NC’s Inaugural Apple Country Cider Jam

Photo Apple Country Cider Jam

The perfect weekend get-a-way

Hendersonville, NC, a small town near Asheville in the North Carolina mountains, will celebrate its inaugural Apple Country Cider Jam Saturday, April 22, which showcases eight hard cideries, two producers of nonalcoholic cider, two local wineries and music by the  band Balsam Range, winner of 10 awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association.

Henderson County is at the epicenter of NC’s burgeoning cider industry. The county produces 85 percent of the state’s apples and leads the way in hard cider production as well.

“We have world-class cider produced right here, and it all starts with our great apples,” says Mark Williams, executive director of Agribusiness Henderson County and event organizer. “The Cider Jam kicks off the whole season of apple production. It coincides with the apples in full bloom and promotes a product that can be enjoyed year-round.”

Festival cideries must be based in North Carolina and use apples sourced within the state. The eight hard cideries are: Bold Rock Hard Cider in Mills River; Bull City Ciderworks in Lexington and Durham; Crimson Ridge in Mills River; Flat Rock Ciderworks in Hendersonville; GoodRoad CiderWorks in Charlotte; Noble Cider in Asheville; The 1898 Waverly Inn in Hendersonville; and Wallace Ciders from St. Paul Mountain Vineyards in Hendersonville.

Local producers Apple Wedge Packers & Cider and McConnell Farms will provide fresh, nonalcoholic cider varieties, while Burntshirt Vineyards of Hendersonville, will serve apple wine.

The Apple Country Cider Jam runs from 1-6 p.m. Tickets are $25 and include tastings, souvenir cup and live music. Non-alcohol tickets are $10. Food will be available from local food trucks and downtown restaurants.

For info or to purchase tickets, visit www.CiderJamNC.com. For lodging and details about Hendersonville, go to www.VisitHendersonvilleNC.com or call (800) 828-4244.

(Photo by Sam Dean)

Luxury and History–Two Historic Seaside Hotels

Oceanfront hotels are a dime a dozen along the East Coast seaboard, but it’s a real treat to find two that have survived decades and still exist as stunning destinations. Their unique stories are woven into a tapestry of Southern charm and hospitality. I recently had the opportunity to visit the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort located on St. Simons Island, GA, and The Casa Marina Hotel in Jacksonville, FL. Both have fascinating histories and offer unique oceanfront experiences.

The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort

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This legendary hotel, a member of the National Register of Historic Places and a member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America, is located on one of the barrier islands that make up Georgia’s coast. It first opened in 1935 as a seaside dance club. Six years later, the main hotel building opened to the public as the King and Prince Hotel.

During World War II, the hotel served as a naval coast-watching and training facility. The center of Radar operations was housed at the King and Prince which also provided officers’ quarters and classrooms. The bar at the hotel was an after-hours gathering spot for soldiers, their wives and members of the local Civil Air Patrol.

The hotel’s current restaurant “Echo” pays tribute to the hotel’s crucial part in the island’s naval history. As radar sent its electromagnetic waves in and out, the “Echo” became a heartbeat of the War’s impact on St. Simons Island. For history buffs, I highly recommend a Lighthouse Trolley Sightseeing Tour of St. Simons Island, with stops at historic Ft. Frederica and Christ Church.

Swimming Pool, The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort. St. Simons Island, GA.Over the years, The King and Prince has undergone several renovations and expansions including the Resort’s cherished core–the historic main building. I was privileged to stay in one of the Cabana rooms in this Historic Building with a step-down sitting room off the bedroom and an oceanfront private patio where I enjoyed amazing sunrises and cool ocean breezes. The resort also offers suites, two-&-three bedroom Villas, beach cottages and private homes.

Oceanfront Cabana room in historic building.

Oceanfront Cabana room in historic building.

The King and Prince Resort is the only oceanfront resort on the island and is the perfect place for family vacations, business meetings, destination weddings, reunions, golf outings and romantic retreats. Its serene setting allows guests the option to stay as busy as they want or to enjoy a low-key get-a-way. Take a walk or bike on the beach; enjoy a game of tennis on clay courts; or play a round of golf on the “best marsh front course on the east coast.” And be sure to book a relaxing massage at the Royal Treatment Cottage.

Sunrise at King and Prince Resort

Sunrise at King and Prince Resort

The King and Prince offers amazing food options from casual beach fare poolside, to Echo’s Southern-coastal breakfasts, lunches and dinners featuring signature entrees such as Shrimp & Grits prepared with fresh Georgia shrimp. Executive Chef James S. Flack is always ready to prepare amazing cuisine for that special wedding or other event. The 5-course wine dinner I enjoyed while visiting the resort was the perfect ending to a perfect island adventure and it even included a gorgeous Georgia sunset to beacon me back again.

