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Archive for July, 2011

Fall Foliage in the Mountains of Western NC- Asheville’s the Place

July 31st, 2011 by abedofroses

Fall Foliage on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Fall Foliage on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Asheville is at the tail end of 3 days of the Bele Chere Summer Festival right now. Four sound stages are set up with live music, artists from all over the country are selling their crafts, street performers, food vendors, and cold beers, many locally crafted are everywhere. It been hot in Asheville and misting tents are set up downtown to keep the revelers cool. All of Asheville seems to be one big summer party.

But I’m remembering those cool nights of autumn in the mountains right now! Guests are calling with October reservations and asking for Fall Foliage predictions and it seems a million years away from this summer heat with all of its festivals, but it’s not!  Before you know it the colors will start appearing, first at the mountaintops and then in glorious bands, working their way down the mountains. All the different elevations in the area mean one of the longest-running fall foliage seasons in the country. The days are still warm in the fall and the sun illuminates the brilliant colors. The Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville is full of great places to view the show, take a hike, stop for a picnic and take in the breathtaking views of the mountains. The Parkway may even add a rest stop soon with views of the Asheville skyline. We’ll keep you posted! Navitat has zipline tours through the forest canope that are even more beautiful and peaceful in the fall. Soaring through the treetops, you will suddenly come upon a stunning mountain vista on your way to the next landing flatform in the trees. A guided canoe trip down the French Broad River offers a unique view of the colors. You may even want to enjoy the panorama of the blazing mountains from a balloon ride across the Hominy Valley! And of course, The Biltmore Estate and Gardens are a thing to behold in the Fall with the Biltmore Forest in full autumn glory rising behind the mansion and the gardens specially planted for the season.

Whether you’re exploring in Dupont State Forest, climbing Chimney Rock or visiting Pisgah National Forest, during the day, Asheville is the perfect place to come home to. At the end of the day you’ll find plenty to do in downtown Asheville. The nights cool off just enough to enjoy a sweater while you eat outside at one of Asheville’s many sidewalk cafés. Asheville has a myriad of great independent restaurants, most emphasizing locally grown foods. There’s sure to be live music in town and artists displaying their work outside the Grove Arcade or at the Art in the Park Series at Pack Square. If you’re in the mood for theater, October offers everything from Romeo and Juliet with the Montford Park Players, to Angels in America with the North Carolina Stage Company.

The color show is predicted to start this October 4 through the 14th at the highest elevations above 5,000 feet just north of Asheville. Look for color on Mount Mitchell, Craggy Gardens or Grandfather Mountain. October 12th through the 21st look to the mountains southwest of Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway including Mount Pisgah and Devil’s Courthouse.  October 18th through the 26th the mountains surrounding Asheville along the Blue Ridge Parkway should be at peak color, between 3,000 and 4,000 feet. October 26th through November 5th the show shines brightest right in Asheville itself at 2,000 feet. This is the time to visit the NC Arboretum or Dupont State Forest. The Biltmore Estate will be at peak color then as well. October 27th to November 6th look to Lake Lure and the Chimney Rock area.

 

Asheville Crafts Fairs- Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, the 38th Annual Village Art & Craft Fair

July 24th, 2011 by abedofroses

Today is the last day of the Craft Fair of the Southern Higlands at the Asheville Civic Center. We look forward to this biannual event to see the best of the region’s traditional and contemporary crafts and artwork. Acceptance into the Southern Highland Craft Guild is based on a rigorous jury process so it is always a treat to see the work put out by these talented and diverse artists. This fair has been a local tradition since 1948. Artists give demonstrations throughout the fair as well.  If you missed it you will get another chance to see the guild’s talent in October from the 20th to the 23rd.

