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Beat the Summertime Heat in the Mountains of Western North Carolina

June 20th, 2015 by abedofroses

Picnic at Craggy Gardens

Picnic at Craggy Gardens

Summertime in Asheville offers so many ways to enjoy your stay, from Summer Festivals and concerts to Shakespeare under the stars. It also has some wonderful ways to beat the heat! Slip down the chilly mountain waters of Sliding Rock, go whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River or take a picnic to Craggy Gardens on the Blue Ridge Parkway, like we did the other day. A short and scenic drive took us from 89 degrees to 72 degrees with a refreshing breeze. The main picnic area has rolling hills and stone picnic tables, with the mountains just over the trees. But a short hike up the Craggy Pinnacle trail takes you to much more dramatic views.

Mountains for as far as you can see

Mountains for as far as you can see

There you will be treated to a 360 degree view of mountain peaks that seem to go on forever. The visitors center, just past the main picnic area, right on the Blue Ridge Parkway has a panoramic view as well, with the peaks you are looking at labeled on an open guide book just below the window, which I just loved.

Asheville’s elevation is about 2,200 feet but we are surrounded by the mountains of the Blue Ridge as well as the Black Mountain Range. An hour north of Asheville along the Blue Ridge Parkway is Mount Mitchell. At 6,600 feet above sea level it is the highest point east of the Mississippi and can easily be 20 degrees cooler that downtown Asheville. An hour to the south of us is Mount Pisgah at 5,721 feet.

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

The waterfalls of Dupont State Forest are just 40 miles from downtown Asheville. Four entrances to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are within 60 miles from downtown Asheville. We are surrounded by incredible natural beauty and refreshing mountain streams. At the end of the day you can explore our vibrant restaurant/music and theater scene rejuvenated. But save room for our gourmet breakfast in the morning!

In Asheville Food Begins with Breakfast, and this Month it’s all about Local Western North Carolina Cheeses!

March 31st, 2015 by abedofroses

Looking Glass Creamery Cheesemaker

Looking Glass Creamery Cheesemaker

In April all of the inns in the Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association will be celebrating local cheeses from Western North Carolina. Come celebrate with us! The Asheville area has a dazzling number of high quality artisanal dairies and creameries, many open for tours and tastings. This month they will be hosting the WNC Cheese Trail event, inviting visitors to the area and local folks as well to spend an afternoon exploring our beautiful mountains and countryside while sampling some of the best handmade cheeses in the area.

Residents of Round Mountain Creamery

Residents of Round Mountain Creamery

All of our inns will be providing you with maps to help guide your adventure as well as recipes using the infinite variety of Asheville area cheeses. Asheville Food truly does begin with Breakfast and at our inns you will get some of the best breakfasts in North Carolina prepared with local cheeses. Here at A Bed of Roses we will also be hosting Saturday local wine and local cheese pairings from 5-6pm featuring wines from Addison Farms Vineyard and cheeses from Three Graces Dairy. The WNC Cheese month celebrations will culminate in the Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest on April 26, 2015 taking place at Highland Brewery from 12-4pm. Learn about cheesemaking, see a goat milking demonstration and watch Asheville’s best chefs compete for the best grilled cheese sandwich! You can meet the cheesemakers and sample cheese from 25 local creameries, just in case you didn’t get to all of them on the cheese trail! Tickets are available at all Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association inns, including A Bed of Roses, for ½ price.WNC Cheese Trail Banner

Recipes from A Bed of Roses: Italian Egg Cups with Proscuito de Parma

February 15th, 2015 by abedofroses

Smoky and light Italian Egg Cups

Smoky and light Italian Egg Cups

Proscuito de Parma makes these convenient individual serving, crustless quiches just heavenly. The smoky flavor permeates the entire dish. We prefer thinly sliced Proscuito that is imported from Parma rather than the domestic varieties. Relatively low-fat, using non-fat yogurt in the egg filling, you can make this dish even healthier by using a low-fat grated Mexican cheese. It’s still delicious!

Serves 6

  • 1 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 cup grated Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 6 slices of Proscuito de Parma
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup plain non-fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • Fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Fresh chives, snipped
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Coat 6, 10-oz. Ramequins with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Sauté onions and peppers in olive oil, seasoning generously with Italian seasoning mix while cooking.
  4. Drape one slice of trimmed Proscuito in the bottom of each Ramequin, lining the cup and draping slightly over the side.
  5. Cover the Proscuito with a Tbs. or two of the sautéd vegetables.
  6. Mix together the cheeses and top the vegetables with half of the cheese.
  7. Whisk together the eggs, yogurt and mustard in a medium bowl until smooth
  8. Pour egg mixture over the cheese and vegetables in each Ramequin filling them to about ¾.
  9. Top with remaining cheese.
  10. Sprinkle with fresh thyme, freshly ground pepper and snipped chives.
  11. Place Ramequins on a jelly roll pan and bake for 30 minutes until eggs are set and tops are browned slightly.

