The Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast Asheville NC

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Botanical Gardens in Asheville Highlights over 600 Native Plant Species

June 25th, 2014 by Stacy Shelley

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.

New Mountaintop Zipline Launches this Month in Asheville

May 13th, 2014 by Stacy Shelley

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.

Things to Do this Winter in Asheville

December 11th, 2013 by Stacy Shelley

cataloochee ski

Cataloochee Ski Resort

shoji

Shoji Day Spa

Winter isn’t everyone’s favorite time, but for us it’s a time of quiet reflection, time to relax a bit and take in all the beauty around us. The mountains are spectacular this time of year and winter offers some of the best views when hiking (that is if you’re not intimidated by the colder temperatures.) There’s a certain exquisiteness about the trees in winter that you can’t truly appreciate unless you slow down on an early winter evening and watch the beauty unfold.  At sunset, the mountains thrust one last bit of sunlight tinged with pink and purple hues onto the sky’s canvas. The twilight sky seems to illuminate the now naked tree branches that sit in quiet repose. But beyond taking in the raw beauty of winter, there’s lots of other fun and relaxing things to do this winter in Asheville. Foodies still flock here to take in the vast culinary scene known as Foodtopia, then sit by a cozy fire at the end of a long day of site seeing and shopping. Here’s our recommendation of things to do this winter while you’re visiting.

  1. Hiking. Winter is simply put, the best time to take in the views. Just make sure you are packed properly. Here’s a trail guide that will help you choose the right hike http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/v.php?pg=61
  2. Antique Shopping. Slow down your pace and spend time browsing for antiques around town then take in lunch at a downtown café overlooking the square. Here’s a great list of Antique shops, put together by Romantic Asheville http://www.romanticasheville.com/antiques.htm
  3. Beer Tasting and Brews Cruises.  Asheville, or Beer City U.S.A. as it’s been named for the past four years, has dozens of brewery tours and beer tastings to choose from. A great way to spend a cool winter day indoors. Here’s a short list of places to do a beer tasting: Hops & Vines, Lexington Avenue Brewery, The Oyster House Brewing Company.
  4. Spa Day.  Ever visited an outdoor spa? Shoji Spa offers Japanese style outdoor hot tubs with mountain views, saunas and couples massage. For something more traditional, pick anyone of Asheville’s amazing spas and pamper yourself for the day.
  5. Gallery Hopping. Check out Asheville’s outstanding line up of art galleries. Here’s some of our favorites: Grove wood Gallery, Blue Spiral 1, Southern Highland Craft Guild, New Morning Gallery.
  6. Ski, tube or snowboard. Asheville is only about 30 minutes from Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, Cataloochee Skiing and Tube World.

Planning a visit to Asheville this winter? We still have some rooms available at our Asheville Bed & Breakfast. Celebrating an anniversary, birthday or special occasion? We’ll help you plan a special getaway with flowers, in room massage, a bottle of bubbly or anything else you may need for your special day. Pinecrest Inn is a beautiful, relaxing place to enjoy a winter getaway in Asheville. Call 888-811-3053 for reservations.

 

Bakeries, Cake and Pies…Oh My! Asheville Bakeries Abound.

October 22nd, 2013 by Stacy Shelley

I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say there’s a bread movement afoot in Western North Carolina, but I just might! There seems to be an abundance of all things baked popping up in and around Asheville. Some of the bakeries are old time staples, while others are new on the scene, with emphasis on fresh, local and gluten free breads and cakes. Check out some of what our grand little city in the mountains has to offer.

strada bake houseStrada Bakehouse
http://www.stradaasheville.com/bakehouse/
New on the scene is the Green Certified Strada Bakehouse. Started by the same owners who run the über delicious Strada Italiano Restaurant, this European-style bakery serves up artisan loaves baked fresh daily. Melding old world techniques with modern flavors, the bakery uses a several hundred-year-old, three-step process that yields some amazing breads. One big bonus, they don’t use preservatives, conditioners, or chemicals of any kind. Only four basic ingredients can be found in these breads: flour, salt, water and leaven.

Daily Fresh Baked Breads include Peasant Batard, Red Pepper Cheddar, Sunflower Wheat, Ciabatta, Semolina Sesame, Roasted Garlic & Asiago, and Chocolate Cherry. Stop in any day of the week to pick up a fresh loaf – except Mondays, they’re closed.

