Western North Carolina

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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Asheville Area's Aglow With Holiday Happenings

Holiday Lights Asheville

A flurry of festive events makes Asheville the ideal destination this holiday season. From lively parades, to twinkling town light displays, to Old World celebrations, there’s a holiday affair sure to please everyone.

Annual Asheville Holiday Parade

The Asheville Downtown Association hosts this free holiday staple the Saturday before Thanksgiving beginning at 11 a.m. The parade features around 100 entries, from marching bands, floats and street performers to animals, pageant queens and, of course, Santa. The parade begins on Biltmore Avenue at Charlotte Street and concludes on Patton Avenue at S. French Broad. Don’t forget to check out the store windows decked out for the season as part of the downtown association’s annual Holiday Windows Contest. https://www.ashevilledowntown.org/holidays

Christmas at Biltmore

Biltmore Holiday AshevilleFrom Nov. 3, 2018, to Jan. 6, 2019, visitors to the Biltmore Estate can enjoy a rich, magical experience for the senses: holiday décor featuring wreaths, garlands and the sparkle of thousands of ornaments on more than 55 stunning Christmas trees fill the house. The celebration continues across the estate, including colorful holiday blooms in the Conservatory, commemorative Christmas wine at the Winery, and Antler Hill Village's evening illumination display. “Candlelight Christmas Evenings” (additional ticketed event) envelops the estate in a soft glow of candlelight, firelight and twinkle lights. Live performances of Christmas music add to the self-guided evening visit. https://www.biltmore.com/events/christmas-at-biltmore-daytime-celebration-1

Winter Lights at The North Carolina Arboretum

From Nov. 16 to Dec. 31, 2018, 6-10 nightly, visitors to the arboretum can experience an outdoor winter wonderland and enjoy unique displays and landscapes composed of more than 500,000 holiday lights. Listen to the sounds of holiday music favorites and enjoy a cup of holiday-inspired cocoa, cider or beer. https://www.ncarboretum.org/exhibits-events/winter-lights/

Annual National Gingerbread House Competition

Asheville HolidaysCome to the Omni Grove Park Inn Nov. 25, 2018, to Jan. 4, 2019, to take in all the amazing creations that populate this stunning event, in its 26th year.

Except for the base, the gingerbread house entries are constructed entirely of edible materials. While guests with hotel, spa or restaurant reservations may view the display at any time, others are invited to see the winners on Sundays after 3 p.m. and Monday-Thursday anytime (except Dec. 23-Jan. 1). Admission is free, but there is a $20 per car parking fee. https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/asheville-grove-park/things-to-do/upcoming-events/national-gingerbread-competition

An Old-Fashioned Dickens of a Christmas Festival at Biltmore Village

Historic Biltmore Village transforms into a quaint Victorian village on the first Friday night and Saturday of December. Enjoy concerts, refreshments, horse-drawn carriage rides and strolling vocalists and instrumentalists in costumes of the period. At nightfall, the glowing white lights outlining the historic buildings enhance the ambiance. Shops will stay open late, with many of the shopkeepers dressed in Victorian-era garb. Free admission. Friday starts at 6 p.m. with a tree lighting, Saturday 11-5 p.m.

Asheville’s Downtown Local Lights

Holidays in AshevilleThe City of Asheville, North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville Downtown Association and Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority are partnering for Downtown Local Lights, an artistic holiday light display at Pack Square, and new this year, expanded to Pritchard Park. Downtown Local Lights will kick off Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. at Pack Square with free photos with Santa, hot chocolate from French Broad Chocolate Lounge and holiday carols from The Gay Men’s Chorus. The official lighting ceremony will be at 6:30 pm. https://www.ashevilledowntown.org/downtown-local-lights-ceremony-free-photos-w-santa

"Come Home for the Holidays" Hendersonville

From Nov. 23, 2018, to Jan. 1, 2019, Hendersonville offers a range of festive happenings along with a magical Main Street, decked out in thousands of lights. Events include a Christmas Parade Dec. 1 and a Holiday Tour of Historic Inns Dec. 9, along with Flat Rock Playhouse productions, carriage rides, concerts and an “iceless” ice skating rink. https://www.visithendersonvillenc.org/home-for-the-holidays

For information about Asheville or about Real Estate in Asheville, contact Mosaic Realty owner Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call him anytime at 828-337-8190.

