Tryon International Equestrian Center


Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) near Asheville, North Carolina, holds many weeks of international competition during the 2016 season from spring through fall. The tremendously popular “Saturday Night Lights” series offers spectators an evening of heart pounding action and entertainment, as grand prix show jumping highlights a week of equestrian competition in the George Morris Arena. Come enjoy family activities and live performances at this impressive new campus in Polk County near Columbus.

It has already become a haven for American equestrian competitors and enthusiasts, and a year-round destination for many that love horses. In addition to hunter/jumper horse shows, TIEC also hosts dressage horse shows and, in 2016, will host the United States Pony Club Championships East and the American Eventing Championships.

Admission to all horse shows and events is free and no reserved tickets are required for the 6,000-seat stadium. The special Saturday Night Lights Grand Prix show jumping events are also free – carousel rides, music and live entertainment included. Parking is free also.

The hunter/jumper shows generally run Wednesday through Sunday, approximately 8 AM-5 PM. For the most action, visit late morning and afternoon to go from arena to arena to see the horses.

Horse shows at Tryon International Equestrian Center are casual outdoor events. Wear sensible walking shoes so that you are comfortable while exploring the entirety of the show grounds. Dining options include a 50s inspired Roger’s Diner open seven days a week. Also find Legends Grille, Ginger Sushi & Noodles, Siesta Cantina and more.

Tryon Resort is one of the world’s premier equestrian lifestyle destinations, and with shops, restaurants, entertainment, lodging and more. This new facility opened in June 2014 with sanctioned horse shows and amenities including 10 riding arenas, 850 permanent stalls, a covered riding facility and fitness center. Future expansion includes a resort hotel, condos and apartments, additional mixed-used retail, sports complex, sporting clay course, and 18-hole golf course, plus a full calendar of equestrian competitions and activities.

TIEC is open every day. It’s located about 48 miles from Asheville. It’s located in the rolling foothill between Lake Lure, Rutherfordton and Tryon, at exit 170 on US Highway 74, at 4066 Pea Ridge Rd., Mill Spring, NC 28756.

For more, see our Tryon International Equestrian Center Guide.

Farmers Markets near Asheville

Find fresh farm bounty at markets through the Blue Ridge Mountains in and near Asheville, North Carolina. Tailgate tents are going up, and area farmers markets are opening outdoors for the season. Get a taste of what Appalachian Grown™ farms are growing. Produce offerings will differ from market to market based on the location of vendor farms—micro climates vary greatly in the region.

Thanks to ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project) for this list for 2016 with opening days and weekly times.

Central Mountains Regional Tailgate Markets

  • Asheville City Market: April 2, Saturdays 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Asheville City Market – South: April 6, Wednesdays 12:00 – 4:00 pm
  • Black Mountain Tailgate Market: May 7, Saturdays 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • East Asheville Tailgate Market: May 6, Fridays 3:00 – 6:00 pm
  • French Broad Food Co-op Wednesday Tailgate Market: April 13, Wednesdays 2:00 – 6:00 pm
  • Leicester Farmers Market: April 2, Saturdays 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
  • Madison County Farmers & Artisans Market: April 2, Saturdays 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • North Asheville Tailgate Market: April 2, Saturdays 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Oakley Farmers Market: May 5, Thursdays 3:30 – 6:30 pm
  • River Arts District Farmers Market: May 4, Wednesdays 2:00 – 6:00 pm
  • Sundays on the Island: April 9, Sundays 12:00 –
  • Weaverville Tailgate Market: April 13, Wednesdays 2:30 – 6:30 pm
  • West Asheville Tailgate Market: April 5, Wednesdays 3:30 – 6:30 pm
  • WNC Farmers Market: May 5, Open Everyday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Yancey County Farmers Market: April 16, Saturdays 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

Foothills Regional Tailgate Markets

  • Caldwell County Farmers Market: May 7, Saturdays 7:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • Hildebran Farmers Market: May 3, Tuesdays 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • Historic Marion Tailgate Market: May 3, Tuesdays 3:00 – 6:00 pm and Saturdays 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Lenoir Downtown Farmers Market: April 1, Wednesdays – Saturdays 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Morganton Farmers Market: May 7, Wednesdays 2:00 – 6:00 pm and Saturdays 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Rutherford County Farmers Market: April 30, Tuesdays and Saturdays 8:00 am – 1:00 pm, Thursdays 3:00 – 7:00 pm
  • Sawmills Farmers Market: May 3, Tuesdays 3:00 – 6:30 pm
  • Valdese Farmers Market: May 11, Wednesdays 8:00 am – 12:00 pm and Fridays 2:00 – 6:00 pm

