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Posts Tagged ‘Asheville Holiday Events’

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’s Mardi Gras Parade is the Culmination of Months of Serious Partying!

March 1st, 2014 by abedofroses

King Tony Rogers and Queen Michella Bella Roche!

King Tony Rogers and Queen Michella Bella Roche!

The Mardi Gras Parade is Sunday March 2nd and the weather is going to be perfect for the zany and hilarious party. The costumes and floats are always fantastically creative and with a theme of “Where the Wild Things Are” we are really looking forward to a great show!

What you may not realize is that the planning and celebratory events leading up to the grand parade and Queen’s Ball began many months ago. The Mardi Gras season was officially kicked off on 12th night, January 6th, 12 days after Christmas. On this magical evening the King and Queen of the 2014 Mardi Gras were crowned. Asheville’s own Short Street Cakes hands out slices of King Cake to all supporting members vying for a chance at Royalty. Whoever gets the slice with the Mardi Gras Baby in it gets to choose their “royal consort” and lead the parade. But long before that the fun began. Last Easter, March 31st, on the eve of April Fool’s Day, while last year’s parade was fresh in everyone’s mind, the volunteer members of Asheville Mardi Gras hosted the Fool’s Ball.

A Float from the 2012 Parade

A Float from the 2012 Parade

The theme was cross-dressing and it was free to 2013 Mardi Gras members. The next party was May 19th with the annual Mardi Gras Picnic. Then there was “a Mid-Summer’s Night Mardi Gras”, a 2 day party in Black Mountain at the Whitehorse and the Grey Eagle in Asheville presented by the Bayou Diesel Band. Finally on November 8th the Mardi Gras Theme Reveal Party was held and the Krewes knew what they had to do! After the official 12th night kickoff there was one more event before the Parade, the 6th Annual Cajun Cook Off on Feb. 9th with an art and oddities auction. You can see, membership in this group is a fun year round activity with three different levels of membership, Beads for a single membership, Doubloon level for up to 8 members and Golden Coconut, dubbed “The VIP shizzle” for up to 30 members.

The Parade Route

The Parade Route

The Parade starts a 3PM on Wall Street. The route takes a right on Battery Park, a left on Haywood to Page and back around to Battery Park. The Queen’s Ball takes place after the parade at Pack’s Tavern featuring Empire Strikes Brass.

Join the fun and get inspired to form your own Krewe for next year!

Check back for photos of this year’s parade in our photo gallery.

Christmas with a Twist: Unique Asheville Holiday Performances

December 20th, 2013 by abedofroses

Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol

Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol

Asheville is always unique and Christmastime is no exception. Along with the traditional performances of The Nutcracker etc. we have some interesting and fun twists on holiday tradition.

The Asheville Community Theater (ACT) is presenting David Sideris’s hilarious and irreverent “Santaland Diaries”  December 19-22. In this one man show, a stint as a Department Store Elf is recounted in side-splitting, witty detail.

Another one man tour de force is being presented at the NC Stage Company until December 28th. Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol presents a very different take on Dickens’ classic tale. Based on a best-selling book written in 1995, play-write Tom Mula explores the life, death and heroic efforts of Scrooge’s former business partner to save his soul.

Earlier this month The Diana Wortham Theatre offered The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, a quirky, fun and colorful ballet based on ETA Hoffman’s original novella. Creativity, great costumes, fantastic sets and student involvement along with the professional dancers made this a wonderful annual family event.

The Diana Wortham also hosts A Swannanoa Solstice, a performance that celebrates the holiday music of the Appalachians and their Celtic, Scots-Irish roots. This one day performance on December 22nd is another annual event and features Al Petteway, Amy White and Robin Bullock as well as mandolins, dulcimers, celtic harp and many special guest musicians, dancers and storytellers.

These are just a few of the unique traditions that Asheville offers for celebrating the season. Happy Holidays from A Bed of Roses!

