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An Exciting Upcoming Theater Season in Asheville

August 26th, 2013 by abedofroses

Montford Park Players

Hamlet at Under the Stars

Asheville offers a rich cultural environment with a diverse and active live theater scene. In addition to some great live music, this year has some really exciting stage productions. From Hamlet, concluding the Montford Park Players summer outdoor season, to the innovative Diavolo Dance theatre shaking up the Diana Wortham Theatre in October, there’s something for everyone. The Montford Park Players perform in our own historic neighborhood under the stars during the summer and in the historic Masonic Temple Theatre during the winter. You can get the VIP treatment at their productions when you stay at our B&B or any Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association Inn.

La Reina

La Reina

The NC Stage has been putting on professional theatre in downtown Asheville since 2002 and their season begins on September 18th with a world premiere, “Stalking the Bogeyman”, based on a powerful story first aired on NPR’s This American Life. The Asheville Community Theater (ACT),  is one of the oldest community theatres in the nation and has lots of fun in store this season. “Annie Get Your Gun”, “Caberet” and “Spamalot” are just a few of this year’s offerings on the ACT stage. The Flat Rock Playhouse, The State Theatre of North Carolina, is just a 30 minute drive away. Their current production is the thriller “Deathtrap” with “CATS” coming in September. What I’m really excited about, though is the line-up this year at The Dianna Wortham Theatre at Pack Place right in downtown Asheville. Big name live music, comedy, dance and multimedia stage productions are coming to their Mainstage Series. They just finished up La Reina, an epoch spectacle blurring the genre lines, combining dance, acrobatics, ancient texts, magical costumes, light, shadow and soundscapes to explore power and transformation. How does one follow a show like that? They do it with Ruthie Foster, Sandra Bernhard, Chic Gamine, The Diavolo Dance Theatre and the incredible Japanese drummers of Yamato.  

Other live theatre venues in the area are the Sourthern Appalachian Repertory Theatre (SART) at Mars Hill College, The Anam Cara Theatre Company performing eclectic, avant garde theatre in West Asheville and the Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance. In the small town of Burnsville you’ll find the Parkway Playhouse too. You can find an interesting article on the Parkway Playhouse and their artistic director in last Sunday’s Citizen Times Living Section.

A Section of Blue Ridge Parkway North of Asheville Closed Due to a Large Crack. Parkway South from Asheville to Cherokee Still Open.

July 19th, 2013 by abedofroses

View from the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway North of Asheville

On July 12th a Park Ranger made a stunning discovery. A large crack, 150 feet long, 4 inches wide and in some places 6 feet deep had developed right down the center line of the The Blue Ridge Parkway just north of Asheville. Since that time the crack has grown to 200 feet long and 8 inches wide forcing the closure of a 20 mile stretch of the scenic highway to cars. Apparently the ground below the crack has been saturated with the heavy rains that have left our area lush and green this summer. Cars traveling from Asheville to Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain peak in the eastern US, are being detoured to I40 and US221 through Spruce Pine. Cyclists and hikers can still access the road, at least until repairs begin. July and October are the busiest months of the year for visitors to the Asheville area and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest

Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest

Luckily there is still access to all areas of the Parkway from Asheville south to Cherokee which includes The Folk Art Center and the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitors Center. This section of the Parkway offers beautiful views, plenty of hiking trails, Mount Pisgah and the Pisgah National Forest, Graveyard Fields, Devil’s Courthouse and the Cradle of Forestry Overlook. Asheville is ideally located to provide easy access to outdoor activities and beautiful scenery, from the waterfalls of Dupont State Forest to rafting along the French Broad River or a visit to the North Carolina Arboretum with beautiful gardens as well as wooded trails. Chimney Rock and Lake Lure are close as well.

Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock Park

There is still plenty to see and do in the area. Asheville itself has beautiful views and hosts events all summer long. The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, with over 300 exhibitors is here this weekend and Bele Cher, the largest free music and arts street festival in the Southeast is here next weekend. Folkmoot USA, a two week celebration of world cultures with international folk music and dance is going on right now. Just a few of the other festivals this summer include the Mountain Dance & Folk Festival August 1-3,  The Village Art & Craft Fair on the Grounds of the All Souls Cathedral in Biltmore Village on Aug. 3-4 and the LAAFF music and arts street fair on Labor Day weekend. A great place to get information on summer festivals as well as the many outdoor activities in the Asheville area is www.romanticasheville.com.

Perfectly ripe juicy mangoes are finally available! My Favorite Mango Recipes.

