Archive for Asheville Food

Get your Celtic on at Asheville’s Jack of the Wood

We ate supper Sunday at the popular Asheville downtown pub, Jack of the Wood. You’ll find some of the best free music in the city there. (And to get there, you’ll probably pass, as we did, many street musicians playing for free, too.)

At Jack of the Wood, you can enjoy a Green Man beer (the pub’s own beer), brewed at the Green Man brewery downtown, while you listen to the Sunday evening (5-8 p.m.) Celtic jam session. Musicians come and go during the jam, and although most are probably amateur musicians, they sound as if they’ve been playing together forever. On the Sunday we went, the group included violins, flutes, a harp, penny whistles, a banjo and mandolin. It’s a random, improvised Irish orchestra, and there’s no cover charge.

Jack of the Wood offers traditional Irish pub fare, much of it made with locally-produced ingredients. The menu includes such trademark Irish dishes as bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie and Irish beef and Guinness stew.

More Celtic music in Asheville

At Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville vacation rental, you’re an easy 10-minute drive to Jack of the Wood and all of downtown Asheville, where the Diana Wortham Theatre is located. Diana Wortham has a Celtic music series each year with internationally-known bands.

De Danann is coming up in the series on May 27.

For your Celtic thrills, contact Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, at 828-545-2950 or loversloop(at)gmail(dot)com.

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Find the luck of the Irish in Asheville

St. Patrick’s Day in Asheville

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Asheville, you have some choices. Plenty of pubs and restaurants around the city will host revelers and offer live music, Irish food and special suds. And you’ll probably see some funky sights if you stroll around downtown, maybe people in costume for the occasion, street musicians and other free entertainment.

Irish pubs in Asheville

Jack of the Wood downtown is one of the city’s most popular hangouts year-round and especially on St. Patrick’s Day. The pub will serve such Irish specialties as bangers and mash, Guinness stew, and, of course, corned beef and cabbage. Live music, too. Hannah Flanagan’s downtown will feature a bagpipe player with a special Irish menu. In West Asheville just outside downtown, Tolliver’s Crossing will offer live music, Irish drafts and outdoor seating. When you stay at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, you’re close to all the action on St. Patrick’s Day and for any occasion.

Asheville St. Patrick’s Day parties

The taprooms in town will be ready with special beers, holiday glassware and music to mark the day. Pack’s Tavern downtown will have a new stout available. The newest of the breweries in Asheville, Altamont Brewing, will be hopping. Asheville’s oldest and biggest brewery, Highland Brewing, will offer a new ale with food and live music. Craggie Brewing downtown will have two bands that evening.

Irish music in Asheville

It’s not hard to find Irish music in Asheville year-round. Jack of the Wood hosts an Irish jam session every Sunday afternoon and night. Anyone may join in with an instrument. It’s a lively scene. The Diana Wortham Theatre downtown has a Celtic music series each year. Next up in the series is Dervish, playing traditional Irish music, on March 24. Stay tuned to our website for entertainment listings.

Come to Asheville for some green — Irish style, that is. 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 March Muse-letter

We love March. It’s full of surprises. March can be winter or spring at various times, but here in Asheville, NC, eventually March gives way to signs of springtime. Maybe emerging crocuses, daffodils, forsythia, flowering trees. It’s a bursting-forth month, and the Asheville area bursts forth with it. Lots of people downtown, lots of events—music, comedy, organic happenings this month. Here at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, we can’t wait for March to get started and spread the energy and vibrancy of this fun and funky place. When you visit Asheville, take advantage of the welcome mat at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, a peaceful place beside the Blue Ridge Parkway where you can enjoy our mountain views with convenient access to downtown and other attractions.

Free things to do in Asheville in March

Asheville always has free and nearly-free activities. Enjoy some free things to do in Asheville in March. Check out the Asheville Ukulele Jam the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at Laurey’s Catering downtown. All levels of experience are welcome. March 1 is the monthly free-admission day at the North Carolina Arboretum, with hundreds of acres of forest and landscaped gardens for walking and biking, plus exhibits. The Asheville Art Museum’s monthly free-admission day is March 2. The museum’s 60th-anniversary exhibit includes a painting by Zelda Fitzgerald, who died in Asheville and was married to novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Curator’s Bazaar at the art museum March 12-13 will offer deals on frames, books and artwork, but there’s no charge for browsing.

Jack of the Wood, a nightclub downtown, hosts a free, unplugged Irish jam session each Sunday evening. The Synergy Story Slam at the new Magnetic Theatre is an open-mic storytelling competition. The theater, in Asheville’s River Arts District, asks for a donation of $5-$10, but no one is turned away. For another nearly-free activity, watch a movie at Asheville Pizza and Brewing, where all films are $3.

