Asheville News

Asheville Company is First Carbon Neutral Real Estate Firm in NC

Mosaic Realty Partners with WNCGBC in a Local Solution to Global Pollution

Mosaic Realty AshevilleAsheville, NC: Local Real Estate firm Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty is now officially the first real estate agency in North Carolina to obtain the status of carbon neutral. Longtime supporters of Western North Carolina Building Council (WNCGBC), Mosaic Realty has recently strengthened their partnership by participating in Appalachian Offsets, a program of WNCGBC. By calculating the company’s net carbon output and offsetting it by paying into local green energy projects, they ensure that they are proactively taking steps to address climate change.

According to Dictionary.com, carbon neutrality is having achieved a state in which the net amount of carbon dioxide is reduced to zero because it is balanced by action to reduce or offset these emissions.  In order to participate in Appalachian Offsets, all 21 Mosaic agents have committed to paying a yearly sum reflective of their part of carbon emissions for the company. The funds collected benefit a local nonprofit, school or affordable-housing provider needing an energy-efficiency upgrade.

Appalachian Offsets AshevilleSam Ruark-Eastes, Executive Director of the WNCGBC, explains, “Appalachian Offsets is the bridge that matches companies and individuals looking to offset their emissions with organizations who need support cutting energy cost and upgrading their facilities.” Mike Figura, owner of Mosaic Realty, sees the value of this service to his business. “Mosaic Realty operates on a triple bottom line principle of People, Planet and Profit. We measure our success based on those three categories. Climate change is one of the greatest threats to our environment and species, and Appalachian Offsets offers us a way to take action on a local level to help make a positive impact”, states Figura.

Asheville Appalachian OffsetsBut the partnership between Mosaic and WNCGBC does not stop here. In order to help Asheville  become a carbon neutral community, Mosaic realtors working with buyers connect their clients to WNCGBC’s Green Gauge program. Green Gauge is an innovative home assessment tool that helps residents save money, reduce energy usage and live in homes that are healthier for themselves and the environment. Connecting new residents to some of Asheville’s invaluable resources and programs is a great entrance into this environmentally aware community.

About Mosaic Realty: Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty is a boutique real estate firm made up of 21 professional, full-time brokers who live in Asheville. We specialize in green, historic and in-town properties. Commitment to supporting our local and global community has been at the heart of this downtown Asheville real estate firm since its formation in 2010. In 2016, Mosaic donated over $77,000 to 48 non-profits, including the WNCGBC.

For more information about living in Asheville, contact Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call him anytime at 828-337-8190.

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Your Guide to the Past, Present and Future of Greenways in Asheville

Bikes ParkFor many people, the image of friends, couples, children and retirees gathering together at a city’s parks, and arriving there in multifaceted ways, brings about a feeling of community well-being.  In an increasingly busy and crowded world, we often make choices about our homes based upon access and proximity to public parks and alternative transportation.  

Asheville, North Carolina is no exception to this. The housing market within the city of Asheville is booming, and homes with proximity to greenways are not staying on the market for long.  Check out the history of Asheville’s greenways, the current state, and where the greenways are headed here.

The History of Greenways in Asheville

In the three decades prior to 2015, Asheville claimed only 5 miles of greenway with little connectivity between them.  This allowed for isolated pockets of greenway enjoyment but major obstacles to promoting alternative and green methods of transportation.  Greenways that are long-standing in Asheville include the French Broad River Park Greenway and Reed Creek Greenway near UNCA and the city center.

The Current State of Greenways in Asheville

Asheville ParkThe City of Asheville helps to maintain 4 greenways currently, the largest being the French Broad River Greenway at 2.83 miles in length.  It is mostly an 8 foot wide asphalt path that meanders from the Hominy Creek trailhead, through Carrier Park, along Amboy Road and to the French Broad River Park and dog park.  It provides connectivity for Asheville’s largest and most frequented park system.

Glen’s Creek Greenway connects Weaver Park in North Asheville to UNCA and and the Botanical Gardens; it is nearly a mile in length. Nearby, Reed Creek Greenway (.7 miles long) connects the historic Montford neighborhood to the UNCA area and Glen Creek Greenway. Finally, the Riverbend Park Greenway (nearly .5 miles long) hugs the Swannanoa River in east Asheville.

