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Pedaling Properties: Mosaic's Justin Mitchell Brings Biking Savvy and Visual Acumen to Asheville Real Estate Deals

Justin Mitchell Mountain Biking Asheville RealtorA second-generation real estate agent with 22 years of experience, Mosaic broker Justin Mitchell knows how to make the most of life in Western North Carolina as an avid cyclist and outdoor enthusiast. Drawing from his adventure-seeking savvy, along with his skill as a seasoned videographer, Mitchell can be trusted to give both buyers and sellers a thorough picture – quite literally – of the perfect Asheville home.

What brought you to Asheville, and what drew you into real estate?

I grew up with a highly successful mother and father in the real-estate business in Nashville. While on summer breaks in college, I worked on a framing crew and learned about construction first-hand. I moved to Asheville in 2007, for the most part drawn to the quality of life that this city has to offer – the mountains and great music scene. I wanted a cool smaller town, but it also needed to have a vibrant live-music scene. Mountain biking and river sports were also at the top of my list.

Justin Mitchell blends biking into Asheville life

Elaborate on your biking life, its inception and how your biking interests have evolved over the years.

I was raised around bikes, and spent a lot of my youth competitively racing BMX. I had backyard BMX tracks, half pipes, and it definitely was a huge part of my life. When I went off to college in Knoxville, I got a mountain bike, and that’s when I started the sport. I was coming up to Pisgah [National Forest] in the early ’90s to hit the popular mountain biking trails here, so I have a long history of riding the “classics.”

Justin Mitchell Asheville RealtorWhat makes Asheville such a great city for the biking enthusiast?  

The thing that appeals most to me as a mountain biker is the diversity you find here, everything from beginner-friendly trails at Bent Creek [Experiential Forest] to really advanced bike parks and challenging trails in Pisgah and the surrounding communities. Bike parks like The Riveter [in Fletcher], Bailey Mountain downhill bike park [in Marshall], and Ride Kanuga [in Hendersonville] will pretty much allow you to go as big as you want to go – in fact, Kanuga was built by a pro World Cup downhill champion. The parks certainly give me my BMX-background fix for big jumps and more progressive riding.

Although Asheville is limited by its layout and historic nature of the roads to be conducive to riding bikes around town for transportation, there have been a lot of gains on that front in the 12 years I’ve lived here.

Elaborate on how you’ve found ways to weave your love of biking, your love of Asheville, and your career in real estate into one.

Being a part of the Asheville mountain bike culture since the ’90s, there’s a thread that makes it easy to connect with other people who are into the sport. I’m able to impart my knowledge of the mountain biking community in Western North Carolina, the various resources, the different trail systems, everything. When biking is such a huge part of a person’s lifestyle, and they want their new home in Asheville to help facilitate that lifestyle, it helps to work with someone who can see the area through that same lens.

Justin Mitchell on green homes in Asheville

Justin Mitchell Asheville Real Estate VideoTalk a little about the Green Home Bike Tour, and how it combines two of your passions.

I’ve been involved in new construction since the beginning of my real estate career. Green homes and the desire to learn more about them was another thing that brought me to Asheville. When I moved here and realized there were so many green homes within a short distance of each other, I had an idea to organize a green home bike tour that centered on educating others about the benefits of green homes, and I used the opportunity to put together a ride that toured North Asheville, West Asheville, and the town center. It was definitely a good way to blend two of my top interests, and it was a great experience.

Your videography savvy stands out in the industry. How do you weave such skills and knowledge into your work as an agent?

My love for travel and documenting my outdoor experiences via GoPro [action cameras] and photography is a passion that’s turned into a very beneficial skill set to help my clients market their homes. It’s also helped buyers in situations where they can’t be physically present to tour homes. My videography skills definitely take it up a notch: This isn’t simply using an iPhone to snap shots of a home – I use highly specialized gear to capture aerial images and create visually rich virtual home tours.

My technological knowledge and gear have enabled me to broker several “long-distance” real estate deals in Asheville in the past year where I didn’t even meet the buyers in person; their first tour of their new homes didn’t occur until the walkthrough, or after closing. My goal as an agent is to use technology to make purchasing properties from afar as easy and informative as possible. 

