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Tour de New Belgium Brewery Tour in Asheville

November 16th, 2016 by Diane Rogers

In a town known for beer, the new big kid on the block is New Belgium Brewery, located at 21 Craven Street, just a little over 2 miles from Pinecrest.  If you are looking for a brewery tour in Asheville, this is not to be missed.

We had the pleasure of visiting their Liquid Center in May and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, sampling a pint or two while sitting on their patio that looks over the French Broad River.  When we saw the tours gearing up in September, we made our reservations online at Tour Calendar and waited with much anticipation for our spot on their brewery tour in Asheville at New Belgium.

Brewery Tours in Asheville

Tour guide de Jour

Things you need to know about the tours:

1) limited to twenty people

2) last between 60 and 90 minutes

3) must be 21 because…..

4)FREE samples!

Really there is not much more to say except it is worth your time.  Our tour guy’s knowledge and enthusiasm were contagious as he guided us throughout the facility.

First Stop on the Tour

After a brief introduction to New Belgium outside, the tour group ventured into the facility to see lots of shiny stainless steel tanks and a bar.  With taps and plenty of glasses for the first sampling. 

Brewery tour in Asheville

First sample stop

Brewery tour in Asheville

No steps needed!

We learned a lot about the company and it’s culture:  like the employees ARE the owners,  every employee receives a Fat Tire cruiser bike on their first anniversary, a one week trip to Belgium on their fifth anniversary, and their workers get a free 12-pack of beer every week.   The list goes on and on and you probably will want to apply for a job for no other reason than they have a slide at work!  It’s part of the tour and you really should skip the steps and go down it. But be warned, you can get up a head of steam and fly out of it.  As for applying for a job:  the only open positions were Process Automation Engineer or Production Process Analyst.  Guess taste tester was already filled?

Making Beer

We learned a lot about making beer too:  the short version being convert a grain, primarily barley (or wheat) into wort then ferment it with yeast.  That version is intentionally short so you will have to go hear the whole story at the best brewery tour in Asheville.  Our guide was thorough and used verbs like mashing, sparging, fermenting, and lautering though you can forget more than you remember after the 3 free samples.

Brewery Tour in Asheville

Magic happens in these tanks

Bottling Beer

Brewery tour in Asheville

Let’s bottle some beer!

If possible, schedule your tour during the week so there will be a greater chance the bottling floor will be operational.  It brought back memories of my job at Colgate, putting toothpaste in tubes.  It would be both fascinating and mesmerizing to watch the action and we will be scheduling another tour in the near future for certain.

The latest news from the New Belgium blog is they are teaming up with their neighbor Wedge Brewing Co. for a collaboration to benefit greenways.   How cool is it that New Belgium will be  delivering Dulkelweizen beer for the launch party at Wedge by bike?  And for every pint sold, $1 will be donated to greenways in Buncombe County. 

Brewery tour in Asheville

Yes those are happy smiles.  We tried La Folie sour brown ale, Ranger IPS but our favorite is their flagship Fat Tire Amber Ale. We love New Belgium Brewery!

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Appalachian Trail for One Day

July 25th, 2016 by Diane Rogers

Let’s face it, aren’t we all a little enamored with the Appalachian Trail?  This romantic notion of walking from Georgia to Maine holds some mystical power over us all.  And if you are lucky enough to live nearby the trail in Asheville, you can put down the Jon Krakauer book, lace up your boots, and give it a whirl, if only for a day.  We locked the door behind us at Pinecrest B&B and headed out for an adventure.

A good place to start would be 36 miles north of Asheville in Hot Springs, NC where the trail runs right through the center of town.  We choose the 1.6 mile loop Lover’s Leap Hike with directions quickly handwritten from the our favorite blog, Romantic Asheville. Even us novices knew there would be no GPS where we were headed.

Appalachian Trail thru Hot Springs NC

It would seem the day was off to a good start with the marker in the sidewalk.  We stopped in Bluff Mountain Outfitters which would be a godsend for supplies for those hearty souls who are thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail. They have earned our utmost respect.  Perhaps the hiking gene skips a generation as my parents hike and our daughter has even backpacked in Alaska but our main exercise these days is carrying laundry up and down two flights of steps.  Onward and upward!

Over the bridge, down some steps, a street led us to a well worn trail right beside the French Broad River.  There is something mesmerizing about the sound of water and particularly the rush over any waterfall, albeit so small.  With the intensity of the heat, a trip down the river over Surprise Falls might have been a better choice on this hot summer day?  Maybe our next outing will be at French Broad Rafting.

