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From Small Towns to Big Cities, Perfect Day Trip Destinations From Asheville

Marshall NCAsheville has plenty of activities to keep you entertained, but it’s also perfectly situated a short drive from myriad day trip destinations. Whether it’s small towns brimming with historic buildings, restaurants and specialty shops, or larger cities boasting varied entertainment options and amenities, there’s lots to take in from your Asheville home base. Following are a few of our favorites.


This historic town in Madison County 20 miles north of Asheville, with easy access to trails along the French Broad River, packs an eclectic punch into its compact downtown. Lined with historic buildings including a century-old courthouse, Main Street In Marshall features artists’ studios, interesting shops, music and dance venues and galleries. Stroll to Blannahassett Island, just over the river, to enjoy more artists’ studios, as well as picnic areas and fishing.


Tucked in the heart of Transylvania County just under an hour from Asheville, Brevard boasts unique boutiques in the downtown area – offering everything from children’s toys to salvaged furniture to antiques. In addition, the walkable downtown district offers a range of restaurants and cafes. The city is famed for its ideal access to some of the most beautiful natural attractions – think mountain bike trails, waterfall hikes and epic views – in Western N.C.

Black Mountain NCBlack Mountain

About 16 miles east of Asheville, downtown Black Mountain has a wonderful collection of shops, restaurants and breweries, and the hiking and mountain biking opportunities are abundant.Black Mountain is known as the front porch of Western North Carolina because of its downtown’s quaint charm and stunning location in the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Maggie Valley

This town, just 39 minutes from Asheville, offers a range of restaurants and shops, as well as music and dancing. Famed for its festivals, car shows and arts & crafts fairs, as well as Cataloochee Ski Area, Maggie Valley is a favorite year-round destination. Visit Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum, or explore the town’s Quilt Trail, which connects the community by promoting its quilting, rural heritage and storytelling using colorful blocks installed on barns and buildings. 

Greenville, S.C.

Greenville’s vibrant downtown (just a little over an hour from Asheville) offers everything from one-of-a-kind shops, boutiques and art galleries to museums, tours and outdoor activities. Greenville also boasts a major performing arts center, 17,000-seat arena, 340,000-square-foot convention and exhibition center, and nationally recognized museum collections.Falls Park on the Reedy in the heart of downtown has riverside gardens, a suspension bridge and waterfall views. 

Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

An 88-mile drive from Asheville is Pigeon Forge, home of Dollywood, country singer Dolly Parton’s Appalachian-themed park. The city’s other attractions include country music entertainment, comedy shows, and unique, family-friendly entertainment – think lumberjack competitions and Hatfield & McCoy “dinner feuds.” 

Hendersonville NC Walkable TownHendersonville

Filled with historic buildings and vibrant streetscapes, Hendersonville – half an hour from Asheville – offers many outdoor dining options, as well as unique shops and galleries, along Main Street. Hendersonville’s downtown is part of the Main Street Program, aimed at revitalizing central business districts across the country through historic preservation, attention to design, and thoughtful recruitment of businesses. 

Knoxville, Tenn.

Knoxville (116 miles from Asheville) is a treasure trove of history. Tour Civil War-era homes, take historical tours, or visit the Museum of East Tennessee History for interactive exhibits as well as regional art, textiles and Civil War artifacts. Downtown’s Market Square district features 19th-century buildings with shops and restaurants, along with award-winning theaters and music venues.

For more information about real estate in the Asheville area, contact us at, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

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Meet Mosaic's Vanessa Byrd: Bringing Marketing Savvy and Staging Skills to Every Deal

Vanessa Byrd Asheville RealtorMosaic agent Vanessa Byrd knows the Asheville real estate market. Drawing from her experience as a long-time resident, historic-restoration expert, and accomplished interior designer, Byrd provides a multi-faceted approach to every property she handles. Offering clients a uniquely effective perspective focused on staging, renovations and marketing methods aimed at real estate success is a skill Byrd adeptly employs – and it’s one that has consistently landed her among the top agents in Asheville, year after year.

