Asheville’s Urban Trail

Ask your neighbor to describe the Great Outdoors and you’ll get plenty of answers peppered with words like “trees,” “trails,” “rivers,” “sky,” and other hallmarks of untamed areas. You’re a lot less likely to get a description of downtown Asheville, but it’s home to one of the most interesting hikes you’ll ever find. It’s kind of a museum without walls – all under a beautiful skyline.

Courtesy of RomanticAsheville.com

The Urban Trail is just 1.7 miles, but it winds through vibrant city streets and tells Asheville’s history through public sculptures at 30 stops. These bronze plaques and art pieces are so familiar, they’re easy to overlook, but serve as reminders of the legends and lore that are part of the rich fabric of our little corner of the world. Mostly local artists created the vibrant bronze sculptures and other art works that are found at each station.

A small group of dedicated friends and neighbors started the Urban Trail in 1991 as a way to help revitalize downtown. They decided to divide the trail into five distinct eras, each of which has a symbol carved into pink granite blocks placed in the sidewalk along the way.

Highlights include:

The Gilded Age (1880-1930) is marked with a feather. Covering Asheville’s post-Civil War boom to the Great Depression, you’ll find the bronze pigs and turkeys in front of the Vance Monument that represents the Buncombe Turnpike, a busy dirt thoroughfare used by travelers in the early 19th century. The rails represent the arrival of the train in 1880 and the electric trolley in 1889. This section of the trail includes the giant iron in front of the 1926 Flat Iron Building, metal cats on Wall Street, and musicians and dancers in front of the U.S. Cellular Center representing the musical heritage of the Blue Ridge.

Courtesy of RomanticAsheville.com

A horseshoe marks The Frontier Period (1784-1880). With just two stops, it’s the shortest part of the trail. It recognizes Lexington Avenue’s previous life as the city’s home to produce markets and livery stables. A wide-eyed boy on stilts represents Richard Sharp Smith, supervising architect of Biltmore and designer of many downtown buildings.

No history of Asheville would be complete without a bit of attention to Thomas Wolfe, author of Look Homeward, Angel and one of Asheville’s favorite sons. The Times of Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938) is marked by a replica of the angel sold by his father. One of the most popular stops is entitled “Wolfe’s Neighborhood” and gives a panoramic view of Asheville as it would have been seen in the early 20th century. “On the Move” outside of Asheville Community Theatre is another interesting sculpture that represents the history of transportation. Spin its wheel to hear 11 different sounds ranging from trains to horse-drawn wagons.

The Era of Civic Pride (1876-1903) celebrates the role of local government. It’s marked by replica of the sixth Buncombe County Courthouse, which stood during the period. Among the five stops, you’ll find an historic bell similar to the one that hung in the 1892 City Hall and a little girl in bronze representing Childhood.

Courtesy of Asheville.com

The final leg of the hike is The Age of Diversity and is marked by an eagle, a nod to the historic significance of Eagle Street as the center of Asheville’s early African-American community. Markers commemorate craftsman James Vester Miller, “The Block,” and grand The Eagle Hotel that once stood near the stagecoach stop.

The self-guided tour begins and ends at Pack Square Park and takes about two hours to complete in its entirety. It can be made shorter by covering just part of the trail, but it’s you’ll find it hard not to be inspired to visit all time periods. It’s hard not to be taken in by the many tempting distractions of downtown, too, which prove adventure is where you find it whether you’re on the trail or on the town.

Grab a map at Diamond Brand Outdoors in the Aloft Hotel on 53 Biltmore Avenue or download one from the City of Asheville’s website.

For more information, visit RomanticAsheville.com.

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Asheville GreenWorks Receives Columbia/Grassroots Belay Grant

We’re excited to announce our support of Asheville GreenWorks‘ Youth Environmental Leadership Program (YELP) with a grant for $6,000 through a partnership with Columbia Sportswear and Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. Connecting teens with their local environment ensures the next generation in our community is active, engaged, and productive. It also reinforces the role of mountains, streams, and trails as accessible to all.

An award ceremony will take place on March 18 at noon during Campapalooza at our flagship store on 1378 Hendersonville Road in Asheville. We’ll also present awards to three other nonprofit organizations providing high-quality outdoor experiences for local youth.

