Taking care of your Loved One Is What We Do BEST!

It's no secret, most of us would like to stay in our own home as we age. Yet, sometimes our loved ones just need a little extra help to remain comfortable at home. That's where Always Best Care can help....we are dedicated to exceeding expectations....always

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Home Care In Mills River, NC

Home Care Mills River, NC

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, completing daily tasks like showering and enjoying activities such as visiting the historic Mills River House gets harder without someone by their side. Unfortunately, many older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live far away from long-term, institutionalized facilities and closer to the place where they feel most comfortable - their home. Home care in Mills River, NC is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

 In-Home Care Mills River, NC

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The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they get older. We are proud to have helped more than 25,000 seniors maintain higher levels of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of in-home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs. That way, they may provide care accordingly without compromising their wellbeing.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home services, Always Best Care is here to help.


“I am Kathryn Merrell and for the past several months I have been under the care of ABC Senior Services. I have had the privilege of enjoying the care of Lois C. She is the best advertisement for your agency. When I am asked, which happens frequently, about my experience with ABC, I refer to Lois as being your prime example of the type of care they can expect from you. She goes beyond just basic care and does all she can to help remedy any problem we have. I love that I can trust her and feel safe having her share my home with me. She is very professional yet very "down home", a rare combination. You should be very thankful she is on your "team"! Because of her, I have no problem recommending your company to all who ask.”

Kathryn M.

“As a caregiver I am so pleased with the care for the clients. I've never worked for a company that was so dedicated to clients and caregivers. Everyone is always happy, clients and staff. I am blessed to work here.”

Lisa C.

“I would recommend them because they provide good services. I've been down on my health, so it's been a blessing to have them taking care of him for me. I appreciate that the caregivers are friendly.”

Roger M.

“They're very prompt about coming when they're supposed to and they do what we need them to do. They've helped the most just by being here.”

Bob N.

“I am a current client of this provider They've helped the most just by being here, and doing what they're supposed to. They're very prompt about coming when they're supposed to and they do what we need them to do.”

Bob N.

“I have honestly never met a group of people who care as much as the Always Best Care team. I have watched the staff there change lives for the better, not only for clients but each other as well. It is a pleasure to be a part of this team, nothing compares to it!!”

Jennifer H.

“We were blown away and continue to be by the quality of service and care that the team of ALWAYS BEST CARE provides our family. My parents were moving from out of state and were in immediate need of in-home care. Melisa was wonderful! She was able to help us line up the intake paperwork, clinical assessment and a caregiver within 24 hours of my parents’ arrival in to their new home. Millie and Bethany are tremendous support as their clinical nurse team with a very thorough assessment of both parents. Mary is their care coordinator and was very helpful with finding the perfect caregivers and coordinate the right schedule for my parents . Melisa, Nicole, Jennifer and Janet are also a tremendous asset as they handle and place the caregivers! Jim Smeaton, their owner should be proud of his company! We highly recommend them!”

Katherine K.

“ABC in Fletcher has an amazing team, and they made a huge difference for myself and my mother. We had them as in-home caregivers for 10 months. They are responsible, flexible and just a solid group with whom to work. I could reach them by phone immediately almost every time I needed to contact them. They handled billing and insurance claims and kept the caregiver plans absolutely up-to-date. As well as the regular RN visits. Jan, Mary and Melissa rock in addition to our caregivers. My only reason for not giving five stars has to do with the systemic challenge of finding enough caregivers. And in our case, caregivers who are proficient with Parkinson’s patients.”

Jennie G.

“After Many years of retirement from critical care nursing I have found the perfect employment enabling me to to care for others. Working with the staff at Always Best Care has been such a blessing and I love my clients that I work with.”

Kathryn W.

“I feel like I'm part of the family every time I'm there! A lovely bunch of ladies! The best quality care provider in the business!”

John Z.

“I have had many dealing with Always Best Care during my professional healthcare career. They have always provided great care to the seniors they serve. Jim and his team are great to work with and always go above and beyond not only in serving seniors but supporting many events in the community. I would highly recommend ABC for any in home needs.”

Bob P.

“I like working with Always Best Care Senior Services because the office staff are so nice and understanding and I have gotten to know them on a level that I know they are here to help me, when I need help or have a questions. From day one when I have called, they have ALL been here to help guide me and they have been there every time I’ve had a questions. Working for ABC has been an honor because I really do love the company and we have some sweet clients. The ladies that work in the office are amazing and without them I do not think our company would thrive like it does. When I did an application, it was on accident and then I got a phone call asking me to come in and interview and honestly I’m so blessed. I love my job because it is my passion to help people and to do what I can to make their daily living better and easier. I honestly don’t think there is anything that needs to change about ABC. I have never worked for such an amazing company before”

Craig R.

