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On this page I have done my best to provide you with a variety of information on Asheville and Western North Carolina, including important links, celebrity news, recommended restaurants and other interesting facts.  Please scroll down to see all the information.

Below are links to information on local sights and events.  I have made an effort to include a wide range of information on the Western North Carolina area.  I hope this will be a useful resource for exploring all our area has to offer.

Government:

www.buncombecounty.org - Official Buncombe County Website

www.ashevillenc.gov/ - Official City of Asheville Website

www.flyavl.com - Asheville Regional Airport

www.ashevillechamber.org - Asheville Chamber of Commerce

Schools:

www.buncombe.k12.nc.us - Buncombe County Schools

www.asheville.k12.nc.us - Asheville City Schools

www.unca.edu - University of North Carolina Asheville

www.abtech.edu - Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College

Tourist Attractions:

www.exploreasheville.com - Asheville's Official Tourism Website

www.biltmoreestate.com - The Biltmore House - The largest private home in the U.S.

www.groveparkinn.com - The Grove Park Inn - Historic Landmark with Arts and Crafts Furnishings

www.grovearcade.com - The Grove Arcade - A Beautiful Building Worth Visiting

www.cherokee-nc.com - Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians

www.wolfememorial.com - The Thomas Wolfe Memorial Home

www.ghosttowninthesky.com - Ghost Town Western Theme Park and Rides

www.harrahscherokee.com - Harrah's Casino in Cherokee

www.frenchbroadrafting.com - Whitewater Rafting on the French Broad River

www.gsmr.com - The Great Smokey Mountains Railway

www.blueridgeparkway.org - The Blue Ridge Parkway

www.chimneyrockpark.com - Chimney Rock Park

Local News and Information:

www.mountainx.com - The Mountain Express - The Best Source for Local News and Entertainment

www.citizen-times.com - The Asheville Citizen Times - The Local Newspaper

www.wlos.com - Local ABC Television Affiliate

www.asheville.com - Local Asheville Information

www.goasheville.com - Local Asheville Information 

www.ashvegas.com - Ashvegas  Blog- What is really going on!

Entertainment:

www.theorangepeel.net - One of the Best Music Venues in the Country (According to Rolling Stone)

www.theashevilletourists.com - Local Professional Baseball Team (featured in movie Bull Durham)

www.cataloochee.com - Snow Skiing in Maggie Valley

www.belecherefestival.com - The South's Largest Outdoor Street Festival

www.blueridgebbqfestival.com - Blue Ridge BBQ Festival - The Official BBQ Festival of NC

http://www.wcpshows.com/ribfest.html - The Carolina Mountain Ribfest

http://www.folkheritage.org/shindigonthegreen.htm - Shindig on the Green (local music outdoors)

www.ashevilletheatre.org - Asheville Community Theatre

www.ashevillesymphony.org - The Asheville Symphony

http://www.mountainfair.org/ - The Western North Carolina State Fair

http://www.ashevillefilmfestival.com/ - The Annual Asheville Film Festival

http://www.xmasjam.com - The Warren Haynes Christmas Jam

Art:

www.ashevillerad.com - River Arts District

www.riverdistrictartists.com - River District Artists

www.riverartsdistrict.com - River Arts District

www.bluespiral1.com - Blue Spiral Art Gallery

http://www.craftguild.org/ - Southern Highland Craft Guild

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Asheville Blog:

Films and Movies shot in Asheville and WNC:

I am a big fan of movies, and I especially like movies that were filmed here in Western North Carolina.  The first movie shot in Asheville was in the 1920s. Titled "Conquest of Canaan," the movie was filmed in what is now Pack Square in downtown Asheville, and tells the story of a lawyer who makes good in a small town.  There have been approximately 80+ movies shot in and around the Asheville area.  Here is a list of a few of my favorites and a few notes about them:

The Hunger Games:

They just completed shooting this major motion picture in 2011.  Much of it was filmed in the small town of Hildebran, between Morganton and Hickory, NC.  Areas around Asheville were also used in the movie.  The movie stars Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland.  It is due to be released in 2012.  Woody Harrelson was frequenting local bars and restaurants in Asheville during the production.  He also attended the Lexington Avenue Festival and was partying on the street with the crowd.

