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Archive for November, 2011

Santa To Practice Chimney Climbing December 3 and 10 at Chimney Rock

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

CHIMNEY ROCK NC – How is Santa able to climb down millions of chimneys around the world in a single night? He practices, of course! From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., December 3 and 10, visit Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park to see Santa practice climbing on one of the world’s largest chimneys at 315 feet tall. Guests can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy live holiday music, complimentary hot cocoa, cookies and kids’ activities and see live critters. Annual Passholders are invited to a special holiday sale with 25% off their total retail purchase both days at Cliff Dwellers Gifts, which will be providing entertainment, artist demonstrations and refreshments. There is no additional cost with paid Park admission. In case of inclement weather, check chimneyrockpark.com for the event’s status. Chimney Rock was named one of “10 great places to catch up with Santa” in 2008 by USA Today.

“Santa has a challenging job climbing down millions of chimneys Christmas Eve, so he practices to be ready for it,” said Matt Popowski, PR and Events Coordinator, Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park. “It’s just as entertaining as it sounds and a fun way to kick off your holiday traditions for kids and adults!

Climbing Santa.  Mr. Claus will rappel from the top of Chimney Rock about every 30-45 minutes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. while spectators gather in front of Cliff Dwellers Gifts for live holiday music, refreshments and kids’ activities. Between noon and 1:30 p.m., Santa will be available in front of Cliff Dwellers Gifts for photo opportunities and to meet the children. Mrs. Claus will be present also, serving delicious cookies and hot cocoa while visiting with children. Park mascot Grady the Groundhog or other live critters will make an appearance for kids, and an educational display of animal skins and skulls will be on display by a State Park Ranger. On December 3, live music will be provided by Joe Collins, award-winning vocalist, songwriter and national champion mountain dulcimer performer. John Mason, who has toured the Southeast for 30 years playing the hammered dulcimer and is the Park’s featured musician, will be performing on December 10. The event is being co-sponsored by Coffee on the Rocks in Chimney Rock Village.

Hours, Admission & Trail Changes.  Current seasonal hours are daily 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the Ticket Plaza closing at 4:30 p.m. Park admission is $12 for adults, $5 for youth ages 6-15 and free for ages 5 and under. On December 5, winter hours go into effect. The Park will be open Thursday – Monday, weather permitting, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the Ticket Plaza closing at 4:30 p.m. Winter admission, effective Dec. 5, will be $9 for adults and $4 for youth ages six through 15. Children under six are admitted free. Starting Dec. 5, due to winter capital improvements, the Outcroppings and Skyline trails, Chimney and points of interest above, such as the Opera Box, Devil’s Head and Exclamation Point, will be closed to the public.

Holiday Specials. Annual Passholders are invited to a special holiday sale with 25% off their total retail purchase at Cliff Dwellers Gifts on December 3 and 10 for Santa on the Chimney. Entertainment, artist demonstrations and refreshments will be provided at the gift store both days. For passholders unable to attend during Santa on the Chimney, the 25% off discount sale will be valid from December 3 through December 11. Guests who upgrade their admissions to Annual Passes are also eligible.

Adult Annual Passes, a great stocking stuffer for family and friends, will be available for $20 during a holiday special November 25 to December 24, 2011. Guests who visit the Park during discounted winter admission rates can save money by upgrading their admission tickets to Annual Passes for only $11 for adults and $4 for youth (ages 6-15) within 30 days of purchase. Buy your upgrade online, call 800-277-9611 or show your receipt at the Ticket Plaza on your next visit within 30 days.

Fun Holiday Facts.

  • Based on 2010 population estimates by the United Nations Children’s Fund, Santa would have to make about 842 million stops on Christmas Eve, traveling some 221 million miles.
  • At 315 feet tall, Chimney Rock is one of the world’s tallest chimneys. This 535-million-year-old natural wonder is also among the world’s oldest chimneys. Today, it is one of the Southeast’s most iconic and popular outdoor destinations.

About Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a developing international outdoor destination located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It is recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic sites and popular travel destinations. The Park’s 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock offers guests 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. Hickory Nut Gorge, one of the state’s most significant centers of biodiversity, is home to 36 rare plant species and 14 rare animal species, and the second highest waterfall of its kind in the eastern United States. A destination for travel groups, weddings and special events, the Park also hosts innovative educational programs for schools, homeschoolers, scouts and summer camps. Visit Chimney Rock’s website at chimneyrockpark.com. More information on current Capital Improvement projects at chimneyrockpark.com/progress or by calling 800-277-9611.