 

Ready or Not Here Comes Santa! Christmas in Asheville

November 21st, 2012 by abedofroses

Santa and his wife

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at the Asheville Holiday Parade

The Biltmore Estate Candlelight tours have begun, Asheville held its Holiday Parade this past Saturday and the Grove Park Inn’s Gingerbread Competition winners have just gone on display. In spite of my stubborn reluctance to even think about Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving, I can’t help but start to give in to the excitement surrounding the holidays. The Christmas season is here, like or not, and I absolutely love this time of year. There’s something magical about the decorations and the music, the parties and even the shopping. Downtown Asheville has a holiday shop window competition that brings out everyone’s creativity and helps get you into the spirit.

Snowman at the Spa

Mr Snowman at the Spa

Sensibilities Spa won the competition with their clever snow-people enjoying the spa treatment, complete with a snow ancestor portrait above the fireplace! The holiday parade was quite an extravaganza with innumerable floats, performers, marching bands playing holiday music and our own Olympic silver medalists, Lauren Tamayo and Manteo Mitchell serving as Grand Marshals of the parade. Santa was the last to arrive with his entourage of festooned live llamas, bobbing Christmas-tree characters, and dancing reindeer people. Families camped out along the parade route and excited children darted into the street to catch a glimpse of what was coming.

Kids at the Asheville Holiday Parade

The cutest float at the Holiday Parade

It was great family fun. The Gingerbread Competition winners are always amazing to see and it gives you an excuse to enjoy the outstanding Arts & Crafts Architecture and original mission furniture of the Grove Park Inn. These are not run-of-the mill gingerbread houses. They are amazing edible sculptures and the bakers come from as far away as Massachusetts to compete. There are no less than 6 productions of The Nutcracker or variations thereof in Asheville this year. They range from the Asheville Puppetry Alliance’s “In the Nutcracker Mood”, featuring holiday music, to a modern interpretation with all dance and no singing or speaking at the Flatrock Playhouse and Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre‘s “The Return of the Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” a surreal, imaginative telling of “The Nutcracker”. And of course, the Asheville Ballet will perform the full original ballet from Imperial Russia.

Biltmore at Christmas

The Biltmore Library at Christmas

There will be choral performances and parties as well, but nothing can compete with the Grand Biltmore Estate in full Christmas regalia. By candlelight, with harpists playing and choirs singing in the Conservatory, the myriad of trees sparkle even brighter. My own 9 foot Christmas tree has arrived from Balsam Hill trees and it’s all I can do to keep from setting it up now. Right after Thanksgiving it’s going up! Happy Holidays!

Mardis Gras Came to Asheville on Sunday

February 20th, 2012 by abedofroses

Mardis Gras Reveler

A happy Reveler in full headdress

Asheville got a jump on Fat Tuesday yesterday with a fabulous Mardis Gras Parade featuring wild glittery, feathery costumes, funky floats and a real Royal Wedding! King Hobbit and Queen Tamra, the king and queen of the procession actually did get married at a ceremony at Pack’s Tavern right before the parade and rode in full glory atop a wedding cake float through the streets of Asheville. A chilly drizzle didn’t put a damper on the party. Spirits were high and the colorful crazy costumes really highlighted how creative folks in Asheville are.

The Wedding Float

The King and Queen on their wedding float kiss to the crowd's delight

Many revelers formed “krewes” ahead of time along themes that inspired their costumes and several “krewes” participated, with everything from the Gypsy Bar Krewe and the Oo La La’s Bawdy Bridesmaids to the Wicked Geishas. The word krewe (pronounced “crew”) dates to the early 19th century according to the organizers’ website and has become the most common term for a New Orleans Carnival organization.

The Asheville Mardis Grasis an annual event hosted by an all volunteer “social aid and pleasure club”. Their aim is to be the southeast’s premier costuming event and they are well on their way. Several thousand spectators lined the parade route and the exuberance was contagious! The music and dancing wound from Wall Street to Battery Park, up Haywood and down Page Ave back to Battery Park and afterwards ended at the Pack Tavern for the Mardis Gras Ball featuring music by Snake Oil Medicine Show.

Costumed people gather for the parade

All sort of costumed people and creative props gathered to join the parade

Asheville definitely knows how to have good clean, irreverent fun! Join us next year for Mardis Gras in the Mountains!

See our gallery for more photos.