Village Art and Craft Fair Poster

39th Annual Village Art and Craft Fair

If you can’t wait that long to see great crafts and artists display their wares, though, you’re in luck! The 39th annual Village Art & Craft Fair is coming up August 6th and 7th. This outdoor arts and crafts fair is held outside on the lovely grounds of the Cathedral of All Souls in Biltmore Village. This is a free event and a great opportunity to stroll the historic brick streets of Biltmore Village as well. There will be 120 exhibitors this year and you’re sure to find something beautiful or quirky that you can’t live without.  T shirts featuring this years poster art by Daryl Flaton are available now and I might not be able to live without one of them!

 

Recipes from the Kitchen of A Bed of Roses: Polenta Egg Nests

July 21st, 2011 by abedofroses

Polenta Egg Nests

A Polenta Egg Nest with Mango Blueberry Fruit Salad

We tried a new recipe the other day and it was a big success! It involves making the polenta at least one day ahead, but it was worth it. The little secret is the hidden applewood- smoked bacon lining the nests. It gives a smokey flavor to the whole dish.

Ingredients:

Polenta-

•   2 Tbs butter

•   1/4 cup minced scallions

•   3 cups water

•   1 tsp salt

•   1 cup of course yellow cornmeal

•   1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano

•   1 Tbs fresh thyme, minced

 

Eggs-

•   20 slices of bacon, preferably applewood-smoked

•   6 oz grated mexican cheese blend, divided

•   6 oz grated gouda, divided

•   8 large eggs

•   1/4 cup sliced scallions

•   1 tsp fresh thyme

Directions:

One or two days before serving make the Polenta

  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add scallions and sauté just until limp.
  2. Add the water and salt and bring to a boil.
  3. Gradually whisk in the corn meal and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick and creamy, 10-14 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Stir in Parmesan and 1 Tbs fresh thyme. Season with salt & fresh ground pepper.
  6. Cool to room temperature then cover and refrigerate at least overnight or for up to 2 days.

To make the baked eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Heat one or two large skillets over medium heat and add bacon. Fry until just brown but still pliable- not crisp!
  3. Drain on paper towels and cool enough to handle.
  4. Line the sides of eight Ramekins with two slices of bacon each forming a collar. Put 1/2 slice of bacon in the bottom of each Ramekin.
  5. Put about 1/3 cup of polenta into each Ramekin, pressing into the bottom and up the sides to form a nest.
  6. Mix the grated cheeses in a bowl and sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheese in each Ramekin.
  7. Crack one egg into the center of each “nest”.
  8. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, scallions, thyme and black pepper.
  9. Place Ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and bake about 23 minutes or just until the egg whites are almost set.
  10. Let eggs stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving. They will continue to cook.

 

 

 

First Time at A B&B – Bed and Breakfast Etiquette: Whispering and Tiptoeing around the Museum!

July 11th, 2011 by abedofroses

Fragile museum specimens sign

Should I be afraid to touch?

This is the latest in our series, First Time at a Bed and Breakfast?

Many if not most B&Bs are in antique homes. Old houses have a charm that you just can’t get anywhere else. Old homes may not always be as soundproof as we might like, however. That doesn’t mean you have to tiptoe around or whisper in your room! Enjoy your visit!  Just be considerate of the guests in adjoining rooms. Be aware of how high your TV volume is and realize that yelling or other loud noises probably will be heard by others. Many inns, like ours, have “white noise” radios to help you sleep over the creaks and sounds of old houses and your neighbors. Just don’t expect the sounds of the “rainforest” to drown out your full blast late night sports extravaganza on ESPN.

These old houses are usually your innkeeper’s home as well, filled with their antiques and linens and collectables. Accidents happen and things break and spills occur. It’s okay. Innkeepers expect this, so please don’t try to hide it. As you would, if visiting friends, let your host know as soon as possible of a mishap so they can try to get that stain out while they still have a chance or fix that broken chair before the next guest sits in it!

lace on a table

Try not to spill red wine on the antique lace!

If something malfunctions or you don’t know how to use it, just ask. It’s okay, really! That being said, all innkeepers hope that you will use common sense in trying to prevent damage to their home or furnishings. Cleaning your car window with the monogrammed bath towels or leaving your dripping red wine bottle on the embroidered dresser scarf might not be appreciated. Your innkeeper will be more than happy to provide you with a rag or a coaster. Just ask.