The Last of the Mohicans:

Last of the Mohicans was filmed in the Asheville, Chimney Rock, and Lake James areas.  Many local buildings in Asheville were used in the film.  There is a large apartment/condominium building on Charlotte Street in Asheville that was used as the French General's headquarters.  Sawdust was put down in the parking lot to cover the pavement.  In the movie you can see people arriving by horse drawn carriage to the front of the building.  Also, a cabin on the Biltmore Estate, next to the French Broad River that can be viewed from Meadows Road was used in the movie.  Many of the outdoor scenes, including the climax, were filmed at Chimney Rock State Park.  You can go there and walk the same trails under the boulders.  The canoe parts were filmed on Lake James.  A large wooden fort was constructed on the lake and was burned down as part of the filming.  Location scouts paid the owner of the local marina to take them around the lake and scout locations.  The movie starred Daniel Day Lewis

Dirty Dancing:

Dirty Dancing was filmed in the town of Lake Lure at an old summer camp on the lake.  The main dining hall where much of it was filmed burned down a few years ago.  Many locals were extras in the movie, which starred Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze.  Continuing interest in the movie has led to the creation of an annual festival at the site the movie was filmed.  http://www.dirtydancingfestival.com/  

Forrest Gump:

Several of the running scenes in this Academy Award winning movie were shot in and around Asheville.  The movie starred Tom Hanks and Sally Field.

Bull Durham:

McCormick Field in Asheville, home of the Asheville Tourists was used in the film.  In the film, The Durham Bulls travel to Asheville and play a "road" game here in Asheville.  The bleachers scene in the film were the second oldest in a Major League affiliated ballbark and were torn down and replaced not long after the film was made.  The movie starred Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon.

Hannibal:

Hannibal was the sequel to Silence of the Lambs, and starred Anthony Hopkins, but not Jodie Foster.  The opening part of the film where Hannibal is torturing a guy that is hung from the ceiling was filmed in a second floor loft over south Biltmore Avenue, just down from Pack Square.  An important scene in the movie was an abduction from a phone booth.  The phone booth in the film was located in the parking lot of the Hot Dog King on south Biltmore Avenue.  The Hot Dog King was recently torn down for the new hotel and parking deck being built on Biltmore Avenue.  The Hot Dog King was located across from Barleys Pizzeria.  Portions of the film were also made at the Biltmore Estate.

Nell:

Shot in 1994 at Fontana Lake, this film starred actress/director Jodie Foster. Tours of the cabin used in the film are available by either a 3-mile hike or by guided boats.

The Fugitive:

Great film starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones was filmed in the Asheville and Western North Carolina area.  Some of the local town names can be seen on road signs in the film.   You can take a tour on the Western North Carolina Scenic Railway and they will take you to the site the train crash was filmed.  The wrecked trains are still laying at the place it was filmed.  Portions were also filmed at Fontana Dam.

Thunder Road:

A classic film from the 1950's starring Robert Mitchum was shot entirely in the Asheville area.  Portions of the film were filmed on Roberts Street in the West Asheville area, and along Hwy 191 south.  The Pines Cottages on Merrimon Avenue north of Beaver Lake were also used in the film and it is where Robert Mitchum stayed during the filming.  Robert Mitchum was known to frequent local bars and restaurants often and was said to prefer the company of the locals to the Hollywood types involved with the filming.  On Market Street in downtown Asheville there is a building that is an Event Center now.  It is across from Magnolia's bar.  In the movie, Robert Mitchum leaps from the 2'nd floor of the building and drives up the street.  You can clearly see the Office Supplies sign on the building which used to be Hoyles Office Supplies, which was still in business in 1992 when I moved to town.  You can also see the Asheville Pharmacy building and sign (even though he was supposed to be in Nashville), and you can see the Jackson Building in the distance as he drives up the street.  The family farm in the film is supposed to be in the Reems Creek area. Supposedly the old store at the end of Reems Creek was the store or youth center that all the cool kids hung out in the movie.

28 Days:

28 Days starred Sandra Bullock and was shot at a treatment center in Black Mountain.  Other scenes were filmed around Asheville, including the scene where they are sledding down a hill which was filmed on a side street off Merrimon Avenue.

Cold Mountain:

Cold Mountain really does not deserve mention on this list.  It was written by a local author, however NONE of it was filmed here.  Many of the locals boycotted the movie, because it was all filmed in Europe instead of Western North Carolina where the novel was set.  Cold Mountain is located in Haywood County, southeast of Waynesville.  Until the book came out, nobody had ever heard of Cold Mountain except the locals.  Now you go over to that area and everything is the Cold Mountain Diner, Cold Mountain Realty, Cold Mountain Gas Station etc...  No real relation to this area other than the name and the author, and the setting in the novel.