July 6th, 2013 by abedofroses

Sweet Ripe Mangoes

Sweet Ripe Mangoes

Finding the perfect mango at the grocery is an art, but one that is far easier to master this time of year. Here in Asheville, Florida Mangoes are in season from May to September and you can find a few different varieties. We see everything from the yellow Champagne mangoes that are more elongated and creamy to the large fat rounded Kent and the sweet and juicy Tommy Atkins varieties. Mangoes when they’re ripe don’t need much to bring out their flavor, but here are a few ways that I love to prepare them.

A simple Mango Blueberry salad on a bed of lettuce is a lovely accompaniment to my buttery, lemony Dutch Babies at breakfast time. Just peel and dice (a large dice) the mangoes and combine with an equal amount of fresh washed blueberries. Sprinkle with a little sugar. I find most recipes call for way more sugar than you need. Add lemon zest and a little bit of lemon juice and orange juice, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Elegant Muesli Fruit Parfaits

Elegant Muesli Fruit Parfaits

Another way to dress up mangoes for breakfast or dessert is layered into a muesli fruit parfait. The muesli is made the night before. Combine 1/4 cup of sugar with 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice. Add 3/4 cup of milk and 1 1/4 cups of rolled oats. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning it will have a thick pasty consistency. Chop strawberries, 2-3 large berries per person. Wash enough fresh blueberries for two small handfuls per person. Peel and dice one mango and then start to assemble. These look lovely in champagne flutes. Put a handful of the chopped strawberries in the bottom of each glass and layer a few of the blueberries, then a few chunks of mango. About half the glass should be filled. Put a spoonful of the muesli on top of the mangoes and a little whipped cream on top of that. Layer again starting with the strawberries and ending with the muesli. Top each with whipped cream and serve.

For a savory meal mangoes pair well with grilled chicken. I like to top grilled chicken with a mango salsa. Marinate 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts in 2 Tbs. tamari sauce mixed with 2 Tbs. honey. Let it sit in a glass bowl while you prepare the salsa. Combine a peeled chopped mango with 2 Tbs. fresh squeezed lime juice, 2 Tbs. diced onions and 3 heaping teaspoons of ground coriander. Grill the chicken for 7 minutes or until done. We use wood lump charcoal with a handful of mesquite chips to give it a smoky flavor. Top with salsa.

Another great way to serve mangoes and chicken together is in a grilled mango chicken salad. Crush a large clove of garlic into a 1 quart Ziploc freezer bag. Add 1 tsp. of fresh squeezed lime juice and 1 tsp. of olive oil. Add 1/4-1/2 tsp. of ground cumin then put 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts in the bag, seal and squish around to mix. Let the chicken marinate while you prepare a salad of mixed greens, red, yellow or orange diced peppers, cucumber and any other favorite fresh vegetables. Toss with a slightly sweet vinaigrette. I like to combine balsamic and raspberry vinegars and then add a little pomegranate juice and honey. Add just enough olive oil that the dressing emulsifies when whisked. Grill your chicken, slice it and top the salad with the chicken slices and peeled, sliced mango. Perfect for a hot summer night’s supper.

The Summer Music Scene in Asheville: So Much to Hear and See!

June 28th, 2013 by abedofroses

Lorraine Conard Band at Bele Chere

Lorraine Conard Band at Bele Chere

Musicians gravitate to Asheville from all over to take advantage of one of the most eclectic music scenes in the country. From Blue Grass to Celtic, Blues, Reggae and classical, you’ll see it all on the streets, at the music festivals, in the clubs and in the concert halls of Asheville. With some of the best music venues, Asheville draws some big names that you might not expect for a city our size performing concerts in surprisingly intimate settings. Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Damien Rich, Flaming Lips, Blondie and Bonnie Raitt have all played here. Bob Dylan and David Byrne with St. Vincent were here just recently. Some of our guests even got to go back stage and talk to David Byrne and St. Vincent and get some very unique autographs.

David Byrne and St Vincent

David Byrne and St Vincent

The Orange Peel Social Aid & Pleasure Club has a rich history of bringing headliners to the region and is nationally recognized. The US Cellular Center (previously the Civic Center) also attracts nationally known acts. But smaller venues abound as well with jams at local pubs like Jack of the Wood. Music and local ale from Asheville’s abundant craft brewers. What could be better?

