Autumn Falls Across The Mountains

Asheville Autumn Fall 2014 Leaf Season

Here in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Fall means one thing: Leaf Season. The mountains around Asheville are awash in color right now, with the season already in full swing. There are still many weeks left for prime leaf-watching this year, so take this opportunity to get out and look at the Autumn display for yourself! Get out there! It can be tricky to plan a trip to catch the peak Fall color in any given location. Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, or a similar scenic byway, is a better option and provides a great opportunity to view a lot of different species at different elevations. This gives you a much better chance of enjoying a greater range of fall color.

asheville autumn blue ridge parkway

Finding the color. For the latest fall color report on the Blue Ridge Parkway, call the Parkway Information Line at (828) 298-0398 and press option 3. The Asheville area has its own color report that can be viewed here:

Another great Asheville resource is the AVL Color Hunter on Twitter. Follow them @FallColorHunter to get up-to-the-minute info on when and where to find fall color in the Asheville area.

Visit my blog LOCUS: A journey in search of PLACE at for a full list of resources for the entire region, more detailed information on how to plan your trip, and a wealth of stunning fall photography taken this year. Don’t forget to follow me while you’re there for more Fall color and other great travel posts.

Come see Autumn fall across the mountains!

Asheville Autumn Red Leaf Season

Blog by Kerri Nicole Casey & Photography by Brian Scott Casey.

Beautiful Photos of “The Cut” in Asheville by YeKaterina

asheville the cut

While browsing Facebook, I came across a beautiful photo of “The Cut” in Asheville; a place where many folks go to hang out and overlook the City. I most commonly see people on Twitter asking “Where is The Cut?” and “How do I get to “The Cut?” Nobody knows lol. Actually there are several places that could be considered “The Cut” around town that feature incredible views of Asheville North Carolina. But YeKaterina was there recently and then shared these photos with us:

the cut in asheville

Here is another similar angle from “The Cut”

asheville cut at night

And finally, a night shot from “The Cut”

Asheville has so many great spots to take photos! If you have directions to any spots such as this, comment below and let us know how to get there!

