Posts Tagged Downtown After Five

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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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 Visit the site to see what’s going on whenever you plan your trip. You can link to our blog,, 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.


Lovers’ Loop Retreat

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Get down for FREE at Downtown After 5 in Asheville

One of the best entertainment deals in Asheville is the Downtown After 5 concert series. It’s one of the fun, free things to do in Asheville. The concerts, on Lexington Avenue, start at about 5:15 p.m. and offer food and beverages for purchase in addition to the free music and dancing.

            Free things to do in Asheville

            The concerts are the third Friday of each month May through September. The next concert, June 18, will feature Southern rock band Drivin ’N’ Cryin’ and classic rock band Velvet Truckstop. When you stay at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an affordable Asheville bed and breakfast alternative, you’re 10 easy minutes from the festivities. Our guests who have checked this out have loved it.

            Here’s the schedule: July 16, Josh Phillips Folk Festival and Soulgrass Rebellion; Aug. 20, funk ensemble Spam Allstars and salsa band Nuevo Montuno Salsa Orchestra; Sept. 17, Americana band Larry Keel and Natural Bridge and roots rocker Grayson Capps.

            Asheville’s Lexington Avenue

            Lexington is one of the funkier streets downtown, and if you want to stroll while you listen to the music, you’ll find interesting shops and restaurants to check out. Records, clothing, gift shops, hippy stores — take a look while you’re there. You may even find the people-watching pleasing.

            One reason to attend Downtown After 5 is that beer sales at the event support local nonprofits. This year, those include the YMCA, Asheville on Bikes and several arts organizations.

            Green living in Asheville                  

             Downtown After 5 has gone green and clean. Food and drinks are served in biodegradable containers, compost and recycling stations are set up, and the stage is solar-powered.

            Dance to the green at Downtown After 5 when you choose Asheville affordable lodging, Lovers’ Loop Retreat.

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Lovers’ Loop Retreat August Muse-letter

            August in Asheville, N.C., is a month of quilts, crafts, comedy, outdoor music events and street performers of all stripes downtown—plus the outdoor recreation that draws hikers, cyclists, rock climbers, kayakers, photographers and other visitors to our two rivers, national forests and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Guests at our Lovers’ Loop Retreat Asheville vacation rental are within 10 minutes or less of all of this fun.

            The best part is that most of this entertainment is FREE! One of the August headliner events in Asheville each year is Goombay, the free street festival of African-American and Caribbean cultures that features live music, dance, food and a great diversity of people. This year, Goombay will be Aug. 28-30.

            Our Asheville bed and breakfast alternative is stocked with information about restaurants and what to do when you’re here, and guests comment on how helpful our resources are. We also have wireless, so you can search the Internet and do e-mail while you’re here.

            Visit our Web site at to see a list of events we update regularly. We’ve posted events through December, so you can see what’s going on whenever you plan your trip to Asheville and Lovers’ Loop Retreat. You can link to our blog,, on the home page.

            The Asheville Antiques Fair, one of the region’s largest and oldest, will be July 31-Aug. 2. The fair draws dealers from many states with a wealth of wares to sell. The fair, at the Asheville Civic Center downtown, has been offered for 60-some years.     

            The annual Village Art and Craft Fair, Aug. 1-2 in Asheville, is an upscale, longtime event that draws vendors from a wide area.

            Asheville’s bimonthly art gallery walk will be Aug. 7, and it’s fun to stroll among the many diverse galleries downtown and enjoy free refreshments. On the other end of town, the Asheville Quilt Guild will host its annual show Aug. 7-9 at the North Carolina Arboretum. We’ve been to this show, and it’s worth checking out, with a great array of quilts from multiple states exhibited.

            The popular and free Shindig on the Green, an outdoor music series in Asheville, continues every Saturday night in August—bluegrass and folk music and cloggers. It might be hard not to do some dancing yourself.

            Downtown After Five, another outdoor music series, continues in Asheville on Aug. 21. This is a free street festival that offers a range of music: rock, blues, jazz, world.