The area’s traditional music springs from the Scottish, English and Irish early settlers of the western NC mountains. Our traditional Appalachian Music roots can still be seen here with a summer concert tradition, Shindig on the Green. At sundown every Saturday from July to September you’ll see free traditional blue grass music and dancing in Pack Square Park. It’s been called “the back porch on stage”. One very unique and unforgettable Asheville music tradition is The Drum Circle.

Asheville's Drum Circle

Asheville’s Drum Circle

The percussion of African American slaves’ songs had a great influence on Appalachian Folk music so it shouldn’t be surprising to see little Pritchard Park in the heart of downtown Asheville pulsing with a couple hundred drummers and dancers every Friday night, but it is! And it’s just a lot of fun. On Thurday nights in the same park a very different kind of free concert takes place. Homegrown in Pritchard features local singer-songwriters from June through August and there is lots of great homegrown talent here! Another ongoing free outdoor concert series in the summer is Downtown After 5. Taking place the 3rd Friday of the month from May through September on Lexington Avenue this is it’s 25th Anniversary Season.

Music Festivals are also a great place to enjoy live music in Asheville. The largest, Bele Chere takes place at the end of July. The 86th Annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival will be at the Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place on August 1st-3rd. The famed Biltmore Estate hosts a summer concert season with big names like Cheryl Crow, Casting Crowns, and The Beach Boys. And the Brevard Summer Music Festival is not far from Asheville. Joshua Bell will be performing June 29th with Keith Lockhart conducting. There is just unending variety to the music choices here. Enjoy the season with us!

 

The Montford Park Players New VIP Package

June 14th, 2013 by abedofroses

Shakespearean Actor

An actor from The Montford Park Players

Once again A Bed of Roses has joined with the members of the Asheville Bed and Breakfast Association and the Montford Park Players to offer a one of a kind theater experience. The longest running Shakespearean theater company in North Carolina is right here in the historic Montford District of Asheville, performing outdoors in the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre in Montford Park during the summer months and in the historic Masonic Temple Theater during the winter months. Well known and beloved in the area for bringing “free Shakespeare to the Park”, the Montford Park Players are a hidden treasure not often experienced by visitors to Asheville.

Now you can not only see a Montford Park Players production, but you can get the full VIP treatment! The VIP pass includes special reserved seating, a signed play script, a lawn blanket (for couples), a free T-shirt designed for that performance only and a complimentary beverage (wine, beer or soda). But the best part is you will have the opportunity to “dress up” and take a costumed walk-on roll in a scene of the production!

The Summer Season in Montford Park runs from May 9th until September 14th, starting with The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged and hilarious) and ending with Hamlet. Performances this year include The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, and Love’s Labor Lost. Performances go inside to the Masonic Temple theater on October 10th for Othello, running until Oct 27th and A Christmas Carol December 5-22.

Performances are Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30PM. For performance schedules click here www.montfordparkplayers.org.

Advanced booking is required.

VIP tickets are $18.00 for adults.

Book this Package with your room reservation>>

 

 

 

Romantic Summertime Asheville Get-away Package

June 14th, 2013 by abedofroses

First RoseThere’s so much to do in Asheville in the summer. The season is full of festivals, music and arts events as well as outdoor activities. Enjoy the party or lounge on the front porch overlooking our rose gardens. Start off with a fresh bouquet of flowers, chocolate truffles and a sparkling beverage waiting for you in your room. Then enjoy dinner at your choice of outstanding local restaurants. Two tickets to the Biltmore Estate and Gardens as well as Antler Village and the Biltmore Winery are included and they are good for two consecutive days, so you will have lots of time to tour the mansion and enjoy the beautiful gardens. During the summer the Biltmore offers all sorts of outdoor activities, from rafting trips to shady hiking trails. This package can be added to a two night stay at any of our rooms for $225.

Book this package with your room reservation >>

Following Aiden through Peru: An Innkeeper Travels Vicariously

June 8th, 2013 by abedofroses

The Ballestas Islands in Peru

The Ballestas Islands in Peru

What does Peru have to do with an innkeeper in Asheville? Very little, but I know our guests love to travel and so do I, Running a busy B&B gives us very little time off this time of year, since it’s such a popular time to see the mountains of North Carolina! Following my sister’s travels through the mountains of Peru is a great way to get to experience an amazing place in real time and share the neat things my sister is discovering with my fellow travelers.

Aiden left Asheville last Sunday. Her first trip was to see the Ballestas Islands, with Penguins, seals and thousands of migrating and nesting birds. The area was at the epicenter of an earthquake in 2007 and tourism to the islands is helping the economy recover.