“I own a financial services business and share clients with Always Best Care. Recently, one of our shared clients experienced a fall which resulted in a broken hip. One of my first calls, after EMS, was to ABC. Mary Steiner responded immediately and offered to meet the client at the ER. She was wonderful and so very professional in the manner in which she handled the entire harrowing experience. She arranged for overnight care since the family had to arrive from out of town. I am so grateful for her genuine care for our client and stepping in during an emergency to help us handle the situation. I would recommend ABC for services because they absolutely go above and beyond with such a special touch. Robbie Chenault, Elevated Living Services”

Elevated L.

“I love working here! Jim truly cares about his clients and employees. The staff goes to great lengths to make sure that the clients are cared for. I am proud to represent Always Best Care.”

Sandra D.

“Always best care is a good company for senior services and also for employment. They do great at pairing you with clients! Everyone in the office has such a sweet and positive attitude.”


“Always best care is very professional and they love the clients and their patients”

Javell F.

“My husband was placed with always best care after leaving the hospital. he has received outstanding care from this company, The caretaker taking care of my husband did an outstanding job working with him , helping with daily care , cleaning, and his physical therapy, would recommend her and this company to anyone looking for home Assistant to take care of a loved one! Thank you always best care for being there for us and my family .”

Diane M.

“Always Best Care is one the best company’s to work for. Treats everyone like Family”

Danielle O.

“From the first day that I started it was an experience to learn your ways but with all the staff people that I became aware of oh my gosh it was wonderful. I have been very pleased with Mary, Melissa, and Danielle of letting me decide if my clients are a perfect match for me and them. I am pleased that I chose this company. Jim is doing a very good job of hiring a amazing staff in the office to work with. Thanks to all!”

Vicki B.

What is Non-Medical Senior Care in Mills River, NC?


Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it is especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.


When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.


The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.


At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one gets older, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 Senior Care Mills River, NC

Types of Elderly Care in Mills River, NC

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

Personal Care

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

Respite Care Mills River, NC
Home Helper

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading
 Caregivers Mills River, NC
Companionship Services

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite local activities, such as visiting Westfeldt Park with friends while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community
  • Events and Social Outings
Home Care Mills River, NC
Respite Care

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy nearby activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress reduces the risk of caregiver burnout. So, if you've always wanted to eat at the local Mills River Restaurant, don't feel bad. Doing so is great for both you and your loved one.

At the end of the day, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible.

If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

 In-Home Care Mills River, NC

Benefits of Home Care in Mills River, NC

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for patients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

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Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit - something that is unavailable to many older people today.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a strange nursing home, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, then, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old.

With the help of elderly care in Mills River, NC, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors.

Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like a nursing home. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier and more affordable to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, seniors who age in the comfort of their homes can save thousands of dollars per month.

In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, are often less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

 Elderly Care Mills River, NC

Affordable Care

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

If your loved one qualifies, Medicaid may help reduce in-home care costs. Review your NC's Medicaid program laws and benefits, and make sure your senior's financial and medical needs meet Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.
 Senior Care Mills River, NC

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers.

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Mills River, NC understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Assisted Living Referral Services

While it's true that many seniors prefer to age at home, sometimes in-home care isn't the best fit. For those seniors and their families, choosing an assisted living facility makes more sense. Unfortunately, finding the optimal care facility is easier said than done in today's day and age. That's when Always Best Care's assisted living referral services begin to make a lot of sense.

Assisted living is a form of housing intended for seniors who require varying degrees of medical and personal attention. Accommodations may include single rooms, apartments, or shared living arrangements. Assisted living communities are typically designed to resemble a home-like environment and are physically constructed to encourage the independence of residents.

Respite Care Mills River, NC

At assisted living communities, seniors receive help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also benefit from coordination of services with outside healthcare providers, and monitoring of resident activities to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Caregivers who work at assisted living communities can also provide medication administration and personal care services for older adults.

Other services offered within assisted living communities can include some or all of the following:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Recreational Activities
  • Social Outings
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Medication Monitoring
  • Family Visitation
  • Personal Care
 Caregivers Mills River, NC

At Always Best Care, our representatives can match your senior's emotional, physical, and financial needs with viable assisted living communities nearby. Results are based on comparative data, so you can select the best choice for you or your loved one.

