The Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast Asheville NC

Experience Deep Sea Exploration at the NC Arboretum

July 17th, 2014
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Image Courtesy of NC Arboretum

The NC Arboretum is known for its natural flora and fauna and family friendly trails. Among its many glorious features are landscaped gardens, a bonsai garden, over 400 acres of natural woods and 10 miles of hiking and biking trails. Not only do they offer an amazing place to explore the great outdoors, the Arboretum also hosts engaging indoor exhibits throughout the year. If you’re visiting this September you won’t want to miss the upcoming exhibit EXTREME DEEP.

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Image Courtesy of NC Arboretum

The exhibit highlights the adventure of deep-sea exploration and discovery. EXTREME DEEP depicts the mysteries of the ocean featuring close-up views of deep-sea research submersibles, and shipwrecks, including the Titanic. The interactive display is part art, part hands on science museum. EXTREME DEEP puts the technology of deep-sea exploration in the hands of guests. Fly a remotely operated vehicle over a model of the Titanic’s deck or test our skills at picking up lava rocks from the sea floor.

EXTREME DEEP brings the sea floor to the surface in an amazing display that illustrates the magnificent engineering feats of Mother Nature. The exhibit allows museum visitors the opportunity to walk along a dramatically recreated ocean environment, something that is impossible to do in the real ocean because of the crushing pressure of the water.

While you’re there, have lunch at The Savory Thyme Café featuring natural, local, and organic ingredients. You won’t be disappointed. Try the Moroccan Carrot Salad or the Apricot-Basil Chicken Salad Sandwich. Admission to the Arboretum is just $12 per personal vehicle. The exhibit center is open Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit the arboretum’s website for more details http://www.ncarboretum.org/.

For help booking your itinerary, ask your Pinecrest Bed & Breakfast Innkeepers for assistance. Janna and Stacy are always available to help you plan your day and recommend great places to eat and play! For reservations at our historic Asheville Inn call 828-281-4275.

 

Botanical Gardens in Asheville Highlights over 600 Native Plant Species

June 25th, 2014

abgThe Botanical Gardens in Asheville is located in the Southern Appalachian  Mountains, one of the most diverse and temperate ecosystems in the world. The Gardens consist of a ten acre piece of property with over 600 species of plants native to the local region. Tucked among the many conifers, birch and magnolias are more than fifty rare plant species, various types of ferns and wildflowers. The park even gets an occasional visit from bobcats, coyote, bears and red shouldered hawks.

Once you enter the Gardens, you can follow the half-mile trail that crosses a bridge then loops around leading visitors by a stream, through meadows, and over a woodland ridge to a wildflower cove. An authentic “dog trot” cabin and a spring house demonstrate how our ancestors lived, and a lovely gazebo provides shelter in the midst of the Sunshine Meadow. Along the way, you’ll find benches and tables where you can stop with a picnic lunch or just take in a quiet rest. Just don’t forget to leave pets, radios, and sports equipment at home. Things that disturb the parks serene environment are frowned upon. Mid-summer months like July and August are a great time to see some of the mid-season blooming plants like Joe-pye Weed, Blazing-star, Green-headed Coneflower and Goldenrod.

The gardens offers a host of educational opportunities for adults and children, and a peaceful sojourn for others abg2who prefer to just wander the lovely grounds and take in the natural beauty. Sign up for a bird walk or a wild flower walk and take an early morning guided tour through the gardens. Just don’t forget your binoculars! The ABG is open year round from sunrise to sunset for the enjoyment of the community. No admission is charged for entrance, but donations are gladly accepted. The Visitor Center and most of the trails are wheelchair accessible.  For more information visit http://www.ashevillebotanicalgardens.org/.

Our historic Asheville Bed & Breakfast is a short walk or a couple minutes drive to the Botanical Gardens. We often suggest to our guests who enjoy an early morning run or walk that they head over to the gardens. It’s a lovely way to start your morning.  To book reservations at Pinecrest Inn, visit www.pinecrestbb.com or call 828-281-4275.

Gluten Free Fried Chicken at King Daddy’s in Asheville – Oh My!

June 10th, 2014

Eating in Asheville just got even more remarkable, if that is even possible. Two cases in point: White Duck Taco, a wildly popular venue in the River Arts District, just opened a new downtown location on Biltmore Avenue. Also, Early Girl Eatery owners, John and Julie Stehling, just recently opened King Daddy’s on Haywood Road in West Asheville which pays tribute to the American soul food pairing of chicken and waffles.

white duckWhite Duck taco is well known for their delicious and creative tacos and may I say…cheap tacos. Their River Arts location is always bustling and you can usually expect a line, but don’t let that deter you. I’m not sure I have ever been there and not had to wait in line, but it does move very quickly and is always worth the wait. The downtown location is larger with more indoor and outdoor seating capacity, has a full bar and comes with the added bonus of being with walking distance of this Asheville Bed and Breakfast.