YELP engages young adults ages 16-19 living in low-income neighborhoods in work experiences that emphasize the importance of caring for our natural environment. Through partnerships with the National Park Service and the US Forest Service, interns work alongside rangers and research scientists on issues such as climate change, reforestation, and wildlife conservation in our national parks and forests. The paid interns take several trips to national parks and forests during their internship to conduct research and learn more about the natural environment firsthand.

Additionally, interns receive leadership training through community outreach, service projects and public speaking. Last year, Asheville GreenWorks also added a focus on riparian zone restoration through invasive species removal, live staking, and storm water management. Knowledge and skills gained are unique and beneficial for school and resume building.

YELP interns also complete a 15-hour “externship” with environmental professionals from local partner organizations and businesses, learning alongside local conservation leaders while building employability skills and exploring potential career opportunities in environmental sustainability.

Diamond Brand Outdoors sponsored Asheville GreenWorks and provides additional funds as part of the Belay Grant Program. Columbia and the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance award annual grants to support local conservation and outdoor education projects across the country. Since 2012, this program has provided over $500,000 in funding and product support to projects across the U.S. nominated by Grassroots retail members.

“We’re proud to support local outdoor conservation and education projects through the Belay Grant Program,” said Scott Welch, Global Corporate Relations Manager at Columbia Sportswear Company. “Collaborating with the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance and Diamond Brand Outdoors allows us to identify projects and organizations that best serve the community.”

In addition to sponsorship funds, the grant includes tools, planting materials, a kayak and supplies, and innovative outdoor products from Columbia including quick drying shorts or pants, boots or water shoes, and wicking socks or sun hat.

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$6,000 for Local Youth Environmental Education

We believe the outdoors are for everyone. That’s why we teamed up with Patagonia to award $6,000 to area programs that support environmental and stewardship education for local kids and teens. You helped us by voting in the Winter of Love poll for your favorite organizations and — wow! — 5,147 votes later, we’re happy to announce the winners.
 The North Carolina Arboretum’s ecoEXPLORE takes the top spot with 2,513 votes. ecoEXPLORE is an incentive-driven program that engages K-8 students in guided and self-directed citizen science activities. Students engage as active participants as they record observations of organisms found in their neighborhoods, libraries, and at the Arboretum. They’ll receive a check for $2,500 and a $500 gift card.

Finishing a very close second is RiverLink with 2,276 votes. RiverLink delivers K-12 watershed education at no cost to schools within the French Broad River Watershed. Through hands-on and fun experiences, students leave lessons with the knowledge and skills to care for their watershed. We’re sending them a check for $1,500 and a $250 gift card.

In third, The North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC) is a comprehensive youth development program that uses the natural world as a platform for teaching environmental stewardship, job and life skills, leadership, community service, and personal responsibility. They’ll receive a check for $1,000 and a $250 gift card to support their work.

Since opening WNC’s original outdoor store in 1964, community support has been an important tenant of our success and one of our guiding principals. Join us on March 18 at our store on 1378 Hendersonville Road for Campapalooza, a celebration of our history and a showcase of 2017’s hottest gear. We’ll have giveaways, package discounts, one-day-only deals, outdoor education from some of the best in the business, and more. We’ll also present checks to the local organizations listed above and others.

Everyone who cast a vote was also entered to win a $100 gift card to Diamond Brand Outdoors. Congratulations to Wayne S. of Asheville!

We’re blown away by the response. It’s great to be part of a community dedicated to making sure the next generation of adventurers are developed through the ability to get outdoors and run, jump, play, and explore! #AdventureIsLocal

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200 Coats for Eblen Charities

asheville coat drive eblen charitiesThanks for helping us collect over 200 coats for Eblen Charities. As the lowest temperatures of winter hit the mountains, they’ll make sure they make it to those in our community who need them the most.

During November and December, we joined with Frugal Backpacker and our customers to collect coats, hats, and gloves for the second year in row. Thanks for showing us the great things that can happen when we all join forces to strengthen our community!

If you didn’t get a chance to drop off any items, you can support Eblen Charities with a donation or as a volunteer.

Eblen Charities is a non-profit organization whose outreach extends throughout the counties of Western North Carolina and through its numerous programs has helped thousands upon thousand of families each year with medical and emergency assistance through more than 70 programs yearly throughout the region.

