The Reach of Art: A Visit to the Bascom

Posted by Admin | Posted in Living in WNC, Things to Do | Posted on Monday, January 8, 2018

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Cross the covered wooden bridge just off Franklin Road in Highlands, and you will find yourself on the magical campus that is The Bascom.
Set on six lush acres of what was once Crane’s Horse Farm, this extraordinary center for the visual arts is a sensory treat for anyone who loves art.
You know you are somewhere special long before you walk through the door. To one’s right is the original horse barn which has been transformed into a ceramics center. The main building, designed by the Atlanta architectural firm of Lord Aeck Sargent, is composed of wood, glass, and stone to pay homage to the natural materials that are native to our part of the world.
A walking nature trail surrounds the campus, containing a variety of site-specific sculptures comfortably positioned among indigenous plants and flowers. An outdoor amphitheater, tiers defined by stone seating, is the perfect setting for weddings, classes, and guest lectures.
Like the warm hostess that she is, Teresa Osborn, meets me at the Center’s front door. As executive director, she quickly explains how she sees the Center’s three important missions: exhibition, education, and outreach. This is no hushed gallery of hands-off, “important” art—nor is it intended to be.
The exhibition aspect of the Center’s mission is everywhere you look, as the 30,000 square feet of space abound with remarkable pieces created by artists from the Southeast, many of whom call the Blue Ridge Mountains home. Oil paintings mix comfortably with photography and pottery, the occasional piece of primitive furniture and whimsical pieces like a room-size “tree” composed of discarded clothing. One can also find jewelry, basketry, and wood-turned vessels here. The collections are fluid so visitors can enjoy a totally unique experience each time they come.
A fun aspect of this art center is the opportunity for hands-on creativity. Check out the “smARTspace” loft on the third floor, and try any of many self-directed art activities. A “wishing tree” downstairs invites visitors to write their deepest desires on papers to hang from a tree. The wishes are as random as you would expect, from “I wish I was a horse” to “I wish I could destroy my computer and phone.” These two areas speak to Teresa’s deepest passion: that art be a unifier, accessible to all, regardless of income, ability, or anything else.
Education is unquestionably a big part of The Bascom’s mission as well. The Center offers artist residencies, fellowships and internships in ceramics, photography, sculpture and community, which is a teaching position involving outreach to all ages. Residencies range from two weeks to one year and afford artists housing, teaching opportunities, unlimited studio access, and the opportunity to sell their art.
The community at large is a huge focal part of the educational component, and an adult education calendar offers a palate-pleasing menu of everything from “Playing in the Clay” to “Highlands Landscape Photography.” In addition to after-school classes during the school year, area children (and visiting grandchildren) are invited to eight different art day camps in the summertime. Private lessons, too, are available for all ages through Art by Appointment.
“Outreach,” says Teresa, warming to a subject dear to her heart, “is a yearlong activity, diverse and widespread.” Area youth are served through school programs: the Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Gordon Center for Children, to name just a few. The needs of our adult community are addressed through programs like those at Cashiers and Jackson County Senior Centers, the Center for Life Enrichment, the Chestnut Hill retirement community, and the Eckerd Living Center.
It is no small feat that admission to this visual feast is free. Thanks to year-long sponsors, such as Delta and The Chaparral Foundation, The Bascom is accessible to everyone. A robust membership lends further support, as do various sponsors of individual exhibits.
The vision for this Center began in the 1980s, when Watson Barratt’s estate made possible an exhibition space in the Hudson Library. Proceeds from the sale of his family home on Satulah Mountain founded The Bascom, which honors the maiden name of his wife, Louise Bascom Barratt. Although he died in 1962 when Highlands was still a village, his belief in the need for a permanent gallery was prescient. Today, more than 20,000 individuals visit The Bascom each year, and that does not include all those who learn and create at the Center, or the thousands of people who are enriched through the outreach programs.
A centerpiece of Teresa’s delightful, art-cluttered office, is a charming piece of decoupage, teeming with buttons and ribbons and miniatures, created by a gentleman who struggled with developmental challenges. His family, she says, was stunned and thrilled to see how much joy he gleaned from the compilation of this masterpiece, and she keeps it in a place of honor to remind her always, of the life-changing possibilities of art.
The Bascom’s ever-growing impact in the community is a living testament to Watson Barratt’s foresight and a gift to all of us who call these mountains home.