Tell us about your background, both personal and professional. What brought you to the Asheville area, and what drew you into real estate? 

My family moved to the Asheville area in 1984 because of its natural beauty and friendly people. After graduating high school in Henderson County, I attended Appalachian State University and received a degree in Interior Design with a Business minor. I worked for a high-end interior design company in the Boone area before returning to Asheville to pursue my passion for historic renovation. After renovating and selling dozens of my own projects, I decided to become a Realtor in 2010 to use my skills to help my clients buy and sell homes. 

I have been a top-100 agent since 2013, specializing in preparing my clients’ homes for the market to help them get the best price possible. I own my own staging company and over the years have helped sellers to prepare their homes with interior design decisions and, most importantly, staging. This has been proven to increase the sales price and decrease days on the market. 

Mosaic agent Vanessa Byrd discusses home renovations and staging

Asheville Real Estate Vanessa ByrdYou've renovated quite a few historic homes in Asheville over the years. How does your experience in renovations and restorations inform your expertise as an agent? 

Renovating homes over the last 21 years helps me to assist my clients in making informed decisions when buying and selling their homes. Knowing what is involved in home improvement and renovations can help the buyers or sellers to realize the amount of work needed at the home and/or the improvements that the seller may need to do to get their best price.

Talk a little bit about the importance of staging and how you help clients prepare their homes to list. 

It is my experience that staging is the number one thing people can do to maximize their profits when selling their home. I provide free staging services to all my listings to help them to put their best foot forward when presenting their home. Staging helps buyers to have spatial awareness and feel comfortable in the home. Empty homes often feel smaller than staged ones. Staging helps to create the best first impression possible.

Mosaic’s Vanessa Byrd on why she loves Asheville

Vanessa Byrd Mosaic Realty AshevilleWhat are your passions, especially as they relate to Asheville?

My family, fur family, and helping children in need in the Asheville area are my passions. We are so lucky to live in the most beautiful and friendly place. My family and four dogs enjoy the lakes, rivers and forests, and ski as often as possible. I enjoy helping all – including animals – who are less fortunate to improve their lives. As a self-made business owner and successful Realtor, it is very important to me that I give back to my community. 

What do you love about Asheville, and what sets it apart from the other places where you've lived?

The beautiful surroundings, lovely, open-minded, compassionate people, and helping people to find their perfect home.

Anything you'd like to add about what makes you a stand-out agent in the Asheville area?

I truly care about every client and do my very best to go above and beyond to help them to make the most out of their real-estate experience. I love helping buyers get their best deal possible and doing everything in my power to help sellers with all my real estate skills: listing prep, staging, marketing. My relationships with local agents help me to facilitate deals and get the houses to the closing table. 

Connect with Vanessa at 828-275-8534 or

Learn More About Vanessa

Seasonal Colors Come to Life With Vivid Native Landscaping

Asheville Curb Appeal HomesWith the summer season come opportunities to populate your yard and garden with blooms bursting with color. Creating a landscape of vibrant native flowers and trees not only helps to beautify your yard, but also does double duty by helping to preserve Asheville’s natural ecosystem.

Native know-how

Native species of flowers and plants occur naturally, without human introduction or intervention. Over time, they have built up physical and biological characteristics specific to regional elements – things like climate, soil type, moisture, and other local plants, animals and insects. They are hardy, environmentally friendly, and help to restore regional landscapes that may be compromised in rapidly developing areas. In short, they are perfectly adapted to their home.

When landscaping with native flowering plants, the best research is simply looking around to get an idea of what grows near your home naturally and beautifully. In the Asheville area, it’s easy to maximize your success by matching the right plants with the right site conditions. To do this, assess the type of light and amount of moisture your planting site receives throughout the day, as well as throughout each growing season. The direction your garden faces, the amount of horizontal and vertical working space you have, and your altitude also figure prominently in native landscaping success. Having your soil pH tested is helpful, and will indicate whether the soil needs to be amended.

A range of colorful choices

From wispy wildflowers to low-growing, flowering groundcovers, colorful native options in the Asheville area are diverse enough to suit any weekend landscaper’s tastes. 

