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Posts Tagged ‘Things to do in Asheville’

DOUGH in Asheville makes even baking Croissants a Success for the Home Cook!

April 15th, 2014 by abedofroses

Croissants ready to rest in the "Proof Box"

Croissants ready to rest in the “Proof Box”

I love to cook and I get plenty of practice making breakfast for our guests at A Bed of Roses, but the idea of baking croissants from scratch was pretty intimidating even for me! Pastry Chef Ali Caulfield at DOUGH in Asheville got me, along with a class of 10 or so other home bakers, over our fears this past week in a fun 2 day evening class. DOUGH is an innovative chef-owned market and bakery in North Asheville that also offers an ever-changing freshly made menu of sandwiches, salads and pizzas to eat there in the market or to take out. But the wonderful cooking classes and special events that they offer makes DOUGH totally unique, even for Asheville. Most classes are one-day courses, 2-3 hours each and include everything from cooking Thai or Moroccan food to making handmade pasta or mastering the art of the French Macaroon. They have some Parent-Child Pizza Workshops, too that look like a lot of fun. Even in our class we had a family. The parents and their two daughters have taken several classes at DOUGH and the girls did a wonderful job!

Chef Ali Caulfield demonstrates for the class

Chef Ali Caulfield demonstrates for the class

Lawyers, students, real estate agents, retired professionals and one nervous innkeeper all dug in to learn the art of baking croissants hands-on and the flour literally flew! I brought my camera the first night (go to our gallery to see the photos) and it was covered in white dust by the end of the class! Chef Ali took us through the steps one by one, demonstrating along the way with an angled mirror above her workspace that allowed all of us to see exactly what she was doing.

An angled mirror allowed everyone to see what the chef was demonstrating

An angled mirror allowed everyone to see what the chef was demonstrating

It’s the perfect way to learn! You get to see it in digestible chunks, then do it while the visual is still fresh in your memory. The chef is available to check it and make suggestions right away before you move to the next step. Having the right equipment is as important as proper technique. Once the dough has been mixed you need to pound the cold butter into a thin, 5-inch square with a French Roller*. You can just imagine what it looked like to see a room full of people hauling off and hitting big chunks of butter with wooden bats. It was quite a sight! Then the dough is wrapped around the butter into a packet, that is then folded, rolled out and folded again, four times in all, to get all those luscious layers of dough and butter.

The bright and airy cooking lab made for a relaxed atmosphere

The bright and airy cooking lab made for a relaxed atmosphere

The process involved letting the dough “rest” at various intervals in a “proof box”** and at the end of the first class our dough packets spent the night in the refrigerator before we continued the next day. But even the first night we got to learn and eat what you can do with left-over croissant dough. The cronut! Now there’s a sinful treat. By the end of the second class we each had a batch of beautiful golden croissants to take home with us along with a wonderful feeling of accomplishment, not to mention some new friends.

* A French Roller has no handles and is tapered at the ends.

** A “proof box” is a warm, humid place for your dough to rest. You can use your oven, set at 100° with a bowl of water at the bottom.

You don’t have to live here to enroll in classes at DOUGH. Check out their calendar and get a real taste of Asheville while you’re here visiting! And don’t forget to check out my finished croissants in our photo gallery. They were to die for, if I must say so myself! Yum.

 

Spring is Officially Here! April in Asheville.

April 7th, 2014 by abedofroses

Magnolia blossoms

Magnolia blossoms

The Cherry Blossoms and the Bradford Pear trees are in full bloom, but the real sign of Spring in this city tucked in the mountains is the first Drum Circle of the season!  This past weekend kicked off the Spring Season in Asheville with the first Drum Circle on Friday night in Pritchard Park and the season’s first Downtown Asheville Art Walk. Biltmore Blooms is already in full swing as well, as more and more of those flowering bulbs are filling the gardens of America’s Largest Home. This week also marked the opening of the North Asheville Tailgait Market at UNC, a long awaited harbinger of good eating ahead. Before you know it every weekend will be hosting a street festival with live music, art and great local food. After a cold cold winter across the country we’re all ready for that!

Pritchard Park Drum Circle

The Drum Circle in Pritchard Park

The Drum Circle is a must-see tradition in Asheville that will get you moving! Every Friday night dozens of drummers come together at little Pritchard Park in the heart of downtown and all kinds gather to dance, tap and enjoy the rhythm that you can literally feel from blocks away! Great people watching too!

Glass hands

Meditation in Pink by John Littleton & Kate Vogel at the Blue Spiral Gallery

Asheville is a mecca of artists and crafts people. Another Friday evening tradition takes place on the first Friday of every month from April until December. More than 20 downtown galleries, studios and museums host the Downtown Asheville Art Walk from 5-8PM. All are within a half mile radius so you can take a leisurely stroll and see why Asheville is called the “Paris of the South”. Many serve up light hors d’oeuvres with their art to wet your appetite for one of the myriad of independent local restaurants that will dot your path.