West End Bakery
http://www.westendbakery.com/
It’s always nice to talk about one of our favorites in trendy West Asheville – the West End Bakery and Café. This all around great, go-to-bakery uses only 100% organic flour and the freshest ingredients available. Everything served at the West End is made from scratch, and whenever possible they use locally grown produce and organic products. Gluten-Free offerings include a variety of muffins in flavors such as blueberry, pumpkin chocolate chip, and raspberry almond.
They also offer sandwiches made with their famous Gluten-free breads, but they’re popular so you got to be quick to get them. Your best bet is to order a loaf of Gluten-Free Bread to take home so you have some on hand. They also offer a rotating selection of Gluten-free desserts like Carrot cupcakes and Chocolate Mousse.

The Well-Bred Bakery & Cafe

Pastries and Cakes at Well Bread Bakery

Pastries and Cakes at Well Bread Bakery

http://www.wellbredbakery.com/
Just ten minutes north of Asheville in downtown Weaverville, the Well-Bred Bakery and Café offers gourmet pastries, cakes, cookies, artisan breads and other fine delectable treats.  The 2013 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence winner boasts made from scratch confections such as Espresso Roulade, Chocolate Éclairs, Classic English Toffee, Tiramisu, Swedish Crème, Peanut Butter Pie and a host of other sweets like Key Lime Tarts, Chocolate Mint Mousse, Austrian Tea Cakes, Pecan Praline Cookies, and much, much more. Their beautiful pastry case is a feast for the eyes. If you’re like me, you’ll have a hard time deciding what you want, and instead, just get one of each – to go of course. Look for their new location in Biltmore Village, opening soon.

City Bakery
http://citybakery.net/
Founded in 1999, family owned City Bakery is an Asheville staple. The downtown bakery offers a wide variety of breads daily, specializing in traditional French breads made by hand and using as little yeast as possible for more complex flavors. Their amazing pastry staff creates croissants, danishes, éclairs, cupcakes and more – fresh every day.

Their sandwiches, cookies and other bakery treats are equally as good. You can find them at three locations including downtown Asheville, Charlotte Street and a new location in Waynesville.

World’s Best Carrot Cake

http://www.worldsbestcarrotcake.com/

It’s no small feat to be awarded as the World’s Best Carrot Cake by Fox News, but this small, unassuming bakery located on the edge of Asheville and Weaverville, has claimed this award. If you thought all carrot cakes were created equal, think again. It wasn’t enough to offer just gluten free, all natural carrot cake (a big hit by itself), the cake geniuses at World’s Best Carrot cake also created Gluten-Free Carrot Cake, Chocolate Gluten-Free Carrot Cake and Orange Citrus Vegan Carrot Cake.
Each and every World’s Best Carrot Cake is made by hand, from scratch, in small batches with care and love. It truly is the World’s Best Carrot Cake and best of all, it’s right here in our own backyard.

The Bake Shoppe
http://www.bakeshoppeasheville.com/
The Bake Shoppe, located in north Asheville, offers elegant and tasty cakes as well as other wonderful desserts. Run by mother daughter team Juanita Mantel and Heidi Bryson, these talented bakers have been creating award winning cakes for over 35 years. Their specialty is beautifully decorated wedding cakes, grooms cakes and anniversary cakes. They also offer a wide assortment of cakes and pies including German chocolate cake, pumpkin praline pound cake, cranberry pecan pie, coconut cream pie and more. Be sure to place your cake and pie orders in plenty of time before holiday guests arrive.

Now if reading this doesn’t make you want to head out and find a local bakery to satisfy your cravings, we must have done something wrong! If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a bakery near you, be sure to visit one of ours the next time you stay at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast. We are so proud of our local bakers. If you need a recommendation for where to go for your favorite baked treat in Asheville, just ask our innkeepers Janna and Stacy.

For more information about our Asheville B&B, visit www.pinecrestbb.com.

Our Asheville B&B’s Favorite Coffee Joints

August 21st, 2013 by Stacy Shelley

If you’re visiting our Asheville Inn this summer, you don’t want to miss some of the many great places to grab a cup of gourmet coffee or a hot fresh bagel and take in the local sights and sounds. Here’s our Top 5 Picks for Best Coffee hang-outs in Asheville.

 Izzy’s Coffee Deniz coffee
www.Izzyscoffeeden.com
74 N Lexington Ave
Asheville, NC 28801

Izzy’s in downtown Asheville is a true hipster coffee shop (although they call it a “den”). The brick walls and the dark interior certainly lend themselves to it feeling more like a den. It has a distinctively moody vibe and always smells amazing when you walk in the door. No matter whether you order an Americano, Cappuccino, Latte, Breve or a Homemade Chai, true coffee lovers won’t leave disappointed. In addition to serving superb coffee, Izzy’s has excellent live music, interesting art and lots of other libations too like handcrafted-beers, lemonade and Mimosas.