Check out this video of the resort:

The Casa Marina Hotel

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Located in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, the Casa Marina Hotel (circa 1925) is Jacksonville’s only historic hotel with the designation of Historic Hotels of America (HHA). In its heyday, it was a destination for the rich and famous. Known as the original “Famous Beach” during the Roaring Twenties, the hotel frequently hosted such movie stars as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Laurel & Hardy, Mary Pickford and later Katherine Hepburn.

It’s Spanish-Mediterranean design boasted a “first” at the beach–a fireproof building composed of stucco-concrete, tile and an automatic sprinkler system. During World War II, the United States government appropriated the Casa Marina for military housing. After the war, Casa Marina went through a succession of owners who converted it into an apartment building, a restaurant, a tea room and then a vintage clothing store. In 1991, the “grand lady” reopened as a hotel.

Sunrise from Casa Marina Hotel

Sunrise from Casa Marina Hotel

Today, the Casa Marina Hotel & Restaurant offers guests the opportunity to go back in time and experience its history with 23 bedrooms and parlor suites, each uniquely decorated to represent a different era in the hotel’s history. From the front desk to the hallways lined with black and white photos, the hotel still maintains the feel of a by-gone era.

Casa Marina offers a delicious Sunday brunch, complimentary breakfast during the week, and a fun, open-air penthouse bar on the third level that overlooks the ocean. Its  tapas menu, craft cocktails, and sunsets make the climb to the top worthwhile.

Checkout this video of the Casa Marina Hotel:

(I was hosted at both hotels as part of a media visit, but the comments and reviews are my own.)

More Disney Fun

Three Parks Offer New Adventures

Rivers of Light show at WDW Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s new Rivers of Light nighttime show.

Engage in intergalactic battles at the new Star Wars Launch Bay in Hollywood Studios, view the spectacular “Rivers of Light”nighttime show in Animal Kingdom, make an icy trek to Arendelle at Epcot’s “Frozen Ever After” attraction and become a globetrotter on “Soarin’ Around the World.”

This article appears in Allegiant’s in-flight magazine, Sunseeker (Dec. ’16-Feb. ’17). Click here to read entire article.  more-disney-fun

Cheers! Hendersonville Style

A Thriving Hard Cider Industry Exists in North Carolina

Tasting Room at Bold Rock Hard Cider in River Mills, NC

Bold Rock Hard Cider Tasting Room in River Mills, NC

While Asheville, N.C., is famous for its craft beers, an area just 30 minutes south is making a name for itself in the hard cider industry. The Hendersonville area, long known for its orchards, is the largest apple-producing county in North Carolina and the seventh largest in the nation, thus making it a natural home for an emerging hard cider business. (continue this article which appeared in Allegiant’s in-flight May-July 2016 Sunseeker magazine by clicking on: cheers-hendersonville-style.

 

The Quieter Side of Myrtle Beach

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While Myrtle Beach is well-known for its bustling beach atmosphere, entertainment, golf and great food, the southern end of the 60-mile Grand Strand offers quiet beaches, wetlands, parks and quaint fishing villages.

(Published in Allegiant’s in-flight magazine, Sunseeker, Oct. 2016.) Click here to read article: the-quieter-side-of-mb-oct-2016

 

Hurricane Tidbits

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We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog with this Southern Tidbit–Hurricanes are part of the history of the South, whether we like it or not. Even our polite Southern manners cannot keep them away. I was curious about the history of hurricanes in the southeast USA and found an interesting site that lists all the hurricanes since Christopher Columbus in 1502. If you like this sort of thing, check out this link.

Historic Hurricanes

 

Myrtle Beach–Scenic Golf for Every Level

Grande Dunes Golf Course in Myrtle Beach, NC

Grande Dunes Golf Course in Myrtle Beach, NC

Years ago, Myrtle Beach, S.C., was a popular golf destination for all-male buddy trips, corporate executive outings and bachelor parties. Men would make their annual golf trek, leaving the wife and kids behind. Today, visitors are discovering a family-friendly golf mecca that also offers upscale entertainment, a bustling nightlife, outstanding restaurants, shopping and sandy beaches where flip-flops are always in style.

Read my entire article which appeared in West Jet’s in-flight magazine: Golf Guide-MyrtleBeachDPS