The History Behind Our Beloved Holiday Traditions and the Best Ways to Celebrate them in Asheville: Part 1- The Christmas Tree.

December 4th, 2014 by abedofroses

Christmas at A Bed of Roses

Christmas at A Bed of Roses

T’is the season! We love Christmastime and all the trappings, decorating the tree, singing carols, eating holiday goodies, kissing under the mistletoe, exchanging gifts with our loved ones. But what is behind the traditions we hold so dear? Many of them were popularized during the Victorian era, the period in which our inn, A Bed of Roses, was built. Many started much earlier.

Evergreens have always held special meaning for ancient inhabitants of northern climates, and many believed that they keep away illness, witches and evil spirits.  Christians in Germany first adapted these “pagan” practices into their religious traditions by decorating an evergreen tree and bringing it inside. Although the Christmas tree has been a German tradition as early as the 16th century, Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, introduced the custom to the royal family in 1841 and a tinted etching of the decorated tree was published in the Illustrated London News, causing Christmas trees to be all the rage in Victorian England. They decorated the live trees with lighted candles (do not do this!), ribbons, paper chains, fruit and candies. The fashion conscious American East Coast Society quickly followed suit.

The Christmas Tree in the Grand Banquet Hall at the Biltmore Estate

The Christmas Tree in the Grand Banquet Hall at the Biltmore Estate

While Europeans decorated small trees, Americans, of course, went for the biggest, floor to ceiling trees. In Asheville, the grand Biltmore Estate demonstrates this passion for the biggest and most elaborate Christmas trees. George Vanderbilt first opened the Biltmore House to friends and family on Christmas Eve 1895 and Christmastime has been celebrated there in grand style ever since. The mansion is filled with dozens of uniquely decorated trees, but the most impressive is a 35 foot tall fraser fir that has been raised in the Grand Banquet Hall, ablaze with lights. The most magical and romantic time to see the impressive display of trees and decorations is during the Biltmore Candlelight Evenings. All the fireplaces are aglow as carolers and musicians play throughout the house guiding you from one spectacular holiday scene to another. A Bed of Roses offers several Biltmore Candlelight Evening Packages, customized to let you choose your special holiday experience.

Stay tuned for more holiday traditions and the joyous ways we celebrate them here in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Happy Holidays from Our Home to Yours

Happy Holidays from Our Home to Yours

Asheville Inn-Sider’s Holiday Package: Spotlight on New Morning Gallery and the Amazing John Cram

November 22nd, 2014 by abedofroses

Dennis Thompson's Dragon with Opal Eyes at New Morning Gallery

Dennis Thompson’s Dragon with Opal Eyes at New Morning Gallery

When we at the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association decided to compile a curated list of the best Holiday Shopping destinations in Asheville to share with our guests, New Morning Gallery was at the very top of my list. My family and friends have been the recipients of New Morning Gallery one-of-a-kind gifts every year for nearly as long as the shop and gallery has been open. Long before I lived in Asheville my family introduced me to this exquisite collection of unique arts and crafts and it’s been my go-to place to buy gifts ever since. In that time I’ve witnessed how one man over the course of 40 years spearheaded a renaissance here in Asheville, not just with one wonderful gallery of gifts. When John Cram opened New Morning Gallery in 1972, Asheville was not yet the cultural destination that it is now and he played a big part in bringing art and culture to the city. This is evidenced by the State of North Carolina awarding him it’s greatest civilian honor in Fine Arts in 2013.

Poster for this past year's Art & Craft Fair

Poster for this past year’s Art & Craft Fair

He created the Annual Village Art & Craft Fair shortly after opening New Morning Gallery.

He then went on to help revive Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville by opening the Blue Spiral Gallery. He bought the theater next door that was known for screening porn movies and made it into The Fine Arts Theatre, Asheville’s home for art and independent films. Then Bellagio, “art to wear” in Biltmore Village followed with one of a kind fashion and Bellagio Every Day on Biltmore Avenue downtown.  We are so honored to have John Cram and his “Blue Spiral” of shops and galleries participate in our Asheville Inn-siders Holiday Package. Watch him talk about his life and how Asheville has grown and come to life in this video.
The Asheville Inn-Sider’s Holiday Package: Stay, Shop & Play Package is available Nov. 19, 2014 to Thursday, Jan. 3, 2015. Add it to any two night reservation at A Bed of Roses now.

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.

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!

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