Things To Do

Finding Your Tune in Asheville | A Guide to Asheville Music

These mountains inspire creativity. Asheville is an obvious magnet for outdoor enthusiasts (with good reason), but it is also the regularly selected "studio" for painters, potters, crafters, chefs, brewers, musicians and more.  Asheville's thriving art culture is clearly evidenced by places such as the River Arts District, a section of Asheville that boasts 200 artists in 22 industrial buildings. It should be no surprise that this beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain paradise which is home to artists of all types, is also brimming with the music of a variety of genres. 

Asheville’s rich music history began with Scotch-Irish settlers and evolved into “mountain music,” and was additionally formed by musicians like Jimmie Rodgers, Doc Watson, and the Steep Canyon Rangers. Bluegrass, clogging, and old-time mountain music have been reverberating around these mountains for decades. Much of this music can be witnessed during Asheville’s 50+ year-running annual gathering which is known as the Shindig on the Green, in which residents and visitors, alike gather on the Pack Square green space and watch toe-tapping folk and bluegrass music.  

Many musical legends have deep roots in our region, including Roberta Flack, Nina Simone, Warren Haynes, The Steep Canyon Rangers, David Holt, Doc Watson. The Father of Electronic Music and creator of the Minimoog Analog Synthesizer, Bob Moog, established his Moog Music Factory in Asheville and has lived in the area for 30 years.

Bluegrass and folk music tend to run in the veins of the region but it certainly isn’t limited to those genres.

In terms of venues, The Orange Peel tends to hold the reputation as one of the most popular live music venues in the country, having hosted greats like Modest Mouse, Tegan and Sara, Bob Dylan, Smashing Pumpkins, Beastie Boys, The Black Keys, Hootie & the Blowfish, Jason Mraz, and many more music legends. Rolling Stone magazine named it one of the top five music venues in America in 2008. There are even more incredible and intimate music venues such as The Grey Eagle and The Mothlight and Ambrose West. Mainstream, high capacity events, and concerts in the area tend to congregate at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium at the US Cellular Center.

Beyond paid musical performances, there are also free traditions like Isis Restaurant & Music Hall’s Tuesday Bluegrass Sessions and the Asheville Friday Night Drum Circle which has been Asheville’s favorite drumming dance party for over 20 years, taking place in Pritchard Park. For more information on live music in Asheville, we recommend checking out ExploreAsheville.com's music calendar. 

Dare to be scared: An Asheville Halloween

Kids love Halloween. Adults love Halloween. Pets love Halloween. Asheville loves Halloween, and here, you’ll find plenty of ways to celebrate the spookiest time of year. Whether you’re interested in learning about Asheville’s haunted history or wanting to experience something a bit scarier, there’s something happening for everyone. So take a break from the leaf looking and check out these Halloween happenings.

Maybe you love Halloween, but don’t exactly love the scarier aspects of the holiday? Well, you can now have your Halloween candy and eat it too with these family-friendly Halloween activities in Asheville. Eliada’s Annual Corn Maze runs from September 14 through October 27th and features a monster mystery scavenger hunt. There’s a jumping pillow (for adults and kids), tractor rides, tube slides, and more. 100% of the proceeds also go to support the children of Eliada. The WNC Nature Center hosts its Howl-O-Ween on October 26. Stop in to enjoy Halloween themed arts and crafts, face painting, a hay maze, and educational animal encounters. There’s also a costume contest so make sure you dress up. Downtown Black Mountain will host the 16th Annual Howl-O-Ween Pet Parade. You’ll love watching the pets strutting through downtown in their best costumes. There’s also a costume contest that will follow the parade. A truly unique Halloween experience is the Adventure Center of Asheville’s Halloween Twilight in the Treetops on October 26th. Take a climb in trees with this magical night-time obstacle course, which will be illuminated with more than 15,000 lights and lasers. On October 26th from 10am- 1pm, The Orange Peel, along with Asheville Pizza & Brewing, is hosting the Halloween Outdoor Kid Hop. This event will include an open dance area, live DJ, costume contest, Halloween crafts, bounce house, and Asheville Brewing beer on tap for the parents.