Asheville Real Estate LandscapingA lot of native planting depends on your landscaping goals

·      Looking to design a striking space that can also provide a lush wildlife habitat? Start by creating layers: Plant low-growing plants and shrubs under taller flowers (think coneflowers and black-eyed Susan), and produce an environment where birds can nest and feed.

·      For a punch of color that attracts an array of pollinators, nothing beats wildflowers. Popular in the Asheville area and surrounding region, and targeted to specific seasons, are eastern bluestar, butterfly weed and cardinal flower. 

·      For a colorfully natural way to stem erosion and minimize maintenance, flowering groundcovers are the way to go. Some popular Western N.C. natives include the multi-season showstopper partridgeberry (white flowers in the spring, red berries in the fall); and green and gold, perfect for populating a rock garden.

How to get started landscaping your Asheville home

Asheville is replete with local nurseries well-versed in all aspects of native flowers and landscaping. In addition, there are local educational resources galore to get you started in filling your yard with color. For more information and guidance on seasonal native flowers and other colorful plants, visit the following: 

Asheville Botanical Gardens

N.C. Native Plant Society

Bee City USA

And if you’re looking for the perfect house to go with that vividly landscaped yard, please contact us at, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

Search: Asheville Area Real Estate



History-Steeped Old Fort Overflows With Outdoor Adventures

Catawba Falls Old Fort North CarolinaOld Fort, just a half hour east of Asheville, is a tiny mountain town big on scenic, outdoor activities. Surrounded by Pisgah National Forest, Old Fort is overflowing with mountain biking and hiking trails. The history-steeped town is also host to a range of activities and annual events celebrating Appalachian heritage.

Old Fort’s name refers to the pioneer-era Davidson's Fort, constructed to protect area settlers from Native American raids. While the fort no longer stands, its history is shared through a series of downtown murals, The 7 Wonders Trail.

With a population of just under 1,000, Old Fort boasts a range of properties offering space to spread out. Log cabins, rambling ranches, and mountain estates dot the area; for those looking to build their dream homes, lots are plentiful. 

The Lure of Old Fort, NC

Old Fort is one of 15 N.C. Mountain Heritage Trout Towns. This designation allows visitors to purchase a special $5, three-day fishing license good for use in any of the state’s mountain trout towns. In downtown Old Fort, the section of Mill Creek bordering Mountain Gateway Museum is a public portion of this stream. The other mountain trout streams in Old Fort are Curtis Creek, Newberry Creek and the upper section of the Catawba River. 

Old Fort is quickly gaining a reputation for its exciting mountain biking and hiking trails. Kitsuma Peak/Young's Ridge, Snooks Nose, Point Lookout Trail, Jarrett Creek and Heartbreak Ridge are just a few favorites in the area, boasting long, rugged trails. The Grandfather Ranger District takes mountain biking to the next level, with extreme descents, demanding trails and remote settings. Catawba Falls Trail, Newberry Creek Trail, Huskins Branch Trail, Point Lookout Trail, and Lead Mine Gap offer miles of trails for hikers to take in dense forests, challenging hills and breathtaking waterfalls.

Old Fort North Carolina Real EstateFestival Fun in Old Fort

Old Fort’s Mountain Gateway Museum, adjacent to its visitor center, offers a range of exhibits reflecting the region’s history. It is also host to several popular Old Fort festivals: The museum’s Pioneer Day is held every year on the last Saturday in April. The North Carolina Gold Festival is held the first Friday/Saturday in June; and Old Fort's Chamber of Commerce sponsors Octoberfest, held the first weekend in October. 

Downtown destinations include Hillman Beer, Kitsbow's Old Fort Ride House, Old Fort Outdoors, and Arrowhead Gallery. Andrews Geyser and the Arrowhead Monument are also popular attractions. Between August and May, Old Fort's Camp Grier offers day passes for visitors to enjoy a disc golf course, horse-riding, a pump track, and walking trails.

