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Hendersonville woman wins tulip photography contest

BlueRidgeNow.com

From staff reports
Published: Friday, April 29, 2016 at 10:56 a.m.

The 14th annual Tulip Extravaganza Photography Contest yielded beautiful depictions of the numerous tulip displays in downtown Hendersonville, said Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios, sponsors of the event.  Select to read more and see photos.


Will Hendersonville put its mark on license plates?

Narnia Studios owner Barbara Hughes launches campaign for “H” specialty tag

By 
Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Monday, March 9, 2015 at 6:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 9, 2015 at 6:18 p.m.
Hendersonville License Plate
This sample plate shows the “H” logo that could be featured on a Hendersonville customized license plate.

Photo provided

On the heels of a successful, but long campaign to get a historic marker for Hendersonville on Interstate 26, the sign’s top proponent has a new idea — and this one could go cross country.

Barbara Hughes told city leaders Thursday night that she has been researching the idea of customized license plates that would bear Hendersonville’s iconic, leafy “H” logo. The “H” has sprouted on signs throughout downtown, on city gateways and in wayfinding maps.

The letter has been used to promote Hendersonville and Henderson County, but

On the heels of a successful, but long campaign to get a historic marker for Hendersonville on Interstate 26, the sign’s top proponent has a new idea — and this one could go cross country.

Barbara Hughes told city leaders Thursday night that she has been researching the idea of customized license plates that would bear Hendersonville’s iconic, leafy “H” logo. The “H” has sprouted on signs throughout downtown, on city gateways and in wayfinding maps.

The letter has been used to promote Hendersonville and Henderson County, but Hughes wondered what would happen if the “H” on the streets hit the road?

“I have a marketing kind of bent,” Hughes said, “so I thought, ‘What can you do without spending the city’s money?’ ”

Then, she started thinking about customized license plates. Hughes sports a personalized plate for her business, Narnia Studios, at 315 N. Main St. Her husband’s customized license plate supports the state’s parks. Read the rest of the article here.

 


Determination pays off after 15 years

City, DOT help grant wish of local business owner

EMILY WEAVER/TIMES-NEWS
Braving the wind and the rain on the side of Interstate 26 Friday morning, Hendersonville City Council members stand with Barbara Hughes at one of the state historic signs Hughes lobbied 15 years to have installed. Left to right, Councilman Jerry Smith, Mayor Barbara Volk, Barbara Hughes and Mayor Pro Tem Ron Stephens.

 Braving the wind and rain alongside a busy Interstate 26 Friday morning, Hendersonville City Council members gathered with a local business owner at one of two state historic signs that signal the end of a long journey.
Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios at 315 N. Main St., lobbied for 15 years to have the historic designation signs installed. Her hard work and dogged determination paid off last month when the N.C. Department of Transportation put up the brown signs hailing “Historic Hendersonville” on I-26.

“Fifteen years ago, (in 1999) when our mayor was Fred Niehoff, I came before the council with an idea to change the DOT signs on I-26 that lead to downtown Hendersonville to brown historic designation signs,” Hughes told the council at its meeting Thursday night. “I had done research on the economic impact of these signs. Heritage visitors have more discretionary income and spend proportionately more than other visitors.”

Hughes said she was initially told it wasn’t going to happen, that red tape and lots of money would stall her efforts of getting new signs. The city told her she would need to get the DOT on board, and the DOT told her they would need a request signed by the mayor, she said. Hughes never gave up.

“I believe I went before council four times that year and I have been every year since with the same proposal,” she told the council Thursday.

Hendersonville City Council gave its official approval to the agreement with DOT in March. The DOT approved the project in April.

DOT crews installed two signs before the 49 exits, one westbound and one eastbound, on I-26 in July. The city will reimburse the department for the cost of the work, estimated to be $2,500, according to the minutes of an April DOT meeting.

Mayor Barbara Volk called to give Hughes the good news a few weeks ago. Hughes then hopped on the interstate to see the signs for herself.

“It’s very exciting and fulfilling for me,” Hughes said. “It finally came to fruition … after a little pushing for 15 years.”

“This month these signs are now a reality, and thus ends the longest lobbying campaign of my life,” Hughes told the council. “Three times in the last two weeks I have had guests tell me of their delight of finding our ‘treasure of a downtown.’ When I asked them how they found us, they said they saw the ‘Historic Hendersonville’ sign on the interstate and they just pulled off. This one-time investment will have a long-term positive economic impact, and I thank you all for seeing this through.”

Councilman Steve Caraker said that he thinks of Hughes whenever he passes the new signs.

“You know what, Barbara? You’re what Main Street’s made of,” Councilman Jeff Miller told Hughes Thursday. “I love having you around.”

Councilman Jerry Smith and Mayor Pro Tem Ron Stephens were also pleased to see Hughes’ efforts pay off.

“Barbara Hughes has been a strong supporter of Hendersonville, especially our great Main Street,” Volk said Friday. “I appreciate her persistence in encouraging the city to work with NCDOT to get the new signs up on I-26. This will certainly help draw more visitors to our historic downtown. Thank you, Barbara.”

http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20140809/ARTICLES/140809884/1151?Title=Determination-pays-off-after-15-years Reach Weaver at emily.weaver@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7867.

By
Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Saturday, August 9, 2014 at 11:46 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 9, 2014 at 11:46 a.m.


Retailers commit to selling products made in U.S.

Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios on Main Street, stands with some of her Cross Your Heart and Hope To Fly treasure boxes that she makes and sells in her store.
MIKE DIRKS/TIMES-NEWS

Every year it seems the “shop American” movement gains traction. For the last three years, American Express has hosted its Small Business Saturday, encouraging shoppers to frequent independently owned mom-and-pop businesses on one particular day in late November. Click here to read the full story.


Kite-flying still brings out the kid in everyone

Mighty Kite Flight soars into its 15th year


Maeve Stone, 2, flies a kite her grandfather, Larry Winn, built during the 15th annual Mighty Kite Flight at Bonclarken on Saturday.
MIKE DIRKS/TIMES-NEWS
By Jessica Goodman
Times-News Staff Writer

Published: Monday, April 23, 2012 at 7:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, April 23, 2012 at 7:01 a.m.

FLAT ROCK

Ashley Harper, holding 1-year-old son Gabriel, watched as her older sons Gavin, 8, and Grayson, 4, assembled the kites during the 15th annual Mighty Kite Flight on Saturday at Bonclarken.
As she studied her boys, Ashley Harper remembered her own experiences as a little girl with her two sisters flying kites at the same event. She hasn’t missed a year of the fun. Gavin Harper’s kite was in the shape of an owl, and Ashley Harper said he was very excited about it.
“It’s so cute because I remember me and my sisters,” Ashley Harper said. “It’s so precious to see my kids doing the same. They love it. They buy a new kite every year.”
Despite a poor weather forecast, the rain held off enough for kite enthusiasts, young and old, to try their hand at flying kites. The event brings out the inner child of all the participants, said organizer Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios on Main Street
“It makes me feel like a kid all over again,” Hughes said. “I like just to be a kid for the day.”
She added the old-fashioned event, with “no or low technology,” helps get kids outdoors, away from a variety of electronics’ screens, and running around.
Larry Winn, of West Asheville, brought his 3-year-old granddaughter out to fly kites. He found a book on making simple Asian kites and had a red tissue paper ladybug flying up in the air.
“When I was a kid, I built kites from balsa wood and tissue paper and used sewing string,” Winn said. He said he wanted to share his fun with his granddaughter.
Cathy Bell of Hendersonville brought granddaughters Sara Ward, 9 and Lauren Ward, 11, out to fly kites, though it was not without its ups and downs.
“The funny thing that happened was I got tangled up with my kite and it was hard to get back out,” Sara Ward said. “It got tied up in my shoes.” Once she got untangled, Sara worked hard to get her kite back up into the air. “We thought it was really fun to fly kites,” she said.


Chalk It Up Up and Away!

Watch the time lapsed video of Chalk it Up Up and Away here:

This year, you could even win an Air Fare gift certificate from Asheville Regional Airport!


Mighty Kite Flight draws record crowd

Colorful creations decorate skies during annual event

By Jessica Goodman
Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Sunday, April 24, 2011 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 10:50 p.m.

FLAT ROCK — A gentle breeze rolled through the soccer field at Bonclarken, greeting a strong crowd of people who came out to fly kites at the 14th Mighty Kite Flight Saturday.
Narnia Studios ~ Florist in Hendersonville, NC ~ Enchantments for Everybody!
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Ashley Harper and Grayson Harper, 3, take part in the Mighty Kite Flight on Saturday.
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PATRICK SULLIVAN/TIMES-NEWS

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“This is the most people we’ve had,” said Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios and founder of the event. “There were people here waiting for me when I came to set up. This is just awesome.”

