Daytrip to Marshall & Hot Springs

All of Asheville was abuzz with Moogfest this weekend and I hope you all had fun! I did an about face and took some friends (one who hasn’t been here long and one visiting her from England) out for  a day trip up the old Marshall Highway for a day of small town exploring in Marshall and then on up to Hot Springs for an explore and a soak. We did have some fun!

Marshall almost looks like it was cut out of a small town story book, located right on the French Broad River and along the train tracks it’s Main Street is a quick but charming tour with several charming shops, a sweet little restaurant, the Pork & Pie, Zuma coffee shop, Flow Gallery and  a real, honest to goodness old time department store, Penland & Sons. In a town the size of Marshall you really only need one of everything.  They’ll be having the Mama Mia Celebration honoring Mother’s Day Saturday, May 10 with family activities, music and food all over downtown.

Hot Springs, just another 15 minutes up the road, was also a hit, and we spent another good chunk of the afternoon wandering from shop to shop all along their Main Street before stopping for lunch.  Then it was off to the tubs for a nice hour long soak at the “World Famous Hot Springs“. A word to the wise as we come into season, make a reservation ahead of time if you plan on renting an outdoor tub on the weekend as they were completely booked for the day by 1 pm and even if you go during the week it never hurts to call ahead and reserve a time. More fun upcoming next weekend in Hot Springs as well with the French Broad River Festival for two fantastic days of music and camping.

Marshall

Sneaky Snow

In the space of 20 minutes we went from all clear, no snow this morning, to school’s closed and grumpy kids for waking them up on time. Nice. At least the green house looks all twinkly and warm out there.

New Year’s Day on the Farm

A New Year’s Day Tradition in the Making at Foothills Farm.

We felt so special to be invited out for a New Year’s Day Party on the farm for the staff of Foothills Farm & Butcher Shop, Seven Sows & Blind Pig. The freshest, grass fed, heritage breed pork straight from the farm as well as oysters, and lobsters and lots of other sides Mike, and his fantastic staff from Seven Sows, brought along.  It was such a happy congregation of dogs, kids, families, chefs, farmers and everyone in between. All of us trading stories, unloading round after round for the “target practice”, roasting ourselves around the fire, eating, drinking and sharing the camaraderie that comes from working together all year long. My girls loved exploring the farm, playing with the piglets and climbing up on the hay bales.  This is a New Year’s Day tradition I could look forward to every year. To Mike, Casey and everyone who helped make the evening possible, thanks so much for having us!

 

Best of WNC?

Well, friends and neighbors it’s that time of year again.  The Mountain Express is running their “Best of WNC” popularity poll for everything under the sun that is Asheville and Western North Carolina. Please consider putting my name in for Best Photographer.  Not because I really think I am, (I know over two dozen amazingly talented photographers that live and work here and each of them is just as deserving if not more so), but because word of mouth referral is so vital to my business and you can’t get a referral if no one has ever heard of you. Since Mountain Express has one of the biggest mouths around that makes placing in this poll important. So go to the poll, vote for people, places, restaurants and services you like here in Asheville, spread the word for the sake of the uninitiated who want to shop local but don’t know how and help some small businesses get some big exposure.

Click the link to betaken to this year’s ballot.

          

The Art of Sharon Pruyne

I recently did some portfolio catalog work for Sharon Pryune, an artist in Mars Hill.  She is an an amazing woman who is not only a vivid artist who specializes in trompe l’oeil but a nutritionist, personal trainer, innovative homesteader and organic farmer.  She is organizing her latest winter crop of paintings for show and sale and I’m very glad she chose me to document her unique pieces.  If  you are interested in her art contact me and I will be put you in touch with her.

 

 

Property Portraits

I love real estate photography!!!  No really, I do.  To some folks it’s just a location shoot but after 9 years of working in the real estate and mortgage industries I have a true appreciation for what kind of photos it takes to sell or rent a property.