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A stroke of timeless tradition

Posted by Admin | Posted in Living in WNC, Things to Do | Posted on Thursday, December 28, 2017

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One of America’s favorite backyard pastimes is one that distinguishes Cashiers and Highlands from many other mountain towns. What is it? Croquet.
The traditional game played with wooden mallets and balls brings laughter and competition to the area known for its lush landscape of waterfalls and golf courses. From tournaments to weekly gatherings, summer on the green takes on a whole new meaning with over 1,600 croquet players in the highlands of Western North Carolina.
It is a sociable spectacle where teams face off to hit a ball through a course of hoops or wickets (as Americans have named them). Croquet dates to the 1400s, but it didn’t become a recreational activity in the United States until the 1860s. The game turned into a tradition for many East Coast families, and has remained part of the lifestyle on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau.
Despite its French name, croquet is very English. The polished appearance of the wisely dressed players and immaculate grass can be deceiving. Players must outwit their opponent(s), creating a slight dog-eat-dog aspect to the game. If you can manage to roquet, or hit a rival’s ball, you might gain a slight edge with gaining an extra shot. Strategy is the key, as you should consider not only your current shot, but the one after that and the one after that, making this game an authentic technical challenge.
The classic game of croquet brings the community together for social events throughout the season. With clubs offering wine and wicket hours, it is common to see players sip their favorite vintage in between running a hoop.

The Plateau offers a myriad of courts for the croquet-lover to choose:

the Chattooga Club is an East Coast croquet treasure with its world-class courts and facilities. Offering a nostalgic feeling of the early 1900s with its scenery and services, the club is postcard perfection. It is a United States Croquet Association (USCA) member club.

Cedar Creek Racquet Club is minutes from both Cashiers and Highlands with a course overlooking its lake. Down-to-earth in nature and perfect for a family-friendly escape, it’s named one of the top twenty tennis facilities in the country by World Tennis Magazine.

Burlingame is nestled among the Blue Ridge Mountains and adjacent to the Horsepasture River. It is breathtakingly beautiful, and its croquet lawn is an integral part of member activities. It is a United States Croquet Association (USCA) member club.

The Country Club of Sapphire Valley is known for Wednesday Twilight Croquet, Friday Croquet Mixer, and Sunday Wine and Wickets. Prefer to watch? Take in the serene vista from the Mountain Verandah and watch the competitive spirit unfold.
Highlands Country Club is distinctive with its Donald Ross designed golf course and unspoiled mountain landscape. Tuesdays and Thursdays play host to Wine and Wickets at this alluring, sociable croquet lawn.

Cullasaja Club is known for its par-72 championship golf course designed by Arnold Palmer, as well as Ravenel Lake, and the cascading waters of the Cullasaja Rivers; however, the private club opened a full-size croquet court, The Lawn at Cullasaja, in 2013.

Highland Falls Country Club is set amongst heart-stirring long-range views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Enjoy the social game while breathing in fresh mountain air, or visit with friends on the croquet pavilion, which offers a wood-burning fireplace, wet bar, and washrooms.

Lake Toxaway Country Club is set amongst peaceful woodlands, offering a regulation-sized croquet lawn. With a 20-acre golf learning center, five Har-Tru tennis courts, and a private lake, this club is deeply rooted in scenic elegance. It is a United States Croquet Association (USCA) member club.