We visited the downtown location last week and feasted on Korean Beef Bulgogo with avocado puree and kimchi…yum, Steak and Cheese with pico, lettuce and mexican crema, Jerk Chicken with purple slaw and pineapple, Thai Peanut Chicken with tropical salsa, BBQ Pork Carnitas with bbq slaw and beans, and the Fish Taco. What’s hard to believe is that these delectable tacos are only $3.45 a piece. The BBQ Pork Carnitas is always my personal favorite. This is a great lunch spot, especially after eating such a big breakfast at our Asheville Inn. Sample a white duck2taco or 2 and wash it down with a seasonal Sangria, fresh lime Margarita or a locally brewed cerveza.

Early Girl Eatery, also a local favorite since opening its doors on Wall Street in 2001, has finally found the perfect spot (on Haywood Road) to fulfill their original vision. As the story goes, they had hoped to open a restaurant on Haywood Rd. in West Asheville back in 2001. For a host of reasons, they ended up downtown (which we are glad about) and tried to serve waffles and fried chicken. Unfortunately the electrical wiring in the downtown location was most uncooperative. Every time they plugged a waffle iron into an electrical outlet something else would shut off…..like the cooler. Since coolers are an essential appliance to the overall function of the restaurant, waffle dreams had to be put on hold.

In 2014 their vision has come full circle in an historic building with all the conveniences of modern electrical wiring. King Daddy’s offers all kinds of waffles; Belgian, Sweet, Pumpkin, Cracklin’ and Vegan/Gluten-free. To fully realize the dream, your light, fluffy waffle can be escorted by Fried, Heirloom, Habanero Sweet Potato, Korean, Grilled and Gluten-Free Fried Chicken. Of course they also have Chicken and Gravy, Biscuits and a bunch of yummy sides, salads and appetizers.

king daddysWe sampled the Sweet Potato Hush Puppies, which are gluten free and fabulous and the King Daddy Wings with all three sauces (Korean, habanero and sweet NC BBQ). They were really good! We even tried the Fish and Chips, which was one of the best offerings of this fried English dish we have found in the area. They give you a bowl of “chips” a.k.a. French fries as big as your head. We took the kids so they took advantage of what they now hope will be a part of a new family dinner tradition — the Belgian waffles with strawberry, chocolate chips and of course whip cream.

The waffles were light, airy and heavenly. I serve up a mean waffle at the B & B… so my guests tell me, but these were truly delicious. My husband feasted on the Habanero Sweet Potato chicken, which was juicy, spicy and also scrumptious. I had the Warm Sesame Kale Salad with beets and glazed pears. I can’t pass up a good Kale salad. I could live on kale, beets and more kale. Everything we tried was really good, fresh and applying the same approach as the Early Girl Eatery, locally sourced wherever possible. The atmosphere is very cool and casual and a very good use of the space. The service was stellar. My parents went the night after we did, in search of good quality fish and chips and had a very similar experience. I’d put this on the list of where to eat when visiting Asheville, especially if you have any dietary restrictions.

West Asheville is a hip part of Asheville and just a short 5 to 10 minute drive from this Asheville Bed and Breakfast. Call 828-281-4275 for Inn reservations.

Asheville Wine & Food Festival 2014 Best Chef Competition

May 25th, 2014

avl food wineI don’t know about you, but I love a good competition and when it involves my favorite chefs, it’s even more fun to watch! If you’re a true foodie like the Innkeepers at Pinecrest Bed & Breakfast, you won’t want to miss Asheville’s top chefs as they battle it out Iron Chef-style battle for the title of Asheville Wine & Food Festival 2014 Best Chef. When you buy a ticket to the event, you get to dine and decide who competes in the final competition at the festival. Competing chefs each offer up three delicious creations prepared around a secret ingredient. A panel of professional chefs, food writers, culinary experts and the audience all vote to determine the winner. Winners proceed to the next level of the competition.

Now is the time to reserve your tickets. Visit http://ashevillewineandfood.com/asheville-scene-chefs-challenge  for more information. The July 1st event is being held at Pack’s Tavern Century Room in downtown Asheville and the Chef’s challenge continues every Tuesday evening through August 12th. The final showdown of the top 4 chefs will take place at the Grand Tasting during the Asheville Wine & Food Festival on Saturday, August 23, 2014.

