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Tag Archives: North Carolina

A Glimpse of Asheville

DSC00004Located in the mountains of Western North Carolina, lays the beautiful city of Asheville. Whether you come here in the fall to see the leaves change color on the parkway, a spring visit to the Biltmore House to see the flowers bloom, or for a summer vacation to enjoy all the outdoor activities you can imagine, Asheville is the perfect place to visit any time of the year.  

This small city is a great place to be if you’re traveling here with your family, by yourself, or with your significant other. The adventure of Asheville begins as soon as you step foot in downtown. Here you will find some of the best restaurant and small shops. You will not want to miss a trip to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge! Call us here at Wilcox Travel and we would love to set you up a tour of downtown Asheville so that you can learn the history of the wonderful town. While you are downtown make a trip down to the River Arts District to enjoy multiple art studios and experience the culture of Asheville. If you are a fan of the night scene then you will love some of the bars there are, including Aloft hotel where you can go on the roof and see all of the city under the stars.

Just ten minutes from downtown Asheville located in Biltmore Forest sits The Biltmore Estate. The house is one of the biggest private homes in the US and the estate is one of the largest that is still privately owned. Don’t forget to get your tickets at the front gate because you will not want to miss out on the walk through tours they offer of the home. A visit to the Biltmore Estate can last all day and will still leave you wanting more. Surrounding the house are the estates gardens, a pond, and many walking trails, including one that line the French Broad River. Not to mention the many dining options they have from snacks to completely formal, which is great for celebrations and special occasions. You can enjoy a free tour of the winery and if you are of age, free wine testing when the tour is complete! The options at The Biltmore Estate are endless.

After you have enjoyed two of the most famous places in Asheville you will want to continue your adventure outdoors! Surrounding Asheville are many hiking trails, waterfalls, places to zip line, a tubing experience down the river, a drive down the parkway, and much more. The hiking trails range from very easy, something the whole family can do and then there are strenuous ones for the most adventure seeking outdoor lovers! While on your hike or outdoor adventure there will be plenty of opportunities to view the wildlife. There are also great places to horseback ride, or play golf in the valley of the mountains.

If you love to shop there is something for you too! Besides the many shops in downtown Asheville and Biltmore Forest, an outlet mall recently opened up fifteen minutes down the road with plenty of stores for all different tastes.

There are so many activities to do you will want to spend as much time in Asheville that you can! Enjoy your adventures and come see us here in these beautiful mountains we call home. Contact Wilcox Travel so we can help you plan the perfect trip to Asheville, NC.

Biltmore again tops NC tourism list

Biltmore again tops NC tourism list!

— The Biltmore House in Asheville was again the most-visited attraction in North Carolina in 2013, according to Matthews-based Carolina Publishing Associates prompting the headline: Biltmore again tops NC tourism list.

Biltmore again tops NC tourism list

Biltmore Estate, 1890–1895, Asheville, North Carolina, Richard Morris Hunt, architect (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The former estate of the wealthy Vanderbilt family drew more than 1.2 million visitors for the year. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh also topped the million-visitor mark and the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro had a respectable 739,943 guests.

The Triangle claims seven of the top 30 most-visited attractions in the state.

Most-visited museums and attractions, 2013 

1. Biltmore, Asheville, 1,210,138.

2. NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, 1,026,177.

3. North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro, 739,943.

4. Fort Macon State Park, Atlantic Beach, 722,260.

5. Discovery Place, Charlotte, 705,845.

6. Marbles Kids Museum, Raleigh. 648,450.

7. Fort Fisher State Historic Site, Kure Beach. 614,158.

8.Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kill Devil Hills, 489,123.

9. NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Kure Beach, 447,892.

10. Museum of Life and Science, Durham, 421,095.

11. NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, 389, 612.

12. Jennette's Pier, Nags Head, 308,786.

13. North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville. 332,748.

14. Greensboro Science Center, 325,536.

15. NC Maritime Museums (Beaufort, Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, Hatteras, NC Maritime Museum at Southport), 325,921.

