Archive for Asheville restaurants

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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Visions of Gingerbread in Asheville

When you’re in Asheville for the holidays, you don’t want to miss the National Gingerbread House Competition and Display at the Grove Park Inn. The annual exhibit is available for public viewing — including non-guests at the inn — through Jan. 2, 2011. When you stay at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, you’re an easy drive to the gingerbread house display.

Free things to do in Asheville for Christmas

The exhibit is a FREE thing to do in Asheville during the holidays. Gingerbread houses? Yes, we know. Who knew this could be an exciting art form of its own? The competition draws plenty of participants from multiple states, and it generates a lot of buzz during the holidays. You may be surprised at the creativity reflected in the entries. Children and adults enter their imaginative houses in the competition, and the entire entry must be edible.

Asheville’s Grove Park Inn

If the gingerbread houses stir your taste buds, consider dining at one of the Grove Park Inn’s restaurants, all open to non-guests at the inn. It’s a historic building, too, and well worth visiting. You can sit by the enormous fireplaces in rocking chairs.

President Obama in Asheville

Many luminaries have stayed at the inn over the years. And yes, the president slept there. Barack and Michelle Obama stayed at the inn this past spring on their vacation in Asheville.

Contact Lovers’ Loop Retreat 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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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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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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Have a listen for FREE in Asheville

If you want to hear a good story, check out the Stories on Asheville’s Front Porch series, a new event at Asheville’s newest park, Pack Square Park downtown. It’s a storytelling hour that features a variety of tellers, including some known nationally.

            The storytelling is 10:30-11:30 a.m. every Saturday from June through Sept. 4 except July 24, which is Bele Chere weekend downtown. The first event, this Saturday, June 19, will feature David Novak. It’s one of the great free things to do in Asheville when you stay at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative. The park is an easy 10-minute drive from Lovers’ Loop Retreat.

            Free things to do in Asheville

            Sponsored by the Asheville Storytelling Circle, which brings big entertainment to the city from time to time, you’ll hear storytelling traditions of various cultures, from Jewish and Native American to Scottish and Appalachian. On July 10, nationally-known teller Connie Reagan-Blake, who lives in Asheville, will be featured.

            Affordable restaurants in Asheville 

            The time and location are convenient to either catch the storytelling after a wonderful breakfast or before a savory lunch at one of the many restaurants downtown that make Asheville a known culinary destination.

            The new Pack Square Tavern, in a large historic building, is a stone’s throw from the park.

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The Obamas play in Asheville

It’s been an interesting weekend here in Asheville. Michelle and Barack Obama chose Asheville for a weekend vacation. They arrived Friday and left today, Sunday. The newspaper has been filled with photos and stories about the couple’s activities.

Parts of Interstate 26 and other roads were closed, police and emergency crews parked on highways, and people lined streets and camped out at the Asheville airport to catch sight of the Obamas. While they didn’t stay at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville B&B alternative, the couple hiked on a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway just a stone’s throw from our vacation rental.

Newspaper reports indicated the president played golf at the Grove Park resort, and the couple visited the Biltmore estate, an easy drive from Lovers’ Loop Retreat, and ate at a couple of restaurants in the city.

Just another affirmation of the Asheville area’s appeal as a vacation destination. Come stay at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville lodging place, and see for yourself.

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Open-air eating in Asheville

If you enjoy eating outside, you’ve got a lot of choices in Asheville. And the season is upon us, so for much of the rest of the year in our mostly temperate climate, you can catch some air while you dine. If you stay at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville bed and breakfast, you have the option of preparing meals in the guest suite, as many of our visitors have. But if you want to venture into the world of Asheville restaurants, you’ll find many eateries that have tables in the great and gorgeous mountainous outdoors.

The Grove Arcade shopping center in downtown Asheville has several restaurants and cafes with street dining: Thai, Cuban, a wine bar, coffee shop/bakery, Italian, hotdogs and fried fish. Pack Square downtown has another cluster of restaurants with open-air options, including Chinese and organic/gluten-free. Other sections of Asheville have their own outdoor dining opportunities.

You can also eat outside at Lovers’ Loop Retreat on your private porch, amid the birds’ banter, the squirrels’ chatter, the chipmunks’ chittering and whatever may be flowering during your visit.

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