Courtesy and clear communication are really synonymous, especially at an inn. It is our responsibility to communicate clearly about what we expect of and offer our guests. We expect that our guests will be clear in asking for what they need to make their visits enjoyable. Neither of us are mind-readers! We ask that if something isn’t right you let us know so that we can have an opportunity to make it right. That may not always be possible, but we will do our best. If you haven’t given the innkeeper an opportunity to address your concerns it is truly the worst etiquette to later write a poor review of the property. If an innkeeper does not treat your complaints with courtesy and concern, a poor review is warranted! And don’t forget to write good reviews when you’ve had a great experience at a B&B. A good review is the best thank you note.

 

Recipes from The Kitchen of A Bed of Roses: Orange Stuffed French Toast

July 8th, 2011 by abedofroses

Breakfast French Toast at A Bed of Roses

Our Orange Stuffed French Toast with Vanilla Scented Fruit Salad and Bacon

The editor of OutreachNC magazine recently stayed with us and requested our version of this popular recipe. We hope you enjoy it as much as she did!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 long loaves of French Bread, sliced at a diagonal
  • Orange marmalade (our favorite is Mackays, imported from Scotland and made with champagne)
  • 1/2 to 1 Package of Cream Cheese, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Orange zest to taste
  • Melted butter for brushing
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting

 

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Spray two 11”x17” metal baking pans with cooking spray.
  • Using 2 adjacent pieces of the bread per person, lay each pair open like a book
  • Spread 1 piece with softened cream cheese
  • Spread the opposite piece with orange marmalade  (This part reminds me of making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as a kid!)
  • Press the two pieces together firmly but gently enough that the filling doesn’t ooze out
  • Repeat for 8 “sandwiches”
  • Whisk together the eggs, milk and orange zest.
  • Dip each “sandwich” in the egg mixture, turning to coat
  • Place in prepared pan so they don’t touch one another
  • Brush with melted butter
  • Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
  • Dust with confectioners sugar and serve with real maple syrup.

 

First Time at A B&B – Bed and Breakfast Etiquette: Breakfast Etiquette.

July 6th, 2011 by abedofroses

Table setting

Table setting at A Bed of Roses

This is the latest in our series, First Time at a Bed and Breakfast?

Breakfast etiquette is also different at a B&B. Unlike a hotel restaurant, the small staff at a B&B dictates specific times for service and limitations on how many different dishes are available. Many B&Bs have one or two set seatings and all the guests are served the same meal. Sometimes there are multiple courses and preparation takes a great deal of time. Preparation may even begin the night before. Please let your host know in advance if you will not be there for breakfast! There are few things worse than preparing a gourmet meal that you have to throw in the garbage! If breakfast is served at a set time, please be there on time. It is inconsiderate to make the other guests wait for your arrival while the food gets cold. Most innkeepers will serve at the appointed time whether you are there or not. They have no way of knowing when or if you will arrive, so they may or may not try to keep your breakfast warm for you.

It is also very important to notify your innkeeper as soon as you are able if you require a special diet. Most B&Bs are glad to accommodate dietary restrictions, but this takes planning. The best time to let them know of dietary requirements is when you make your reservation. We also ask guests when they check in if they just don’t care for some foods. We want to give you a meal that you will rave about, but we can’t read minds. If you don’t care for waffles or onions, we want to know about it!

Breakfast at a B&B also calls for being considerate of the other guests. One of the treats of staying at a bed and breakfast is meeting and eating breakfast with all sorts of other people. It’s not like an anonymous hotel or restaurant. It’s best to use common sense when engaging in breakfast conversation with other guests. Like a family gathering, no one wants strife while enjoying a meal together. Almost always, breakfast is an enjoyable social event and many times it’s hard for us to get our guests to leave the table and let us clean up!

Look for our next installment on the dos and don’ts of staying at a B&B: Whispering and tiptoeing around the “museum”!

 

 

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