Archive for August, 2009

Prettying up Asheville’s Pritchard Park

One of the most popular spots in downtown Asheville is Pritchard Park, a cool public space that pulses with activity for most of the year: live music, rallies, drumming, movies, chess games and more. The park is nearly 80 years old, and it’s getting younger with the help of a preservation group.

            Many guests at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville vacation rental, stop at the park to check out the scene—and everything is FREE. The scene includes newly refurbished stone waterfalls, dozens of flower planters, an incredible drum circle every Friday night, live music concerts by day and night throughout the week, impromptu live music whenever, Saturday arts markets, movie nights and even the Tuesday Hoop Jam, a weekly hula hoop gig in the afternoon and evening. There are permanent chess tables – just bring your own pieces and join in.

            It’s free. It’s fun. It’s hot. It’s eye-opening. And it’s a place to explore when you visit our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville bed and breakfast alternative.

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Lovers’ Loop Retreat September Muse-letter

September rocks in Asheville, N.C. Great stuff going on all month long. Concerts, craft festivals, bluegrass and beer, organic and apple fests, a fair that celebrates farming and gardening, sustainable energy and healthy living and more. And yes, with the start of autumn in September, you may feel that nip in the air here, too.

            At Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, we’ve made some enhancements this summer. In addition to exploring all that the Asheville area offers, some of our guests enjoy hanging out at our vacation rental, playing pingpong or just relaxing in a private, peaceful place. In addition to Wireless, our guest suite has lots of information about attractions, restaurants and events to help visitors sort through all of the possibilities.

            Many of the activities in September are FREE. Visit our Web site at to see a list of events we update regularly. We’ve posted events through December and into 2010, so you can see what’s going on whenever you plan your trip to Asheville and Lovers’ Loop Retreat. 

            One of our favorite annual events is LAAFF, the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival, on Sept. 6 in downtown Asheville. This is a free, funky street fair that really gives a flavor of Asheville’s brand of quirkiness. Many locals, including us, turn out for this fair. You’ll find a great diversity of live music, belly dancing and other dance performances, poetry, sketch comedy, drumming groups, bicycle jousting, unusual vendors. It’s a real circus.

            The annual North Carolina Apple Festival is Sept. 4-7. The Asheville area is the state’s largest apple-producing region, and this popular festival is just south of Asheville.

            Another fun, free fair is the annual Organicfest in downtown Asheville on Sept. 13. Live music, unusual vendors and crafts, good food. A great opportunity to expand your organic mind in a very organic-minded city.

            One of our favorite bands, the Indigo Girls, will play Sept. 17 at the Orange Peel in downtown Asheville. This area loves the Indigos, whom we’ve seen perform several times here in recent years. They always give Asheville a good show. The Orange Peel is a great, intimate venue for them.

            The Brewgrass Festival on Sept. 19 in Asheville mixes bluegrass with beers from the area’s many local microbreweries. Beer is big business in Asheville, and at the festival you’ll understand why.

            Heritage Weekend Sept. 19 and Sept. 20 is a big deal at the Folk Art Center on the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. The parkway – and the center – are just around the corner from Lovers’ Loop Retreat, and we go to this free event every year. It’s sponsored by the Southern Highland Craft Guild with traditional mountain music, dance, storytelling and crafts. You’ll also see demonstrations about beekeeping, canning and preserving, whittling, toy-making and other things. The highlight is the World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition, (the whimmy diddle is an old-timey mountain toy) which you’ve got to see to understand.

            On Sept. 25 and Sept. 26, the very popular and entertaining Womansong, an Asheville choral group, will perform in the area. People come from out of town to see this group, which gives polished, high-energy concerts with humor mixed in.

            On Sept. 26 and Sept. 27, there’s another opportunity to see cool crafts at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville. Also on Sept. 26 and Sept. 27, the True Nature Country Fair a bit north of Asheville focuses on health and healing, social issues and politics, sustainable energy, gardening and farming.            

