlights some of the best and brightest in the culinary field. These restaurants pride themselves on creativity, culinary flair, and an independent spirit all while making the most of the fresh local resources that abound. 

Come out and taste creations from over 40 talented chefs while experiencing the authenticity of Asheville's hospitality firsthand at The Venue. Ticket prices and purchasing information can be found here.

Final Thoughts
With all of the fun and excitement this time of year, let's not forget that Sunday, November 11 is Veterans Day. Be sure to say thank you to those who serve and have served our country. Sunday is a great day to do it, but not the only day. We are grateful to the veterans who have served and fought for the freedoms we enjoy today. Thank you! Happy November!