Southern Mountains Regional Tailgate Markets

  • Columbus Tailgate Market: April 9, Saturdays 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Flat Rock Farmers Market: May 5, Thursdays 3:00 – 6:00 pm
  • Henderson County Curb Market: Year-round; Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
  • Henderson County Tailgate Market: March 14, Saturdays 7:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Mills River Farmers Market: May 7, Saturdays 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Saluda Tailgate Market: May 6, Fridays 4:30 – 6:30 pm
  • Transylvania Farmers’ Market: April 23, Saturdays 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Tryon Tailgate Market: May 5, Thursdays 4:00 – 6:00 pm

Near West Regional Tailgate Markets

  • Cashiers Tailgate Market: June 1, Wednesdays 12:00 – 4:00 pm
  • Cowee Farmers Market: May 10, Tuesdays 3:30 – 6:30 pm
  • Franklin Farmers Tailgate Market: April 2, Saturdays 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market: April 16, Wednesdays and Saturdays 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Jackson County Farmers Market: April 2, Saturdays 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Original Waynesville Tailgate Market: May 14, Wednesdays and Saturdays 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Swain County Farmers Market: May 6, Fridays 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • ‘Whee Market: April 5, Tuesdays 4:00 – 7:00 pm

Far West Regional Tailgate Markets

  • Andrews Farmers Market: June 4, Saturdays 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Brasstown’s Farmers Market: May 25, Wednesdays 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • Cedar Valley Farmers Market: April 2, Saturdays 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • Graham County Farmers Market: July 9, Saturdays 8:30 am – 12:00 pm
  • Hayesville Evening Market: May 5, Thursdays 4:00 – 7:00 pm
  • Mountain Valley Farmers Market: May 7, Saturdays 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

High Country Regional Tailgate Markets

  • Alleghany County Farmers’ Market: May 2, Tuesdays 4:00 – 6:00 pm and Saturdays 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Ashe County Farmers Market: April 16, Wednesdays and Saturdays 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • Avery County Farmers Market: April 21, Thursdays 4:30 – 7:00 pm
  • Bakersville Farmers Market: March 26, Saturdays 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Blowing Rock Farmers Market: May 26, Thursdays 4:00 – 6:00 pm
  • Spruce Pine Farmers Market: May 4, Wednesdays 2:00 – 5:00 pm

Read more about Farmers Markets in the Asheville area.

Asheville Art Classes & Workshops


During your vacation to Asheville, take a fun art class to create a wonderful souvenir – and return home with some new skills. The River’s Edge Painting Studio in the River Arts District has a big variety of art workshops and lessons. Located near downtown Asheville and Biltmore Estate, they love to introduce beginners to many techniques. Here are just a couple of upcoming classes:

April 7, 2016: Golden Effects with Watercolor and Beer, Wine and More – A unique Approach!
Celebrate National Beer Day with this fun 3-hour class that begins at 12:30 PM. Create luminous effects in skies, water and golden glows in your landscapes using dark beer and watercolor as your painting medium. Dark beers produced in the Asheville area will be used for warm tones in small paintings. Create 2 to 4 paintings, depending on your choices of subject and how quickly you work. Reference materials, beer for painting and a few select tube watercolors will be supplied. Some pieces will be pre-sketched to take the worry of drawing away, and allow you to paint more! No experience necessary. $90 Tuition.

April 9, 2016: Experimental Watercolor
Delve deep into new ways to work with watercolor in this full day hands on class, 10 AM-4 PM. This workshop is for artists with no or a lot of experience, but want to explore new  and free techniques with watercolor. Experiment with scrubbing, dripping, splashing and glazing and more in an unexpected way. Learn about different papers, non-traditional tools, brushes and painting on an easel. Start new work, bring your own work to salvage or enhance, bring your own reference or use what is provided. Experiment with light and dark before color and creating a strong mood before subject. Nadine is an award winning former New York artist now residing in Asheville, with a studio at 310 ART. $125/person.

Read more about Asheville Art Classes and Workshops.

Hike 100 Miles in the Smokies

Great Smoky Mountains Hiking Trail

Celebrate the National Park Service Centennial near Asheville and “Hike 100” in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Park Superintendent Cassius Cash has committed to hike 100 miles in the Smokies during 2016 and is challenging the public to do the same.