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Small Improvements Can Pay Off Big When It's Time to Sell Your Home

Asheville Real Estate Agents

When it comes time to sell your home, even the smallest improvements can help you get top dollar. From a fresh coat of interior paint, to a major kitchen renovation, there is a range of home improvement options to fit every budget and price point. Following are a few tried-and-true tacks:

De-clutter – This may seem like an obvious first step, but sellers are often unsure of how thoroughly they should pare down their presentation. Start with those stacks of bills and papers, unnecessary items crowding your kitchen counter, shelves piled high with knickknacks, clothes piled in the closets, and the like. Art is fine, but keep family and personal photos to a minimum – you want potential buyers to see themselves, not you, in the home. Streamline furnishings and keep hallways and paths free of any objects that can impede the flow of the home.

Staging Your Home for Sale AshevilleCurb appeal – Landscaping is an economical way to improve a buyer’s first impressions. Local garden centers can offer advice and design services, or a quick drive around the neighborhood can serve as inspiration. Adding sod, small bushes, or a focal point like a stone walkway can enhance your home immensely. If you don’t have the funds for a full exterior paint job, coat the front door in a fresh color that complements the exterior but provides just the right pop to make your home stand out.

Consider staging your home – Presenting your home as the star of the show is one of the easiest things you can do to up the appeal. Professional stagers are equipped with the materials – whether furniture, accessories or the like – to add the right amount of polish. But you can also do the staging yourself, with a few simple tricks:

·     Neutralize wall colors to provide a calm backdrop on which to create inviting rooms

·     Increase lighting, open blinds, clean windows – generally present an open, bright air about your home

·     Create furniture arrangements that are “conversational”: couches that face one another and aren’t pointed at a TV

·     Make small spaces appear larger with things like mirrors, pedestal sinks and “airy” furnishings: If you can, replace that giant sectional with a polished sofa, or a heavy hutch with understated shelves

·     Never leave a room empty; instead, turn it into a guest room, craft room or office

Asheville Home Improvements for SaleBathroom and kitchen updates – A gut renovation of an outdated bathroom or kitchen can help immensely in the final selling price, but if it’s not in the budget, consider smaller updates that can freshen the overall look. Swap out old fixtures and faucets for modern ones, re-caulk around sinks, replace or re-glaze old tubs, and re-face cabinets and drawers.

For more tips like these, or to find an agent equipped to help you get the most out of the sale of your Asheville area home, please contact Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call him anytime at (828) 337-8190.

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Asheville Area Offers Flurry of Fun Activities This Winter

Skiing in Western North Carolina

As Western North Carolina gears up for winter, the Asheville area comes alive with snow-centric activities. From skiing to snow tubing to wintry hikes, a range of outdoor adventures makes the flakes all the more fun, for young and old alike. Following, a few favorites to try out this season:

Ski and Snowboard Central – With a range of slopes dotting the area, a day or evening of skiing or snowboarding is an easy option when the snow starts falling – or even if it doesn’t! Barring unusually warm weather, area ski centers are equipped to make snow, so you always have the option to hit the slopes this winter. Area resorts include:

·     Wolf Ridge Ski Resort – Located 30 minutes north of Asheville in Mars Hill, this family-oriented resort provides lessons in skiing and snowboarding, as well as night skiing. The lodge overlooking the slopes boasts three fireplaces, cafeteria, gift shop and rental shop. https://skiwolfridgenc.com

Snow Tubing Near Asheville·     Cataloochee Ski Area – An hour away from Asheville in Maggie Valley, this ski and snowboard resort offers 18 slopes and trails, lessons and special rates for day and night sessions. Afterschool and School Race programs are popular options at the resort, which also has a large lodge with cafeteria, fireplace and rental shop. https://cataloochee.com

·     Beech Mountain Resort – Make a weekend of it and visit this popular resort town, about two hours from Asheville. In addition to offering 17 slopes in the highest ski area in the eastern U.S., Beech also has snowtubing and ice skating. A free youth sledding hill next to the visitor center entertains the 12-and-under set. https://www.beechmtn.com/things-to-do/winter-sports/skiing

