December 2011

30 Dec 2011

The Rose Bowl Game…in Durham!

I have some history with Wallace Wade Stadium on the campus of Duke University in Durham, NC. That’s where I last saw the Rolling Stones perform on a rainy night in October 2005…a rockin’ experience for this Rock and Roll REALTOR®.  Built in 1929, the horseshoe-shaped facility is named for the legendary Duke Football coach and can seat nearly 34,000. And while the Stones can pack ‘em in, it was another rainy spectacle, this one in 1942, that eclipsed that rock and roll event in attendance and significance.

The college football season of 1941 had just ended when the gruesome attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on December 7th.  Fear gripped the country, and travel restrictions were placed on our nation’s entire West Coast. 

28 Dec 2011

Feel’n Good in Bad Times!

In these times, it’s rare to find positive news about housing, but I found something good in an earlier edition of  Builder Magazine.

In an article on the health of the country’s top housing markets, the Raleigh-Cary market was ranked No. 1 with a score of 86.9; Durham-Chapel Hill was No. 3 at 81.5 and in 9th position with a score of 76.6 was the Charlotte metro area. Now, after reading this, I must admit I was feeling pretty good that we are selling homes in three of the top 10 markets in the entire country…wow!

27 Dec 2011

The Trend is Upward!

Earlier this month, there was more news that, for the fourth straight month, existing home sales were up nationally from the previous year’s levels. What is the reason? A lot of this uptick is due to the tax credit of the Spring of 2010 where sales were borrowed from the second half of 2010. This made this Falls’ results more realistic.

The latest report from the National Association of Realtors shows sales of existing homes up 13.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million houses in October. I am also hearing from around the country that the upper end is starting to move, especially in the second- home markets. As I stated many times, real estate is a local game. This is good news if it is systemic growth.

Last October was the bottom. With four straight months of 2011 growth, this doesn’t mean that we are on another boom course, but rather a gentle recovery over time.

23 Dec 2011

Santa Claus Has Arrived at the North Carolina Transportation Museum

Did you know Santa Claus has arrived at the North Carolina Transportation Museum?

When my children were both much younger, I looked for ways for them to enjoy Santa Claus in a different environment than that of the mall. I found that the North Carolina Transportation Museum does something a little different. Santa and his elves ride the train with kids and their parents. He passes out candy and listens to each child’s wish list while everyone takes a short trip on the train.

My son was in love with trains from the time he was two years old till he was about eight so he absolutely loved this annual event!

21 Dec 2011

What is Holiday Spirit?

Giving is a common theme this time of year as we complete our holiday shopping and express well wishes to family and friends.

The Carolinas have some wonderful gift ideas including different wines from our regions; a piece of furniture from one of our manufacturers; or even a gift basket from Texas Pete’s (which is manufactured right here in Winston-Salem). This is truly a time when the thought matters the most, and most gift recipients will be delighted when you’ve thought of them with gifts from your own home town.

But the holidays are more than just gifts and ribbons and perfectly packaged presents. They are about family, friends and good spirits.

Good feelings begin with looking forward to something fun, and getting caught up in preparation of it all. Expecting good things will put us in a happy, excited mood. And feeling this way actually leads to creating the kinds of good experiences we want.  It’s easy for positive emotions to build and grow into holiday spirit – that inspires others.  When one person is happy, he or she can lift the spirits of many more.

19 Dec 2011

Deck the Halls

… With boughs of holly – and other assorted lights, trees and blow-up reindeers that take their rightful places in our homes and on our front lawns during this special time of year. As I drive through the neighborhoods in awe of the Christmas lights and decorations, I am always impressed by that one house where someone has outdone themselves, with thousands of lights that twinkle, chase and flash, and holiday music to complete the experience.

And speaking of outdoing yourself … one of the many great places to visit in North Carolina at Christmas is the Biltmore House in AshevilleAmerica’s largest home was first opened on Christmas Eve in 1895, when George Vanderbilt introduced his grand estate to his family and friends. Today, the banquet hall, where the Vanderbilt’s first gathered, houses a 35-foot Frasier fir covered in thousands of lights and beautiful ornaments. You can walk through the house and be entranced by more than 50 decorated trees, miles of garland and greenery, and hundreds of red and white poinsettias.

16 Dec 2011

All I Want For Christmas…

Happy Holidays!  It’s time to get those letters sent to the North Pole! I hope you get everything you want this holiday season as you write your annual letter to Santa Claus.

Here is a sneak peek at my letter to Santa:

Dear Santa,

This is Tony Jarrett from the Allen Tate Company.  Remember me?  I’m the one who really wanted that Planet of the Apes set with matching outfit and you delivered!  My parents thought I was crazy, but that set was soooo cool. And those movies were so popular in the early 1970s.

So how have you been?  Good year at the North Pole?   Are the reindeer and Rudolph doing well?  I sure hope so because we need some good energy from you this holiday season.

14 Dec 2011

Home for the Holidays

Like many of you, I relocated to the Carolinas. I moved here 20 years ago and now, this is the place I call home. For many years, it was my “new” home, but as time passed the word “new” faded into the background. This year, I will travel up to Pennsylvania, the place where I was born, for the holidays. My family tries to get “home” every second or third Christmas.

There are many, many definitions and catch phrases for “home.” “Home is where the heart is” or “There’s no place like home” are two that almost immediately come to mind. For me, home is all about family and even though Charlotte is my home, whenever I travel back to Pennsylvania, I still tell people I am going “home” for the holidays. I say that because that home is where I grew up. For that reason, I will always call it “home.”

12 Dec 2011

There’s No Faking Christmas

Few symbols are more representative of this holiday than the Christmas tree. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, consumers purchased 28.2 million farm-grown trees in 2010, with real trees outselling fake ones by 3 to 1.

North Carolina ranks second in the country for total Christmas trees harvested, with more than 25,000 acres. The Christmas tree industry is smaller in South Carolina, with about 2,000 acres in trees.

During graduate school at Clemson University, my husband worked at a Christmas tree farm in the Upstate. He hand-shaped the trees several times a year to make sure they were ready for the holiday season. With a degree in forestry, he could explain the virtues of different species; tell you how Christmas trees are a renewable resource; and how to recycle your tree as mulch at the end of the holiday season. Fake trees made of polyvinyl chloride just don’t make the cut in our house.

9 Dec 2011

Have You Visited Christmas Town USA?

Every year my extended family gets together for our annual viewing of the holiday lights displayed in Christmas Town USA (aka McAdenville, North Carolina).

McAdenville is located about 30 minutes from Charlotte (specifically between Charlotte and Gastonia) and the viewing of the lights is absolutely free (got your attention now didn’t it  ). You can park and walk it, cram into a VW Beetle and drive it or ride a bike through it. If you do decide to walk it, keep in mind that it is about a 2 mile walk – so dress appropriately!

The transformation of McAdenville into Christmas Town began in 1956 (a year before Allen Tate started his business). In 2010, more than 375 live trees were decorated. Their height ranged from 6 feet to more than 90 feet. The number of lights on individual trees varies with the height, diameter and fullness of the trees.  As few as 500 lights and as many as 5,000 lights may be used on one tree. It really is something to see.

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