Don’t forget to book your reservation at Asheville’s Pinecrest Inn in plenty of time. Our rooms are filling up fast for the summer. We look forward to seeing you. Click here for room reservations.

 

 

New Mountaintop Zipline Launches this Month in Asheville

May 13th, 2014
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Navitat Zipline (Photo by: Navitat Asheville NC)

The 2014 zipline season has begun in Asheville and it’s off to an exciting start.  This month Navitat is expected to launch its’ unprecedented zipline called the Blue Ridge Experience. The thrilling mountaintop tour high above the forest floor is being heralded as one of the Southeast’s longest and highest ziplines according to Abby Burt, Navitat’s Branding & Marketing Leader.

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Stacy Shelley at Navitat

The Blue Ridge Experience features three pairs of dual “racing-style” ziplines, with riders zooming alongside each other against the panoramic backdrop of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Navitat’s10 ziplines, sky bridges, rappelling and forest hikes have been called some of the best zipline canopy tours in the nation by USA TODAY and Outdoor magazine, and a “must-do activity” in Asheville by the New York Times.

The Blue Ridge Experience tours begin May 10 and run daily through November. Cost is $69 per person Sunday-Friday and $79 on Saturday and holidays. Reservations are required. Visit www.navitat.com for more information or call 1-855-NAVITAT (855-628-4828) to book a zipline tour.

Need a cozy place to stay on your next trip to Asheville? Look no farther than the Pinecrest Inn, a historic Bed & Breakfast located on over an acre of wooded gardens in Montford. Our Inn is conveniently located a short 20 minute drive from Navitat and less than 5 minutes from downtown Asheville. We look forward to seeing you soon! Visit www.pincrestbb.com for more details.

Fabulous Meal at Ambrozia Bar and Bistro

April 7th, 2014

ambrozia_1We have kept very busy this winter checking out new restaurants and bars and circling back around with a few of our well-established, tried and true local favorites. I have to say we have savored some stellar food and sipped more than a few delectable cocktails over the last several weekends.

This past weekend we had a fabulous meal at Ambrozia Bar and Bistro, as did a good number of our guests of the Inn.  Sipping coffee on Sunday morning and chatting about the previous night’s experiences, everyone agreed that the food was remarkable, delicious and the chef very talented.

Ambrozia Bar and Bistro opened its doors earlier this year and is located in the fine dining desert of Asheville: a.k.a. North Asheville. The chef, Sam Etheridge recently relocated to Asheville from Albuquerque, New Mexico. His intention was to reincarnate his previous award winning restaurant in New Mexico and add a southern twist. I think it’s important to mention that several folks from his restaurant in N.M. decided to follow in his footsteps and also relocated to Asheville. Together, they have created a great venue.

Oftentimes, new restaurants are plagued with service issues and it takes some time before they gain a steady service footing.  We experienced excellent service; the staff was friendly and the attention to the customer’s needs received high marks.  There was a real sense of fluid motion and thoughtful customer service that usually comes only with a seasoned restaurant.

The focus is farm to table with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients. The bar is wine focused and extensive but not ambrozia_2overly pricey. We enjoyed a lovely, reasonably priced Tempranillo. The wine was so delicious; we are now eagerly searching local purveyor’s inventory to purchase some bottles for enjoyment at home.  The menu includes snacks, platters, small plates and suppers.

We started off with the Beet salad – rosemary infused goat cheese, orange, watercress and vanilla-bean vinaigrette.  Hands down the best beet salad I have ever had. It was so creatively presented.  The Brussel sprouts -Benton’s bacon, Texas Pete Cha, compressed apples and preserved lemon crème fraiche were so delicious we had to order another plate after scarfing the first down.  The Sea scallop carbonara with fresh fettuccini, Benton’s bacon, English pea puree, parmesan foam and a 63 degree egg was out of this world.  The scallops were perfectly prepared.  Again, the creativity and the presentation were executed fabulously.  The Steak frite was a flat iron with smoked fries and a house steak sauce with gorgonzola aiollo and brussel sprout slaw.  The steak was prepared perfectly and the sauce delicious.

Several guests have told me that the Dirty burger which includes seared foie gras and fried egg and truffle fries is out of this world. Also, the NC Ahi Tuna 3 ways has been highly recommended by reputable sources who have also enjoyed their trip to Ambrozia.