Learn More: About Justin Mitchell

Connect with Justin: justin@justinasheville.com or 828-713-9400

 

The Height of Natural Beauty and Outdoor Fun in Mars Hill, NC

Mars Hill, NC Homes for SaleNestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, the town of Mars Hill (pop. 2,000) in Madison County wows with its beauty and ease of living. Residents and visitors alike enjoy quick access to all manner of mountain sports and family activities. In addition, Mars Hill is only about 15 miles north of Asheville via I-26, which means residents can make an easy trip into the city for all its cosmopolitan offerings.

Nature abounds around Mars Hill

Skiing, hiking, cycling, horseback riding and whitewater rafting are just a taste of the outdoor activities available in and around Mars Hill. The town is near the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, and many national and state parks. The popular Bailey Mountain Bike Park is mere minutes away.

Mars Hill is also home to Mars Hill University, a private, co-ed, liberal-arts college. Founded in 1856, it is the oldest college or university in Western N.C. Thanks to the university’s presence, Mars Hill residents enjoy a great variety of cultural, intellectual and entertainment offerings for a town its size. The university's enrollment typically runs from 1,300 to 1,600 students (which is not included in the census population numbers).

A variety of Mars Hill properties

Mars Hill NC Real EstateMars Hill is replete with a range of homes and property for sale. Everything from established ranches to quintessential log cabins to new green builds is available; you can also choose from many lots situated on multiple acres to build your dream home.

Mars Hill supports diverse businesses, professional offices and services. The town is home to a medical center, retirement center, public library, and recreation facilities. Mars Hill school options include Mars Hill Elementary School, as well as a consolidated middle school in Brush Creek, and a high school in Marshall. There are two preschool centers in Mars Hill.

Mars Hill cultural offerings and events occur year-round and include:

·     Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre performances at Mars Hill University’s Owen Theatre (June-August)

·     July 4thCelebration at Mars Hill Park, with daytime activities and fireworks after dark

·     The Hot Doggett 100 Cycling Tour annual bike ride (July)

·     The Shriners’ Fundraiser at Mars Hill Park (September)

For information about real estate in Mars Hill, contact us at Info@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

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Planting Native Trees Grows Asheville's Urban Canopy

Landscaping Curb AppealFor most Asheville homeowners, curb appeal begins with beautiful landscaping. But just as important as beautification is the preservation of the natural Western North Carolina ecosystem that surrounds us. With the use of native tree species in yards and gardens, Asheville homeowners can integrate the two goals, to great success.

Native species of trees 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 and 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.

Asheville’s urban canopy

The trees that blanket Asheville are a characteristic that defines the city’s natural beauty. Asheville’s trees along city streets, in parks and natural areas, in backyards, and in landscaped open spaces are collectively known as the city’s “urban forest.” 

Planting native trees in your yard contributes to Asheville’s urban canopy, beautifying neighborhoods and cityscapes, and offering privacy screens as they provide shade and absorb harmful gases and other pollutants. The urban canopy is a natural habitat for birds and wildlife, protects soils from erosion, cool streets and homes in the summer, and protects us from winds in the winter.

Native Plants Landscaping Curb AppealThe City of Asheville has an Urban Forestry Commission made up of nine citizen volunteers appointed by Asheville City Council. The goal of the commission is to protect and preserve Asheville’s tree canopy. The commission co-sponsors with Asheville Green Works for the Treasured Trees program of Buncombe County, which recognizes unusual specimen trees on both public and private property. The panel also assists Asheville’s commercial and residential properties with tree and shrub selection.

Native know-how in your yard

When landscaping with native trees to contribute to Asheville’s urban canopy, there are many resources to teach which will work with your property (https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/fact-sheet/western-north-carolina-native-plant-recommendations.pdfis just one of them). You can also simply study the land around you to get an idea of what grows near your home naturally and beautifully. 

In the Asheville area, it’s easy to maximize your native-planting success by matching the right trees 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.

