Monday, September 29, 2008
Quick hits: State to buy another WNC landmark and Asheville is 'easy'
State to buy Grandfather Mountain
"The state government plans to buy Grandfather Mountain and preserve the private park and popular tourist attraction against development," said various news outlets.
"North Carolina will gain ownership of the nearly 6,000-foot mountain and its surrounding 2,600 surrounding acres in Avery, Watauga and Caldwell counties, said Jack Morton, a board member of Grandfather Mount Inc. The deal, to be announced Monday, will cost about $12 million.
"The state will also acquire an easement around the mountain to enhance its preservation efforts, Morton said.
"Grandfather Mountain is known for its Mile High Swinging Bridge, challenging hiking trails and wildlife habitats, including a home for black bears. The park is home to dozens of endangered species and is recognized by the United Nations as an International Biosphere Reserve. ..."
Asheville an 'easy' fall weekend getaway
"Imagine a place where the local paper advertises an 'organic mechanic,' the streets teem with bandana-wearing banjo players, and tempeh is common on menus, and you have the crunchy Southern mountain retreat of Asheville," writes MSN Travel.
"Encircled by the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains, and a five-minute drive from the bucolic Blue Ridge Parkway, the North Carolina town has been drawing travelers in search of a holistic holiday since the late 19th century. ... While downtown Asheville has plenty to offer, access to the outdoors is the real draw. The surrounding mountains seem to peek out from behind buildings in every corner of town. George Vanderbilt felt the call of these mountains in 1895, when he constructed the grand estate Biltmore (1 Approach Rd.; 877/245-8667; biltmore.com; tickets $47) and the 75 acres of gardens, which are bursting with hundreds of chrysanthemums through the end of this month. And along the Parkway, the foliage is at its peak from mid- to late October. Asheville’s tourism Web site (fallinthemountains.com) makes weekly recommendations of the best drives for taking in the kaleidoscope of colors. ..."