We were all impressed with the presentation, taste and delivery of all our meals. Ambrozia is definitely a must visit and a great addition to the vibrant food scene in Asheville.

Find more great restaurant reviews at our Asheville Bed & Breakfast Blog. For reservation information, visit http://pinecrestbb.com/reservations/ or call 888-811-3053.

 

Our Epicurean Wonderland Gets Bigger…Nightbell Cocktail Lounge Joins the Party

March 25th, 2014

food 2We are so spoiled by living in the epicurean wonderland that is Asheville.  Unfortunately, because of this it takes a lot to wow us these days — even with so many excellent restaurants and watering holes to choose from.  Irregardless, we feel it is incumbent upon us,  in the name of service to our guests, to research every nook, cranny,  bistro and cafe — leaving no new establishment unturned. Not snow or sleet, I digress…

As if she needed any more press, Katie Button’s new cocktail lounge, Nightbell, down on South Lexington Avenue, and right behind her restaurant Curate, turns out to be a classy, intimate setting that honors the traditional art of cocktails.

We were there on the early side of a Saturday night and so the mood was mellow and good for conversation.  Word on the street is that it really picks up later in the evening and the space around the bar could get a bit mosh-y, but in a lively, friendly sort of way.

Whatever your culinary desire, you will not have any difficulty finding something savory or sweet.  The “savory” offerings are served up in small plate portions and include hush puppies (with a honey, mustard dipping sauce), fish and chips, a lobster roll and duck and waffles (duck confit and an airy waffle).  We partook in the oysters which came with tinctures of lemon, garlic, fennel, thyme and horseradish, but some around our circle of friends much prefer the whole and unadulterated version of accompaniments.

On the sweeter side, you can have anything from root beer floats (vanilla bourbon and nitro coulant, with tart cherry and a house root beer syrup spiked with bourbon), dark and stormy cocktails (a frozen treat layered with rum, roasted pineapple, ginger beer, grilled lime, five spice and mint) to a mascarone cheesecake in morello cherry, chocolate forest and pistachio moss or petit fors.

Cutting to the chaser — Cocktails, old classics, new perspectives and out of the ordinary are the main attraction here.  The food 3focal point of the establishment is the walk up bar.  We had an (okay, maybe two)  old-fashions (with Redemption Rye and an iceburg cube – done right), a Negroni,  a Rye Sling (made with Bulleit Rye and chai infused cocchi di torino).  All great examples of what a cocktail can be in the hands of a talented tender and a little creativity.

A smaller, by Asheville standards, collection of beers (6 draft/6 bottle) and wine(a diverse palette palate of 6 – 10 selections) is offered, but nonetheless a diverse lineup to whet any discerning (or just thirsty) whistle.

The ambiance is sophisticated.  The lighting is on the darker side and there are cushioned seats toward the back with small tables to set your work of potion art down.  A perfect setting for close friends or even a romantic date if you time it right.  Straight to the top of the charts, this Asheville establishment should be put on your list as a must visit.  In honor of the cocktail.

For more on our restaurant reviews and outings around town, visit our blog at http://pinecrestbb.com/blog/.  Our Bed & Breakfast is dedicated to enhancing your culinary experience while visiting, both here with our farm to table breakfasts and around Asheville.  For reservations at our Award Winning Asheville Inn, call 888-811-3053.

 

Biltmore Estate is Blooming

March 7th, 2014
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Image Source: Biltmore Estate

Think it’s too early to visit the Biltmore gardens? Think again. A little bird told us that the tulips are already in bloom over at the Biltmore gardens looking as beautiful as ever. So don’t let the cloudy weather fool you!

The famed estate’s notorious display of spring flower power, once called the Festival of Flowers, appears to have been officially renamed Biltmore Blooms.  The spring event runs from March 20-May 23, 2014. If you’ve never been, you’re missing a real treat. How often do you get to see over 100,000 tulips in bloom? By the end of the month, the gardens will be full of blossoming tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and other spring time favorites. In late March and early April you can also catch blooming shrubs and trees like the forsythia, spirea, and magnolia. In mid-April visitors will see the hybrid Darwin Tulips at their peak, as well as dogwoods and redbuds.

In addition to the sheer beauty of the event (which is enough for me), you can also take advantage of these free special activities going on during the festival from March 20th-May 23rd:

  • Weekends from 11am-4pm, guests may visit “Ask a Gardener” stations in the Walled Garden hosted by Biltmore’s horticulture experts.
  • Gardener’s Place seminars; learn to create beautiful floral arrangements. Daily at 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m.
  • Live music offered daily at the Conservatory, Antler Hill Village or Biltmore House.
  • Rose Garden – International judging May 23rd
  • Grape Stomp at the Winery: Every Saturday and Sunday 2:00 pm. – 5:00 p.m.

