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The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands and Klay Hawk Dolls’ Creative Fantasy World

October 21st, 2014 by abedofroses

Karen Hawkins with some of her creations

Karen Hawkins with some of her creations

The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands just wrapped up its three day show at the US Cellular Center in Asheville and we never miss it. This juried exhibition with demonstrations and live regional music brings together the very best craftspeople in the area, all members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.

We would like to highlight one of these talented artists, Karen Hawkins of Klay Hawk Dolls, based in Leicester, NC. Her figurative sculptures take you to a magical world of elves, fairies and trolls, all richly costumed and expressively sculpted and posed.

Karen's "Twilight Dryad"

Karen’s “Twilight Dryad”

Many of these one-of-a-kind dolls are posable and some come with enchanted environments with fellow creatures. The humor and imagination of her work is simply delightful.

With a BA and Masters degree in Fine Arts, Karen taught art in the public schools for many years and now that she has retired she devotes herself full time to creating magic. She continues to teach as well, conducting workshops from her studio for beginner to advanced students. Her work heading up GoFigure, a figurative artists group here in Asheville, continues to connect her to the schools. For the third year, in conjunction with the Buncombe County Library, they are celebrating Reading Awareness Month by providing Storybook Characters to the Library. They will also be visiting local schools during the month of March to share their work and the books that inspired them. All the works will be 3D characters inspired by children’s literature.

A look at the whimsical world of Klay Hawk Dolls

A look at the whimsical world of Klay Hawk Dolls

Come to Asheville this April to see the celebration conclude with a month-long exhibit at the main branch of the Buncombe County Library in the heart of downtown Asheville. You can also learn more about Karen’s work at her website klayhawkdolls.com or GoFigure’s website.  

Recipes from the Kitchen of A Bed of Roses- Mrs. Wolfson’s Legendary Chocolate Chip Cookies

October 11th, 2014 by abedofroses

Fresh Baked Chocolate Chip Cookes

Fresh Baked Chocolate Chip Cookes

One of my fondest childhood memories was of ducking under the wood rail fence to our next door neighbors house where her mother had just taken fresh baked chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. I’ll never forget how they smelled and Mrs. Wolfson always gave us some. My own mother was not a baker so this was an incredibly rare treat. I have often dreamed of how perfect those chocolate chip cookies were- thin and crisp at the edges but chewy and chocolaty in the middle. I never could duplicate them. On a recent visit with my older sister I mentioned them to Marianne and was amazed to discover that she had the recipe all along! I finally tried out the recipe, almost afraid that in my memory I had made them better than they were. Well, I don’t think so- these are pretty awesome! Keep a close eye on them while baking. The edges will be brown and a little crispy but be careful not to burn them!

Ingredients:

  • 3 sticks butter or margarine at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbs white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups flour, not sifted
  • Chocolate chips to taste (I used about 2 cups)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Add eggs, baking soda and vanilla. Mix well.
  4. Add flour, mixing until smooth. You can add a few drops of water if the dough seems too stiff.
  5. Add chips.
  6. Space generous tablespoons of batter on cookie sheets, leaving room for them to spread
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes, watching closely.

Day Trips from Asheville- Explore Unique Small Towns near Asheville

October 5th, 2014 by abedofroses

Main Street shops in Waynesville

Main Street shops in Waynesville

It’s easy to get away from the crowds and find fun small communities to explore while you’re in Asheville. Historic and quaint downtown shopping areas, antiquing, hiking and mountain views abound in Western North Carolina. Weaverville, Brevard, Black Mountain, Waynesville and Hendersonville are all worth visiting and are just a short and scenic drive away.

Nestled between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains, Waynesville is just outside the Pisgah National Forest and sits at an elevation of 2,752 ft. On a recent day trip to Waynesville we found a charming Main Street lined with gift shops, antique stores, art galleries and clothing shops. There’s a small town feel to the historic downtown shopping area. One shopkeeper told us people in Waynesville don’t lock their doors, it’s that kind of place.

