The Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast Asheville NC

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Don’t Miss the 10th Annual Montford Music and Arts Festival

April 22nd, 2013 by Stacy Shelley

montfordfestivalIf you plan to visit our Asheville Bed & Breakfast this May, you won’t want to miss the 10th annual Montford Music and Arts Festival. It’s the largest one day free music and arts festival in Western North Carolina, featuring two stages of ongoing live music. Take in the sounds of more than twenty bluegrass, folk, rock and contemporary musical artists including The Mad Tea, Free Flow Band, West Sound and others.

The festival is an art lover’s delight, featuring local hand-made wares from over one hundred eclectic vendors, offering unique one of a kind jewelry, up-cycled clothing, handmade pottery, wood furniture, paintings and almost anything else you can imagine. You’ll even find live plants for sale, a great selection of food and children’s activities too. It’s a great outing for the whole family. The Montford Music and Arts Festival will be held May 18th, 10a-7pm, rain or shine and is located on Montford Avenue and Soco Streets just past the Asheville Visitors Center.

For more information on this and other upcoming summer events, ask your Pinecrest Inn hosts Janna or Stacy. They’re always happy to assist Inn guests with planning their daily itinerary, recommending restaurants and even making dinner reservations. To book reservations at our Asheville Inn, please visit www.pinecrestbb.com.

Asheville’s Newest Brewhouse

April 16th, 2013 by Stacy Shelley

wicked weed1Asheville’s Wicked Weed Brewery

The Wicked Weed Brewery has been on our list for some time – we’ve been hearing a lot of good things, but just had not been able to find the time to make our way over.

This is not your ordinary brewery.

Their mission is to craft big flavor, hop-forward beers that push their creative boundaries. They believe in the wildness of beer, its’ nonconformist attitude and its’ ability to resist being tamed.

They also offer a respectable wine selection and full bar for those who prefer other adult libations.

Housed at 91 Biltmore Avenue, the building which used to be an auto-repair shop and, later, Asheville Hardware has undergone a complete transformation inside and seems a much better use of space as a brewery. While the large, glass garage doors remain, the interior feels both industrial and luxurious at the same time with its reclaimed, polished wood and exposed brick.

The bars on both floors are made out of a 200-year-old piece of Black Gum that was sourced from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. Word has it that two musket balls, likely from the Civil War, are still embedded in the upstairs bar top.

Upstairs holds the restaurant and a full bar with 28 taps, a high-end liquor selection, indoor seating for over 100 people and an expansive, glassed-in kitchen. The roll-up, dining-room windows take up most of the front wall and overlook the Biltmore Avenue patio space just next door to the Orange Peel so you can have a full-experience date nite (without having to travel very far).

Downstairs is where the alchemy equipment is, where the brewing magic happens and the space also includes a Tasting Room. Brewery tours are available.

This is not your ordinary bar fare.

Jason Saunders, formerly of Table and Cucina 24, is a very talented chef and a local native who featureswicked weed2 seasonal fare that highlights high quality local ingredients. The menu is remarkable and creative and not a hot wing or bloomin’ onion to be found. Jason has succeeded in maintaining equal footing for the food — matching the panache of the brewery side of things – which is certainly no small task given the bold and brave offerings coming from downstairs. Saunders brands Wicked’s food offerings as “enlightened pub food.” Check out their menu and just try to keep your mouth from watering. Pay special attention to the Bison Burger with haystack shallots and blue cheese coleslaw or for those seeking a vegetarian option try the Black Bean , pimento cheese, crispy okra and chow-chow burger.

Wicked Weed Brewery, one of the latest breweries to be included on Asheville’s Ale Trail, encourages you to join the rebellion.

April is North Carolina Beer Month. Come explore all the unique offerings in one of America’s best states for craft brewing. Call or email this Asheville Bed and Breakfast to find out about festivals, special events, breweries, restaurants, beer tours and more. Cheers!

Asheville Restaurant Review: Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder

April 2nd, 2013 by Stacy Shelley

rest1
As Asheville has emerged as a premier food destination, it’s become more difficult for new venues to find the space to cut out of the market. This makes opening a restaurant even more risky than normal. The competition is fierce out there.

Into the ring comes a brash new contender, Seven Sows, a collaborative effort between chef Adam Bannasch of Zambra, chef Mike Moore of Blind Pig Supper club and Jason Caughman of Pisgah Brewery. Seven Sows celebrates southern cooking and serves dinner and weekend brunches that feature local and heirloom products and a bar that focuses on bourbon.

We ventured out with friends to investigate this new eatery during its opening week. There were several birthdays around the table and I have to say that some members of the party were giddy with anticipation.