Trillium Links & Lake Club is the perfect lake escape in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is a private residential, lake, and golf community known for wine and wickets each Monday and Thursday afternoon during the season.

Tips to enhance your croquet game: Use a regular golf ball rather than a croquet ball when practicing. Keep your head down and make good contact in the ball, and take note of your swing. This will help you recognize how fast or hard you are hitting the ball, creating a more precise rhythm for your swing.

 

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Vero Beach to Asheville

Posted by Admin | Posted in Living in WNC, Things to Do, Travel | Posted on Monday, December 4, 2017

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The airline originated to enhance the flying experience. With a goal to make your time flying more personal and hassle free, Elite Airways is bringing Western North Carolina and Florida travelers good news. With a new nonstop flight between Vero Beach Regional Airport (VRB) in Florida to Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) in North Carolina, residents and visitors now have the ability to travel between the two destinations Thursdays and Sundays.

Elite airways prides itself on customer service. As a pet-friendly airline, they never charge change fees, and the first bag always flies free. Their goal is to provide a quality and memorable travel experience. The airline headquartered in Portland, Maine also offers service between the following cities:

 

Asheville, NC – Vero Beach, FL

Bimini, Bahamas – Melbourne, FL

Bimini, Bahamas – Newark, NJ

Halifax, Canada – Portland, ME

Melbourne, FL – Bimini, Bahamas

Melbourne, FL – Newark, NJ

Melbourne, FL – Portland, ME

Melbourne, FL – Sarasota/Bradenton, FL

Newark, NJ – Bimini, Bahamas

Newark, NJ – Melbourne, FL

Portland, ME – Halifax, Canada

Portland, ME – Melbourne, FL

Portland, ME – Sarasota/Bradenton, FL

Sarasota/Bradenton, FL – Melbourne, FL

Sarasota/Bradenton, FL – Portland, ME

Vero Beach, FL – Asheville, NC

Vero Beach, FL – Newark, NJ

 

President of Elite Airways John Pearsall stated, “We look forward to providing the service in Asheville and sincerely thank airport and community leaders for their support.”

Elite Airways operates CRJ 200s with 50 seats and CRJ 700s with 70 seats, which have an impeccable safety record. Early booking one-way flights start at $179 each way, but can go as high as $229. Round trip fares start at $358.

“Nonstop jet service to Asheville is a unique addition at VRB, and one that has been highly sought after by passengers who would rather take a nonstop flight versus a ten hour drive. The airport is pleased to see new markets and travel opportunities open up to the area, and we thank Elite Airways for expanding its service at Vero Beach Regional Airport,” said Airport Executive Director, Eric Menger.

Highlights of Vero Beach: The small coastal town is quite charming and offers a quaint main street with boutique shopping, the beach, ceviche at Gloria Estefan’s Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa, and dinner at Ocean Grill.

Highlights of Asheville: The impromptu mountain city offers restaurants, craft breweries, and a variety of outdoor activities.

**Elite Airways also charters planes throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America.

 

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A Mountain Christmas

Posted by Admin | Posted in Calendar of Events, Living in WNC, Things to Do | Posted on Monday, November 27, 2017

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Christmas on the Plateau is much more than a single day or a week. It seems to begin the moment one pushes away from the Thanksgiving table.

The kick-off event takes place the day after Thanksgiving, November 24, so that any guests in town for one holiday can immediately begin celebrating the next. The place to be is Cashiers’ Village Green, where from 2 to 5 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in the Village Green gazebo to hear the Christmas wishes of local boys and girls. There will be games, a few tasty treats, and hot drinks as guests await the traditional lighting of the Cashiers Christmas Tree, a spectacular 65-foot spruce. The lighting will take place between 5 to 6 p.m., accompanied by holiday music. Stay to roast marshmallows and make s’mores around the fire pit.

