The Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast Asheville NC

All Things Ale Trail

May 25th, 2016

In the brief time that we have been innkeepers here in Asheville, we’ve had the opportunity to frequent any number of local breweries and to experience the city’s reputation as the “Denver of the East.”  With over 20 breweries in Buncombe County alone, it’s hard to even know where to start.  One of the great tools we used to navigate was the Asheville Ale Trail, available in several formats.  Booklets can be found around town in kiosks or breweries.  Their website can be found here and for those beer connoisseurs that need to know the closest brewery right around the corner, there’s an app for smartphones.

Although Asheville Beer Week is in its 5th year, we get to see it through all new eyes starting May 27th  thru June 4th, 2016.  More information about this event is available here.

Here’s the Ale Trail we took:

Lexington Ave Brewery Ale TrailLexington Ave Brewery (LAB)

Naturally, we started at the brewery closest to our inn, a mere mile away but still far enough to work up a thirst!  Open and inviting, we chose a seat at the bar and paired our beer selection with a choice from their full menu.  Since this brewery has restaurant service too, this is a great place to have lunch or dinner.

 

 

Green Man Ale TrailGreen Man Brewery

Although Green Man has updated and upgraded its presence on the corner of Buxton and Church streets, if you’re more comfortable having a beer in someone’s garage, head to the back to 27 Buxton Ave where they do beer and only beer.  The atmosphere is unpretentious as tables are located mere feet away from the tanks.  It doesn’t get much closer than this!

 

Asheville Brewing Ale TrailAsheville Pizza and Brewing

With multiple locations in the city, our favorite is on Coxe Ave.  The ever helpful wait staff are quick to bring a sample to the curious consumer, which led us to discover the Ninja Latte, which is a delicious combination of the best worlds of both coffee and beer!  Is there a more perfect food to pair with beer than pizza?  Our favorite was the Funky Chicken, a bbq sauce based pizza with chicken, cheese and bacon.  And before you knock it, we dare you to try the Sweet Pea’s Spinach Burger, guaranteed to be the best no meat “burger” known to man!

Bhramari Brewhouse Ale TrailBhramari Brewhouse

Don’t let the name confuse you!  Named after the Hindu Goddess of Bees, this newcomer to the scene brings an eclectic mix of food and beer to the Asheville scene.  From small plates to entrees, the food was spot on.  We highly recommend a flight to get the best sample of all the beers they have to offer.  In nice weather, head to the back patio where they often offer live music too.

 

Burial Ale TrailBurial Beer Company

Our last stop on the South Slope tour was Burial Beer Co.  Off the beaten path and seemingly a favorite of locals, this was the place recommended by multiple bartenders, so you know it’s good!  This place is best visited on a sunny day because there is no better spot to enjoy a flight than on one of their several patio spaces.  All we can say is we will be back!

 

 

New Belgium Brewing Company

Worth the drive to the River Arts District, don’t miss New Belgium’s brand new brewery that will eventually provide this brand’s beer distributed east of the Mississippi.  To get a taste of your favorites on tap, head to their Liquid Center.  This place was hopping even on a Monday afternoon, so anticipate large crowds if you plan to head there on the weekend.  Perched on the banks of the French Broad River, their patio had great views to have a sip and you can even bring your dog along.  If you get hungry, a different food truck is on site each day.  We were lucky to score with Appalachian Chic and their not to be missed tater tots.  Trust us, they’re not Ore Ida!  We are looking forward to the day tours of the facility are also offered.  Uber is convenient, safe, and worth it so keep it as an option if everyone in your group wants to taste a beer, cause after all, it is Beer Week!

New Belgium Ale Trail Dogs Welcome On Ale Trail

Seasons of Change

April 8th, 2016

We arrived as new innkeepers at Pinecrest in the dead cold of early February, greeted by guests and frozen drain pipes but such is life in a house solidly built in 1905.  Spring has definitely arrived at the bed & breakfast, bringing the beauty of the redbuds blooming outside the sleeping porch, our most favorite room to sit with a cup of coffee or wine and just take a moment to breath deep and relax.  Each afternoon, we entice our guests to sample the homemade desserts on the sideboard in the dining room.IMG_20160408_134547  But my favorite part of the day is the early morning, when the house starts to come alive for another day, when we all wake up renewed from a restful night of sleep: the footfalls on the staircase,  the quiet voices as guests greet each other on the sun porch, the birds chirping as they find haven in the yard.   As I start the preparations for breakfast, the sun peeks through the kitchen window and I am reminded that “today is a good day for a good day!”

