Posts Tagged Biltmore

Tune in to summer at Biltmore’s outdoor concerts in Asheville

One of the fine signs of summer and fall in Asheville is the annual outdoor Biltmore Concert Series at the Biltmore estate. Imagine sitting under the stars, beneath a full moon if you’re lucky, with outstanding mountain views just to your right. Sweet! The first concert, Natalie Grant with Jeff Allen, will be July 29. When you stay at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, you’re about 10 minutes from the Biltmore estate.

Biltmore Concert Series

The series typically features longtime performers, many from way back. You’ll recognize some of your favorites. Last summer, we went to see Mary Chapin Carpenter. What a memorable experience! It was a full-moon night, and the glowing moon was poised above the stage. The setting sun over the mountains beside the estate was so enchanting that Mary Chapin paused to comment on the scene and give the audience an opportunity to take photos.

The other performers in this year’s concert series are Michael W. Smith on July 30, Smokey Robinson on Aug. 5, Bruce Hornsby and Bela Fleck on Aug. 11, Allison Krauss on Aug. 12, The Beach Boys on Aug. 27, Styx on Sept. 3, Eddie Money on Oct. 7, The Fab Four on Oct. 14, and The Chairmen of the Board and Embers on Oct. 21.

If you get to the Biltmore early enough, you can bring a picnic to enjoy on the beautiful grounds.

At Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville vacation rental, you’re close to the Biltmore magic. Contact us 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 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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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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See more of Biltmore at Asheville’s Biltmore estate

For the first time in six years, the Biltmore estate is expanding the tour options for people who visit what is claimed to be America’s largest home. The Antler Hill Village visitation site, which will open in late March, will include an expo hall with exhibits, letters and other archival materials related to Edith Vanderbilt, wife of estate founder and railroad tycoon George Vanderbilt.

The estate, which dates to the late 1800s, is an easy 10 minute-drive from Lovers’ Loop Retreat, our affordable Asheville B&B alternative.

The expansion also includes a farm with exhibits on blacksmithing and other aspects of old-time farming, a tavern and ice cream shop.

The grounds of the estate are as beckoning as what’s inside the buildings. Imagine 8,000 mostly-wooded acres along the French Broad River with gorgeous gardens and spectacular mountain views. It’s a great place for biking and walking with 15 miles of safe trails, and their winery offers tastings at no additional charge.

Treat yourself to the Biltmore when you stay at Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville vacation rental.

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Lovers’ Loop Retreat December muse-letter

            This is the month when we’re usually startled at how quickly the year seems to have passed. Is 2009 really nearly gone? In addition to December’s other notable days, it’s the winter solstice month, and that’s a date (Dec. 21, according to our calendar) we always observe here at Lovers’ Loop Retreat in Asheville, N.C. We like that the solstice marks not only the beginning of winter but the beginning of more daylight, even though very gradually. One aspect of winter that we appreciate is the visibility it gives us and our guests to enjoy the mountain views at our Asheville vacation rental and elsewhere around Asheville.

            For those who are captivated by Christmas and the various aspects of the year-end holidays, there are fun things to do in Asheville in this busy month. Some of the activities are free, which makes them all the nicer, and they’re all within easy range of Lovers’ Loop Retreat. We have events posted through December and into 2010 on our Web site, Use the Web site to check out what’s going on whenever you plan your trip to Asheville and Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville bed and breakfast alternative. You can link to our blog,, from the home page.

            If you enjoy some bang for your buck, downtown Asheville is the place to be for the annual Asheville Seasonal Sizzle, the fireworks display on Dec. 5, Dec. 12 and Dec. 19. Why wait until July 4? The show makes a lively downtown all the livelier.

            For a different kind of splendor, visit Asheville’s Biltmore estate, the mansion that’s transformed with lights, trees and other festive décor through Jan. 3. The estate — one of America’s most visited homes — is a year-round destination that many people make a point to see at Christmastime.  

            Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, performed by the Asheville Shakespeare troupe Montford Park Players, runs Dec. 3-6 and Dec. 10-13. Keeping with the Dickens theme, Biltmore Village outside downtown Asheville will host a Dickens-inspired Christmas fest Dec. 4-6.

            The Big Crafty on Dec. 6 is a popular happening, with about 100 crafters represented and live music in downtown Asheville. It’s free!

            One cool gig is the annual gingerbread house display through Jan. 3 at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville. The competition draws many entries that make for an imaginative and artistic exhibit. This, too, is free!  

            For a nontraditional kind of holiday experience, the annual Swannanoa Solstice on Dec. 20 will feature varied entertainment, including Celtic and mountain music, bagpipers, dancers and storytellers. It’s at the Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville.

            And to wrap up the month – and the year — there’s the New Year’s Eve Downtown Countdown in Asheville. In addition to that event, bars and restaurants downtown and elsewhere in the city are geared up to host their own countdowns.

            Looking into 2010, get a funky start to the year with the annual Asheville FringeArts Festival, which broadens minds and opens eyes each January. It will be Jan. 21-24.

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

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