Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Part III: Abbington Green Sees Monarch Butterflies on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Wow!  Lucky us!  At this time of year Asheville, location of our Asheville bed and breakfast, and most especially on the Blue Ridge Parkway just about 20 miles south/west of Asheville is the place where you may get a glimpse of the incredible Monarch butterfly migration.Between milepost 408 (Mt Pisgah) and Milepost 425 or so, on the Parkway, you'll find places to pull you vehicle to the side and see the wonderful views...that now include these orange and black beauties for a short while.

   Every year those amazing critters make a migration of thousands of miles from the northeastern United States to Mexico to pass the Winter. West Coast populations of Monarch also migrate through Texas to Mexico. But now is their time in North Carolina.  I saw several in my Asheville bed and breakfast gardens just yesterday, right in the middle of Asheville. So come quickly!  You will see early leaf color at higher elevations on your drive on the Parkway and see this extra, added, special variety of Fall color in the form of the amazing Monarch butterfly migration!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Part II: Asheville Bed and Breakfast Loves a Drive on The Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a narrow, very long...about 480 miles...National Park..and you can get to from our Asheville bed and breakfast in about 5.5miles. The Parkway is one lane in each direction, no guard-rails in lots of places and views galore to take your breath away. Because it's a National Park and not a highway, there's no commercial traffic on it.

   And maybe you can guess what's coming next. Hmmm, let's see. One lane each way, no trucks, winding roads at high elevations with lots of places to pull over and admire the incredible views...What kind of vehicles do you think you'll find?  Yes, you guessed it! Motorcycles!  All kind, all sizes, some pulling small trailers, some with a partner...Lots and lots and lots of motorcycles. Surely the Blue Ridge Parkway is "motorcycle heaven"!

   On a drive south, toward Cherokee from Asheville, I only had in mind to get to a great hiking spot called "Graveyard Fields", about 25 miles and back. It's located close to milepost 418 and has a lovely walk that includes a waterfall. Great spot! But on the way down and turning around to come home, I counted 61 motorcycles!  I was really happy with the car windows rolled down, but I can easily imagine that they were having an even better experience with the sweet-smelling air in their faces, taking their time and no trucks!  Indeed, it's truly "motorcycle heaven"!. And "heaven" for a short or a long drive in your vehicle, too!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This Weekend Come the Asheville Greek Festival!

   Right here in our Montford Historic District, in fact just about a block from our Asheville bed and breakfast, the annual Greek Festival is coming this weekend!  From Friday through Sunday, September 23rd through 25th, you can have fun and get to know our Greek neighbors. The Festival includes music, Greek dancing groups and entertainment. Greek cooking demonstrations will also show you how to enjoy some signature dishes in your own home, too.

    My Mother and Dad, who traveled pretty extensively, always said that the Greeks are great cooks! So this weekend you won't want to forget the famous Greek food available at the festival...eat in or take out the specialties...main courses, salads or their fantastic desserts.Yum!

   From 11am to 9pm on Friday and Saturday and from 11am to 7pm on Sunday. I hope you'll drop by and enjoy yourself and then take a walk around the Montford neighborhood!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Asheville Bed and Breakfast Recommends 31st Annual Heritage Weekend

   Today and tomorrow,  just 3 miles up the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 382) from the entry near Asheville's route 240 and not far from our Asheville bed and breakfast, at the Folk Art Center is celebrating it's 31st annual Heritage Weekend. The events include clog dancing and music plus demonstrations of Appalachian crafts of all kinds. And ever see a sheep shearing...for real?  Well, you can see how it's done!  That is, after the border collies 'cut' the sheep out of the herd.

      Do you have any caned seats on your dining chairs at home?  Well, if you do...and even if you don't... you may be very interested to see a chair caner actually do that, too. And as for the rest of the chair...legs, arms, back and all...chair makers will be there, too. Many of these skills have been passed from generation to generation in these mountains. So the current makers learned their skills throughout their whole lifetime.

    And back to the shorn sheep: what happens to the wool? Well, watch the wool being dyed with natural flowers and minerals.  Then see how the wool is carded and then spun into thread. See a loom working to create the fabrics that folks have worn for many years. Or ask the beekeepers how they dress to approach their beehives to see what the bees are doing. Watch quilts being constructed or a whittler making toys for the kids.It's like stepping into the old-time mountains all over again...a real connection to the rich mountain heritage of the area where Asheville is located. I hope you can come!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Asheville Bed and Breakfast Loves a Drive on The Blue Ridge Parkway, Part I

 The Blue Ridge Parkway is only about 5.5 miles from our Asheville bed and breakfast, so it's very easy to get to it. And my first visit to Asheville was 20 years ago. I was here for just six days and walked out of Asheville saying, "Except for my freshman year at Duke university, my home has always been with 25 miles of the Empire State Building, but I am supposed to be in Asheville."  Less than 18 months later, I was permanently in Asheville as a bed and breakfast owner.

   Yesterday was one of those days that you wish you could put in a bottle and save for  remembering.  In Asheville, temperatures started out in the low-50s and by afternoon, were about 80 degrees. After some errands were done, the Blue Ridge Parkway was 'calling my name'.  So I drove south, my favorite way to go.  And the air smelled sweet of grasses and trees.

