Archive for May, 2009

Being Trivial in Asheville

Remember the board game Trivial Pursuit that hit the stores about 30 years ago? That helped launch a trivia rush that continues. Asheville is no slouch in that regard. The city has a handful of restaurants and bars that boast battles of the brains regularly.

           When you stay with us at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, you may want to get in on the action.

           Trivia nights create a buzz at Jack of the Wood, Barley’s and Mellow Mushroom in downtown Asheville and at the Westville Pub, Scully’s and Tolliver’s Crossing in West Asheville just outside downtown. Players answer questions in different categories, from pop culture to geography to sports. Winners may receive gift certificates or other prizes.

           People enjoy the camaraderie, conversation and challenge of trivia nights. Test your trivia skills while you’re in Asheville!

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Lovers’ Loop Retreat June Muse-Letter

 Wow – hard to believe we’re so close to summer. The summer solstice arrives on June 21, according to our calendar here at Lovers’ Loop Retreat in Asheville, N.C. There’s no better place to be on the solstice, the longest day of the year, than fabulous Asheville, where you can watch the sun set slowly over the mountains; dance, sway and be mesmerized at the weekly Friday night drum circle downtown (bring your own drum, and pound away); look for wildflowers on trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway; devour the assortment of eye candy at the many art galleries; sample homegrown beers at breweries; and many other activities, many that are free.

Whatever you choose to do, our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville vacation rental, is a roomy, comfortable place to hang your hat while you hang out. Visit our Web site at http://www.loversloopretreat.com to see a list of events we update regularly. We’ve posted events all the way to December, so you can see what’s going on whenever you plan your trip to Asheville and Lovers’ Loop Retreat. 

One of our favorite seasonal happenings will start soon, and you can watch the free show right here at our Asheville bed and breakfast alternative. It’s the return of the fireflies, which light up our large lot with their silent fireworks. It goes on most evenings for a month or more. Watch and be enchanted.

Warmer weather in Asheville also brings street musicians, who entertain passersby downtown. Guitars, banjos, accordions, violins, saxophones. And there are random, wordless performers, mimes of a sort, who stand like statues in costumes and come alive only when someone throws them a coin. They always draw intrigued crowds.

Nature lovers will appreciate that access to Mount Mitchell, about 30 miles north of Lovers’ Loop Retreat on the Blue Ridge Parkway (which is just around the corner from our guest suite) is back to normal. A road construction project – which has just ended –  had closed part of the parkway, which meant a lengthy detour to Mount Mitchell State Park. Now, you can zip up the parkway easily from Lovers’ Loop Retreat again. It’s worth a trip. Mount Mitchell is the highest point in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River.

We’re looking forward to attending a performance at the Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre downtown in early June. The theater is known for its experimental, funky productions, and their works emphasize diversity. Their Physics of Happy Hour event runs June 4-7, with a reduced rate for a choice of performances.

On June 5, there’s the Asheville art walk, a stroll through downtown galleries, which stay open longer and offer refreshments. Sometimes artists are on hand to talk.

The Montford Park Players, North Carolina’s oldest Shakespeare company, starts its season June 5. All performances are free at the park’s amphitheater just outside downtown Asheville. This makes for a relaxing evening under the stars.

June 13-14 brings the River Arts District Studio Stroll, a self-guided tour of artists’ studios just outside downtown.

And June 19 is Downtown After Five, a hopping block party with live music and food.

And, of course, the mother of block parties is Bele Chere, the biggest street festival in the Southeast, July 24-26 in downtown Asheville. Live music, great food and art for sale. It’s quite a scene.

Another July note: the annual Shindig on the Green, a free outdoor concert series, kicks off near downtown on July 4. Bluegrass and folk music with clogging. Pretty cool. All of these events and more are listed on our Web site. Please pass along our muse-letter to your friends. And join us at Lovers’ Loop Retreat! See you in Asheville!

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Hail to the Asheville Stage

If all the world really is a stage, the Asheville area has its share of drama, comedy and everything in between. No need for stage fright here!

             Several theaters in downtown Asheville operate year-round. Others in the area are seasonal with productions in spring, summer and fall. The offerings range from high-brow and renowned imported shows from around the country and Shakespeare with a twist to cleverly conceived local groups and provocative experimental and community theater.

            When you stay with us at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our Asheville vacation rental, you can choose your stage.

            The Diana Wortham Theatre downtown has a variety of professional theater, shows that travel around the United States. Asheville Playback Theatre is an innovative, improvisational troupe that focuses on audience participation. Audience members typically bring a story from their lives to share, and the actors transform it into instant theater.

            The North Carolina Stage Company downtown offers professional theater served up in comedies, dramas, classics and family fare. The Asheville Community Theatre, also downtown, is known for funky and provocative shows. A component of Asheville Community Theatre is 35below, an intimate stage company that supports work by local playwrights and offers experimental theater sometimes and some late-night comedy.

            The Montford Park Players is North Carolina’s oldest Shakespeare festival, and its shows are under the stars from spring through fall. The free productions are shown at a park just outside downtown Asheville.

            Find yourself a stage when you stay at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our Asheville bed and breakfast alternative.

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Cheers to Asheville Beer

Asheville has garnered more acclaim for the many breweries in the city. In a recent national online poll, Asheville tied with Portland, Ore., as America’s No. 1 beer city. Voters from many different nations took part in the poll at the Web site www.examiner.com, based in Charlotte, N.C.

            Asheville has six breweries with two more being built, and that’s a lot for a city of about 75,000 people. The Lobster Trap, a popular restaurant downtown, recently opened a microbrewery called Oyster House on site.

