Archive for July, 2010

Lovers’ Loop Retreat August Muse-letter

August in the Asheville, N.C., area explodes in activities. We’re talking the nation’s longest-running folk festival Aug. 5-7, the annual antiques fair, an annual quilt show, one of the bigger crafts fairs in the area, dance concerts, dulcimer workshops, a carpet of flowers, an Olympiad, an Afro-Caribbean fest and more! What bounty for a small city! Come and indulge yourself. 

Guests at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville bed & breakfast alternative here in western North Carolina, pursue with gusto these opportunities, some of which are FREE things to do in Asheville. For more free activities in Asheville, check out our June 21 blog (at

Make Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville vacation rental, your place to stay when you explore Asheville, NC recreation, arts, restaurants and festivals. Events are posted and updated through the year on Visit the site to see what’s going on whenever you plan your trip. You can link to our blog,, on the home page, and we’re also on Twitter! Our Web site features a link where you can contact us for a list of many FREE things to do in Asheville.

You’ll find some awe in August in Asheville, starting with the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival Aug. 5-7 at Diana Wortham Theatre downtown. The festival, in its eighty-third year, features bluegrass and old-time music, clogging and other mountain dancing and ballad singers.

Speaking of longevity, one of the oldest antiques fairs in the Southeast is the Asheville Antiques Fair Aug. 6-8, a busy weekend that also brings the annual quilt show at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville Aug. 6-8, and the Village Art and Craft Fair Aug. 7-8, one of the most popular, and free, such fairs in the area.    

The Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance will perform in downtown Asheville Aug. 12-14. That same weekend, Aug. 13-15, will be the Asheville Wine and Food Festival. You can perfect your dulcimer-playing at workshops Aug. 14 at Chimney Rock Park just east of Lovers’ Loop Retreat, and it’s a lovely drive to the park from our guest suite.  

Water lovers should check out the River Fest Aug. 14 in Asheville on the French Broad River, which winds through Asheville on its determined way to Tennessee. Aug. 14, Aug. 21 and Aug. 28 offer Shindig on the Green, a laid-back evening gathering outdoors with free music in Asheville.

Here’s a carpet you can’t walk on, but it will dazzle you. The Flower Carpet at the Biltmore estate will be on display Aug. 20-Sept. 12. The design this year is a stained-glass window. The carpet will be on display during the day and illuminated at night.

A signature event in the area for the adventurous and those who like to watch them is the Hickory Nut Gorge Olympiad Aug. 26-29. This takes place just east of Asheville, and it’s an easy, beautiful drive from Lovers’ Loop Retreat. It’s one of the biggest such happenings in the Southeast.     

Aug. 27-29 is Goombay!, one of the FREE street festivals in Asheville. Enjoy music, vendors and food that represent Afro-Caribbean cultures. It’s a hopping, joyful gig.

Early September brings one of our favorite events. The Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Fest (LAAFF) will be Sept. 5, so you can attend the festival during the big, fat Labor Day holiday weekend. Check out the funkier side of Asheville. It’s one of the free things to do in Asheville on Labor Day.    

All of these events and activities and more are listed on our Web site. Please pass along our muse-letter to your friends. Want to receive our full color monthly museletter with photos? Just let us know and we’ll add you to the list. And join us at Lovers’ Loop Retreat. See you in Asheville!


Lovers’ Loop Retreat  


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Relax with stained glass in downtown Asheville

There’s a great place to go for a quiet, relaxed good time in Asheville that may not have occurred to you. Check out the Basilica of Saint Lawrence downtown. It’s hard to miss the Catholic church around the corner from Malaprop’s bookstore.

When you stay at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, you’re a sweet 10 minutes from downtown and the art treasures inside the basilica. The church, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, offers free tours of the inspiring interior.

Historic sites in Asheville

The church, which opened in 1909, was designed by Spanish architect Rafael Gustavino Sr., who was laid to rest in a crypt inside. He moved to Asheville in the 1890s to work on the Biltmore house, the estate (now a public museum) developed by railroad tycoon George Vanderbilt.

The huge stained glass dome on the church ceiling will command your attention. The church also contains stained glass windows from Germany, marble statues and marble tiles at the altar, 16th- and 17th-century furnishings and North Carolina granite.

And the enormous pipe organ! If you’re lucky, you’ll get there when someone is playing the organ or at least practicing. It’s amazing. You won’t want to leave.

For much of the year, the roses in front of the church parade their hues of lavender, yellow, orange, purple and red, enough to draw the curious.