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Ways to Explore the Outdoors in Asheville November 14-20

Choose and Cut Your Own Christmas Tree near Asheville
Pick the perfect Christmas tree for you home and have a great holiday outing at one of the “choose and cut” Christmas Tree Farms near Asheville. You select the tree…they cut it, bale it and tie it on your vehicle or you can use their bowsaws and cut it yourself! Check out the great list of local tree farms provided by RomanticAsheville!

Step Out + Shop for Diana Wortham Theatre at Diamond Brand Outdoors
November 17 at 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. on 1378 Hendersonville Road
In its sixth year, Step Out & Shop is a way to support Asheville’s finest theatre in a very easy way. Get started on your holiday shopping (or grab some things for yourself) with a storewide 20% discount! At the end of the night, we’ll donate 10% of all store sales to the Diana Wortham Theatre to support live performances of music, theatre, and dance throughout the year. There will also be lots of fun giveaways and prizes, as well as live music and light bites.
Fee: Free

Winter Lights at The North Carolina Arboretum
November 18 – January 1, Nightly at 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. on 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way
The North Carolina Arboretum’s elaborate Winter Lights show returns, transforming the gardens into a nighttime wonderland with 500,000 lights! Stroll through spectacular lighted displays and see the gardens in a completely new way. Designed with an artistic aesthetic, The Winter Lights show enhances the natural beauty of the gardens as you celebrate the holidays.
Fee: Prices Vary

Asheville Holiday Parade
November 19 at 11:00 am – 1:00 pm in Downtown Asheville
This year’s theme is Light Up the Holidays: Celebrating 70 Years. The parade features nearly 100 entries including marching bands, dance and cheer squads, nonprofits and businesses. Parade entries include a little something for everyone with decorated floats, adoptable pets from area rescue organizations, the Honored Veterans float, live music, performances, and Santa Claus.
Fee: Free

Native Watercraft + Liquidlogic Factory Warehouse Sale at Diamond Brand (Part of Big Super Saturday)
November 19 at 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on 1378 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville
Locally made, international boat companies, Native and Liquid Logic are also hosting their first ever factory warehouse sale that day at Diamond Brand Outdoors. Current and previous season boats are going to be priced below wholesale including some models which have never been available in our area. DBO’s also offering special packages and discounts on boating accessories for the day to make sure you’re ready to hit the water. Now is the time to get the deal of a lifetime on a kayak made right here in your backyard!

Birds of Prey Demonstration at Dimond Brand Outdoors (Part of Big Super Saturday)
November 19 at 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. on 1378 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville
Steve Longenecker of Falconers of Falling Creek Camp will host his popular Birds of Prey presentation with live raptors including a Peregrine, male and female American Kestrel, Red-Tailed Haw, Great-Horned Owl, and an Eastern Screech Owl. This is always a popular event so plan to arrive early for the best seats.
Fee: Free

Birds of Prey Asheville Raptor Presentation

Marmot + RootsRated Fall in Love with the Outside Road Tour at Diamond Brand Outdoors (Part of Big Super Saturday)
November 19 at Diamond Brand Outdoors on 1378 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville
Marmot and RootsRated have traveled to 30 different cities around the country on their tour, but together with Diamond Brand Outdoors, are planning something very special for Asheville. Diamond Brand Outdoors is teaming up with these popular brands to celebrate everything great about the outdoors with a day of live music, tent pitching contests, Marmot gear raffles, s’mores, apple cider, outdoor trivia, a photo booth, and good ole’ conversations about where to go outdoors, with 100% of donations benefiting the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. 
Fee: A suggested $5 donation will get you hot cider, a Ball® mason jar, and entry into the awesome raffles

 

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Annual Coat Drive for Eblen Charities Kicks Off November 19

Last year, you helped us get over 400 coats to those in our community who need them most. This year, we’ve set a goal of 450 coats for Eblen Charities and you can score a discount for doing good.

November 19-December 24, you’ll receive 20% off an item for bringing in a gently used coat. (There’s a limit of one discount per person during the length of this promotion.) We’ll kick things off at Marmot + RootsRated’s Fall in Love with the Outside Road Tour during our Big Super Saturday celebration.

You can drop off a coat at either Diamond Brand location or Frugal Backpacker. You’ll only be able to use the discount on one item, but if you’d like to bring in multiple coats during the drive, that’s awesome! We’re also not allowed to discount certain items like YETI, GoPro, gift cards, and boats.