            There are several other downtown restaurants that, although not breweries, sell the Asheville-brewed beers, and some — The Bier Garden and Barley’s Taproom among them — offer hundreds of beers from around the world.    

            Some places in Asheville have beer and wine tastings, some of which are free. So if you want to treat your taste buds to some great craft beers while you stay at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, you have plenty of choices.

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Get Yourself Downtown After 5 in Asheville

You know spring has hit its stride in Asheville when the popular Downtown After 5 music series starts in May. And the first one of the season is this Friday, May 15. The free event, on the third Friday of the month May through September, is an outdoor concert that starts at 5 p.m. on fabulously funky Lexington Avenue. It’s a big block party with food and beverages for sale.

            When you stay at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, you can get down at this downtown gig.

            Many people dance, dance, dance into the evening in a joyful celebration of the weekend’s start. The music varies from month to month: jazz, country, bluegrass, funk. The type of music doesn’t matter too much because it’s about enjoying the outdoors, the crowd and life on Friday night in a cool city.

            Downtown is an easy 10-minute drive from our Asheville vacation rental.

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LaZoom to You!

           We took a magical mystery trip of downtown Asheville recently, a comedy journey that flexes your laugh muscles. LaZoom Comedy Tour offers a 90-minute trip through town to various points of interest.

            When you stay at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, get on the bus for this fun ride.

            Along the way, Babs, the tour guide, gives you a refreshing dose of irreverent commentary about Asheville’s history, its dids and didn’ts, presented with some heart and even more funny bone. You’ll learn about the craziness of kudzu, the River Arts District, Bob Hope’s appearance at the Asheville Civic Center, Charlton Heston’s theatrical contributions to Asheville and the unending construction projects known lovingly as “performance art” in the annals of local legend.

            Tour operators Jennifer and Jim Lauzon keep you guessing with a revolving cast of characters that includes Sister Bad Habit, a River District artist and a healer. Bemused onlookers will return your waves as the brightly painted purple bus makes its zany way through downtown and beyond.

            To keep you on your toes, Babs gives out prizes at random during the ride. Stay tuned to receive such delicacies as a can of tuna or cat food or a bag of gourmet chocolate pretzels.       

            LaZoom operates from April through October and at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Put the tour on your itinerary when you visit us at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, a vacation rental in Asheville.

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Lovers’ Loop Retreat May ’09 muse-letter

It’s a colorful spring here at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our Asheville, N.C., vacation rental: azaleas in white and several shades of red, pink and pinker rhododendrons, lacy white dogwoods. The backyard is filling in with foliage. Our tomato and pea plants are humming along, and little basil plants are starting to grow. A thrill of our spring so far was seeing five finches, including a goldfinch, on the feeder at once, afeat unrepeated since, alas (but we keep looking).

            All of this is yours to behold when you stay at our Asheville bed and breakfast alternative. Many guests enjoy sitting on the porch to commune with the squirrels and birds that own the trees and air space here. As usual, there’s a range of activities happening in the area in May, too. Visit our Web site at www.loversloopretreat.com to see a list of events we update regularly. We have events posted all the way to December, so you can see what’s going on whenever you plan your trip to Asheville. You can link directly to our blog at https://loversloopretreat.wordpress.com, or from the home page. There is also a link to another Asheville blog on the home page with YouTube links to videos about Asheville.

            This spring, we’ve done some of our favorite activities — hiking at Mount Mitchell, the tallest peak in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River, just 30 miles from Lovers’ Loop Retreat — and some things we haven’t done before — taking a women’s history (herstory) tour of downtown Asheville and taking a wild ride on a zany, purple bus called LaZoom, a comedy tour of downtown Asheville. All of this is good stuff, and you may want to explore these activities when you visit.          

            The banquet of events in May includes rhododendron (May 2-3) and rose (May 30-31) shows at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville, always a pretty place to visit. For more flowers, the Biltmore estate’s annual Festival of Flowers lasts through May 17. More rooms at the estate, the home originally of George Vanderbilt, have been opened to the public this year. 

            The annual Asheville Wordfest, April 30-May 3, is a poetry festival that includes internationally known and regional poets. Another literary event is the Blue Ridge Book and Author Showcase May 8-9 in nearby Hendersonville with workshops and talks by authors, sales and book signings.     

            One of the area’s biggest events is the Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF), held twice a year in Black Mountain, just east of Asheville. LEAF, May 7-10, features a slate of international dancers, musicians and visual artists.

             For sports enthusiasts, a popular annual event in Asheville is the Mountain Sports Festival May 29-31. The festival has demonstrations, clinics and competitive events in rock climbing, kayaking, running, cycling, disc golf and backpacking.                   

            A two-for-one comedy show May 30 in Asheville features Vickie Shaw and Jennie McNulty. And for a different type of comedy, not to mention lots of bravery and just sheer strength and stamina, there’s the Blue Ridge Roller Girls, Asheville’s roller derby team that has a bout May 30 at the civic center downtown.

            Early June brings the second art gallery walk of the season June 5, a glimpse into the many art galleries in downtown Asheville. And June 5 is the season debut for the Montford Park Players, North Carolina’s oldest Shakespeare company. These are both free things to do in Asheville! The Montford Players appreciate donations, though, of course.

            All of these events and more are listed on our Web site. And for Indigo Girls fans, the duo has rescheduled its April concert in Asheville to Sept. 17 at the Orange Peel downtown. We hope to be there. 

            Please pass along our muse-letter to your friends. And join us at Lovers’ Loop Retreat! See you in Asheville!

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