Whether your interest is history, architecture, art or religion, make the Basilica of Saint Lawrence a stop on your tour of Asheville when you stay at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville vacation rental.

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FREE drums, dancing, hoops, music, markets in Asheville’s Pritchard Park

It could be called Asheville’s boardwalk, Asheville’s Central Park, a constant carnival, a people-watching paradise. Whatever you choose to call it, Pritchard Park hosts some interesting activities in downtown Asheville. And they’re all free things to do in Asheville! Visitors at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, love to catch the funky happenings at the park, a sweet 10-minute drive from our Asheville vacation rental.  

Asheville drum circle

It’s no wonder people like to wander over to Pritchard Park. The Friday night drum circle there, which happens for most of the year, is a memorable and mesmerizing experience that fills your ears and fills the air with pulsations. It’s hard to tear yourself away from it.

Outdoor markets in Asheville          

On Saturdays during the summer, the umbrella market is set up in Pritchard, with various vendors open for business under the shade of umbrellas. They offer homemade and homegrown art, crafts, flowers and other items.

Asheville Hoops

Hop over to enjoy some hula hoop hype at the Hoop Jam Tuesday event, a weekly gathering with hoops for sale and hoops to test drive on Tuesday evenings.

Thursdays offer lunchtime entertainment with the Thursday Lunchtime Unwind and later that day, the Thursday After Work Perk, with evening music and dance concerts.

Have an Asheville Funday Sunday

Live music and other entertainment are offered in Pritchard Park for a perfect kind of freebie day!

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Get your Bele Chere on in Asheville

One of the biggest weekends of the year in Asheville is coming up July 23-25, just two weeks away! It’s Bele Chere, which some say is the largest street festival in the Southeast. It’s FREE, it’s food galore, it’s music and dancing, it’s people-watching and performing dogs, arts and crafts, funky vendors and lots of joy.

When you stay at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, you’re an easy five-minute drive to the Asheville Mall, where you can take a shuttle that goes downtown to the festival, unless you want to make the 10-minute drive downtown yourself. Many downtown streets are blocked off for Bele Chere, so some people think it’s easier to let the shuttle do the driving.

Free music in Asheville

On four different outdoor stages downtown, you’ll hear a range of music: blues, rock, country, reggae, folk, funk, bluegrass, jazz and various hybrids. Take your pick. Toubab Krewe will perform its world-music magic. The Fabulous Thunderbirds will rock you. Other performers will be Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Southern Culture on the Skids, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty band, the Randall Bramblett Band, Bomshel and many others.

Asheville restaurants

Sample sweet and savory from a selection of Asheville restaurants. The aromas wrap themselves around the festival to tantalize you. Seafood, Southern, organic and gluten-free, Indian, Greek, French, chocolate, barbecue, Italian, Asian, fabulous ice cream. Local breweries also will tap their suds for the crowds. Be hungry, and be fed.

Once you’ve fed the party animal in you, come home to the private peace at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville vacation rental. Here, other Bele Chere visitors have relaxed and savored their bliss.

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Troll around on trolley tours in Asheville

When you see the white trolleys in downtown Asheville and elsewhere in town, catch a ride to get a guided glimpse of the city. Asheville Trolley Tours operates March through December, and it’s a great way to learn about Asheville history with a locally-owned company. When you stay at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, you’re an easy 10 minutes from downtown, where you can pick up the trolley at multiple locations. We may soon offer our guests trolley tickets at a discount.

            Grove Park Inn

            Some of our recent guests took the tour and loved it. It’s no wonder. On the 17-mile loop, you’ll drive by the historic Montford area with varied architectural styles from the 1800s and early 1900s. You’ll pass the former mental health hospital where novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda, died in a fire. You’ll see the storied Grove Park Inn, where President Obama and his wife stayed in the spring, and the house where author Thomas Wolfe lived with his mother at the boarding house she operated.          

            Biltmore estate         

            As you cruise through Asheville’s streets, you’ll pass western North Carolina’s first skyscraper, known as the Jackson building; the condominium downtown that director Steven Spielberg owns; the basilica of St. Lawrence; Biltmore Village south of downtown, developed by railroad magnate George Vanderbilt for employees at his estate; the warehouses-turned-art-studios of the River Arts District and more.

            Asheville ghost tours and Asheville discounts            

            If you prefer a little fear with your tour, Asheville Trolley Tours runs a ghost tour April through November. The company also offers patrons discounts for other businesses in the city.

            Step aboard to enjoy a jolly Asheville trolley ride when you stay at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville vacation rental.

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