The Patio Bistro's courtyard

The Patio Bistro’s courtyard

After scoping out the perfect antique chair for the Wilkinson Room at “Feather Your Nest” and marveling at Teresa Pennington’s colored pencil originals at “T. Pennington Art Gallery”, we found the perfect place for lunch. The Patio Bistro had outdoor seating in a little courtyard and served the most beautiful spinach and feta quiche I have ever seen. I seriously need that recipe! When the shopping resumed we were drawn into an antique shop by stunning antique stained glass windows and doors that the proprietor had collected from all over including Baltimore and New York. At the back of “Burl Wood Gallery” stood an imposing Napoleon III armoire that we would need to build an entire room to accommodate. Next house! “Gatekeepers” was our last stop to browse for gifts and unique home accessories. Our Halloween decorating will be fun this year with the gourd jack-o-lantern lights we found there! We did go back for the chair too!

A hollowed out gourd makes a wonderful jack-o-lantern

A hollowed out gourd makes a wonderful jack-o-lantern

All in all it was a lovely day trip.

Celebrate the Lovely Reed Creek Greenway in Early October

September 28th, 2014 by abedofroses

One of the entrances to the Reed Creek Greenway

One of the entrances to the Reed Creek Greenway

The Reed Creek Greenway, just a few blocks from A Bed of Roses is having a ribbon cutting on October 9th as part of University of North Carolina Asheville’s biggest ever Fall 2014 Greenfest running from October 1st through the 11th. The latest stretch of the Greenway now connects the Montford Historic District to the corner of Broadway and W.T. Weaver Boulevard where the UNC Botanical Garden lies and the entrance to UNC’s lovely wooded campus.

As part of Greenfest, the global Ecomusics and Ecomusicologies 2014 conference and performance series will be taking place Oct 2-6.

Grammy winning composer Paul Winter

Grammy winning composer Paul Winter

Paul Winter, the seven-time Grammy-winner, composer and saxophonist will be performing “In Celebration of the Earth” at Isis Music Hall on Friday Oct 3rd at 8:00pm. He will also be leading a workshop, “Adventures in SoundPlay at the conference. Richard Shulman’s Earth and Sky Trio will be performing from 6:00-8:00pm.

Fry Street Quartet

Fry Street Quartet

Other performers include Fry Street Quartet who will join with physicist Dr. Robert Davies on Oct 2nd in a performance combining music, information, imagery and a “dash of theater”. The resulting event includes the works of composer Laura Kaminsky, painter Rebecca Allen, environmental photographer Garth Lenz and Utah sculptor Lymann Whitaker. “Inusksuit” composed by John Luther Adams, 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Music winner will be performed on the UNCA Quad on Oct. 4th featuring 99 percussionists. Performances, workshops, panel discussions and installations continue until Oct 6th.

A newly available portion of Reed Creek

A newly available portion of Reed Creek

Other events in the Greenfest include “Lunch with a Farmer” serving up seasonal items from North Carolina farms with the farmers on hand to chat as well as the Bulldog Bike Bonanza. Carnival booths with games and lessons in bike maintenance and safety will be presented by UNCA Campus Recreation, UNC Bike Shop and Asheville on Bikes. The Greenfest Bike Ride will take place on Oct 9th as well, from 2:45-4:15pm, ending up at the Reed Creek Greenway in time for the official dedication of the Greenway.

Everybody’s Environmental Conference will take place Oct 9-10, presented by UNCA’s Center for Diversity Education and Oct 11th is Alumni and Community Service Day. Volunteers will pitch in to continue the work of enhancing the green spaces along the Reed Creek Greenway.

Bridge over Reed Creek

Bridge over Reed Creek

For more photos of the Reed Creek Greenway visit our Photo Gallery.

Asheville Inn-Sider’s Holiday Package: Stay, Shop, Play!

September 17th, 2014 by abedofroses

Get your ABBA Holiday Shopping Pass

Get your ABBA Holiday Shopping Pass

A Bed of Roses, along with the 17 inns of the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association (ABBA) is offering our first-ever holiday getaway package!  When you book two nights in any of our five unique guest rooms, choose the Inn-siders Holiday package and you will receive a special guide to the best holiday shopping destinations in the Asheville area.  The inns of the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association have hand picked our favorite independent local shops and spas and combined forces to offer our guests a shopping pass good for discounts at 28 unique shopping destinations. Once your holiday shopping is all done we will send you home with a wrapped package of our home baked holiday cookies along with the recipe! This package is good from November 19th 2014 until January 2nd 2015.