Snow Tubing – Take to the slopes on a tube, an easy, all-ages way to enjoy the snow. Area tubing spots include:

·     Tube World – Located 4 miles from Cataloochee Ski Area, this tubing park also offers Wee Bowl Snowplay area for young children not tall enough to tube. https://cataloochee.com/planning/tube-world/

·     Zip N Slip – Just half an hour from Asheville in Mars Hill, this spot features three tubing lanes, night tubing, a solarium with fireplace and snacks. http://zipnslip.com

Frozen Waterfall·     Moonshine Mountain Snow Tubing – This Hendersonville spot features the steepest tubing slope in Western N.C. There’s also a gift and snack shop, changing area and fire pit. http://www.moonshinemountain.com

·     The Tube Run – Located just outside Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, this slope has no designated lanes, allowing tubers to link up – and amp up the excitement. https://skiwolfridgenc.com/tickets/snow-tubing

Waterfall Hikes – Trekking to an icy waterfall in the winter affords a stunning adventure like no other. Partially frozen or fully iced-over falls dot popular hiking trails, making it easy to take in the wintry scenes. And with trees bare, long-range views normally shrouded by leaves open up. A few favorite frozen falls to visit include: Looking Glass Falls (aptly named for the icy “mirror” it boasts in the winter), Moore Cove Falls and Daniel Ridge Falls in Pisgah National Forest; Triple Falls, High Falls and Hooker Falls in DuPont State Forest; and Dry Falls and Cullasaja Falls near Highlands.

For more information about Asheville, or about Real Estate in Asheville, contact Mosaic Realty owner Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call him anytime at 828.337.8190.

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These Asheville-Crafted Gifts Are in Great Taste

Locally Made Asheville Holiday Gifts

Got a foodie on your holiday list? This season, Asheville abounds with unique, locally crafted gifts to suit a range of tastes. Here are just a few of the many regionally made consumables sure to be a hit this holiday – gift a single item as a stocking stuffer, or cluster in a basket for the ultimate palate-pleasing present.

Lusty Monk Mustard

Asheville Lusty Monk MustardHandcrafted in small batches with all-natural ingredients, Lusty Monk is a local favorite that is quickly gaining a national presence. The family-owned company’s fresh-ground mustards come in cheeky-named flavors – Original Sin, Burn in Hell and Altar Boy Honey – that deliver serious punch. https://lustymonk.com

Firewalker Hot Sauce Co.

Committed to handmade, small-batch production with locally grown produce, this Asheville company creates hot sauce with complex layers and depth to brighten and intensify food, not drown it. Using no artificial preservatives, GMOs or sugar, Firewalker’s Original and Running With the Reaper flavors aim for the ideal balance of spice and heat. http://firewalkerhotsauce.com

Asheville Bee Charmer

Asheville Local Gifts for HolidaysThis honey maker works with beekeepers across the region to curate a selection of raw honeys. Infused with herbs, peppers and spices, Asheville Bee Charmer’s selection boasts unusual flavors and experiences ranging from sweet to heat. Offerings include spicy Chai, savory Rosemary, Firecracker Hot and more. https://ashevillebeecharmer.com

Roots & Branches

Specializing in artisanal crackers, Roots & Branches has grown from a tiny, in-home operation into a regional favorite. The owners still oversee every batch of crackers to ensure high-quality production. Cracker flavors like Black Pepper, Sesame Seed and Rosemary pair well with dips and cheeses to create the ultimate savory gift basket. https://www.rootsandbranchesavl.com

Looking Glass Creamery

Looking Glass Creamery AshevilleStarted in 2009, this artisanal cheese producer handcrafts a variety of cheeses, from fresh to aged. Among local favorites are its Fromage Blanc, Chocolate Lab, Green River Blue, fresh Cheddar Curds, and a raw-milk Alpine style called Bear Wallow. The creamery also offers Carmoolita, a rich, dulce de leche-style caramel sauce. https://ashevillecheese.com

Hickory Nut Gap Farm

For the meat and pork lover on your list, this Fairview farm offers gift packages boasting pasture-raised, grass-fed beef and locally raised pork. For a unique gift idea or hostess present, there’s a meat stick gift bag, salami chub gift box, cured meat sampler, or even steak sampler basket. https://www.hickorynutgapfarm.com/product-category/gift_packages/

Roots Hummus

This “Microbrew of Hummus,” which produces, packs and ships out of its River Arts District facility, has found an ardent following for its spreads thanks to unique, high-quality flavors like Thai Coconut Curry, Lima Bean and Hot Chipotle. Add to a gift basket, or break out at your next holiday party. https://www.rootshummus.com

To learn more about Asheville or about Real Estate in Asheville, contact Mosaic Realty owner Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call him anytime at 828-337-8190.