Through the doors, we found the décor rustic, nothing fancy – but definitely down home and welcoming. Authentic barn siding here. Tin roof there. A wall painting of a lady holding a ham. Nothing pretentious – you are here to eat, or drink, or both. No hoity-toity here – just good food and drink.

rest3And the menu – what fun! But, I get ahead of myself. Drinks first. It would be safe to say one of the better selections of Bourbon and Rye in the area. Actually, the selection of Whiskey, Irish Whiskey, Scotch, Brandy, Rum, Gin, Vodka, Tequila and Apertif’s are all top of the line. My husband chose the “Larceny” – for its name and he was rewarded by the butterscotch aroma and smooth, smoky flavor that warmed its path. Half of the party selected a bourbon of personal fancy (no easy choice given the list) and the other half chose grapes (of the fermented variety). Both halves were pleased with the selection and their decisions. Being a Bourbon enthusiast my husband could not resist following up the “Larceny” with a signature cocktail, a Buffala Negra (W. L. Weller 12 Yr Bourbon, Fresh Basil, Aged Balsamic, Fever Tree Ginger Ale, Simple Syrup concoction) that shoots up the charts as one of Asheville’s top elixirs.

For appetizers and to get into the theme, we sampled: Shaved Country Ham Board with selections of Benton’s Tennessee Month and Mangalitsa and Colonel Newsom’s Aged Kentucky ham. Pickled vegetable, grilled bread mustards, Texas Pete Mayo, and Sweetgrass Dairy Appalachian Cheese.

And Cone O’ Chicken Cracklins and the Buttermilk Hushpuppy Basket (with hot pimento cheese). We turned our gazes on to the entrees. Not one of our self-described “foodies” was adventurous enough to try the Pig Head Meatloaf with apple chutney, pickled mustard seeds, Southern Appalachia Sorghum, crispy pig ear and grilled bread, but maybe next time and after a few more bourbons.

We did have and enjoy the Mountain Goat with Brunswick Stew (and cornbread). No self-respecting southern kitchen could hang its sign if there were no fried chicken wasn’t coming out of it. No offense Gramma, butrest4 this buttermilk fried chicken with crawfish mac and cheese and giblet and egg gravy — oh my.

And more items you would not expect on a “new Asheville” menu. The Laughing Seed (a very popular vegetarian restaurant here in Asheville) is not laughing at this lineup of southern fare. Beeler’s Farm grilled Duroc Pork Chop, Quail, Foothills Braised Pork Shank and Dry Aged Cab Ribeye to name a few.

Given the birthday celebrations, we ordered one of each of the desserts, sampled and passed them around theres2 table — partaking in Crème Brulèe, Blueberry Buckle, Butterscotch pudding and a sweet Fudge sauce, marshmallow, Cheerwine Syrup treatment that elevated the traditional Train City’s Moon Pie. I was surprised not to see any banana pudding, but not a complaint was heard and none of these particular decadent treats made it around the table twice.

Side Historical Note: The south’s favorite snack food, the Moon Pie originated in 1917. During the 1930’s, the Moon Pie found its place in Southern folklore as part of the “working man’s lunch.” Coal miners and laborers would enjoy the biggest snack on the rack, a Moon Pie and a 10 ounce RC Cola each for a nickel.

This is fine southern cooking treated with creativity and respect. I don’t remember Mama serving up any such fixins.’ A great place to visit before you head out on your dirt track date or go to see a show.

Here at Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast we’d be happy to secure you a dinner reservation during your visit to this Asheville Inn. Please call our toll free 888-811-3053 or visit our website at www.pinecrestbb.com

Asheville’s Day Spas and Wellness Retreats

March 8th, 2013 by Stacy Shelley

massageWhen visiting Asheville, you don’t have to look far to find some of the best spas in North Carolina – from the historic salt baths of the Grove Park to the more contemporary offerings of Spa Theology in downtown Asheville. At Spa Theology visitors experience the best of both worlds. Traditional spa classics like hot stone and couple’s massage are guest favorites, or choose from one of the more natural spa treatments Asheville is known for, like green tea clay facials and vegan nail services. You’ll even find a Chakra Balancing Wheel in the Spa’s boutique to help you balance your energy. Spa Theology proudly offers paraben free Privai botanical based skincare products. Schedule your spa treatment by calling 828-255-4171.

To clear the mind and body, head over to Sensibilities Day Spa, one of Asheville’s oldest and most renowned wellness retreats. Try one of their signature body treatments like Grounded in Nature – the detoxifying body treatment with blue-green algae and mineral-rich clay. Or treat your face to a yummy Hydrench Facial infused with a blend of decadent chocolate mousse, macadamia nut, almond and coconut. Call 828.253.3222 to book one of their many rejuvenating body treatments.