16. NC Museum of History, Raleigh. 288,800.

17. North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, 287,605.

18. NC Aquarium at Roanoke Island, Manteo, 275,141.

19. Fort Raleigh National Historic Park, Manteo, 264,942.

20. Grandfather Mountain, Linville, 314,127.

21. Battleship North Carolina, Wilmington, 211,724

22. Chimney Rock State Park, Chimney Rock. 194,073.

23. Duke University Chapel, Durham, 182,215.

24. Tryon Palace, New Bern 181,350.

25. NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte, 173,024.

26. Linville Caverns, Marion, 170,689.

27. Old Salem Museums Gardens, Winston-Salem, 146,900.

28. Cherokee Cultural Attractions, Cherokee, 145,778.

29. Morehead Planetarium, Chapel Hill, NC 142,135.

30. Mint Museums, Charlotte, 142,057.
 

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WilsonMcGuire carves out niche marketing golf, tourism

WilsonMcGuire Creative in Winston-Salem has carved out a name for itself promoting golf events, including the PGATour's Wyndham Championship.

WilsonMcGuire Creative in Winston-Salem has carved out a name for itself promoting golf events, including the PGATour's Wyndham Championship.

Owen Covington Reporter- The Business Journal Email  | Twitter  | Google+  | LinkedIn
Skyline of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The ...

Skyline of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The prominent building on the left is the BB&T Financial tower; the tallest building, on the right, is the Wachovia Center. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this month pronounced his dedication to making golf big business in North Carolina, it was welcome news to LeAnn Wilson McGuire.

It's not that she's an avid golfer — she only really took up learning the game last year. But as an advertising executive, she's carved out a niche for her Winston-Salem agency, WilsonMcGuire Creative, as a go-to firm for golf.

"I was super-excited to hear him say that," Wilson McGuire told The Business Journal.

WilsonMcGuire was tapped as agency of record for the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open, with both to be held this year in Pinehurst.

Her agency is running full bore in promoting the event by overseeing its web presence, online and print advertising, ticket design and a wide range of advertising services for the event. The events run back-to-back June 12 through June 22.

Pinehurst Hedge

Pinehurst Hedge (Photo credit: deltaMike)

It was Wilson McGuire's relationship with Pinehurst Resort, cultivated years ago, that led to this year's U.S. Open work.

She began working with the resort while a partner at The Burris Agency in Greensboro, and after leaving the firm in 2003 to set out on her own, the resort was one of her first clients.

"I grew up on a golf course, so I understand the sport 100 percent," she said.

The first work for the U.S. Women's Open came for the 2007 event, generated by relationships she'd developed through her work for Pinehurst. The following year, the agency was selected to design the tickets for the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

And the work has continued to grow, primarily through relationships and word of mouth. She now has a list of past and present clients that includes the Carolinas Golf Association, the U.S. Golf Association, the former Pinehurst Championship Management and the Wyndham Championship.

Owen Covington covers health care, insurance, law/bankruptcy court, media/advertising, local government and sports business.

Foodie vacation destination: The Admiral in Asheville, N.C.

Go For the Food is a weekly AP food and travel series about food as a driver of tourism.

BY LINDSEY TANNER

ASHEVILLE, N.C. | In downtown Asheville, good restaurants are as handsomely conspicuous as the artsy boutiques and bodegas that give the Blue Ridge Mountain mecca its trendy, vibrant flair.

IF YOU GOCooks @ The Admiral

The Admiral: 400 Haywood Road, West Asheville, N.C., 828-252-2541SunnyPointCafe

Sunny Point Cafe: 626 Haywood Road, West Asheville, N.C., 828-252-0055

Across the French Broad River, in West Asheville? Not so much. This is the funkier side of town, where families, artists and workers live in frame bungalows lining narrow, hilly side streets, and the main drag, Haywood Road, has an earthier, slightly gritty feel.

That’s why driving down Haywood, you’re more apt to notice the gas station across the street than the squat cinder block building that houses The Admiral.

“Chances are, you will pass us at least three times. You won’t be able to find a good parking place,” said Admiral co-owner Drew Wallace.

When The Admiral opened in 2007, Wallace and business partner Jonathan Robinson called this “the wage-earning side of town” and their aim was to create a successful dive bar/unexpected restaurant. It has more than met their desires. West Asheville has blossomed since those early days, and The Admiral has morphed from a neighborhood tavern into a destination restaurant, but it still feels like a wonderfully hidden gem.

Reservations are a must, unless you want to sit at the bar and are willing to wait. But those are the best seats in the small, dimly lit space. That’s where you get the best view of the open, galley kitchen, where a quartet of chefs busily cook up small plates of unforgettable mussels, bathed in a slightly smoky sauce of San Marzano tomatoes; entrees like meaty, barbecue sauced pork chops with collard greens and root vegetable gratin; or an other-worldly version of steak frites, featuring black Angus rib-eye, sweet potato chips, green beans and quail egg salad. Desserts might include a sinfully delicious chocolate mousse with cherry clotted cream and red wine cherry sauce, but the eclectic menu changes regularly, so prepare for the unexpected.