The breathtaking grounds of the Biltmore were designed by America’s foremost landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. When you go, be sure take a picnic lunch and a blanket for maximum enjoyment.

We highly recommend purchasing your tickets through the Biltmore Estate by clicking here. Biltmore offers tickets at a reduced rate when purchased 7 days in advance. Of course we can also assist you with obtaining tickets once you arrive and help you with your daily itinerary. For room reservations at our award winning Asheville Bed & Breakfast, visit www.pinecrestbb.com or call 888-811-3053.

 

Fire on the Rock Chef’s Challenge Dinner & Lodging Package

February 21st, 2014

Stay at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast and enjoy a gourmet breakfast, plus dine as a Gourmet Cooking Competition Judge of the Fire on the Rock Chef’s Challenge Dinner. Enjoy a 3 course dinner (6 dishes) using a secret ingredient.  Diners will judge the dishes and determine the winner.   This is statewide series of dinners taking place in Wilmington, Asheville, Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte.  A Grand Prize Dinner will take place Raleigh.

Who: The 17 Inns of the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association are partnered with the following participating Restaurants in Asheville:  Strada, Videla, Isis, Seasons, The Gamekeeper, Ambrozia, King James Public House and LAB.

Where:  All dinners take place at the Lioncrest on the Biltmore Estate.

When:   Monday and Tuesday Nights 6:30-10PM in March.  3/10-11, 3/17-18, 3/24-25 (semi-finals) Package is not available for the final on March 31.

competition dining

Package includes:

  • (1) Night’s lodging at an Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association Inn (www.ashevillebba.com)
  • (2) Tickets to Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series “Fire On the Rock”
  • (2) Wine Glasses from NC Wine & Grape Council
  • (1) Bottle Cackalacky Sauce (sample size)
  • Free dessert for two @ Ambrozia
  • Free dessert for two @The King James Public House
  • 10% off lunch or dinner @ Seasons Restaurant
  • $10 off $25 purchase (alcohol not included)@LAB
  • One complimentary Chef’s choice appetizer with the purchase of a bottle of wine @Strada Italiano
  • Buy 2 Signature drinks and get your choice of 1 complimentary Tapas @The Social Lounge
  • Savor the Inns of Asheville:  Cookbook of the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association (not available at all Inns)

Please contact Pinecrest Inn Bed & Breakfast directly for package pricing and availability.

A Look at Asheville’s Vibrant River Arts District

February 21st, 2014

The Asheville River Arts  District, or RAD as it’s called, is the best place to dig up a big heaping slice of Asheville and shop for great art to boot. Visitors can watch local artists as they create one of a kind masterpieces right before your eyes. RAD has studios of almost every imaginable kind, most open 7 days a week, all year long. You name it; it’s all here from art galleries and pottery studios to doggie day care, hair salons, night life, bakeries, a theater, restaurants and more. Plus wellness workshops, painting and photography classes, lectures and almost else anything you can think of to stimulate the senses and help tap into your creative side.

Check out some of the classes available at Roots + Wings School of Art @ 342 Depot Street, The Asheville Darkroom @ 109 Roberts Street, The Village Potters @ 191 Lyman Suite #180, Asheville Glass Center @ 140 Robert Street, or the Cloth Fiber Workshop @ 122 Riverside Drive.

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The Magnetic Theatre

Not ready to commit to a class but want to partake in the fun? Then check out the 1st Fridays at the RAD or 2nd Saturdays starting March 7th. The River Arts District sponsors a series of art focused weekend events across the WNC region. Participating artists and businesses hold kiln openings, art retrospectives, art installation, museum openings, gallery receptions, music, theatre & dance performances, open studio days & more. Check out the calendar of events starting next month to find out what’s up and coming this spring.

RAD is also home to the legendary 12 Bones Smokehouse, the White Duck Taco shop, Wedge Brewing Company, Clingman Café, the Grey Eagle and many other fantastic places to dine and enjoy live music near the river. If you haven’t been to the River yet, put this little gem of a destination on your list of great places to visit in Asheville and get going!

For a complete list of studios, restaurants and things to do at the River Arts District, check out http://www.ashevillerad.com/visit/.  For accommodations at our award winning Asheville Bed and Breakfast just a short ten minute drive from the river, call 888-811-3053 or visit www.pinecrestbb.com for room availability. We hope to see you soon!

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