photo by Jonathan Welch

Outdoors: Go down to the river

Just a few short steps from the city streets, outdoor adventures await you. Canoe, kayak, tube or raft down the French Broad River or play the disc-golf course at Richmond Hills. Then relax with an outdoor picnic or visit a cozy café near the river. The theme is “bring your own,” and we’ll start with […]


Go: On Zip & Zoom, which combines a LaZoom bus tours and a Navitat zip-lining adventure. Zip: For three hours through the trees, just 20 minutes north of Asheville. As you speed through the air, the mountains in the Moody Cove area provide a beautiful panorama of Western North Carolina. Treehug: A tree. At Navitat, […]

photos courtesy of LaZoom and Navitat


The combination of a comedy-tour-on-wheels and an exhilarating joyride over the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains is surely an eclectic medley. Yet LaZoom and Navitat, both local businesses, mix together well. “We believe in strengthening the fabric of our community,” says Jim Lauzon, co-owner of LaZoom. He points out that Navitat shares similar visions of […]

Downtown Brevard photo by Eric Crews


You may not find vampires in Brevard, the county seat of Transylvania (“trans” for across and “sylvan” for wood). But there are attractions like Dupont State Park, Looking Glass Falls, John Rock, Davidson River, the Pink Beds and the Pisgah Fish Hatchery nearby. Such opportunities for adventure make this small town a near-perfect gateway to […]

Goats, trails and literary history abound at Carl Sandburg’s home

When he and his wife Lilian bought the 248-acre “Connemara” property just outside of Flat Rock from the Smyth family of Charleston, S.C., that year, Sandburg was already a celebrated poet and author, winning three Pulitzer Prizes for his work. He lived there for the next 22 years, until his death in 1967. Today, the home and the grounds are preserved as a National Historic Site and are open to the public.

All together now: Now on its own (the event had previously been cosponsored by the City of Asheville), the Mountain Sports Festival owes its success to volunteers and board members, pictured here at Carrier Park. photo by Eric Crews

Outdoors: The adventure continues

The Mountain Sports Festival kicks off this weekend, May 27-29, with live music, outdoor-sports competitions and a variety of free gear-and-sports demos. Focused on “all-things outdoors,” the three-day event is based primarily in Asheville's Carrier Park, just minutes from downtown in the revitalized Amboy Road area. The riverfront park offers participants a chance to walk, […]


The event kicks off Friday, May 27, at 5 p.m. and continues through Sunday, May 29. Admission to the Festival Village at Carrier Park is free. All races and events offer preregistration. Demonstrations and clinics, however, are first-come, first-served, so plan on arriving early. The competitive events vary in cost, availability and location. Advanced registration […]

Fired up for spring: Watch for the bright blaze that flame azaleas make in the forests of Western North Carolina as temperatures warm. photos by Cassandra Frear

Outdoors: Flower power

“Let a joy keep you.” — Carl Sandburg After spending hours one day last spring drawing diagrams, creating options and hashing out ideas, my head spun. I couldn’t think anymore, so I decided to take a walk. I drove to my favorite spot, Carl Sandburg's home in Flat Rock, and parked near redbud trees dressed […]

Gather ye icicles while ye may: Ice-climbing is an ephemeral sport, as what’s frozen today may melt away tomorrow, say enthusiasts like  Ron Funderburke. photo by Eric Crews

Outdoors: Some like it cold

The stars are still bright in the sky and a tiny sliver of new moon hovers as, just before sunrise, Ron Funderburke trudges through the freshly fallen snow with a backpack full of climbing gear. The record-breaking cold means conditions should be perfect for leading an ice route he’s been itching to tackle for weeks. […]

Outdoors: Wilderness medicine-attachment0

Outdoors: Wilderness medicine

Scott Lipscomb, an instructor with North Carolina Outward Bound, was leading a course near the headwaters of the Chattooga River when one of his students complained of a stomach cramp. Most people probably wouldn't have thought too much about it, but Lipscomb knew it could be something serious. After comparing the student’s symptoms against a […]

Snow traveler: The time-honored art and sport of cross-country skiing offers locals like Ross Prince a chance to get into the backcountry when trails are transformed by snow. Photos by John Thompson

Outdoors: Skis to the kingdom

"Every mile is two in winter." So wrote 17th-century Welsh clergyman and metaphysical poet George Herbert, and it's easy to see where he was coming from. Anyone who’s ever trudged any considerable distance through even marginally deep snow knows full well that traveling through a snow pack is hard work and not easily enjoyed — […]

Outdoors: Goaling for it

The day before my interview with the Asheville Buncombe Youth Soccer Association for a coach position, I got hit in the face playing ultimate Frisbee. It hurt as only a flying disk can when it careens into your cheekbone at high speed, but my concern was the interview. Looking back on it, I realize that […]