“There is really no straightforward summary of our style” Wallace says. “The food tends to be a little more experimental than most of our peers.” And much of it is locally sourced from family-owned businesses.

The slightly kitschy decor includes a neon “Dive” sign in one corner, a handful of industrial-looking hanging lamps and black-clad, tattooed and welcoming servers.

There are no uppity attitudes at The Admiral, and that’s partly what draws Boomers, hipsters, business execs and obvious out-of-towners. Most appetizers and small plates cost $12 or less, and entrees run up to $30. On Friday and Saturday nights, tables are pushed aside at 10 p.m. for dance parties.

Also on Haywood Road is the informal Sunny Point Cafe, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but best known for amazingly fluffy and delicious biscuits and legendary waits for breakfast and brunch.

Sierra Nevada gets closer to rolling out beer and opening

While there still is more work to do before full-scale production commences, Sierra Nevada has achieved a spot-on flavor match between its two top-selling brands produced in Mills River and at the company’s Chico, Calif. brewery.

Sierra Nevada Pale AleSierra Nevada Pale Ale and Torpedo Extra IPA — the No. 2-selling craft beer in the U.S. and top-selling IPA in the country, respectively — are now being brewed and bottled at the Mills River plant, but company spokesman Ryan Arnold said they are “still probably a couple of months out before we’re really pushing things out the door.”

Sierra Nevada’s quality-control process is a rigorous one, with up to 150 checks conducted in its high-tech research and development lab. The company says it tests everything from raw ingredients and water chemistry to full-spectrum molecular analysis to determine if its beer “has a potential for off-flavors before it ever makes it out of the kettle or fermenter.” The company also is splitting shipments of malt and hops between Mills River and Chico to eliminate variability from batch to batch and ensure consistency between the two breweries.

In addition, Arnold said, a Sierra Nevada team of professionals with “highly developed sensory capabilities” taste-tests fermenter samples and packaged beer three times a week for final approval. Samples of Mills River beer are shipped overnight to Chico, and then analyzed and discussed via video conference by panels on both coasts before final approval is given.

“We have hit one or two home runs with some of the batches of Pale Ale and Torpedo, but we’re extremely quality-driven, so one or two home runs isn’t quite enough; we’re looking for a home run on every swing,” Arnold said. “So it is going to take some more time and some more test brewing, and that’s just two brands.”

Sierra Nevada, the country’s second-largest craft beer maker that was named one of the top 100 breweries in the world this month by the consumer-rating website Ratebeer.com, also will be brewing several other year-round and seasonal beers in Mills River, including some of its High Altitude Series brews.

“We also need time to nail some of those other brands,” Arnold said. “So while we can kind of celebrate and appreciate that we’re nailing it with some of these test batches of Pale Ale and Torpedo, it’s still an exercise in patience to being able to ship beer out of there.”

Sierra Nevada's Mills River NC PlantThe company also is busy testing and refining procedures for the Mills River plant to serve as a new distribution hub by sending Chico-brewed beer to Mills River, storing it in a refrigerated warehouse and then shipping orders to regional distributors.

“That, too, is going to take a little time to work out any kinks so that we’ll be able to cover the majority of the East Coast,” Arnold said, adding that a rail spur similar to the one in Chico has been set up to limit travel for delivery trucks to within a couple miles of the brewery.

Brewery eyes August opening

Meanwhile, Western North Carolina residents and officials are gearing up for the opening the brewery to the public later this year. The $100 million facility on the French Broad River is expected to be among the most technologically advanced, aesthetically impressive and visitor-friendly breweries in the world, with a focus on alternative energy, environmentally conscious construction, reforestation and river quality monitoring and protection.

The company announced this month that installation of its parking lot solar array, featuring nearly 200 individual panels, had recently been completed and will complement a much larger rooftop array.

Beth Cardin, executive director of the Henderson County Tourism Development Authority, said that while her department is monitoring the Sierra Nevada project before highlighting the brewery in printed literature, officials are promoting it verbally in the Visitors Center. And, according to Cardin, the next installment of the Hendersonville Vacation Planner also will dedicate an editorial page to the growing beer and wine industries in the area.

“We’re expecting it to impact our tourism tremendously this year — the last half of the year, anyway,” she said of the impending Sierra Nevada opening. “We think it’s going to be an overnight success; we don’t think it’s going to take long to let people know that they’re up and running.”