            And on Aug. 22, Asheville’s own Blue Ridge Roller Girls, a roller derby team, will shake things up at the civic center downtown. This is always an eye-opening event.

            If you need to get your laugh on, a late-night comedy series continues through Aug. 29 at Asheville Community Theatre downtown, and for more laughs, the Feral Chihuahuas perform in Asheville on Aug. 1, Aug. 14 and Aug. 15.

            The Asheville Tourists, a minor league baseball team, play through Sept. 3. And an interactive butterfly exhibit with hundreds of the winged creatures is at the WNC Nature Center, just around the corner from Lovers’ Loop Retreat, through Sept. 7.

              One more note: for Indigo Girls fans, the talented duo will play at the Orange Peel in downtown Asheville on Sept. 17. We’ve attended concerts at the Peel, and it’s a great venue for the Indigos.  

            All of these events 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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Lovers’ Loop Retreat June Muse-Letter

 Wow – hard to believe we’re so close to summer. The summer solstice arrives on June 21, according to our calendar here at Lovers’ Loop Retreat in Asheville, N.C. There’s no better place to be on the solstice, the longest day of the year, than fabulous Asheville, where you can watch the sun set slowly over the mountains; dance, sway and be mesmerized at the weekly Friday night drum circle downtown (bring your own drum, and pound away); look for wildflowers on trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway; devour the assortment of eye candy at the many art galleries; sample homegrown beers at breweries; and many other activities, many that are free.

Whatever you choose to do, our Lovers’ Loop Retreat, an Asheville vacation rental, is a roomy, comfortable place to hang your hat while you hang out. Visit our Web site at to see a list of events we update regularly. We’ve posted events all the way to December, so you can see what’s going on whenever you plan your trip to Asheville and Lovers’ Loop Retreat. 

One of our favorite seasonal happenings will start soon, and you can watch the free show right here at our Asheville bed and breakfast alternative. It’s the return of the fireflies, which light up our large lot with their silent fireworks. It goes on most evenings for a month or more. Watch and be enchanted.

Warmer weather in Asheville also brings street musicians, who entertain passersby downtown. Guitars, banjos, accordions, violins, saxophones. And there are random, wordless performers, mimes of a sort, who stand like statues in costumes and come alive only when someone throws them a coin. They always draw intrigued crowds.

Nature lovers will appreciate that access to Mount Mitchell, about 30 miles north of Lovers’ Loop Retreat on the Blue Ridge Parkway (which is just around the corner from our guest suite) is back to normal. A road construction project – which has just ended –  had closed part of the parkway, which meant a lengthy detour to Mount Mitchell State Park. Now, you can zip up the parkway easily from Lovers’ Loop Retreat again. It’s worth a trip. Mount Mitchell is the highest point in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River.

We’re looking forward to attending a performance at the Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre downtown in early June. The theater is known for its experimental, funky productions, and their works emphasize diversity. Their Physics of Happy Hour event runs June 4-7, with a reduced rate for a choice of performances.

On June 5, there’s the Asheville art walk, a stroll through downtown galleries, which stay open longer and offer refreshments. Sometimes artists are on hand to talk.

The Montford Park Players, North Carolina’s oldest Shakespeare company, starts its season June 5. All performances are free at the park’s amphitheater just outside downtown Asheville. This makes for a relaxing evening under the stars.

June 13-14 brings the River Arts District Studio Stroll, a self-guided tour of artists’ studios just outside downtown.

And June 19 is Downtown After Five, a hopping block party with live music and food.

And, of course, the mother of block parties is Bele Chere, the biggest street festival in the Southeast, July 24-26 in downtown Asheville. Live music, great food and art for sale. It’s quite a scene.

Another July note: the annual Shindig on the Green, a free outdoor concert series, kicks off near downtown on July 4. Bluegrass and folk music with clogging. Pretty cool. All of these events 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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Free Stuff to do in Asheville!