If you’re looking for the perfect Asheville-area house to go with that perfect native-tree-populated yard, contact us at Info@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

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Stunning Natural Beauty Envelops Eclectic Brevard

Brevard NC Walkable TownBrevard, N.C., tucked in the heart of Transylvania County, boasts a unique mix of the eclectic and the enchanting: Unique boutiques dot its downtown, while mountain bike trails, waterfall hikes and epic views make it one of the most beautiful natural attractions in the Southeast.

Located 33 miles southwest of Asheville along scenic Highway 64, Brevard has a population of 7,600. The city is part of the Transylvania County School system, which includes three high schools, two middle schools, and four elementary schools. One charter school and several smaller private schools round out the academic offerings. In addition, Brevard College, a four-year liberal arts institution with nationally recognized programs in music and environmental studies, is located in Brevard.   

Brevard NC: Surrounded by Outdoor Beauty

Brevard’s natural beauty is renowned, with its temperate rainforest climate sustaining over 200 waterfalls across the area. The most visited spots are Looking Glass Falls and summer favorite Sliding Rock. 

Brevard NC Walkable Small TownNestled between Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Recreational Forest and Gorges State Park, Brevard affords visitors endless outdoor adventures. Known as one of the top mountain biking destinations in the U.S., Brevard sports 300 miles of epic single track in its pristine forests.  The area is also known for its road cycling and popular cycling shops, where guides and gear are always available.

Brevard is a favorite spot for rock climbers, featuring such destinations as Looking Glass, Cedar Rock and many other areas of interest. Brevard Rock Gym is available for the indoor climbing enthusiast. Fishing is also popular in Brevard, with a hatchery located in Pisgah National Forest to supply the rivers with fish.

Brevard boasts a range of cultural offerings. It is home to the world-renowned Brevard Music Center and its Summer Music Festival, the Porter Center for Performing Arts at Brevard College, and a vibrant live music community. Downtown hosts several fun festivals throughout the year, including The White Squirrel Festival, Halloweenfest and Twilight Tour, but downtown visitors can find much to explore year-round. Picturesque Main Street, anchored by a stately courthouse, is brimming with local shops, galleries and restaurants. Favorite stops include O.P. Taylor's toy store on the square and D.D. Bullwinkle's Outdoors.

For more information about real estate in Brevard, or anywhere in Asheville or Western N.C., contact us at Info@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

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Lake Lure Makes a Splash With Natural Beauty and Outdoor Adventures

Lake Lure NC Real EstateNestled at the base of the Hickory Nut Gorge amid breathtaking shoreline, mountain peaks, and rare plant and animal species, the town of Lake Lure in Western North Carolina is a nature lover’s dream. The town, which encompasses the famed lake of the same name, sits at an elevation of 1,000 feet and is surrounded by peaks topping out over 3,000, including Rumbling Bald Mountain, Chimney Rock Mountain and Sugar Loaf Mountain. Life in Lake Lure affords myriad options for enjoying the outdoors, and its proximity to Asheville (28 miles northwest) and Charlotte (78 miles east) makes for easy, delightful day trips.

Part of Rutherford County, Lake Lure was incorporated in 1927, and acquired the lake after which it was named in 1965. It has a year-round population of close to 1,200. The lake covers about 720 acres, with a shoreline of about 27 miles.

Properties in Lake Lure vary, from lavish lakefront to modern forest-shrouded to open tracts for building a mountain dream home. Schools are part of the Rutherford County System. Nearby Chimney Rock, Rutherfordton and Forest City offer quaint Main Street shops and specialty restaurants.

Outdoor adventures in Lake Lure

The town of Lake Lure offers many spots for soaking in the area’s beauty and natural features. Most prominent is, of course, the lake itself. Lake Lure beach, open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, is the perfect place for cooling off, with lifeguards, a water slide, and other fun water sports. You can also kayak, rent a boat, or take a tour boat.

Homes for Sale in Lake Lure NCHiking and mountain biking options are plentiful in and around Lake Lure. Dittmer-Watts Nature Trail Park is a popular, 3-mile walking trail system perfect for all ages and fitness levels. Buffalo Creek Park offers thousands of acres of conserved land, and intermediate to advanced mountain biking trails. Among the surrounding mountain peaks, Chimney Rock Park’s Rumbling Bald Climbing Access is a perfect park for hiking, with trails leading to rock formations at the base of Rumbling Bald.

