Tiffany lamps, garden glories and herons in flight: The visual delights of fall at the Biltmore

Although photography was not allowed at Biltmore Estate‘s exquisite Tiffany lamp exhibit (open through Oct. 23), the gardens are open to photographers — and some of the Tiffany lamps’’ themes (dragonflies, butterflies etc.) are in evidence throughout the gardens.  From the kitchen gardens to the fish ponds to a great heron in flight, it was […]

Working elm: A day harvesting slippery elm’s medicinal bark

One Sunday morning in mid-August, I left Asheville for the one-hour drive to my friend Doug Elliott’s wooded homestead in Union Mills, N.C. During my last visit, around the exact same time of year, he showed me how to harvest and prepare elderberry for tincturing. I didn’t know what lay in store this time, other than he said we would be “working elm,” but I knew it would involve swatting mosquitoes and flies, dodging briars, poison ivy and random angry yellow jackets. Why drive 50 mountain miles to play victim to nature’s sadistic instruments? Doug is one of America’s preeminent herbalists, natural history authors, and folklore storytellers. As an elder living in organic union with the land He is celebrated among new age wild crafters, ethnobotanists, and urban foragers.

From Clingman’s Dome to the Outer Banks: Thru-hiker forages the Mountains-to-Sea Trail

Less than two weeks ago, long-distance hiker and Appalachian Trail veteran Heather Housekeeper, 28, began walking. Twelve days later, on May 28,  she made some time to share her goals with this reporter, just before reaching camp, off Ox Creek Road near Asheville. Outside of the occasional friend tagging along for a few miles here and there, she’s doing it all alone, and not counting the random “trail magic” (assistance like snacks, shoes, a bed, etc.) that strangers have given her along the way, she’s doing the trip totally unsupported.

Supermoons and splendid flowers: Spring has sprung


Last Saturday, March 19, a “supermoon” rose over the mountains of WNC. The next day, the spring equinox occurred at 7:21 p.m. EST, marking the start of the new season. These videos capture beautiful imagery of the full moon at its closest point to Earth in nearly 18 years, as well as the dawn of new spring flowers around Beaver Lake in north Asheville.

Swapping tarmac for trails

I am a trail runner! As of recently. Very recent. Okay, just in the last few weeks, if we must be honest. Not so long ago, you would have found me plodding around my neighborhood in my slow-but-steady pace or making the occasional foray to Carrier Park or the treadmill at my local Y. But […]

Winter sports in WNC: Let the fun begin

Winter fun in WNC
Last winter was heaven for local winter sports enthusiasts. And this season has been off to a great start, with unusually cold and snowy conditions providing ample opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowball fights, snowmen and assorted backcountry adventures. We’re celebrating today, Dec. 21 – the first official day of winter – by culling together some of our favorite photos and videos from the last couple years of snowy escapades.

A change in the weather? Long-range forecasts call for dry, mild winter

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Both the National Weather Service and the WNC-based Ray’s Weather Center are predicting a drier, milder winter than normal this year. But that certainly hasn’t been the case so far. This is shaping up to be one of the coldest Decembers in Asheville’s recorded history. And we’ve already doubled the average snowfall for the month, with forecasters calling for more on Christmas Eve.

Getting high: Hiking the Black Mountain Crest Trail

Mount Mitchell State Park
It’s been a beautiful weekend to get outside and enjoy the Western North Carolina mountains. These photos were taken on a recent hiking trip along the Black Mountain Crest Trail, which winds its way northward from Mount Mitchell along one of the highest ridges in the Appalachians. In addition to Mitchell (the highest peak east of the Mississippi River at 6,684 feet), the 12 mile trail ascends Mount Craig (6,663 feet), Cattail Peak (6,675 feet) and Big Tom (6,580 feet) before dropping down to Bowlen’s Creek in Burnsville.