A great way to familiarize yourself with Asheville and learn more about Asheville’s spooky history is a ghost tour. You’ll have several to choose from as each ghost tour is unique. Haunted Asheville Ghost Tours was developed by a renowned paranormal expert and is the only tour that includes admission to the Asheville Mystery Museum. Ghost Hunters of Asheville offers 3 distinct walking tours- downtown Asheville, historic Montford, and downtown Black Mountain. The downtown Asheville is an interactive experience comprised of ghost stories, paranormal information, and Asheville history. Gray Line Trolley Tours offers a Haunted History and Murder Mystery Trolley Ghost Tour from October through mid-November. The iconic red trolleys will drive you around downtown Asheville and spook you with stories like The Pink Lady at the Grove Park Inn, the Ghost of Church Street, or the child spirits at the haunted hospital. LaZoom Haunted Comedy Tour is an adult-oriented comedy and ghost tour for those “who want to die...of laughter”. Recommended for ages 17 and up, beer and wine are welcome aboard the big purple LaZoom bus. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll scream during this 60-minute BOO-ze cruise. In celebration of Black Mountain’s 125th birthday, Black Mountain’s Historic Haunted House Tour will be a 2 hour long walking tour of downtown Black Mountain on October 25 and 26.

And is it really Halloween if you haven’t tested your bravery at one of the Asheville’s haunted houses and trails? The Haunted Trail at Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mountain runs from October 24-28. This family-friendly trail leads you through a maze of live actors, spooky surprises, eventually rewarding the brave with a party at Pisgah Park. There will be Halloween crafts, contests, local food vendors and Pisgah Beer on tap. Rated one of the best haunted houses in North Carolina, Pinhead’s Graveyard in Asheville is the longest-running outdoor haunted house in Western North Carolina. Here you’ll encounter some of Hollywood’s most notorious horror movie monsters, including Pinhead, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and more. About 15 minutes from Asheville, the scariest Halloween attraction is The Haunted Farm- a 50-minute excursion of terror. You’ll walk (and scream) your way through The Woods, The Farm, and The Haunted Hayride.

For the best trick or treating on Ole Hallows Eve, check out these locations:

  • Church Street in Black Mountain is a scene straight out of Halloweentown. Church Street shuts down for trick or treaters and every house is decorated for the evening. Community donated candy means the kids will score big

  • Montford is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Asheville, kids will love the endless selection of homes with candy while parents will undoubtedly fall in love with the historic homes.

  • Vermont Ave in West Asheville is a community dedicated to a fun, safe Halloween experience. The street is shut down to traffic and many of the homes will be decorated to the tens. 

  • South Slope for adult “trick or treating”. Costume contests, beer and Halloween candy pairings, and an endless supply of Asheville’s best breweries, South Slope is the perfect trick or treat afterparty location for 21 and up.

Western NC Swimming Holes Are Calling This Summer

Living in Asheville not only provides access to incredible hiking but also proximity to some of the most incredible natural swimming spots you’ll ever find. If you’re considering buying a home in the western NC mountains, you can skip the swimming pool amenity for the carefree enjoyment of one of western NC’s natural swimming holes.

Perhaps the most iconic locale for local mountain dips is Sliding Rock, located less than an hour from Asheville. Basically a natural water park, this wonderfully popular spot includes a long water-covered descent, culminating with a drop into a breathtakingly refreshing pool. Nationally ranked as one of the top 10 natural swimming holed, Sliding Rock gets crowded on hot summer days so plan to have some company when you take the plunge!

For something a less known, head over to Whaleback Swimming Hole, just a few more miles away from Sliding Rock. Accessible from the Cove Creek Falls hiking area, this cooling off spot is more about wading and resting than sliding. Regardless, however, it still manages to cool you down from the summer heat. It’s also a great location for some terrific hiking while you’re there.

Turtleback FallsA little further from Asheville in that same direction is Turtleback Falls, a natural sliding area that concludes in a swimming hole. Recommended only for strong swimmers, it is not recommended for young children and requires strong swimmers. Also, only a little further down the river is Hidden Falls, a more family-friendly swimming spot. All are accessible from within Gorges State Park.

