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Category Archives: Asheville Live

Eating Green in Asheville

by Melissa (Missi) Hathaway

Asheville was placed as a top destination for America’s Greenest Dining, through a collaboration between Blue Ridge Sustainability Institute and Asheville Independent Restaurant Association (also known as AIR) and is set to continue its healthy dining initiative into the foreseeable future.

The green restaurant program includes dealing with issues of energy efficiency and waste management and a large number of eateries now support the drive and partner up with suppliers and with each other for further green ideas and developments. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Randy Talley of AIR claimed that ‘it’s good for the community, good for the planet, and good for our bottom line.’

Last year residents protested against a coal fired plant in the area, which was seen as damaging to the environment through its process of stripping coal from mountaintops, proving that Asheville takes its green issues very seriously indeed.

The move by restaurants has put Asheville on the map as America’s first Green Dining Destination and is drawing in tourists who are attracted by the green initiatives offered here and who are curious to see the results for themselves.



In February this year, Asheville managed to reach its goal of having 15 certified restaurants in the city go green, with the 16th being certified shortly afterwards, and this enabled the city to earn the accolade of America’s first green dining destination. The Mayor, Terry Bellamy, announced that ‘Asheville’s 15 Certified Green Restaurants are leading the way toward zero waste’ as well as sustainability and that they were giving diners a superior selection of establishments to choose from (airasheville.org).

Green Restaurants

The certified restaurants range from 2, 3 and 4 star dining destinations and they offer a wide range of food. All restaurants are located within Asheville. The choice includes:

French Broad Chocolates

Located on South Lexington Avenue, this eatery is all about chocolate. Visitors can relax in the chocolate lounge, sipping wine or hot chocolate and nibbling on chocolate brownies and cake. French Broad Chocolates also deliver to customers, who can browse the selection of truffles and caramels online. Locals have the option of ordering first and collecting at the restaurant.

Plant

Plant is situated on Merrimon Avenue and serves dinner from 5 to 9 Sunday to Thursday and 5 to 10 on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant offers plates featuring local flavors and is wholly vegetarian. On the menu are small plates of Seitan Satay Skewers, made with grilled pineapple and peanut sauce, and Smoke Hummus. Entrees include red curry tofu, mixed mushroom grill and smoked Portabello steak made with polenta, chard and grape tomato salad. Plant has received favourable reviews in WNC magazine and Mountain Xpress and was chosen as ‘best of WNC’ in 2012 by Mountain Xpress readers.

The Green Sage

This restaurant is located downtown and in South Asheville, and is a 4 star dining destination. Food is local and organic and the restaurant promotes healthy lifestyles with its gluten free and vegetarian dining, as well as preservative free meats. Guests can choose from grass fed beef, chicken or Tempeh sandwiches in classic, Swiss shroom or Greek Feta styles as well as Chipotle Jack burgers. Salads are a popular option at the restaurant, such as spinach and beet or Sage house salad.

The Green Sage has featured in articles about its sustainability in the Asheville Citizen Times, WNC magazine and UNC TV.

Luella’s Bar-B-Que

The ethos at Luella’s is great food made with honest, loving hands. The name of this Asheville restaurant comes from the owner’s grandmother Luella who was renowned for her astonishing cooking. Plates are cooked with soybean oil and used oils are recycled at Blue Ridge Biofuel. Guests can choose such dishes as dry rubbed sweet potato chips, smoked jumbo wings, chile rubbed beef brisket and smoked andouille sausage and there is also a selection of salads served.

Luella’s involves itself with the community through causes such as MANNA Foodbank and the American Red Cross.

