Archive for January, 2009

A Visit to Biltmore Village

We walked around Biltmore Village the other day. The village, on the south end of Asheville and a 10-minute drive from our Lovers’ Loop Retreat vacation rental, is beside the popular tourist attraction Biltmore Estate, the 19th-century mansion and grounds of the Vanderbilt family.

            Biltmore Village was built as a neighborhood for Biltmore Estate employees. Today, Biltmore Village is not affiliated with the estate. It’s an interesting collection of specialty shops, restaurants and art galleries with brick sidewalks and stucco buildings that once were residences.

            There’s a cool nature store, the Compleat Naturalist, with all kinds of things that will make you fall in love with nature: telescopes, birdhouses, birding paraphernalia, etc., posters of aquatic life, etc.

            Blue, a jewelry store and art gallery, has a colorful and mixed-media display that’s entertaining to view.

            Biltmore Village is comfortable and luring, and it’s a fun small-scale but upscale commercial cluster that feels like a neighborhood. Keep it in mind when you visit us in Asheville at Lovers’ Loop Retreat.

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Asheville Coffee Houses

If you enjoy coffee – and the coffeehouse scene – downtown Asheville has a varied bunch to choose from. Some visitors to Lovers’ Loop Retreat have enjoyed checking out the coffeehouses.

            We met friends this month at Green Sage, which may be the newest one downtown. Green Sage has solar panels on the roof that heat its water, which means that the sun is the coffeehouse’s hot water heater. Green Sage is a nice space, a good place to talk, with a good tea selection as well as coffee. The food and baked goods look really yummy!

            Two places that usually are lively are Greenlife, a grocery store with a café and organic coffees, and Malaprops, the popular bookstore and café. Greenlife may have the best deal on coffee. Plus they have great hot chocolate and yerba mate, my favorites. They also have every kind of smoothie and a great selection of baked goods, wraps, soups, sushi and more – all made on the premises. Malaprops always has an interesting crowd, book browsers and people on computers, a good place to hang out and people-watch; it hosts many book signings and readings.

            City Bakery and the Dripolator are two more coffeehouses downtown. Both sell baked goods. And there’s the Firestorm Café & Books, fairly new, which hosts a book club, poetry readings, sewing circle, craft workshops and other community events.

            When you visit Lovers’ Loop Retreat, you might want to explore some of these coffeehouses. You’ll get a fun flavor of the local scene.

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Welcoming the World to Asheville!

 It’s hard to believe we’re in our fourth year of business at Lovers’ Loop Retreat. When we opened our alternative to B&Bs in Asheville, NC, our objective was — and remains — to offer homey, affordable accommodations in Asheville. It’s the sort of option we like when we travel, where guests may prepare their own meals if they want to. We prefer privacy and quiet in our lodging when we’re away, too, and our Asheville B&B provides that.

            Over the years, we’ve refurnished and redecorated, painted, added artwork and a Ping-Pong table (very popular with some guests).

            Any expectations we had have been exceeded in the interesting people we’ve met. Guests from around the United States and Canada have come to Lovers’ Loop Retreat, and some have visited us more than once. Many have been to Asheville before. We’ve hung out with some of our guests at our alternative Asheville B&B, and we always enjoy that. People seem to find plenty to do in Asheville and outside the city. Lovers’ Loop Retreat is in a great location to be a home base for exploring other parts of Western North Carolina.

                We look forward to meeting new people and hosting some familiar guests at Lovers’ Loop Retreat this year. It’s a great way for us to welcome the world to our world.

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Favorite Outdoor Asheville Places

Happy new year! We’ve visited a couple of our favorite outdoor places in the Asheville area a few times during the holidays to celebrate the new year. We hiked a portion of the Mountains to Sea trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic road through Virginia and North Carolina that’s just around the corner from Lovers’ Loop Retreat. The trail is within two minutes of Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our alternative B&B, and it crosses much of North Carolina, as its name implies. This is a great time of year to hike around Asheville because you can actually see the beautiful peaks, the colors and textures in the woods and birds and other wildlife more clearly.

            We also walked some of the trails at the North Carolina Arboretum, about 10 scenic miles down the Blue Ridge Parkway from Lovers’ Loop Retreat. The arboretum, on about 450 acres adjoining Pisgah National Forest, has trails for hiking and biking. There’s also a fascinating bonsai (miniature trees and shrubs) exhibition area, a greenhouse and other exhibits indoors and outdoors. An annual exhibit in late March at the arboretum displays orchids from several states – definitely worth checking out.

            Some of our guests at Lovers’ Loop Retreat have enjoyed trips to the arboretum, so you may want to check it out when you visit. We’ll hope you’ll let us know when you’re planning a trip to Asheville. We’d love to have you stay at Lovers’ Loop retreat!

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