Every day in the newspaper we read about prices going up-up-up on all kinds of things. That’s one reason why it’s great to visit a place like Asheville. There are so many things to do here and many of them are FREE! For more info, please see the schedule of events on our Web site

I’m going to give you a list of free events here, but I’m sure there are things I’m missing. The first thing that comes to mind is the Montford Park Players. This is North Carolina’s oldest Shakespeare troupe and they perform free on summer weekend evenings at a park in Asheville. Our friend Gina was selected to play the queen in “Henry VIII,” which will run July 11-20 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7:30 pm. Come see it with us!

Other entertainment that’s free in Asheville this summer includes Concerts on the Quad, outdoor concerts from June 9 through July 14 at the University of NC campus here. Shindig on the Green is mountain music and dancing at its best near downtown June through August. Downtown After Five is a free concert series located on Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville.

Asheville is known for the arts of all kinds. Art gallery walks are free and held regularly in and around Asheville. You can do a self-guided tour of galleries and studios. To learn more about some of these, look at the list of events on our Web site at I love to visit the Blue Spiral Gallery in downtown Asheville. It’s huge and full of incredible artwork.

Just walking around downtown Asheville is a free fun thing to do. On Friday nights, listen for the drums — there’s drumming at Pritchard Park in the middle of downtown. It’s a great place to go people-watching. There are occasionally other free events here, too. I once saw an incredible troupe of fire-dancers perform there. Another time there were break dancers. Walking around downtown just about any time you’ll see street performers of all kinds. There are all kinds of interesting shops, galleries and restaurants. You can just buy something to drink and sit at a sidewalk cafe to watch the people walk by or catch up on Asheville news reading a free local paper such as the Mt Xpress or New Life Journal.

Of course in July there’s Bele Chere, the South’s largest free street festival. People come from all around to enjoy the varous vendors, musical entertainment, exhibitions, food and people! This takes place all over downtown. You’ll want to check the Web site to learn more about it before you come, so you can figure out where to park. 

The Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival (LAAFF) is not nearly as big as Bele Chere, but it’s so much fun. It’s a very funky, artsy festival.

Ready to head out to nature? You can visit the Botanical Gardens at UNC Asheville just north of downtown for free. There’s ten acres of nature to stroll on. The N.C Arboretum is located just south of Asheville, right off the Blue Ridge Parkway and it has free admission, but it costs $6 to park – except on Tuesdays, when it is totally FREE! There are exhibits as well as walking trails to enjoy. 

Speaking of the Blue Ridge Parkway… People ride bikes on it all the time. For hiking, there’s the Mountains to Sea Trail. There are also other places to hike along the parkway. The Destination Center is the parkway’s official visitors’ center and it recently opened just a couple miles from our Lovers’ Loop Retreat guest suite. Just a couple miles farther is the Folk Arts Center, which is also free. There are always special exhibits upstairs and a  shop of local artwork and crafts downstairs. A wonderful place to browse. Very often there are free special events such as craft demonstrations and gee-haw-whimmy-diddle competitions. Ha! You’ll have to Google that one if you want to learn more.

There are more fun, free things you can do around Asheville, but that should get you started. Don’t forget to check our Web site for a more complete list of upcoming events in the Asheville area: . And plan to stay with us when you come!

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Greening up, getting out

It’s so green now at Lovers’ Loop Retreat! This time of year, we live as if in a treehouse.  And in fact, we have a treehouse on our property, so the image is complete. We are charmed each day by the various blooming plants in the yard. They bloom kind of sequentially, so a rhododendron plant will start waning at about the time the rose bush is springing forth.

Speaking of springing forth, downtown Asheville and the surrounding area are really gearing up for the wonderful outdoor music and theater offerings, many of them free events, that take place between now and the end of the year. The annual and very popular Shindig on the Green, a free outdoor music concert downtown, starts soon with a focus on old-time and folk music and dancing . And the Downtown After Five concert series had its first concert of the season last Friday. 

Lovers’ Loop Retreat is an easy 10-minute drive from these events. 

And the Blue Ridge Parkway beckons big-time just around the corner from our guest suite — biking, hiking, cruising in your car.

We want to be mindful of making more time to play and indulge our curiosity because that’s living!  

    We hope to meet you sometime at Lovers’ Loop Retreat.


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