El Candelabro

El Candelabro

One tourist attraction there is El Candelabaro, a strange lamp dug into the sand. The exact age of this geoglyph is unknown and there are various theories about why it was created. Archeologists found pottery belonging to the Paracas people from around 200 B.C. near the site. It may be a representation of the lightning rod of the god Viracocha, a mythological figure known throughout South America, or a sign to sailors. At 595 feet long, it would be visible from sea for miles.

The next thing on her itinerary was to fly over the mysterious Nazca Lines, the most famous geoglyphs, dating from between 800 B.C. and 800 A.D. This amazing site is on a dry plateau in southern Peru and stretches over 50 miles. The pictographs range from simple geometric designs to complex figures of animals and birds.

A figure from the Nasca Lines

A figure from the Nasca Lines

Archeologists, historians and mathematicians have studied these lines since they were discovered in 1927 but why they were created is still a mystery. They were probably scraped from the copper colored rocks between 200 BC and 700 AD by the Nazca Indians for religious purposes. A popular book published in 1968, “Chariots of the Gods” by Erich Von Daniken proposed that they were created by aliens to use as landing strips!

Next Aiden travels to Arequipa and then the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

The Montford Music & Arts Festival is Here Again! May 18th.

May 17th, 2013 by abedofroses

An Eclectic Selection of Vendors at the Festival

An Eclectic Selection of Vendors at the Festival

For the 10th year in a row our Historic Montford District is hosting the best and largest one-day festival just a block from A Bed of Roses. Asheville is home to many great arts and music festivals but this is our favorite. The local art and crafts displayed by over 100 vendors is eclectic and of the highest quality. The music is fantastic and runs continuously on two stages, one on Montford Avenue and one on Soco Street from 10:15 in the morning to 6:15 in the evening. Several bands will be returning this year including WestSound which has been a great hit for the past four years, Ira Bernstein, a world-class percussive step dancer who is one of the founders of the festival and Free Flow Band playing “Old skool R&B and Funk”. There will be everything from “Global Americana” music from The Billy Sea to Paul’s Creek acoustic string band and the garage pop duo, The Mad Tea. The artwork displayed is always a wonderful mix of fine arts, jewelry, wearable art, sculpture, wood crafts, glass and pottery. There will even be body art this year.

Tribal beads of africa  from Gem on a Wire

Tribal beads of africa from Gem on a Wire

And of course there will be food. Nine Mile, a favorite neighborhood restaurant with Jamaican food is in the heart of the festival but there will also be a wide range of food trucks, from El Kimchi to Gypsy Queen Cuisine as well as MacDaddy’s Lemonade and lots of icecream and gelato. It’s looking to be a great day in the neighborhood!

A Bed of Roses is a proud sponsor of the Montford Music & Arts Festival again this year. See picutres of last years festival in our photo gallery!

First Time at A B&B? How to Get the Most Out of Your B&B Experience.

April 29th, 2013 by abedofroses

Oregano in bunny pot

You’ve decided that maybe a B&B really is a “better way to stay” than an anonymous hotel with cookie cutter rooms. Now how do you make sure that you’re really getting all the benefits of a bed and breakfast when you’ve never been to one before? Here are some tips on how to maximize your stay and make it really memorable.

First of all, at a bed and breakfast be sure to stay for breakfast! This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s natural to want to pack the most into your vacation or weekend stay in a new place. You want to see it all and do it all! But breakfast at a bed and breakfast is the main event. It’s integral to the whole experience of an inn versus a hotel. Of course there’s the food. One of the reasons people become innkeepers is because they love to cook and they love to present their guests with a beautiful plate that will make their inn stand out in the crowd. Most likely it is home cooked from scratch, many times from fresh local ingredients or even from the innkeeper’s own garden. It’s not at all unusual for an innkeeper to have culinary training in gourmet cooking or catering. You won’t be getting short order eggs and bacon! It’s going to be special.

Dining room table

Dining Room Table Set for Breakfast

Beyond just the delicious food is the experience of sharing your breakfast with the other guests. Depending upon how the individual inn handles breakfast, you will meet all or many of the other guests staying at the inn at the breakfast table. I’ve always felt that this is where the magic happens! People from all different regions of the country or the world, with totally different backgrounds, ages and in different stages of their lives come together over a good meal. Connections are made, discoveries are shared and conversation flourishes. It’s definitely worth scheduling that tour a little later in the day. Most B&Bs will post the time(s) they serve breakfast on the website. If not be sure to ask!

