Archive for Asheville art

Lovers’ Loop Retreat June muse-letter

            We love the summer solstice. Here at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, we’ll celebrate the solstice June 21 and relish the day with the most daylight of the year. That means the cardinals, Carolina wrens, mourning doves, chickadees, finches, nuthatches, blue jays and the rest in our circus of resident birds will offer their chorus for a little bit longer on the solstice.

As the season explodes in nature’s noises and flora, we’re amazed at all the activities and events the Asheville area offers in June and throughout the summer. Of course, Asheville never hibernates, so any time of year is a great time to be here, and each season –  and month –  has its advantages. In June, advantages abound, and some are free.

One advantage of staying at Lovers’ Loop Retreat is that we’re a quick, easy drive to lively downtown Asheville, the Biltmore estate in Asheville, the River Arts District and other attractions. And for outdoor recreation, the Blue Ridge Parkway is at the end of our street with FREE opportunities for hiking, biking and other activities.

Free things to do in Asheville in June

Asheville has lots of free and nearly-free activities. Check out some free things to do in Asheville in June. The next Asheville Gallery Walk will be June 3, and it gives an opportunity to stay later, talk with artists and enjoy refreshments at the many diverse art galleries downtown. Pickin’ on the Porch also will be June 3 at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial downtown. It’s a new music series noon to 2 p.m. on the first Friday of each month through October. Art in the Park, an open-air art market, will be June 11, June 18 and June 25 downtown, in addition to three dates in October. The Montford Park Players, a longtime Shakespeare troupe, will perform “Double Falsehood/Comedy of Errors” June 3-26 at the park’s amphitheater, just outside downtown Asheville.

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 www.loversloopretreat.com. Visit the site to see what’s going on whenever you plan your trip. Our website features a link where you can contact us for a list of many FREE things to do in Asheville.

More free Asheville events and activities in June

Stroll along Asheville’s self-guided urban trail downtown, and get a FREE lesson in history and architecture. The city has many varied, fascinating and rare architectural gems that really add to the downtown aura. While you’re downtown, visit the Thomas Wolfe Memorial’s Second Saturdays event June 11. This is the first in the museum’s FREE annual series (on the second Saturday in June, July and August) that features local arts, crafts and demonstrations. The Thomas Wolfe Memorial itself is a must-see destination for literature and history buffs. For the admission of only $1, you’ll get a great tour of the house where the novelist grew up and spent time when he visited Asheville as an adult.

Asheville’s River Arts District Studio Stroll

The River Arts District Studio Stroll will be June 11-12. It’s a FREE event that allows you to walk through artists’ galleries, talk with artists and purchase art, and it’s in the trendy, up-and-coming River Arts District just outside downtown Asheville.

Free music in Asheville

The next concert in the FREE outdoor music series Downtown After Five in Asheville will be June 17. The band will be the Blue Dogs, a Charleston, S.C.-based group that plays Americana/country-rock. The street festival runs the third Friday of each month from May through September. Food and locally made beer are available, and sales benefit charities. Shops on Lexington Avenue stay open longer, too.    

Malaprops bookstore events

            The city’s most happening bookstore, Malaprops, is downtown and features several readings related to Eastern culture in June. On June 21, Irmansyah Effendi will read from and sign his book about meditation. June 22, the store will host Rameshwar Das, co-author with Ram Dass of “Be Love Now.” Ram Dass will participate through Skype. On June 29, Master Zhongxian Wu will talk about classical Chinese wisdom.     

Asheville events in June

Check out these other events in Asheville in June: Asheville Tourists baseball throughout the month, “The Glass Menagerie” June 1-19 at the N.C. Stage Co., the Blue Ridge Roller Girls roller derby June 4, the Found Footage Festival with screenings of rare and discovered videos June 9 at the Grey Eagle, the daylily show and sale June 18 at the North Carolina Arboretum, Chris Isaak at the Orange Peel on June 21 and more.

All of these events and activities and more are listed on our website. Please pass along our muse-letter to your friends. And join us at Lovers’ Loop Retreat. See you in Asheville!

Reach us at loversloop(at)gmail(dot)com or (828) 545-2950.

Cheers!

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FREE things to do Memorial Day in Asheville

With the big Memorial Day holiday weekend approaching, Asheville is a great place to be, full of possibilities. You’ll find there’s plenty of fun to be had for free in the Asheville area. Who doesn’t like free? At Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, we keep you posted about free and ticketed activities all year. Check out some FREE things to do around Memorial Day:

Mountain Sports Festival

The Asheville area has lots of sports events each year, and the Mountain Sports Festival is one of the most comprehensive. Held May 27-29 at Asheville’s Carrier Park on the French Broad River, the festival offers live music all weekend, demonstrations, clinics and competitions in a wide range of activities: skateboarding, running, ultimate Frisbee, cyclocross, disc golf, triathlon, rock climbing, dodgeball (who knew?) and more. Most competitive events have same-day registration (and a fee to enter), and spectators can show up at any time, of course, and have fun for free.