Book this package with your room reservation >>

B&Bs for Vets

September 16th, 2014 by abedofroses

B&B for Vets Program

B&B for Vets Program

Once again, this Veteran’s Day we have reserved our two most luxurious rooms for active or retired military and their spouses as part of the B&B for Vets  program.  B&Bs across the country, including all of the members of the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association, are donating free rooms for the night of November 11th. We are proud to participate in this program and to thank service members and their families for their sacrifice. When all of the donated rooms in the association have been booked you can still add your name to a wait list.  Please note that ABBA member inns are offering free rooms on Tuesday November 11th only. A Bed of Roses will be giving priority to those veterans who are new to the program at our inn. Please call us at (828) 258-8700 to book. A credit card number must be given to reserve your room, but no charges will be made on the card unless we are not notified at least 1 day in advance of a cancellation. This ensures that another Veteran will be able to make use of the donated room if you are not able to. You can find more information on the program at The Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association website.

An Innkeeper’s Secrets: Easy Ways to Decorate Your Plate

August 22nd, 2014 by abedofroses

Chilled Raspberry Peaches

Chilled Raspberry Peaches

We really do “eat with our eyes first”. How a dish looks on the plate plays a large role in whether we decide to eat it or not and it also enhances the sensory experience tremendously. Even though I was an artist and illustrator before becoming an innkeeper, you don’t have to be an artist to make beautiful, appealing dishes than invite your guests to taste the food and savor each bite. A colorful garnish that looks special can be so easy to put together. Fresh ingredients are always key, but a few slices here and a twist there can make it look really special. Here are some easy tips on decorating the plate.

Remember three rules for creating an appealing plated dish:

  1. Color WheelTaste- when garnishing a plate the first consideration should be, will it taste good? Will the taste of the garnish go well with the rest of the meal? A good garnish is edible! Going to elaborate lengths to create a dramatic look is unnecessary and futile if the eater doesn’t want to consume it.
  2. Color- a plate needs contrast. If all the dishes are monochromatic you lose an opportunity to create interest. Contrasting colors in a garnish like a red tomato and green herbs or bell peppers work well. Complementary colors are at the opposite sides of a color wheel, like red and green or yellow and blue, but use common sense. Not all colors occur naturally in foods and you do want it to look edible! An organic edible flower may provide the right contrasting color too.
  3. Complementing tastes, colors and shapes make an inviting plate

    Complementing tastes, colors and shapes make an inviting plate

    Shape- Pleasing shapes can be created just by how the food is arranged. Fanning a sliced strawberry or avocado creates a harmonious shape. Arranging a few slices of plumb tomato in an arc does the same. Think in threes and curves instead of in straight lines.

For a sweet meal, like our orange stuffed French toast or Peaches with orange sauce in a puff pancake, a sliced orange with a small cut from the middle to the outer edge can be twisted to make a lovely nest for a sliced and splayed strawberry or an organically grown flower.  I love to use nasturnum. For the strawberry, wash and hold with the stem side down, then thinly slice without cutting to the stem- just enough that you can smoosh the strawberry to splay the slices.

Nest a splayed strawberry on a twisted orange slice

Nest a splayed strawberry on a twisted orange slice

For a savory meal, slice a tomato and decorate it with contrasting colored sliced peppers and a sprig of fresh curly parsley or a scored cucumber. Wash and cut the cucumber in half, then take a sharp tined fork and run it down the sides of the cucumber making shallow cuts at even intervals. Then thinly slice crosswise and place on top of the tomato slice. A bell pepper can be cut in half lengthwise, from stem to bottom, and then thinly sliced across. You can also create a bell pepper ring by cutting a circle around the stem, removing the center seeds and membrane and then slicing across. Arrange the slices by crossing them or the rings by layering them in threes like an Olympic seal.