Arnold said the company hopes to open its doors by August, aiming for a grand opening that would coincide with the culmination of Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Across America tour this summer.

“The whole process has been a whirlwind,” Arnold said. “We’re trying to build a world-class facility rather quickly, when it comes down to it. August is probably an ambitious goal, but that’s what we’re hoping — where we can have a pub and tour team and other pieces of the brewery experience all complete so we can welcome folks in.”

The Beer Camp Across America project will also feature a first-of-its-kind, variety 12-pack of beers that will be produced in collaboration with a dozen of the country’s most acclaimed breweries at both Sierra Nevada breweries. Representatives from those breweries, including Oskar Blues and the Asheville Brewers Alliance consortium, have been traveling to Chico the past couple months designing and brewing the test pilot batches of their respective brews.

Sierra Nevada’s progress in Mills River comes as the company has unleashed a bevy of new, innovative products to the national market, while initial reports of craft beer’s 2013 performance last week suggest continued growth for the industry.

According to a report in USA Today, craft beer production grew by 9.6 percent last year, from 178 million cases to 195 million. This despite total U.S. beer sales receding by 1.4 percent — including a 3.5 percent decrease in light beer and 2.4 percent drop in overall mainstream domestic beer volume — as American consumers thirst for fuller-flavored, locally made brews.

Another report by the Beer Institute released last week said that 2013 saw a record 3,700 breweries nationwide as permitted by the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (which includes breweries that are not yet operational). That includes 114 breweries in North Carolina — or 32 more than in 2012 — which ranks the Tar Heel State No. 10 in the country.

McCrory: Let’s make golf big business in North Carolina

Premier Distributor of Outdoor Recreation Products Locates in Asheville

SportHansa
In conjunction with the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County (EDC) and Venture Asheville, Sport Hansa LLC, a premier importer and distributor of European outdoor product brands, today announced its relocation to Asheville.  The firm’s expanded distribution center will allow for continued growth and expansion of product lines that today include Helle knives of Norway, Kupilka camping dishware of Finland, Montane technical outerwear and Terra Nova tents of the United Kingdom, as well as Wetterlings Axe Works of Sweden.  The three-year-old company will locate at 10 Business Park Circle in Arden.

“As we continued to expand our customer base and add further European brands, we looked for a location that offered key attributes such as a business friendly environment and a cluster of other important players in the outdoor industry. After an extensive search, Asheville continually came up at the top of our list,” stated Matt Huff, Managing Director of Sport Hansa. The company is relocating its headquarters and distribution operations from Longmont, Colorado.

Additionally, the firm announced the appointment of a new Director of Marketing and Inside Sales. Formerly with North Carolina based Diamond Brand Outdoors, John Stephens will be tasked with designing and implementing programs to better support the company’s 220 outdoor retail customers in the USA and Canada.

“The arrival of Sport Hansa fulfills two strategic goals of the Asheville 5×5 and Venture Asheville initiatives,” said EDC Chairman Paul Szurek. “The company will create sustainable jobs and investment in the outdoor products sector, while becoming another effective participant in our entrepreneurial community. Both groups are advantageous for long-term job growth.”

“We’re proud to welcome the Huff family and Sport Hansa to Asheville,” said David Gantt, Chairman of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. “These products have a reputation for quality and craftsmanship in the outdoor recreation arena and are a great fit for Buncombe County.”

Loran Evans, President and Owner of Asheville-based Rightline Gear, also welcomed the company and the growth of the outdoor products industry. “This announcement is great news for the growing outdoor gear community in Asheville. Our city is the perfect spot for Sport Hansa to grow its business.”

The move also coincides with the announcement of two new manufacturer representatives. Summit Sales and Campbell Sports will represent Helle Norwegian knives and Wetterlings Swedish axes in the Southeast and Mountain regions respectively. For more information on Sport Hansa and product sales, please visit www.sport-hansa.com

The EDC for Asheville-Buncombe County is a public-private partnership committed to: creating and retaining high quality jobs, community leadership, and being a resource for better business decisions. The EDC accomplishes this mission through its four core services: business retention and expansion, small business and entrepreneurship, research, and marketing and recruitment. The EDC is funded by Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, the Town of Weaverville, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and the AVL 5×5 Campaign.

The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce is a member organization with over 1,800 member businesses and organizations. Chamber members collaborate with community organizations and coalitions to support the community and each other with the mission of building community through business. The Chamber is home to a 4,000 square foot Visitor Center which welcomes over 195,000 visitors per year.