Small Town, Big Voice: Ten Reasons to Adore Candler Town

Candler, North Carolina, or Candler Town as locals refer to it, isn’t shown on most maps, remains an unincorporated town, and provides but a fraction of the population of the greater Asheville Metro area. One highway runs down the middle of the seemingly small patch of dirt once known as Harkins, and this is a place people often think is only on the way to another. However, there are many hidden jewels starting to unearth themselves. Candler is a small package full of delicious things everyone should know about, and here are the ten reasons why:

It’s a great place to PLAY! The Buncombe County Sports Complex is nestled right in the heart of Candler Town!  This gorgeous park, with Blue Ridge Mountain views, features a host of soccer fields, a bocce ball court, a sandy beach volleyball court, a playground, and a beautiful walking and biking trail.  It’s a great place to take advantage of pristine picnic sheds and spend a day in nature with the fam!  Also don’t forget to check out the awesome community garden and orchard on site!

It’s a place of budding  new businesses! Candler is home to many small businesses, and is a “mom and pop” capitol of sorts.  The latest to crop up? A two-mama shop, owned by Brooke Rickman and Charity Grindstaff, called  Blue Ridge Chicks.  These lovely ladies with a stock full of “vintage treasures and creative beauties,” bring a whole new world of shabby chic apparel and décor to the Asheville area via their amazing trunk shows.  The ladies tell AskAsheville, “we are two soulful southern chicks, born and raised smack dab in the middle of the blue ridge mountains of WNC.  We are artists, designers, dreamers and followers of Christ.”  Make sure to visit these innovative ladies at to become part of their journey that brings folk-art-esque designs into the 21st century.

The Blue Ridge Chicks, Charity and Brooke!

The Blue Ridge Chicks, Charity and Brooke!

 It’s a place with roots!

Candler makes new businesses, but keeps the old!  Any Candler native loves the town favorite, Miami Restaurant.  The place, like the little town itself, may not look like a whole lot at first glance, but has tons to offer!  Though the restaurant has been around for decades on end, and was once a part of the now abandoned Miami hotel, Zack and Georgia Papazahariou have owned and operated it for thirty years.  Patrons of the restaurant are guaranteed to see Georgia herself mixing up her famous potato salad whenever they pop their heads around the corner of her friendly kitchen.  Donna Brooks, a  Candler grandmother known to many simply as “Nanny,” says about Miami, “[It’s] local people, local gossip, wonderful Greek spaghetti. Never had a dull moment.”

The Miami Restaurant.  Sweet and simple.

The Miami Restaurant. Sweet and simple. Just try the  tea!

 The Farm!

The Farm, located just off Justice Ridge Road, only 10 minutes from Asheville is one of the most beautiful wedding venues in town.  Just behind a beautifully restored Victorian Farmhouse rests the “barn,”  where memories are made every weekend.  The feeling of going back to a simpler time, where entire communities gathered hovers over this place, but with an unparalleled level of elegance lingering close by.  For pictures and testimonials visit

 Biltmore Lake!

Biltmore Lake is one of the nicest and most family-friendly communities in Buncombe County.  It is an upper-scale community, but because of the arts & crafts inspired lake houses, the neighborhood maintains a certain quaintness.  The tree-lined streets, walking trails, 62 acre lake with beach areas, and recreation facilities are the cherry on top of the gorgeous houses that are perfect for porch-sitting!  Everyone who lives in the lakeside mini-community knows they are home at last.  Biltmore Lake is indeed a gem in Candler.  Visit for more info!

 Pisgah View Ranch!

This dude ranch, known as the best dude ranch this side of the Mississippi, is located serenely at the foot of Mount Pisgah.  Not only is it a great place to spend the day horseback riding up winding mountain trails, but to also spend the night.  The old farmhouse now serves as a bed and breakfast with cozy rooms and home-cooked meals.  Moreover, the tennis court, pool, and Pioneer Museum ensures something to do for all!

 Musicians Galore!

Everyone knows on any given night it’s possible to spot Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Artimus Pyle at the Smoky Park Applebees’s.  However, the town holds even further-reaching musical roots. Candler folks are no strangers to a little pickin’ on the porch.  On many of those porches where fingers are bloodied from six-strings  and singing voices are perfectly raspy from moonshine, dreams are born.  Bands such as blue-grass crooners, Sons of Ralph, hail from the tiny town, along with local country singer, Jody Medford.  Medford has performed on stage with names such as Dolly Parton, Don Williams, and Wayne Newton.  He was recently added to CMT’s artists, with a video produced by Lonestar’s, Keech Rainwater.  The community is anxiously awaiting the release of Medford’s new album, produced by the highly revered band, Alabama’s guitarist, Kimo Forrest, with whom he’ll be touring with this summer!  Medford says, “being an Enka- Candler native, I never dreamed these kind of doors would open musically for me; and I’m so proud to be from this area, and wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Jody Medford in his element!