If your main dish is a spicy southwestern or Mexican dish you can top your tomato with fresh cilantro. To garnish an Italian main dish, like our Italian Egg Cups with Proscuito de Parma, you can top your tomato with a fresh basil leaf or a Rosemary sprig. We always have plenty of fresh herbs growing in our “kitchen garden”. Parsley, chives, thyme, rosemary and mint are easy to grow and always look fresh and inviting on the plate.

Cilantro grilled chicken with rice pilaf decorated with avocado.

Cilantro grilled chicken with rice pilaf decorated with avocado and plumb tomatoes.

Avocado adds a creamy cooling taste to any spicy dish and is decorative as well. While working at a French Restaurant right out of college I learned how to thinly slice a peeled avocado and then gently push on it to splay the slices on the plate. All it really needs is a touch of salt and fresh ground pepper, but you can also slide slices of tomato between the slices or drizzle with a little balsamic glaze. Top it with a shaving of fresh Parmesan Regianno and it’s heavenly to taste and to look at.

Bon Appetit!

Art Deco Architecure in Asheville. Ellington’s City Hall Re-emerges from Behind It’s Scaffolding.

July 28th, 2014 by abedofroses

Asheville's Art Deco City Hall

Asheville’s Art Deco City Hall

Asheville City Hall is about to emerge, renewed from a 6 million dollar renovation project that began in November 2012. The scaffolding and netting has begun to come down and by the end of the year we will again be able to fully appreciate one of Asheville’s architectural jewels. Several Art Deco buildings of rich variety can be found in Asheville and we count ourselves very lucky to enjoy the ornamental detailing they reveal.

The Architecture of downtown Asheville is incredibly varied and spans several styles popularized between the 1880, when the railroad arrived and doubled Asheville’s population, and the early 1930s, when the Depression hit Asheville hard. At that time construction ground to a halt due to Asheville’s decision to pay off it’s debt rather than go bankrupt. In the 50 years that it took to accomplish that feat many historic buildings were spared from the destruction wrought in the name of urban renewal.

The City Building and the Courthouse were both built in 1928

The City Building and the Courthouse were both built in 1928

In 1928 both the conservative neoclassical Buncombe County Courthouse and the glorious Art Deco Asheville City Hall were built side by side, offering a striking and delightful contrast in styles. Architect Douglas Ellington designed City Hall as well as several other important Art Deco buildings in the area. The First Baptist Church is an Ellington design. A lovely tiled dome topped with a copper cupola sits above the octagonal main auditorium.

The dome of the Baptist Church designed by Ellington

The dome of the Baptist Church designed by Ellington

Art Deco decorative patterns adorn a more neoclassical design here, as it does on the Federal Court House built in 1929 and designed by James Wetmore and the Grove Arcade. The Asheville High school by Ellington has many similarities in style to City Hall. Ellington’s S&W Cafeteria in the heart of downtown drips with rich Art Deco detailing as well. The Wick and Green Building, housing Wick and Green Jewelers is a lovely Art Deco design that originated as a gas station!

Art Deco Detailing on the S&W Building

Art Deco Detailing on the S&W Building

When visiting Asheville be sure to take advantage of one of the Historic Asheville tours.

  • The Asheville Urban Trail is a self guided tour designed by volunteers and created by the City of Asheville to improve Asheville through public art. Symbols representing five historical eras are carved into pink granite along the trail and each of the 30 stations along the walk includes a piece of art or a bronze plaque that describes it. Urban Trail maps are available at Pack Place, The Visitors Center, many downtown stores and most B&Bs, including A Bed of Roses.
  • History at Hand offers guided tours of Downtown, the Montford Historic District and the Historic Riverside Cemetery, located right here in Montford.
  • Asheville Tours also offers a 90 minute guided Downtown Architectural History Walking Tour.
  •  Asheville Mountain Magic offers a self-guided walking tour on their website that is informative and covers all of the architectural styles displayed downtown. 