The Future of Greenways in Asheville

Asheville GreenwayThe master plan for greenways in Asheville has a goal of creating a 15 mile system composed of 12 interconnected corridors.  This River to Ridge Greenway and Trail network would encircle downtown Asheville.  It would reach into the River Arts District, French Broad River Greenways, Southslope Greenway Connector, Beaucatcher Greenway and Urban Trail.  

The use of multi-paths for both transportation and recreation has consistently ranked high on the public’s list of infrastructure projects that it values. Additionally, governments outside of the city of Asheville are beginning to catch the greenway bug.  Both the town of Woodfin and Buncombe County governments are advocating for connectivity with the Asheville greenway system.

A major goal of the project is to connect people to some of the beautiful assets of our area: the mountains and the rivers.

For more information on our area or real estate in Asheville, please contact Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com  or call him anytime at (828) 337-8190.

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Sources: Asheville Citizen Times article, February 2017

The City of Asheville

 

 

The Skinny on Restaurant Week 2017 in Asheville NC

Restaurant Week

Our small mountain city of Asheville has received wide acclaim of late for a multitude of reasons.  Recognition as a food destination is a growing reason that we have landed a coveted place on the culinary map in national publications.  Magazines such as Bon Appetit have featured Asheville as a foodie heaven on the cover, alongside huge metropolises such as New York, Las Vegas and Atlanta.

Asheville Restaurant WeekComing up this month, you have the opportunity to bundle up and hit the street to try out some of the delicious, independent restaurants in our city that are making magic out of local, farm-fresh ingredients.  Asheville’s Restaurant Week is set for January 21st through 27th, and is organized annually by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Plan your dining out carefully, because there are too many wonderful eateries to name. Some of our favorites include Buffalo Nickel, Chestnut, Storm, Curate and Wicked Weed.  At lunch, enjoy a $15 two-course meal for one person. Two dinner options include a $35 three-course meal for one or a $30 dinner for two people.  Reservations are strongly recommended! More information about Restaurant Week can be found here: https://www.exploreasheville.com/restaurant-week/

For more information on happenings or real estate in Asheville, please contact Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com  or call him anytime at (828) 337-8190.

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Shop Your Local Farmer's Market in the Middle of Winter in Asheville

Fresh Bread

Winter food selections at the grocery store got you down? We have a deliciously local, fresh, sustainable and tasty solution!  The YMCA Indoor Winter Market will keep you toasty while browsing and send you home with an armload of fresh edibles.

This lovely market is held in two different locations, the Crosspoint Community Church at 119 Cumberland in downtown Asheville and the YMCA at Mission Pardee Campus in Fletcher.  The opening of the winter market is Saturday, January 7th, with subsequent dates each Saturday from 10:00am to 12:30pm from January until the outdoor tailgate markets begin with the warmer weather.

Winter Farmers MarketYou will find among the stalls a wide selection of winter greens, mushrooms and vegetables. Additionally there are local vendors offering meats, fish, cheese, breads, pasta, and baked goods.  Speciality products such as vinegars, homeopathic herbal remedies, local wine, soaps, lotions and more are abundant as well.

Lisa Riggsbee, program coordinator, states, “we are excited about the Winter Market season.  It is a great place to enjoy locally made food and craft, as well as a welcoming place for fellowship and to learn from each other.”

Among other farms, the following are represented at this market: Wildwood Herbal, Spinning Spider Creamery, East Fork Farm, Creasman Farms, Meadow Cove Farm, Sleight Family Farm, and Farmin’ the Sky.  Detailed information about the market is listed at Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture's website here.

Winter Market AshevilleCome out to the YMCA Indoor Winter Market to enjoy fresh food, local vendors and a fantastic community of proactive and healthy individuals from in and around Asheville!

For more information on living in our community or on real estate in Asheville, please contact Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com  or call him anytime at (828) 337-8190.

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Shop Locally in Asheville to Support Public Schools

Go Local Asheville

With the holidays rapidly approaching, many people’s thoughts are turning toward gift procurement. It is easy to fall into the trap of online shopping with all of the convenience it offers.  Let us point out an alternative with many benefits, including support of our local businesses, support of our local schools and, of course, the coveted convenience!

2017 Go LocalThe Go Local card is a program of the Asheville Grown Business Alliance that features over 400 locally-owned independent businesses in our area.  Purchasing a card is a fantastic way to make a commitment to supporting the thriving and unique business culture in Asheville as well as supporting local public schools.  The 2016 card raised over $18,000 for our public schools and the goal is to surpass that number in 2017.