Meanwhile, over at the Bascom Center for the Arts in Highlands, there will be Gingerbread Workshops at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on both Friday, November 24 and Saturday, the 25. Families should register in advance to attend and come prepared to build personalized gingerbread houses, which will be entered in a contest for Bascom gift certificates.

On Saturday, November 25, Mr. and Mrs. Santa will make their way to Highlands at Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park. An added attraction will be the reading of the Christmas story by local ministers. Song books will be distributed for a community sing-along and local merchants will be offering hot chocolate and cookies. The tree lighting, which takes place at 6:30 p.m., will be especially dramatic as all the other business lights will be turned off for that special moment.

If you’re in the park for the tree-lighting, be sure to check out the ice-skating rink which will be open extra hours during the Christmas holidays. The charge to use the rink is just $5 and ice skates are provided. The rink, which opened for the 2017-2018 season on November 9, will be available for extended hours throughout the holiday season beginning each day at 1 p.m. For more information regarding the holiday schedule, call the Highlands Recreation Department at 828-526-3556.

With the lighting of these community Christmas trees and the season’s kick-off comes thoughts of a tree for one’s own home.  There is no better place to find a live tree than here in Western Carolina, where Christmas tree farms are a cottage industry. Our region’s elevation, excellent soil, and well dispersed rainfall contribute to its deserved reputation as a reliable source for Christmas trees

A perfect place to visit is the 80-acre Tom Sawyer’s Tree Farm in Glenville, where families can choose and cut their own Fraser Fir trees, measuring from three to 12 feet. While the tree is being packed to take home, visitors can check out the farm’s charming village populated with Christmas elves, a craft tent for creating Christmas art, and a storytelling room. Move to the big red barn for food, drink, and evergreen selections, participate in a scavenger hunt and then drop off letters to Santa at his own post office. A ride in a horse-drawn carriage can round out a memorable experience. Tom Sawyer’s is open through the season until Christmas Eve for people arriving to the mountains later in December. Please note, because of his busy schedule in December, Santa will only be at the farm on weekends.

Of course, you could choose to create a truly indelible family memory with the “Christmas Tree Package” from Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, the luxury hotel which is included on the National Register of Historic Places. Spend one night, enjoy dinner at Madison’s, and take in such family-friendly amenities as popcorn, holiday movies, and games in the Kelsey Game and Theater Room. You can even ask an elf to come to your room to tuck in the children. Awake the next morning and drive to a local tree farm with a voucher for a five-to-six-foot Christmas tree. Now that’s a holiday kick-off!

The month-long celebration continues the following week with Highlands’ Olde Mountain Christmas Parade, Saturday, December 2 at 11 a.m. This tradition draws participation by area marching bands and school groups and boasts a live nativity scene including real camels, the Mountain Garden Club Dancing Ladies and, of course, Santa Claus. Small children are encouraged to bring bags for the candy that is distributed from the various floats. The merchants in Highlands will be competing in a holiday window decorating contest, making Main Street and surrounding streets perfect for strolling all day long.

Cashiers hosts its Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 9, at noon. This year’s parade is titled “Silver and Gold Bells, It’s Christmas Time in the Village” and honors the Village Green’s 25th anniversary and the Volunteer Fire Department’s 50th. Look for another appearance by Santa and then head to the nearby Community Center for the tenth annual Christmas luncheon showcasing Cashiers Cares. The luncheon provides a timely opportunity to learn about the work of this “neighbors helping neighbors” organization which supports ten local charities. A hot dog luncheon will be provided by Cashiers Rotary Club, and Santa (he’s everywhere!) and Mrs. Claus will be guests of honor for those wanting photos.

Christmas, of course, would not be Christmas without special music and The Cashiers Adult Community Chorus is practicing for its Christmas concert to be presented in the Sanctuary of the Cashiers United Methodist Church on Sunday, December 3 at 3 p.m. Selections include the “God with Us!” cantata, Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus,” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

Another community offering on December 5 at 7:30 p.m. is the Rhythmic Circus performance of “Red and Green” at Western Carolina University’s Bardo Performing Arts Center. A family-friendly celebration of the season, “Red and Green” is a song and dance extravaganza of rapid-fire tap backed by a seven-piece band.