Just after noon, at least 60 people were trying their hand at keeping the colorful creations afloat. Michael Fitzpatrick of Hendersonville, a veteran kite flyer, had his rainbow-colored kite soaring high in the air.
Fitzpatrick said he flies kites “just for pleasure. Just the romance. I grew up in New York and started flying kites on the beach.”

Branden Bartlebaugh of Hendersonville echoed those sentiments. “It’s a great hobby everyone should get into,” he said. “It’s easy, it’s relaxing, great to do with friends, and it gets you outdoors.”

Bartlebaugh also creates his own kites, including non-flying kites which resemble miniature hot air balloons. The balloons are anchored to the ground and as the wind picks up, they are inflated.

“It was just a little curiosity and the need to build something bigger,” Bartlebaugh said about building kites.

“For most people, it (flying kites) involves the kids and they get a kick out of it,” said Alan Kaufman of Flat Rock. Kaufman has been flying stunt kites on and off for 30 years.

Kaufman is gathering a group of kite flyers to meet the first and third Saturdays in Jackson Park. For more information about the group, call 828-697-5991.


By John Harbin
Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 9:44 p.m.

Get ready to go fly a kite. This Saturday is the 14th annual Mighty Kite Flight at Bonclarken in Flat Rock.
Want to go?
What: Mighty Kite Flight
Where: Bonclarken, 500 Pine Drive, Flat Rock, on the soccer fields.
When: 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Free kites for the first 25 kids accompanied by an adult.
It’s a great time to create memories, said Barbara Hughes, event organizer and owner of Narnia Studios in Hendersonville.

“We never have time these days to create those lasting memories, and this is a perfect event to do just that,” she said.

Hughes said that she and her family went to kite festivals all the time when she lived in Florida.
“I also carry a few kites in the store,” she said. “I just thought this would be a good event for our community.”

Hughes said the first 25 kids who come accompanied by an adult will receive a free kite.
“We also have experienced kite fliers on hand to help people and to give expert tips,” she said.
Hughes said that aside from enjoying a beautiful day outside, spectators and participants will get to see kites of all shapes and sizes.

“Bonclarken is a great place to have this event,” she said. “We used to hold it at Hillandale Elementary for the first 10 years, but then construction started and we had to move.”

Hughes suggested that people bring their lunch and plan to spend the day.

Hendersonville welcomes the spring tulips

Tulip Extravaganza ~ Narnia Studios ~ Hendersonville, NC
PATRICK SULLIVAN/TIMES-NEWS

Barbara Hughes is the driving force behind Tulip Extravaganza.

By John Harbin
Times-News Staff Writer

Spring is nearly a week old and downtown Hendersonville is coming alive with color, just in time for the annual Tulip Extravaganza.

The event runs April 1-24, which includes Easter as well as the week of Passover this year.
Many downtown shops will hold a fourth annual “spring cleaning” sidewalk sale during the height of the spring color. Merchants are hoping residents will bring their out-of-town guests for a week of shopping and dining.

Businesses will also have unique ways to welcome the crowds and spring.
“Many businesses will have tulip-themed displays in their windows as well as offering their spring specials,” said Narnia Studios owner Barbara Hughes, who spearheads the event and subsequent tulip photo contest.

Resident can enter their best tulip photos in the contest at Narnia Studios. Photos must be taken in downtown Hendersonville and the deadline to enter is April 25.

The winners will be announced April 30.

Hughes has been in love with flowers for as long as she can remember.

“When I was little in Florida I would pick flowers from behind a store,” the florist said.
Hughes is still surrounded by flowers, as about 10,000 tulips bloom in the planters on Main Street when spring arrives.

“Our special tax district for Main Street pays master gardeners Scott Johnson and Bruce Lowe to create beautiful landscaping in the planters along the sidewalks,” she said.

“The bulbs we planted in the fall should be in full bloom the second and third week of April,” Johnson added. “Lots of tulip leaves are already poking through the flower beds.”

Hughes said the flowers inspired her to hold the annual Tulip Extravaganza and the photo contest. She has been organizing the photo contest for nine years now — one for every Tulip Extravaganza.

“Downtown Hendersonville is such a treasure to Western North Carolina,” she said. “We anticipate as many visitors as tulips.”

For more information about the Tulip Extravaganza, call Hughes at 828-697-6393.


Narnia, partners offer raffle for $50 gas card

Narnia, partners offer raffle for $50 gas card
PATRICK SULLIVAN/TIMES-NEWS
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Business owners in downtown Hendersonville David Rutecki, from left, Carolyn Rutecki, Bob Fisher, Patty Adamic, Barbara Hughes and Krista Hare prepare for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day raffle.

By John Harbin
Times-News Staff Writer

As gas prices continue to rise, five downtown Hendersonville businesses have launched a promotion that might relieve the strain for two lucky winners.

Narnia Studios owner Barbara Hughes came up with the idea of holding a raffle for two $50 gas cards for customers who shop at the stores. The promotion, which begins today, entitles anyone who shops at the five stores between today and Thursday to bring their receipts to Narnia studios to have their name entered into the raffle.

Participating shops are Narnia Studios, RC Fisher Goldsmith, Mountain Deli, Gold Crafters of London and Mike’s on Main.

“If you spend $5, you could win a $5 gas card,” Hughes said. “Whatever amount you spend up to $50 is how much you can win on the gas card. Customers can bring their receipts in immediately or save them up and get a higher combined total for a chance to win more money, up to $50, on the gas card.”

Hughes said customers must show receipts from participating stores to get their name in the raffle.

“They will fill out their raffle tickets at Narnia Studios upon producing the receipt with the amount on it,” she said. “They can wait until the last day to accumulate enough to enter the maximum price. It can either be won as the total $50, or multiple people may win lesser amounts until the $100 is all given out.”

“St. Patrick’s Day isn’t a business holiday. I wanted to do something that would bring people in,” Hughes added. “I have my own issues with the gas prices, and I know those rising prices are putting people on edge.”

Hughes at first thought about holding the raffle on her own, but decided to contact other merchants to see if they were interested.

“The businesses I contacted were eager to be involved,” she said. “There is a saying that if you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough. I took that and thought if you’re lucky enough to be on Main Street, you’re lucky enough. This is something we can do to bring people in on a day that isn’t a typical shopping holiday and in turn give the customers a little freebie for shopping downtown.”
Anyone who wants to enter should have all their receipts to Narnia Studios on Main Street by 5 p.m. on Thursday.

“We will do the drawing on March 18,” she said. “This isn’t to take away from other St. Patrick’s Day specials many of the downtown merchants also participate in, but to give our customers a little something extra and help ease the worry of rising gas prices, even for just a little bit.”


Bridal fair lets couples, vendors mix and meet

By Gary Glancy
Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Monday, February 21, 2011 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 10:00 p.m.

With a slice of wedding cake in one hand and a fruity cocktail in the other, John Denison of Mills River discovered that attending a bridal fair isn’t such a bad way to spend a Sunday after all.

Narnia Studios ~ Annual Bridal Fair
Click to enlarge
Fairy Tale Gowns is a new bridal boutique that is opening in Mills River. It offers ‘gently-used’ gown for less.
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Gary Glancy/Times-News

And since Denison and his fiance, Ashley Featherstone of Asheville, are paying for their Oct. 1 wedding themselves, Denison was more inclined to immerse himself in the planning process.

“I’m fine with it; it’s harder on her than me,” Denison said. “I help when I can, but a lot of it is the bride’s arena.”

On Sunday, Featherstone and other soon-to-be brides from as far away as Spartanburg, S.C., were exposed to more than 20 vendors during the fifth annual Hendersonville Bridal Fair at the Inn on Church.

Denison and Featherstone attended the bridal fair at the Asheville Civic Center last month but still had a couple of items left on their checklist.

“We still need a dress and flowers,” Denison said, “so she’s on the hunt for those two things, and this is the most central place to see everything.”

Vendor Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios in downtown Hendersonville and a co-organizer of the event, called this a “boutique” bridal fair.

“And that’s different from the mega-bridal fairs in that you’re meeting with all local vendors, and you can have one-on- one time with them and ask them all the questions you want,” Hughes said while standing behind her table of fresh-cut flowers.

It also was a great opportunity for businesses such as Fairy Tale Gowns, a new bridal boutique in Mills River that specializes in new, vintage and “gently worn” high-end gowns sold at 50 to 80 percent off retail value.

The business, owned by sisters Barbara Duff and Kathy Engheta, is having a soft opening on Wenesday, so the timing of the fair was ideal.

And Hughes said the event’s new date worked well for everyone. “Normally we do it right after New Year’s because brides get their rings at Christmas and New Year’s,” she said. “But they also get them on Valentine’s Day, so it’s good timing.”