Year-round events in Lake Lure

A number of events and festivals draw visitors every year to the area. Following are a few to check out:

Spring and Fall Lake Lure Arts and Crafts festivals – More than 100 crafters and food and entertainment vendors participate in these annual fests, one during Memorial Day Weekend and the other in mid-October.

Fourth of July Fireworks – Two shows, on the third (public) and the fourth (for guests and members of Rumbling Bald Resort) of July, occur at Lake Lure. 

Lake Lure Olympiad – Every August, hundreds of swimmers, runners, cyclists and golfers compete in a series of events around the area.

Dirty Dancing Festival – In homage to the iconic 1987 movie, which was filmed at Lake Lure, visitors to this annual September event can take dance lessons, enjoy live music, and view an nighttime outdoor showing of “Dirty Dancing.”

For more information about real estate in Lake Lure, or anywhere in the Asheville area, contact us at Info@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

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Dig These Dog-Friendly Outings Around Asheville

Asheville Dog-Friendly PlacesAsheville is an enjoyable place for every member of your family – including the four-legged ones. Dog-friendly restaurants, hikes and parks abound in and around town, promising that your furry pals can join in on all the non-stop fun Asheville has to offer. And with a growing number of restaurants and other establishments shifting to outdoor-centric service, there are more opportunities than ever for bringing your pup along; here are just a few. 

Eating out in Asheville with your pup

Many restaurants around town allow well-behaved canine companions to come along for the ride. Your best bets are eateries with outdoor and patio seating. Another enjoyable option are the myriad dog-friendly breweries around town, many with open areas for you and your furry friend to mingle and make new ones. From Downtown to River Arts District, check out these pooch-perfect spots:

12 Bones Smokehouse – Plenty of outdoor seating this an ideal destination for you and your dog. www.12bones.com

Zia Taqueria – This West Asheville favorite has expanded its seating into a spacious outdoor spot, with lots of room for Rover. https://ziataco.com

Sunny Point Café – Daytime outdoor counter service coupled with a picnic area means you can enjoy this popular place with your pup. https://sunnypointcafe.com

All Souls Pizza – This River Arts District spot has plenty of outdoor seating at picnic tables and an adjacent open field. http://www.allsoulspizza.com

Posana Café – Along with its eclectic menu, Posana serves dishes specifically designed for dogs, so you and your pooch can park for a meal on the patio, entertained by the buskers that frequently set up nearby. www.posanarestaurant.com

Laughing Seed Café – This vegetarian restaurant offers a laid-back vantage point from its Wall St. patio. www.laughingseed.com

Burial Beer Co. – This downtown brewery also has a full-service kitchen and lots of seating to accommodate you and your pet. https://burialbeer.com/location/avl/

Wicked Weed Brewing – A dog-friendly patio means you can enjoy this popular downtown brewery and restaurant with both four-legged and two-legged friends! https://www.wickedweedbrewing.com

Asheville Dispensary - This West Asheville cafe and dispensary is dog friendly inside their store/lounge and offers outside, covered seating and they sell pet products. https://avldispensary.com/collections/pet-products

Asheville with DogsKennels, specialty shops and daycare

For those times when your dog needs day or overnight care, there are several options from which to choose:

Pet Vet on Patton – In addition to an array of veterinary services, this centrally located office offers boarding, grooming and doggie daycare. http://petvetonpatton.com

Happy Tails Country Club – Their Fairview and Enka facilities are crate-free: Boarders instead have “suites” with full walls. http://happytailscc.com

Patton Avenue Pet Company – Boasting an array of pet food and other items, this store (with multiple locations) offers food delivery, as well as self-dog-washing stations at its South Asheville location. www.pattonavenuepet.com

Pampered Pets Inn and Spa – Play care, a spa, training and boarding are all offered at this location. http://pamperedpetsinnandspa.com

Parks and hikes

Your dog has plenty of exercise options around the area. In addition to the many hiking trails in Asheville, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and in national forests, there are city parks where (leashed) pooches can play, and fenced dog parks where they can run with abandon:

French Broad River Park and Dog Park

The meandering paths of this West Asheville gem wind along the French Broad River and lead to a large, fenced-in dog park (with an area set off for small dogs), complete with water and poop bags.