    Beautiful tile work adorns the S&W Building

    Beautiful tile work adorns the S&W Building

 

 

 

 

 

Innkeepers’ Secrets: Fresh Home-baked Cookies from Scratch in a Flash

June 21st, 2014 by abedofroses

Cookies for now and later too

Cookies for now and later too

Nothing beats warm cookies made from scratch the old fashioned way. But we’re all busy and sometimes it seems like too much trouble for just a few cookies. Innkeepers need to have fresh baked cookies available every day whether they have two guests or 14 guests and we can’t get away with anything but the best homemade recipes. Guests expect variety too! You can’t put out the same cookies all week. The way we do it is to make large batches, bake only the number of cookies we need and quick-freeze the extra dough in individual cookie portions.

Place the dough in a glass baking dish

Place the dough in a glass baking dish

The next time you need cookies you take only the number you need out of the freezer, let them defrost on the cookie sheet for a few minutes and bake. Instant cookies that taste just a delicious as they did the day you mixed up the dough!

A one-tablespoon ice cream style scooper is an invaluable tool for this job. Once you’ve scooped and placed the dough you’re baking today onto cookie sheets, scoop the rest of the dough into large glass baking dishes, just far enough apart that they don’t touch each other.

Pop the frozen cooked into a zip lock bag

Pop the frozen cooked into a zip lock bag

Put in the freezer for 30 minutes. Take them out of the freezer and with a little twist of the wrist you can take each cookie off of the baking dish and throw them into a large zip lock freezer bag. Return to the freezer until the next time you crave that home-baked goodness. We keep several different kinds of cookie in the freezer so we can change them every day or mix and match, so be sure to label the bags. Easy!

Ambrozia- An Unlikely Location Hides a Real Gem of a Restaurant

June 8th, 2014 by abedofroses

Ambrozia Bar + Bistro

Ambrozia Bar + Bistro

When we saw that Ambrozia Bar + Bistro was one of the finalists in the Fire on the Rock Competition Dining Series we were surprised to learn that they were located right here in North Asheville. Why didn’t we know about them? When they won the competition we had to find them and eat there! It turns out that Ambrozia is only about a year old and is tucked in a little unassuming strip mall. The location, on busy Merrimon Avenue, is in an area of Asheville that doesn’t attract a lot of tourism, with its grocery stores and drug store chains. The space used to house a sandwich shop and they kept one unusual and interesting feature. The restaurant occupies two adjacent store-fronts, with one housing the restaurant and the other the kitchen. Glass shop windows give you a full view of the kitchen staff from the street. In the restaurant portion the shotgun layout, with a bar on one side and tables on the other. has been given new life with the addition of subtle lighting, glass and wood.

A Beautiful Melon Salad

A Beautiful Melon Salad

When we arrived for our reservation we were struck with how friendly the staff was and how they seemed to already know many of the other customers. It appears this gem of a restaurant was already a well-known secret to many North Asheville and Beaver Lake residents! The menu was eclectic and promising, focusing on fresh farm to table cuisine with many influences – Southern, Southwestern, Asian, Caribbean, all with a twist. When the first course arrived we knew we were in for a treat. Compressed watermelon and cantaloupe squares topped with a layer of feta cheese were lined up on a long plate and garnished with watercress, candied jalapeno jam with a vanilla bean vinaigrette. The Seared Elk Carpaccio had looked tempting too, but we couldn’t imagine being happier than we were with the refreshing, salty sweet salad. My short rib special was perfectly tender and full of flavor.

Their chef won the Fire on the Rock Dining Competition

Their chef won the Fire on the Rock Dining Competition

The wine list was extensive and the beer list was even more impressive with our own local craft beers represented, but also craft brews from all over the country. The attentive, friendly service was equally impressive. There seemed to be an “ownership” feel permeating the staff. When I explored the restaurant’s background I could see why. The chef/owner, Sam Etheridge relocated to Asheville from Albuquerque, NM, where he ran Ambrozia Café and Wine Bar and Nob Hill Bar and Grill. When he relocated several of the staff members from his previous restaurants came with him and together with some stellar additions from the Asheville area they have created a restaurant that tastes good and feels good. Congratulations Sam!

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