Real Estate in Old Fort, North Carolina

For more information about real estate in Old Fort, or anywhere in Asheville or Western N.C., contact us at, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

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For Outdoor Adventures Against a Picturesque Backdrop, Horse Shoe Fits the Bill

Horse Shoe North Carolina Real EstateHorse Shoe, N.C., bordered to the north by Mills River and the west by Etowah, is a 7-square-mile sliver of picturesque rolling hills nestled in western Henderson County. The French Broad River (the unincorporated community takes its name from a meander in the famed waterway) runs through the center of Horse Shoe, which is 23 miles south of Asheville. 

Mountain homes dot Horse Shoe, beckoning with long-range views and proximity to amazing outdoor adventures. The population of Horse Shoe is around 2,300, with plenty of space to spread out.The Asheville Regional Airport and I-26 are mere minutes away. The towns of Hendersonville (6 miles east) and Brevard (14 miles southwest) are also easily accessible. 

Waterfalls, hiking and biking abounds near Horse Shoe

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Horse Shoe is brimming with a wide range of nearby activities. Both Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Forest are a short drive away, offering daytrips overflowing with waterfalls, hiking paths and mountain biking trails – you can even take a horseback trail ride. The area also boasts renowned destinations like Sliding Rock and the Cradle of Forestry. For water activities, the French Broad River and one of its tributaries, the Mills River, are perfect spots for kayaking and tubing.

Just a short drive from Horse Shoe, Sierra Nevada’s Mills River Brewery – its second in the U.S. – offers a sprawling, state-of-the-art facility and Taproom and Restaurant that draw thousands of visitors from all over the region and the world to enjoy tours, tastings and special events, as well as live music indoors and outdoors, in a relaxed family atmosphere.

Activities in Horseshoe North CarolinaActivities of note in Horse Shoe, NC

For world-class music performances, Horse Shoe is just a short drive from the Brevard Music Center’s Summer Festival, which features everything from bluegrass to classical to operatic productions. Other nearby popular spots to visit include the Mills River Creamery, offering a range of locally made milk, cheeses and ice cream (, as well as the Bold Rock Hard Cidery, which has daily tours, tastings, flights and food.

Filled with historic buildings and vibrant streetscapes, nearby Hendersonville’s downtown – the largest in Western N.C. outside of Asheville’s – offers many outdoor dining options, as well as unique shops and galleries, along Main Street. Hendersonville also boasts the Cheers! Trail, showcasing 16 craft beverage producers, plus wineries and cideries in the area.

For more information about real estate in Horse Shoe, contact us at, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

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An Interview With Mosaic Real Estate Agent Bill Anderson: East Asheville Expert

Bill Anderson East Asheville Real EstateMosaic’s Bill Anderson spent years honing his culinary skills as a globe-trotting chef, but real estate was always cooking in the back of his mind. Moving to Asheville and making the career switch to real estate six years ago has proven a fulfilling adventure, affording him the opportunity to share with clients everything he loves about this eclectic area, especially in his home neighborhood of East Asheville. For Anderson, helping his Asheville clients is far from rote real estate -- it is a truly collaborative effort.

Tell us a little about your background, both personal and professional. What brought you to the Asheville area, and what drew you into real estate?

My previous career as a chef was very mobile and gave me the opportunity to travel extensively and live in many places around the U.S. and abroad. I spent seven years in West Java, Indonesia, originally to open the first destination health spa in Southeast Asia. This led to creating a specialty produce farm terraced into the side of an active volcano serving high-end properties in the region. I eventually made my way to Palm Beach and after 12 years in Florida, I needed to escape.  Asheville was the first place I checked out but passed in favor of Austin, then Charlotte and Charlottesville. I came back to Asheville to be an executive chef at a private club in Arden, and now I’m very thankful that it was the last stop of a long career in the hospitality industry. Real estate, architecture and design were always interests, so I took the plunge and made a big career change and have never looked back. 

Mosaic Agent Bill Anderson on Asheville’s many attributes

What do you love about Asheville, and what sets it apart from the other places where you’ve lived?