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For Locals Looking to Buy a Home in Asheville, Winter's a Hot Time

Buying a Home in Winter Asheville

Asheville’s real estate frenzy typically cools during the winter – and that makes it an ideal season for locals to buy a home. What are the benefits of a wintertime real estate search? Read on to find out.

Less Competition for Home Buying in Asheville

Asheville Winter Home BuyingWhile Asheville gets plenty of visitors in the winter months, the cold can still curtail tourism. That means the Asheville real-estate market experiences a brief respite from the competitive pressure generated by tourists looking for homes in the area. Without the influx of out-of-town interest, local buyers have less competition. Add to that the traditional thinking that it’s better to shop for a home in the spring, and you have the ideal buyer’s market, minus the masses. As an added bonus, since there’s less competition, you’re less likely to encounter a stressful multiple-bid situation when you find the home of your dreams.

More Motivated Sellers

During the winter months, holidays, social events and travel take top priority, so it stands to reason that sellers who choose this busy time to list their homes are doing so because they need to move for a reason – whether a job transfer, family emergency, or other urgent need. With a motivated seller, the process of purchasing a home becomes more streamlined, and negotiations can be expedited, all to the benefit of the buyer.

Prices Are Lower, and Deals Abound

Real Estate Winter Buying Asheville NCInventory in the winter is typically low, but the number of buyers usually is even lower. With supply exceeding demand, sellers must often take aggressive measures to attract buyers. This means the obvious: lower home prices. But it also means buyers have the upper hand in negotiating things like closing costs and timing, which appliances and other items are included in the purchase, and even terms of sale.

While there are fewer listings in the winter, there are still plenty of homes to choose from in the Asheville area. At Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty, our experienced agents can help you find the perfect home, typically at no cost to you.

So if you’re ready to buy a home in Asheville, contact Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com or call him anytime at (828) 337-8190, or get in touch with any of Mosaic’s selling agents at info@mymosaicrealty.com.

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Asheville's Unique Indoor Activities Take the Edge Off Winter

Asheville NC Indoor Activities

The Asheville area is blessed with weather that can be mild even in the dead of winter. But when those inevitable cold, wet days do hit, warm up to these unique indoor activities.

Retrocade

Scores of video games, pinball machines, billiards, Skee-Ball and Foosball populate this two-level arcade in West Asheville. A flat fee of $10 gains you all-day unlimited play, and a bar offers local craft beers, wine and soda to sip while you enjoy the retro atmosphere. https://www.ashevilleretrocade.com

Better Than Unicorns

This virtual reality arena and immersive studio gives you the opportunity to experience computer-generated games that simulate realistic experiences. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings, the public is invited to open play, where for a flat fee of $15 ($10 for students), players can participate in studio-selected games. https://www.betterthanunicorns.com

Indoor Winter Activities AshevilleRAD Skatepark

This skater-owned and -operated indoor park offers open skate every day of the week. Private lessons by the hour and holiday skate camp for kids are also available. Combine a visit to the River Arts District park with a pre- or post-skate stop at neighbors 12 Bones Smokehouse or Wedge Brewing at Foundation. http://www.radskateparkavl.com

Thomas Wolfe Memorial

This state historic site, boardinghouse and museum in downtown Asheville was the boyhood home of renowned American novelist Thomas Wolfe, and is immortalized as “Dixieland” in Wolfe’s 1929 novel “Look Homeward, Angel.” A visitor center features exhibits about Wolfe and his family, as well as an audio-visual presentation about the writer’s life and works. The house also holds special seasonal activities and exhibitions. Guided house tours are offered at half past each hour, Tuesday through Saturday. http://wolfememorial.com