Experience Asheville’s Green Dining for Yourself

Asheville is a popular tourist destination, famed for its scenery, food, art and beer. There are a wide variety of culinary delights on offer in the city, from Mediterranean to vegetarian plates and southern cooking with a twist. Asheville is proud of its cuisine and its new status as green dining destination means that there is an emphasis on healthy eating and local produce such as organic beef or mountain trout as well as seasonal vegetarian dishes and fresh salads. This is bound to attract even more visitors, particularly those for who green issues are important and like to do what they can to protect the environment. There are sidewalk cafes to sit out at and many of the city’s restaurants feature live music for their diners’ enjoyment. Tourists come to Asheville for the mountain attractions, the hospitality and food, as well as the craft fairs held throughout the year. There are online discount coupons available for visitors to Asheville, featuring special packages on local attractions, and with competitive flights available as well as online overseas car insurance deals, getting here is easier than ever. Compare the best prices from online insurance companies to make sure you are getting the best deal for your trip and visit Asheville, where green dining is taking the city by storm.

New WNC Motorcycle Tours

Wilcox World Travel and Tours has created WNC Motorcycle Tours that showcase our beautiful mountains and amazing roads that provide unforgettable rides. We love to see new activities that bring more people to Asheville and we are happy that it comes from a local company that has been here in town since 1965.

“We don’t like to buy packages and then be told, we have to buy extra this or extra that or we will be sorry.”-Tyler Wilcox

We took a look at the upcoming WNC Motorcyle Tours to see what they were all about and we are happy to know that the guys at Wilcox Travel put this together because of their love for riding in these mountains. Here are just a few reasons why we love what they have done.

Self Guided

We know what you are thinking…”But I want a guide.” Don’t worry, you can have a guide if you must. However, we love the idea of self guided tours. They provide you with the route, all the stops along the way, how long you should stay and what to see! It is exactly like having a guide there without having to be rushed along or being forced to see something you are not interested in. You don’t even have to follow the route if you don’t want to. Being self guided also means no minimum passenger requirements for you to take a tour. Go as a single rider, a couple, or as a group of 30. The possibilities are endless.

Central Hub

 This is where it helps to have motorcycle tours designed by people who actually ride them. Wilcox has designed their tours around the brand new Aloft Hotel in downtown Asheville. You need to see this place, there is no bad room in this hotel and it features many “firsts” for the Aloft brand. The tours allow you to begin and return to the hotel each day negating the need for you to carry your luggage around with you. They told us that when they ride, they don’t want to have to strap all of their junk to their bikes, they believe riding is much more enjoyable when it is just you and the bike. You also get a chance to explore downtown Asheville every night and experience why so many people fall in love with this small town.


It Is Included

We don’t like tours and activities where they nickle and dime you to death and neither does the team at Wilcox. They took the same model they use for their group tours all across the globe and brought it back home. “We don’t like to buy things and then be told, we have to buy extra this or extra that or we will be sorry.”-Tyler Wilcox. They take care of the hotel accommodations, breakfast, motorcycle rental, motorcycle delivery, motorcycle gear (including helmet, and rain gear), motorcycle full coverage insurance, 24 Hour roadside assistance, pre-planned routes and guidance, and other area information. What more could you possibly need? Leave your worries behind and ride!

What Are You Waiting On?

If you have ever wanted to come visit Asheville or the Western North Carolina Mountains there is no better time than now. We hope you will come see our beautiful mountains and experience a WNC Motorcycle Tour, we are convinced there is no better way to get the wind in your hair and connect with the majesty of the Appalachian Mountains. Call the team at Wilcox World Travel and Tours to get more information about their newly developed motorcycle tours. The first tours will start in the Spring of 2013 but they are already taking reservations!

Wilcox Travel
1 West Pack Square Suite 1700
Asheville, NC 28801

Phone: 1-800-2-WILCOX (1-800-294-5269)
E-mail: travelinfo@wilcoxtravel.com

mtoursbrochurefront

Downtown Building Collapse

A building in Downtown Asheville Collapsed today. You can view the live video on our site via our North Cam. Reports are that no people were inside and there were no injuries.



You can also follow updates on WLOS News 13.

