Archive for June, 2008

Bele Chere Festival 2008 | Asheville, NC

Bele Chere is Asheville’s street festival of the year! The 30th annual Bele Chere. It’s the biggest free street festival in the South. From Lover’s Loop Retreat you can drive to a nearby parking lot where you can get a special shuttle that will take you there and back for just $3. No problems parking downtown!

Three days of fun! July 25, 26 and 27th! Days and nights, that is. There will be six stages for a constant flow of live entertainment of all kinds. The schedule is not complete, yet, but you can see the line-up of who’ll be there on the website: Bele Chere Festival 2008 | Asheville, NC. In the evenings, there is a fee to see some of the major performers, but there’s lots to see and do that you don’t have to pay for.

Do you know what “dock diving” is? Come to Bele Chere to see it yourself. The local grocery chain, Ingles, is sponsoring this event. There’s a special pool set up with regular demonstrations of dogs that compete in “splashes” to get “ultimate air” as they run and jump into the water to see who can get the furthest distance. The dogs are all shapes and sizes. And they seem to really enjoy it – and who wouldn’t love getting wet on a July day!

There will be booths of all kinds, some with free samples and demonstrations. There’s a special childrens’ area. Of course, not festival in Asheville is complete without some incredible arts and crafts on display with some fine work for sale.

You’ll see people walking around with various kinds of yummy looking foods. That’s one reason you’ll want to stay for all three days! You can’t try it all in one day. Plus, as long as you’re over 21, you can get a wrist band that will allow you to purchase beer and carry it with you until 10:30 pm.

We hope you’ll call or email us soon to reserve a place to stay at Lovers’ Loop Retreat!

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Free Stuff to do in Asheville!

Every day in the newspaper we read about prices going up-up-up on all kinds of things. That’s one reason why it’s great to visit a place like Asheville. There are so many things to do here and many of them are FREE! For more info, please see the schedule of events on our Web site www.loversloopretreat.com.

I’m going to give you a list of free events here, but I’m sure there are things I’m missing. The first thing that comes to mind is the Montford Park Players. This is North Carolina’s oldest Shakespeare troupe and they perform free on summer weekend evenings at a park in Asheville. Our friend Gina was selected to play the queen in “Henry VIII,” which will run July 11-20 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7:30 pm. Come see it with us!

Other entertainment that’s free in Asheville this summer includes Concerts on the Quad, outdoor concerts from June 9 through July 14 at the University of NC campus here. Shindig on the Green is mountain music and dancing at its best near downtown June through August. Downtown After Five is a free concert series located on Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville.

Asheville is known for the arts of all kinds. Art gallery walks are free and held regularly in and around Asheville. You can do a self-guided tour of galleries and studios. To learn more about some of these, look at the list of events on our Web site at www.loversloopretreat.com. I love to visit the Blue Spiral Gallery in downtown Asheville. It’s huge and full of incredible artwork.

Just walking around downtown Asheville is a free fun thing to do. On Friday nights, listen for the drums — there’s drumming at Pritchard Park in the middle of downtown. It’s a great place to go people-watching. There are occasionally other free events here, too. I once saw an incredible troupe of fire-dancers perform there. Another time there were break dancers. Walking around downtown just about any time you’ll see street performers of all kinds. There are all kinds of interesting shops, galleries and restaurants. You can just buy something to drink and sit at a sidewalk cafe to watch the people walk by or catch up on Asheville news reading a free local paper such as the Mt Xpress or New Life Journal.

Of course in July there’s Bele Chere, the South’s largest free street festival. People come from all around to enjoy the varous vendors, musical entertainment, exhibitions, food and people! This takes place all over downtown. You’ll want to check the Web site to learn more about it before you come, so you can figure out where to park. 

The Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival (LAAFF) is not nearly as big as Bele Chere, but it’s so much fun. It’s a very funky, artsy festival.

Ready to head out to nature? You can visit the Botanical Gardens at UNC Asheville just north of downtown for free. There’s ten acres of nature to stroll on. The N.C Arboretum is located just south of Asheville, right off the Blue Ridge Parkway and it has free admission, but it costs $6 to park – except on Tuesdays, when it is totally FREE! There are exhibits as well as walking trails to enjoy. 

Speaking of the Blue Ridge Parkway… People ride bikes on it all the time. For hiking, there’s the Mountains to Sea Trail. There are also other places to hike along the parkway. The Destination Center is the parkway’s official visitors’ center and it recently opened just a couple miles from our Lovers’ Loop Retreat guest suite. Just a couple miles farther is the Folk Arts Center, which is also free. There are always special exhibits upstairs and a  shop of local artwork and crafts downstairs. A wonderful place to browse. Very often there are free special events such as craft demonstrations and gee-haw-whimmy-diddle competitions. Ha! You’ll have to Google that one if you want to learn more.

There are more fun, free things you can do around Asheville, but that should get you started. Don’t forget to check our Web site for a more complete list of upcoming events in the Asheville area: www.loversloopretreat.com . And plan to stay with us when you come!

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