Voted as one of the top 20 resort spas in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler, The Spa at the Grove Park Inn comes with a never-ending array of fringe benefits topped off with fantastic mountain views. Purchase a day spa pass for $90, and just lounge around the iconic Inn’s spa for the day. Get ready for waterfall Jacuzzi tubs, a mineral based lap pool, eucalyptus-infused steam room, cold plunge and more. Or book any spa treatment and enjoy the extra amenities at no additional charge. Spa guests will find the usual resort fare… cozy robes, lockers and a fully stocked dressing room, but you’ll also find lots of cozy reading nooks by roaring fireplaces, and a café that serves light fare and wine. The 43,000-square-foot subterranean spa is sure to please even the most discerning spa goer. Call 800.438.5800 for spa reservations.

The innkeepers at Asheville’s Pinecrest Inn Bed & Breakfast are always available to make recommendations as well as assist our guests with their spa reservations. We’re conveniently located less than 10 minutes from all of our featured spa destinations. For more information about our historic Asheville B&B, visit www.pinecrestbb.com.

Winter Holiday in Asheville

January 10th, 2013 by Stacy Shelley

Happy New Year ! This year marks our 10 year anniversary as owners of this Asheville Bed and Breakfast. It’s hard to believe how fast time has flown by and here we are starting the New Year off much like last. The weather has been very mild, no snow and quiet. Even though January and February are usually slow months, it’s a great time to visit. The Biltmore Estate is still magnificent and less crowded. You can purchase your 2 day ticket for $35.00 from this Asheville Inn. Guests receive a complimentary audio guide with purchase. Children 16 and younger enjoy free admission.

Asheville’s restaurants are calmer – making reservations unnecessary on most nights and giving you some extra flexibility in your schedule. With temperatures expected to continue to be mild this year, outdoor hiking and activities are abundant. Strolling the streets of Asheville is a more leisurely and relaxed experience.

Here at Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast, our rates are reduced through March 31st. We also allow for one night bookings on the weekend, except certain holidays. This year we are offering an additional 5% savings if you book 2 weekend nights (Fri, Sat, Sun) through March 31st in the Grace, Thomas Wolfe or Wible suites.

Valentine’s day falls on a Thursday this year and we expect that the weekend following Valentine’s day to be busy, so you may want to start your planning your get-away now. We would really enjoy the opportunity to host you during your visit to Asheville. Please call our toll free 888-811-3053 for additional information or book online.

Christmas Gift Buying in Asheville, North Carolina.

December 5th, 2012 by Stacy Shelley

What a splendid city to find just the right present for Christmas gift giving. Asheville has more than 200 shops, over 30 art galleries, dozens of antique malls and stores. The best part is almost all of these shops, galleries and antique stores are locally owned allowing you the opportunity to find a one-of-a-kind gift.

The North Asheville Tailgate Market at UNCA Asheville will be hosting their 10th Holiday Bazaar on December 8, 15 and 22, 2012 from noon to 4 o’clock. The market will be selling local produce, baked goods, artisian cheeses and a variety of local foods. In addition to the usual finds the Bazaar will feature local artisans crafts, art work, Christmas trees and wreaths. It’s a lovely market and always interesting.

There is also the Biltmore Villages Shops located just outside the entrance to the Biltmore Estate. There you will find over 40 local shops, 10 restaurants and cafes. Stroll the tree lined brick sidewalks, meander through the shops and pop into Chelsea’s Tea room for afternoon tea.

This Asheville Bed and Breakfast we would enjoy the opportunity to assist you in planning an afternoon of shopping, eating and walking. To make holiday reservations at our Asheville Inn, call 888-811-3053 or visit www.pinecrestbb.com for availability.

Christmas 2012 at the Biltmore Estate

November 6th, 2012 by Stacy Shelley

Biltmore Estate Christmas VacationNovember has arrived which means so has Christmas at the Biltmore Estate. The Christmas trees are up and the house is fully decorated. Biltmore House is elegantly decorated every year for Christmas. At the entrance of the Estate guests are greeted by a double row of Christmas trees, a very large Norway Spruce on the front lawn and dozens of Christmas trees and other decorations including thousands of poinsettias and lighted “snowflakes” at the winery.