Of course, merchants from Highlands to Cashiers will be a big part of the holiday spirit with lots of festive temptations. One must-see is the famed “Christmas Cottage” on Main Street in Highlands which has been a local landmark for more than thirty years. Richard Osborne, who owns the shop with his wife Teresa, says that Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones themed ornaments are very popular this year, as is an electric “climbing Santa” who walks up and down a ladder that can be leaned against a wall. Animated “Christmastime televisions” are also flying off the shelves. A visit here will fortify you for the rest of your holiday shopping and preparations.

And, before you know it, it’s here!

Packages wrapped, family safely gathered, pantry fully stocked. By Christmas Eve it’s time to slow down and remember what the season is all about.

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Chasing a Four-Generation Dream of Traditional Malt Whiskey

Posted by Admin | Posted in Travel | Posted on Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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In Scotland, whiskey is both an artform and a part of daily life. Distilleries can be found in every nook and cranny of the country. The tastes of this spirit vary with the style and distillation process, and favorite brands are unique to personal likes and dislikes. During a recent visit to the region of Speyside, Scotland, I fell in love with a traditional single malt whiskey.
Benromach’s story is as legendary as its whiskey. A four-generation family ambition to own a distillery came true in 1993, when the Urquhart family of Gordon & MacPhail purchased Benromach to create a true handcrafted single malt whiskey. The passion for this liquid runs deep in this family, dating back to 1898 when John Urquhart started working with Scottish distiller Gordon and MacPhail. In 1915, John was named a senior partner, and the pipeline dream of owning a family distillery was born.
His son Michael, who joined him at Gordon & MacPhail in 1933, worked hard in perfecting the single malt essence of days past. Benromach opened its doors in 1898, however when the Urquhart family purchased the distillery in 1993, it had sat empty for ten years. It was a clean canvas to create the masterpiece that the heritage of Benromach represents.
With the use of copper stills and local Romach Hills’ spring water, the family set out to do something unheard of today, making whiskey by hand. At Benromach, they believe in a manual distillery. Every process is done manually by feel, sound, taste, and sight. Nothing happens with the machinery if the distiller does not make it happen. The process is unique to the distillery and instills a sense of pride in the makers and the product.
Benromach uses the finest malted barley grown in Scotland, along with a combination of brewer’s yeast and distiller’s yeast in their recipes. They took what is known as a classic Speyside whiskey recipe and made it their own.
It’s obvious while touring their facility and conversing over a tasting that whiskey is their breath of life. In speaking with Distillery Manager Keith Cruickshank, his eyes brightened and spirit poured out in his words. The product packaging and the earth floor that stored their hand-filled casks offered simple, classic elegance and a natural feel that tugged at my heart and taste buds.
Fairly new in terms of Scottish whiskey distilleries, they are certainly making a name for themselves, and were the first to create an accredited organic whiskey. With barley purchased from a local farm and environmentally friendly casks, the soft bourbon-esque whiskey has been a hit.
My favorite single malt at the tasting was Benromach’s 15-year whiskey. Its maturity, smoky whisper finish, and deep color from the sherry cask offered a bit of dark fruit taste up front. Its sister, the 10-year, offered a stronger smoke in the nose and could be considered a good entry-level whiskey for those trying the Scottish heritage liquid for the first time. Traditional single malt whiskey is not a commonly produced product. Blends can mature faster, offering income to distillers two or three times faster than a single malt. The Urquharts stand by the integrity of the single malt, the process, and their commitment to their values.
Whiskey is the Urquhart’s calling, their life’s work. Each new generation to join the family business are custodians of the DNA to their whiskey process.