Blue Ridge Parkway

We’ve said it before, and it’s worth repeating year-round, holidays and not. The parkway is one of the best entertainment bargains going in Asheville. The scenic road cuts right through the city (and goes much farther to points north and south of Asheville), and it’s just down the street, literally, from Lovers’ Loop Retreat. Think of the possibilities: you can hike, bike, photograph, go wildflower hunting, identify trees, practice your yodeling and more. For free!

Play it again

Go back in time to when records really meant actual vinyl records that had album covers with cool artwork and photos of your favorite bands. Several record stores operate in Asheville. Harvest Records, in West Asheville just outside downtown, has new and used vinyl, CDs and DVDs. Karmasonics, Static Age Records and Voltage Records also stock new and used vinyl and CDs. It’s as if you’re at a music museum. You may be tempted to buy something, but browsing is free, right?

Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’

Browsing at Bruisin’ Ales is free, too. Here’s your chance to go global in a beer store. The retailer, in downtown Asheville, claims to stock more than 900 beers from around the world. They have a mix of seasonal and rare beers as well as American craft beers and lots more. It’s interesting to look around.

Art galleries in Asheville

So many to choose from! Our favorites include Blue Spiral downtown, Grovewood Gallery beside the Grove Park Inn just north of downtown, and New Morning Gallery, in Biltmore Village south of downtown. Walk around downtown and explore the many galleries there, and find your own favorites. There’s a lot of creative variety. It doesn’t cost anything to look.

Asheville drum circle

If you’re in town Friday evening, May 27, go to Pritchard Park downtown, and hang out at the weekly drum circle. It’s a great event for people-watching. Or bring your own drum and pound along. The drum circle is nearly year-round each Friday night. Pritchard Park is a happening place to be at other times, too. It’s in the middle of downtown, and you can play a free game of chess at the permanent chessboards, do some hula hooping, listen to random live music and watch street performers.

At Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville vacation rental, you’re close to all of these freebies. Contact us at 828-545-2950 or loversloop(at)gmail(dot)com.

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Lovers’ Loop Retreat May muse-letter

This is one of the prettiest springs we can remember here at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative. Our azaleas are bursting in red, pink and white; our rhododendrons are blushing in pink; the dogwoods are blooming snow-white; the serviceberry had popcorn-like blooms; the forsythia and redbud rocked.

It’s a healthy spring throughout the Asheville area. Asheville is buzzing right along with nature now with an abundance of activities and events that await you. Lovers’ Loop Retreat is a quick, easy drive to lively downtown Asheville, the Biltmore estate in Asheville, the River Arts District and other attractions. And the Blue Ridge Parkway is at the end of our street for outdoor recreation fans and scenic-roadway cruisers.

Free things to do in Asheville in May

Asheville has plenty of free and nearly-free activities. Enjoy some free things to do in Asheville in May. The Big Love Fest on May 1 at Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville will feature live music, arts and crafts and locally-brewed beers. It’s new and FREE. Asheville Wordfest, an annual poetry festival, will be May 3-8 and will include a diverse slate of poets, some nationally known, as well as opportunities for open-mic readings for others. Poetry events are held downtown, and they’re FREE. The Wedge brewery in the River Arts District starts its FREE outdoor movie series May 7 with “Harold and Maude.” The series continues each Saturday night through Sept. 24.

More Free Asheville Events in May

The Weaverville Art Safari just north of Asheville, a self-guided tour of artists’ studios, will be May 7-8. The Montford Arts and Music Festival on May 21 is an outdoor street festival with two stages for music, theater and dance, plus lots of vendors. Nearly free is the Feral Chihuahuas, a local comedy troupe, which performs the second Saturday of each month for free at Broadways downtown; Broadways charges a $5 fee for an annual membership. Another nearly free option is the Asheville Cinebarre movie theater, where a flick costs $3 and just $1 on Sunday.

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 www.loversloopretreat.com. Visit the site to see what’s going on whenever you plan your trip. You can link to our blog, https://loversloopretreat.wordpress.com, on the home page, and we’re also on Twitter! Our website features a link where you can contact us for a list of many FREE things to do in Asheville.