A Mid-Spring Morning’s Dream

asheville hot air balloon basket I was nervous, and that couldn’t be denied. The thought of standing in a wicker basket while a man I’ve never met before shoots fire into a flammable object doesn’t tend to be on my repertoire of relaxation exercises. I’m also not terribly good at being out of control, which is pretty laughable at 4,000 feet above sea level. asheville hot air fire I was going to do it though, if for no other reason, than to check it off my bucket list. The small community of Candler, NC has always embraced the hot air balloons. If one landed in your yard, it was an honor. The colorful aircraft have been decorating the morning skies on weather-friendly days for twenty-some-odd years. As a child I would run outside to get a glimpse, and I knew I’d have to experience it one day, just to see what the ado was about. It went to the bucket list. That’s exactly what I thought it would be too, just a flight, like being in an outdoor plane…something to say I made it through and put a check beside. I went through the motions, signed the waivers, and talked to the pilots (who were more than experts, and extremely helpful by the way), before heading out to the launch site in a Candler resident’s front yard. At this point, I was anxious, and all business. hot air balloon avl As I climbed into the basket that sported smiley faces for footholds, I felt my heartbeat quicken. I told myself to breathe, this was just for the bucket list. It would be something I would make it through…and, maybe those first thirtish seconds were. Those were the seconds before I entered the dreamland. They were the seconds when the mind races the same way it does just before rapid eye movement sets in on a Tuesday midnight. All the things in the world there are to think about get thought about. All of the things to get nervous about, were gotten nervous about. I could see the ground getting further away, and could feel the intense heat from the primitive force that began removing the basket and its cargo from the Earth. I don’t remember noting the noise though…to me, all was silent as the balloon invaded the morning mist…when everything changed.   It wasn’t a breath-taking moment. Those can sometimes be described in a realistic way. I’ve seen “amazing” before. This was something different. To fully grasp it, it must be done, but I’ll do my very best. Think back…there’s that one fairytale unlike the others…that magical one that even in adulthood still makes us feel warm and fuzzy and think maybe mermaids do live in the ocean after all. For me, it’s Peter Pan. I’m convinced I may find Neverland yet, and almost did Saturday morning in that balloon. AskAsheville Hot Air Balloon First of all, the air was perfect. I could have been comfortable in a tank top or a sweater either one, and the blinding sunrise was somehow easily to fixate upon. It was such a curious setting, and nothing like flying in a plane. It was gentle, while daring; peaceful, while exhilarating. My senses seemed different, and I secretly wondered if this balloon was the new way to Narnia. The tops of the mountains I’d grown up in, with my summertime swimming holes visible from the air, somehow seemed more regal. They were reigning over this place, and presenting their freshly grown leaves with the cockiness of the poppies from Wizard of Oz. Maybe it was the time of day, the time of year, or the altitude, but the colors I saw aren’t available below 500 feet. hot air balloon mountains sky At one point I saw everyone looking to the left, and oohing and ahhing…one of the only things I remember actively hearing. It was a shadow of our vessel in a cloud, encircled by a rainbow halo, a phenomenon the pilot says happens almost every morning. With this on one side, and a half-misted Blue Ridge dawn on the other, I realized this wasn’t something to mark off on a bucket list, but to feel more alive about forever. Forget the fears. Though our pilot, Danny Smith, told me they had a perfect safety record pre-flight, I’d still been frightened until I became part of it all. Somehow I realized the magic in it, and realized the experience gives far more than it could take. I was in another place, floating up and down to the dew-dropped tree tops and back to the clouds. I wasn’t on a ride, but a journey…a journey that has to be felt, smelled, seen, heard, and tasted. hot air balloons asheville When I got home, I crawled back under the covers to nap after my daybreak voyage. I drifted off to sleep quickly, and don’t think I dreamed. The dream already occurred, and felt somehow far away from me when I awoke, as if the balloon existed in a realm almost like Earth, but not quite. The flight was truly that remarkable, and I longed for it. It was so supernatural that I wondered for a minute if it had happened at all. Then for some reason, a quote from a Shakespeare play I read more than a decade ago came to mind, “…you have but slumbered here/while these visions did appear.”

Visit, snuggle into your basket, and get ready to dream your little dream! Or give Phyllis a call at 828-667-9943! This is a must-have on your summer bucket list!

Playing Dress-UP

I changed the way I look at jewelry Monday night.  I didn’t learn anything about measurements, techniques, or jewelry biz lingo really.  I don’t remember the names of the gorgeous gems or stones I was tinkering with either.  I didn’t want to know those things.  However, when Asheville jewelry-maker, Nadine Fidelman invited me into her home, she taught me all I could ever hope to learn about why we choose to decorate ourselves the way we do.

At first glance jewelry is like looking out into a crowd of people.  There are a lot of shapes, sizes, colors, and styles all running together into rainbow overload.  The first thoughts are, ‘oh I see pretty things,’ and then we start searching for a focal point.  It is in that search that we realize we’re being pulled towards certain things and we start to examine why.  While I was zeroing in on a generally smooth black stone with a noticeable organic crack in the upper right corner I could overhear one of my side kicks talking about the jewelry.

“It’s not just beads, they’re individual pieces,” I heard my fellow playmate Kelly Allen offer.

At first I thought, ‘yeah, ok, there’s a lot of different jewelry here.  I can see that.’  Then I took a breath and thought about that word individual. I realized what she meant, and that I wasn’t just looking at the pieces, I was meeting them.  I went back to my black stone, noticing the gorgeous, crystal-esque inclusions the flaw revealed.  I was in love.  I thought of my own personality, how I like the rawness in life, and the beauty I find in truth.  I also believe in fighting like hell and collecting battle scars…I thought of how hard it is being a writer and how far I still had to go in the world of manuscripts.  I wanted that beautiful stone.  I had found my connection.