And with football season now over, “the men are not doing Super Bowl,” Hughes added with a chuckle, “so it’s perfect. And you do see the guys come with (the brides), which is great.”


Local shop owner/daughter create ‘treasure’ boxes

Each box designed on quality time

By Leigh Kelley
Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Friday, February 11, 2011 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 7:26 p.m.

When Narnia Studios owner Barbara Hughes and her daughter, Katie, began making unique, nostalgic wooden keepsake boxes, their motivation was more than money.

photos by
MIKE DIRKS/TIMES-NEWS

Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios in Hendersonville, and her daughter, Katie, have started a new line of treasure boxes called Cross Your Heart and Hope to Fly. The two started making the items last week out of cigar boxes and add mult-media art to the product.

The boxes are decorated with a variety of images, some whimsical, some replicas of early 20th-century artwork. Called “Treasure Boxes,” they hold keepsakes such as jewelry and contain a secret compartment.

More importantly, the boxes offer some quality mother-daughter time.

“We make maybe one or two boxes a day, each, and we bounce ideas off each other, and we experiment with colors and materials to make each one unique,” Hughes said. “My daughter is 25, so how many things can you do with a child that age?”

The fact that they are handmade and one-of-a-kind adds to their appeal, she said. Hughes put two boxes on her store shelves late Wednesday and already had sold two by lunchtime Thursday.

Narnia Studios ~ Hendersonville, NC“People love things that are handmade, especially by people they know. It’s a question I get asked every day in the store from people who ask to see things made in America, things made locally,” she said. “I think people are searching for American-made products, definitely.”

The women began making the boxes several weeks ago. They range in size from a 5-by-5-inch square cube to the bigger 8-by-10 size that are 2 inches deep.

“They are decorated inside and out and with a secret box inside the box, so if you wanted to keep earrings or something else separated from other things in the box, you have a separate compartment for that, and with Valentine’s Day coming up, maybe love letters,” Hughes said.

The boxes also have a famous quote or positive saying on the bottom. They sell for $23.95 to $40.95 each.

“Each box is handmade and decorated to a certain theme, such as images by Gustav Klimt and Alphonse Mucha, who are both artists from the 1920s,” Hughes added. “Mucha did a lot of advertisement artwork of glamorous ladies’ faces. And we have boxes that have fairies, birds and nature scenes on them. We call it mixed-media art.”


4th Annual Gingerbread cookie Contest Winner Announced

4th Annual Gingerbread Cookie Contest ~ Narnia Studios ~ Floral Arrangements, Flowers and Enchantments for Everybody ~ Florists, Hendersonville, NCIn an amazing repeat, Rheta Marlene Merrell, has wowed the judges and won the Narnia Studios 4th Annual Gingerbread Cookie Contest. Merrell made a beautiful three dimensional ‘jack-in-the-box’ gingerbread creation she named “Teddy-In-The-Box” for Teddy Bear that is springing out! “Rheta has really outdone herself this year,” said Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios. “With ribbon candies for the springs and a candy cane for the knob, every detail is magical”.

Other entries include Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus, a snowman, a clown, a Hendersonville High School football player and many more.

Cookie contest starts the season on a sweet note

By John Harbin
Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 7:24 p.m.

Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios, places out the winners of the Gingerbread Cookie Contest in 2007With the holidays comes many traditions, including Narnia Studios’ gingerbread cookie contest. “Bakers of every age are encouraged to create their best gingerbread man or woman, boy or girl,” Narnia Studios owner Barbara Hughes said about the 4-year-old contest. “We are looking for the most artistic creations the entrants can cook up.”

Hughes says the contest is her way of paying homage to a much bigger gingerbread house contest the Grove Park Inn holds annually in Asheville.

“There are four categories: traditional, unusual, teamwork, and a special category (for) bakers 13 and under,” said Hughes. “Each year we seem to have more and more creative ideas.”

She said past winning designs include a Scottish Santa playing the bagpipes, a black and white penguin and a nativity scene.

The rules are simple — the cookies must be 100 percent edible and have to be entered by Dec. 1.

“We will announce the winners during the first night of our Christmas Open House on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5, and have all the cookies on display throughout that weekend,” Hughes said. “The top winner in each category will be awarded a $50 floral gift certificate from Narnia Studios.”

Hughes will have mystery judges this year to judge the cookie contest.

“It is a great way to get kids involved in something like that,” she said. “I was stunned by last year’s turnout and hope that 10 years from now it will still be going on.”

For more information on the gingerbread cookie contest or where to bring your entry, contact Hughes at 697-6393.


Senator Visits

Senator Richard Burr Visits Narnia Studios ~ Florist, Enchantments for Everybody ~ Hendersonville, NC
Photograph by: Mike Dirks
Times News

Senator Richard Burr(R-N.C.) talks with Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios on Main Street, while campaigning in Hendersonville on Tuesday. Burr said in the two weeks before Election Day, he and his wife, Brooke, campaign together and don’t let the staff know where they are going. The couple will campaign in Western North Carolina for the next few days before heading to the central part of the state. Burr faces Democrat Elaine Marshall in Tuesday’s vote.


BONCLARKEN hosts another Mighty Kite Flight

On a day that promised nothing but inclement weather, a hundred or so kiting enthusiasts determined to fly their kites, celebrated the 13th annual Mighty Kite Flight sponsored by Narnia Studios. “I came with a ‘cancelled on account of rain’ sign but people were already unpacking their kites and apparatus,” said Barbara Hughes, organizer. “I was sure we would have to cancel,” she added. The weather did have a beneficial effect on the day, however: gusty winds were plentiful.

The first twenty five children received free kites. There were experienced flyers as well as novices. Some of the unusual kites included a pirate ship, deltas, parafoils and stunt kites. Everyone had some luck with their kites. Colorful kites dotted the overcast sky. Brandon Bartlebaugh and family of Hendersonville brought a vast array of kites of all sizes including two enormous hot air balloons.

At 2:30 the skies finally opened up and everyone ran for their cars promising to return next year.

Mighty Kite Flight Home.


Narnia Studios ~ Hendersonville, NC ~ Video Feature


Under 14 ~ Winner! ~ 2010 Easter Bonnet Promenade

Winner under 14 category:Lexi Davis of Flat Rock

Adult Winner ~ 2010 Easter Bonnet Promenade

Winner adult category: Mary Jo McKee of Hendersonville

Winners Announced in Annual Easter Bonnet Promenade

An overcast morning met the giddy Easter Bonnet revelers on Main Street Saturday morning. Joi Pack of Hendersonville led the festive group in a round of “Easter Bonnet” by Irving Berlin just as the group left the gazebo in downtown Hendersonville and sauntered southward.

Young and young at heart wore both the fine and the funny, according to Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios, sponsors of the annual Tulip Extravaganza and Easter Bonnet Promenade. At 1st and Main the bonnet bearers crossed over to the Historic Courthouse for a photo opportunity. They sashayed north stopping in various shops along the way to the approval of patrons and merchants alike.

The participants voted for their favorite bonnet worn by a child under 14 and their favorite worn by an adult. Lexi Davis, 3, of Flat Rock won an Easter Basket that held a bunny larger than she. Mary Jo McKee of Hendersonville won an Easter basket filled with perfume, candy, candles and a music box.

The 7th Annual Tulip Extravaganza continues through April.

Easter Bonnet

Written by Irving Berlin

In your Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it,
You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.
I’ll be all in clover, and when they look you over
I’ll be the proudest fellow in the Easter Parade.
On the Avenue, Fifth Avenue,
The photographers will snap us
And you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure.
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet
And of the girl I’m taking to the Easter Parade.

In my Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it,
I’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.
You’ll be all in clover, and when they look me over
You’ll be the proudest fellow in the Easter Parade.
On the Avenue, Fifth Avenue,
The photographers will snap us
And you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure.
Oh, you may write a sonnet about my Easter bonnet
And of the girl you’re taking to the Easter Parade.


April 2, 2010
From The Asheville Citizen-Times
From staff reports

Tulip Extravaganza backdrop for Easter Bonnet Promenade

Nothing heralds the arrival of spring quite like an explosion of tulips. Downtown Hendersonville will be awash in color during its seventh annual Tulip Extravaganza, now through April 30.

Some 8,000-10,000 tulips will be bursting with blooms during April. The bulbs were planted last fall along Main Street and should be in full glory by the second and third weeks of April.

The flowers will just be getting started this weekend during the annual old-fashioned Easter Bonnet Promenade, starting at 11 a.m. Saturday. Participants dress in their Easter finery and gather at the Main Street Gazebo between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. The walking route heads north to the 600 block, crosses east and heads back to the gazebo.

A winner will receive a basket of goodies from Narnia Studios, the family-friendly and community-minded shop at 315 N. Main St. (www.narniastudios.com).