Jody Medford in his element!

Historic Enka

Enka doesn’t exist anymore, except within the arms of Candler.  No one even has a physical address of Enka, NC anymore, yet it is an enormous part of history in Candler.  Enka is an acronym for four Dutch words that the once thriving ENKA plant was named for.  Many citizens moved to this area just to work at “the plant.”  In 1929, Enka Village, an adorable collection of brick homes, still standing on the tree-decorated streets was built to provide a community for plant workers.  The neighborhood is still a playground for laughing children and backyard barbecues.  It’s a great place to live, steeped in history, and has a great view of the old Enka Plant clock tower that has become an unofficial symbol of the community.  Jack Lovingood, who grew up in Enka Village says, “the clock tower has been an icon in the community my entire life, and seeing it standing there brings a certain level of comfort and nostalgia.”

Clock Tower at about a mile's everywhere!

Clock Tower at about a mile distance…it’s everywhere!

 Access to the Blue Ridge Parkway!

The Blue Ridge Parkway is the longest single-planned road in the country, winding through 469 miles of national parks, scenic overlooks, and vacation opportunities; and guess what else?  Perfect access from Candler, NC.  Candler is the perfect little town to stop off in for a goodnight’s sleep on a Blue Ridge road trip!

 Asheville Hot Air Balloons!

Candler is the home to the only business that has the ability to fly tourists and locals alike across this portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  By stopping off in Candler, a person may just experience the thrill of a lifetime soaring overtop the trees watching the birth of a Carolina dawn.  Stay tuned with as we take the journey as a team next Saturday, May 10th.  We can’t wait to share our experiences, pictures, and good times with everyone on Candler’s most exciting attraction!  Also visit

Just like Gin and Citrus

One of the things I love most about my city is that it has preserved an era…and completely by accident.  For such a modern, progressive, and hip city, Asheville still knows how to hold onto the good ol’ days.  Asheville is a wide-open time capsule full of hair feathers, drop-waisted dresses, Fitzgerald novels, and big band music.  It’s present even when no one’s dressed in theme and the blues horns hush for the night.  That “it” quality hangs around in the delightfully musty scents and subtly ornate ceilings of old 1920s buildings.  It’s Ashevillians’ everyday stomping grounds.

48 Biltmore Avenue is no exception.  In fact, the ceiling was the first thing I noticed upon walking into Chestnut, a restaurant and lounge here in Asheville.  There’s something so romantic about the raised cream-colored tiles, that I later learned to no surprise, are the 1924 originals.  I walked over to the bar and hopped up on the stool, going straight for the cocktail menu.  The “Saint Graham” suspiciously favors the “Gin Rickey,” Nick Gatsby’s famed favorite drink.  Gin and citrus. Just the sound of it makes me take a deeper breath.

One thing about Chestnut I must point out is that it is not themed.  That’s perhaps why it’s great.  It resurrects the lost generation organically.  No fear of finding cheesy posters of This Side of Paradise, or cocktails named something like, “Hemming My Way.”  It doesn’t exist, because there’s no need for a theme.  This place is real.  It’s relaxing; it’s smooth; it’s easy going; it’s new south delicious; it’s all Asheville.

After I devoured my fried green tomatoes, that were somehow the marriage of Grandma’s from the garden and a taste that can only be described as sassy, I chatted with manager, Ken Rethmeier.  Much like the restaurant itself, Ken is laid back, inviting, and delighted to have us.  He proudly filled us in on the ceilings, and original chestnut fixtures, and I could tell the history of the venue had become part of him as well.  When great leadership, awesome service, history, and yummy food meet, the synergy of it all just sizzles.  In this case it sizzles quietly, and refreshingly just like that first cocktail I laid eyes on.  Gin and citrus everywhere.

I was entranced by the atmosphere, clearly, so I decided to look behind the curtain.  I wanted to know what the quality was.  Where did this food come from?  When I found out it was all local, farm to table, and green, I was sold.  This truly is the Asheville poster restaurant.

I asked Rethmeier, “What’s one thing you want me to know that I don’t?  What do you want to tell me about this place?”

He replied with a grin, “it’s warm and inviting.  You can come taste local craft food and cocktails…and we’re the only place that still hand chops ice.”

Hand chopped ice.  I do believe I’ve made my case.


















Taking a Stroll Through Downtown Asheville

downtown asheville by audrey goforth

One of the most fun things to do on a Friday or Saturday night is to take a simple walk through Downtown Asheville, where you will be highly entertained by musicians, street performers, dancers, art, drums and many more activities. This is definitely a main attraction in the community! Of course we have the Asheville Drum Circle on Friday evenings, and the Splashville Water Fountain daily. Photo by.. Asheville Photographer Audrey Goforth.