Fire Storm Café & Books
www.firestorm.coop
48 Commerce St
Asheville, NC 28801

Named as Asheville’s “ultimate Counter Culture cafe” by Asheville Magazine, Fire Storm is more than just a coffee shop and bookstore. It’s a worker owned cooperative that also hosts workshops, film screenings and fund raisers. In addition to getting your caffeine fix, you can also nosh on tasty bagels and gluten free desserts, as well as a wide selection of black, white, green and herbal teas. Having a sweet tooth? Don’t miss Storm’s signature Coconut Cream Breve paired with a brownie topped with Madagascar vanilla ice cream. All we can say is “welcome to a slice of heaven!”

Clingman Café River Arts District
www.clingmancafeasheville.com
242 Clingman Ave
Asheville, NC 28801

This pleasing coffee shop in the heart of the River Arts Districit is one of Asheville’s original coffee houses. The pretty space is filled with natural light, tall ceilings, and all sorts of pottery items from the studio next door. Proudly serving organic coffee and espresso, the Clingman Café may just be the only coffee shop where you can grab a gourmet sandwich and watch the trains go by. If you’re trying to eat light, try the apple, cranberry and arugula salad. Yummy! There’s also a pleasant outdoor patio area with market umbrellas – a nice shady spot to whittle away the afternoon with a gourmet bagel sandwich, a bowl of Granola, or an egg and sausage sandwich…all equally good. If you’re shopping in the River District, be sure to stop in.

High Five Coffee Bar
www.highfivecoffee.com
190 Broadway St
Asheville, NC 28801latte art

Formerly known as the Dripolator, this local favorite specializes in handcrafted espresso and coffee drinks. Known for its cool and uber talented Coffee Culture trained barista staff, the High Five serves an amazing espresso. This is the place for true coffee snobs. Try the Ethiopian or a simple but artfully served latte, sure to please the eye as well as the palette. Just a little tip, try a flavored coffee. High Five makes their own flavored syrups in house to avoid the use of corn syrup. Talk about dedicated to flavor! The location can be a bit hard to find…it’s on the North end of town, right after you pass under 240, located right behind Greenlife Grocery.

Battle Cat Coffee Bar
www.battlecatcoffeebar.com/
341 Haywood Rdbattlecat
Asheville, NC 28806

This hip, but laid back coffee shop in West Asheville is known for its Counter Culture coffee, breakfast tacos and cozy front porch. Grab one of their many specialty coffees like the Café Miel, made with espresso, honey and cinnamon or a Thai Iced Coffee and soak in the vibe. The place is pure West Asheville in all its glory! By most standards, they’ve got some pretty amazing grub too which makes it a great place to just chill and hang out with friends in an unpretentious environment…picnic tables and all.

 

Need more tips on great places to visit while in Asheville? Ask the innkeepers at Pinecrest Inn, one of Asheville’s best kept Bed & Breakfast secrets! While here enjoy a cup of our own fresh brewed coffee on the sun porch or meander out for a morning walk in our peaceful one acre English gardens. Call today for Inn reservations 888-811-3053 or visit www.pinecrestbb.com for more information.

 

 

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 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

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.

Gluten Free Restaurants in Asheville, NC

August 28th, 2012 by Stacy Shelley

Kale Salad from Posana

It seems that lately we have been seeing a lot of guests with different dietary needs.  The big one these days is gluten intolerance.  So it’s a good thing they are vacationing in Asheville, because this is just a fabulous place to visit and live if you have any type of dietary challenges.  At our Asheville Inn we embrace these challenges and find ways to insure that all our guests needs are met.  We recently had a lovely lady visit us who was a vegetarian and gluten-free. She authors a gluten free blog and wrote a wonderful article on her site Gluten-Free Cat about her experience at Pinecrest B and B.  She posted lots of pictures of our breakfasts and the desserts I got for her from my friend who is a professional gluten-free baker, Dolci di Maria.

As stated in previous blogs we have vegetarian restaurants, a vegan restaurant, a drive through vegetarian “fast food” place and a gluten-free restaurant.  I send guests to Posana Cafe, the gluten-free restaurant all the time.  In fact it is not unusual for them to go back several times during their visit.  So this  weekend I met up with some friends at Posana to confirm that the food is as good as everyone says it is . I was not disappointed.

Posana Cafe is located located in downtown Asheville on Historic Pack Square.   We sat outside on the patio on an unseasonably cool August night. There is probably no better people watching spot than Pack Square.  Posana Cafe has a self described Contemporary American Cusine menu which features local seasonal ingredients. With the emphasis on seasonal the menu naturally changes frequently.   One of the staples of the menu however, is the Kale Salad, which I could have eaten 2 pounds of easily.   The Kale is minced and tossed with pumpkin seeds, currants, lemon and olive oil and outstanding  Three Graces Dairy  manchego cheese.  I love kale but if you don’t,  this salad will surely convert you.  Next up was a roasted beet and peach salad with Three Graces Dairy Feta cheese.  Again….very good.  Lastly we had the gnocchi, which was equally divine.  Sadly we skipped dessert, which some say is their best effort. Our server was very professional and pleasant.