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.

Organic in Asheville

The annual Organic Growers School conference will be March 5-6 at UNC-Asheville. Learn everything you want to know about organic growing: gardening, livestock, permaculture, cooking, herbs, food preservation, landscaping and more.

March comedy in Asheville

March is a funny month in Asheville. Billy D. Washington, a stand-up comedian and musician, performs at the Diana Wortham Theatre downtown March 11. March 11-13 is the annual Comedy Classic Weekend at the Grove Park Inn north of downtown, with nationally-known comedians. For home-grown comedy that pokes fun at all things Asheville, catch the Asheville-based, all-women’s group LYLAS (Love Ya Like A Sis) March 17-26 at the North Carolina Stage Co. downtown.

Asheville events in March

Remember the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band? They’re playing at the Orange Peel downtown March 11. Lucinda Williams will play the Orange Peel on March 16. For fans of traditional Irish music, there’s Dervish at the Diana Wortham Theatre on March 24. The Magnetic Theatre’s storytelling nights are March 7 and March 21. The annual orchid show at the North Carolina Arboretum March 26-27 is amazing. And the Taste of Home Cooking School will bring its food and fun to Asheville on March 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.

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Fodor’s ranks Asheville in top 21 destinations

Asheville makes so many national and international best-of lists, it’s head-spinning. The area has garnered praise as a place to retire, a place for cycling and other outdoor recreation, a groovy food and microbrewery scene, a good spot for organic and vegetarian fare, a great place to start an independent business, a top location for visual arts and other accolades.

Fodor’s travel guide destinations include Asheville

This year, the travel guidebook publisher Fodor’s lists Asheville in the top 21 destinations in the world for 2011! Asheville beat Morocco and other exotic locales to be ranked equally with the coast of Italy, Hawaii, Mozambique, Tokyo, Toronto, New York City and other destinations. Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, is right here in the middle of the action.

Asheville, NC, attractions

We’ve hosted many guests over the years who are wowed by Asheville. Our guests come for music concerts, for visual arts, for the lively and diverse dance scene, for hiking and biking, for motorcycling, for the Biltmore estate and the Blue Ridge Parkway, for the Bele Chere street festival, for free bluegrass jams, for creative beers and a tantalizing diversity of restaurants, for workshops —the list of attractions in and around Asheville is long and delicious.

Asheville, NC, microbreweries

A Fodor spokeswoman told the local newspaper that Asheville and the other 20 destinations listed for 2011 always are great places to visit. We knew that. She said one reason Asheville came to Fodor’s attention is its recent designation as Beer City USA, a tribute to the hopping—yeah, we said it—microbrewery scene here. The city has about a dozen microbreweries.

Asheville, NC, vacation

Asheville has received other travel-related acclaim. The New York Times travel section featured Asheville in October 2010. And travel guidebook publisher Frommer’s listed Asheville in its top 12 destinations in 2007.

At Lovers’ Loop Retreat, we’re happy to host guests for whatever reasons they come to Asheville. Contact Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville vacation rental, at 828-545-2950 or loversloop(at)gmail(dot)com.

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Make a resolution to visit Highland Brewery’s new tasting room in Asheville

Asheville’s oldest brewery now has the biggest tasting room of breweries in the area. Highland Brewery, with its towering, silver tanks that are used to make its beers, is the largest craft brewer in North Carolina and among the biggest in the Southeast. The brewery is right around the corner from our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative.

The tasting room, which debuted last fall, is open every Friday. While you choose among Gaelic Ale, Kashmir IPA, Black Mocha Stout and other Highland taps, you can tap your toes to free live music in the tasting room each week. Local food vendors set up tables, too, for those who want dinner.

Highland Brewery tasting room expands hours

It’s such a popular spot, the brewery will expand its tasting room hours to Thursday through Saturday starting Feb. 3. As you sip the suds, you can watch brewers at work in an adjoining room.

Oteil Brubridge and the Lee Boys concert

Although most music has no cover charge at Highland Brewing, the brewery’s grand opening for the tasting room will feature Grammy-winning bassist Oteil Brubridge and the Lee Boys on Jan. 29. Tickets are $10 in advance. Should be a good show.

Brewery tours in Asheville

When you stay at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville vacation rental, consider taking a free tour of Highland Brewing. Tours are offered Monday through Friday at 4 p.m. You can taste grains they use for their beers, hear how the beer is made and see large bags of malt, the automated bottling line and cases of beer stacked in a cold-storage room. And, of course, the tour includes beer samples.