Most commonly, I’ll arrive at the location and within minutes the homeowners are showing me the photos from the appraisal or the realtor, pointing out that they don’t really show off the character and charm of the property or the amenities they missed.  Well that’s because they aren’t really supposed to, appraisers and realtors are documenting the property but rarely do they achieve much beyond that.  I know this for a fact because I have looked at thousands of listing and appraisal images throughout my career.

I am lucky to have several companies that regularly hire me to find and show the unique characteristics of their properties in the best possible light.  Most recently I’ve been working with a vacation rental network called Evolve.  I showcased this amazing rental house for them up in Maggie Valley called “The Red Diamond Lodge”.  This luxurious vacation home is a real show stopper with it’s own gushing mountain stream, large fire pit area and a”bunk house”, they’ve even got a small paddock if you want to bring your horse.   Check out their listing on Evolve’s network here to see their complete photo portfolio; “Red Diamond Lodge“.

I also work for independent owner/proprietors like Jen at “Asheville Bed No Breakfast“. She’s got the cutest little cabin studio available for rental right here in West Asheville! I was delighted to help her out with photos that show off how sweet and cozy this little cabin in the hood really is.  Click her link to see how we made this cozy corner cabin studio look open and airy!

Thanks for the show!

Just took down my show of framed prints at 1st Congregational United Church of Christ in downtown Asheville.  I was the featured artist for the month of March in their gorgeous atrium gallery.  It was an honor and privilege to share my art with this fine congregation!  Thank you so much for the opportunity!

 

My husband Cass did the framing for all of these using weathered tobacco stakes and reclaimed barn wood.  He and I created this series of agricultural and rural scenes as the featured artist project for Blind Pig Underground Supper Club‘s November 2012 dinner “Preserve”. [See photos from the event here.] The entire series can be viewed here: Preserve Series

There are still several matted and framed prints available as well as a few smaller matted prints from my Asheville CLicKs series.  I am always looking for new spaces to hang my work if you’re a small business in the Asheville area who would like to host a show please feel free to get in touch!

Day Trip: Little Switzerland

This weekend we all loaded into the car to peep the leaves along the Blue Ridge Parkway and take a day trip to someplace new, Little Switzerland.  I’ve been to places north and south of there on the parkway but never this high and away mile marker as a destination.

First of all let me say that this little town must have a GREAT PR photographer because we drove past it three times.  Truly a blink and you’ve missed it sized place. Cass and I had illusions of a place at least the size of Blowing Rock, with a main street and some shopping, etc. They do, it’s just mostly on the property of the Switzerland Inn.  There’s also the Little Switzerland Cafe which has a neat little string of shops and seems popular with the bikers judging by the fleet of Harleys parked across the street. There were also a couple of truly darling looking Bed & Breakfasts like Le Petit Chalet, that were flying the Swiss flag and a sporty little red water wheel. Some folks come for the views and the solitude, some come to try their driving skills on Route 226A also known as “The Diamondback“. We not only accomplished driving the road, we covered it three times in our winnowing search for this near mythical mountaintop escape. When we finally figured it out we were so grateful to get out of the car and get some lunch at the Inn. Harmony had a Bacon Cheese Burger that was as big as her head and accepted no help in finishing it. The food was delicious, the kids topped it off with ice cream from the sweet shop and we were home before 5.

Graveyard Fields

We went to Graveyard Fields up on the Blue Ridge Parkway at mile marker 418 yesterday for some hiking and river stomping with the girls.  What a gorgeous place and right on the Blue Ridge Parkway!  We hiked to the top of Upper Falls Trail and then walked down the river. The water is so cold and clean up there, just delightful.  Going back again soon, you should come with us.

Graveyard Fields

Going up Grandfather

We decided to have an Adventure Day last Sunday and loaded the family up for a trip to Grandfather Mountain.  I’ve driven by this place so many times in the past two years often promising to come back with the kids.  What a great place for a change of perspective!  We had a great time seeing the Nature Museum, habitats and of course, the swinging bridge was a huge hit!  The girls were completely impressed with the entire trip and they both took the Junior Ranger Pledge and got badges to prove it.

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