Archive for free things in Asheville

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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Free and Fun and Outdoors in Asheville

Asheville has some great outdoor entertainment events each year, and many of them are FREE things to do in Asheville. Movies, live music, live theater — there’s a lot to choose from while you’re in town.

Asheville breweries              

When you stay at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville vacation rental, you’re an easy drive from the Wedge brewery in the River Arts District just outside downtown. The Wedge offers a FREE outdoor film series every Saturday night from May through September. The first movie in this year’s series will be “Harold and Maude,” which will be shown today, May 7. Most of the movies are classics, from the Marx Brothers, Charlie Chaplin and Hitchcock to Walt Disney, Woody Allen and the Talking Heads. Throw in some James Bond, Monty Python and Mel Brooks among others, of course. Bring a chair, and enjoy a beverage or picnic.

Downtown After Five lowdown 

One of the more popular events is Downtown After Five, a FREE street festival on Lexington Avenue the third Friday evening of each month. Live music, happy people, food and beer, and some of the funky shops stay open late. The first concert this year will be May 20 featuring the Asheville Horns and Bayou Diesel, and a mix of music follows during the series. Beer sales help local nonprofits. Other concerts will be June 17, July 15, Aug. 19 and Sept. 16.

Theater in Asheville

You don’t have to be a drama queen to dig the Montford Park Players, Asheville’s longtime Shakespeare troupe that performs for FREE from June through August in an amphitheater just outside downtown. The stage under the stars is a peaceful setting as sunset creeps in. The Players’ take on Shakespeare is lively, inventive and casual, no stuffy stuff. Their free performances of comedies, tragedies, romances and everything in between start June 3.

Shindig on the Green

Everyone loves Shindig, an Asheville tradition since 1967. The FREE music series, held at a downtown park, starts July 2 and continues most Saturday nights through Sept. 3. It’s a mix of bluegrass, mountain and old-time music and dance. Expect string bands, clogging, ballads, storytelling. Bring your own instrument — you may not be able to resist some jamming. Add a blanket or chair, a picnic and you’re there.

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

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Asheville’s All Go West Festival

The second annual All Go West Festival is coming up soon, this Saturday, April 23. It’s a diverse, daylong celebration of music and arts that makes for a great and funky day. Did we mention that it’s FREE? Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville vacation rental, is close to the festivities.

The event, in West Asheville outside downtown, will feature lots of music and arts. You’ll also find refreshments in locally-brewed beer and barbecue (not free). The festival will include exhibits related to green and sustainable living. The music medley will include the genres of folk, pop, rock, Americana, acoustic, electronic/dance and more. Two stages will feature music from noon to 10 p.m. There’s no way you won’t be dancing!

Earth Day in Asheville

All Go West is in the early lineup of Asheville’s seasonal festivals, which represent lots of opportunities for fun. Last weekend, we went to the annual Earth Day event downtown, and it was huge, with music all day and night and a variety of vendors, from a food cooperative and Transition-Town group to a green moving company and a tree-planting nonprofit.

Asheville Festivals

We can keep track of the seasons by the festivals. Biltmore estate’s dazzling Festival of Flowers in April and May, Actionfest movie extravaganza and Hatch creative arts festival in April, Artisan Bread Bakers Festival in April, the herb festival in April and May, the Jewish film festival in April, Edible Book Festival in April, Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF) in nearby Black Mountain in May and October, Asheville Wordfest in May, Mountain Sports Festival and Montford Music and Arts Festival in May, Beer City Festival in June, Bele Chere street festival in July, Goombay African and Caribbean fest and Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in August.

There’s also the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival (LAAFF) and Organicfest in September, gay pride and Latino festivals in October, Hard Lox Jewish festival in October, and other beer festivals in October and January. Whew! We’re dizzy, and we haven’t mentioned all of them. All of these events are on our website during the year, so we’ll keep you updated.

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

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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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Lovers’ Loop Retreat April muse-letter

Well, it’s happening. Spring is spreading itself throughout Asheville and the rest of Western North Carolina. We’re seeing forsythia, service berry, daffodils, pear and cherry trees, hyacinths, tulips and other colorful blooms. April is a gateway month in the Asheville area, the start of so many fun and diverse events that it’s hard to keep track.

At Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, we keep you updated on the fun goings-on in this area. Because our vacation rental is right beside the beautiful, scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, we’re also surrounded by nature’s goings-on, her elaborate and dazzling spring finery and splendor that inspire and revive. Lovers’ Loop Retreat is a quick, easy drive to lively downtown Asheville, the Biltmore estate in Asheville, the River Arts District and other attractions.

Free things to do in Asheville in April

Asheville has plenty of free and nearly-free activities. Enjoy some free things to do in Asheville in April. Check out the Friday evening drum circle at Pritchard Park downtown. Bring your own drum and pound along, or watch, listen and dance. This mesmerizing event is held every Friday.

Take a hike or bike along the Blue Ridge Parkway, right beside Lovers’ Loop Retreat. You may see some wildflowers in the woods.

Visit some of the diverse art galleries downtown, and while you’re there, listen to the street musicians play their strings, drums and accordions.

Walk around historic Biltmore Village south of downtown. Take your kayak or canoe to the French Broad River, which flows through Asheville. There’s room at Lovers’ Loop Retreat to store your vessel. Visit galleries in the River Arts District just outside downtown. This funky area is alive and bustling with creativity.

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.

Biltmore Estate Festival of Flowers

This historic estate is fascinating any time of year, but enjoy a big dose of springtime by visiting during this annual festival, which is under way now and lasts through May 15. Snapdragons, poppies, 100,000 (yes, 100,000) tulips of all colors. Roam on the estate’s 8,000 acres, one of the prettiest spots in Asheville – and that’s saying something.

Actionfest in Asheville

If you enjoy action movies, don’t miss this annual festival April 7-10. It claims to be the only international film festival focused on action cinema. They screen movies from around the world, including some world premieres. Asheville has a lively filmmaking scene itself and usually hosts a separate, general film festival each year.

Asheville Events in April

The annual Hatch festival, April 14-17, includes exhibits, panels, workshops and networking events for people interested in music, fashion, film, journalism, photography, architecture and design/technology. It’s a meeting of creative minds that’s open to anyone.

Asheville’s version of Earth Day will be at Pack Square Park downtown April 16. It’s a groovy celebration with lots of diverse, live music, including the tremendously popular (and Asheville-based) Toubab Krewe. Earth Day is a FREE thing to do in Asheville.

Another FREE Asheville event is the annual Spring Herb Festival, which will be April 29-30 and May 1. Sixty vendors will offer herb plants, essences and oils, soap, medicinal products, books, gardening tips and more at the WNC Farmers Market.

Comedian Bill Maher will perform at the Asheville Civic Center on April 22.

And on April 23, the FREE All Go West Music Festival will liven up the streets in West Asheville, outside downtown.

April in Asheville also offers live theater, music concerts, storytelling, a rhododendron show at the North Carolina Arboretum 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.

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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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