Some businesses will feature tulip-themed window displays and participate in an annual spring sidewalk sale April 9-10.

Find a list of Easter egg hunts and other events this weekend on page 12.

Link to entire article with photo here.


The many joys April brings

Join an Easter parade with your best bonnet

Easter ~ Narnia Studios's Easter Bonnet Parade ~ Hendersonville, NC
From staff reports
Published: Friday, April 2, 2010 at 10:33 a.m.

Get out and celebrate the glorious spring weather this weekend at a variety of Easter events, most of them free.

Women, men and children are invited to don their finest — or funniest — Easter hat and join the Easter Bonnet Promenade and contest Saturday in downtown Hendersonville, says Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios on Main Street.

To join the Easter Bonnet Promenade, gather at the Main Street Gazebo in the 400 block at 11 a.m.
The parade of hats will saunter southward five blocks, cross to the west side of Main Street, promenade north to the 600 block, cross to the east and stroll back to the gazebo.

This year’s contest will award prizes to wearers of the best hat in two categories: ages 14 and younger and anybody older than 14.

Participants in the Easter Bonnet Promenade get to vote for their favorite hat.
The winner will receive a basket of goodies from Narnia Studios. For more info, call 697-6393 or visit www.narniastudios.com.

While you’re downtown, check out the Main Street Spring Cleaning Sales scheduled today and Saturday and the first blossoms in the annual downtown Tulip Extravaganza.


Tulips arriving just in time for this year’s extravaganza

By Jessica Goodman Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 4:30 a.m. 

Photo by Edgar Ward

After the rough winter comes spring, and the first signs are popping up through the ground as a prelude to the seventh Tulip Extravaganza in downtown Hendersonville.

In the next few weeks, tulips will start blooming along Main Street. The first tulip was spotted Monday.
Eight thousand to 10,000 bulbs are planted each year to bring color to Main Street. This Tulip Extravaganza is organized by Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios at 315 N. Main St.
“They are actually a couple of days behind,” she said of the tulips. “They couldn’t help it. They had a rough life this winter.”

Tulips in Hendersonville, NC ~ Photo by Edgar Ward ~ Narnia Studios: Tulip Extravaganza“The bulbs we planted in the fall should be in full bloom the second and third week of April,” said Master Gardener Scott Johnson. “The extreme winter weather means they may start blooming a couple of days later, but lots are already poking through the flower beds.”

Along with the extravaganza will be the spring cleaning sidewalk sale April 9 and 10. Also, the annual tulip photo contest will go throughout the month, with the deadline to enter being April 26. Winners of the photo contest will be announced April 30. All photos entered must be taken in downtown Hendersonville.

“Every spring, although more so this year because of the winter, we look forward to this gorgeous display of flowers,” said Jessica Claydon, owner of Zen Etc. at 351 N. Main St. “I really appreciate that the gardener does such a wonderful job. They’re very uplifting; the colors are gorgeous.”


Tulip Extravaganza returns April 1-30

Published: Monday, March 8, 2010 at 3:22 p.m.

Up to 10,000 tulips are about to burst into bloom in downtown Hendersonville according to master gardener Scott Johnson.

“The bulbs we planted in the fall should be in full bloom the second and third week of April,” he said. “The extreme winter weather means they may start blooming a couple of days later but lots are already poking through the flower beds.”

The annual floral display spurred Narnia Studios owner, Barbara Hughes, to the decision to invite the community to the seventh annual Tulip Extravaganza.

Jessica Claydon, owner of Zen, Etc., said it was a great opportunity to welcome area residents to enjoy spring in downtown Hendersonville.

“The planters and flower beds on Main Street are beautiful year round, but in the spring they are especially showy,” she added.

The Tulip Extravaganza is scheduled for April 1-30, which includes the week of Passover and Easter this year. Many shops will hold an annual “spring cleaning” sidewalk sale April 9 and 10 during the height of the spring color. Downtown businesses hope that residents will bring their out-of-town guests for a week of shopping and dining.

“Downtown Hendersonville is such a treasure to Western North Carolina. We anticipate as many visitors as tulips!” said Hughes.

Businesses will each have unique ways to welcome the crowds and spring.

“Many businesses will have tulip-themed displays in their windows as well as offering their spring specials,” Hughes said.

Te annual Tulip Extravaganza photo contest also returns this year. All photos of tulips entered must be taken in downtown Hendersonville and the deadline to enter is April 26. Winners will be announced April 30.

“Because of the temporal nature of the tulips, we are looking for a way to preserve the beauty for marketing downtown while including the public in celebrating their ephemeral nature,” Hughes said.

For more information about the Tulip Extravaganza, call Hughes at 828-697-6393.

Copyright © 2010 BlueRidgeNow.com — All rights reserved.
View the original article with pictures here.


Main is shoppers’ Lovers Lane

By Jessica Goodman Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 8:08 p.m.

Lovers Lane on Main has returned for its sixth year, hoping to bring business to downtown Hendersonville during the Valentine’s Day weekend.

The idea behind Lovers Lane is for two businesses to pair up, with each business offering customers coupons for their business sweetheart.

Hearts out of Tulips ~ Narnia

Kilwin’s and Mrs. G and Me are partnered and are offering a 10 percent off coupon for each other.

“It’s a fun thing to do,” said Lynda Allcock, owner of Mrs. G and Me. “And we’re paired up with Kilwin’s next door.”

The partnership helps businesses network. It’s also a chance for older, more established businesses to help younger, up-and-coming businesses.

“The customers who don’t usually shop in your store will come in to use their Valentine’s coupons,” said Barbara Hughes of Narnia Studios, who helps organize the event. “It’s kind of neat. I’m getting a whole new base of customers.”

The Lovers Lane has grown, Hughes explained. Usually only 10 to 12 businesses sign up, but this year, 16 businesses are participating.

“It brings people into stores they might not have previously visited, and it creates goodwill with your customers and your fellow merchants,” said Becky Banadyga, manager/owner of Sherman’s Sports and Army Store.

Sherman’s Sports is offering 10 percent off an entire purchase, and is partnered with Dancing Bear Toys, which is offering 20 percent off one regularly priced item. Banadyga said she has had some response to the coupons.

“It promotes some activity,” she added. “Come in and visit us. Come and support local shops.”

The foul weather has stifled walking traffic in the downtown area
“The weather is just keeping everyone in,” Allcock said. “I think people are dead worried about their heating bills for January and are being very careful about what they spend money on.”
“Come down and support Main Street,” she added. “We’re all doing a little extra.”
The promotion will continue through Sunday.


Brides get fresh ideas for nuptials

By John Harbin
Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Monday, January 18, 2010 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 9:26 p.m.

Brides to be, wedding planners and anyone looking for wedding fare turned out Sunday for the fourth annual Winter Bridal Fair at the Inn on Church Street. Experts from the Inn on Church, Cakes Du Jour and Narnia Studios invited prospective brides and grooms to get personalized advice and learn about the array of choices available. Businesses hosting the event provided samples and presented literature for the benefit of the brides. There were also other vendors, such as photographers, DJs, bands, videographers, etc.

“What’s special about our bridal fair is that it is intimate,” Narnia Studios owner Barbara Hughes said. “When a bride comes in with her groom, they can see someone who has the cakes, flowers and other vendors. They can get that one-on-one time with those specialists.” Hughes said this has been a wonderful referral for her business and the other vendors. “One of my favorite new vendors is the trolley,” she said. “Eva Richey has brought the Trolley Company here, and it’s not just great for transportation, but it’s also romantic.”

Hughes said that flowers this year are glamorous, which makes it romantic but with an edge.

Michelle Briggs with the Inn on Church said that the bridal-fair idea came up from wanting to boost local businesses.

“This fair is free, and that’s great,” she said. “We keep it small to keep it personal.”

As a bride walks through the fair this year, she can hear a harp playing, setting a beautiful tone.

“The bride and groom can jump right in and get a look at everything they need,” she said. The Inn on Church not only offers rooms, but it also offers an array of wedding needs from services to luncheons.

Michelle Fountain of Icing on the Cake in Arden said that she loved being a part of the bridal fair. “Wedding cakes now are not the ordinary cakes of the past,” she said. “There are more creative cakes, and black and white seems to be a popular theme this year.”

Tasha Robinson of Hendersonville was checking out the bridal fair for her sister who is out in California. “I think this is great,” she said. “I have enjoyed looking at the photography and the jewelry.”

Jared Kay of JK Photography said that he has been doing more photography for weddings in recent years, while he had focused on videography. “The bridal fair is great,” he said. “You get to meet so many people, and it’s face-to-face contact.”

View the original article, with pictures and video here.


Cookie contest announces winners

By John Harbin Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 11:48 p.m.