Lorna's Fave!

  Lorna’s Fave!




We moved the party to the carpet where  the impossible not love, Nadine plopped right down with us, kicking her shoes off ready to dig in.  She shared stories with us about where she had found inspiration for her work, and let her obvious passion for her trade seep out onto us.  We started tossing necklaces and bracelets around, trimming ourselves in the jewelry like we did our mothers’ as children.  We’d try a piece on in between sips of girly shelf white wine, and chat about what we’d chosen. I asked the other three girls what they thought of what they’d selected.

Nadine chatting with Kelly about healing stones

Nadine chatting with Kelly about healing stones

Kelly, who had remarked earlier on the individualism, was drawn to stones she knew to have healing qualities.  As cancer survivor, officially in remission since January; she keeps her eyes peeled for items in nature than bode healing qualities.  Her journey with her sickness, and attention to wellness has brought her upon her choices in jewelry.  Out of those stones, one in particular jumped out at her.

“This one looks like a fishing lure,” she commented excitedly holding up the yellowish vertical stone,” like my Daddy used.”  She set it down smiling.  She had found her connection.

Whitney Thompson, a native Ashevillian piped up from the other side of the circle, holding up a gorgeous blue stone in a similar fashion. “This one reminded me of the sea,” she said.  “It’s like when you’re little.  I just wanted to take my flip-flops off.  When I saw it I wanted to go to the beach and run around.”

Whitney explaining what she loved about the peice whitpic
Whitney explaining what she loved about the piece 

Whitney’s stone actually provoked a childhood memory to surface, making her feel carefree again as she had in her most innocent years.  Whitney had found her connection.

The youngest of the group, Hannah, a 16-year-old, chose a piece unlike the rest of us, without a stone.  Her piece was raw, twisted sterling silver wired, manipulated by hand into an untamed yet simple set of earrings.  I chuckled thinking how the piece was like being a teenager, beautiful, unsure which direction it was going, and not as simple as it appeared to be.  They fit Hannah just perfectly, and hung daintily on her young ears.  She had made her connection.  I wonder if she knew…

Dainty Hannah

Dainty Hannah

While I was pondering this Whitney was perusing the backside of a necklace, “you know, their backs are just as pretty and detailed as their fronts.”

Nadine explained to the group how this is one of her trademarks.  I thought how much it made sense because there are different sides to women…many sides.  They are sometimes tucked away against our own skins for only us to enjoy and sometimes decided to be displayed so people can see our normally hidden sides.  Nadine told us she’d even been in public and saw her creation flipped over, showing them from the opposite sides.  What self-expression.

I learned something Monday night.  Jewelry isn’t just embellishment, it’s an embellishment of us.  Often times who we are is in the tiny details of the things we choose to let represent us.  We weren’t wearing jewelry, we were wearing little pieces of who we are.  I thought I was going to just play dress-up, and I did to an extent.  I just didn’t know I would be using Nadine’s art to dress up as myself.


If you want to make your connection with Jewelry by Nadine check out her collection at the Kress Emporium in downtown Asheville.

19 Patton Ave,  Asheville, NC 28801

If you’d love your own play date with Nadine call her 828-654-0993 or email her at





Have an interesting story?  Contact AskAsheville’s Lorna Hollifield at lornalh@gmail .com 828-280-1799


Find out more about Lorna’s writing journey at

What To Do: Touring Asheville On A Rainy Day

Asheville is a great city to tour, especially if it is not raining! Of course, sometimes the rain is just wonderful, when we have that perfect Spring or Fall weather, just a few drops lightly misting and falling on us, birds chirping, music playing, and romance in the air. But that is rare. The usual result from rain is that we end up getting wet. We have all experienced it, and getting drenched is no fun at all.