The brewery, which opened in 1994, distributes its beers in multiple states. The brewery claims there are more taps with its Gaelic Ale than Budweiser taps at bars and restaurants in Asheville.

Contact Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, at 828-545-2950 or loversloop(at)gmail(dot)com.

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Let your stomach be your guide in Asheville

So many great restaurants in Asheville! If it’s hard to select from the menu of tantalizing options, a culinary tour can be a satisfying appetizer. Asheville Food Tours operates year-round except in January and offers tours of restaurants downtown and at Biltmore Village, near the Biltmore estate, south of downtown. Guests at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, have an easy drive to both tour sites.

Asheville restaurants

The downtown tour takes visitors to different Asheville restaurants — about 20 in the mix — depending on which day you take the tour. Either tour will leave you eager to explore Asheville’s lively culinary scene. You’ll visit places upscale, laid-back and organic for entrée and appetizer samples, dessert and gourmet chocolate and foods that may include German, Italian, French, Indian and other influences.

Asheville walking tours

Asheville Food Tours is one of Asheville’s diverse walking tours, which include tours of historic Asheville, haunted Asheville, women’s history in the city and breweries downtown. On Asheville Food Tours, you’ll learn some history about the downtown as you move blissfully from table to table. The culinary tour lasts two to three hours and is offered rain or shine.

Tours of Asheville

In case you want a second helping of the restaurants you’ll visit on Asheville Food Tours, you’ll get discount tickets for the eateries you visit.

Asheville’s motorized tours include the LaZoom comedy bus tour, Asheville Trolley Tours, Grayline tours and Asheville Brews Cruise.

Whatever tours you take, Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville vacation rental, is a convenient place to stay, just 10 minutes from tour starting points.

Contact Lovers’ Loop Retreat at 828-545-2950 or loversloop(at)gmail(dot)com.

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Go on and scream for some Asheville ice cream

What a sweet dream! People who love the frozen stuff can find a place to chill out year-round at Asheville ice cream parlors. Luckily for visitors at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville bed and breakfast, we’re located near one of our favorite ice cream shops, Ultimate Ice Cream.

Whether you crave shakes, floats or splits, cones, sundaes or smoothies, you’ll find an enticing variety. Custard, soy, vegan, non-dairy, beer-flavored, Asheville has your temptation covered.

Ultimate Ice Cream

Ultimate Ice Cream offers a creative menu of flavors to tease the tongue and cool the taste buds, including Black Mocha Stout ice cream, made with beer crafted at Asheville’s Highland Brewing Company. Ultimate also sells soy cream, sugar-free and gelato varieties. If you’re here at the time of year when they make gingerbread ice cream, you’re in for a real treat!

Desserts in Asheville

Asheville’s Woolworth Walk downtown has an old-time soda foundation where you can be cool on a stool as you eat your frozen fare. Kilwin’s is just a block west – so yummy and great variety, with lots of other sweets, too.  Kamm’s Custard Shop is also downtown, and it offers sugar-free and low-carb ice cream as well as Italian ice.

Head over to West Asheville just outside downtown, and you’ll find Two Spoons, which offers ice cream flavors that include Green Tea, Maple Bacon, Double Ginger, Toasted Coconut and Dark Espresso Bean. They also sell scoops of Black Porter Cream, made with beer from Asheville’s Wedge Brewery.

The Hop features non-dairy ice cream made with rice, soy and almond milk – and how does its carrot cake ice cream sound? There’s also the Marble Slab Creamery, the Cold Stone Creamery and Dippin’ Dots.

Indulge in some sweet stuff when you’re in Asheville!

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Lovers’ Loop Retreat September Muse-Letter

We love the months that start with a big holiday. September offers Labor Day weekend, Sept. 3-6 this year. Guests at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, and those of us lucky to live in Asheville, NC, have plenty of fun and FREE things to do in Asheville Labor Day weekend and throughout September.

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.

Free things to do in Asheville in September

September is bulging with events and activities, too many to mention here, but they’re listed on our website. For starters, read our Aug. 20 blog about free things to do in Asheville Labor Day weekend. Don’t miss the free LAAFF (the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival) on Sept. 5. It’s a blast, and we’ll be there.

Also during Labor Day weekend, there’s the North Carolina Apple Festival in nearby Hendersonville Sept. 3-6 and the season’s last Shindig on the Green music concert in Asheville on Sept. 4, both free events.

Asheville’s Montford Park Players present free Shakespeare under the stars with “Twelfth Night” from Sept. 10 through Oct. 3. The plays are performed in a pleasant park setting, and you’ll see mountains and sunsets beyond the stage. The last Downtown After Five of the season is Sept. 17, and people love this event, one of the free street festivals in Asheville.