Azalea Dog Park

Just beyond the John B. Lewis Soccer complex in East Asheville is the Azalea Dog Park. With large fenced areas for small and big dogs, and plenty of seating and shady spots for their owners, this is a favorite place to mingle with fellow dog lovers.

A wag-worthy welcome center

The Dog City USA Asheville Welcome Center (1 Battle Square) is a one-stop-resource to help dog owners get the most out of their downtown Asheville visit. The first of its kind in the country, the welcome center features tours every Friday designed for dogs and their owners, featuring local shops with doggie goodies, breweries catering to pups, and even special canine dining for you and your dog to enjoy on the town. The center offers a doggy potty area, fresh cold water from doggie drinking fountains, free goody dog bags, dog-friendly public bathrooms, and even human refreshments. http://dogdoorcanineservices.com/Dog-City-USA

To learn about Real Estate in Asheville, email us at Info@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

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Warm Up to Socially Distanced Fun With Friends This Fall

Fire Pit OutdoorsSince “social distancing” entered our everyday lexicon in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, finding ways to hang out with small groups of friends in a safe setting has required new, creative outlets. The warmth of Asheville’s summer lent itself to outdoor, spaced and small gatherings (widely accepted to be the best way to see friends and family without spreading the coronavirus). As the chill of fall in Western North Carolina sets in, continuing outdoor meet-ups and hang-outs is still possible. Here are some ideas for fall fun with family and friends while still social distancing.

Fired up – Patio firepits offer an ideal focal point for small outdoor get-togethers. Besides providing warmth, they can do double-duty as a cooking source: Think s’mores on a stick or roasted hotdogs or kabobs on a skewer. Once the fire dies down and you’re left with hot coals, you can treat everyone to a campfire-foil “meal” (chopped veggies and a protein combined in a single-serve packet, placed in the coals – never the fire); this can also work on a grill, and eliminates the need for clean-up or shared serving dishes.

Hot spot – When the temperatures drop, turn your backyard into a cozy outdoor “living room.” Heated blankets and portable space heaters can keep your guests toasty while you socialize under the stars. Or shift hang-outs to the afternoon, while the sun is out and has had a chance to warm things up. 

Garage bond – If you have a spacious garage, roll up the doors, move out the cars and set up some spaced-apart seating for a socializing spot that’s protected from the elements. Also consider carports, covered patios and screened-in decks for small gatherings that can stay safely outdoors.

Asheville Cold Weather HikeHeightened activity – Even though hiking in the mountains is often associated with warm weather, the activity can be enjoyed year-round. Bundle up and meet friends on the trails for a fun way to socialize and get in some blood-pumping exercise. While the Blue Ridge Parkway closes in the colder months, there are still plenty of spots in Western N.C. to hike year-round. Pack a thermos of hot chocolate or savory soup to warm up while you take in the splendor of iced-over foliage, crisp long-range views, and clean, invigorating air. Bonus: Hiking hotspots tend to thin out during the colder, less-busy seasons, which means locals can take advantage of the open spaces to social distance while still enjoying the company of friends.

Happy trails – Asheville is replete with in-town greenways and trails, which means you can enjoy a social stroll or bike ride almost anytime. Take a group mountain bike ride (which naturally lends itself to social distancing!), either in town or a short drive away at one of the popular trails in DuPont State Forest or Pisgah National Forest. 

Eat, drink and be merry – safely – Breweries and restaurants around Asheville have gotten creative since the start of the pandemic, setting up outdoor dining areas, offering touchless ordering, limiting numbers in a group, and taking extra cleaning and safety precautions to stop the spread of coronavirus. As the weather shifts, breweries and eateries continue to offer outdoor seating options, adding heat lamps and space heaters to keep customers warm. So grab your coat and head out for a brew and a bite with friends.

To learn about Real Estate in Asheville, contact us at Info@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call anytime at 828-707-9556.

