Sunday, March 22, 2009

Explore Asheville, North Carolina with Beverly Mahone and me!

A couple of years ago, Mom "met" a woman named Beverly Mahone. I say "met" because I don't think they have ever actually seen each other face-to-face. They have only gotten to know each other through Mom's computer. And yet, Mom says meeting Miss Bev was one of the turning points in her life and business. Bev is the founder of Boomer Diva Nation . She invited Mom to be part of something she called the Baby Boomer Diva Web of Fame. Mom says that is where she met other women like Miss Bev - all trying to make a difference in the world. She says they are the women who inspired and encouraged her to make some of the choices she has made lately that have helped her have a business that let's her stay home with me. I LOVE Miss Bev for helping my Mom be able to spend more time with me. I know that once you get to know her, you'll love her too.

I told Miss Bev that I wanted to feature her home in North Carolina in my blog, but she told me that her favorite place is Asheville. That's where she and her husband went for their first wedding anniversary. She sent me something she wrote about it and I want to share it with you.

"I was born and raised in Ohio and North Carolina was not on my career map after college. But I ended up here and have lived in North Carolina long enough to be called a "southern fried yankee." North Carolina is nothing like I thought it would be. As someone who grew up in the midwest, I expected a "separate but equal" mentality but that's not the case at all.

As a news reporter, I've had the privilege of visiting many cities and towns in North Carolina but my favorite has to be a little town in the mountains called Asheville.

"Quaint" "friendly" and "artsy" are a few words I would use to describe Asheville, NC. That's where my husband and I decided to spend our first year wedding anniversary. Asheville is one of the best kept secrets for tourism in a state known for tobacco and basketball. Asheville is nestled in the mountains of Western NC. The one thing that impressed me the most about Asheville is the fact that it has a rural, small town feeling and tourists blend in to the community. Every place we went we felt welcome and easily struck up conversations with many of the locals. It was really difficult to tell who the tourists were.

The mountain air was refreshing and the landscape is breathtaking. Asheville is also the home of the Biltmore House,which has 250 rooms and each one has an interesting story behind it. The gardens are absolutely exquisite!

I love living in a place where I get plenty of Carolina blue skies and an opportunity to experience the very best the entire state has to offer. "

Doesn't Asheville sound like a fabulous place? I think so! And there are lots of things to do with your pet. So let's take a look at dog-friendly Asheville, NC!

When Mom and I looked for a pet-friendly place to stay, we found the perfect spot. The Residences at Biltmore sets the precedent for luxury accommodations in the Asheville area. This concierge condo hotel is nestled on top of a hill cradled by old-growth hardwood trees, just outside the gates of the Biltmore Estate in South Asheville. Doesn't sound like the kind of place that would have a room for me, does it. Well surprise! You can request a pet-friendly room! It all looked great online, but Mom called just to get a better feel for the place. Mom spoke to a woman named Leah who was very helpful and knew a lot about Asheville. After talking to her for a few minutes, she said that Leah had just confirmed her feeling that The Residences would be the place to stay on our visit to Asheville.

Now that we know where to stay, what is there to do for little dogs like me? Well, the first place you have to visit, of course, is the Biltmore Estate. This opulent estate of George Vanderbilt is America's largest home covering 4 acres with 250 rooms on 8000 acres. A variety of sites and activities include an interpretive 1890's working farm, an award winning winery, extraordinary formal gardens, a one-of-a-kind shopping center, several eateries, and they also provide a variety of festivals and special events throughout the year, and numerous outdoor recreational opportunities. Dogs of all sizes are allowed throughout the grounds; they are not allowed in buildings. It is up to individual stores whether a dog is permitted inside. Dogs must be under their owner's control, leashed, and cleaned up after at all times.

Another great place to visit is the North Carolina Arboretum. The 434-acre site is nestled in one of the most beautiful natural settings in the United States. Mountain peaks bound the property's visual perimeters and 1.8 miles of the Bent Creek stream run through the center of the Arboretum. Dogs are allowed throughout the park and on the trails. They are not allowed in any buildings or in the Bonsai garden. Dogs must be under their owner's control, leashed, and cleaned up after.

One more stop on our tour of Asheville, NC - the Asheville Urban Trail. Learn about Asheville's architecture and historic past on this unique 1.7-mile walking tour, which includes delightful sculptures along the way, including Thomas Wolfe's size 13 bronzed shoes. Tour leaders or audiotapes are available to guide you. Dogs are welcome on the trail. They must be under their owner's control at all times and be leashed and cleaned up after.

Along with great places to visit, there are events just for us! If you happen to be in Asheville in April, check out Chimney Rock Park's Bark in the Park on the 18th. Chimney Rock goes to the dogs for this special event dedicated to our canine companions. Agility demonstrations, rescue organizations, contests and lots more will keep you and your pup busy.

If you can't make it in April, then go in September and take your canine companion to The Dog's Camp. It's September 20-25, 2009 in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is a week devoted to the joy of training and competing in canine sports. They've brought together top instructors to coach you in all aspects of working with your dog. Learn the skills that will help draw you and your dog together as a winning team; develop the know how to train, communicate, and compete effectively.

After a full day of outdoor fun, you know I'm going to be hungry. Mom checked for some places that would allow me to come and eat with her. As I'm sure you have learned by now, only outdoor restaurants allow little dogs like me. But Mom found a couple that sounded pretty good. I don't know about the food, but I sure do like the names. They just sound fun and friendly. The first place she found is The Laughing Seed Cafe. Mom said it's vegetarian. I think that means green stuff. But some of that is okay. Dogs are allowed at the outer tables. They must be under their owner's control, and leashed or crated at all times.

The other place Mom found is called Sunny Pointe Cafe (see what I mean about fun names?). This eatery and bakery specializes in using local, organic ingredients with dinner and daily specials, and indoor and outdoor dining options. Dogs are allowed at the outer tables. Dogs must be under their owner's control, and leashed and cleaned up after at all times.

I see now why Miss Bev loves Asheville, NC so much. What a great place to visit! And while you're there, be sure to call Miss Bev and tell her Traveling Bob sent you. While you're at it, check out the Divas of Boomer Diva Nation. Who knows? Maybe Miss Bev has room for one more Diva and maybe it could be you!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Touring with the Divas!

My Mom is a member of a great group of women - The Baby Boomer Divas of Boomer Diva Nation ( They live all over the country. There are even Divas in Canada and Australia!

Now that you have learned all about dog-friendly Arkansas, my home state, I thought if would be fun if Mom and I introduced to you the homes of the other Divas. So I am going to do a series of posts on each of the cities where the Divas live. I'll tell you all about the great pet-friendly places to go and things to see. And you'll get to meet the resident Diva. Many of them have pets of their own so you'll get to meet them too! Aspen, Copper, and lots of others!

To give you an idea of what's in store, here's a partial list of where we'll go and who you'll meet!

Raleigh, North Carolina - Diva Beverly Mahone
Grande Ronde, Oregon - Diva Angie Baker
Marietta, Georgia - Diva Debra Stokes
Melbourne, Australia - Diva Kathie Thomas

And that's just the first month! Lots of places to visit and Divas to meet.

First up - A visit to dog-friendly Raleigh, NC, home of the founder of Boomer Diva Nation, Beverly Mahone.