The winners of the third annual Gingerbread Cookie Contest have been announced
Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios, which sponsors the contest, announced the winners Friday during her studio’s annual Christmas Open House.
As you enter Hughes’ business, instead of the wonderful floral sent you normally get, the air is filled with ginger and a feeling of Christmas.
Hughes said she received 34 entries this year, about the amount she received last year.
In the traditional category, Rheta Merrell of Hendersonville won the “unusual” category with an oversized “Ginger Angel” decorated with edible sparkles, sprinkles and pearls, with intricate enhancements.
Abigail and Meghan Marak, visiting from Camp Lejeune, won in the teamwork category with bride and groom gingerbread cookies.
The cookies were decorated with black and white icing. The groom is wearing a tux, the bride is complete with veil– naturally — and flowers.

Brenda Hunter of Fletcher, claimed the “traditional” category with a toy soldier gingerbread man.

Gingerbread cookie contest entering its third year at Narnia

By John Harbin
Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Monday, November 16, 2009 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 15, 2009 at 8:52 p.m.

Gingerbread is a holiday staple, and one local business has turned it into a fun contest to showcase residents’ baking talents.
Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios in downtown Hendersonville, is hosting her third annual gingerbread cookie contest.
“In my mind, this contest is paying homage to the Grove Park Gingerbread House contest in Asheville,” Hughes said. “I appreciate the work that is put into those gingerbread houses and this is a contest on a smaller scale.”
Hughes’ contest has three categories: traditional, unusual and a special category for bakers ages 13 and younger. This year she has created a new category focusing on team entries.
The rules are simple — the cookies must be 100 percent edible and have to be entered by Dec. 1.
“We will announce the winners during the first night of our Christmas Open House on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5, and have all the cookies on display throughout that weekend,” she said. “The top winner in each category will be awarded a $50 floral gift certificate from Narnia Studios.”
She said she gets local bakers from Cakes Du Jour and McFarland’s Bakery to judge entries.
“It is a great way to get kids involved in something like that,” she said. “I was stunned by last year’s turnout and hope that 10 years from now it will still be going on.”

For more information on the gingerbread cookie contest or where to bring your entry, contact Hughes at 697-6393.


“Tulip Extravaganza” Photo Contest Winner Announced

The fourth annual Tulip Extravaganza Photography Contest has yielded beautiful depictions of the numerous tulip displays in downtown Hendersonville. With 38 entries to choose from, judges had their work cut out for them according to Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios, sponsors of the event. “Because of the temporal nature of the tulips, we are looking for a way to preserve the beauty for marketing downtown while including the public in celebrating their ephemeral nature,” Hughes explained.

Tulip Extravaganaza in Hendersonville, NCThe overall winner is Edgar Ward of Hendersonville, whose photograph of a brilliant yellow and red striped dutch tulip appears with downtown restaurant, Square 1, as a back drop created an unusual and dramatic perspective. The tulip, with the sun giving it illumination, appears taller than the building. This made for an excellent composition.The photo is entitled “Let Your Light Shine”.
For more information, call Hughes at 697-6393


 “Welcome Spring At 7th “Tulip Extravaganza”

Photo Contest, Easter Bonnet Promenade and
‘Spring Cleaning’ Sidewalk Sales at Participating Merchants

Eight to ten thousand tulips are about to burst into bloom in downtown Hendersonville according to master gardener, Scott Johnson. “The bulbs we planted in the fall should be in full bloom the second and third week of April,” said Johnson recently. This annual floral display spurred Narnia Studios owner, Barbara Hughes, to the decision to invite the community to the fifth annual “Tulip Extravaganza”. Zen, Etc. owner, Jessica Claydon agreed. Claydon felt is was a great opportunity to welcome area residents to enjoy spring in downtown Hendersonville. “The planters and flower beds on Main Street are beautiful year round, but in the spring they are especially showy,” said Claydon.

The “Tulip Extravaganza” is scheduled for April 1-28, which includes the week of Passover and Easter this year. Many of the shops will be holding a fifth annual ‘spring cleaning’ sidewalk sale on April 9 &10 during the height of the spring color. The downtown businesses hope that residents will bring their out-of-town guests for a week of shopping and dining. “Downtown Hendersonville is such a treasure to Western North Carolina. We anticipate as many visitors as tulips!” said Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios. Hughes also said the businesses will each have unique ways to welcome the crowds and spring. “Many businesses will have tulip-themed displays in their windows as well as offering their spring specials,” Hughes added.

Also, the fifth annual “Tulip Extravaganza” photo contest is always fun. All photos entered must be taken in downtown Hendersonville and the deadline to enter is April 28th. The winners will be announced April 30th.

For more information about the “Tulip Extravaganza”, call Hughes at 697-6393.

“Because of the temporal nature of the tulips, we are looking for a way to preserve the beauty for marketing downtown while including the public in celebrating their ephemeral nature,” Hughes said.

Times-News staff reportsNarnia in the News
Published: Saturday, March 14, 2009

Downtown Celebrates St. Patrick’s Day

Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios, sets out some green carnations as she gets ready for the March of the Leprechauns festivities this weekend in downtown Hendersonville. Click on image for larger view.


Downtown to get a burst of spring color with tulips

Times-News staff reports
Published: Friday, March 27, 2009 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 7:48 p.m.

Tulips
MICHAEL JUSTUS/TIMES-NEWS

Tulips begin to bloom in front of City Hall on Tuesday. The first day of the Tulip Extravaganza will be April 1.

Get ready for a burst of color in downtown Hendersonville as the tulips begin to bloom.

With the budding flowers also comes the sixth annual Tulip Extravaganza, which will run April 1-25 this year.
Narnia Studios owner Barbara Hughes sparked this downtown event six years ago to get people downtown.
“We, the merchants, spent a lot of money on these planters,” she said. “It is a sight to behold when all of the tulips are in bloom.”

Hughes said the first week of April is a huge visiting week and tourists are coming to Hendersonville.
Hughes initiated a photo contest during the second year of the extravaganza. “With the photo contest, citizens can take as many photos and present them for the contest,” she said. “I have had some amazing entries over the years.” Hughes said the deadline for entries will be April 25 and the winner will be announced April 30. Hughes said spectators can expect to see 8,000 to 10,000 tulips in bloom.
“It’s a big splash of color,” she said. “Some of the merchants decorate their windows with tulip themes.”
There is also a sidewalk sale merchants participate in. This year the sidewalk sale will be April 10 and April 11.

Hughes said she came up with the idea because she is a florist. “I am interested in flowers anyway,” she said. “We weren’t’t getting a crowd downtown during this tourist season. So we came up with an idea to bring people downtown.”


By Leigh Kelley
Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Friday, February 13, 2009 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 8:11 p.m.

Downtown merchants are hoping for a little love from shoppers to boost February sales with the “Lover’s Lane on Main” promotion happening through Saturday.
Lover's Lane
Kelli Redmond, owner of Red Step Artworks in downtown Hendersonville, arranges the Valentine’s Day themed storefront window at the store Thursday. Red Step Artworks is one of several merchants participating in the Lover’s Lane on Main event.
MICHAEL JUSTUS/TIMES-NEWS

Lover's Lane
Businesses pair up to offer special deals in an attempt to increase customers’ visits to all the merchants who participate in the Lover’s Lane on Main program, said Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios.
Hughes created the program a few years ago to help downtown businesses during the typically slow winter month of February.
The idea is really a very simple one, she said.
“For instance, if someone comes in my shop and shops with me, I have ‘valentines’ (coupons) for my “Lover’s Lane” partner, the Inn on Church,” Hughes said. “The valentine could be something like 15 percent off lunch for two.
“If the person goes to Inn on Church, they will give that person a ‘valentine’ for a special deal off Valentine-related merchandise at Narnia Studios, such as flowers or balloons. This makes the customers happy and it enhances both businesses. The concept is that if this scenario is repeated at businesses throughout downtown, then everybody wins.”
The program has resulted in a little spike in business at Red Step Artworks, said Kelli Redmond, a jewelry designer who owns the business with Andrew Stephenson, a local potter. The art galley, located on Third Avenue across from the Church Street Exxon station, represents 35 local artists and musicians, selling artwork and CDs.
This year is the first time she has participated in the “Lover’s Lane” promotion, Redmond said.
“It’s sort of like when you would exchange valentines in school,” she laughed. “We’ve had a wonderful partner with Mike’s On Main because we’ve gotten in some people who said they got valentines from them and we’ve sent some people up there with valentines for their business.”

The event began Feb. 1 and runs through Valentine’s Day.

Merchants report campaign success

Michael Justus/Times-News
MICHAEL JUSTUS/TIMES-NEWS
Pam Burrus of Atlanta gets cheese, crackers and tea for herself and Chris Burrus at Narnia Studios in Hendersonville last month during the Tannenbaum Tea event. Ten merchants in the 300 block of North Main Street participated in the event that featured tea, snacks and specials.