Asheville has so much going for it in a relatively small area and a population around 100,000. No matter what you are into, you can probably find it and like-minded people. Art, food, beer, music, outdoors, hiking, biking all with a slightly bohemian relaxed vibe. I love the four seasons and the visual changes they bring. Driving around the area is always different to me depending on season, sun and time of day. There is just enough snow to be fun but is generally gone in days. It is such an easy city to get around, basically less than 20 minutes to get anywhere. In contrast, Charlottesville has half the population but much worse  traffic in my experience.  

A unique aspect of this small city and generally where I start with clients is the different personalities of various areas. East, West, North and South are all completely different from each other.  It is important for me to get a read on my clients to focus on the areas that are the best fit. Clients often think they want to be in a certain area based on things they have read or what friends have told them. After a tour and their responses to neighborhoods and homes, I can quickly refine the search to find the best options within their favorite areas.  

Bill Anderson East AshevilleI like all of Asheville but East Asheville is my favorite and where I call home. I find it verdant and lush in many ways -- valleys surrounded by foothills, with creeks, streams and rivers running through it. There are large areas of green space mixed among the residential neighborhoods, some with parks, others with horses, cows or golfers.

Many areas on the East side are older established neighborhoods with wider streets, larger, often level-ish lots and big trees. There are many areas where a home can be surrounded by the forest and completely private but be a short drive to downtown, restaurants or major retail.

Bill Anderson on East Asheville’s abundant amenities and commercial conveniences

The housing stock ranges from 1920s to brand new green construction. My neighborhood of Beverly Hills is built around the 129-acre, Donald Ross designed “Muni” golf course, opened in 1927.  This creates a large green space often with mountain views and is a gathering place for dog walkers, neighbors and kids. There is a church that rings its bells on the hour and reminds me of my childhood in Italy.

Haw Creek and Happy Valley are other favorites where you can find a wide variety of styles and the occasional jewel with Mid Mod Cool Factor. If you want “million dollar” views, there is Falcon Ridge, Sondley, Sovereign Oaks, Fox Den and others. If you are looking for a short-term rental property, Botany Woods is a great place to start as it is outside of city limits and it borders the Swannanoa River.  All of these areas are 10-20 minutes to downtown with a very easy drive. Asheville Mall is on the East side and has all the retail, Whole Foods, Lowes etc. that you could need. It is convenient, easy in and out. The recently opened East Asheville Library is Buncombe County’s first LEED Certified building and part of the 2025 Strategic Plan.

East Asheville has abundant recreational opportunities and facilities. There are three semi-public recreation parks with pools and sports facilities. They are so popular there is usually a waiting list.  The John B. Lewis Soccer complex has four artificial turf soccer fields that are popular with soccer players, and Ultimate Frisbee tournaments. There is a large dog park around the corner; after the kids and dogs are tired you can grab a beer or two at Highland Brewing, which is only a few minutes away.  

East Asheville Library Bill AndersonWNC Nature Center is an outdoor zoological park that will appeal to all ages but is geared toward the young and curious. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through East Asheville, offering numerous roadside trailheads and a relaxed way to drive to South Asheville. It is very possible to find a home that backs up to the BRP and all that the protected forest contains. 

East Asheville allure: More space, along with single-level living 

As Asheville as a whole continues to grow, what are clients drawn to in particular about East Asheville?

East can give you more space than other parts of town for the price. There are many properties that have been owned for decades and ripe for a refresh; this in turn impacts the neighborhoods as a whole.  There are many versions of one-level homes in the area. Many clients prefer that style, and they are ideally  set up  to become a long-term or potentially multi generational property.  

How do you stand out as an agent in the Asheville area?

I don’t “sell” houses. My ultimate goal is to have ecstatic clients and collaboratively find them a better home than they thought possible -- whether a first-time buyer looking at a starter home or a very experienced buyer looking for an architectural masterpiece.  With all clients, I want to build a rapport and relationship of trust.  I take my experience from past renovations and transactions  to point out all of the defects I see in a property or  area.  I love it when a buyer can see things that I have pointed out on previous properties. 