IMG_20160408_135241

“Redbuds blooming beside the sleeping porch”

Spring Brings New Faces

March 27th, 2016

IMG_0447There are new faces at Pinecrest Bed & Breakfast and one of them is named Ginger, guardian of the backyard and all around lovable dog.  She arrived with her owners, Dan & Diane Rogers, when they purchased the inn in February.  All are adjusting nicely to their new surroundings, especially Ginger as she explores the 1.3 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds.  Ginger has always and will continue to be an outdoor dog so the “No Pets” policy remains in place.

Dan & Diane Peacock ballDan and Diane are equally thrilled to be the new innkeepers at such a bed & breakfast as Pinecrest and will greet you warmly upon arrival and strive to meet your expectations for luxurious accommodations, delicious breakfasts, and delightful afternoon treats.  As a small family run inn with just five rooms, they can provide you with that extra special ambiance and personal service.

If you would like to meet Ginger, book your stay at Pinecrest then take a short walk to the rear of the inn and you will be greeted by our dog, who will bark crazily until you reach down and she lets you pet her tummy at which point, you have met a new friend for life!

IMG_0492   Terraced seating in the backyard

Asheville’s South Slope Beer and BBQ

September 28th, 2015

Buxton Hall Elliott Moss Buxton HallMore and more we find ourselves, along with a growing number of other locals and tourists, heading just a little south of downtown these days.  Gone are the days when this faded automotive and industrial part of the city, with its long idled warehouses, empty buildings and fenced off lots sat idle – now giving way to breweries, restaurants, shops, living spaces and even a donut shop.

Those looking for a multi-stop walking brew tour will find, tucked in between a four block area south of downtown, a cluster of six breweries (with more being planned).  This area, known as the South Slope, is establishing itself with in the region’s (perhaps the nation’s) craft beer capital as Asheville’s “Brewery District.”

Leading the charge for this transition,  was Green Man Brewery which opened over a decade ago at 27 Buxton Avenue.  The brewery — one of the oldest in Asheville — opened in 1997 and moved from the popular Jack of the Wood downtown pub to the South Slope in 2003.

Other breweries have now found their way to the neighborhood, including Asheville Brewing Company, which expanded and took over an old Cadillac dealership at the top of Coxe Avenue; Hi-Wire Brewing next door; and then Burial Beer, Twin Leaf, Wicked Weed Brewing’s Funkatorium Tasting Room, and Thirsty Monk craft beer bar at the top of the slope.

If you want to get an early start, Vortex Doughnuts has opened a delicious spot with very unique twists on the sugary delight. They hand-make yeast and cake doughnuts throughout the morning with fresh, high-quality ingredients and top them with creative glazes, toppings and fillings.

Buxton Hall Barbecue restaurant is now open on Banks Avenue nestled between Catawba Brewery and Vortex  — in a former skating rink — created by Chef Elliott Moss, former chef of The Admiral in West Asheville.   This whole hog experience was our reason for sliding down to the slope on this Saturday night.  Word of mouth was that this was the real deal and we could not wait to check out Moss’s new venture.

True to form, we found Elliott in the middle of the bustling kitchen – working the fires and tending the hogs.  You can easily see that this is truly a labor of love for him and honors his upbringing in the south.  Moss not only brings to Buxton his honest-to-goodness southern cooking, but his experience as chef at the Admiral and two other widely-regarded pop-ups at MG Road: Punk Wok and the Thunderbird.

Walking into Buxton, the smell of, well…cooked pig is thick in the air and the recent results of fire and sow coming close together are featured center stage – splayed out on the main table in the kitchen.   There is also very little separation between diners and those putting your meal together.  The open kitchen allows you to see where your meal is coming from – fully exposing patrons to the hustle and bustle, the smoke and the fire.  The sounds and smells of cooking are an important part of this dining experience.

The breaking down of the barrier between kitchen and dining space may seem like a recent trend made famous by “in the field” dinners.  As is the case in most homes; however, the desire to be close to the action – the sounds, the smells, the process of cooking, has always drawn people into the kitchen.  That tradition is what drives the open-kitchen concept at Buxton Hall.