A Christmas Wedding at A Bed of Roses

December 25th, 2011 by abedofroses

Tiered stand of Cupcakes

Sisters McMullen Wedding Cupcakes

We’ve just had our first Christmastime Wedding at the inn! It was a lovely event and we’re so proud that the newlyweds, Sherry and Richard chose A Bed of Roses for such an important occasion. For three days we became their family headquarters as they prepared for the special day. Although they live in Texas, they have family in Asheville so their days were filled with visiting and soaking up the local holiday attractions with their family and friends, from the Spa at the Grove Park Inn to the Christmas decorations at the Biltmore Estate. The Red Stag Grill was the setting for the wedding party dinner the night before. Located in the Grand Bohemian Hotel, just outside the entrance to the Biltmore Estate, the Red Stag is a wonderful choice. The design of the grand lobby and restaurant is meant to emulate how the Biltmores might have appointed their family hunting lodge. The morning of the wedding was busy with spa appointments at the Grove Park Inn, where the international gingerbread competition winners are still displayed, and hair appointments. The inn was all decorated for the holidays and we rearranged furniture, sparkling poinsettias and flowers to ready a space in front of the fireplace for the ceremony. The dining room was laid out with a red holiday tablecloth topped in lace on which Everyday Gourmet spread a beautiful array of food in preparation for the reception.

Exchanging wedding rings

Exchanging of the wedding rings

Suddenly it was time for the ceremony! The bride descended the garlanded front staircase from the Turret Suite in a sleeveless white satin gown with train and a bouquet of red roses as cameras flashed. The wedding party was in red and black for the holidays. The bride took her place next to a tuxedoed Richard and Rev. Suzy Green began the ceremony with heartfelt readings and lovely vows. They included a wonderful Celtic tradition in the ceremony called handfasting, that involved tying the bride and grooms hands together with a white satin ribbons. After the ceremony, with the formal photographs all taken the celebration began! In another sweet twist, the bride and groom chose a tiered stand of delicious McMullen Sisters cupcakes instead of a traditional wedding cake (see photo top left), but that didn’t stop them from keeping to tradition and feeding each other cupcakes!

We feel so honored to have been a small part of this wonderful family’s special occasion.

Wedding Party

A Family Christmas Wedding

Christmastime at A Bed of Roses

December 13th, 2011 by abedofroses

Sasha under the tree

Sasha loves to sit under the tree

Last year was our first Christmas at the inn and it was a White Christmas straight out of the storybooks. The snow was gently falling all Christmas day. We had closed the inn and moved into the Revell Room, our favorite, with the cats until Monday. Snug in the house making Beef Wellington (for the first time) for Christmas dinner, we relished that quiet peaceful time. For me, Christmastime has always been special and magic. I love the decorations and the lights, the sparkle and the lush opulence of Christmas. I get to be creative, adding ribbons and lights and greens to every nook I can find. Every year comes out a little bit different. This year we found great new garlands from Balsam Hill to drape outside along the porch and the balcony as well as inside up the stairway.

Christmas Tree in the Foyer

The decorated foyer

My sisters helped me decorate the tree with ornaments Bill and I have collected over the years. Some I had even before meeting Bill, like the Byzantine Star that tops the tree, and they all have special memories attached. I enjoy finding that special gift that’s perfect for a friend or family member, but it’s not about presents for me. It’s all about creating the magic of the holiday in our home and in our hearts.

Asheville has so many magical things to do over the holidays too. We spent the afternoon touring the National Gingerbread Competition winners displayed at the Grove Park Inn. The Montford Players are performing A Christmas Carol, and last weekend Biltmore Village hosted a Dickens Festival with performers roaming the historic streets and shopkeepers dressed in Victorian garb. The Biltmore Candlelight Evenings are a special treat that we got to enjoy last Christmas. Seeing the magnificent estate filled with ornately decorated trees, totally decked out for the holidays, by candlelight and accompanied by live celestial music is dazzling and entrancing.

This year, instead of closing the inn, we’re sharing our snug Christmastime Getaway with a house full of guests! We’re having a Christmas Wedding at A Bed of Roses! We’re all very excited. What could be more magical and romantic than a Christmas Wedding!

Decorations from outside

Our front window decorated with stars

Visit our photo gallery for more photographs of A Bed of Roses in her full holiday regalia.

 

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