To complete the Hike 100 challenge, you must hike any 100 miles of maintained trail within the park boundaries between January 1 and December 6. The miles can include everything from the front country nature trails to the extensive backcountry network of trails. See our favorite Smoky Mountains Hikes for the North Carolina side.

The 100-mile goal is part of the “Smokies Centennial Challenge-Hike 100” program. This program aims to inspire all potential hikers to experience and gain a new appreciation and stewardship for their national park. Participants who reach the 100-mile goal will earn a commemorative “Smokies Centennial Challenge – Hike 100” pin and be invited to a park celebration hosted by Superintendent Cash.

As part of the Hike 100 program, the park is hosting hikes for several regional youth organizations throughout the year. These opportunities will provide a chance for groups, who otherwise face barriers to travel due lack of transportation or funding restraints, a chance to explore the Smokies. These groups will have the added benefit of hiking alongside Superintendent Cash, as well as experienced hikers from the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club and Carolina Mountain Club.

The Superintendent is also providing a unique opportunity for the general public to hike alongside him on his way to reaching the 100-mile goal through a series of four hikes open to the public. Two front country hikes in August and December will be completely open to the public, while two backcountry hikes in June and October will be limited to 20 people each.

Read more about special events near Asheville to celebration the National Park Service Centennial during 2016.

Christmas in Asheville

Forest City NC Lights

Find much to do in Asheville and the mountains of western North Carolina during Christmas Weekend. Savor holiday buffets in many great restaurants, tour the Biltmore House or see the Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum. There are plenty of options on Christmas Day – with even more during the weekend.

If you plan to dine or tour on Christmas Day, make your reservations in advance. Find many things to do with the family, including getting outdoors for a hike or to find a waterfall. Take a zany tour with LaZoom, go shopping downtown or Asheville Outlets, and drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. Explore one of our favorite NC Mountain Christmas Towns decked out for the holidays and filled with local stores, breweries and galleries (like Forest City in the photo at top). Or relax with a massage in a spa or with a local beer at a craft brewery.

See our full list of restaurants open Christmas Day and many things to do.

Merry Christmas to all! Enjoy your time in Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains with your family and friends.


Thanksgiving Weekend Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Asheville NC invites visitors to join them for ranger-led hikes across the park on Friday, November 27, 2015. Hikes will be offered in the Cataloochee, Elkmont, and Cades Cove areas of the park providing an opportunity for people of all ages to #OptOutside and enjoy the park.

Rangers, park volunteers, and Friends of the Smokies staff will help visitors discover special cultural and natural resources along the hikes. Visitors may also choose to hike on their own and can come to any of the park’s visitor centers throughout the Thanksgiving holiday weekend to receive information about hiking options including several short nature trails that are perfect for children.

The park has over 800 miles of trails to explore throughout the year with every season offering its own special rewards. During late fall and winter, the absence of deciduous leaves opens new vistas revealing stone walls, chimneys, and foundations. These reminders of past communities allow hikers to discover a glimpse of history along park trails.

Friday, November 27 at 10:00 a.m. – Hike to Abrams Falls in Cades Cove
Join park staff for a 5-mile, roundtrip hike to one of the largest waterfalls in the park. The hike is rated moderate with several steep, rocky sections. Expect 4 hours total for the hike. Participants will learn about the parks 2,900 miles of streams, wildlife that depend on the stream, and the significance of Abrams Creek to the diversity of the park. Meet at the Abrams Falls trailhead, halfway around the Cades Cove Loop Road at 10:00 a.m. The program is subject to cancellation if the weather is bad. For more information, call Cades Cove at 865-448-4104.

Friday, November 27 at 10:00 a.m.  – Little Cataloochee Trail near Cataloochee
The 5-mile, roundtrip hike on the Little Cataloochee Trail is rated moderate but does have several steep sections. The trail follows an old road that provided access between Big Cataloochee and Little Cataloochee in the past. Stops on the hike include the Hannah cabin, the Little Cataloochee Church and cemetery, and the Cook cabin as well several former homesites. Read more about Cataloochee Valley and the elk.

The ranger leading the hike will have historic photos and maps of the area to share with participants.  The guided portion of the hike will end after 2.5 miles at the restored Cook family cabin. Participants can return to their cars at their own pace or further explore the area. Meet at the parking area on the left just after entering Cataloochee Valley. From there, participants will follow the ranger and drive 5 miles to the Little Cataloochee trailhead.  The best route into Cataloochee is Cove Creek Road which is accessible from Hwy. 276 near its intersection with Interstate 40. Participants driving to the area on I-40 should use Exit 20 (Hwy. 276 exit) and immediately turn right on to Cove Creek Road. The drive from Hwy. 276 into Cataloochee is 10 miles. Cove Creek Road is a winding, two-lane road and includes a four-mile section that is unpaved. For more information, call the Oconaluftee Visitor Center at 828-497-1904.