Besides the whole-hog barbecue, Buxton features dishes like chicken bog, a “humble, working-class, stick-to-your-bones” rice and chicken dish.  An homage to being raised in rural South Carolina, Moss’ cuisine centers on the simple, slow-cooked comfort foods of both the roadside barbecue stands and the country buffets.  It’s a testament to a time when down-home Southern food was made with fresh, local ingredients rather than boxed or corporately sourced components.

Our dining experience at Buxton Hall was unbelievable. The family made a wholehearted attempt to sample almost everything on the menu.  Highlights were the buttermilk-breaded fried chicken sandwich and the pulled pork sandwich – which were reasonably priced and neither created for light eaters.  The ribs were perfectly done and will give the other famous Asheville rib joint a run for their money.  Our entire table strongly recommends the Farm and Sparrow hushpuppies.  They were simply amazing – especially when smeared with the house made pimento spread.  To slake your thirst, top notch cocktails, good wine and local brews are available from the bar.

Yes Asheville, the South Slope has an anchor restaurant to sustain you on your walking brew tour.

In between the restaurant and the donut shop, and very convenient if you need to whet your whistle while waiting for a table at Buxton, is Catawba Brewing.  This recently opened brewery has a great open space with two bars and a courtyard. They have 24 taps at the front bar and another six at the back bar.

Another sweet spot that should not be ignored is the French Broad Chocolate Lounge Factory which has operated in the South Slope area since 2010.

Put on some comfortable shoes and do some urban exploring of your own.  Keep an eye out for even more breweries and restaurants.  As quickly as this section of part of Asheville is changing, several more establishments have probably opened up in the time it took us to write and post this blog. For more information call the Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast at 828-281-4275.

Zen Tubing an Asheville Outdoor Adventure

July 21st, 2015

 

lynnezip

We have been operating this Asheville Bed and Breakfast for almost 13 very lucky years and one of the biggest changes we’ve observed in the last several years is the duration of days our guests stay. It used to be folks would come in for a couple days to “get-away” and “recharge” – usually coming from not too distant towns and cities. More recently the average stay has    gone from just a few days to longer visits with a good number of folks even staying for a week.  Guests are coming from everywhere including a lot of international destinations.

While everyone almost certainly ventures to the Biltmore Estate for a day, or even 2, most people are looking for other adventures in and around Asheville.  We are increasingly assisting incoming guests with planning their vacation and extended stays.

Of course there is any number of outdoor activities to keep you entertained, but one of the newest and definitely most fun activity to hit the Asheville area of late is Zen Tubing.  It is the most leisurely way to enjoy an afternoon along the French Broad River.

I know what you’re thinking…..black tubes that you lug up the stream and float down and lug back up the stream and down again.  Not exactly..this is tubing in a Cadillac, or perhaps being Asheville – a fully loaded Prius, and there is no lugging involved.  The tube provides a soft and cushiony ride, has a back rest, a bottom (to protect your own) and can be hooked together with other floaters.

Zen Tubing has 2 locations that you can drop in from – the Southern route which drops in near Bent Creek, just a short ride south of Asheville and a Mid-town location that cruises through the River Arts District past a few Breweries ending just short of the Bywater, a great outdoor/indoor drinking and eating venue.  They even have a free shuttle to the Bywater parking lot.

The process is so easy- just park at one of the end destinations, get checked-in and take the shuttle to the put in.  The average time on the river is between 2 and 3 hours ending where your car is parked. They are open 7 days a week from 10:00 to 4:00. You just have to be out of the water by 7:00. The cost per person for adults is $20.00 and kids $15.00.

We took our kids out the last weekend of summer last year and had an absolute ball.  We decided on the Southern route and couldn’t have had a sweeter family outing.  We floated along with the current of the French Broad River, swam, swung from a rope, had a picnic on one of the many islands and relaxed.  Thinking of everything for a fun-filled trip, they even provided a tube for our cooler.

Please don’t hesitate to ask Pinecrest B & B to help you plan your trip. We’ve got some great ideas.  Contact  Pinecrest Inn at 828-281-4275 or visit our website at www.pinecrestbb.com.