Another thing that helps to make your breakfast a wonderful experience is to share any dietary restrictions or things you don’t eat for breakfast with your innkeeper well in advance of your arrival. That way you’re sure to get a breakfast that will be enjoyable for you. There’s no need to feel uncomfortable about not eating when everyone around you is enjoying the meal. Innkeepers want to prepare a meal you’ll relish, so don’t be afraid to ask them to leave out the onions or bacon on yours. Some restrictions, like not being able to eat dairy or eggs take time to prepare for or may involve buying special ingredients so be sure to let your hosts know well in advance. If they aren’t able to accommodate you they will let you know, but most innkeepers are adept at special meals.

The LAAFF Festival on Lexington Avenue

Shopping in Asheville

Pick your innkeeper’s brain about things to do, places to eat and must see attractions in their area. The Internet is great about advertising these things, but the locals know what’s really good or what’s all hype. They can help you find what you will like, not just what’s popular. An innkeeper is also used to being a concierge. They can get you a reservation, schedule a tour, and sometimes get you a little extra special care at places they know well. Plus they know the shortcuts that your GPS won’t tell you!

Be sure to make use of the common areas. There usually are menus available for area restaurants and brochures on things to do and see. It’s also a great opportunity to socialize with other guests and find out what they’ve enjoyed doing in the area.

Pick your room carefully. This isn’t going to be like a hotel, where the rooms are basically the same with different prices for different size beds. Each room in a B&B is unique, just like those in any home. Each has its own décor, some frilly and filled with antiques and others more masculine or modern. Some are large suites and some are cozy nooks. You may have a shower but no bath or a jetted tub with no shower. Pick what you like and what is important to you. Don’t judge a room just by its price. A less expensive room may not be a value if it doesn’t have the amenities you want. Photos will make the room look as good as possible so don’t be afraid to ask how large the room is, how many windows it has or where in the house it’s located. Having expectations that are based on as much information as possible will help you avoid disappointment. Staying at a B&B should be a delight!

For more tips on your first stay at a B&B see our whole series:

  1. First Time at a Bed & Breakfast?
  2. First Time at a Bed and Breakfast? What Can I Expect at Breakfast-time?
  3. First Time at a Bed and Breakfast? What are the amenities like at a B&B?
  4. First Time at A B&B – Bed and Breakfast Etiquette: Reservations and Cancellations
  5. First Time at A B&B – Bed and Breakfast Etiquette: Should I leave a tip at a B&B?
  6. First Time at A B&B – Bed and Breakfast Etiquette: Breakfast Etiquette.
  7. First Time at A B&B – Bed and Breakfast Etiquette: Whispering and Tiptoeing around the Museum!
  8. First Time at a B&B Series: Giving up Control

Recipes from the Kitchen of A Bed of Roses: A Springtime Asparagus Goat Cheese Tart

April 22nd, 2013 by abedofroses

Asparagus Goat Cheese Tart

A light springtime tart

It’s finally Springtime! One of the harbingers of Spring that I really look forward to is tender fresh asparagus that hasn’t been shipped all the way from Peru! One of my favorite ways of enjoying asparagus is in a light tart with local goat cheese paired with a minted fruit salad of fresh strawberries, pineapple and sliced kiwis.

 

Ingredients:

  • One 1/2-pound frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed
  • 1/2 bunch scallions (white and pale green parts only), sliced thin (around 1/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices, reserving tips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3-ounce log soft mild goat cheese
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried, crumbled

Directions:

  1. On a lightly floured board, roll out pastry into a 14-inch square and fit into an 9-inch tart pan with a removable fluted rim.
  2. Roll a rolling pin over top of tart to trim pastry flush with top of rim. Chill pastry shell while making filling.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F. with a baking sheet on lowest rack.
  4. In a small skillet, cook scallions in butter with salt to taste over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Cool.
  5. In a steamer set over boiling water, arrange asparagus slices and top with reserved tips. Steam asparagus, covered, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes, and drain well, reserving tips separately.
  6. In a blender, blend eggs, goat cheese, milk, and salt with pepper to taste. Add tarragon and pulse custard to combine.
  7. Spread scallions and asparagus slices in pastry shell and arrange reserved tips decoratively on top. Pour custard slowly over vegetables
  8. Bake tart in pan on heated baking sheet in the oven 15 minutes
  9. Reduce temperature to 375°F. and bake tart until set, about 8 minutes. Transfer tart in pan to a rack.
  10.  Remove rim of pan carefully and serve tart warm or at room temperature.
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