By Jennifer Heaslip
Times-News staff writer
Published: Sunday, January 4, 2009 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 3, 2009 at 10:20 p.m.

Every year, local residents spend $157 million outside of Henderson County or online, leaving officials scratching their heads.

Not this year, they hope. Several business owners reported the Shop and Dine Henderson County campaign was a success, drawing more local traffic into stores for the holiday season and softening the blow of a staggering national economy.

“The feedback we’re getting is that the traffic is pretty good,” Henderson County Chamber of Commerce President Bob Williford said. “I think people realize how important it is to support local businesses, who in turn support local charities and nonprofits and provide jobs to our friends and neighbors.”

No sales figures are in yet, he added, but he hears people talking about shopping locally before hitting the Internet or looking elsewhere. It’s not just business owners who benefit from shopping locally. The county and its municipalities would receive about $3 million in sales tax revenue from that $157 million, the Chamber says.

All of the municipalities and organizations chipped in money, and together raised $10,000 to spread the message that shopping locally keeps sales tax in the community and provides jobs. Media outlets also worked with them to get them twice as much advertising for the money.
The campaign continues, as Williford said January, February and March are typically slower months. The worsening economy in 2008, and the expectation of an even worse 2009, make it especially important to support local businesses, he said. A Valentine’s Day promotion is ready to launch.

In addition to the Chamber and the municipalities, campaign contributors included Downtown Hendersonville Inc., Hendersonville Merchants and Business Association, Flat Rock Merchants Association, Blue Ridge Mall, Fletcher Area Business Association, Highland Square Shopping Center and Laurel Park Village.

Success

And the shoppers haven’t left, said Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios on Main Street. The days after New Year’s have been just as busy, as people don’t have to be back at work right away and family members are still visiting.

Overall, 2008 “was the best year in five years for the store,” Hughes said. “I think some of that comes with longevity. You get those repeat customers. I just feel blessed.” Narnia Studios has been in Hendersonville for 14 years. The bestsellers locally were fresh flowers and arrangements, while fairies and similar items sold well online.

Hughes said she had more local than online customers. She always encourages business owners to have a Web site, even if they don’t use it to sell merchandise. Just having a Web presence can help, she said.
She also participated by shopping at her neighbors and encouraging others to do the same, and buying American.

One of the biggest differences she noticed in 2008 was that people were shopping every day of the week. Last Christmas, they came toward the end of the week and over the weekend, but this year people came out during the middle of the week, she said. And there were five fewer shopping days this year because Thanksgiving fell later in the year.

Even the weather cooperated this season, she added. On Friday, Hughes had her door open as people strolled down Main Street.

Times-News staff reports
Published: Sunday, December 7, 2008 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 6, 2008 at 11:16 p.m
Click here to see the video!

The winners of the second annual Gingerbread Cookie Contest have been announced.

Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios, which sponsors the contest, announced the winners Friday during her studio’s annual Christmas Open House.

As you enter Hughes’ business, instead of the wonderful floral sent you normally get, the air is filled with ginger and a feeling of Christmas.

Hughes said she received 63 entries this year, well over the amount she received last year.

In the traditional category, Rheta Merrell of Hendersonville won with an oversized gingerbread boy decorated with fondant icing created to look like dark brown lederhosen and a quilted vest with intricate enhancements.

Sam Bailes of Hendersonville won in the most unusual category with a penguin gingerbread cookie. This cookie was decorated with black and white icing — naturally — and the orange part of a single candy corn was used for the beak.

Two brothers, Chris and Richard Martin of Fletcher, claimed the “bakers under 13” category. The judges, from McFarland’s Bakery and Cake’s De Jour, said they felt the boys’ entries were equally good and they shared the prize for the category. Both boys chose to make three-dimensional gingerbread cookies, one with a racing theme and the other in the theme of hot chocolate with marshmallows.
Click here for photos


Local cookie competition creates new tradition
By John Harbin
Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Sunday, November 30, 2008 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 29, 2008 at 8:38 p.m.

Gingerbread is a holiday staple, and one local business has turned it into a fun contest to showcase residents’ baking talents.

Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios in downtown Hendersonville, is hosting the second year of her gingerbread cookie contest.

“In my mind, this contest is paying homage to the Grove Park Gingerbread House contest in Asheville,” Hughes said. “I appreciate the work that is put into those gingerbread houses and this is a contest on a smaller scale.”

Hughes’ contest had three categories including: Traditional, unusual and special category created by bakers ages 13 and under. The rules are simple — the cookies must be 100 percent edible and have to be entered by Monday.

“We will announce the winners during the first night of our Christmas Open House on Dec. 5, and have all the cookies on display throughout that weekend,” she said. “The top winner in each category will be awarded a $50 floral gift certificate from Narnia Studios.”

Hughes said last year’s big winner was a bagpipe-playing, kilt-wearing Scottish gingerbread cookie.

“I got such a great response last year I decided to do it again this year,” she said.

Among other entries last year, Hughes said she saw a Nativity scene and a Hendersonville High School Bearcat.

She said she gets local bakers from Cakes Du Jour and McFarland’s Bakery to judge entries.

Melinda McCollum of Cakes Du Jour said she enjoyed judging last year’s entries.

“Being that it is children who make the cookies, we look for abilities that match their age group,” she said. “We also look for cute entries and originality.”

McCollum said she thought the cookie contest was a great idea.

“It is a great way to get kids involved in something like that,” she said. “I was stunned by last year’s turnout and hope that 10 years from now it will still be going on.”


Carolina Home and Garden – Holiday 2008 Edition

Neighborhood Watch: Friendly and Fabulous
By Joanne O’Sullivan
Photos By Rimas Zailskas

CourthouseThese days, it’s not enough for a destination to be charming, historic, or a great place to shop: it’s got to have a brand. While Hendersonville has long been known as “The City of Four Seasons,” and its fall festival is legendary, local shop owner Barbara Hughes thought there might be a way to put a little more polish on her adopted hometown’s apple. What slogan would highlight the city’s best asset—its people—while emphasizing its small-town appeal? This August, Hughes rolled out a new moniker that she’s hoping the town will get behind. Ladies and gentleman, welcome to “The Friendliest City in America.”

It’s a bold claim, to be sure, but spend a day in downtown Hendersonville, and you find they just might have the smiles, handshakes and “How y’all doin?’s” to back it up.

Walking down Main Street, you get the feeling that Hughes might just be on to something: it’s certainly pedestrian-friendly, with wide sidewalks, outdoor dining, flower-filled planters and plenty of park benches that invite you to set a spell. On any given afternoon, there may be a crowd, but there’s no bustle—more of a sense that wherever you’re going will still be there when you arrive, so you might as well enjoy yourself along the way.

For many of the locals, the day-to-day social scene centers around the Black Bear Espresso Bar & Café (318 N. Main, 692-6333), a 15-year-old neighborhood hangout, where residents gather to sip their lattes at the sidewalk tables, peruse the paper while relaxing on one of the overstuffed sofas inside the shop and engage in conversation.

McFarlan Bake Shop (309 N. Main, 693-4256) is another fixture, serving up cookies and pastries since 1930, using the same tried-and-true recipes all along. On the other side of the street, skate shop 4 Down and fine lingerie boutique Pink Corsets (318 N. Main St., 696-2227) have recently brought some new flavor to the block.

That’s Hendersonville—old and new, small town and sophisticated, all cozied up together in a friendly embrace. The restaurant scene reflects that same mix of the fresh and the traditional. You can still get a burger, fries and a shake while sitting at the authentic soda fountain at Mike’s On Main (303 N. Main St., 698-1616). But if you’re looking for, say, black sea bass ceviche with arugula tostadas in Persian lime vinaigrette, just walk down the street to Never Blue (119 S. Main St., 693-4646), a bistro and tapas restaurant that opened earlier this year.

“It’s a fantastic time to be a foodie in Hendersonville,” says local blogger The Hendersonville Epicurean (who prefers to remain anonymous to keep the reviews impartial). New restaurants in town have brought a wider variety of cuisine, such as wood-fired artisan pizzas, Thai, Jamaican and Japanese food, expanded menus and a greater emphasis on local, organic ingredients. The one commonality among all these diverse dining experiences is—you guessed it—a warm, welcoming atmosphere and friendly service.

Smokey Barber ShopFor a taste of true Hendersonville, just head to the Curb Market on North Church Street, a beloved tradition that’s been offering “old-fashioned hospitality since 1924.” Locally-grown vegetables, home-baked goods and handmade crafts draw tourists and locals alike. “Most of us have had stalls here for generations,” says Nancy Ball, who has sold products from her flower farm here at the market for decades. “We’re like a family here.”