The 2017 Go Local card will be available to purchase by the end of November at Asheville Grown and in the offices of local public schools. Cards are also available at a discount in bulk (think holiday shopping in one fell swoop)!  Half of the price of the $16 card goes to support local public schools.  You may either designate a school to support or have it spread evenly across all of the city public schools.

This powerful card has membership benefits in many categories, including Eats Drinks and Entertainment, Fashion and Accessories, Professional Services, Health and Beauty, Outdoors and more!  The full list of discounts can be found here.

For more information on residing in our lively community, or on real estate in Asheville, please contact Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com  or call him anytime at (828) 337-8190.

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Light up the Holidays in Asheville at the NC Arboretum

Winter Lights Asheville

The holiday season is not complete without a trip to scout out the best winter light displays in the area. Here, we would like to highlight one display that is created and hosted by one of our favorite Asheville area organizations, the North Carolina Arboretum.

The North Carolina Arboretum, located on the southwest side of town off of Highway 191, is a favorite destination in warmer months due to its stunning landscape displays and fantastic exhibits.  In the past few years, they have extended their viewing season by offering up an incredible winter light display, and many area residents are beginning to claim it as a family holiday tradition.

Arboretum Winter LightsThe 3rd Annual Winter Lights Holiday Lights Exhibit opens on Friday, November 18th and runs through Sunday, January 1st, from 6 to 10 pm every night.  Visitors walk through a self-guided tour of nearly 500,000 energy-efficient LED lights arranged to highlight the natural beauty and landscapes of the Arboretum.

Highlights of the exhibit include a projection show and educational program about animal hibernation during winter. Other attractions include a 50 foot animated tree, Rocky Cove G-Scale model train and lighted Quilt Garden.  You can purchase festive food and beverage at the cafe, including hot cocoa, s’mores, wine and beer.

Attending this event not only allows you to meander through a winter wonderland, but proceeds from the Winter Lights fundraiser will help the Arboretum to expand its educational programs, exhibits and facilities year-round.

Arboretum Winter LightsWinter Lights tickets are available for purchase online at www.ncwinterlights.com. All tickets must be purchased in advance and are date-specific. Pricing is $18 for adults and $16 for children (ages 5 to 11), not including handling fees and required sales tax. Children age four and under are free.

Mosaic Realty is a huge supporter of the North Carolina Arboretum because we believe in its mission of cultivating connections between people and plants.  For more information on our fantastic community or real estate in Asheville, please contact Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com  or call him anytime at (828) 337-8190.

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Appalachian Offsets: A Local Solution to Global Pollution

Tree in Light Bulb

A Program of Western North Carolina Green Building Council

Appalachian OffsetsWestern North Carolina Green Building Council (WNCGBC) is bringing back it’s locally focused carbon-offsetting program due to community demand!  This innovative local program allows area residents to calculate their carbon footprint and then offset it by paying into a community fund.  The community fund then supports energy-efficient upgrades at local nonprofits, low-income housing and schools.

Executive director of the WNCGBC, Sam Ruark Eastes, states, “the scientific consensus is in.  Climate change is happening and is greatly influenced by the burning of fossil fuels.” The average United States resident was responsible for 18 tons of carbon dioxide in one year.  This number is almost 4 times greater than the global average of 4.6 tons, according to a U.S. Energy Information Administration report in 2011 (the last year of the data).

Two grants have helped to bring the Appalachian Offsets program back into action.  It encourages individuals to first offset their own carbon footprint.  Then, they can pay into a fund that helps the community as a whole.  

Making a Difference in Asheville

UNCA AHAAn example of a project that is funded would be upgrading inefficient lighting and supporting clean energy within area organizations.  In 2007, UNCA students volunteered with the Asheville Housing Authority to replace 13,000 inefficient incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.  This initiative helped reduce carbon emissions by 3, 790 tons annually and saved the Housing Authority and its residents about $250,000 annually!

“Appalachian Offsets is the bridge that matches companies and individuals looking to offset their emissions with organizations who need support cutting energy costs and upgrading their facilities,” Ruark Eastes said.

You can get involved by going to the program’s website: www.cutmycarbon.org!  Here, you can use the carbon calculator to see your own or your business’ carbon footprint.  Additionally,you can also learn more about the projects that will be supported by offsets you may choose to purchase.