I start by listening and observing reactions to homes and areas. I can then guide them to a particular area. Often I can see their responses and detour to another area or property that ends up being perfect for them. 

After six years in Asheville real estate, I have developed a group of related professions: attorneys, inspectors, lenders and the like that I know will create the same experience for the client throughout the transaction. I am also very fortunate to work with a great group of like-minded agents at Mosaic who are exceptional resources of knowledge and experience. 

Connect with Bill at, or at 828-974-1519.

Learn More About Bill Anderson

Mosaic Realty Rallies Support for Pisgah Legal's Run for Justice 5K

Pisgah Legal Services: Run for JusticeAs long-time residents of Asheville, Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty agents and employees make it their mission to work with and support the outstanding area organizations that advocate for the vitality and health of our local and global community. In that spirit, Mosaic is sponsoring Pisgah Legal Service’s Run for Justice 5K – a virtual event for walkers and runners to support access to justice for all – and is inviting others in the community to join the team.

Securing justice for those in need

Pisgah Legal Services is an innovative nonprofit that seeks to pursue justice by providing legal assistance and advocacy to help low-income people in Western North Carolina meet their basic needs and improve their lives. Pisgah Legal provides a broad array of free, civil legal services to people who live in poverty in 11 WNC counties, and offers immigration law services in 18 counties. They help more than 20,000 of the most vulnerable people in area communities annually to meet urgent needs such as housing, safety from abuse, health care and income; coordinate the services of more than 300 pro bono attorneys in WNC; and improve systems and policies that impact the lives of thousands of low-income people.

Virtual 5k run steps up support

The Run for Justice 5K helps to raise money and awareness for Pisgah Legal Services mission. Participants pay $25 to register and can invite family and friends to donate a dollar amount for each kilometer they walk or run anytime between Saturday, May 29, and Saturday, June 12, on the route of their choosing. 

The awards ceremony will be on the afternoon of Saturday, June 12. Prizes will be awarded in various categories, including fastest times by age and gender, as well as best selfie, best costume, best recruiter, and spirit of justice. You can use an app or a fitness tracker to time yourself. Once you’ve completed the 5K, you’ll be able to self-report your time through a link on Pisgah Legal’s website. 

For more information on the Run for Justice 5K, visit Once you have registered, enter "Mosaic Realty" as the team name in the comment field. For more information on Mosaic’s donation and volunteer programs, visit



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Mosaic Realty Founder Mike Figura Discusses a Triple-Bottom-Line Approach to Real Estate

Mike Figura Mosaic Realty AshevilleWhen Mike Figura started Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty 11 years ago, the ideas around sustainable development in the Asheville market were gaining traction. Figura’s creation of Mosaic Realty was based on guiding principles grounded in sustainability and community. Possessing degrees from the University of Virginia in Environmental Science and Environmental Thought and Practice, Figura grew his agency from a two-person operation into the established, cutting-edge company it is today – all the while focused on a Triple-Bottom-Line principle of People, Planet and Profit. Here, he talks sustainable living, happy Ashevillians, and why living his personal values doesn’t stop when he walks through the office door. 

Talk a little about your background, both personal and professional. What brought you to Asheville, and what drew you into real estate? 

I’m from Virginia and moved immediately to Asheville after college to work with my uncle, a climatologist who had just started his own company. My passion is in real estate, planning and development. Shortly after moving to Asheville I secured a job at a local urban planning and development consulting firm. I obtained my real estate license in 2005 to augment the work I was doing in planning and development consulting. 

Mike Figura Asheville Real EstateAfter working in planning, development and real estate for five years, I moved squarely into real estate and launched Mosaic early in 2010. At first, it was just me and one other person, but we grew slowly, methodically and steadily to the point where I have 34 agents today.  My current struggle is not getting larger.  With how quickly our market is growing, it would be easy to add more brokers, but it is important to me to not grow too large or too quickly in order to maintain our quality.  I want to stay a midsize company to keep the culture of a boutique real estate company. 