   You don't need to drive very far from Asheville to get to beautiful views and higher elevation. So I headed for Mt. Pisgah, just 14 miles from where I got on the Parkway. To get there you pass through seven small tunnels, all created during the Great Depression. Overlooks are abundant and on a couple of them you can see both south and north from one overlook. There are place where you can look out and see nothing that man has made! Stunningly beautiful.We are the everlastingly grateful beneficiaries of those efforts.

   When you get to Mt Pisgah, you not only can walk to the summit, or see the place where George Vanderbilt, first owner of Biltmore House had a hunting lodge, but there's a small lodge and restaurant just a few hundred yards away.. The overlook from the lodge offers fabulous views including Looking Glass Rock.  Driving beyond Mt Pisgah, there are several other places to enjoy Looking Glass Rock,  in particular. It's a great granite-face mountain the glistens like a mirror when its wet. Truly an inspiring sight. And I met a couple at one of the roadside overlooks who were on their honeymoon. They are  from Wisconsin and they had climbed that impressive rock earlier in the day!  And the young man was born in the Wisconsin town where my daughter had lived for several years...truly a small World! You've simply got to love this area!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Asheville Bed and Breakfast Smiles at the NC Mountain State Fair

It started this weekend, and it's a favorite attraction each year in September...It's the NC Mountain State Fair. Have you ever been to a fair? What do you remember best about it? The rides? The cotton candy? The prizes for sheep and pigs, for goats and cattle?  The prize-winning fruits and vegetables? Home-baked pies? Well, over at the WNC Ag Center, about fifteen minutes from our Asheville bed and breakfast, the Mountain State Fair has all that and more!

This is an old-fashioned fair plus great local music acts, acrobats and a circus complete with clowns, jugglers and a trapeze act! So a visit to the Fair, just like a visit to Asheville, offers great variety...and who could forget the food!  The fun things you remember from when you were a kid!

The weather forecast is great this week, so plan on stopping by... the Fair opens at 3pm and is open 'til 11pm through Wednesday and open 'til midnight Wednesday through Saturday. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Asheville Bed and Breakfast Loves Tiffany Glass Visiting Asheville

Visiting Asheville at Biltmore Estate, just across town from our Asheville bed and breakfast, until October 23rd is a wonderful collection of Tiffany glass. Louis Comfort Tiffany started a glass making factory in Corona, New York in 1892. He had traveled in Europe years earlier, had seen examples and was familiar with ancient glass making traditions in Rome, from the ruins of Pompeii and, of course, the traditions of Venetian glassmakers.

In 1894, Tiffany received a patent for what was called "Favrile glass". This was a process where color and pattern was added to glass so that patterns remained clear but were in the glass rather than painted on the surface of the glass. In 1896, the first Favrile glass was produced. So when George Vanderbilt acquired some Tiffany pieces, in the "art nouveau" style, this was brand-new, contemporary, modern stuff!

Most familiar to us these days are lamp shades, usually hanging pendant glass lamps or floor lamps, with leading between the individual pieces of glass that create a mosaic-like effect. But the art of Louis Comfort Tiffany was much broader. His company received many commissions for elaborate stained glass windows in private houses and in churches which depicted both natural floral and botanical subjects as well as human figures and full landscapes. Vases, bowls dishes were also produced. The peacock feather was also a familiar motif.

In New York City today, where most of George Vanderbilt's family lived, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a number of wonderful examples of Tiffany's art including the "Autumn Landscape" stained glass window. And if you travel just up the Hudson River just north of New York City to a property called Lyndhurst that belonged to a wealthy New Yorker before the end of the 19th century and is now managed by the National Trust, you can see a particularly fabulous table lamp whose shade looks exactly like folded linen fabric, but is layers of white-on-white glass. Or you can travel over to Brooklyn and see a Presbyterian Church whose stained glass windows were all created by Tiffany and Company.

But we are fortunate now, while you're in Asheville visiting Biltmore, until October 23rd, you can see many examples of Tiffany's factory and pieces signed by Tiffany himself. I hope you have the opportunity to look carefully at the glass pieces. You will likely be rewarded and amazed at the craftsmanship, exquisite designs and detail. Hope you have the chance to come see!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Asheville Bed and Breakfast Alerts You to New Asheville Zip-Line Adventure

Great news all you "fun seekers"! It's here! Just about 5 minutes from our Asheville bed and breakfast, the new zip-line adventure has come to Asheville. You may recall our Facebook post about the early information a few months ago. And now it's really here.

Ever imagine yourself...like Indiana Jones or even Tarzan...moving through the tree canopy, up where the birds fly, high above the ground? Well, if you have, this is going to be fun!

Don't worry, the equipment that supports your "flight" on Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventures over at the Crowne Plaza Resort is inspected and tested for minimum standards for 5,000 lbs....and the maximum size of the human who can participate is 250 lbs. And 5 start times are available every day for a "full course" time of about 2 1/2 hours. The cost is $79 per person. Kids 10 years old and up ( like me!) who weigh a minimum of 70 lbs. up to a maximum of 250 lbs. can participate. For more specifics take a look at www.ashevilleziplinecanopyadventures.com