Chimney Rock Trail Will Undergo Improvements December 5

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

CHIMNEY ROCK NC – To maintain Chimney Rock as one of the Southeast’s premier outdoor destinations, the developing Chimney Rock State Park will undergo construction on December 5, 2011, to improve access by upgrading one of its upper trails called the Outcroppings. The Park will remain open to visitors during the winter capital improvements and its lower trails and many points of interest will be open to the public. A new elevator, renovated Sky Lounge Gift Shop & Deli and the Chimney are scheduled to reopen upon completion of improvement projects in spring 2012. Starting December 5, winter admission will be $9 for adults and $4 for youth (ages 6-15) and free for children under six. Winter hours will be Thursday to Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the Ticket Plaza closing at 4:30 p.m.

“There’s never a convenient time to make improvements, but we’re doing everything we can to limit the impact on our guests. These significant upgrades help preserve access to the Park’s 535-million-year-old natural wonder while improving the guest experience for generations to come,” said Mary Jaeger-Gale, General Manager, Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park.

Outcroppings Trail Replacement.  During the winter, a section of the Outcroppings trail that provides access to the Chimney will be replaced from the top parking lot level up to the bottom of the new stairs completed last April. The new, steel-framed wooden stairways will allow for easier access to the Chimney and points of interest above, such as the Opera Box, Devil’s Head and Exclamation Point. The improved Outcroppings trail will accommodate more traffic, offer a better guest experience and help maintain access for future generations. With the park’s elevator currently undergoing a complete modernization, the Chimney and upper Chimney Rock Mountain will not be open to the public during the winter.

“It’s an exciting time in the history of Chimney Rock State Park. Being able to not only preserve this amazing natural resource, but also to enhance the experiences our citizens and visitors have at the park for decades to come is very important. Since the attraction’s inclusion into the N.C. State Park system in 2007, the Division of Parks and Recreation has been dedicated to caring for this incredible destination through phased improvements each year,” said Adrienne Wallace, Park Superintendent, Chimney Rock State Park.

Attractions Remaining Open.  Areas of the park that will remain open to the public throughout improvements include the 404-foot-tall Hickory Nut Falls and its trail, Cliff Dwellers Gift Shop and the Meadows area, including the Great Woodland Adventure and Four Seasons trails, Grady’s Animal Discovery Den, Classroom on the Meadows and the covered picnic pavilion. Chimney Rock continues to offer events to enhance guest experience during improvements, such as Santa on the Chimney on December 3 and 10 and workshops and free guided hikes in early 2012.

Elevator Modernization.  The 26-story elevator, which provides convenient access to the top of Chimney Rock, is currently undergoing a complete modernization designed to increase its reliability, speed and capacity. The original elevator opened in 1948—more than six decades ago—and although it was renovated in the mid-80s, it is due for a complete modernization. Taken out of service in April 2011, nearly every part including the original elevator car is being upgraded or replaced. Construction on the 26-story metal egress stairs is nearly complete, and work on replacing the elevator itself will be underway soon. The Sky Lounge Gift Shop & Deli has been renovated and its restrooms updated to meet the American Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations. The restrooms on the Meadows and in the top parking lot will also be renovated during the winter.  Portable toilets will be provided while the Park restrooms are under construction from early December to the end of March. The new elevator, along with the Outcroppings trail, is scheduled to reopen in spring 2012.

“It’s time to make these improvements so that our kids, grandkids and great-great grandkids can enjoy making memories at Chimney Rock for another century,” said Jaeger-Gale. “It’s like making improvements to your home. At some point, the roof must be replaced. While it may not be opportune, it has to be done.”

New Hours & Admission.  Rates will be reduced during improvements, effective December 5. Winter admission is $9 for adults and $4 for youth ages six through 15. Children under six are admitted free. When the Hickory Nut Falls trail is closed due to inclement weather, adult admission is $5 and kids under 16 are admitted free. Winter hours are Thursday to Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the Ticket Plaza closing at 4:30 p.m. Both the Park and Old Rock Café, located in Chimney Rock Village near the park’s entrance, will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The park will be closed Christmas day but will be open every day from December 26 to January 2, 2012, including New Year’s Day. In case of inclement weather, check the Park’s website for opening status.

Great Deals on Annual Passes.  Adult Annual Passes, a great stocking stuffer for family and friends, are available for $20 during a holiday special November 25 to December 24. Guests who visit the park during discounted winter admission rates can also save money by upgrading their admission tickets to Annual Passes for only $11 for adults and $4 for youth (ages 6-15) within 30 days of purchasing admission. Buy your upgrade online, call 800-277-9611 or show your receipt at the Ticket Plaza on your next visit within 30 days.

Old Rock Café Improvements.  The Old Rock Café, located in Chimney Rock Village and operated by the Park, will be closed for renovations for about three weeks in January. The project includes redesigning the layout, replacing equipment and paneling in the kitchen and replacing the carpet. Starting Dec. 5, the restaurant’s winter hours will be Thursday-Monday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays along with the Park. However, the Old Rock will be open daily 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. from December 26 to January 2, 2012 for the holidays, including New Years’ Day.