 

Orange Ricotta Yogurt Sauce

June 10th, 2015

We can’t make this sauce at the Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast without someone asking for the recipe.  It’s so easy yet so elegant.  It’s delicious on just about any fruit! I especially enjoy  a dollop on a bowl of fresh berries. –like the unbelievably sweet strawberries we have been getting from Full Sun Farm.

ricottablog

In a food processor mix:

1/2 cup Ricotta cheese

1/4 cup vanilla yogurt (not Greek)

1 Tbsp sugar

1Tbsp vanilla extract

zest of half an orange

I recommend tasting to make sure it meets with your approval, if not, add a little more of whatever you think it needs. I prefer the sauce thick, but you can thin it by adding more yogurt. I’ve tried different Ricotta chesses but have had the most success with Breakstone whole milk. This recipe serves 8.

Enjoy !

 

 

Asheville Fall Farm and Artisan Package

May 25th, 2015

Yes, everyone wants to experience the fall foliage on the Blue Ridge Parkway but wouldn’t it be grand to take a drive slightly less-traveled and just as beautiful. There is another equally enjoyable  way to experience Asheville’s Fall Season -wandering the beautiful mountains and winding roads locals, farmers and crafts people know so well.  This fall from September  1 to November 15, 2015  this  Asheville Inn will be offering a Fall Farm and Artisan Tour Package.  The package is centered around  a self-guided driving tour through the beautiful Sandy Mush community of Leicester, NC. The valley is a step back in time and breathtakingly picturesque with rolling hills that lead up to mountains that surround the valley in every direction. The landscape is dotted with horses, cattle, big red barns and working farms. The tour takes you to Addison Vineyards where you will enjoy a picnic and wine tasting, local farms and artisan studios and shops.

Image result for sandy mush nc

Image result for sandy mush nc

 

The package requires  a 2 night booking and includes:

A picnic lunch to eat a Addison Vineyards. After your picnic enjoy a tasting and complimentary glass of wine. You will receive 10% off wine purchases.

A touring map/guide of Sandy Mush Community of Artisans and Farms. The map will include specific hours and contact information for each farm and artist.  It is recommended that you contact the farm/artist ahead of time because some of them operate by appointment only.

Next explore the farm store at Sandy Hollar Farms. Shop for hone, beeswax candles and pick- your -own blackberries. You will receive 10% discount on store purchase. Although you won’t be in the market for a Christmas tree, Sandy Hollar Farms is one of the biggest local tree farms in the area.

Meet the pigs raised on the whiskey mash from Troy & Son (an Asheville whiskey distiller) at Whiskey Pigs.  A 10% discount will apply to meat and eggs purchases.

Explore the Long Branch Environmental Education Center, a farm designed for research, education and conservation.  In addition to seeing solar farm buildings and a tobacco barn, pick up conservation tips and buy apples and cider.

Tour, shop and meet the following fine artisans:

Jones Pottery, the studio of nationally recognized potter Matt Jones

The studio of quilter Laurie W. Brown

Painter Christine Hield at Sky Dance Art

Fiber artist June Hawkins at Sandy Hollar

The workshop of broom maker Marlow Gates and photographer Diana Gates

It’s not too early to be planning your fall trip to Asheville. Please call Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast  828-281-4275 for pricing details. We look forward to helping you plan your visit.

April Asheville Cheese Month

March 27th, 2015

cheese festApril 2015 is WNC Cheese month.  WNC is home to an amazing array of Creameries and Farms.  What better way to explore Western North Carolina than meandering along the WNC Cheese Trail.  Spend an afternoon taking in the mountain beauty and sampling delicious handmade cheeses.  Visit the Creameries and farms and meet the amazing folks creating these delicacies’. Tour their facilities and learn a bit about cheese crafting.  You can even purchase cheese directly from the cheesemakers.  These award winning cheesemakers range from new operations to pioneers in the artisan cheese movement, using both goat milk and cow milk.

Throughout the month  of April Pinecrest Bed and breakfast we will be featuring local cheeses during breakfast. Pinecrest will be offering a 2 night package April 25 through April 27 which will include a map of the Cheese Trail, cheese recipes from members of the WNC Cheese Trail  and this Asheville B & B and 2 tickets to the WNC Cheese  Trail’s annual festival.  Please call 828-281-4275 for pricing details.

WNC Cheese Trail’s annual festival will be held at Highland Brewing Company on April 26, 2015 from 12 to 4.  There will be hands-on activities for kids and adults, panel discussions, workshops and cooking demonstrations. You can sample and purchase cheeses, speak with cheese-makers, and meet producers of  bread and crackers, meats, pickles and jams.