Always Best Care works closely with local senior living communities to gain valuable knowledge that we then use to help seniors and their loved ones make informed decisions. This information can include basic care and rent, resident availability, and services provided. Because Always Best Care is compensated by these communities, we provide senior living referral services at no extra cost to you.

Some of the most popular assisted living communities to consider in our area include the following:

  • The Landings of Mills River
  • The Lodge at Mills River Health and Rehabilitation
  • Legacy At Mills River
Home Care Mills River, NC

For many seniors, moving into a senior living community revolves around how and when they want to make a transition to more involved care. Some seniors are more proactive about transitioning to independent living. Others choose to remain home until their care needs or other requirements are satisfied. Remember - our staff is here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about assisted living communities and how we can find a facility that exceeds your expectations.

 In-Home Care Mills River, NC

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Always Best Care Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

A discussion of your needs and how our trained caregivers can offer assistance in the most effective way


A draft of your care plan, which includes highly detailed notes and a framework for the care that you or your senior will receive


Discuss payment options and help coordinate billing with your insurance provider


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

At the end of the day, we only hire the best of the best at Always Best Care. Whether you need home care in Mills River, NC 24-hours a day or only need a respite for a couple of hours, we are here to serve you.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

 Elderly Care Mills River, NC

Latest News in Mills River, NC

Half a century in bloom: Van Wingerden's poinsettias color homes across the Southeast

MILLS RIVER, N.C. (WLOS) — For 50 years, one greenhouse company has been bringing color into many Western North Carolina homes.Half a century in bloom: Van Wingerden's poinsettias color homes across the SoutheastRight in Mills River lies the Van Wingerden International Greenhouse that has grown and provided poinsettias all over the Southeast for the last 50 years.Erica Merrill and Mitchell Cantrell are the third generation fam...

MILLS RIVER, N.C. (WLOS) — For 50 years, one greenhouse company has been bringing color into many Western North Carolina homes.

Half a century in bloom: Van Wingerden's poinsettias color homes across the Southeast

Right in Mills River lies the Van Wingerden International Greenhouse that has grown and provided poinsettias all over the Southeast for the last 50 years.

Erica Merrill and Mitchell Cantrell are the third generation family members of the greenhouse. They say it all started when their grandfather immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands.

“He started many greenhouse locations across the United States and landed here,” Mitchell said.

Their grandfather opened the greenhouse in Mills River back in 1973.

“It went from my grandparents to now my dad owns it and now me and my brother are in it,” Erica explained.

As a kid, growing up in the greenhouse was always exciting for them.


“There’s a lot of places to ride bikes and run around and all sorts of places to hide," Erica said. "We spent a lot of time down here in our childhood."

Erica explained how they’re a wholesale greenhouse company that provides flowers anywhere from big box retailers like Lowes, Ingles and Target, to independent garden centers.

As they head into the Christmas season, Erica explained how they’re a bit busier this year than usual. Typically, Erica said that most of their peak weeks are Thanksgiving and after, but this year is the first time it’s happened the week before Thanksgiving.

They sell locally all the way to cities such as Kansas City, Missouri.

“In the last 50 years that we’ve been here it has grown from around three acres to about 40 acres inside and outside growing,” Erica said.

Mitchell said they’ve grown poinsettias every year they’ve been in business and expect to always grow them. For poinsettias, the growing season starts in July.

“We stick them in July and root them out until they grow for five weeks," he explained. "We pinch them and then we space them and then we just wait."


While they currently have a greenhouse full of flowers and color, Mitchell said that they will have a greenhouse of concrete in just a few weeks but that won’t last for long.

He said that their greenhouse remains 85% full all year long and that after the poinsettias, they will start with their spring crops and then be right back to poinsettias come July.

Erica said it’s a full circle moment from being a kid herself running around the greenhouse to watching her own kids do the same.

“My kids come down here now, kind of reliving the same childhood we got to live," she said. "It's also really special to be able to work with your family everyday and see them and accomplish the same goals together,” she expressed.

Erica added that it’s fun to see the next generation like it as much as they have.

With poinsettias being known to many as the Christmas flower, Erica said it luckily makes the Christmas season last a lot longer.

“It adds an element of being magical when you’re in here all alone and there’s just red and white poinsettias everywhere,” Erica said.

“It’s always magical, every year is magical,” Mitchell expressed.