My goals are to have a real estate company that does top-notch marketing to compete with the national brands, and to have local values and a Triple-Bottom-Line approach to business.  A Triple-Bottom-Line approach takes into account People, Planet and Profit when measuring success. If I’m making a profit but I’m not doing anything to help the community or environmental sustainability, then I’m not hitting my business goals. There are plenty of good real estate companies out there – Mosaic being one of them – but having a real estate company that has a social and environmental consciousness is why I created Mosaic and why I am so proud of it.

Mosaic’s Mike Figura discusses sustainable living in Asheville

How did you become interested in sustainability? How big a role did that play in the establishment of your agency?

Mike Figura Real Estate AshevilleBesides being fascinated by real estate since I was a kid, one of the reasons I started working in real estate is because I want to do something to help our community grow sustainably. The way that we develop and grow, as well as the type of homes that we live in, both have huge impacts on our environment. Government policy alone cannot dictate how we grow and develop. There’s a need for private industry to also push the envelope, and I want to be at the leading edge of pushing for positive changes.

True sustainable developments have a green-building component to them, but it’s not the only thing. There’s a land use planning component. Whether conservation-oriented or urban infill, how we grow and build dictates how well our region operates and how much green space we leave for future generations. In the city, density supports transit-oriented development, walkability and efficiently uses existing resources such as roads and infrastructure. Conservation-oriented development in the countryside helps to preserve undeveloped land.  And making simple and affordable energy-efficient upgrades to existing homes helps to reduce our carbon footprint.  

Where do you see sustainability going in the next decade? 

There’s a saying in the preservation societies that the greenest home is an existing one. There’s a lot of truth to that. It takes a lot of energy to build a home, so my personal view of green homes has shifted a lot over the last 15 years, from exclusively new energy-efficient homes to any home that does what it can to make it more efficient and sustainable. We have to use the existing resources we have with all our existing homes and try to incrementally make them more efficient.

Mosaic’s Mike Figura on Asheville, one of the happiest places to live

What do you love about Asheville, and where do you see our growth heading?

There’s a book that came out a few years ago, “The Geography of Bliss.” The author, Eric Weiner, went all over the world looking for places where people loved living.  Weiner found that Asheville was one of the happiest places to live in America. His thesis was that “place matters and happiness is a cultural construct more than we think it is.”  How does Asheville relate to this? We have geographical beauty but we also have people who move here for quality of life.  Unlike many cities, people are generally not moving here solely for their career. They are moving here because they want to live in the mountains, enjoy the outdoors, hear good music, eat locally grown food and enjoy life.  Simply put, Asheville attracts happiness-seeking people. While Asheville’s growth does need to be managed and thought about, I think if we can grow with good people, we’re going to keep our spirit and our soul.

How does Mosaic compare with other brokerages in Asheville?

Mike Figura Asheville NC Real EstateMy commitment is to do a world-class job in serving our clients and in marketing.  We value our customers and our clients deeply. Our growth, reviews and reputation reflect that. First and foremost, we try to be a great real estate company on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. 

Having our community spirit and sustainability spirit relates to real estate because we are selling community and we are selling our region. Community, sustainability and real estate go hand in hand [visit see how Mosaic takes these values to heart]. Having our Triple-Bottom-Line approach allows us to operate with a soul and consciousness that reflects what I believe Asheville is. It’s a mirror image of the parts of Asheville that drew me here, and I’m trying to reflect the parts of the community that I love. Mosaic tries to attract like-minded people – they’re more enjoyable to work with, but I also want to attract those types of people to Asheville to work so that we can keep our spirit.

Connect with Mike at or call him anytime at 828-337-8190.

Learn More about Mike Figura

Quaint Marion Packs Plenty to Do, All Against a Beautiful Blue Ridge Backdrop

Marion North CarolinaMarion, N.C., a picturesque town located in McDowell County just off I-40 35 miles east of Asheville, features stunning Blue Ridge beauty and a historic district dotted with unique taprooms, art and farmers’ markets, and annual festivals. Its proximity to exciting outdoor adventures as well as other scenic small towns makes it an ideal spot to explore.