The popular Christmas Candlelight Evening tours begin November 9th. Here at Pinecrest Inn Bed and Breakfast we offer Biltmore Estate tickets at a reduced rate of 45.00 per ticket. Upgrade your ticket to include the Candlelight Christmas Evening tour for just 10.00 per ticket. We are offering you a savings of up to $60.00 plus our tickets are valid for 2 days. Please call our toll free 888-811-3053 to secure your reserved time for the Candlelight tour.

There will be plenty of Seasonal activites at Antler Hill Village. Visitors can take a complimentary guided tour of the Winery. Groups depart from the Wine Shop every 20 to 30 minutes beginning at 11:00. The Antler Hill Carriage will be running on Saturdays during November and December at 2:00 and on the hour until 6:00 pm. The carriage leaves from the area near the Creamery and Cedric’s Tavern.

For more information on your visit to the Biltmore Estate please email this Asheville Bed and Breakfast or call us at 888-811-3053.

October Asheville Arts and Crafts Events

October 5th, 2012 by Stacy Shelley

It’s that time of year again when people are flocking to Asheville to see the fall foliage. This has been a beautiful fall week. The leaves are starting to change and a cool breeze is in the air. Several arts and crafts events are coming up this month. Unfortunately, I am a little late on posting the Art Walk 2012 schedule for this weekend. This Art Walk is a self guided tour of Downtown Asheville. All the galleries and studios are within a half mile radius. This weekend also kicks off American Craft Week, a national initiative to highlight handmade art the folks creating it. Art in the Park continues through October 2oth and this Saturday in celebration of American Craft Week, will feature 60 area artisans and demonstrations by folk school crafters from John Campbell Folk School. The Craft fair of the Southern Highlands returns for their 65th year October 18-21. If you are into arts and crafts you are sure to get your fill in Asheville this month. For more up to date information on local events visit ExploreAheville.com.

October is a busy month so plan ahead and book now on line at www.pinecrestbb.com or give us a call at 888-811-3053. We are more than happy to assist you with planning the perfect visit or a cozy weekend stay at our historic Asheville Bed & Breakfast Inn.

Exploring the River Arts District, Asheville NC

October 1st, 2012 by Stacy Shelley

This past weekend we explored the up and coming River Arts District. It’s been a while since we ventured down there in the evening and “wow” has it grown. There are several new galleries, restaurants and even an electric bike shop. We met up with our good friends who happen to also own a Montford bed and breakfast just a few doors down from us on Cumberland Avenue. It’s always nice to have an innkeeper friend you can call on at five till 9 in the morning when you realize you are missing one of the key ingredients for your breakfast, like butter or eggs and even 2 slices of bacon. Thanks James and Susan. They have been great friends and a source of support in many ways.

We began our evening at The Magnetic Field – a bar, restaurant and theatre venue. This is a great place to catch dinner and a show. The plan included dinner and the first performance of the evening (at 7:30). On this particular evening, they were featuring “MILF the Musical” and later in the evening “No she didn’t…Good Girls Gone Bad and the Dances that Happen” — probably not a show that has been cleared for family entertainment.

I am usually a wine drinker and rarely venture down cocktail road, but our friends were very excited about a favorite drink that was fortuitously featured on this special evening out and so we all went along for the ride. Our friends first experienced this delicacy while visiting Peru and have rarely seen it on a menu in the homeland. So if you go…even if it’s not on the menu, see if you can order a Pisco Sour Cocktail. You won’t make any friends with the bartender – it is a high maintenance drink –but this concern will melt away after just one and you can restore the relationship with a decent tip. This cocktail was invented in Peru around 1900 and uses Pisco, a Peruvian grape brandy and “it’s to die for!” The brandy itself is a bit stark, but when skillfully mixed with the other ingredients (sugar, egg white, lime juice), it becomes a smooth, frothy refreshment pleasure. Avoiding the risk of damaging a long-established relationship with your favorite bartender, I am going to include the recipe at the bottom of the blog so you can try this at home.

The dinner menu is small but focused on quality and features local and seasonal ingredients. I had local trout that was on a bed of butter beans and sea island peas over a lovely cauliflower puree and surrounded by a brown butter sauce. The portion was the perfect size and just scrumptious. My husband enjoyed the flat iron steak with roasted fingerling potatoes, local shitake mushrooms, sautéed greens and a Cabernet demi-glaze. The meat was very tender and the sauce a perfect accompaniment to the plate. Our friends enjoyed a plate of local cheeses, crab bisque soup (which had a nice little kick) and peel and eat shrimp which were a good size and fresh and tender. The service was also “spot on”.

As can be the case with dinner theater, the dinner component can be quite lacking. This is not the case at The Magnetic Field. This restaurant can stand on its own merit. Everyone had a great meal and great fun at the “theater” portion of the evening.