Follow Our Progress.  Future updates, progress reports and photos for winter capital improvements can be found on the Park’s website at chimneyrockpark.com/progress and on Facebook at ChimneyRockParkNC.

Definitions: The Outcroppings trail is the trail from the top parking lot to the Chimney area. The Skyline trail leads from the Chimney level to the Opera Box, Devil’s Head and Exclamation Point. The Sky Lounge is the Gift Shop and Deli at the top of the elevator. Cliff Dwellers Gifts is located at the top parking lot.

About Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a developing international outdoor destination located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It is recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic sites and popular travel destinations. The Park’s 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock offers guests 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. Hickory Nut Gorge, one of the state’s most significant centers of biodiversity, is home to 36 rare plant species and 14 rare animal species, and the second highest waterfall of its kind in the eastern United States. A destination for travel groups, weddings and special events, the Park also hosts innovative educational programs for schools, homeschoolers, scouts and summer camps. Visit Chimney Rock’s website at chimneyrockpark.com. More information on current Capital Improvement projects at chimneyrockpark.com/progress or by calling 800-277-9611.

20th Annual Park Ridge Health Frostbite Running Events and Family Fun Day

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

HENDERSONVILLE NC – The Park Ridge Health Foundation will host the 20thAnnual Frostbite 10K, 5K Run and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012 starting at 2:15 p.m. This premier race-event will take place on a flat to gently rolling course, and will begin and finish at the Lelia Patterson Center located at Howard Gap Road and Naples Road in Fletcher.  The Frostbite event also will feature a Family Fun Day at the Leila Patterson Center from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with games, booths, refreshments and live music.

Registration fees before Feb.1 are $25 for the 10k race and $20 for the 5K race.. Both races are $35 after this date. The Fun Run/Walk is $10. The first 700 runners who register by February 1 will receive a long-sleeved performance tech shirt, while all Fun Run/Walk participants will receive a short-sleeved cotton shirt. To register for the Frostbite race, please visit www.active.com.

Race packets for registered participants and late registration will be available on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Foot Rx Running Store in the Turtle Creek Shopping Center on Highway 25 in south Asheville.   Race-day registration and packet pick-up will take place on Feb. 19 at the Lelia Patterson Center from 1:30 – 2:15 p.m.  For more information or to receive a race registration form, please contact James C. Carter at 828.687.5644 or [email protected].

Frostbite proceeds will benefit the Park Ridge Health Wellness on Wheels program (W.O.W.). W.O.W. is a mobile medical unit and care team that offers free and low-cost health screenings throughout the region. Since 2006, W.O.W. has provided more than 45,000 early detection health screenings throughout Western North Carolina. Every year, three out of every ten individuals screened learn they are at-risk for developing a serious health condition such as heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, prostate or breast cancer. For more information on the W.O.W. program and for a calendar of screening dates and locations, please visit parkridgehealth.org.

Frostbite sponsorship offers an excellent opportunity for area businesses to reach nearly 1,000 fitness enthusiasts and their families.  To reserve a sponsorship, please contact James Carter with the Park Ridge Health Foundation, at 828.687.5644 or [email protected].

About Park Ridge Health:

Park Ridge Health was built by Henderson County residents, and more than 100 years later, they are still a beloved piece of the growing community’s health care network – providing quality, compassionate care in a Christian environment. In 1986, Park Ridge partnered with Adventist Health System, joining more than 44 exceptional not-for-profit community hospitals in the U.S., and leading the way in many medical firsts for the region.  For more information about Park Ridge Health or to find a physician, please visit parkridgehealth.org or call 855.PRH.LIFE (774-5433).

 

Recycle Your Old Christmas Lights!

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Drop your old Christmas lights by Lowe's if you want to recycle them.ASHEVILLE NC – If you are moving to more energy-efficient LED Christmas lights, or have decided to get rid of your old or non-working incandescent strings of lights – you can recycle them!

Just drop them by the Asheville Lowe’s one-stop recycling center located inside the store – right next to the exit doors.

 

Looking for your perfect Christmas tree this year?  Boyd Mountain Christmas Tree Farm has you covered!

Winter Coat Drive!

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

ASHEVILLE NC – The Sheriff’s Office needs your help! They We are collecting coats and warm winter clothing to provide to local shelters for those in need.are collecting coats and warm winter clothing to provide to local shelters for those in need. Help them by bringing in your old, serviceable coats, sweaters and winter wear.

Just drop your donation off in one of their collection boxes between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Collection sites are located at the main Sheriff’s Office at 202 Haywood Street, Asheville, and at the main Detention Facility, 20 Davidson Drive.

For more information, call 250-4441.