All in all a very good experience that you do not have to be gluten free to enjoy !  For more information on how Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast can accomodate your dietary needs, please call 888-811-3053 or email at innkeeper@pinecrestbb.com.

 

 

Day Excursions from our Asheville Bed & Breakfast

July 10th, 2012 by Stacy Shelley

Lately we’ve been recommending some day trips, that are easy to take from our Bed & Breakfast in Asheville. I have to say - these little adventures we have been going on have been pretty cool and lots of fun. Our latest expedition took us south of Asheville to Hickory Nut Gorge area, Chimney Rock and Lake Lure.  Many of our guests ask about these destinations so we ventured down to check them out again. It has been some time since we were in that area and it appears that not a lot has changed. The view from Chimney Rock is still awesome and the town and the lake perhaps a little more touristy. If you are visiting just for a weekend, this is probably not a side trip we would recommend — since there is just so much to see and do in and around Asheville. If however, you are planning on staying longer, or if your trip into or out of Asheville can take you that way, then it is great way to spend the day or a long afternoon.

Lake Lure is nestled in the heart of the Hickory Nut Gorge and is fed by the Rocky Broad River that makes its way down a series of rapids through the Gorge.  Lake Lure is a town in Rutherford County.  As of 2009, the population was 1007 – down 5 folks since 2008.  Lake Lure was incorporated in 1927 and acquired its namesake lake in 1965.  The town and lake make up all of 15 square miles and boasts a new marina and a beach front. You can rent just about every type of water craft at the marina or take an hour guided tour around the Lake. The guide lets you in on all the secrets of the lake including an underwater city and the scoop on filming of the Dirty Dancing movie. It is a picturesque lake and was designate one of the “top ten man made lakes” by National Geographic. We hit the beach and swam in the lake for a short bit before dark clouds and lightening swept in forcing us to change plans – much to the chagrin of our little tourist who was having fun on the two water slides.  We took a drive around the lake and ended up at “Larkin’s on the Lake,” situated as it name implies right on the water.  We sat outside under the awning, sipped on drinks, ate a bite and watched the storm roll in and eventually over us.  As the sun began to reappear, we ventured back out and headed back toward the beach and toward Chimney Rock about 2 miles away.

Once you turn into Chimney Rock State Park you drive along a narrow road, up and up, paying at the gate approximately half way up and then arriving at the Welcome Center, further up and approximately 3 miles from turning in.  Out of your car, you face a difficult decision:  whether to venture up to the towering 315-foot monolith located on the very edge of a mountain, perched above the Hickory Nut Gorge at 2280 feet, by your own two feet by trail OR take a leisurely 30 second ride up an elevator to the Old Rock Café and entrance to breathtaking views.  Built within the mountain is a 198 foot tunnel which cuts into the mountain to a 26 story elevator, which was constructed in 1949 (using 18 tons of dynamite).

Whatever your choice, you arrive at the top of the “Rock” where the gorge unfolds around you with a view that extends 75 miles with Lake Lure directly below.  I must confess that we took the elevator, but mainly because of the time we had and that we were tugging a 7 year old along with us.  The view was spectacular, but should come with a word of caution.  If you have any fear of heights, you may have some difficulty crossing the bridge and then walking up the stairs to the actual “rock”. It is well fenced and safe, but it could make anyone a bit nervous. Our son was a little hesitant, but we all made it out onto the rock and it was well worth it. Even though the focal point of the park is the “rock” there are many hiking trails and an amazing 404 foot waterfall.  The Park holds special events throughout the season so check before launching your own expedition at http://www.chimneyrockpark.com/index.php

The trails are surrounded by oak, hickory, maple, beech, poplar, locust and basswood harbor trees. The plant life includes rare and endangered wildflowers as well as native Solomon’s-Seal and Jack-in-the-pulpit.  An easy ¾ mile trek that leads to the aforementioned waterfall: Hickory Nut Falls.  If you have ever seen the movie, “The Last of the Mohicans” you are sure to remember the climatic fight scene at the end of the movie. This scene was filmed at the top of Hickory Nut falls.  It’s an easy walk and well worth experiencing. Admission to the park is a little steep at $15 per adult, but if you are planning a day of it, you will get your money’s worth.  You can eat at the café or take a picnic along.  Enjoy! For more information about accomodations or local attractions, please call Pinecrest Inn, a premiere Asheville Bed and Breakfast at 888-811-3053.

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