Archive for February, 2009

Asheville Street Musicians in Winter

We bopped around downtown Asheville over the weekend, and although it was a little chilly, we saw street musicians on a popular street. One guy fingered the fiddle, danced jigs and sang. Another fellow was squeezing his accordion.

Street musicians draw crowds downtown from about March through November—and on warm days in winter. It was energizing to see the musicians out during winter. And they drew many onlookers, including some folks who danced to their tunes.

Just walking around downtown is a favorite free thing to do in Asheville. You never know what you may see. If you do have a little to spend, these musicians usually have an open container where you can drop some money if you feel so inclined.

Musicians make an awesome downtown even more fun. Downtown is an easy 10-minute drive from our Lovers’ Loop Retreat bed and breakfast alternative in Asheville.

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The F Month in Asheville

Welcome to the F Month. When we lived in Massachusetts in the 1990s [during a couple of their “worst” (that is, messy) winters on record], some residents fed up with snow and ice labeled February the F Month. That label doesn’t fit Asheville, N.C., where winters are much milder. If we lack some of New England’s snow, we sure don’t lack a beautiful wintertime mountain view here at Lovers’ Loop Retreat. The mountains are to the east, which means our sunrises are that much prettier when they spill over the hills.

            There are many activities and fun things to do here in winter. This month, the options include a Mardi Gras party and parade in downtown Asheville, a bluegrass festival, a Beatlemania concert and funky, improvisational comedy. Be sure to visit our Web site,, which contains lots of information, including a list of events in the area, and a few new photos of our Asheville bed and breakfast alternative. Our home page has a YouTube link to videos about Asheville.

             One fun pastime in winter is also free—gallery hopping. Asheville’s many art galleries offer an inspiring variety, and the Asheville area’s reputation as an arts destination brings many visitors. Most of Asheville’s galleries are downtown. But one of the best collections of art and crafts is at the Southern Highland Craft Guild gallery at the visitors’ center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The visitors’ center and guild’s gallery are a scenic five-minute drive along the parkway from Lovers’ Loop Retreat.

            Asheville’s history reputation is significant, too. Biltmore Estate, just 10 minutes from Lovers’ Loop Retreat, again was ranked as the most visited historic attraction in North Carolina in 2008. Biltmore is the historic home and grounds of George Vanderbilt. The house and gardens are amazing. Also ranking high on the state list of historic attractions for 2008 were the North Carolina Arboretum, 10 miles down the Blue Ridge Parkway from Lovers’ Loop Retreat, and Chimney Rock Park, North Carolina’s newest state park, a pretty 30-minute drive from our vacation rental.  

            Another outdoor activity easily accessible from Lovers’ Loop Retreat is the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, a state park that will encompass 1,000 acres across North Carolina when it’s finished. Land is still being acquired for the trail, part of which already is in place along the Blue Ridge Parkway a stone’s throw from Lovers’ Loop Retreat.

            We’re happy to offer an affordable bed and breakfast alternative that gives guests the option of preparing meals in the guest suite. Asheville has several independently-owned grocery stores and food coops with a good selection of organic foods, and many of our guests have shopped at these stores.

            Join us at Lovers’ Loop Retreat! Please pass along our muse-letter to your friends. And remember to visit our Web site to check out upcoming events. See you in Asheville!


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Asheville Art Galleries

Asheville is, among other things, a city of art galleries. Not only do the arts (dance, theater, literary arts, music—not just visual arts and crafts) significantly boost the area economy but they are a major tourist attraction.

            One nice thing about exploring Asheville’s art galleries is that it’s free—you don’t have to buy a thing. For many people who visit our Lovers’ Loop Retreat vacation rental in Asheville, it’s fun to browse the galleries, most of which are downtown or in the River Arts District, a collection of renovated warehouses made into art studios and galleries west of downtown. If you want to buy art here, there’s plenty to chose from: glasswork, jewelry, handcrafted furniture and other items, paintings, textiles and other media.

            Four times a year—April, June, August and October—people gallery hop during Asheville’s popular art walks, when galleries stay open later on a Friday night and serve refreshments as visitors view art.

            One of our favorite galleries is downtown’s Blue Spiral, which feels like a museum (in a good way). Blue Spiral focuses on high-quality art made in the Southeastern U.S. Another gallery, Ariel, across the street from Blue Spiral, is an artists’ collective that we enjoy. Grovewood Gallery is north of downtown beside the Grove Park Inn. Grovewood is among the more upscale galleries in Asheville and has a huge amount of display space, which includes a large showroom of handcrafted furniture. It’s hard not to have fun at New Morning Gallery, south of downtown in Biltmore Village. New Morning may have the largest variety of items—and prices—of any gallery in Asheville. It’s owned by the owner of Blue Spiral and has a large floor of handcrafted furniture.

            When you stay at our Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, consider adding gallery hopping to your agenda.

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