Archive for December, 2009

Enjoy New Year’s Eve in Asheville!

People flock to downtown Asheville for New Year’s Eve festivities. There’s lots of live music and live, stand-up comedy at restaurants, clubs and the Asheville Civic Center, which will host the Avett Brothers. Guests at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, are 10 minutes from downtown activities.

DJs, bands, balloon drops and champagne will keep the night hopping at the Grove House, where partygoers will have admission to all three clubs inside. Mo Daddy’s will feature “Salvation and Sin,” with live music, some burlesque dancing and costumed patrons.

The oh-so-popular Afro-pop band Toubab Krewe will play for two nights, Dec. 30 and Dec. 31, at the expanded Orange Peel club, which will offer a midnight champagne toast. For laughs, the new Funny Business Comedy Club will have live shows to entertain the crowd.

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge will perform at The Grey Eagle, a very homey and cool concert venue.

Other bars and restaurants will have music and activities, too, so ring in the new decade in Asheville!

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Lovers’ Loop Retreat January muse-letter

In the brand new year that’s approaching, January is a good example of life’s quirky and festive mix here in Asheville, N.C. Really no dull moments for those with an active sense of wonder and a healthy curiosity. At Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, we try to keep our wonder, curiosity and humor handy.

            January starts with Asheville’s brand of vaudeville and lots of gingerbread castles and ends with Willie Nelson and light opera. January also is the month for one of Asheville’s signature testaments to funkiness, the annual fringe arts festival. In January and beyond in 2010, there’s a great variety of entertainment already lined up at venues downtown and elsewhere in the city: fiddler Natalie MacMaster and singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile in early February; Arlo Guthrie, the Moody Blues, bagpipes and ballet in March; Celtic music and lyric opera in April; singer Norah Jones in May. Also in May, the inaugural Spring Beer Festival debuts in Asheville, a city that now claims about 10 micro-breweries as it collects accolades for its beers nationally.

            All of this fun stuff is within an easy 10-minute drive when you stay at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville vacation rental. We have events posted into 2010 on our Web site, http://www.loversloopretreat.com/. Use the Web site to check out what’s going on whenever you plan your trip to Asheville and Lovers’ Loop Retreat.

            Before 2009 ends, there’s the New Year’s Eve Downtown Countdown in Asheville, and a lively downtown will be even livelier with year-end celebrations.    Through Jan. 3, there’s still time to see the gingerbread house display at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville. Also through Jan. 3, the Christmas at Biltmore estate extravaganza in Asheville is open.    

            The new year brings the Asheville Vaudeville Show Jan. 7 at the Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre downtown. That’s also the location for the Asheville FringeArts Festival Jan, 21-24; expect a circus.

            The annual Winter Warmer Beer Festival on Jan. 23 in downtown Asheville is a popular event among the many people who enjoy the creatively-concocted brews that the Asheville area is known for. Actor Jeff Daniels is also a singer-songwriter, and he takes his tunes to the Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville on Jan. 23. Asheville Lyric Opera’s “Don Pasquale” will be staged Jan. 29-30, and Willie Nelson plays the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium downtown Jan. 30.

            Taking a glimpse into February, fiddlers Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy will have their own pep rally at the Diana Wortham Theater on Feb. 1-2, the Asheville Vaudeville Show roars again on Feb. 4, and singer Brandi Carlile will perform at the recently expanded and hopping Orange Peel nightclub downtown.   

            All of these events and activities 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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More fun for foodies in Asheville

Two restaurants opened recently just down the road from our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville bed and breakfast alternative. Both eateries are within a few minutes drive of our guest suite, and they’re great additions to the nearby food mix!

Nachos & Beer offers California-style Mexican food at reasonable prices with many selections on the menu. They have the best bargain we’ve seen on one of the Asheville-brewed beers. The wait staff and owners are friendly people.

Nearly next door to Nachos & Beer is Piazza, which, of course, is an Italian place. Piazza offers many types of pizza, plus design-your-own pizza, as well as sandwiches and traditional entrees. Their house-made potato chips are truly tasty. The owners of Piazza operate another established, well-loved restaurant south of downtown Asheville, Rezaz, which features Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern cuisine.

In the same commercial hub near us are a Chinese restaurant, sub shop and burger place. There’s also a grocery store, pharmacy and bank with an ATM machine. When you stay at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville vacation rental, these conveniences are right around the corner!

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Take a hike in winter in Asheville, N.C.

            One thing we like about wintertime in Asheville, N.C., is the mountain views that we gain when the trees lose their leaves each year. The bare trees provide a great opportunity to actually see what’s out there in the woods. And at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our Asheville vacation rental, we and our guests can see the mountains behind our guest suite from now until April.

            Our favorite hiking time is winter because of the great visibility. Not only do the mountain views command our attention, but we can see birds and the little furry animals that scamper on the ground and trees. In winter, fewer people are on the trails usually, which means the woods can feel as if you have them to yourself. You don’t sweat as much, and the mosquitoes have taken their own hike.

            The North Carolina Arboretum is a nice place to hike (and bike). A bunch of trails, and none is too strenuous. The arboretum is an easy and pretty drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway from Lovers’ Loop Retreat. You can see dozens of species of birds year-round at the arboretum, which is part of the North Carolina Birding Trail. Wild turkeys, pigeons and doves, owls, herons, ducks, vultures, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, wrens… quite a mix.

            Around the year-end holidays, the arboretum waives its parking fee, which makes it particularly cool to visit in December. The fee will be waived Dec. 24-Jan. 1. On the first Tuesday of each month year-round, the fee is waived, too.

            There are other trails we like in the Asheville area. Several are along the Blue Ridge Parkway two minutes from Lovers’ Loop Retreat. We’ve also enjoyed hiking at Greybeard Mountain just east of Asheville. We can give you some hiking ideas when you visit our Asheville bed and breakfast alternative.

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Lounge around with chocolate in Asheville

It had to happen, and we’re so glad it did. Downtown Asheville has gained its own chocolate lounge, and it’s quite an experience to visit. The French Broad Chocolate Lounge on S. Lexington Avenue is one of the busiest places we’ve ever been at night in downtown Asheville—and that’s saying a lot in a city with such a downtown buzz!

The best part is that when you stay at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, you’re just 10 minutes from the chocolate lounge — almost within smelling distance!

The menu includes handcrafted chocolates, pastries and chocolate bars; hot chocolates; locally produced beers, coffees, ice cream and cheeses; wine; and tea. You can take your computer with you, or hang out and talk with friends. There are truffles, brownies, caramels, milkshakes, cakes…. sold yet? The chocolates look like art pieces, almost — but not quite, of course — too pretty to eat. They have vegan truffles, too. Their focus is on local, so they use locally-produced ingredients when possible.

Check out this den of decadence when you visit Lovers’ Loop Retreat!

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