Heritage Weekend Sept. 18-19 at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway is just a few minutes from Lovers’ Loop Retreat. As the biggest event of the year at the Folk Art Center, this free festival showcases crafts and other traditions of the Appalachians. It’s laid-back and entertaining, and we go every year. Where else can you watch the Annual World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition, a contest based on a simple toy carved from wood? You’ll find experts in beekeeping, canning and preserving, coopering, heritage toy making, blacksmithing, natural dyeing, spinning, quilting, whittling, basket weaving and folk pottery.

The annual Asheville Greek Festival will be Sept. 24-26, a must-do event with wonderful ethnic edibles as well as lively music and dance.

Asheville beer and food

One of the popular beer events in Asheville, a true microbrew city, is the Brewgrass Festival on Sept. 18, where music is the mixer for the homegrown beverages offered.

The inaugural Asheville Food and Environmental Film Festival will be Sept. 22-25 and promotes healthy food and a healthy planet.

Then there’s the organic food option, a popular and growing movement in the Asheville area. The True Nature Country Fair, just north of Asheville in Barnardsville, is Sept. 26-26. You can groove to foods and all other things organic.

More Asheville fun…

…will happen when Asheville’s homegrown roller derby divas, the Blue Ridge Roller Girls, will rule the ring at a bout Sept. 18 at the Asheville Civic Center downtown. These bouts are romping, stomping fascinating; trust us!

Heritage Craft Weekend Sept. 25-26 at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville offers another opportunity to explore the area’s rich culture and traditions.

October’s coming fast!

Fasten your seatbelts for October in Asheville. A peak into the month’s fun and festivities includes the last art gallery walk of the season Oct. 1 in downtown Asheville, the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference in nearby Black Mountain Oct. 1-3, the annual Asheville Pride Festival on Oct. 2, Asheville’s Scarecrow Festival on Oct. 2 and the Fiesta Latina in Asheville on Oct. 2. So much fun! Get yourself here!

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!

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Cruise for brews (without driving) in Asheville

For the many craft-beer lovers and home brewers who live in and visit Asheville, a must-do activity is taking a tour of some of the city’s microbreweries with Asheville Brews Cruise. It’s a great way to hop into the happening local beer scene.

Asheville Brews Cruise offers several different tours, which include Highland Brewery, an easy five-minute drive from Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville vacation rental. Let Brews Cruise take you to different breweries, where you’ll sip samples and learn how beer is made.

Asheville breweries

The largest and oldest of the local breweries is Highland Brewery, which opened in 1994. Some of their holding tanks are refurbished pieces of dairy farm equipment, and on the tour you’ll see their bottling line. Highland claims to be the largest craft brewer in North Carolina and among the largest in the Southeast. The brewery has tastings and live music during the week.

The French Broad Brewery on the tour has free live music several days a week in its tasting room. The brewery produces seasonal beers in addition to its standard brews and distributes in multiple states.

You’ll also see on the tour Asheville Brewing, the first brew-pub in Asheville. At its main location, Asheville Brewing shows cheap movies and sells brews  and pizza during its films.

Asheville organic beer

At this point, the only certified organic brewery in the Southeast is just outside Asheville — Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mountain.

Whether you prefer pale ales, IPAs, wheats, organic, porters, stouts or something else, you’ll find it on the Brews Cruise tour – and at the many and diverse Asheville breweries.

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Cook up some fun in Asheville

For those of you who enjoy creative cooking or who are chefs-in-training in your own kitchen, you may be interested in the cooking schools in Asheville and the surrounding area. The classes, schools and demonstrations offer opportunities to learn about varied cuisines, from traditional Southern style and Italian to vegan, vegetarian and lots of foodways in between.

 Cooking classes in Asheville

Among the options are the Swannanoa School of Culinary Arts at Warren Wilson College and the Biltmore estate’s cooking demonstrations, which always draw a crowd.

You can practice your skills at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville vacation rental. The alternative aspect of our Asheville bed and breakfast alternative offers guests the opportunity to cook their own meals with the dishes, utensils, microwave, hot plate, refrigerator and coffeemaker in the guest suite. Many of our guests take advantage of this feature.

Asheville restaurants

Asheville restaurants also offer a wonderful chance for food exploration. Satisfy your cravings and tempt your tastebuds with cuisines galore. Check it out: Nepalese, Indian street food, crepes, tapas, pizza and beer, vegetarian, organic, French, South Pacific, traditional Southern, Cuban, Jamaican and many more mouth-watering possibilities.

When you leave Asheville, you’ll be hungry for more!

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