Hooker Falls, located within DuPont State Park, provides a peaceful cooling off spot, and again the watering hole is part of a series of waterfalls making it a great hike/swim combo spot. The other falls are not conducive with swimming so plan to cool off at Hooker Falls but enjoy the various waterfalls before you take a dip.

And speaking of dipping, another great option is Skinny Dip Falls, which contrary to its name is not clothes optional! With a jumping off rock and plenty of places to wade, this area is worth a trip for the scenery year round. For something with a more dramatic waterfall, head over to Looking Glass Falls which features a waterfall with a 60 foot cascade. You can wade into the water and near the waterfall and is a bit more easily accessible than some of the other spots. Greybeard Realty Available Homes

And for anyone seeking a larger swimming area than these waterfall areas provide, take advantage of the numerous local lakes including Lake Lure and Lake James. With sandy beaches and ample swimming areas, these lakes provide a chance for more swimming with less hiking.

Yes, living in western NC means hiking and incredible access to natural swimming holes. This provided list is only the beginning for residents looking to cool off from the summer heat in a natural setting. If you have some summer favorite cooling off spots, we would love to hear about them! And if you’re ready to live up this way, whether it’s year round or seasonally, Greybeard Realty would love to welcome you to the area. Take a look at Greybeard’s exclusive listings and contact us. And, please, if you head out to one of the numerous swimming holes and waterfalls, please use extreme caution. Most places do not have lifeguards, and wet rocks can be extremely slippery. Use good judgement and have a safe time making the most of western NC’s beauty.

Loving Life in Western North Carolina

With autumn coming to a close and Thanksgiving just around the corner, it seems natural to look around and take note of why we are grateful to live and work in the western NC mountains. Next year marks the 20th anniversary in the history of Greybeard Realty, and we are very thankful to have made our home in the area with offices now in Black Mountain, Asheville, and Old Fort.

Probably the first thing that comes to mind is the people. There’s something very special about living in close-knit communities that come together when needed and support each other. And each community has its own identity, whether it’s Asheville, Black Mountain, Old Fort or any one of the other local towns. Greybeard recently produced a video of life in Black Mountain and a day in Asheville that encapsulates some of this charm.At Greybeard Realty, we are fortunate to have local employees who know the different areas. In fact, most every employee has a western NC tie to the area. In some instances, people were born and raised here and have never left. In other cases, people arrived here for college or through marriage and have decided to settle in and stay. That commitment to the local area is something that is very important in setting Greybeard apart from some of the other national real estate companies that have come into the area.

Another bright spot about western NC is the natural beauty. Is there anyone who hasn’t hiked up to Lookout in Montreat for a sunrise and been so grateful for the incredible views and peacefulness? And the innumerable trails and hikes throughout western NC draw thousands of visitors each year, and we are fortunate enough to have them all right out our back door!

And next, let’s throw in the diverse restaurants and the craft beer industry. The Asheville area is known both as Beer City USA and as Foodtopia. Again, people come from all over to enjoy our cuisine and our beers, and we can just head into town. On Greybeard’s Things to Do List, there is the well-known Biltmore Estate to tour and the lesser-known but still remarkable Thomas Wolfe House. There’s also the Black Mountain Center for the Arts as well as the Montford Park Players. And there’s something very moving about the Friday night Drum Circle that pulls together the diverse community in Asheville.

So, as we head into winter and the holidays, it feels important to recognize what makes western NC such a superior place to live. At Greybeard, we are very grateful to be here, and we appreciate the folks that have let us help them buy and sell their homes. Greybeard Realty feels very fortunate to have grown here the last nearly 20 years, and we look forward to continuing our business here in the years to come. Please use the comment button to let us know what you're grateful for about the western NC mountains.

International Attention for Asheville

As I watched the Williams sisters at the Fed Cup in Asheville a few weekends ago, I was struck by how Asheville seems to be gaining a lot of national and international attention of late. In addition to tennis, important events are upcoming in biking, equestrian showing, and glass sculpture.  Knowing the fine qualities of the western NC mountains, I cannot say that I’m surprised by all of this attention. It’s getting more difficult to keep our secret of this very special place.