Surprise Falls on the French Broad River

Surprise Falls on the French Broad River

Everyone knows the white blaze of the Appalachian Trail keeps hikers on the right path but we somehow veered off quite quickly to the left.  Looking for a series of switchbacks, we attempted a near vertical climb, using ropes someone had secured to traverse this particularly challenging terrain.

This is NOT the AT

This is NOT the AT

AT White Blaze

White blaze marks the AT

After 50 feet straight up, we abandoned this spur and retraced our steps, nearly rappelling back down and headed along the river again, this time in the right direction!  And soon there were the familiar white blazes every 100 feet, bringing comfort to the uninitiated.

 

We continued along the river path awhile then came upon the promised switchbacks that started our ascent to 3 rock outcroppings.  The forest was still and quiet, save for our footfalls but we knew others had traversed this same path by the “cairns”

Cairns

Cairns

they left behind, which brings comfort to some but considered a scourge by others. It was nice to be reminded that there are places, not so far away if we seek them, where we can find quiet, peace and solace from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  No cell phones, no GPS, no email but be sure to take plenty of water as hiking the Appalachian Trail can leave you winded and thirsty.

 

The hike up was certainly worth it for the peak-a-boo views of the river below and ridges towering above.  We were happy to stop and rest at the top before taking the Silvermine Loop Trail back down the mountain.

Stunning views from the Appalachian Trail

Stunning views from the Appalachian Trail

These mountains call to us to climb them, some higher than others but all of us have the desire to search for views such as these.  All that is left to be said is “breathtaking.”

View from Lover's Leap Trail on the AT

View from Lover’s Leap Trail on the AT

 

 

 

April Asheville Cheese Month

March 27th, 2015 by Diane Rogers

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.

Pinecrest B&B’s Famous Scone Recipe

November 20th, 2014 by Diane Rogers

scone4

Blueberry Scone Recipe

Every time we serve these scones at our Asheville Bed & Breakfast someone at the table requests the recipe. Last weekend  I handed out 4 copies of the recipe , so I thought it might be worth posting on our site.  When I go on vacation I end up making these scones every morning at my kids request.  They like them full of chocolate and peanut butter chips.  Mix in whatever your tummy tells you.   These scones are lighter than the usual scone and very easy to make.

This recipe has been past down several generations. I’m not sure they were called “scones” back in the day but that’s what we call here at the Pinecrest Inn. Enjoy !

Scones

2 C Flour

4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp Salt

1/3 C sugar or 1/4 C Honey

4 TBSP unsalted Butter

2 TBSP shortening

3/4 C cream

2 eggs

* zest of one lemon

Handful of dried cranberries, fresh blueberries, chocolate chips….whatever you want to mix in.

* When using fruit I also add the zest of a lemon.

Combine dry ingredients then cut in butter and shortening until it resembles fine crumbles.  Add  1 lightly beaten egg and 3/4 of cream. I usually add the cream slowly mixing then adding more.  You want the dough to be very sticky not wet (see photo). You may not need all of the cream. Add fruit and lemon zest at the very end and mix just till integrated. Do not over mix the dough.

Using an ice cream scooper drop 8- 10 rounded spoons onto a greased cookie sheet.  Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle sanding sugar. White granulated sugar will work just fine, I just like the way sanding sugar gives a sparkly shine.

Bake on 350 for 20 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Asheville Bed & Breakfast Honors Vets with Free Rooms on November 11, 2014

September 15th, 2014 by Diane Rogers

B&B guest roomIn honor of Veteran’s Day, Pinecrest Inn Bed and Breakfast is proud to honor our distinguished men and women in the armed services, active or retired with a special offer! On Tuesday, November 11, 2014, all veterans can stay for FREE in one of our select Asheville B&B guest rooms (based on room availability). Bring your spouse or special someone and enjoy our hospitality. Offer valid until November 12, 2014.

Discover the History of Quilt Making in North Carolina

August 19th, 2014 by Diane Rogers

quilt

Vintage Double Knit Reverse Quilt
(Image from: Asheville Modern Quilt Guild)

The earliest quilts that exist from North Carolina are from the 1820’s and originated from the early Scots-Irish settlements of Mecklenburg, Iredell, and Cabarrus counties. These early American quilts were a byproduct of wealth and leisure, and not created out of need or poverty as some may think. By 1860, quilt making in NC had become a highly developed art form, spurred by the availability of fabrics from local textile mills. However, many family quilts from this period were lost or destroyed during the Civil War, which also had a devastating impact on the textile industry here in North Carolina.