Mosaic Realty is proud to be a supporter of the Western North Carolina Green Building Council.  For information on real estate in Asheville, please contact Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com  or call him anytime at (828) 337-8190.

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4 Ideas for Fall Family Fun in Asheville, NC

Apple Orchard Asheville

There is no greater time to appreciate the abundant beauty of our area than autumn.  The colors become electric as the air turns crisp.  Fall in Asheville brings with it several associations for us, and seeking out these traditions in the name of family fun is a great way to spend time together!

Asheville Area Corn Mazes

Corn MazeThe campus of Eliada Homes offers 12 acres with 4 miles of twisting and turning trails through their corn field.  This has been an Asheville tradition for years, with families flocking to their West Asheville location by the van-full.  Annually, the event brings in 20,000 visitors and is ranked among the top corn mazes in the nation.  All funds raised benefit Eliada Homes, serving children and families since 1906.

For a smaller corn maze experience, head out to Hickory Nut Gap Farm, where just a stone’s throw from their country store, children can explore the corn maze and then return to the farm store for fresh cider.  The farm is located just 10 miles southeast of Asheville.  

Apple Orchards: A WNC Tradition

Sky Top Orchard offers incredible scenery as you pick your own apples surrounded by panoramic mountain views.  Children will delight in the sights of the geese, ducks, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys and peacocks.  Sky Top is famous for its apple cider doughnuts and lasting memories!

Pumpkins-a-Plenty

Pumpkins AshevillePicking the perfect pumpkin is a fun and easy task with so many local and convenient options in Asheville.  The Western North Carolina Farmer’s Market has a plethora of pumpkins as well as gourds and other fall harvest decorations.  Many area churches hold pumpkin adoptions as fundraisers to benefit charities they support.  Hickory Nut Gap also features a pumpkin patch for your own picking.  


Leaf Color in Asheville

Fall Leaves AshevilleFamily fun in the autumn can be as simple as a drive to see the amazing colors on our deciduous trees, with some pit stops for the children to stomp in the leaves.  Because we live near so many state and national parks, a short drive pays huge dividends in satisfaction.  Mid to late October is known as “peak leaf season”, and there is no better time to hit the Blue Ridge Parkway with a picnic basket in hand.  There are vistas all along the drive, but larger stop-off points include Craggy Gardens and Mount Pisgah.

Don’t forget to plan ahead for trick or treating!  Here is our guide to the Halloween scene in Asheville’s neighborhoods.

For more information about our area or to learn about real estate in Asheville, please contact Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com  or call him anytime at (828) 337-8190.

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Powerful Performing Arts in Asheville: A Look at What's Ahead

Diana Wortham Theatre Dance Asheville Parsons

Asheville is a city of art- both visual and performing.  From street corners full of buskers to community concerts to national and international performing artists, opportunity to soak it all in abounds.  At Mosaic, we believe in the power of art to keep a community thriving.  We support multiple performing arts opportunities in Asheville and the surrounding area.  Here, we would like to feature two fantastic series that we sponsor and whose seasons are on the brink of launch.  

Blue Ridge Orchestra in Western North Carolina

Blue Ridge Orchestra AshevilleBlue Ridge Orchestra is a group of talented musicians from around Western North Carolina.  These volunteers are a mix of professional, amateur and retired musicians.  The venues change throughout the season in attempt to bring wonderful music to many of the communities in the Western part of the state.

The season is beginning September 17 at Deerfield Chapel in South Asheville with Gaga for Vivaldi.  Some of the highlights of the 2016-2017 season include Homage to Haydn, BRO Revels, and a Wedding with Wolfgang.  The season closes in April at the Folk Art Center with Cantus Terrae (an Earth Day Celebration).

A full schedule of events can be found here.

Diana Wortham Theatre in Downtown Asheville

Diana Wortham Theatre Dance Asheville ShadowlandDiana Wortham Theatre is a beautiful and intimate theatre of only 500 seats and is located in the heart of downtown Asheville.  Parking is easy at an adjacent parking garage, and there are many top-notch restaurants and bars within easy walking distance to the theatre.  Their live performances feature dance, music, comedy, circus arts and theatre throughout the year.  This stellar nonprofit organization hosts regional vocational arts performances throughout the year as well as nationally and internationally touring artists in their Mainstage Series performances.  

This year’s Mainstage Series, running from September 2016 through May 2017, features a spectrum of performing art from the comic relief of The Capitol Steps to leading dance ensemble Parsons Dance to Grammy Award winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo.  Mosaic Realty is helping to sponsor the Dance Series this year, enabling Diana Wortham Theatre to continue in their tradition of being a top presenter of dance in the southeast.  