Asheville is also known for keeping it local. Our excellent independent restaurants stress fresh farm to table cuisine and with over 17 local tailgait markets we all can share that local flavor. Our favorite is the North Asheville Tailgait on the UNC campus. In a lovely shaded setting, the market is a social gathering place as well, with live local music, crafts and baked goods along with the farm fresh food. You’ll find local cheese makers, jams and sauces, even hot foods and native plants for sale.

farmers market

The North Asheville Tailgate Market

Spring in the mountains is truly a special time.

A Bed of Roses Premier Blue Ridge Hiking Package

March 31st, 2014 by abedofroses

The Blue Ridge Parkway just North of Asheville

The Blue Ridge Parkway just North of Asheville

The Blue Ridge Parkway and Western North Carolina have abundant and incredibly scenic hiking trails complete with stunning waterfalls and mountain views and we can help you discover them!

Stay at A Bed of Roses B&B and get off to a great start to your adventures with a healthy and delicious 2-course gourmet breakfast.

We will provide you with your choice of definitive trail guides from Pisgah Map Company, now featuring elevation profiles. Choose either the South Pisgah Ranger District guide, including Bent Creek or the DuPont State Recreational Forest guide. These are gorgeously produced by a local company with local knowledge and include clearly labeled trail names, must-see waterfalls and descriptions of popular mountain bike rides.

DOUGH- chef owned bakery/market/eatery

DOUGH- chef owned bakery/market/eatery

For lunch on the trail we will provide a choice of boxed lunches from DOUGH, an innovative chef-owned market, bakery, eatery and cooking school located right here in North Asheville. Choices include wraps or hoagies, including vegetarian or gluten free options with fruit and one of 3 varieties of Route 66 chips.

Your goody bag also comes complete with a survival bracelet. This is not just an attractive piece of jewelry, it can be deployed to help you in case of emergencies.

Survival Bracelets- not just  jewelry!

Survival Bracelets- not just jewelry!

Each bracelet contains 10-12 feet of MIL-Spec 550 Paracord when unraveled. Paraviral produces these bracelets and gives directions and suggestions for using them for tent repair, fishing, construction of an emergency shelter or hauling up to 550 lbs.

After your day of hiking look forward to a relaxing warm soak in one of our jetted tubs. Wrap yourself in a luxurious robe and enjoy a cup of tea with our delicious home baked cookies.

This package is available with a stay in any of our unique guest rooms for $50.

Book this package with your room reservation >>

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!

 

The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands Oct. 17-20, 2013 Get a head start on your holiday shopping!

September 28th, 2013 by abedofroses

 

Work by Paula Marksbury

Work by Paula Marksbury

The Crafts Fair of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild is a wonderful showcase for the best artists in the Appalachians. Twice a year, in July and October, the Southern Highland Craft Guild presents this outstanding exhibit of traditional as well as contemporary crafts and artwork at the US Cellular Center. I never tire of going to it. The fair has exhibited work by Guild artists since 1948. Many of the artists display their work year after year, and you can see how they develop and change over time. But there are always surprises too. My experience over the years of going to this exhibit is that it’s part great shopping for one of a kind gifts and part fine art exhibit. The level of the work can be art museum quality and is just a joy to explore. With the work of over 200 juried artists being shown and sold, there is something for every artistic taste. The rich diversity and talent attracts collectors and gallery owners as well as shoppers.

Wendy Seaward's "intuitive beading"

Wendy Seaward’s “intuitive beading”

A Tiny Sampling of What’s in Store:

One of the artists returning for this show is Wendy Seaward. She calls her stunning intricate jewelry “intuitive beading”.

Her work ranges from very affordable one-of-a-kind earrings to amazing beaded masks and neck piece collages of stones and beads.

Harry Hearn with his pottery

Harry Hearn with his pottery

Harry Hearn is another artist returning for this show. He posed with his incredible clay works for me during the July Crafts Fair.

Rebecca Kempson’s intricate and incredible life-like dolls will be there as well and they are totally riveting to look at.

The guild also hosts craft demonstrations throughout the fair in keeping with their traditional mission of educating the public about the history of crafts in this area of the country and the techniques used. Watch George McCollum create a white oak basket from tree to completed basket. Dede Styles will be demonstrating spinning and the use of natural plant dyes to color yarn. There will be demonstrations of less traditional crafts as well.

One of Rebecca Kempson's haunting dolls

One of Rebecca Kempson’s haunting dolls

And there’s music too! Mountain musicians perform live on the arena stage. Hot Duck Soup will play old time music with the help of “kazoos, slide whistles, banjos, guitars, ukes, an antique cornet, washtub bass and the Cacophonium” on Friday the 18th. Other performers will play everything from gospel, to bluegrass, to American Swing-grass.

Tickets to the 66th Annual Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands are $8 at the door. Children under 12 are admitted for free. Hours are Thurs-Sat 10AM to 6PM, Sunday 10AM-5PM.

