Packing Like A Pro: 5 Mistakes You Should Be Avoiding Already

By John Miller

terminal luggageNo, you don’t need to carry around large heavy bags, pack for every eventuality or dig around in a bottomless suitcase for the item you are looking for.  If you are a frequent traveller or even if you’re not, you need to start packing smarter! Here are some of the top packing mistakes you should already be avoiding making your travel life a whole lot easier. Continue reading

6 Simple Tricks for Saving Money for Traveling

By Joselyn BrownTravel pictureHave you always wanted to travel?  What’s stopping your?  Many people spend their entire live loving the idea of traveling, but they never get around to it because it seems too expensive.  We’re hear to tell you that no matter your income, you can afford to travel.  Here are a few tips to get you started.  

Have a Plan

Any good savings plan will have five steps. First, assess whether you can realistically achieve your travel goals. Then, set savings goals. Create a plan for how you will meet your goals (the next five tips should help.) Implement your plan. And, every month, revisit your plan to see how you are doing and reassess if necessary. Continue reading

The Swag: A Luxury Mountain Paradise

An Enchanting, Serene, and Remote Retreat

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Scenic views of North Carolina's highest mountain ranges

Scenic views of North Carolina’s highest mountain ranges

A refined luxury inn and the highest inn east of the Mississippi, The Swag sits atop a 250 acre oasis in the North Carolina Mountains where nature and serenity create a remote mountain paradise.  A serene retreat to recharge and indulge the senses.  Original architecturally designed luxurious accommodations lure guests with surprises, warm hospitality, and charm for an unconventional and extraordinary getaway.  With incomparable Smoky Mountain National Park views and a panorama of over four of North Carolina’s six highest mountain ranges, The Swag meets the definition of paradise “a place of extreme beauty, delight and happiness.” Continue reading

A Summer of Terrific Mountain Golf

Western North Carolina Offers a Variety of Golf Courses
By Richard & Charlene Mixa

Laurel Ridge a scenic downhill hole

Laurel Ridge a scenic downhill hole

On our recent summer visit to the Asheville area, Charlene and I were fortunate to play fifteen area golf courses.  Some were private, semi-private, or resort courses, and all were within reasonable driving distances (for avid golfers!) to Asheville.  Below is a course summary for each along with their location and contact information.  Hope you enjoy the courses as much as we did.  Golf is a great and often humbling game! Continue reading

A Sampling of Asheville’s Culinary Scene

A Few Unique Dining Venues
By Charlene & Richard Mixa

The Junction in the River Arts District

The Junction in the River Arts District

Foodie’s will delight in the eclectic restaurants in Asheville with its many unique and memorable food and drink experiences.   A town on the move, it consistently offers a plethora of dining options.  In fact ExploreAsheville.com has coined the term a “Foodtopia” to describe Asheville’s “community of culinary collaborators.” Having visited this dynamic town the past few years we have experienced many of the local flavors and favorites in the downtown area.  In the pursuit of new eateries and experiences in Asheville’s food scene we find special venues, “hidden gems” and amazing restaurants. Continue reading

A Taste of Black Mountain!

A Little Town with Lots of “Taste!”
By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Boasting over 30 restaurants and two microbreweries Black Mountain is a great town to visit or stay when vacationing in the Blue Ridge Mountains.   Just fifteen minutes from Asheville, this welcoming community offers a wonderful variety of eateries from hearty soup and sandwiches to BBQ and ribs to mountain trout and authentic ethnic cuisine.

My sampling plate of Black Mountain Bistro's delightful tastings

My sampling plate of Black Mountain Bistro’s delightful tastings

To get a “taste” of the town, we start with the 17th Annual “Rock the Taste” presented by Black Mountain Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce.  Arriving at the White Horse a variety of restaurants feature their favorite dishes in this unique venue.  Wow! So many choices! Roaming the vendors each tantalizes with their specialty fares.  The Black Mountain Bistro showcases their Quinoa and Kale Salad, a delectable Artichoke Spinach Dip, hearty Shrimp & Grit Cake along with scrumptious desserts of Coconut Cake, Chocolate Layer Cake and Banana Pudding.  Samplings continue at the Red Rocker Inn table featuring Sausage and Grits.  A true southern favorite is their luscious Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. Continue reading

Hiking In The Swiss Alps: Amazing Journey into the Nature

By John Miller

Hiking in the Swiss Alps is one of the best activities a nature lover can enjoy nature, relax and rejuvenate yourself in beautiful surroundings. There are so many routes varying in difficulty that there is the perfect one to suit you, and there are a range of accommodation options to choose from too.  Although the Swiss Alps is a popular winter destination for Brits as a ski holiday, the summer months are the best time to visit for other outdoor activities. Hiking, mountain biking are the big draws as well as rock climbing and horse trekking too. Continue reading

A Mountain Community Above it All, Mountain Air

Gracious Elevated Living on a Mountaintop
by Charlene & Richard Mixa  

Mountain Scenery from Orville & Wilbur's Bar & Grill

Mountain Scenery from Orville & Wilbur’s Bar & Grill

The “Call of the Mountains” has people of all ages seeking the beauty and peacefulness of the western North Carolina Mountains.  While some seek a simple reclusive getaway others desire a welcoming friendly community that offers a range of amenities.  At Mountain Air Country Club we find a Mountain Shangri La atop Slickrock Mountain at 4,600 feet with its miles of beautiful mountain scenery and tranquil setting. This iconic mountain community is definitely above it all! Continue reading

Into the Wild in Cazorla (Spain)

By Sally James

Cazorla Nature Preserve

Cazorla Nature Preserve

If you’re tired of visiting big cities and you dream of enjoying an unforgettable experience in the midst of nature, one area that you will enjoy as much for its serenity as for its adventure offerings, is Cazorla, in the south of Spain. Cazorla is around an hour away from the city of Jaén and comprises both a main town, and part of a mountain range known as the Cazorla Nature Reserve (in Spanish, the Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Villas) – the largest protected green area in Spain, home to ancient towering trees, dramatic waterfalls and serene tracks which vary in length and complexity. The Cazorla Nature Reserve was declared a World Biosphere Reserve owing to the rich variety of flora and fauna. Continue reading

Marvelous Málaga: Visiting the South Coast of Spain

By Sally James

Panorama of Malaga Beach

Panorama of Malaga Beach

Despite the major developments that have taken place in the infrastructure and cultural development of the south coast of Spain, many still associate Málaga (the Coast’s capital) with little more than its powdery beaches and espetos (grilled sardines on the beach). Over the past decade, however, big changes have taken place to the city and the coastline alike, in an attempt to continue to attract discerning clients from all the world. Marbella (a smaller city around 45 minutes by car from the capital city) is a luxury destination the caliber of St. Tropez, where luxury yachts moor and high-end designer shops vie for top spot on the famous Puerto Banús. It is also an excellent choice for those wishing to marry various elements in their trip – visiting beautiful beaches, de-stressing at world class resorts, and soaking in the rich culture and history of one of Spain’s liveliest cities. Continue reading