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In Search of Fulfillment: FireMoss Pottery

Posted by Admin | Posted in Living in WNC | Posted on Monday, October 30, 2017

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For Justin Allman, there is a delicate dance graced in the presence of now and the whisper of unfulfilled dreams. His hands mold shapes and surfaces, while his mind breathes existence into his stories of art.

The potter blends the emotional reflection of Japanese art with the sovereign richness surrounding Western North Carolina, creating characterized pieces. Justin’s inspired personal style is meant to draw emotion and be representative of a place you are, and a place you have dreamed of being.

The resemblance to Japanese pottery art – from 1550 AD to modern times, intimately connects with that of modern North Carolina art.  His passion for culture is showcased in his degree in history, deeply invested in the studies of Chinese and Japanese days of old. Intertwining inherited and unforgiving times past of Japan and North Carolina, the two styles fuse, capturing the eye and the heart.

“My work represents struggle. Nothing new when it seems to be in the sense of art. However, mine represents the struggle of every single man, woman, and child. Natural scenes of a snake in a patch of rhododendrons represents its daily struggle to feed itself and protect itself from other predators. We are no different – every day we struggle, work, fight, and push to survive in our world. I want people to remember that fight, by seeing my work and to never let go of their dreams and to keep fighting,” Justin expressed.

Justin Allman’s studio, Firemoss Pottery, is in Cashiers, North Carolina. From hand-building to wheel-throwing, his techniques provide his guests with a variety of ceramic mugs. Sipping from one of his coffee mugs, his desire is you will be reminded of how full your cup truly is. A metaphor for life, and how fulfilled you choose to be.

Choosing to live among the magic of Cashiers and Highlands, after graduating from the Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Meyers, Justin Allman enjoys being part of the local artistic community. He and his family vacationed here for 27 years, naturally drawing him back to the serenity.

Justin’s touch personalizes each artistic treasure, differentiating each mug, vase, sponge holder, bowl, drink mixer, plate, and more.

He offers private lessons, kiln parties, and two carving workshops a year to teach his technique. For more information, visit his website at firemosspottery.com.

 

FireMoss Pottery
107 Lance Rd.
Cashiers, NC 28171
239-331-0054

 

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BMW Performance Center is your personal danger zone.

Posted by Admin | Posted in Things to Do | Posted on Friday, October 13, 2017

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Are you ready for an afternoon thrill? If you like your hands behind the wheel and want to take an engine to its limits with no fear of blue lights in the rear-view mirror? Make your way to the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Your day begins with the basics by getting to know your instructor and the cars. Professional drivers provide insight into each of the BMW vehicles. You quickly graduate to a course designed to challenge your skills, where you learn how to properly maneuver the vehicles around obstacles.

At the performance center you are encouraged to test the brakes-stopping on a dime on a wet track, or open up the engine from zero to sixty in under five seconds. The course not only tests the limits of the car, it will test yours. This bucket list experience is a great day or two escape from the Plateau.

My favorite part of the day was the timed lap race in the M240i. Speed, cut corners, but don’t knock over the cones, all while trying to beat your friends’ times to earn bragging rights. If you apply your skills, you could win the best time of the day. I finished in 24.3 seconds, and I challenge you beat it.

What cars do you get to experience and test drive to the max?

BMW M240i
Horsepower: 320
Torque: 330 lb-ft
Weight: 3,535 lbs
0-60: 4.6 seconds

BMW 340i
Horsepower: 320
Torque: 330 lb-ft
Weight: 3,695 lbs
0-60: 4.6 seconds

BMW 650i
Horsepower: 445
Torque: 480 lb-ft
Weight: 4,275 lbs
0-60: 4.3 seconds

BMW X3
Horsepower: 300
Torque: 300 lb-ft
Weight: 4,230 lbs
0-60: 5.3 seconds

BMW X5
Horsepower: 300
Torque: 300 lb-ft
Weight: 4,680 lbs
0-60: 6.1 seconds

The excitement and laughter alone is worth it. The fun of skidding around a circular wet track and nearly losing control of the car is a rip-roaring blast. When you understand the type of car you are driving, your insight into speed, braking, lane-changing, and taking fast corners brings your driving skills and entertainment to a whole new level.

