Maple's Leather Furniture enshrines sitters in thrones of supple full-grain leather, eight-way hand-tied coils, and—in most cases—sturdy skeletons of kiln-dried hardwoods. The company's signature line, Green Leaf, contracts private furniture makers to concoct couch confections, including rich chocolate-brown Manfred sofas ($1,799), and its weathered Coronado chairs offer wide button-puckered backs to cradle Disney-movie marathon watchers ($1,880). Maple's Leather Furniture can ship swatches to prospective clients who want to match couches to their underwater grotto's seaweed-themed décor, and shipping varies depending on the location of the aforementioned grotto.
Grovewood Cafe could very well be a cottage from a fairytale. Greenery seems bent on overtaking the restaurant and completely surrounds its patio, where whimsical sculptures from Grovewood Gallery pop up from the ground. On the inside, flowers bring color to tables bathed in light from oversized windows. And, like many a Brothers Grimm character, chef and owner Larry Waldrop depends on local farms for sustenance.
Larry believes that the best meals are made from scratch, and without too much help from machinery. He prefers to chop his meat by hand, for instance, rather than use his government-issued butcher robot. His menu of Southern-inspired plates gives credit to several area farms—there's grilled meatloaf from Hickory Nut Gap Farm, pork from Heritage Farms, and chicken breast from Ashley Farms, which arrives encrusted in crunchy walnuts. Every day, there's a special free-range omelet available for lunch. And if you're in the neighborhood on a Sunday morning, stop by for the Grovewood's take on eggs benedict with fried green tomatoes, grilled Sunburst Farm trout, and swiss chard.
The mountain-savvy staff at Apex Ex equip people of all skill levels with the knowledge, gear, and plans necessary to explore the wilderness all year round. Seasoned guides and instructors, many of whom are trained by organizations such as the National Outdoor Leadership School and the American Mountain Guides Association, lead classes that teach students important lessons ranging from backcountry snow basics to avalanche rescue. In summer months, the experts lead guided climbing and backpacking trips and teach riders to careen down rocky paths of every sort during mountain-biking lessons.
Fifth Season Gardening specializes in hydroponics, homebrewing, and organic gardening. Complete hydroponic systems can help hobbyists grow plants in any type of environment, and organic gardening supplies such as fertilizer and composters can maximize produce yields. Customers may also browse a wide selection of urban D.I.Y. products. Aside from serving as a go-to spot for garden items, Fifth Season Gardening boasts must-have supplies for homebrewers of all skill levels, from fresh hops and yeast, to cleaning accoutrements and educational books.
Combining experience in lampworking, glass blowing, and jewelry design, the experienced glassblowers of Asheville Glass Center lead workshops and classes to share their passion for manipulating molten glass. The two- to three-hour intro courses teach neophytes to craft borosilicate marbles and soft glass beads, and more in-depth classes result in intricate implosion flowers and sand-cast solid forms. The center also offers open studio time for more experienced artists who wish to work alone, like the winningest three-legged racers.
Mattress Source's knowledgeable staff pairs customers with one of a wide selection of firm and flexible beds that augment deeper slumbers. Sealy luxury firm mattresses ($449.99+) allays stressful nights by supplying supple support, manufacturers' warranties, and a cache of warm kittens to rest at the end of each bed. Silk woven jersey knit surrounds a layer of memory foam on the Stearns & Foster x-firm mattress, which gently pillows joint pain and absorbs excess body heat ($1,219.99+). At 26 Charlotte-area showrooms, shoppers can take inventory of each mattress' aptitude in hypnosis or chat with affable staff members about desired levels of firmness.