Author Archives: Charlene Mixa

About Charlene Mixa

Seeing new places, learning about cultures and seeing the sights has always been my dream. Growing up I was blessed with parents that enjoyed traveling and thought nothing of taking a family of seven on excursions. My career in Human Resources and later as a consultant for an international Human Resource firm offered some travel, but I knew as my husband and I approached retirement, my goal was to do more traveling and broader trips. The nine years since retirement has been filled with fantastic adventures from short local one day trips to several week excursions. Living in Florida, it is especially enjoyable to be away in the summer to cooler climates. Multi-week driving trips across the good ol' USA, settling in for a month in the mountains to explore the local area, or a combination of both fill much of our summer season. Our travels are predominantly self-orchestrated, bringing the fun and challenge of getting everything to click. It's all about doing and sharing! Experiencing a travel adventure is exciting. Reliving a special travel moment with a friend or family is exhilarating. I feel my heart race and pulse quicken, as I sharing that special moment. Thank you for joining in my travel adventures and allowing me to hear your stories.

The Omni Grove Park Inn- A Christmas Tradition

Dreams of Enchanting Gingerbread Houses
By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Omni Grove Park Inn Twinkles in the evening

Omni Grove Park Inn Twinkles in the evening

It’s 2018 and New Year resolutions and promises are decreed.  Yet, a year ago, visions of gingerbread houses danced in the heads of many individuals.  Their dream for the New Year was to compete in the 25th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition at The Omni Grove Park Inn.  A plethora of ideas were imagined for a unique gingerbread entry.  With grit these talented and hearty souls prepared to tackle and compete in this prestigious event committing hundreds of hours to design, build and create a unique exhibit composed of flour and ginger in dreams of being the Grand Prize Winner. Continue reading

Your Ultimate Guide To Bali And Top Things To Try

 By Tim Baker  

bali

You’ve probably heard one or two things about Bali recently. Either a friend has told you how amazing their trip was or you’ve heard about Bali in the news when Mount Agung erupted on November 27, 2017. Regardless of how or why it has been mentioned to you, Bali must be added to your travel list immediately. Bali is a traveler’s dream and one of the best islands to visit on Earth. In this article, you’ll find a planning, sightseeing, accommodation and food guide for those wanting to try out Bali. Continue reading

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

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

Celebrating Beer City, USA

A Sampling of Asheville’s Beer Week 2017
By Charlene & Richard Mixa

A toast to AVL Beer Week !  Chestnut & Highland Brewing Company Beer Pairing Dinner

A toast to AVL Beer Week ! Chestnut & Highland Brewing Company Beer Pairing Dinner

It’s all about BEER! Asheville Beer Week is an eight-day celebration of beer in spectacular Western North Carolina. This mountain town has thrived in the past few years to consistently be recognized as Beer City, USA. With microbreweries “popping open” each year, Asheville has plenty to celebrate. Organized by a group of regional beer industry folks and the Asheville Brewers Alliance, Asheville is the place to taste, sample, learn, and explore BEER. Activities are many including beer dinners, educational events, pint nights, and dozens of other beer-centric events, and of course the Beer City Festival. Additionally, the Asheville Brewers Alliance coordinates the making of a collaborative brew with ABA member breweries just for AVL Beer Week. Continue reading