Aloft Opens its 60th Hotel In Asheville

aloft_001

aloft_001 (Photo credit: Stéphane Bayle)

The Aloft Brand is a global hotel chain that is owned by Starwood Properties responsible for the well known Sheraton Hotels. Earlier this year, Aloft opened its 60th hotel in the heart of Downtown Asheville. The Aloft has 115 guest rooms, 1,800 square feet of outdoor meeting space on the pool deck and 649 sq. ft of indoor meeting space.

The Aloft is in walking distance to our favorite local restaurants and breweries. Shops surround the lobby entrance and Downtown is within minutes to the Biltmore Estate and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

One of our favorite features of the new Aloft is that it features artwork in public spaces as well as the guest rooms produced only by local artists. If you find something you want to take home, you can purchase anything displayed in the hotel.

We hope you will come stay with us in Asheville and experience everything our great city has to offer!

Get Ready for Fall 2012

Looking Glass Falls - HDR 1

Looking Glass Falls – HDR 1 (Photo credit: JPott)

WNC and especially Asheville is preparing for the huge amount on tourist traffic every fall season brings. Continuing to be one of the greatest towns to visit during the fall, Asheville will be ready to host anyone and everyone wanting to spend some time in the national forest areas around town.
If you are thinking about visiting Asheville for the fall season this year you need to make hotel reservations asap as space is filling up fast.
Come join us for fall 2012 and if you are not able to come visit Asheville this year, you can always see the fall colors from our webcams!

Bele Chere 2012 Countdown

1 West Pack Square 2011

With Bele Chere 2012 only one day away, you can be sure everyone in town is getting ready for the City’s largest festival of the year. Be sure to check in on Asheville Live Cam to see live video of the entire festival 24-7. We will be covering the action from the center of it all starting Friday at noon.

With the festival bringing so many people in town, our parking problem gets worse. This year the BB&T Parking garage on the corner of College and Broadway will be open for public use Friday at noon through the end of the festival on Sunday. It is one of the best secrets of the festival because the road blocks will make Broadway appear closed. If you are at the festival wave at the cams and if you can’t make it, we know you will enjoy the view on Asheville Live Cam.

Asheville’s Historic Battery Park Hotel

Vintage Postcard, Battery Park Hotel, Asheville, North CarolinaThough it’s not been an active hotel since 1972, the historic Battery Park Hotel in Asheville is still worth a visit. It now houses apartments and offices, but from 1924 until 1972, it was a hotel for many visitors who came to Asheville to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery and the refreshing climate.

The Battery Park Hotel Asheville History

The 1924 structure is 14 stories tall, a red brick building with accents borrowed from both Neoclassical and Spanish architecture. It was built by Edwin W. Grove, who also built the nearby Grove Park Inn, on the site of the first Battery Park hotel, a fancy Queen Anne style building that had been constructed in 1886. The need for a new hotel arose partly because the railroad was bringing so many new visitors to the area. Many people visited Asheville not only for its beauty but for the purity of the mountain air, making the city an attraction not only for tourists but for those recovering from tuberculosis. The original hotel was one of the first hotels in the region to have electricity and an elevator.

However, the history of the site goes back even further. The original hotel and the current day structure take their names from the fact that the hill on which they were built was a Confederate artillery battery during the Civil War. Confederate defenders dug in with Stony Hill, the highest hill in town – and now the site of the hotel – at their backs. The battle lasted only five hours and the Union troops retreated, so the Confederates never had to make their last stand at the hill.

The Biltmore Connection

Though many important and wealthy guests stayed at the original hotel, perhaps the most famous, at least from the local point of view, was George Vanderbilt. Legend has it that Vanderbilt looked out of the hotel window – or perhaps sat on the front porch — and saw the beautiful land on which he eventually built his famous Biltmore Estate, now one of Asheville’s finest historic attractions.

The “new” hotel, built in 1924, had its detractors as well as its fans. The novelist Thomas Wolfe, perhaps Asheville’s most famous native, was not overly fond of the new hotel’s architectural style. However, it seemed most people appreciated the 220 rooms, amenities and gorgeous view.

Battery Park Hotel Asheville history – they go hand in hand.