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Enjoy Autumn Activities at Asheville Area Apple Orchards

Asheville Area Apple OrchardsApple-picking around Western North Carolina is a favorite fall pastime, and everything that comes with an outing to an orchard – think corn mazes, hay rides, and chowing down on warm apple fritters – is what makes autumn in Asheville extra special. With the season starting up, now is the perfect time to experience an enjoyable afternoon of all things apple at one of the area’s many orchards. 

Henderson County apple orchards

Henderson County, 25 miles south of Asheville, is the largest apple-producing one in the North Carolina, which is the seventh-largest apple-producing state in the country. That adds up to a lot of apple-picking opportunities! Between Hendersonville and Chimney Rock along Highway 64, a number of orchards beckon with pick-your-own or pre-picked apples, as well as country markets featuring ciders, apple cider doughnuts, apple fritters, apple cider slushies, jams and the like.

Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard

This fourth generation working farm offers mountain views to go along with pick-your-own apples, grapes and pumpkins, as well as a market brimming with cider, apple butter and other gifts. Stepp’s offers farm wagon rides through its orchards and pumpkin patch, as well as the ever-popular apple canons. https://steppapples.com

Apple Orchards in WNCGrandad’s Apples

Pre-picked or pick-your-own apples await you at this popular orchard. Grandad’s Barn and Country Store boasts fall decorations and an array of apple-related gifts, as well as apple turnovers, fried pies, apple bread, caramel apples and ice cream. There’s also a corn maze set against a backdrop of long-range mountain views. https://www.grandadsapples.com

Justus Orchard

Offering u-pick or we-pick applies, blackberries and pumpkins, Justus has farm animals and a Cow Train through the orchard to entertain the entire family. The store sells honey, jams, jellies, preserves and other homemade goods, as well as fried apple pies, cider slushies, caramels and more. The orchard also offers mountain cabbage, sweet potatoes and other local fall vegetables. https://justusorchard.com

Sky Top Orchard

Apple Orchards Near AshevilleAlong with pick-your-own apples, Sky Top in Flat Rock offers u-pick peaches, Asian pears and grapes. Make an afternoon of it with a visit to the orchard ponds with ducks and geese, a barnyard with sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys and peacocks, and a bamboo forest for exploring. http://www.skytoporchard.com

Waynesville/Sylva area orchards

Barber Orchards

This fruit stand and bakery is a local favorite. Stop in for a variety of fresh apples, as well as other fall produce. The bakery is known for its apple turnovers, fritters and pies. https://www.facebook.com/BarberOrchardFruitstand

For information on Asheville area real estate, email Info@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.

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Blue Ridge Mountain Wineries Serve Up Tasty Sips and Sumptuous Scenery

Asheville Area WineriesFor a relaxing daytime excursion, take a visit to one of the many wineries dotting Western North Carolina. These wineries, in and around the Asheville area, offer the opportunity to enjoy tastings and tours as you soak in the stunning surroundings unique to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Make sure to plan ahead: Most wineries take reservations, and it’s best to check their latest COVID-19-related policies before making your visit. 

Biltmore Winery

A visit to this famed winery, in the heart of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, is included in the price of the admission to the house. The winery offers tours of the facility, as well as complimentary tastings of its handcrafted wines. A range of bottles, cases and snacks to complement its wines is offered in the winery gift shop. https://www.biltmore.com/visit/winery/visit-our-winery/

Addison Farms Vineyard

This family-owned vineyard and winery in Leicester, a short drive from Asheville, boasts a tasting room with mountain views, where you can enjoy samples of wines from its six grape varieties. http://www.addisonfarms.net

Wineries Near Asheville NCTryon Foothills Wine Country

An easy 45-mile drive from Asheville, this area is home to more than 20 vineyards along with four wineries open to visitors. The rolling countryside offers fertile ground for grape-growing, and the surrounding mountains that protect it from harsh weather extremes mean it has the longest growing season in Western N.C. The wineries open to visitors are: family-run Parker-Binns Vineyard, with 40 acres of winery and vineyard (Mill Spring) https://www.parkerbinnsvineyard.com; Overmountain Vineyards, featuring a variety of estate-grown wines (Tryon) https://overmountainvineyards.com; Russian Chapel Hills Winery, with seven varietals as well as a muscadine dessert wine (Columbus) https://www.russianchapelhills.com; and boutique family winery Mountain Brook Vineyards (Tryon) https://www.mountainbrookvineyards.com.