The Fed Cup in Asheville is news unto itself, but it was particularly exciting as it marked Serena Williams’ first return to competitive tennis since the birth of her first child last autumn. While the match had been decided in favor of the US prior to her arrival on the court, it was still exciting to watch as Serena and Venus played doubles before a sold out crowd.

Next on tap is the opening of the “Chihuly at Biltmore” on May 17. Dale Chihuly’s large-scale glass sculptures, set up in historic Biltmore Gardens, includes special “after-dark” viewings that promise to be spectacular. The exhibit remains in place until October 7th so there’s ample time to take it all in. That same weekend, May 18-20, Haute Route, a European cycling event, comes to Asheville. More than 300 international riders will take to the streets, with each of the stages beginning and ending in Asheville.

In September, more international riders will come to the Asheville area, however, these riders will be on horseback. The FEI World Equestrian Games will settle into Tryon, about 45 minutes southeast of Asheville, from September 11-25. This event may welcome a half million people from around the world into the area. Competitions at this event include jumping, dressage, endurance, vaulting and reining.

A quick glance at these activities really does encapsulate what’s so special about Asheville and its environs. Sure the mountains are peaceful, the views are incredible, and the pace may be a little bit slower than some larger cities. But the activities and events illustrate the broad interests of the area and offer residents a chance to experience a truly cosmopolitan life. To see other upcoming events, please check out Greybeard Realty’s event calendar. Asheville is more than just a pretty place.

An Asheville Area Christmas

As western NC residents, Greybeard Realtors often are asked what their favorite season is in the Asheville area. For some, it’s the long days of summer that invite longer hikes and farm-fresh food. For others, it’s early-budding trees in spring and the vibrant, rich colors of autumn. Taking a look around now, however, it really feels like Christmas may be the very best season of the year up this way.

An Asheville Christmas at the BiltmoreOne of the highlights of the season is visiting one of the numerous western NC Christmas tree farms and making that careful selection of the perfect tree. Take some time to stop in at one of the local cider shops and then head over to The Biltmore to take in the spectacular decorations and enjoy some of the featured musical performances of the season. If holiday lights make your holiday, be sure to take in the multicolored light extravaganza at the NC Arboretum. Take a look at some of the Asheville area Christmas light suggestions. 

Back at home, perhaps there’s a Christmas train to set up under the tree or a special gingerbread home to construct, complete with peppermint candies and peppermint bark. If you’d prefer to ride a Christmas train, then head over to Bryson City and catch a ride on the Polar Express train. Alternatively, this year you can enjoy the 25th annual National Gingerbread House competition at the Grove Park Inn.  This year’s awards have been made, and there’s still time to check them out and get come inspiration for your own gingerbread houses.

For many of us, the holidays are about creating family traditions, and an Asheville area Christmas generates memorable moments for all family members. If you have time, take a moment to share your favorite Asheville holiday tradition. And let Greybeard Realty know what your favorite western NC season is as well. We’d love to hear from you.

All aboard the Western NC Mountains' Polar Express

All aboard the Polar Express in Bryson City, NC!  Located about an hour from Asheville, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers daily excursions with a chance to experience the magic of Santa and the North Pole. It’s one of the many western NC activities to experience during the winter holiday season.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad operates year-round with excursions along the Nantahala Gorge and the Tuckasegee River as well as an adult-only Carolina Shine Moonshine Experience. During the Christmas season, however, the train welcomes passengers on board to hear and experience the Polar Express. Sit back and listen as the story unfolds, sip hot chocolate and enjoy a treat, and then welcome Santa on board. Each child receives his or her own sliver sleigh bell, just like in the book. On the return trip to Bryson City, join in the Christmas caroling and relish in the special memories that have been created by this magical train ride.

Whether it’s the special seasonal offerings in the Asheville area or the daily opportunities to experience the cuisine and culture of western NC, there’s no doubt that Asheville, Black Mountain and Montreat each provide a unique, warm and friendly environment to live in. If you already live here, choose something today to do that you probably can’t do anywhere else. For example, when was the last time you visited one of the new microbreweries in the area? And if you’re not living here yet, what’s holding you back? Greybeard Realty is here, just waiting to welcome you home.