A full schedule of events can be found here.

At Mosaic, we strive to know our community and to be connected to it.  For information on real estate in Asheville, please contact Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com  or call him anytime at (828) 337-8190.

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7 Reasons Asheville is a Food Forward Heaven

 

It has been said by many visitors to Asheville that the food scene here is more progressive than anywhere else they have visited.  Here we offer 7 reasons that Asheville is a food forward heaven:

1.  Asheville Food is Fresh

Farmers Market AshevilleEveryone knows that fantastic chefs cook with the freshest ingredients.  In the Asheville area, there are over a dozen farmers markets that both home cooks and professional chefs frequent to find ingredients.  Menus all over town boast meat, cheese and produce from local farms.  The Hop Ice Cream Cafe is known to stop by the West Asheville Tailgate Market for farm fresh ingredients that then show up in their incredibly creative ice cream flavors.
 

2.  It’s Easy to Grab a Bite in Asheville

A new trend that we are seeing is the rise of the food truck, lending convenience to grabbing a bite on the go in every nook and cranny of Asheville.  You will find food trucks parked at breweries, festivals, private parties and even gas stations, making it incredibly easy to eat a delicious meal.  There is even a dedicated food truck park!

3.  Local Food Abounds

Asheville’s hospitable climate is conducive to many crops flourishing.  At farmers markets, co-ops and independent grocery stores you can find various local foods throughout the seasons.  Late spring brings scrumptious greens and summer yields countless root veggies, squashes, berries and more.  Crisp apples are a fall staple in Western North Carolina.

4.  There is a Focus on Sustainable Food

Asheville Fresh ApplesIn true Asheville form, there is a huge grassroots effort to make food sustainable in our area.  An organization called Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project provides support for farmers and education to the community so that we, as consumers, may have sustainable food choices and that farm businesses can continue to thrive.  Their efforts help to connect us to the farmers through markets and farm tours.

5.  Healthy Food is Everywhere

There is nowhere easier than Asheville to find healthy food that suits any diet.  Whether you are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan or any other food sensitive designation, there is a delectable menu waiting for you here!  Plant is an entirely vegan fine-dining establishment.  Posana, in Pack Square, is entirely gluten-free.  Laughing Seed Cafe, an early Asheville restaurant located on Wall Street, pioneered the way for vegetarian food in the area in the 1990s.  The Hop Ice Cream Cafe serves soymilk, almond milk, coconut milk and banana ice cream in addition to dairy ice cream.

6.  Food is Art in Asheville

Art, both visual and performing, is a large part of Asheville’s culture, and it carries over into the food realm as well.  Gorgeous, colorful combinations of local ingredients grace plates city-wide.  Notable culinary displays can be witnessed at Bull and Beggar with their seafood tower.  The sushi at Heiwa Shokudo on Lexington Avenue is stunning.  Check out the Instagram account of The Junction in the River Arts District to see their food art.  French Broad Chocolate Lounge’s handmade truffles are individual masterpieces!

7.  Asheville food is Delicious

Asheville Fresh FoodThe bottom line here is that you can taste some of the most delectable dishes imaginable in Asheville’s restaurants.  The Admiral, an unexpected fine dining restaurant in a dive bar’s body, often has reservations booked for weeks in advance.  Chef Katie Button churns out amazing tapas at Curate Spanish tapas bar.  Some of our other favorites are Mela Indian Food, Salsa’s Mexican Caribbean and the Asian cuisine of Gan Shan Station.

Feasting for FEAST Event

For the last several years, Mosaic Realty has been a supporter of the annual Feasting for FEAST celebration.  FEAST, an Asheville nonprofit, seeks to educate youth and families to grow, prepare and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables.  Their annual Feasting for FEAST celebration brings together many of Asheville’s finest restaurants for a tasting of this fantastic food culture. Funds raised go toward programming that serves over 1500 local children.  Get your tickets now for the September 29th event!

At Mosaic Realty, we know this small city inside and out.  We would love to help you decide where in Asheville to call home.  For information on real estate in Asheville, please contact Mike Figura at mike@mymosaicrealty.com  or call him anytime at (828) 337-8190.

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Further Reading: This article by Collections, ETC. names Asheville as one of the coolest small towns to visit!