Hughes, whose Narnia Studios (315 N. Main St., 697-6393) features flowers and fantastical gifts, says that out-of-towners really take notice of that close-knit atmosphere in Hendersonville. “It’s something they’re not used to where they come from, so it really stands out. “

So much so that many Hendersonville visitors end up becoming residents. A slower pace of life and the small-town atmosphere continues to draw them to the area. And while Main Street isn’t exactly suffering from stroller gridlock yet, Hendersonville County Travel and Tourism spokesperson Karen Baker says more young families are moving here.

The seasons may change four times a year, but one thing’s constant: There’s always a warm welcome for tourists and transplants alike in “The Friendliest City in America.”

Real Estate

A three-bedroom, two-bath house near Downtown Hendersonville starts from around the mid-$200s, but more homes are available from the $400s. Further out in Henderson County, the recent sales have averaged from $200,000 to $250,000.

Dining

There’s nothing small-town about the restaurant scene in Downtown Hendersonville. It’s a grazer’s paradise, with a surprising variety of epicurean delights. The smell from the wood-fired oven tempts passersby in to Flight Wood Grill and Wine Bar (401 N. Main St, 694-1030), but the array of grilled specialties and the extensive wine list keeps them there. The award-winning cuisine at the refined Inn on Church Street (201 Third Avenue West at Church, 693-3258) focuses on organic and locally grown ingredients. Hip and easygoing, The Grove Street Café (224 S. Grove St., 693-1222) also favors sustainable, regional sources.

For lighter fare, Square 1 Bistro (111 S. Main St., 698-5598) features local organic entrees and “small plates” in an upscale atmosphere. Bistro 502 (502 N. Main St, 697-5350) features inventive café cuisine. Terra Nova Café (133 4th Avenue East, 698-8584) has great sandwiches and baked goods with an Italian accent. Three Chopt Sandwich Shoppe (103 3rd Ave. E, 692-0228) has been serving up soup and sandwiches for the lunchtime crowd since 1980—everybody seems to know everybody else here.

More exotic choices abound. If you have a yen for eastern flavors, try Umi (633 N. Main St, 698-8048) for beautifully presented Japanese fare, Thai Spice (220 S. King St., 693-7323) for curries and lemongrass soup or Champa (437 N. Main St., 696-9800) where you can enjoy either cuisine. Sinbad Restaurant (202 S. Washington St., 696-2039) features Mediterranean specialties. If Cajun and Creole is more your style, Cypress Cellar (321-C N. Main St., 698-1005) serves it up hot and tasty with a side dish of live music on weekends.

Hannah Flanagan’s (300-A N. Main St., 696-1665) is a favorite watering hole, offering more than 100 imported and domestic beers plus traditional pub grub in a chummy atmosphere. The creative wood-fired pizzas, handmade pastas and sleek, urbane ambiance at West First (101-B W. First Ave., 693-1080) have folks lining up. Or stop by newbie Mezzaluna Pizza Company (226 N. Main St., 697-6575) for pizza, pasta, subs or salad.

When it comes to getting caffeinated, amble over to The Black Bear (318 N. Main St., 692-6333) for gourmet java, freshly baked breads, pastry, sandwiches and a laid-back attitude. For a genteel experience, enjoy a traditional Victorian three-tier tray at the tearoom at Savannah’s on Main (117 S. Main St., 696-9052). White gloves are optional.

Shopping

Once you’ve fortified yourself at one of the nearby eateries, enjoy some retail therapy in the many charming specialty stores that dot downtown. The crafty shopper will enjoy My Garden of Beadin’ (433 N. Church St., 698-0715) which offers a plethora of fascinating beads along with finished jewelry and classes so that you can fashion your own. Portobello (530 N. Main St., 698-7290) offers sophisticated monogramming services, in addition to unique home decor.

If you’re in the mood for a new outfit, The Sanctuary (150 1st Ave. East, 698-2646) features Eileen Fisher’s fabulously comfortable, chic and understated essentials and offers private wardrobe consultations. Savannah’s has a selection of special occasion and cruise wear. Even those on a budget can indulge in some new acquisitions at The Beehive Resale Shop (449 N. Main St., 692-8882) specializing in nearly new, upscale clothing.

While you’re at it, spruce up your abode. Homestead Fine Linens (110 N. Main St, 697-8787) is stocked with the finer things for the home, be it your first or second. Purple Sage (416 N. Main St., 693-9555) has gadgets and tools for the experienced chef and classes for the novice and Rabbit & Co. (124 4th Ave. East, 692-6100) is a veritable toy store for the well-equipped cook. Delton & David Interiors (225 N. Main St., 450-0609) is filled with antiquities, jewelry, furniture, art, lighting and accessories.

Check the local forecast with Hendersonville’s own weatherman Paul Speranza at Speranza’s Weather House (100 6th Ave., 698-1952) and marvel at his array of thermometers, barometers and weather vanes.

Antiques

Hendersonville is renowned for its antiquing, and downtown offers several excellent options within easy walking distance. The Village Green Antique Mall (424 N. Main St, 692-9057) is a collector’s paradise, packed with American antiques, mostly from the 20th century. Jane Asher’s Antiques and Fine Traditions (344 N. Main St., 698-0018) is brimming with fine appointments: linens, china, glassware, silver and fascinating ephemera. The Stock Market (340 N. Main St, 697-2005) offers fine American and Asian antiques and unique pieces of architectural salvage. Seldom Ever Antiques (144 Third Ave W, 696-3660), which bills itself as “two floors of nothing in particular,” is fun to browse for this and that.

Galleries

Western North Carolina is a wellspring of creativity, and Hendersonville’s galleries reflect that bounty. Red Step Art Works (142 3rd Ave. West, 697-1447) represents more than 30 regional artists in many disciplines. Wickwire (329 N. Main St, 692-6222) sums up itself up in one phrase: “the place where the heart finds art.” Its blend of contemporary and traditional art and crafts includes artisan furniture, sculpture, painting, jewelry, and other handcrafts.

Stylish and sophisticated Silver Fox Gallery (508 N. Main St., 698-0601) offers contemporary art and crafts and revolving exhibitions. Visit their furniture gallery on the lower level. William Gordon Gallery (321-A N. Main St., 693-3456) exhibits fine art paintings, prints, sculpture, photography and ceramics. McCarter Gallery (451 N. Main St., 698-7117) celebrates the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains with evocative original works and giclée prints.

To give your own works (created or purchased) the gallery touch, have them professionally mounted at Framing Arts (119 3rd Ave. West, 696-3818) or choose from the etchings, serigraphs and photography on exhibit.

Culture

Check out the best view in Henderson County from the newly restored Historic Henderson County Courthouse (One Historic Courthouse Square, 694-1619). The courthouse is home to the Henderson County Heritage Museum (693-4226) (free admission). Tours of the gold-domed cupola take off every Wednesday at 2pm.

The Mineral and Lapidary Museum of Henderson County (400 N. Main St., 698-1977) displays a variety of minerals and gemstones from North Carolina and around the world, and features several interactive displays.

Hands On! A Child’s Gallery (318 N. Main St., 697-8333) is not so much a gallery as a fun, interactive play space that introduces kids to art through a “hands on” approach.

Visit historichendersonville.org to learn more about Hendersonville. Learn more about Barbara Hughes’ mission to make Hendersonville known as “The Friendliest City in America.” Visit friendliestcityinamerica.com.

http://www.carolinahg.com/pages/current-issue/holiday-08/neighborhood-watch-friendly-and-fabulous.php


OCTOBER 29, 2008
A Bold Life: Barbara Hughes
BY MARSHALL GORDON

Narnia
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Rimas Zailskas

“I love Hendersonville. I think it’s the most awesome place on earth,” says Barbara Hughes, owner of Narnia Studios in the city’s downtown, and an unabashed promoter of the locale and its many attractions.Hughes is the one-woman show behind an effort to proclaim Hendersonville “friendliest city in America.” Says Hughes, “I was looking for a market angle. ‘How could I get it started, how could I get it country wide?’ You really try to bring in tourism so that people will spend their dollars here. I thought, ‘Who doesn’t want to come somewhere friendly?'”

So, entirely on her own, Hughes developed the website friendliestcityinamerica.com. Her efforts to make the slogan official are paying off. The City of Hendersonville recently passed a proclamation declaring the city friendliest in America. Senators Burr and Dole, along with Representative Shuler, have sent in letters of support.

Not bad for a web newbie and a site that’s been up for a mere three months. The tireless Hughes hasn’t stopped there. “I have a new campaign where I attach a card with the name of the website to a beautiful leaf like a sugar maple or oak and I mail it to personalities like Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric. If it will tweak their interest, maybe they’ll say something about it on TV,” she says.