Whether you’re with your buddies or your spouse, this experience is something you won’t soon forget. The center also offers corporate retreats. A little healthy competition and fun is always good for office morale. With an onsite cafe offering options for every diet, you are well taken care of during your day-long adventure.

Want to try your skills off-road instead? The two-day driving school provides you the opportunity to pilot the X vehicles through various terrain obstacles and adverse conditions you may not think the cars (or you) can handle.

Sometimes you just need to step on the gas pedal and get out there. Open it up, channel your inner race car driver and show them what you’re made of. If you’re ready for acceleration, perhaps it’s time to cross racing off your bucket list.

If you find yourself wanting more, test your hand at the M School Experience, where you only drive the M Series vehicles; it’s an experience guaranteed to quench your thirst for speed.

Warning: You could get hooked.

P.S. – If you have a new driver in your family, they also offer a driving school for teens!

All driver’s classes start at $849.

BMW Performance Driving School
1155 SC-101
Greer, SC 29651
1-888-345-4BMW
bmwperformancecenter.com

 

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Vacation Home Market Growing!!

Posted by Jochen | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on Monday, October 27, 2014

The sales of vacation homes skyrocketed last year. A recent study also revealed that 25% of those surveyed said they’d likely buy a second home, such as a vacation or beach house, to use during retirement. For many Baby Boomers, the idea of finally purchasing that vacation home (that they may eventually use in retirement) makes more and more sense as the economy improves and the housing market recovers.

If your family is thinking about purchasing that second home, now may be the perfect time. Prices are still great. If you decide to lease the property until you’re ready to occupy it full time, the rental market in most areas is very strong. And you can still get a great mortgage interest rate.

If you are looking to escape the summer heat, call us today about finding your perfect mountain estate or cottage. We have a wonderful selection of vacation homes in the greater Highlands, Cashiers, Sapphire, Lake Glenville, and Lake Toxaway area. Call us today at 828-743-1999, or email us at info@ncliving.com.

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Home Sales Hit Highest Level of the Year

Posted by Jochen | Posted in Real Estate News | Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2014

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Home Sales Report earlier this week. The report revealed that “sales bounced back in September to their highest annual pace of the year”. As the chart below shows, after a very slow start at the beginning of the year, residential home sales have been increasing nicely.

Home Sales Hit Highest Levels of 2014 | Keeping Current Matters

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Billionaire Says Real Estate is Best Investment Possible

Posted by Jochen | Posted in Real Estate News | Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2014

Billionaire money manager John Paulson was interviewed at the Delivering Alpha Conference presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor. During his session he boldly stated:

“I still think, from an individual perspective, the best deal investment you can make is to buy a primary residence that you’re the owner-occupier of.”

Who is John Paulson?

Paulson is the person who, back in 2005 & 2006, made a fortune betting that the subprime mortgage mess would cause the real estate market to collapse. He understands how the housing market works and knows when to buy and when to sell. What do others think of Paulson?

According to Forbes, John Paulson is:

“A multibillionaire hedge fund operator and the investment genius.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Paulson is:

“A hedge fund tycoon who made his name, and a fortune, betting against subprime mortgages when no one else even knew what they were.”

Why does he believe homeownership is such a great investment?

Paulson breaks down the math of homeownership as an investment:

“Today financing costs are extraordinarily low. You can get a 30-year mortgage somewhere around 4.5 percent. And if you put down, let’s say, 10 percent and the house is up 5 percent, which is the latest data, then you would be up 50 percent on your investment.”

How many are seeing a 50% return on a cash investment right now?

Bottom Line

Whenever a billionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This billionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.

Provided by: KCM

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