To learn more about the Van Wingerden Greenhouse, you can check out their Facebook page here.

Mills River Conosur owners claim they're closing due to road widening; NCDOT disagrees

MILLS RIVER - The co-owners of Conosur Latin Fusion, a restaurant located at 4195 Haywood Road in Mills River serving Latin cuisine, said they are closing next month due to the N.C. 191 road widening project, but the North Carolina Department of Transportation said that isn't the case."We knew for a couple of years that they were going to widen the road. What we heard is that they were going to tear everything down around here and build a new road. Our lease ends in July, and we have to leave in September they told...

MILLS RIVER - The co-owners of Conosur Latin Fusion, a restaurant located at 4195 Haywood Road in Mills River serving Latin cuisine, said they are closing next month due to the N.C. 191 road widening project, but the North Carolina Department of Transportation said that isn't the case.

"We knew for a couple of years that they were going to widen the road. What we heard is that they were going to tear everything down around here and build a new road. Our lease ends in July, and we have to leave in September they told us," Conosur co-owner Patricio Vera told the Times-News on May 30. "We tried talking to people, but we never got a straight answer ... so it was just time to move on to the next thing."

NCDOT anticipates putting the contract for the $112.6 million project out for bidding in July 2024, according to David Uchiyama, the communications officer for the mountain region of the NCDOT. He also said the project doesn't require businesses located in the corner of N.C. 191 and N.C. 280 (Airport Road) to be relocated.

"The businesses at the intersection of NC 280 and NC 191 are not being relocated by the N.C. Department of Transportation or for any work associated with an upcoming project in the area," Uchiyama told the Times-News on May 30. "The right of way necessary for easements are minimal and do not impact the buildings or property necessary to operate a business.”

Vera, who is from Lima, Peru, said he worked at Grove Park Inn for 14 years before opening the restaurant in 2018 with Sergio Castro, who is from Quintero, Chile. The two met while Vera was at Grove Park.

More:Conosur fires up Peruvian chicken, authentic pan-Latin cuisine

The restaurant has been serving traditional Chilean and Peruvian food with a blend of American dishes for the past five years. Just three years after they opened Conosur, Vera said he and Castro began looking for other locations after learning about the road-widening project.

"We looked for two years for a different place around here and in West Asheville, but we couldn't find anything available. Anything that was available was big money," Vera said. "I never say never, but at the moment, we've both made other plans. I'm going back to Grove Park to work, and (Castro) is going to start a catering business in Asheville."

Vera has lived all over the world, including Peru, Puerto Rico, Italy and Canada and found his most recent home in Arden 23 years ago, he said. Vera said business at the restaurant remains steady, and that customers who have heard about the closing say they are sad to see it go.

More:Dining review: Cono Sur adds Peruvian food to Mills River

"The community has been nothing but great to us," he said. "We are very grateful for the community. Our customers have been fantastic. We have a very loyal community here. They are very sad. They don't want us to leave."

The restaurant is open 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and is closed on Sunday and Monday. For more information or to place an order online, go to

Dean Hensley is the news editor for the Hendersonville Times-News. Email him with tips, questions and comments at [email protected]. Please help support this kind of local journalism with a subscription to the Hendersonville Times-News.

'Funguy' with passion for mushroom cultivation shares knowledge & harvest with community

July 2023 - 'Funguy' Greg Carter has been cultivating incredible mushrooms since 2006. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he had to morph his Mills River, NC business to agrotourism -- Deep Woods Mushrooms now offers hunt tours and cultivating classes for anyone interested. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)MILLS RIVER, N.C. (WLOS) — A man in Mills River is passionate about fungi and he loves to share his mushroom knowledge.'Funguy' with passion for mushroom cultivation shares knowledge & harvest with communityIn 1999, Greg...

July 2023 - 'Funguy' Greg Carter has been cultivating incredible mushrooms since 2006. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he had to morph his Mills River, NC business to agrotourism -- Deep Woods Mushrooms now offers hunt tours and cultivating classes for anyone interested. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

MILLS RIVER, N.C. (WLOS) — A man in Mills River is passionate about fungi and he loves to share his mushroom knowledge.

'Funguy' with passion for mushroom cultivation shares knowledge & harvest with community

In 1999, Greg Carter - we will call him "Johnny Mushroom Spore' - was looking for unique Christmas gifts for friends and family. A neighbor asked if he'd ever thought about mushroom logs.