            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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No need to vacuum this Carpet of Flowers in Asheville

Asheville’s Biltmore Estate, dubbed America’s largest house, has its annual Flower Carpet displayed now through Aug. 30. About 100,000 flowers arranged in a tapestry pattern await you there. Biltmore is an easy 10-minute drive from our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville bed and breakfast alternative.

Many of our guests have enjoyed exploring Biltmore. The mansion is open to the public, as are the gorgeous grounds. The mountain views at Biltmore are among the most stunning we’ve seen within the city of Asheville. There are lovely biking, hiking and horse trails at the estate, too.

The Flower Carpet consists of an intricate array of marigolds, zinnias and other plants. On some evenings, the carpet will be enhanced by live jazz, soft lighting and great sunset views. Talk about a romantic setting! Go for it.

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Goombay! the weekend away for FREE Aug. 28-30 in Asheville

For nearly 30 years, Asheville has hosted Goombay!, the free street festival celebrating African-American and Caribbean cultures that features live music, dance, food and a great diversity of people.

            Guests at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, are within 10 minutes of this hopping downtown happening.

            According to the main organizer of Goombay!, Asheville’s event is among several celebrations around the world that observe a centuries-old tradition that originated in Bermuda with African and West Indies influences. The word Goombay refers to rhythm or dancing. In Jamaica and the Bahamas, dancers wear colorful costumes and feathered headdresses, sometimes with masks.

            This year’s Goombay! in Asheville will feature drumming, dancing, reggae, rhythm and blues, jazz, a parade, crafts, vendors and more. You can find some interesting clothing and food at Goombay!

             Come and enjoy a lively cultural festival in downtown Asheville.

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Enjoy Spanish Tapas at Zambra in Asheville

            Over the years, we’ve known the bliss of sampling many of Asheville’s wonderful restaurants. One of our favorites is Zambra, a Spanish eatery on Walnut Street downtown, just around the corner from Malaprops, the popular bookstore and café. When you visit our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, Zambra is an easy 10-minute drive.

            Zambra serves tapas, which are appetizer-size dishes. For us, eating at Zambra is like visiting an art museum—the range of flavors and ingredients is amazingly refreshing and creative, as if each item on the menu is its own miniature work of art. On the menu, you may find pomegranate with pork; scallops with grapefruit, avocado and fennel; octopus with pesto, feta and cherries; quail with dates and onions; pork with cucumber-watermelon salad; veal with apricot, feta and mint; mussels with coconut and mango. It’s a real circus for the taste buds. And Zambra always offers tasty vegetarian choices.

            Treat yourself to a mouthwatering meal with creativity at Zambra when you stay at our Asheville vacation rental.

            Lovers’ Loop Retreat offers an option that some of our guests enjoy – cooking in our guest suite or ordering take-out and enjoying your meal in your own private dining area, complete with kitchenware. So, whether you’re geared up for a night on the town, including dinner or not, or after a long day of seeing all there is around Asheville you just want a quiet evening at home, Lovers’ Loop Retreat can meet your needs.

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Visit Asheville’s Thomas Wolfe House for FREE (just about)

Twentieth-century author Thomas Wolfe grew up in Asheville, and his most famous novel, Look Homeward, Angel is about Asheville. The house where he lived, in downtown Asheville, is open to the public as a state-operated museum. For the $1 admission, it’s about the best bargain in Asheville. This is a great activity to add to your list when you stay at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville vacation rental.

The tour, offered by well-informed, friendly guides, gives insightful information about Wolfe, who is buried at Asheville’s Riverside Cemetery, and his family, most of whom also are buried there. Wolfe’s mother, Julia, ran a boardinghouse at the house, and you’ll learn about that interesting business and how it affected Thomas. The house has dozens of rooms, many of which are open to the public, and lots of furniture and furnishings original with the house.

In addition to the house, the museum has a great exhibit of photos, clothing and other artifacts of and about Wolfe for visitors to see.

Even people who don’t know Wolfe’s work will enjoy this glimpse at a talented writer’s life. Check it out when you visit Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our Asheville bed and breakfast alternative.

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