Founded in 1844, the city was named for American Revolutionary War hero Brigadier General Francis Marion. Marion’s Main Street Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with 11 structures including churches, former hotels, a bank and courthouse among the honored buildings. The restored Marion Depot, the oldest surviving depot on the Western Rail Line, hosts monthly community events. Historic homes open to the public include the Carson House and the Joseph McDowell House.

Marion offers a range of real estate 

Homes in Marion, which has a population hovering near 8,000, range from stately historic mansions to new green builds to modest ranches; available lots mean you can build your dream home from the ground up. Nearby towns to explore include Old Fort, Little Switzerland, Morganton and Black Mountain.

Downtown Marion has seen a revitalization, with new shops, restaurants, music and movie venues, and taprooms popping up in recent years. The downtown Marion Tailgate Market happens twice weekly during the growing season, featuring fresh produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods and local crafts.

Marion NC Real EstateOutdoor activities abound in Marion

Marion features a handful of parks, as well as a greenway that follows along the Catawba River and provides picnic tables, fitness stations, fishing piers and a canoe launch; local outfitters offer tube and kayak trips. Area hikes and parks include the Mt. Ida Wilderness Area (with a park and hiking trail that features views of downtown Marion); and Woods Mountain (a challenging, 25-mile single-track loop that crosses the Mountains to Sea Trail). 

A short drive away are Lake James, with boating and other water recreation, fishing, camping and hiking opportunities; Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi (6,684 feet); Linville Caverns, the state’s only natural limestone caverns; and many falls, including Linville Falls, Tom’s Creek Falls and Catawba Falls. Nearby wineries, including Silver Fork, South Creek and Lake James Cellars, are nestled along the foothills of the Catawba Valley.

Festivals in downtown Marion include the quirky WNC Bigfoot Festival (September); the Mountain Glory Festival, featuring arts, crafts, food and live entertainment (October); and the Liver Mush Festival (June).

For more information about real estate in Marion, contact us at, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

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    Asheville GreenWorks Garden Program Grows Awareness for Pollinator Habitats

    Asheville Pollinator GardenWith many people in Asheville making plans for spring gardening and visits to the local nursery, now is a great time to think about nurturing a native pollinator garden in your yard. Asheville GreenWorks – Western North Carolina’s most active volunteer environmental group and an organization that Mosaic has long supported – offers a Native Pollinator Garden Certification program, which allows you to certify your garden as a pollinator habitat. 

    A bounty of benefits in a pollinator garden

    The Native Pollinator Garden Certification program educates the community on the important elements of a beneficial pollinator habitat, helps beginner gardeners get started, and recognizes those seasoned gardeners whose pollinator gardens continue to flourish. Not only does creating a pollinator garden help the local ecosystem, but thanks to the fact that it’s already adapted to the region’s environment, a pollinator garden is easy to care for once it’s established, making it a breeze to boost your home’s curb appeal at the same time.

    The Native Pollinator Garden Certification program has four tiers of habitat quality, allowing anyone, from patio-planter gardeners to large-scale cultivators, to participate and gain ground in their pollinator-garden aspirations. The requirements for a full-fledged pollinator habitat involve avoiding pesticides, removing invasive growth, and including native plants, nectar sources, trees or shrubs, larval hosts, water and shelter for pollinators. Once your garden meets the requirements, you will receive a certificate and the option to buy an official designation sign for your garden to spread awareness.

    Pollinator Gardens in Asheville NCBreak ground on your garden

    You may already have a garden you’d like to certify, in which case you can visit to understand tier requirements and decide which level you fall under. If you don’t yet have a pollinator garden, Asheville GreenWorks provides all the information you need to get started, including comprehensive lists of easy-to-find-and-grow plants. You can also visit their site to find local nurseries that carry native plants, learn about bloom times and invasive species, and see a map of certified habitats in the area.

    Once your garden is established, you can fill out an application for review. The application fee is $10, with an optional $35 sign fee. Visit for more information.

    For information on real estate in the greater Asheville area, email Mosaic Realty at, or call us anytime at 828.707.9556

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