Monday, May 25, 2009

Annie Sellick to visit Asheville for a night of jazz singing

Starting at 7:00 PM on Sunday, June 7th, the Diana Wortham Theatre will be hosting a youthful rising star in the world of jazz. Vocalist Annie Sellick is being presented by the WNC Jazz Society who specializes in bringing jazz greats to the Asheville area. They say that Annie connects to her listeners because of her inimitable style, the goal of all jazz musicians, a style featuring unique phrasing, a deeply relaxed, swinging pulse, and heartfelt emotion.

Annie has won a devoted following and earned rave reviews, including numerous “Best Jazz Artist” awards. A Nashville native, she has enjoyed performing world-wide during the last few years, with frequent stops on the USA’s west coast.

Annie’s third CD, “A Little Piece of Heaven” was recorded live in Los Angeles in 2005 and features the Gerald Clayton Trio with special guest Bruce Forman. It captures the free-spirited and playful quality that Annie exudes in live performance. Her impressive 2008 release features the Gerald Clayton Trio and the Jeff Hamilton Trio and is a project that she and renowned drummer Jeff Hamilton co-produced.

Annie’s jazz journey began auspiciously when she sat in with guitarist Roland Gresham's group at a club near her college. After her performance, the crowd rose to their feet cheering, and it was clear she had found her calling.

After working a year with that trio, she returned to her hometown, where she honed her skills at the Nashville Jazz Workshop. Within a few years of her debut, Annie had become a mainstay at the major jazz venues, worked with all of her favorite jazz artists there, including famed guitarist Bela Fleck, was profiled in every major Nashville paper, and gave a celebrated sold-out performance accompanied by the Nashville Symphony.

Annie is a regular member of and vocalist for the Nashville Jazz Orchestra, with whom she has recorded.

This performance is funded, in part, by a Grassroots Arts Program Grant of the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency, and the Asheville Area Arts Council.

· $22 members
· $30 non-members
· $10 students w/ID
· Memberships available at the door.
· Purchase a membership the night of show
to receive immediate discount towards member's ticket price.

Don't forget to join us at 6:15 pm for the pre-show to mingle with fellow jazz enthusiasts over refreshments and during the social hour in the Lower Lobby of the Theatre prior to the Annie Sellick performance. Wine, beer, water, soda and coffee sales along with a variety of desserts will be provided by Frankie Bones Restaurant. We hope to see you there!

If you're traveling from out of town don't forget about the special hotel packages being offered for the performance.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Asheville ties as winner of Beer City USA 2009

An online poll conducted by the resulted in Asheville tying with Portland as the best beer city in America. The results were incredibly close. Charlie Papazian of the Examiner had this to say about this poll.

Who gets top honors? I’m honoring both Portland, Oregon and Asheville, North Carolina this year. They are number one in the east and number one in the west with about 6,000 votes apiece. What, no definitive Number 1 and Number 2? Correct. Is that a cop out? I don't think so, but of course beer drinkers are an opinionated group of individuals and may beg to differ.

If you're one of the many beer fans out there, you should check out Asheville to see for yourself why it was given top billing. You can look here for a list of places to visit while in town.

USA Today lists Asheville as a top five bargain destination

Asheville was featured in a recent USA Today article focusing on traveling within a budget. Below is the excerpt from that article.

Asheville earns top-five status by being an already affordable destination with new low-cost airline service. AirTran will begin flying between Orlando and Asheville starting June 11, with introductory fares of $69 one-way. You might also check flights into Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (about an hour and thirty minutes away) and Charlotte Douglas International Airport (about two hours away) to compare fares if the lowest price is a priority.

You can also take advantage of the site's Asheville budget travel planner, with free activity ideas and more savings opportunities. Plus, Asheville is an ideal jumping-off point for a visit to the Blue Ridge Parkway, known as "America's Favorite Drive" and a can't-miss (and free) activity. For more information, the Asheville Travel Blog offers a current look at events and activities in town.

Click here to start planning your Asheville vacation today!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Asheville featured in the Toronto Sun

Asheville was recently featured in the Toronto Sun in an article that explored the High Country of Western North Carolina. Below is an excerpt of that article.


On the way to Asheville, there are (at least) two places worth stopping.

- Mount Mitchell: It's the highest point in North America east of the Mississipi River. When I was there, it was closed because of a landslide. There are still detours but you can get there now by taking Hwy. 80 off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The main entry point is expected to re-open by mid-June. See

The second place to stop on the way to Asheville is the Blue Ridge Arts Center ( where mountain crafts, both traditional and contemporary, are on display.

Now Asheville. Ahh, Asheville. It's Funky Town in the Mountains. It seriously reminds me of Key West in the '70s -- but with mountains instead of ocean -- before the super-rich took it over and destroyed it.

With about 75,000 people, Asheville is home to Billy Graham, seven colleges and two universities. So it has soul, no matter how you look at it -- but I think the colleges win.

Asheville makes every U.S. magazine's list of "Top 10 Places To Do This Or That," so get there quick -- before the super-rich take it over and ruin it.


- Biltmore Estate: Everyone goes there but I skipped it because self-important faux monuments bore me. But as it is the biggest privately owned house in North America (Loire chateau style, more than 250 rooms) you should probably go. Built by one of the Vanderbilt heirs in the 1890s, it's twice as big as Aaron Spelling's mansion in Hollywood. Go wild.

- The North Carolina Arboretum has 26 hectares of cultivated gardens and 15 km of forested trails.

- More to my taste is Sliding Rock, a natural 20-metre waterslide that plunges you into an ice-cold pool. It's loads of fun on a summer afternoon for $1 park admission fee. It's about 10 km down Hwy. 276 off the Blue Ridge Parkway, about an hour's drive south of Asheville.

- One of my favourite mountain places is Chimney Rock, a half-hour drive southeast of Asheville on Hwy 74. A filming location for 1992's Last of the Mohicans, it's a magnificent hiking area with great vistas. There's a 26-storey elevator cut through the rock if you don't feel up to hiking to the top. Some of the more spectacular paths will be closed for the spring while they are upgraded, but it's still well worth a visit.

You can read the full story here.