Asheville’s Downtown After Five

A fun way to get down downtown in Asheville is the Downtown After Five FREE outdoor music series. The first concert will be May 20 with the Asheville Horns and Bayou Diesel. The street festival runs the third Friday of each month from May through September. Food and locally made beer are available, and sales benefit charities. Shops stay open longer, too.

Fanaticon in Asheville

Fans of comic book and pop culture will love this FREE annual event, held May 21 at the Asheville Art Museum downtown. It’s preceded by the Fanaticon Rave party May 20. It’s a tribute to heroes and villains with a costume masquerade, live music, panel discussions, comic book artists and more. Freak out!

Mountain Sports Festival

The Mountain Sports Festival May 27-29 is one of the biggest recreational events in Asheville each year. It’s FREE to attend. The festival offers competitions for professionals and amateurs in a range of activities, from climbing, cycling and paddling to disc golf, running and dodgeball. There’s free live music all weekend, too.

Asheville events in May

Check out these other events in Asheville in May: Asheville Tourists baseball May 5-12 and May 17-23, the FREE East of Asheville Studio Tour of artists’ studios May 14-15, Tret Fure in concert May 20, Little Feat in concert May 24 and a rose show at the North Carolina Arboretum May 28-29.

All of these events and activities and more are listed on our website. Please pass along our muse-letter to your friends. And join us at Lovers’ Loop Retreat. See you in Asheville!

Reach us at loversloop(at)gmail(dot)com or (828) 545-2950.

Cheers!

Lovers’ Loop Retreat

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Explore the fine fringe arts in Asheville

Asheville’s annual Fringe Arts Festival offers a different spin on the arts. The festival this weekend features performances and classes that relate to dance, theater, puppetry and other performing arts.

Asheville arts events

The festival reflects the fresh creativity that abounds here in Asheville, where unique forms of expression are encouraged and appreciated. Various venues in and near downtown host the festival’s classes and performances, which include a spoof of reality TV by clothing designers.

Some events include audience participation. Multimedia, circus, comedy, sound artistry, visual images — all of the senses are engaged.

The arts scene in Asheville is thriving and lively year-round. Stay at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, to be close to all the fun.

Contact Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville vacation rental, at 828-545-2950 or loversloop(at)gmail(dot)com.

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Lovers’ Loop Retreat December muse-letter

Asheville doesn’t hibernate in December!

As we look eagerly toward the winter solstice in December and the gradual return to more daylight, we’re primed for plenty of fun in these beautiful mountains. We love the mountains in their bareness. On our hike at the Blue Ridge Parkway on Thanksgiving, it was great to have so much visibility through the woods, combined with the many colorful evergreens. Winter is a good time to hike in western North Carolina, and at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville vacation rental, our guests are only a minute from the parkway, which also affords fine birding opportunities.

December events in Asheville

Asheville offers lots of Christmas and Hanukkah events, from theater, dance and musical productions to shows and sales that feature the wide range of artists around here. For many people, the Biltmore mansion in Asheville is a must-see for its Christmas decorations that are up through New Year’s weekend. There’s also a spectrum of music, from the rock and pop of the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam and the Avett Brothers to the African-American expression of old-time music provided by the Carolina Chocolate Drops, as well as seasonal symphonic and choral concerts.

Make Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, your place to stay when you explore Asheville, NC recreation, arts, restaurants and festivals. Events are posted and updated through the year on www.loversloopretreat.com. Visit the site to see what’s going on whenever you plan your trip. Our website features a link where you can contact us for a list of many FREE things to do in Asheville.

Free things to do in Asheville in December

Enjoy a variety of FREE things. An exhibit of panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be displayed through Dec. 3 at Pack Place downtown. The annual exhibit is powerful. The last art gallery walk of the year will be Dec. 3, with the opportunity to view art with refreshments as many galleries downtown stay open later. Hike, bike, bird, run — or skip if you feel like it — on trails at the North Carolina Arboretum on Dec. 7, the first Tuesday of the month, when the parking fee is waived. The parking fee also will be waived each year for the days around Christmas and New Year’s. The arboretum has exhibits, too, including a major one up through next March about the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, a tribe whose reservation is an hour west of Asheville.

MORE free things to do in Asheville in December

Tour two historic homes, Fernihurst and the Smith McDowell-House, on Dec. 7 and Dec. 14. The Smith McDowell-House, now a museum, dates to about 1840 and is Asheville’s oldest surviving house. The new One Bazaar Holiday Music Festival will feature diverse live music on Friday and Saturday evenings through Dec. 18 at the Downtown Market. You can check out the market’s many booths of artists and crafters while you listen. Drool at the eye candy on display at the Grove Park Inn, which hosts an annual gingerbread house contest and exhibit. Who knew the elaborate, fun and creative designs possible with gingerbread? The exhibit, up through Jan. 2, is really something to see.