She sent him home with fresh shitakes plucked from those logs and after he cooked them up, he went online to order 30 logs as gifts. The next year he did 100 logs, then 300 the following year, then 700!


"By 2006, it mushroomed into a business - pun intended - and there's no turning back," Carter said. "It is so interesting. I realized what I'm doing is one of the oldest forms of mushroom cultivation in the world. They were doing this 1,500 years ago. Hacking into logs, packing the spores in there, wrapping them in banana leaves or whatever to grow mushrooms. We have power tools now to make it easier, but this is not new by any means."

Local chefs in the mountains flocked to Johnny Mushroom Spore to purchase all kinds of mushrooms, then the pandemic hit. With restaurants struggling, he had to morph his business to agrotourism. Deep Woods Mushrooms now offers hunt tours and cultivating classes -- all thanks to “The Funguy.”

"This is the most biodiverse area in the world," Carter said, describing just how unique Western North Carolina is. "There's more species of everything here than anywhere else. Why is that? Millions of years ago the Appalachian Mountain chain was bigger than the Himalayas. The polar ice caps came down and they stopped here. When they receded, they left behind seeds and spores and animals and all sorts of stuff."

When Carter cultivates mushrooms on his farm, he is mimicking Mother Nature. It is labor intensive, but he says you won't find a fresher mushroom anywhere. He takes his to the Transylvania Farmers' Market in Brevard every Saturday.

They have health benefits, like vitamin D and cancer-fighting properties, but the mushrooms Carter grows and hunts can be a tasty treat.

"Most people that say they hate mushrooms grew up with those white, slimy, white button mushrooms in a can or they picked them off a pizza or pulled them out of spaghetti," he said. "If you could taste some of the culinary treats out there such as the Shaggy Stalked Bolete or the Beefsteak Mushroom - they're phenomenal! It's a culinary treat that very few people will ever get to experience because you won't find them in the grocery store and it's very rare unless you're paying top prices for your entrees in local restaurants."


Many people who have taken his classes have gone on to do great work with mushroom cultivation in laboratory settings, like cloning. Others have simply improved their health and put a new, fresh treat on the table.

"To see people who take my classes, and then go far beyond what I'm doing, it's very exciting! But I'm going to continue doing what I'm doing."

Click here to check out more Uniquely WNC stories!

Drought prompts Hendersonville to elevate water shortage restrictions to Stage 2 for customers

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — Less than a week after the city of Hendersonville issued a Stage 1 water shortage advisory to all water customers, officials announced the city has upgraded its advisory to a Stage 2A alert, effective Thursday, Oct. 5, at midnight.As of Oct. 5, four North Carolina counties have been placed in a Moderate Drought Advisory by the N.C. Drought Management Advisory Council. ...

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — Less than a week after the city of Hendersonville issued a Stage 1 water shortage advisory to all water customers, officials announced the city has upgraded its advisory to a Stage 2A alert, effective Thursday, Oct. 5, at midnight.

As of Oct. 5, four North Carolina counties have been placed in a Moderate Drought Advisory by the N.C. Drought Management Advisory Council. Tryon was placed under a voluntary water restriction on Oct. 2, and Franklin was placed under a Stage 1 water shortageas of Oct. 6 at midnight.

“We are experiencing a drought in our area, and we are urging our customers to be water wise,” said City Manager John Connet. “Our team at Hendersonville Water & Sewer has been diligently monitoring the water levels in the Mills River, and we, unfortunately, have not received any substantial rain events to replenish the levels in the watershed. We have instituted a Stage 2A Water Shortage Alert to eliminate non-essential water use.”

In Stage 2A, all 80,000 of Hendersonville's water customers are expected to reduce their water use by 20%. The upgrade from "advisory" on Sept. 29 to "alert" on Oct. 5 comes as drought conditions have worsened and the Mills River continues to see lower-than-normal flow levels.

If drought conditions continue to worsen, the city utility has the authority to charge fees to customers who are in violation of the ordinance.

All water customers are strongly requested to conserve water using the following recommendations:

All residents, businesses, and institutions are requested to temporarily delay new landscape work until the water shortage has ended.

The following restrictions apply during a Stage 2A water shortage alert:

“Since we issued a Water Shortage Advisory on September 28th, our treatment facility operators have seen a slight reduction in water use," said Utilities Director Adam Steurer. "We appreciate our customers voluntarily taking steps to conserve; however, with levels in the watershed continuing to lessen and with no substantial rain in the forecast, the utility has a responsibility to its customers to upgrade to a Water Shortage Alert to ensure that essential water uses can occur without interruption.”