Eblen Charities is a non-profit organization whose outreach extends throughout the counties of Western North Carolina and through its numerous programs has helped thousands upon thousand of families each year with medical and emergency assistance through more than 70 programs yearly throughout the region.

Eblen Charities Asheville

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DBO Round-Up Raises $400 for Brother Wolf

We’re proud to share that with your help we have raised $395.44 in just over two weeks for Brother Wolf Animal Rescue!

October 15-31, we offered shoppers the opportunity to round up their total to the nearest dollar amount to support the local No Kill rescue organization. For example: if your total is $19.78, .22 extra cents could be added to your total to go directly to Brother Wolf. Our downtown location alone had 563 customers round up their purchases!

As a local family-owned business, we appreciate the support we’ve received from the community over the years and celebrate the opportunity to give back to organizations that make Western North Carolina such a special place. With the success of this fundraiser, our plan is to hold similar round ups throughout the year in 2017.

Thanks, Asheville!

During the month of October, Brother Wolf was able to help connect over 300 animals with their new loving homes. Brother Wolf Animal Rescue is a No Kill organization based in Asheville and was founded to provide the resources and life saving programs to build a No Kill community. As a grassroots organization, BWAR operates a one-of-a-kind adoption center that is open to the public 365 days a year making it easy to adopt, volunteer, and become involved in our No Kill mission.

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DBO Round Up for Brother Wolf Animal Rescue

We opened our first store in the Asheville area in 1964. From the very beginning, working with the community and other local businesses has been the bedrock of our success. Our team of outdoor experts still prefers to work one-on-one with each of our friends and neighbors who come through our doors. We volunteer with, donate to, sponsor, and host several nonprofits throughout the year and we’ve found another way for outdoor enthusiasts to support a great organization.

With every purchase at Diamond Brand Outdoors, between October 15-31, you’ll be given the opportunity to round up your total to the nearest dollar with all process benefiting Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. For example, if your total is $19.78, 22 cents can be added to your total to directly support Brother Wolf’s programs.

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue is a No Kill organization based in Asheville and was founded to provide the resources and life saving programs to build a No Kill community. As a grassroots organization, BWAR operates a one-of-a-kind adoption center that is open to the public 365 days a year making it easy to adopt, volunteer, and become involved in our No Kill mission.

Our plan is to hold similar round ups throughout the year in 2017.

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Our New Sign in Downtown Asheville is as Local as it Gets!

We opened our first store in the Asheville area in 1964. From the very beginning, working with the community and other local businesses has been the bedrock of our success. Our team of outdoor experts still prefers to work one-on-one with each of our friends and neighbors who come through our doors. As a locally-owned business, we’re thankful for the 52 years of support you’ve given us — and continue to strive to be the first choice when it comes to the outdoor lifestyle.

We also support other local businesses from the print shop and office cleaning service we use to items you’ll find in our stores. You’ll also find decades-long support of local nonprofits that make western North Carolina such a special place. That’s how the amazing new sandwich board at our store in Downtown Asheville was created.

Diamond Brand Outdoors Southside Woodworks Project

When we moved Diamond Brand Outdoors’ flagship store to Parkway Center and opened a new store on Biltmore Avenue in 2014, they came with a fresh design of oversized graphics, warm colors, and lots of reclaimed wood. Wanting a sandwich board reflecting the store experience, we contacted Southside Woodworks. Part of local nonprofit Green Opportunities, the program empowers those facing barriers to employment to build sustainable, handcrafted wooden essentials, custom furniture, and larger, custom projects — and create career pathways. Students designed and built the sign using reclaimed wood and a chalkboard from a recently renovated community center.  Diamond Brand Outdoors Green Opportunities Southside Woodworks Print House at Kudzu Brands Asheville

Once we saw the completed piece, we knew any additions needed to be equally impressive. That’s where The Print House at Kudzu Brands took the reigns. Using a design by our in-house graphic artist Hannah Myers, their team sandblasted and painted the artwork by hand due to the delicate nature of the wood. The creativity of small businesses to find solutions is unparalleled.

Adventure Is Local! We recommend Southside Woodworks and The Print House at Kudzu Brands for your next project.

Diamond Brand Outdoors Unique Sign in Asheville, North Carolina