Asheville holiday shopping

Asheville is a great place for holiday shopping. And a couple of arts organizations make it easier for shoppers with annual events, among the many arts events in Asheville this holiday season. The Folk Art Center, on the Blue Ridge Parkway five minutes from Lovers’ Loop Retreat, has its Artists’ Holiday Sale on Dec. 4 and Dec. 11. The Big Crafty, another artists’ bazaar, will be Dec. 5 at the Asheville Art Museum downtown.

“Santaland Diaries” and “Nutcracker” in Asheville

Humorist David Sedaris’ “The Santaland Diaries” will be performed Dec. 16-19  at Asheville Community Theatre, and several versions of “The Nutcracker” will be offered by dance companies in December.

New Year’s Eve in Asheville

New Year’s Eve in Asheville? Yes! It’s a playground downtown. Come and enjoy the buzz on the streets and in the many clubs and bars that offer a great variety of live music and other entertainment. If the night is mild enough, you’ll walk by street musicians playing their hearts out. The Avett Brothers perform at the Asheville Civic Center on Dec. 30 and Dec. 31.

All of these events and activities and more are listed on our website. Please pass along our muse-letter to your friends. And join us at Lovers’ Loop Retreat. See you in Asheville!

Reach us at loversloop(at)gmail(dot)com or (828) 545-2950.

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Lovers’ Loop Retreat October Muse-letter

It’s nearly October, and that means the hunt is on in the Asheville, N.C., area. Red leaves, gold leaves, orange and russet leaves. Come see what the oaks, maples, poplars, sourwoods and other trees are serving up for eye candy this autumn as the fall foliage season gets underway in western North Carolina. Guests at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, love that we’re located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic road that’s part of the National Park Service. The parkway is the best place to enjoy all that autumn offers in color changes and mountain peaks. The leaf-peeping here usually lasts until around mid-November.

Spending time on the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the popular and FREE things to do in Asheville during autumn and year-round.

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 www.loversloopretreat.com. Visit the site to see what’s going on whenever you plan your trip. Contact us for a list of many FREE things to do in Asheville.

Free things to do in Asheville in October

In October, you’ll find a fun and wide-ranging mix of freebies in Asheville. Oct. 1 is the Asheville gallery walk, when the many downtown galleries stay open later so visitors may check out the art and enjoy refreshments. Asheville’s pride festival is Oct. 2.

There’s also the Asheville Scarecrow Festival on Oct. 2, and Fiesta Latina, the vibrant and colorful annual Latino heritage event, also is Oct. 2.

The North Carolina Arboretum’s regularly scheduled free day is the first Tuesday of each month, Oct. 5. The Asheville Art Museum offers free admission in the afternoon on the first Wednesday of each month, Oct. 6.

If you’re ready to walk the walk, participate in the Asheville Zombie Walk on Oct. 10. It’s an annual gig downtown: fake blood, funky costumes, scary stares. To lighten up, attend the Asheville Ukulele Jam on Oct. 12 at Laurey’s Catering downtown. This new event will be the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.

On Oct. 17, the annual HardLox Jewish Festival will fill your tummy with yummy food and please your ears with klezmer tunes, along with Israeli folk dancing.

Asheville arts events

Two of the most-anticipated arts events in the Asheville area are in October. The Lake Eden Arts Festival, or LEAF, will be Oct. 14-17 in Black Mountain just minutes from Lovers’ Loop Retreat. LEAF features multicultural dancing, poetry, healing and culinary arts and handcrafts. The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands will be Oct. 21-24 in downtown Asheville.

Halloween in Asheville

Asheville is a happening place to spread your Halloween wings. LaZoom, the comedy tour bus that roams downtown, offers lively Halloween tours. Asheville Trolley Tours and other companies offer ghost tours by foot and bus. And the play “Dracula” will be performed Oct. 22-23 and Oct. 29-30 at the recently restored Masonic Temple downtown. We’ll update our website as we learn of other Halloween gigs.

It’s not scary, but the Asheville MoogFest will be Oct. 29-31 and celebrates the vision and music of the late Robert Moog (based in Asheville), who invented the Moog synthesizer that revolutionized rock music starting in the 1960s.

All of these events and activities and more are listed on our website. Please pass along our muse-letter to your friends. And join us at Lovers’ Loop Retreat. See you in Asheville!

Call or email us – 828.545.2950, loversloop(at)gmail(dot)com.

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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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