Hendersonville offers a free service calledAquaHawk Alerting for water customers, which provides information about water usage, allows customers to receive alerts when usage indicates a leak and gives more control over household water expenses.Customers can monitor how their water conservation efforts are reflected in their usage totals.

More information about the Water Shortage Alert and conservation tips can be found at

Activities at Mills River Park

Mills River – To celebrate National Park and Recreation Month, the Town of Mills River has planned many activities for those in the area in July. These will be held at the 48-acre Mills River Park, located at 124 Town Center Drive, just off Route 191 (Haywood Road).Blue Ridge Snorkel TrailOn July 13th, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the Blue Ridge Snorkel Trail at Mills River Park will be opened at the boat launch ramp. This is one of ten pilot sites opened by the North Carolina Wildlife ...

Mills River – To celebrate National Park and Recreation Month, the Town of Mills River has planned many activities for those in the area in July. These will be held at the 48-acre Mills River Park, located at 124 Town Center Drive, just off Route 191 (Haywood Road).

Blue Ridge Snorkel Trail

On July 13th, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the Blue Ridge Snorkel Trail at Mills River Park will be opened at the boat launch ramp. This is one of ten pilot sites opened by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Snorklers of any age will be able to see all sorts of aquatic life in the French Broad. “River snorkelers will get to experience our rivers through the fish’s eyes and explore all of the unique and beautiful species that are hidden just under the surface.” Snorkeling is quickly becoming a popular alternative to the traditional uses of rivers and lakes, and participation has increased dramatically over the years with different businesses and organizations leading groups of people on guided trips. According to the Western Region Aquatic Wildlife Diversity Coordinator, Luke Etchison, Ph.D., of the Wildlife Commission’s Inland Fisheries Division, “You’ll get the chance to see crayfish, mussels, aquatic snails, salamanders, aquatic insects, and fish you don’t normally see, even if you fish.”

Wednesday Professional Showcases

Each Wednesday in July, beginning July 12 to August 2, the following professionals will bring the equipment they use for guests to learn more about that profession. Kids of all ages love to meet and interact with the firemen and their fire trucks, chat with the deputies, sit in the Sheriff’s cars, and learn more about the farming in the area. Each event begins at 11:30 a.m.

– July 12, 2023: Mills River Fire Department

– July 19, 2023: Henderson County Sheriff’s Office

– July 26, 2023: North River Farms

– August 2, 2023: Ascendum Construction Equipment

Outdoor Movie Screenings

Then a full screening of a movie will be held outside at Mills River Park. This starts in August. All movies are free and open to the public; light concessions (cash only!) will be available.

– August 26, 2023: Top Gun Maverick (PG-13) starring Tom Cruise

– September 30, 2023: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (PG-13)

– October 14, 2023: Ghostbusters (1984) (PG)

Camping in the Park

Following the screening of Guardians of the Galaxy on September 30th, the Town is hosting Camping in the Park. Bring your tents and camp under the stars! Registration is required for this event: $12 for residents per family and $15 for non-residents per family, with s’mores and breakfast included. No portable grills or pets are allowed. Call 828-890-2901 for more information.

Mills River Park Amenities

Mills River Park has grown and improved over the years. The park is located at 124 Town Center Drive, just off Rt. 191 (Haywood Road). There is a scenic 1.2-mile open-air walking trail, an enclosed dog park that separates the larger dogs from the smaller ones with a covered bench for the owners, four recently resurfaced tennis courts and pickleball courts, a basketball court, a baseball/softball field (home of Rugby Middle School baseball team) a canoe/kayaking launch, and a handicap-accessible fishing pier, a wildflower meadow, and recently planted butterfly garden. There are multiple tables for picnicking,some covered and some in the open air near the river.

About Mills River

The Town of Mills River is situated within minutes of Pisgah National Forest, Interstate 26, and the Asheville Regional Airport. It was incorporated 20 years ago, and since that time, businesses and developments have continually opened. In a very short distance from each other, you can find a large brewing facility for the East Coast Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, an incredible bike park and adventure center called the Riveter, a well-stocked Valley Ag Center, a festive Bold Rock Cidery with daily cider tastings, as well as the Mills River Creamery with fresh, delicious local dairy products. Businesses are continually opening in the area. Lately, on June 7th, the Appalachian Mountain Brewery opened another taproom, and in May, Ohalo Genetics opened their genetically engineered potato and corn bio-tech greenhouse operation.


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