Internet Workshops for Seniors Nov. 29-30

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

CULLOWHEE NC – Western Carolina University’s Department of Communication is collaborating with the Jackson County Department on Aging to offer Internet communication workshops for seniors from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, and from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30.

Transportation for seniors will be provided to and from the Jackson County Senior Center.

The workshops, led by WCU students, will offer one-on-one instruction in WCU’s state-of-the-art electronic classrooms and will focus on getting seniors familiar with communication tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Skype, and with the process of setting up free e-mail accounts and managing online music and video accounts such as iTunes.

Seniors can call 828-586-4944 for more information and to reserve a workshop time and date.

Informational Session for Home-schooled High School Students

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

ASHEVILLE NC – A-B Tech will host an informational session for home- and private-school high school students who would like to participate in the Career and College Promise dual-enrollment program at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 28, in the Simpson Lecture Hall at the rear of the Simpson Administration Building. Curriculum, admissions requirements, and registration procedures will be discussed.

When You’re Ready to Pick a Cut Christmas Tree…

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
ASHEVILLE NC –

  • Purchase a fresh tree with needles that do not fall off when shaken.
  • Recut the base of the stem and stand it in water as soon as you get it home.
  • Store the tree outdoors, standing in a bucket of water, until it is brought inside.
  • Avoid exposing the tree to heat sources and warm drafts. Use an antitranspirant spray to help slow the drying out of needles.
  • Be sure your tree stand is large enough to hold adequate water. Check the water level daily and keep the cut surface covered with water at all times. A cut Christmas tree will absorb between 2 pints and one gallon of water per day. Use plain water, no additives.

For more information, call Buncombe County Cooperative Extension at 255-5522.

Wondering where to purchase your Christmas tree this year?  Visit Boyd Mountain Tree Farm for your perfect Fraser Fir Tree, from 5′-18′!

County Offices to Close for Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

ASHEVILLE NC – Buncombe County Government Offices will be closed November 24 and 25 for Thanksgiving.

Buncombe County Public Libraries will be closed November 24 through November 26.

Household Hazard Waste and Electronics Recycling at the Landfill will be cancelled for Friday, November 25. The Landfill and Transfer Station will be open on their regular schedule.

Grove Park Inn Announces Winners of 19th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

ASHEVILLE NC – Hundreds of entries from over 20 states were scrutinized by a panel of 11 elite judges, with winners from four categories selected at today’s 19th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in beautiful Asheville, N.C.

“Each year The National Gingerbread House Competition becomes even more competitive with such a wide variety of gingerbread creativity. Our judges come prepared to select winners whose overall scores are often separated by only a few points,” said Ronald E. Morin, Vice President and Managing Director at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa. “This year we have contestants entering from as far away as South Florida, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. The determination shown by competitors to travel with their gingerbread creations hundreds of miles reflects a significant commitment to this competition.”

Entries were judged on overall appearance, originality/creativity, difficulty, precision and consistency of theme. Except for the base, the entries must be constructed entirely of edible materials. Each year, The National Gingerbread House Competition awards more than $12,000 in cash and prizes, with the grand prize winner receiving a $3,000 cash prize, a two night Club Floor stay at The Grove Park Inn, complimentary access to Grove Park’s world-renowned Spa facilities, and dinner and breakfast for two daily. Photographs of the winning entries will be available on www.groveparkinn.com.

Winners in this year’s National Gingerbread House Competition are:

Grand Prize Winner: Ashley Howard – Winter Springs, Florida;

Adult (18 years and older):

Second Place: Heather Lewis – Austell, Georgia;

Third Place: Barbara Evans & Mary Jo Dowling – Edlestein, Illinois.

Teen (13-17 years old):

First Place: Carly Owens – Swannanoa, North Carolina;

Second Place: Julia Navin – Franklin, Tennessee;

Third Place: Laura Malanowski – Newton, North Carolina.

Youth (9-12 years old):

First Place: Lydia Gentry – Hendersonville, North Carolina;

Second Place: Carley Cantrell – Cookeville, Tennessee;

Third Place: Gabriella Arthur – Easley, South Carolina.

Child (5-8 years old):

First Place: Abby Adkins – Kodak, Tennessee;

Second Place: Kristen Dodd – Arden, North Carolina;

Third Place: Lydia Koenig – Mathews, North Carolina.

Farthest geographical distance traveled:

The Connerley Family (Jennifer, Kelsey, Mackenzie & Kaitlyn – Naples, FL

All entries from The National Gingerbread House Competition will be displayed at The Grove Park Inn from November 16th, 2011 through January 1st, 2012 and at The Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville. Community viewing days are Sundays through Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Resort guests who have booked accommodations, dining or Spa treatments may view the displays at any time. Groups and bus charters should call ahead for reservations.

For more information, please contact The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa at 800.438.5800 or 828.252.2711 or visit www.groveparkinn.com.