Asheville’s Fun Depot

This family entertainment center features over 65,000 square feet of indoor activities, including go-carts, mini-golf, laser tag, bumper cars, a climbing wall, playgrounds and inflatables, mini-bowling, arcade games and more. Burgers, pizza, chicken sandwiches and salads are available in the on-site restaurant. http://ashevillesfundepot.com/home/

Asheville Indoor ActivitiesAsheville Pinball Museum

This all-you-can-play arcade ($15 for adults, $12 for kids 10 and under) features more than 80 pinball machines – some dating back decades and boasting fascinating histories – as well as classic video games. Beer and soda are available at the bar. Cold, rainy days can mean a waitlist, but the museum’s close proximity to the Grove Arcade means you can enjoy the indoor shopping corridor while you wait.http://ashevillepinball.com

Folk Art Center

Home to the Southern Highland Craft Guild, the Folk Art Center showcases traditional and contemporary crafts of the Southern Appalachians. In addition to an Eastern National bookstore and Blue Ridge Parkway information desk, the center houses three galleries, a library, and the Guild’s oldest craft shop. From March through December, visitors can see live craft demonstrations daily in the center’s lobby. https://www.southernhighlandguild.org/folk-art-center/

For more information about Asheville or about Real Estate in Asheville, contact Mosaic Realty owner Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call him anytime at 828-337-8190.

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Keep Cold-Weather Woes at Bay With a Winterized Home

Shoveling Snow Asheville

As winter kicks into high gear in Asheville, making sure your home is equipped to handle the elements should take top priority. While warm bursts can interrupt winter’s march in this part of the Appalachians, there are still enough sustained cold snaps to warrant a thorough home prep. From heating to insulation to weather safety measures, having everything in and around your house readied can prevent cold-triggered dilemmas down the line.

Winterize Your Home FurnaceHeating System

Preventive maintenance can help extend the life of your heating system and identify potential problems that can turn into major headaches in the dead of winter. Before the cold settles in, have your furnace or boiler checked; clean or replace the furnace filter if you have a forced hot air system; if you have a working fireplace, make sure to have your chimney checked and serviced annually. As you settle into winter, have fuel tanks filled, and monitor levels throughout the season; never set your heat lower than 55 degrees, as the walls where water pipes live are colder than your home’s interior. Which brings us to …

Water Pipes

When water inside pipes freezes, the expansion can cause pipes to crack or, worse, burst. Pipes can also burst when water builds behind a chunk of ice, so leaving faucets dripping in very cold weather, especially in colder parts of your house (basements and utility rooms), is a good idea. Don’t forget about exterior faucets and sprinkler systems: Drain water from them to keep those pipes from freezing, disconnect outdoor hoses, and cover outdoor faucets with foam insulators. Pay particular attention to piping in garages, crawl spaces and attics, where it could be colder, and consider extra insulation for these areas. Know where the water shutoff for your home is, in case your pipes do freeze; closing off the supply can prevent a water disaster.

Winter Home Maintenance TipsInsulation

Inspect and upgrade insulation regularly, and consider weather stripping for added protection against cold, blustery days. Extra insulation in attics can avoid ice dams: When too much heat escapes into the attic, it can warm icy roofs that can eventually refreeze and cause an ice dam. Such situations can lead to water damage inside your home. Doors and windows that are weather stripped will prevent drafts and heat loss. If you have storm windows, install them.

Safety and Supplies

Ice and snow can pose safety concerns, even if you’re not on the road. Maintain trees in your yard to avoid ice-laden branch breaks that can lead to injury, damage to your home, or downed power lines. Make sure steps and handrails are in good condition; check that you have snow shovels and rakes, as well as ice-melting compounds, on hand. Be prepared for possible power outages with bottled water, nonperishable foods, first-aid supplies, and smartphone chargers.

All-season pleasures abound in Asheville. Knowing that your home is ready for the elements means you can stop worrying about the cold weather – and start enjoying everything winter in Western North Carolina has to offer.

For information on Asheville, NC or Real Estate in Asheville, contact Mosaic Realty owner Mike Figura at Mike@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call him anytime at 828-337-8190.

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