We have put together a list of many places to go and things to do in the area if you ever find yourself in an Asheville downpour:

1. Biltmore Estate – a rainy day in Asheville is the perfect opportunity to spend a few hours on the Estate. You can tour the house, go to a wine tasting, and experience several other activities that are not outdoors. They are located in Historic Biltmore Village, which used to be part of the Estate.

2. Grove Arcade – located in the downtown area of Asheville, this place is the perfect spot to hide until the storm passes over. Shopping, restaurants, wine and more located inside of this historic building. 

asheville fun depot

3. Fun Depot – got kids? Or maybe you just want to act like a kid again, escape the rain, and enjoy plenty of indoor activities that they have to offer. They are located up the road from Biltmore Village.

4. Grove Park Inn – this resort located on the north side of town features restaurants, shopping and are always decorated and themed for the holidays. They are located in north Asheville, minutes from downtown.

5. East Asheville Bowling or West Asheville Bowling – there are two bowling alleys, one located on Patton Avenue in west Asheville, and the other on Kenilworth Rd in east Asheville, right off of Tunnel Rd.

6. Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria – located in downtown Asheville, they have pool tables and dart boards on the top level; plus pizza and lots of beer, of course.

7. Double Decker Bus – and right across the street from Barley’s is this landmark bus, which has an upper level that is a great spot on rainy days. Bring a chess table, get some coffee and cake, and listen to the raindrops on the roof in downtown Asheville

8. Bus and Van Tours – there are several fantastic buses and vans in the area that can take you on everything from a history tour, to a brewery crawl, to a bachelor party!

asheville brew beer bus

9.  Asheville Mall – of course the mall has lots of indoor shopping, fun, games and food for your enjoyment. They are located on Tunnel Road in east Asheville.

10. Asheville Pizza Brew & View – on the north side of town on Merrimon Avenue, this establishment is the perfect spot to spend a few hours, with lots of food, beer, movies and a game room.

11. Asheville Art Museum – this place is decked out with 20th and 21st Century American art, and is a one-of-a-kind museum that provides education and culture representative to a 24 county region. They are located in downtown Asheville.

12. Chuck-E-Cheese – this is a spot where the kids like to spend an hour or two playing video games, dancing with that giant mouse, and grabbing a quick bite to eat. Located in east Asheville, right off of Tunnel Road.

13. US Cellular Center – located in downtown Asheville, this venue holds many of the larger events in the community. Wonderful shows, concerts and performances every month.

14. The Orange Peel – the premier music venue in the area, located in downtown Asheville. There are always great shows happening here, and a great place to escape wet weather.

15. Riverview Station – located in the River Arts District, this building is full of artists and crafters who create beautiful handcrafted art, jewelry and more. Several of the shops are open on weekends too, and a great spot to spend a couple of hours indoors.

riverview station river arts district

16. Arts & Entertainment Options – there are several Performing Arts venues in the Asheville and WNC area to enjoy plays and skits from wonderful performers.

17. Mountain Play Lodge – a great place to take the kids and spend a couple of hours. Located in the south Asheville area.

18. Movie Theaters – there are several movie theaters in the area including the Fine Arts Theatre in downtown Asheville. In East Asheville on Tunnel Road there are 2 other commercial theaters to choose from. Cinebarre in west Asheville is also a discount movie theater that serves beer, wine and food. There is also the Biltmore Grande in south Asheville.

19. Thomas Wolfe Memorial – take a tour of this historic property, and learn about this home written about in the book Look Homeward, Angel.

20. Smith McDowell House Museum – this is Asheville’s 1st mansion, and the oldest surviving structure in the city limits, and listed on the National Registry.

21. Buy an umbrella and walk around Biltmore Village or Downtown Asheville. I know that the Mast General Store on Biltmore Ave has a nice supply of umbrellas waiting to be sold, and it is also a good spot to spend an hour browsing and shopping their big selection.

Do you have some more great ideas for touring Asheville in the rain? Comment and let us know below…