To book Inn reservations during this event or assistance planning a trip to our Asheville B & B this spring, visit www.pinecrestbb.com or call 828-281-4275.

Mushroom Hunting Craze Sprouts in Asheville

March 23rd, 2015

MMSo you’ve heard all about the latest trends in foraging for food and in particular the mushroom foraging craze. Asheville even has its own “shroom expert” Alan Muskat. He’s been guiding people out into the wild to feast at mother nature’s table for over twenty years. He even founded the first and only forage-to-table company in the country. Muskat has been featured in the likes of Southern Living, Bizzare Food, Condé Nast Traveler, PSB and others.

Author of Wild Mushrooms: A Taste of Enchantment, Muskat knows the secrets to mushroom hunting. For almost two decades, he sold hundreds of pounds of wild harvested bounty to restaurants and hotels around Asheville including The Biltmore Estate, Lantern, and The Grove Park Inn.  “Wild foods,” Alan says, “are a way of feeling at home in nature.”

With practice you can learn the art of mushroom hunting too. There are books and dozens of online articles on the topic. Part of the challenge however is knowing what to look for and where to look. That’s why tours led by experts such as Muskat are cropping up all over.  There’s even an Asheville Mushroom Club if you’re already a mushroom aficionado.

We Googled the web to find out more. Turns out spring is the best time of year to hunt for Morel mushrooms.  It’s recommended that you search during the two months that are considered the peak of spring in your area. Since spring is upon us you’re probably asking just where is the best place to find a good Morel mushroom in the wild blue yonder? There are certain trees and soil conditions preferred by Morels. Those are:

  • Ash Trees (particularly white ash)
  • Elm Trees (dead or dying preferred)
  • Apple Trees (old ignored apple orchards are best!)
  • Tulip Trees
  • Burn sites
  • Areas with lots of downed trees
  • Old flood areas

Not ready to venture out on your own in search of wild mushrooms for dinner? Then book a tour and learn from the pros! Alan Muskat offers three hour foraging and tasting tours in the Asheville area. He has packages and private tours for all ages and abilities. Visit http://www.notastelikehome.org/book-a-tour.php to find out more. Whether you schedule a tour with a seasoned forager or go it alone, have fun discovering nature’s bounty and happy hunting!

If you’re ready to book your spring visit to our Asheville Bed & Breakfast call 828-281-4275 or visit our Inn reservations page to view our B&B room availability now. We look forward to seeing you soon. If you need assistance booking a tour, just let us know. We’re always here to help our guests plan their itinerary.

Asheville’s Live Music Scene Steals the Show

March 3rd, 2015

There are countless ways to enjoy the live music scene in Asheville, from outdoor bluegrass concerts to the Asheville Symphony Orchestra and everything in between. Live music is part of what makes Asheville special. Our musical city even has its own Lyric Opera.  The city’s strong tradition of street performers and music venues just adds to the mix of regular almost nightly- year round live entertainment, no matter what your tastes.

One free, outdoor option that’s fun for all ages is “Shindig on the Green,” which happens every Saturday night from June and August on the green surrounding the County Courthouse in downtown Asheville. The first concert kicks off June 27th.

drum circle in asheville

Drum Circle

If you like outdoor music and happen to be visiting this summer on the first Friday of the month, there’s the ever popular Downtown After 5 celebrating its 26th season with the first concert happening May 16th. After 5 is a monthly street concert held from 5 pm till 9 pm on Lexington Avenue that hosts national as well as local acts. For something less formal, check out the drum circle in Pritchard Park every Friday evening. Don’t forget your tambourine…the crowd usually gets in on the act!

Asheville’s eclectic mix of live music venues are known for hosting some of the most sought after bands in the country. No coincidence that they want to play here I’m sure!  Some of the many national touring acts that have graced our stages here in Asheville include The Avett Brothers, Bob Dylan, the Allman Brothers, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Robert Plant and others. Some of the top venues include The Grey Eagle, Asheville Music Hall, The Orange Peel, Tressa’s, Diana Wortham Theatre and Isis Restaurant and Music Hall. Whether you’re looking for bluegrass, soul, rock n’ roll, folk, funk, country or blues, it’s all right here.

If you need recommendations on where to go for the type of music you love, just ask your knowledgeable innkeepers at Pinecrest Bed & Breakfast, an award winning historic Inn located in Montford, a short walk from bustling downtown Asheville. For Inn reservations click here or call 828-281-4275.

 

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