Catawba Valley Wine Tour

This collection of three wineries between Marion and Morganton, about 30 minutes east of Asheville, sits in the foothills of Burke County and takes advantage of the ideal growing conditions for grapes. The three wineries, all within a 15-mile drive, are: South Creek Winery, boasting Bordeaux-style wines (Nebo) http://www.southcreekwinery.com; Silver Fork Vineyard, where you can enjoy samples along with live music, movies and art exhibits (Morganton) https://www.silverforkwinery.com; and Lake James Cellars Winery, where you can try a variety of tastings in a restored 1915 textile mill building (Glen Alpine) https://www.lakejamescellars.com.

Hendersonville Winery Trail

If you’re looking for an easy daytrip from Asheville, consider visiting the Hendersonville Winery Trail, about 25 miles south of downtown Asheville. Take a scenic, 10-mile country drive to sample a range of award-winning wines as you soak in the vineyards’ beautiful settings and mountain views. The vineyards are: Point Lookout Vineyards, with six red and four white wines along with seven meads https://pointlookoutvineyards.com; Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards, which grows 14 grape varieties https://www.saintpaulfarms.com; and Burntshirt Vineyards, a North Carolina Winery of the Year offering 19 wines, as well as winery production tours https://burntshirtvineyards.com.

Want to live within a short drive of these and other Western N.C. wineries? Contact us at Info@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556, for more information about real estate in the Asheville area.

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N.C. Arboretum's Whimsical LEGO Sculpture Exhibit Brings Nature to Life

Lego Exhibit NC ArboretumThe North Carolina Arboretum, the 434-acre public garden located just south of downtown Asheville, is pleased to unveil the one-of-a-kind exhibit Nature Connects®: Art with LEGO® Bricks, a whimsical, toy-filled outdoor adventure. Originally set to open in May but delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis, the exhibit – of which Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty is a community partner – opened July 1 with an extended schedule, and will remain on display through November 1, 2020. 

Composed of nearly 500,000 LEGO bricks, Nature Connects includes 16 nature-inspired sculptures constructed on a larger-than-life scale by renowned artist Sean Kenney. Among the fanciful sculptures on display are a 5-foot-tall colorful peacock, a giant dragonfly, a bonsai tree and a massive monarch butterfly. This family-friendly exhibit, appealing to a range of ages and interests, draws inspiration from the living world and combines play with science to create an innovative intersection of education, entertainment and environment. 

Daytime admission to Nature Connects is free; however, a standard $16 parking fee applies to non-Arboretum members. When outdoors on the Arboretum grounds, guests are encouraged to wear face coverings whenever they are unable to socially distance themselves from others.

NC Arboretum Lego ExhibitExtending into the evenings

As an added bonus, Nature Connects will take center stage during the Arboretum’s ArborEvenings summer after-hours series. This year, the Arboretum is extending the dates and times of ArborEvenings: The event will be held every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July through September, from 8 to 11 p.m. (some exclusion dates apply; please check the Arboretum’s website for details).

Visitors to ArborEvenings can sip and stroll through the Arboretum’s beautiful gardens and discover the illuminated LEGO Brick sculptures while listening to live music. Sweet and savory snacks, along with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, are available for purchase from the Arboretum’s Bent Creek Bistro. 

In addition to the parking fee admission, there is a special ArborEvenings admission price of $5 per person. Proceeds from ArborEvenings go to support The North Carolina Arboretum Society, the Arboretum’s 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides financial assistance to further support the Arboretum’s mission and educational programming. This year, in light of the COVID-19 crisis, 10% of all proceeds from the ArborEvenings event series will be donated directly to MANNA FoodBank, the Feeding America food bank serving over 100,000 people facing hunger across 16 counties of Western North Carolina. 

For more information about the Arboretum or Nature Connects, please visit ncarboretum.org or call 828-665-2492.