5 Fun Things to Do in Asheville, NC

Blue Ridge Parkway - Fall

Gray Line Trolley Tour

Visiting Asheville in the fall? Take a tour on the Gray Line! This hop-on-hop-off tour in a trolley is a great way to learn about the history of Asheville as well as interact with the bustling downtown. With 10 spots including the diverse Montford Historic District, Art deco-rich downtown, legendary Grove Park Inn, as well as the edgy River Arts District.

Biltmore

Created by George Vanderbilt in 1895, Biltmore is Asheville’s crown jewel. Fall is a great time to explore America’s largest home as the bounty of the fields, gardens, and vineyards are celebrated. Walk the spacious formal gardens or just enjoy the beautiful fall foliage across the Blue Ridge Mountains. From day passes to overnight stays, there is something for everyone at the Biltmore Estate.

Take a drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway

A 469-mile drive winding through the Southern Appalachians, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a must-see! Fall brings brilliant foliage that can’t be beaten. Whether you just take a drive through parts of it or get out of the car and hike, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a can’t miss in the fall!

Visit the Folk Art Center

While on your Blue Ridge Parkway adventure, you can’t miss the Folk Art Center located at milepost 382, and just 5 minutes from downtown Asheville. Home to the Southern Highland Craft Guild, the Folk Art Center showcases Southern Appalachia’s finest traditional and contemporary crafts.

Take a Farm to Table Tour

Take a tour with Asheville Farm to Table Tours and visit sustainable family farms where farmers specializing in cheese, chicken, produce, beef, or lamb share their passion and knowledge. At the end of the tour the Chef prepares a delicious meal made with the food from the farms you visited that day. Don’t just experience the uniqueness of Asheville, taste it!

 

How About Some Special Asheville Area Hiking

Often times, when we’re choosing a new place to live like the Asheville area we get caught up in the school system, the nearby medical facilities, and the overall quality of life. Don’t get us wrong; all of that is relevant. We also value the outdoor opportunities, however, and we think this new list of Marmot’s top ten Asheville hikes is a keeper.

Asheville Area HikesHiking is something many of us here at Greybeard Realty enjoy, and we offer some hiking spots on the Greybeard Rentals activities website. What is great about this list, however, is that it covers places a little further distance from town. So yes, you can learn about Crabtree Falls and Old Mitchell Trail, but you also can read up on Waterrock Knob, located 33.7 miles from downtown Asheville. See, that’s what’s great about this new listing. First of all, it tells you exactly how far most of the hikes are from Asheville, how difficult the hike is, and why the site is significant. And secondly, it offers some hikes that are a bit further out from town. In fact, through the article you can access a “bucket list” of Asheville hikes that has more than 25 locations within 100 miles of an Asheville home. This list is possibly more helpful to people who live in the area than people who have already travelled for an Asheville vacation and want something closer to town.

Greybeard staff and Realtors spend lots of time enjoying the remarkable outdoor offerings in the Asheville area. We hike, bike, ultra-marathon, and whitewater raft, among other activities. To us, the Asheville area is unmatched in its possible outdoor pastimes.  It’s why we love living here, and why we think you would too. Take a look at Greybeard's western NC residential listings and contact us to go check out a few homes. It’s just the beginning of your mountain adventures.

River Arts District: Fall Studio Stroll set for November 14-15

Asheville’s River Arts District comprises a series of studios and galleries featuring local artists from a wide range of practices including painting, photography, sculpture and mixed material.  Located along the French Broad River, this vibrant neighborhood will once again host a Studio Stroll on November 14 and 15, allowing visitors to view artwork and meet some of the area’s most talented artists.

 


 

The Fall Studio Stroll will provide attendees with access to over 180 working studios located throughout 22 refurbished factories and historic buildings. This event is free to the general public and trolleys will be running all weekend to take people around the district.

While you're visiting the River Arts District, check out some of the awesome restaurants and breweries in the area, including 12 Bones Smokehouse, The Bull and Beggar, and Wedge Brewing Co.