The Best Waterfalls at DuPont State Forest

September 9th, 2013 by abedofroses

High Falls at DuPont State Forest

High Falls at DuPont State Forest

Right now is the perfect time to tour the waterfalls of Western North Carolina. This summer’s wet weather has cleared so we’re having sunny warm days and cool nights, yet the water levels are still high enough to give us a great show cascading over the rocks. And everything is lush and green! Labor Day is over so the crowds have thinned as well. DuPont State Forest, usually very popular, was not very busy at all the other day and offers the most spectacular waterfalls just a short hike from the parking areas. Scenes from The Hunger Games were filmed here and several of the waterfalls were featured in the movie The Last of the Mohicans. You’ll see what attracts film-makers to this beautiful place!

New Pedestrian Bridge over the Little River

New Pedestrian Bridge over the Little River

The park has made several improvements this year. The High Falls Access Area is now home to the new Aleen Steinberg Visitors Center and new restroom facilities. A pretty new Pedestrian Bridge spanning the Little River now leads from the expanded Hooker Falls Parking area to the Hooker Falls and Triple Falls trails.

Main access is at the High Falls Access Area but if you park at the Hooker Falls lot you can take an easy hike that includes three waterfalls, Hooker Falls, Triple Falls and High Falls. Hooker Falls is only 15 feet high but pretty and is a short walk from the parking area.

Triple Falls

Triple Falls

Returning to the pedestrian bridge you can then hike about a half mile to Triple Falls for much more spectacular views. There are some great vantage points from the trail and from the picnic area above but you can also walk down the steps to the base of the middle falls. I think I counted 111 steps but it’s well worth it and the folks at Western Piedmont Community College, who build the steps along with DuPont Staff, mercifully built in benches along the way to rest on your way back up!

The full view of High Falls

The full view of High Falls

The trail continues to High Falls which is 150 feet high and almost as wide. This section of the trail is fairly level and it surprised me to see how calm the Little River is between these two large waterfalls. By the time you can hear the falls you’re almost there. There are good views from the trail and beyond the overlook is a set of stairs and an uphill path to another picnic shelter with views.

If you have more energy than we did that day, or if you access High Falls from the High Falls Access area and it’s new trail connector you can continue to the covered bridge above High Falls with a view of the water spilling over the falls. At the other side of the bridge is the way to Grassy Creek Falls via Buck Forest Road and the Lake Imaging trail. Lake Denise is beyond that with crystal clear waters and swimming allowed.

Bridal Veil Falls from the back on ncwaterfalls.com

Bridal Veil Falls from the back on ncwaterfalls.com

We didn’t make it to Bridal Veil Falls but it’s one of the few waterfalls that you can walk underneath and view from behind the water! The Last of the Mohicans showed the falls from this perspective. Bridal Veil Falls is the first of the waterfalls on the Little River.

The DuPont State Forest is a short drive from Asheville occupying over 10,000 gorgeous acres between Brevard and Hendersonville. For more information go to their website http://www.dupontforest.com. Don’t miss information on the Tour De Falls coming up October 12th and 13th.

For more photos of Waterfalls in the Asheville area go to our Photo Gallery!

 

 

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.

Asheville Beer Week is May 25th -June 1st. Come Join the Fun!

April 15th, 2013 by abedofroses

Beer week logo

Official logo of the 2013 Asheville Beer Week

If you haven’t heard, Asheville is Beer City USA again this year and it is a true destination for lovers of craft brewing. Our local paper even has it’s own “beer guy” column. And now for the second year in a row the Asheville Brewers Alliance is hosting a week of tastings, dinners, seminars and beer related fun, ending in the Beer City Festival on June 1st on Roger McGuire Green. Live music and dozens of craft breweries will be at the Festival. The week kicks off with a party, of course, on May 24th in the new Mill Room, Asheville Brewing Company’s new special events space, with live music, catered beer and wine as well as the cornhole tournament signup. Yes there will be a cornhole tournament! I have to admit I had never heard of cornhole, but the American Cornhole Organization posts official tournament rules if you would like to learn more. Sounds like fun. There will be a Homebrew Festival featuring 50 home brewers on May 25th. LaZoom will have a special Beer Run on May 26th.

Beer tourbus

The LaZoom Beer Tour

LaZoom is a hilarious tour bus comedy group that takes people on their big purple bus around Asheville. The Feral Chihuahuas comedy group’s special take on Asheville history will focus on our beer history on this tour and include at least one brewery stop. There will be lots of special tastings at the Thirsty Monk, and Bruisin’ Ales and a Sierra Nevada Southern Hospitality Beer Dinner at the Sunny Point Café. On May 31st there will be a Rare & Wild Beer Tasting that will be a benefit for Pints for Prostates. The culmination of the week, the Beer City Festival, is a team effort between the Asheville Brewer’s Alliance and the folks who put on the Brewgrass Festival here every September. Asheville hosts at least 4 Beer Festivals during the year, starting in January with the Winter Warmer Beer Fest and ending with the Asheville Oktoberfest. There are also brewery tours all year round and I’ve counted at least 20 craft breweries in the area. Our beer culture has attracted some big names like New Belgium and Sierra Nevada to locate here. A visit to just about any restaurant in town will present you with a huge variety of local beers on tap so you don’t have to wait for a beer festival to be part of the fun!

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