Marshall Gordon
http://www.boldlife.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A7781
Download as PDF


Web site touts friendly spirit of Hendersonville
By John Harbin
Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Friday, September 5, 2008 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 5, 2008 at 1:00 a.m.

Hendersonville was proclaimed “the friendliest city in America” on Thursday night during a city council meeting.

External Links:

Narnia Studio’s owner Barbara Hughes took it upon herself to start the Web site www.friendliestcityinamerica.com, and went around town taking pictures of all the smiling faces. “Hopefully, this will drive tourism to Hendersonville,” she said. “I went down to Travel and Tourism and took pictures. People have been asking me if they could link my Web site to theirs.”  Hughes said it is her hope that the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce will link to her Web site and her movement will go national. “As you are aware, I am enamored by Hendersonville and am one of the city’s biggest fans,” Hughes said. “What’s not to love about Hendersonville?” Hughes isn’t stopping with the Hendersonville City Council. “I have contacted both U.S. senators, Richard Burr and Elizabeth Dole,” she said. “I also plan to contact Congressman Heath Shuler.”

Hughes hopes the new slogan will help the local economy.  “This is a creative solution to the economy,” she said. “When I contacted Sen. Burr, that is how I approached him when I made the proposal. This is a way to bring people to Hendersonville and a positive way to enhance the city.”

Mayor Greg Newman proclaimed that Hendersonville is ‘the friendliest city in America’ during the meeting Thursday night. In addition to Newman’s proclamation, Dole has expressed her feelings about Hendersonville. “I was thrilled to open my western office in Hendersonville shortly after my election to the U.S. Senate, and have enjoyed visiting as much as possible,” Dole said on Hughes’ web site. “Hendersonville continues to be a shining example of the kind of warm and caring communities that we North Carolinians are so proud of. I commend Barbara Hughes on her pride as a Hendersonville citizen as well as her efforts to publicly recognize the welcoming spirit of this great city.”


Hendersonville vying for ‘friendliest city’
By John Harbin
Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 9:07 a.m.

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MIKE DIRKS/TIMES-NEWS
Barbara Hughes, right, owner of Narnia Studios, takes a picture of Times-News Publisher Ruth Birge in the newsroom. Hughes has started a project to get Hendersonville known as the friendliest city in America.

Ever thought Hendersonville just might be the friendliest city in America? Well Narnia Studio’s owner Barbara Hughes sure does and is working on making it official.

Hughes said it was a tag line in an e-mail she received from Hendersonville City Councilman Jeff Collis that ignited her work on dubbing Hendersonville the friendliest city in America.

“The tag line said something to the effect of when life hands you lemons make lemonade, but not in those words,” she said of Collis’ e-mail tag line. “Anytime I have a complaint I look for a solution. If I run into brick walls along the way, I just do it myself.”

Hughes said she took her marketing ability and decided to apply it to Hendersonville.

“When the whole town is doing well, everyone is smiling,” she said.

So Hughes took it upon herself to start the Web site www.friendliestcityinamerica.com and go around town and take pictures of all the smiling faces.

“Hopefully this will drive tourism to Hendersonville,” she said. “I went down to Travel and Tourism and took pictures. People have been asking me if they could link my Web site to theirs.”

Hughes said it is her hope that the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce will link to her Web site and her movement will go national.

“We have a great town,” she said.

The Hendersonville City Council will hear from Hughes during their Sept. 4 meeting and have tentatively planned to issue a proclamation to follow in Hughes movement and dub Hendersonville the friendliest city in America.

“Mayor Greg Newman was the first person I told,” Hughes said. “He said ‘wow’ when I told him. He agreed with what I was doing and said he liked the idea.”

Hendersonville resident Jim Marshal said he thought Hughes’ idea was great.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” Marshal said. “Hendersonville is a great city. I think this is a good thing for the city.”

Newman said that Hughes does a good job promoting her business and the city.

“I told her I would get behind her anyway I could,” he said. “I think this is a positive way to promote the city and a great idea. I appreciate her thoughts on this.”

Newman said that he’s behind it because he knows how friendly Hendersonville is.

“It is the people who make Hendersonville a favorable place to be,” he said. “Barbara’s efforts go a long way and I applaud her efforts.”

Councilman Jeff Collis said he thought Hughes’ idea was a good one.

“I haven’t seen her proposal in depth,” he said. “Looking at her Web site, it looks neat to me. It would be nice if we could be dubbed the friendliest city in America.”

Hughes isn’t stopping with the Hendersonville City Council.

“I have contacted both U.S. senators, Richard Burr and Elizabeth Dole,” she said. “I also plan to contact Congressman Heath Schuler.”

One of her goals in getting Hendersonville the new slogan is her hope to help the local economy.

“This is a creative solution to the economy,” she said. “When I contacted Sen. Burr, that is how I approached him when I made the proposal. This is a way to bring people to Hendersonville and a positive way to enhance the city.”


By Mark Schulman

Times-News Staff Writer
2/14/08

Love is in the air. That’s what Hendersonville shopkeepers said Wednesday as customers bought gifts for their sweethearts on Valentine’s Day.

Business this year has been a little better than the past few years for Van’s Chocolates, owner Russ Vanderlois said Wednesday.

It has steadily increased through the week for the candy shop on Chadwick Avenue. Patrons have been buying decorative heart-shaped boxes full of favorites like Van’s famous chocolates, turtles, caramels and truffles, topped with the free chocolate covered strawberry given to every customer.

Past years have brought in mostly men, but this year more women have been coming in for Valentine’s gifts, Vanderlois said.

While men continue to buy boxed chocolates at Van’s, few of them brave picking out elegant lingerie from Pink Corsets.

Some women complain that their men don’t put enough effort into choosing lingerie. They often resort to buying gift certificates, manager Pamela Roll said.

“We like to make the men feel comfortable coming into the store by helping them out,” she said.

Nevertheless, business has been great for the lingerie shop on Main Street. On Wednesday, it had only a few items left hanging on the racks in the holiday’s most popular color, red.

Hundreds of roses

Local florists are seeing a boom in business this year for the traditional Valentine’s Day roses.

At Narnia Studios, owner Barbara Hughes said this has been the best Valentine’s Day in three years.

She has sold hundreds of roses to people visiting the store’s Web site.

Although the shop caters to women, there is always a flood of men who come in to buy flowers, bath and body baskets and other gifts for the women in their lives.

Sweets and treats

Kilwin’s of Hendersonville has been dishing out chocolate, fudge, truffles and cherry cordials all week leading up to the holiday, owner Jen Butcher said.

The aroma of sweet fudge brought in customers from Main Street on Wednesday as the countdown to Valentine’s Day grew close.

Valentine’s shoppers tend to wait till the last minute, owner Jen Butcher said.

“But this year, we’ve gotten more people coming in ahead of time,” she said. “More men, but a fair share of women.”

Men have been coming into Shelley’s Jewelry since January preparing for Valentine’s Day, sales associate Kiki McAllister said.

“But I’m surprised it’s been a little slower this year,” McAllister said.

Fewer people are buying expensive things and more people seem to be going out to dinner and getting roses for Valentine’s Day, she said.

La Riserva Ristorante and Wine Bar on Main Street has been open since Oct. 9 and is fully booked for its first Valentine’s Day in Hendersonville.

Customers will be ordering from a menu that will include holiday specials, said Bill Weymer, front-of-the-house manager. There are customers who want to eat at the bar in addition to the 120-seat dining area.

“It is really great (for business) at this time of the year,” Weymer said.

Barbara prepares for Valentine's Day Special Deliveries

Narnia Studios for all your Valentine Needs!     Narnia Studios for all your Valentine Needs!


Pam McAloney ~ Artist To Exhibit Friday, May 5, 2006

Pam McAloney, one of the newest artists to display her work in Narnia Studios, recently moved with her husband John to Hendersonville from Melbourne, Florida.

Thirty years as a graphic designer have come to a close and now Pam is going back to fine art where she started 45 years ago doing pen and ink and pencil studies. Watercolor, pastels and oils are the mediums she enjoys working with the most now and her styles range from realism to impressionistic.

Sitting on the her front porch has inspired her to do paintings of the beautiful North Carolina mountains giving God credit for such magnificence. Are the distant mountains lavender, gray blue or maybe light red…it’s all in the eye of the beholder. Flowers have also been a favorite subject allowing her to enjoy the vibrant colors and shapes that again only God could create…white roses …are they really white or do we see purple, yellow, light green, blue… At the show you may also find a few wildlife paintings…lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

Another artistic endeavor has been painted furniture sold through galleries and also on commission. Pam will be displaying several of her paintings at Narnia Studios on Gallery Walk, Friday, May 5, 2006.
The public is invited to attend. Refreshments will be served. For more information click on Contact.