Next on our list is the Junction (which is located just up the block from Magnetic Field) and is also focused on local and seasonal ingredients. It is rumored they just may have the best burger in town…as self-proclaimed experts on the topic; we’ll be the judge and let you know. For more recommendations on great dinner spots don’t forget to ask your innkeepers at this Asheville bed and breakfast.

Pisco Sour
• 1/4 cup (2 oz.) pisco (grape brandy)
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
• 1 teaspoon pasteurized egg whites
In a blender, whirl 3 ice cubes, Pisco, sugar, fresh lime juice, and egg whites. Whirl until smooth (you’ll no longer hear the ice cracking against the side of the blender) and serve straight up in a martini glass with a dash of aromatic bitters and a wedge of lime.

For more information or to book a room visit www.pinecrestbb.com or call 888-811-3053. We look forward to hosting you at our Asheville Bed & Breakfast very soon.

Oven Roasted Tomato Frittata at this Asheville Inn

August 30th, 2012 by Stacy Shelley

It’s that time of year again when my garden and our local tailgates are overwhelmed with tomatoes.  These last few weeks we have had a glorious production of cherokee purple, sun gold cherry and plum tomatoes. Since we have been eating them in salads, as a salad, in fresh tomato sauce and any number of other ways, I decided to experiment with oven roasting them. I drizzled approximately 2 Tbsp of olive oil onto a rimmed baking pan. I then tossed in some fresh thyme and oregano. I halved a variety of tomatoes in similar size and placed them on the baking pan in a single layer.  I roasted them in a 325 degree oven for about 2 hours. They just need to be soft and wilty.  I placed them in mason jars and refrigerated. They will keep this way for about a week and can be frozen.

Tomatoes prepared this way are divine! The best way to devour these sweet and lovely treats is on good crusty bread. My husband likes his bread grilled with a little olive oil. Crumble on some good goat cheese, pour a glass of wine and enjoy a piece of heaven.

Unfortunately, this is not really breakfast fare and I was determined to use these tomatoes in a dish  at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast.  My own favorite breakfast always includes eggs and tomatoes so a frittata seemed the best way to highlight the intense flavor of these tomatoes. Of course good local crusty bread could also be served with this meal.  If you can’t roast your own, your local specialty grocer should have them and if necessary you could substitute sun dried tomatoes packed in oil. You will need a deep 10 inch oven safe saute pan. I prefer cast iron but any oven ready pan will do.

I decided to create an oven roasted tomato, smoked mozzarella and basil frittata. I served this to guests (guinea pigs) last week who could not stop raving about how good it tasted or how pretty the plate looked. So this morning I decided to make it again and take pictures as I prepared it. I also took pictures of the guests but promised not to show them. One guest suggested I take a picture of his empty plate as he scarfed down the last bite….thus the last photo.  My thoughts were that I’d write a blog and include the recipe with photos.  As I loaded the pictures onto my computer I realized I could turn the photos into a video.  Please understand if you watch the video …it has no sound and was published and edited by an amateur. ..me.

The great thing about frittatas is they are easy and quick to make. More importantly you can put almost anything in them.  I used smoked mozzarella because I thought it would marry well with the tomatoes and it melts incredibly well.  It has that gooey effect and does not completely disappear. Another good cheese would be goat cheese.  We have the most amazing local cheese farms in and around Asheville. I am particularly fond of Three Graces Dairy and Spinning Spider Creamery.  Next I am going to make a frittata with chives and goat cheese, from one of these farms.  My kids want me to make a ham and swiss without the tomatoes ….we’ll see.

I could eat tomatoes everyday this time of year.  To me the saddest part of summer ending is the end of fresh tomatoes from my garden. Please come visit our Asheville Inn and let us feed you well. For more information call 888-811-3053 or visit www.pinecrestbb.com.

Oven Roasted Tomato, Smoke Mozzarella Cheese and Basil Frittata

1 Tbsp olive oil

½ Tbsp unsalted butter

1/3 cup roughly chopped roasted tomatoes in oil

2 shallots sliced thin or small yellow onion

½ cup cubed smoked mozzarella

7 eggs beaten

¾ cup milk

Handful fresh basil chopped

Salt and fresh ground pepper

Heat oil and butter.  Add shallots and sauté until soft and golden.  Mix egg, milk, basil and pinch of salt and fresh pepper. Pour egg mixture over shallots. Sprinkle in cheese and tomatoes.  Cook over medium for approximately 5 minutes or until sides look set. Put in 375 degree oven for 15 minutes or until firm. Let it sit for 5 minutes and serve.

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