Friday, November 27 at 9:00 a.m.  – Cucumber Gap near Elkmont
This easy, 4.8-mile roundtrip hike follows the river through a beautiful, cove hardwood forest. Participants will learn about the rich history of the area including the logging operations of the Little River Lumber Company. Expect 3-4 hours total for the hike. One river crossing may be required. Meet at the Little River trailhead at 9:00 a.m., 7 miles west of Sugarlands Visitor Center in Elkmont. For more information, call Sugarlands Visitor Center at 865-436-1291.

Weather in the Smoky Mountains can be unpredictable, especially in the fall. Rangers recommend participants dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring rain gear. Participants should also bring a bag lunch, snacks, and plenty of water.

There are plenty of hiking trails for you to explore in the Smokies. See our Great Smoky Mountains Guide for North Carolina.

Christmas at Biltmore House 2015

Biltmore House Christmas

The biggest event of the year in Asheville has begun! Christmas at Biltmore runs through January 10, 2016. Biltmore’s design team has woven this year’s theme – “A Gilded Age Christmas” – throughout every element created for the season across the estate, incorporating grand and elegant details that are rooted in authentic Vanderbilt Christmas stories.

The towering 35-foot Christmas tree in the Banquet Hall is a nod to a tradition started by George Vanderbilt on Christmas Eve in 1895 when he opened his 250-room home to friends and family for the first time. As tradition dictates, the tree is decorated with 500 ornaments and wrapped packages tucked into its branches.

During the magical Candlelight Christmas Evenings, thousands of ornaments and over-the-top wreaths and garlands sparkle with the reflections of candlelight and cozy fires in the home’s fireplaces. Despite the home’s enormous size, sounds of choirs and musicians create an intimate atmosphere. Outside, a 55-foot Norway spruce tree, lit by 45,000 tiny white lights and surrounded by hundreds of hand-lit luminaries, welcomes guests for evening tours.

See photos of this year’s Christmas decorations inside Biltmore House.

Christmas at Biltmore 2015 Events

  • Nov. 6 through Jan. 10, daily: Christmas at Biltmore daytime experience
  • Nov. 6 through Jan. 2: Candlelight Christmas Evenings
  • Nov. 6 through Jan. 10, daily: A Gardener’s Place Holiday Seminars. “Decorate with Christmas Wreaths” is offered at noon and “Create Holiday Tablescapes” is offered at 1 p.m.
  • Nov. 6 through Jan. 10, daily: The Conservatory’s annual poinsettia and tropical plant display.
  • Nov. 6 through Jan. 10, daily: Complimentary wine tasting at the Winery. The “Red Wine and Chocolate” seminar is offered, as well as the “Biltmore Bubbles” tour. Additional price and reservations required.
  • Nov. 6 through Jan. 10, evenings: Live music in Cedric’s Tavern in Antler Hill Village.
  • Nov. 7 through Dec. 20, Saturdays and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m., and on Friday, Nov. 27: Visits with Santa in Antler Hill Village.
  • Nov. 7 through Jan. 10, Saturdays and Sundays, 3 p.m., and on Friday, Nov. 27: Roving Holiday Carolers in Antler Hill Village.
  • Dec. 17, 18 and 19: Inn on Biltmore Estate’s Annual Gingerbread House Tea. Guests assemble gingerbread homes with the help of a pastry chef while enjoying afternoon tea. Additional price and reservations required.
  • Ongoing: Festive holiday meals prepared by award-winning chefs will be served in all of the estate’s restaurants.

Guests looking to extend their holiday stay at Biltmore will have several options. For a retreat with personalized service, the Inn on Biltmore Estate offers four-star accommodations with sweeping views in a private hilltop setting. Special holiday packages starting with Thanksgiving will be available during Christmas at Biltmore.

Biltmore’s newest lodging offering, Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate, opens December 1, 2015. Designed for the guest looking for a casual overnight stay, the hotel is located in Antler Hill Village. It is steps away from shopping, dining, the Winery, live music and outdoor activities. Special holiday packages will be available during Christmas at Biltmore.

See the complete Christmas at Biltmore Guide that includes ticket special offers, along with Asheville vacation packages.