The Clearing:

The Clearing starred Robert Redford, and was filmed in Asheville, but not much is really recognizable.  Most of the scenes filmed in Asheville were either indoor, or out in the middle of the woods.  The only thing I really recognized from Asheville was one of our city buses.   

My Fellow Americans:

My Fellow Americans starred James Garner and Jack Lemon.  It was filmed all around the Asheville area.  Part of our Gay Pride parade is featured in the movie.  The Moose Cafe on main street in Marshall is used in the movie, both for exterior and interior scenes.  When I was in Waynesville, I saw part of the movie being filmed in the parking lot of a Long John Silvers.  It is the scene in the movie where they are fleeing a fast food restaurant and knock the big sign down out front.  They had all the traffic stopped on a four lane highway, so the scene could be filmed. 

Winter People:

Starring Kelly McGillis, this movie was filmed in large part in Barnardsville’s Big Ivey neighborhood. Shortly after the filming, McGillis purchased vacation property in the area.

Patch Adams:

Released in late 1998, this drama is based on the real life of Doctor Adams. Featuring Robin Williams, much of the film was shot on Biltmore Estate and the campus of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Several scenes of the Appalachian Mountains were shot off the Blue Ridge Parkway on Elk Mountain Highway in Asheville.

People Under the Stairs:

A local barn on the Appalachian Trail was used in the horror film.

Films shot at Biltmore Estate:

The Biltmore Estate has been the scene of numerous films including:

Richie Rich starring Macaulay Culkin

Private Eyes starring Don Knotts and Tim Conway

The Swan was Grace Kelly's last film

Hannibal starring Anthony Hopkins

Being There was Peter Sellers last film

Mr. Destiny starring Michael Caine and Jim Belushi.

 

Local Celebrities:

Asheville has been home to a number of celebrities both past and present, here is a list and a little gossip about a few:

Andy McDowell

Andy McDowell grew up in the Asheville area.  Her real name is Rose.  Although I have never met her, I have heard from several people that have that she is very nice and down to earth.  She married her high school sweetheart in a church on Church Street in downtown Asheville.  She has starred in numerous films such as Groundhog Day with Bill Murray, Michael with John Travolta, and Two Wedding and a Funeral.  She is active with local charities and organizations.  She currently resides in the Biltmore Forest community.

Harry Anderson

Star of Night Court, stand up comedian, and magician moved to Asheville 2 to 3 years ago.  He currently resides in the Montford community.  He must keep a low profile because I have not heard much about him since he moved to town. 

Plumlee Brothers

The three Plumlee Brothers are currently stars of the Duke Blue Devils basketball team.  They all attended Christ School for Boys here in Asheville, which has a growing national reputation as a top football and basketball prep school for major college programs.

Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan played for the Asheville Tourists in the 60's and used to coach little league teams.  Some of my friends in West Asheville have their little league team photos with Nolan Ryan as their coach.

Zach Galifianakis

Zach Galifianakis has been spotted at numerous locations around Asheville since 2010, including The Admiral in West Asheville.  Rumor is that he has bought a home in Asheville.  He is originally from Wilkes County in NC, so it makes since that he would spend some time in Asheville.

Gladys Knight

Gladys Knight married a man from Fairview and is living in the area.

Steve Martin

Movie star, comedian, and grammy nominated musician has been touring with the Steep Canyon Rangers.  He has bought a home in the Transylvania County or Highlands area, and is frequently seen in the area.

John Goodman

Star of Roseanne and movies, purchased a bison farm in Madison County as part of the Blues Brothers Corporation, and is known to frequent Marshall businesses.

Brad Johnson

Superbowl champion quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is from Black Mountain and played for the Owen Warhorses.  He built the school a new football field after his superbowl win.

Rashad McCants

Professional basketball player and also played with UNC Chapel Hill.  He played for Erwin High School and was born in Asheville.

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods first golf course in the United States is under construction in the Swannanoa community.  Tiger has visited Asheville several times.

President Barack Obama

President Obama has visited Asheville several times, both before and after taking office.  He is a fan of 12 Bones BBQ and has stopped in to eat there or get food to go a couple of times.  He has also dined at the Corner Kitchen in Biltmore Village.  He has played golf on the Grove Park Inn course and stayed at the Inn.  Rumor has is that the Obamas have purchased a house in the Asheville area.

President Bill Clinton

President Clinton has visited Asheville on numerous occasions.  He says that he made one of the most important political decisions of his career while staying in Asheville about when to run for president.