Since then, quilting has experienced a revival in the area and is hailed today as a true art form. If you’re interested in viewing some of the many local handmade quilts, plan a visit this month to “All Kinds of Quilts”, a special exhibit featuring the Asheville Modern Quilt Guild.  The exhibition will showing through August 19th, 2014 at Handmade in America, located at 125 S Lexington Ave #101, Asheville, Monday – Friday, 10am-4pm. It’s a very special exhibit that sheds light on an age old custom that is once again thriving.

Looking for more great advice on things to do in Asheville? Our helpful Innkeepers are always available to assist in planning your daily itinerary. For room reservations at our award winning Asheville Bed & Breakfast, visit www.pinecrestbb.com or call 828-281-4275.

The Pinecrest Inn Bed & Breakfast is located in historic Montford. We look forward to seeing you on your next visit.

Botanical Gardens in Asheville Highlights over 600 Native Plant Species

June 25th, 2014 by Diane Rogers

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.

Asheville Wine & Food Festival 2014 Best Chef Competition

May 25th, 2014 by Diane Rogers

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 by Diane Rogers

navitat

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.

stacy zipline navitat

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.

Historical Places to Visit in and Around Asheville

January 17th, 2014 by Diane Rogers

If you’re seeking some great historic sites to visit while in Asheville, check out some of the places on our list.

1.     Thomas Wolfe Memorial

The Thomas Wolfe home, built in 1883, now serves as the Thomas Wolfe Memorial. The rambling Victorian building he grew up in (his mother’s boarding house) was immortalized as “Dixieland” in his famous autobiographical novel Look Homeward, Angel. The novel has never gone out of print since its publication in 1929, keeping interest in Wolfe alive and attracting visitors to his historic home at 48 Spruce Street in Asheville.

2.      Carl Sandburg Home

Writer, poet and Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sandburg died on June 22, 1967. After which his wife Lilian donated his home to the state of North Carolina to become a National Park. The park’s vast historical and cultural resources include 264 acres of pastures, ponds, small mountains and hiking trails, as well as a total of fifty structures, including the Sandburg’s residence and goat barn. Books, personal belongings, awards and photographs highlight the 22 years of his life Sandburg spent residing at Connemara in Flat Rock.

3.      St. Mary’s Church

St. Mary’s was constructed in 1914 in a cruciform plan in an English Gothic Revival style, incorporating the “correct” ecclesiastical style of Edwardian Anglo-Catholicism.  Prominent local architect Richard Sharp Smith designed the building and much of the interior furnishings. St. Mary’s is the only Anglo-Catholic church in North Carolina.

4.      Riverside Cemetery

cemetary

The Riverside Cemetery dates back to 1885 and encompasses 87 acres of rolling hills and flower gardens overlooking the French Broad River.  Riverside is the burial place of many of Asheville’s most notorious citizens including Thomas Wolfe, William Sidney Porter (better known as O. Henry), Zebulon B. Vance, Thomas Patton and confederate generals James Martin, Robert B. Vance and Thomas Clingman.

5.      Grove Arcade

Dr. Edwin Wiley Grove, a wealthy patent medicine manufacturer and real estate developer had the Grove Arcade built between 1926 and 1929, as a massive commercial mall with covered pedestrian thoroughfares and rooftop terraces. It was the most ambitious project conceived by Grove. During WWII the Arcade Building was occupied and modified by the Federal government and eventually housed the National Climatic Data Center until the 1990s. Today the Arcade’s Tudor Gothic Revival style is one of Asheville’s landmark architectural showplaces.

6.      Church of St. Lawrence

The Church of St. Lawrence was designed and built by Rafael Guastavino, an architect and builder who came to Asheville to work on the Biltmore House in the mid-1890s. After completing his work at Biltmore, he sought an alliance with friend and architect Richard Sharp Smith to design the Spanish Renaissance Revival Church of St. Lawrence in the early 1900’s. Construction was completed in 1909.  The entire Church is built of tile or other masonry materials. The center dome is reputed to be the largest freestanding elliptical dome in North America. The churches basilica interior features Spanish woodcarvings dating back to the mid-17th century.

Our Pinecrest Inn has its own historical roots dating back to Asheville’s boom in the early 1900’s.  The 1905 English Tudor style B&B, is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. In 1913 Richard Sharp Smith, the lead architect for the Biltmore Estate was commissioned to design an addition to the house, making it even more significant. The name ‘Pinecrest’ was officially deeded to the house in 1928. Today the elegant home operates as an Asheville Bed & Breakfast located in the historic Montford district. For reservations or information visit www.pincrestbb.com or call 888-811-3053.

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