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Archive for October, 2011

A Halloween Stroll Through the Historic Riverside Cemetery

October 30th, 2011 by abedofroses

Riverside Cemetery View

The rolling hills of the Riverside Cemetery

In the heart of the Montford Historic District is 87 acres of rolling hills and parkland dotted with monuments to Asheville’s most illustrious residents.  What more fitting place to take a walk on this Halloween weekend than a cemetery! This easy hike through the tombstones is anything but scary, though! The hillsides are filled with beautiful trees and shrubs, lovely views and grave markers and mausoleums that are beautiful and fascinating sculptures as well as tributes to the dead. The historic Riverside Cemetery was established in the summer of 1885 and remains an active cemetery run by the city of Asheville since the 1950s.

The list of notable residents of the cemetery is long and includes famous authors Thomas Wolfe and William Sydney Porter, known by his pen name O. Henry, as well as a bodyguard to Abraham Lincoln, James H. Posey and Queen Carson, Asheville’s first female public school principal. They share the lovely shaded hills with Confederate generals and prominent citizens. Oliver Davis Revell, the entrepreneur who built the Queen Anne Victorian that is now A Bed of Roses B&B, occupies a prominent spot accompanied by his wife the former Caroline Gray.

Even though the cemetery was started in the Victorian period, the oldest tombstone is dated 1814 and marks the grave of John Lyon, a famous English botanist who lived here for many years and collected rare plants to ship to English gardens. His grave was moved three times until finding it’s final resting place in Riverside Cemetery. Several other graves were removed from previous burial grounds and reinterred at Riverside.

Stained glass window in mausoleum

The stained glass inside a mausoleum

On a recent beautiful fall day I took a walk there with my camera. The photos can be seen in our photo gallery. I’ve always been particularly fascinated with mausoleums and there are several impressive ones at Riverside. Peering through their gates you can see the intricate stained glass windows designed to be illuminated from the outside and viewed only by the mausoleum’s inhabitants.

Detail of a carved mausoleum door

Detail of a carving on a mausoleum door

The door of one notable mausoleum is a striking and elegant sculpture in itself. The Green mausoleum, made entirely of marble is the work of a craftsman involved in the construction of the Biltmore Estate. A stone carver for the Biltmore, Fred Miles, carved the Buchanan family’s angel from limestone left over from the construction of the Biltmore Estate.

Audio tours of the historic cemetery are available on CD at the Asheville Visitors center or the Pack Place Information Desk on Pack Square. Asheville Historic Tours has also released an iPhone ap to allow visitors to tour the cemetery guided by their iPhones! It is available at the App Store or iTunes. The virtual tour can also be downloaded as an MP3 file at www.history-at-hand.com.

Ten Quirky Little Things That Make Us Love Asheville

October 13th, 2011 by abedofroses

Zoom Tour Character

Sister Sin from the Zoom Tour

In Asheville you’re likely to see bumper stickers that quote philosophers and literary figures. A recent citing: “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. Voltaire”

In Asheville, a trip to the local grocery store includes buskers serenading you and chair massages, along with the ubiquitous organic offerings.

In Asheville, a car trip downtown may involve trying not to hit a nun in drag weaving through traffic on a souped up bicycle. Meet Sister Sin, a character on the Zoom Tour.

Speaking of sin… In Asheville, our local public radio station gives T shirts to donors emblazoned with “Welcome to Asheville, Cesspool of Sin” for donating to the station. A NC Senator opposed to gay marriage dubbed Asheville a “cesspool of sin” and Ashevilleans embrace it! They even got the host of NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me to do the promo.

White Guitarist Statue

Guitarist “Statue” may come to life!

In Asheville, lunch at an outdoor café may involve viewing the white guitarist statue, periodically “come to life” and play his guitar for a moment, only to freeze again into a statue mid tune. Variations on this theme abound. Watch for the peasant girl statue holding a planter, the drummer girl statue and even a junior duo flower girl statue.

In Asheville, getting to the top floor of the 8 story Westall Building involves going next door to the Jackson Building, Western North Carolina’s first skyscraper, to use their elevator! The slender neogothic Jackson Building opened in 1924 and was built on an amazingly small 27 by 60 foot lot. The same architect stuffed the Spanish Revival Westall Building on the even smaller lot next door in 1925, but had no room for an elevator.

Friday Night Drum Circle

The Friday Night Drum Circle

In Asheville, a summer Friday evening kicks off the weekend with the pulse of 100 or more drums that you can literally feel throughout downtown. Bring a drum and join this quirky, fun tradition in Pritchard Park.

In Asheville, one of the most traveled corners in downtown is home to, no, not yet another Starbucks, but a wig store! Multicolored wigs adorn dozens of mannequin heads in the storefront windows in a dazzling display.

In Asheville, there are no McDonald’s downtown. Chains of all kinds are discouraged. But the neighborhood of Biltmore Village has the most unusual McDonald’s you’re likely to see. No golden arches here. The village elders ensured that the architecture of the fast food restaurant fit in totally with the historic, bricked pathways and tree-lined streets. They even have a player grand piano and fireplaces!

In Asheville, on a stroll through the city’s historic Montford district you are likely to come across some interesting yard décor. One stately home sports an ever changing installation of Barbie dolls in varying poses and in and out of costume. Another porch hosts a giant polar bear.  And is that a giant turtle on their roof?

That’s our home- not the one with the turtle. I mean Asheville! We love it!


Recipes from the Kitchen of A Bed of Roses- Simply Delicious Baked Grapefruit

October 7th, 2011 by abedofroses

Baked Grapefruit with Brown Sugar

Simply Delicious Baked Grapefruit

We’ve gotten two requests from guests this week for this recipe and it is so simple that I’m almost embarrassed to share it.  This is for Bonnie and Nevada. I hope you enjoy making it at home!

I love grapefruit just as they are with no adornment at all, but to make them even better, I like to bake them with a little brown sugar and top with a dab of homemade cranberry sauce. It’s simple yet elegant. Here’s how.

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Line a metal baking pan with aluminum foil.
  • Cut two grapefruit in half crosswise and trim the bottoms to make sure they sit flat and level in the pan.
  • Section the grapefruit with a sharp knife. I highly recommend a two sided grapefruit knife. The double blade on one end cuts both sides of the membrane in one motion, then the scoop blade cuts the back and bottom for easy eating.
  • Top each grapefruit half with 1 Tbs of brown sugar.
  • For each half cut 1 pat of butter in half and place on top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove to individual plates and fill the center hole with just enough homemade cranberry sauce to cover it.

Serves 4.  See recipes below for cranberry sauce.

Double edged grapefruit knife

Handy grapefruit knife with two blades

Two Cranberry Sauce Recipes- the Long and the Short Versions

I keep a jar of this cranberry sauce in my fridge, since we make this dish so often. I’ve never tried freezing it, but I can’t see why not!

The Long Elaborate Version:

  • 1 cup Ruby Port
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • orange zest to taste
  1. Bring port and cinnamon sticks to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Add dried cranberries and simmer 3 more minutes.
  3. Add fresh cranberries, water and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring.
  4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer stirring often for about 20 minutes, until sauce is thickened and berries have collapsed.
  5. Discard cinnamon sticks and refrigerate.

The Short and Easy Version:

  • Take 1 can whole cranberries
  • Mix with a dash of ground cloves, ground nutmeg and ground cinnamon.
  • Microwave on high for 2 minutes
  • Refrigerate