Warren Haynes

Hometown boy Warren Haynes made it big with the Allman Brothers and his own band Gov't Mule.  He returns to Asheville area to host the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam, which raises money for Habitat for Humanity.  He has raised nearly $1 million dollars for the charity.  I stood behind him at a Blackfoot concert in south Asheville one night.  Nice guy.

Artimus Pyle:

Original drummer for the legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd Band lives here in Asheville.  I met him one night at the Orange Peel.

David Holt:

Host of Folkways on PBS lives in the Fairview community.  He also plays with David Holt and Lightning Bolts.

Steven Spielberg:

My neighbor ate next to Steven Spielberg at Green Tea Sushi on Patton Avenue, who has apparently bought a house in the Black Mountain area.

Denzel Washington:

Denzel is married to a girl from Catawba County, and was recently spotted shopping at the Target in south Asheville.

Recommended Restaurants and Bars (Where the Locals Eat and Drink) in Asheville:

I worked in restaurants for four years while I was in college and I enjoy cooking.  Because of my work as an appraiser, I travel around Western North Carolina and have a chance to try a lot of local restaurants.  I recommend the following restaurants, based on my experience with them.  Nothing fancy, just good and reasonable.

1) Tupelo Honey - If I can just take a person to one spot in Asheville to express that this is what living in Asheville is like, I would take them to Tupelo Honey in downtown.  Creative, delicious, and a good vibe.  They also have a second location in South Asheville.

2) Yao Buffet (used to be Asiana) - 2 locations one in Candler and one in South Asheville.  Best Chinese Buffet hands down.  Not only a good variety, but it is well seasoned and prepared.  For the best deal go for lunch.  It is just about the same choices for $2 cheaper.

3) Orange Peel - You haven't really been to Asheville until you have been to a show at the Orange Peel.  Rolling Stone rated it as one of the top 5 music venues in the country.

4) Jason's Deli - Best salad bar in town.  I crave the gingerbread mini-muffins on the salad bar.

5) 12 Bones BBQ - Winner of the Best Bites in America contest on Good Morning America for their Blueberry Chipotle BBQ sauce.  Their side items are as good as the BBQ.  They do several different flavors of baby back ribs everyday.  I crave their Jalapeno Cheese Grits, and their Collard Greens are unbelievable.  Their smoked chicken is the best I have ever had.  They have 2 locations, one in the River Arts District and one in South Asheville on Sweeten Creek road.  They are only open from 11 to 5, Monday through Friday with carry out till six at the south Asheville location.  At the location in the River Arts District in West Asheville the line literally stretches around the building so it is best to come early or late, or you can walk right inside for to-go orders without having to wait in line.

6) Sunnypoint Cafe - Won second place nationally for the best breakfast in America for their Huevos Rancheros.  Located in West Asheville on Haywood Road.

7) Marco's Pizza - Located on Merrimon Avenue in north Asheville, has what is widely considered to be the best pizza in town.  Close runner ups are Mellow Mushroom which is a great place to go for outside dining in the downtown and worth the trip for the psychedelic mural inside.  Also Barley's Pizza is favored by many.

8) The Admiral on Haywood Road in West Asheville is known for their gourmet seafood menu and their late night bar scene.

9) The WALK (West Asheville Lounge and Kitchen) on Haywood Road in West Asheville is where you will usually find me on Saturday night.  Cool local bar, great food and beer.

10) Urban Burrito - Best California style burritos in Asheville located on Merrimon Avenue.

11) Mommas Kitchen - They are located on Hwy 25-70 north of Marshall in Madison County.  Good down home southern cooking.

12) Three Chopt Sandwich Shop - Located in Hendersonville, they are the best local sandwich shop anywhere around.  When I worked in Hendersonville we ate there every day for lunch for a year.

13) Daggies - It is just a little dive of a place, at the corner of Hwy 280 and Hwy 64 in Brevard.  Best hamburgers I have ever had since Myra's in my hometown of Valdese.

14) White Duck Tacos -  This has become my favorite lunch spot.  They call them tacos, but it is more like edible art on a tortilla.  Located in the River Arts District

15) Granny's Kitchen - Small place on Hwy 25, just off the New Stock exit on I-26.  Great, cheap, home made, southern food with a drive thru.

16) El Que Pasa - This has become my go-to restaurant.  Generous portions, high quality, and very reasonable prices.  They are really hard to beat for the money.  The same owner also owns Pappas and Beer.

Trivial Trivia:

 

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